Tag Archives: mid-list authors

CAN AN OLD DOG LEARN NEW TRICKS?

Or to be more specific, can someone who has been doing something in one way for a very long time learn to do the same thing a different way?

qThis is a question that looms before me as I embark on a mission to learn Scrivener. I’m starting a class in how to use this program in a couple of weeks. The author who wrote “Scrivener for Dummies” is teaching the class, so she sounds like the perfect teacher for someone like me.

I bought Scrivener months ago. I didn’t even take the “30-day free trial” offer. I was so confident I could use it I just bought it. Because I had more pressing things going on, I let its icon sit on my desktop for a couple of months before I opened it. I’m not an expert at the computer, but I’m reasonably savvy. After an hour with Scrivener, I was ready to pull out my thinning hair.

Since then, I’ve gone back to it. Even tried to fit my WIP (THE CATTLEMAN) into it, but haven’t advanced one iota. So it’s time for a class.

For those of you who have never heard of Scrivener, it’s writing software designed to replace or enhance Microsoft Word. For novelists and screenwriters, it’s supposedly more intuitive and more organized, with authors in mind, than Word.

And why am I trying to do this? Because I want to be faster and more efficient in my writing. I need to be turning out more than one book a year.

I wrote my first book, THE LOVE OF A COWBOY, as a pantster. A pantster is someone who writes organically. Stream of consciousness. Whatever pops into one’s head goes on the page. But being a pantster wastes a lot of time as you can probably imagine. You write stuff, then throw it out and replace it with something new. I don’t know about others, but by that method, I’ve ended up with stories that didn’t resemble the ones I had imagined in the first place.

After I became published by two of the Big Six publishing houses under two different pseudonyms, I no longer had the luxury of being a pantster. Time became precious. I *had* to become an outliner and a planner because I had to present new stories for the editor to consider before she would renew a contract and I had to meet deadlines. Consequently, over time, I developed a clumsy way of outlining in Word and in Excel. And that’s how I’ve written the last few books, with not much time for a story to “gel” in my mind.

But now I want to try something I hope will be better. So here I go into yet another class. <sigh> I’ve taken so many. :-/

“And speaking of THE LOVE OF A COWBOY, it will soon be available in print from Amazon.AnnaJeffrey_TheLoveofaCowboy_200px Hopefully before the end of the month.Amazon has a new feature for authors to offer those who want to hold a printed book in their hands. If you buy the printed edition, you can buy the same book in e-book format for a reduced price. Of course, the author has to opt for this feature. I’ve added this to the books I’ve got in print, THE LOVE OF A LAWMAN and SWEET RETURN. And I will soon be adding it to THE TYCOON.”

Meanwhile, wish me luck as this old dog sets out to learn a new trick.

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SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION…

Happy Holidays, everyone. As for me, I’m just glad it’s almost over. When you work in retail, the Christmas season calls for a huge amount of work and the patience of Job. And it’s hard to find fun in all of the chaos.

North Texas actually had snow on Christmas Day this year. In my entire life, except in the Panhandle, I don’t think I’ve ever known of it snowing on Christmas in this part of the world.

A lot of other things were going on besides work at my real job. First and foremost, (And I don’t want to forget a trumpet blare here), I finally got THE TYCOON uploaded into the Kindle Store on Amazon. But it didn’t happen until Christmas week. And here’s the cover one more time.

AnnaJeffrey_TheTycoon_200px

 

I ran into a few snags, like a copyeditor who dropped the ball. Consequently, I ended up hurrying through it and formatting it myself. The result of that was a whole lot of errors in the formatting. I hate that, but I had to upload it. I had copyrighted in in 2012 and I wanted it to be a 2012 release. Now I’m in the process of going back and correcting the errors. I can’t move on get into Book #2 because I can’t seem to get free of Book #1.

My intention was to get it uploaded the first week of December, then follow up with the promotion of SWEET WATER free in the Kindle Store, thus expose it to more traffic. Not getting the copyedit back threw my schedule all off and nothing came off as I had planned.

One of the things I’m learning in self-publishing is that there are a lot of unqualified, unreliable folks out there. I knew that about other endeavors in which I’ve been involved through the years, but I was hoping for better from the writing world.

I put a price of $4.99 on THE TYCOON because it’s a long book and a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into it. It’s my usual character-driven soap opera. As I think I’ve said before, it’s Book #1 of a trilogy called SONS OF TEXAS. The books will be romance novels, but overarching the trilogy and threading through it is the story of a wealthy, dysfunctional Texas family. The true ending will not come until the end of the 3rd book.

Besides that, I got SWEET RETURN uploaded into the Amazon Kindle Store. Kim Killion designed an awesome cover. It might be my most favorite cover. Let me know what *you* think.

AnnaJeffrey_SweetReturn_800

 

The female model on the cover wrote me a Facebook message and told me how happy she was to be on the cover. I thought that was cool. Actually, it’s kind of surreal how much these two models look like I imagined Dalton Parker and Joanna Walsh, the hero and heroine in that book.

SWEET RETURN is a reprint of my 2008 book. It won the Aspen Gold contest held by an RWA chapter in Denver and placed in several other contests. It will also be available as a print book from Amazon. It was a fun book to write and I hope it’s a fun book to read.

So that’s what’s been keeping me busy writing-wise and publishing-wise.

Prior to that, my daughter came and stayed ten days with me. We beaded and cooked and shopped and did all of the things we usually do. Had a great time. I enjoy her company so much and miss her a lot. One of these days, I’m going to have to move to Oregon to be near her. She hates Texas and only comes here because I’m here.

I didn’t do a lot of holiday cooking this year, but I did make biscotti to take to work. Turned out to be delicious. I had never made it before, but it’s fairly easy and almost foolproof. And tomorrow, I go back to my real job, which ends the holiday for me.

One of my resolution for the coming year is to try to be more attentive to this blog. For me, its purpose it to promote my books, but that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about other things. A lot is going on in the world and most of it bears discussing. So please hang in there with me.

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Filed under Books and Publishing, Books and Reading

WORK ON THE BOOK GOES ON…

Work on the first book of my new trilogy continues. Everything takes so much longer than I thought it would. So many more authors are self-publishing now, which slows down the process. But that’s good that aspiring authors who have been shackled or shunned by traditional publishing are finding an outlet.

I now have a title and have ordered the cover. That’s going to take several weeks. Not too long ago, it took a few days or a week. I don’t know yet how long copyediting will take.

At this moment, I’m planning an e-book release, followed by a POD release through Amazon. The title I’ve landed on for the trilogy is SONS OF TEXAS. And the title for the first book is THE TYCOON. The second book will be called THE COWBOY and the third will be called THE HORSEMAN. The setting is Fort Worth and rural Texas.

The book titles are fairly self-explanatory, but here’s the trilogy arc:

“The three grown children of an old wealthy but dysfunctional Texas ranching family find love in unexpected places in spite of their quarreling parents. Crisis and near tragedy ultimately reunite the parents who have been the root of the family’s breakdown and harmony that has been missing for many years returns to the Double Barrel Ranch.”

The flag of Fort Worth, Texas currently in use...

And here’s the blurb for THE TYCOON:

“When successful, wealthy Fort Worth businessman, DRAKE LOCKHART, encounters a beautiful redhead at a fancy charity ball, the last thing he expects is a tryst he can’t forget with a woman who disappears. With her continuing to haunt him, he’s driven to search for her. Once he finds her and persuades her to spend time with him, he recognizes that his bachelor days are over. But she has no trust in love or in him and erects barriers between them. Just when he thinks he’s winning her over, without his knowledge, an associate in his powerful company goes head to head with her in a business deal involving real estate she desperately wants. Restoring her faith in him is a challenge Drake must face and win if he’s ever to be happy.

Presented with the opportunity to spend time with one of the most successful businessmen in Fort Worth and one of Texas Monthly’s most eligible bachelors, SHANNON PIPER, smart, successful real estate broker in the small town of Camden, Texas, cannot deny her wilder side. Falling in love with a man she doesn’t trust isn’t on her agenda, yet she can’t ignore his attention or her own attraction to him. Her solution is to confine their relationship to “just sex.” After he claims to love her, his treachery in a business deal proves her original fears well-founded. She can’t easily be convinced she can ever trust him. Her unexpected pregnancy forces both of them to stop playing games and embrace their true feelings.”

English: Actor Hugh Jackman at the 83rd Academ...

Drake

As always, Hugh Jackman is my mental image for Drake, but I haven’t yet found one for Shannon. Sometimes I think of Julia Roberts, but with green eyes. Suffice to say Shannon’s beautiful and smart because all of my heroines are beautiful and smart. This book will be a typical steamy Anna Jeffrey drama. 🙂

English: Julia Roberts attending the premiere ...

Shannon

I had hoped to get it out the door by the end of February, but that isn’t going to happen. So now I’m pushing for the end of March. <sigh> I’m nothing if not flexible.

I welcome your comments.

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THE READING REVOLUTION IS HERE….

And if I ever doubted it, I no longer do.

As some of you know, my real job is with a major retailer. For most of the holiday season, I worked in the electronics department. The number of iPads, iPods, KindleFires, Nooks and other tablet-like devices that were sold was astonishing. Amazon is already claiming sales of more than a million KindleFires.

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

Cover via Amazon

And what can we do on each and every one of these electronic devices besides play games, email and surf the Net? WE CAN READ BOOKS!

Even though I wrote back in October about reading on an e-reader as opposed to having a printed book in your hands, I see the handwriting on the wall.

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

Mid-list authors like me have already found a home on the Internet with Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords, which distributes e-books to e-retailers like Sony, Kobo, Diesel, Apple and others. Amazon and Barnes & Noble are paying nine times the royalty rates for e-books as the Big 6 in New York. I have a friend who has self-published 17 of her backlist books and has now sold more than a million e-books. She would never have seen the day in traditional publishing when she would be as well-paid as she is in e-publishing.

Amazon already has an apparatus in place where mid-listers can self-publish in print if they so desire. Mid-listers also now have access to editing, copyediting, cover design and even reviewing by a major reviewer. A writer who dreams of seeing his great American novel in print is no longer stymied and denigrated by the gatekeepers.

Of course, none of this is free. Authors will have an outlay of cash to make this happen. The author with business savvy will put together his or her own little organization that functions in a professional way, which will benefit both author and reader.

Barnes & Noble nook (ebook reader device)

Image via Wikipedia

It’s only a matter of time before one of the major bestselling authors will take a close look at his or her royalty statement and recognize how much money he or she is sacrificing by not being independent. And when that happens, I believe it will be like opening the floodgates. All bets are off when it comes to the future of New York print publishing and to existing online e-publishers. The ball is now in the court of authors and readers, where it should have been all along.

Like all change, on the surface, it seems as if this cataclysm has occurred overnight, but that isn’t the case. It has been evolving for at least 2 years. What will now make the difference, though, is that so many people now own e-reading devices and will now be able to buy e-books cheaper than they ever could buy new print books. So each and every one of them can fill up his e-reader with as many as 3,000 books. Even school books will be e-books.

So if you didn’t get an e-reader for Christmas, you might consider it. You can soon pay for the e-reader with what you’ll save buying books.

This is an awesome development and I’m so glad it has happened in my lifetime.

I’d love to hear your comments.

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Now I’m Independent…

Amazon Kindle PDF

Last week, something finally happened that I’ve been working at for more than two years. I finally got the copyrights back on two more of mybooks. Whew! What a pain.

I’m so happy about this. It’s a good feeling to know that books I slaved over are no longer hanging in limbo where they’re not on the market, but there’s nothing I can do about it because I don’t own them. That’s like having them fall into a black hole. Getting my rights back makes me feel like I have a future again.

Publishing and bookselling have become dramas with lots of moving parts. Independents are barely hanging on, Borders is gone and every day, B&N is starting to look more like a gift store than a book store. I don’t know about the other chains because none of them are located in my part of the country. But I do know this. Big retail is in the process of killing mid-list authors like me.

Big retail is not in the book and author promoting business. It doesn’t have a dedication or devotion to *books*, as such. Big retail is in the RETAIL business, which is fundamentally the real estate business. Every square inch of space has to produce so many dollars over a certain period of time. Consequently, they’re going to fill that space with stuff that sells lots of items as fast as possible because profit lies in volume of rapidly moving stuff. From their perspectives, books are strictly a commodity that sells well or not. Thus, their interest in stocking only name-brand authors.

Entrance of a typical Costco warehouse club.

Image via Wikipedia

These days, if you stroll through the book section of a Walmart, a Costco or a Target, you won’t see a large selection of books by authors other than New York Times Bestsellers. Some of the stores are stocking the whole backlist of those authors, which leaves no space for mid-listers. So for you readers out there, if you don’t want to read every book by an author going back to 1985, or if you’ve already read them and don’t want to read them again, you’re going to have to buy a digital reader.  Online is where the mid-listers have found refuge.

So now I’m no longer a mid-list author. Now I’m an independent author selling my out-0f-print books for e-readers. I’m on my own. this is why I’m blogging, tweeting and facebooking more than previously. It’s a brave new world out there. I’m trying to reach as many readers as I can, hoping to find a larger audience for my stories.

Publishing houses are no longer the gatekeepers. The rights to my future books will not be owned by anyone but me, which is a liberating feeling. They most likely won’t be showing up in big-box stores, but that’s okay with me.

I sure can’t predict how digital readers and independent authors are going to affect publishing houses in the final analysis. Some of them might very well go out of business altogether. Having said that, I should also say that I suspect there will always be books in print. The publishers that survive this earthquake will always publish the big sellers. So if you are someone who loves the feel of a*real book* in your hands, something will be out there for you. But basically, books are going to become like music. In bricks and mortar stores, you’ll only see the big names who are posting big numbers. This is a huge boon to imaginative authors who have business sense.

I posted earlier on Facebook that I’m already starting to format my first release, “The Love of a Cowboy,” for Amazon Kindle, B&N Nook and others. Cowboy was released in 2003. It has been my bestselling book and I still hear from readers about it.

Amazon Kindle eBook Reader

See you online, Readers. Come and Facebook with me and Tweet at me. I’m interested in *all* of your opinions and thoughts.

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