Sunday, March 25, 2018

View Out My Window

As most of you are aware, I've recently relocated from cold, snowy Ohio to the warmth of North Carolina. Although the natives have been telling me I've brought the cold and snow with me, since this is the worst winter North Carolinians have seen in years. But it was warm enough the other day for the golf course behind my house to be populated with men and ladies who were enjoying some fun.

My office looks out onto the 11th hole of the local course and the other day I stood and watched a man as he practiced his putts on the green. The course wasn't busy, so he spent about ten minutes there, dropping his ball from various parts of the green and trying to stroke it into the hole. It occurred to me that my writing takes a similar course. I have to try several different approaches to the opening of any story, to the plot line, to the ending, before I get it right. And even then, it may veer off into a sand trap or a water hazard if I'm not careful.

As I sat in my new office and watched the parade of golfers whizzing by in their carts, I realized the similarities between golf and writing a novel. Many rounds of golf are played by individuals with various levels of expertise, but only a handful ever become great. Likewise, many books are published each year by authors with varying levels of competence with their craft, but only a few rise to the top. You're likely to spend more on both golf and writing than you'll ever realize in profit, but it's the elusive thrill of a hole-in-one or making the New York Times bestseller list that propels each of us forward. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

The End Of The Road

It saddens me to say this, but Crimson Romance is no more. 

I had great hopes for the line when it was bought by Simon & Schuster. And S&S did some nice promotion for my Cotillion series during the year Crimson was under their control.

But alas, on Monday a tweet came out announcing Crimson was being shuttered, effective immediately. The editors had no advance warning, nor did we authors. I guess S&S figured if Donald Trump can fire people via Twitter, so can they.

We're all just kind of spinning in circles right now, trying to figure out what our rights are and where to go from here. I had a book due April 15, which they no longer want, and I don't know quite what to do with it now.

This really took my breath away, as I'm sure it did for quite a few people. Crimson was my first publisher. They took a chance on me when I was green and we grew together. The editors were fabulous to work with, and the professionalism they showed was phenomenal. I hope our paths cross again.

In the meantime, I have a house to put together, which is fortunate, since the move is occupying my mind now instead of putting the finishing touches on my book. When one house opens, another closes. C├ęst la vie.

RIP, Crimson Romance.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

New Home!

Finally, I am into my new home in North Carolina!!! It's been a long journey with a significant layover in VA, but I now have a bed and a barstool in my new place. I may be bare-boning it for a while, but so far, so good.

I love all the light that comes into the Carolina Room, which will become my office as soon as the desk arrives. It overlooks the golf course, so the views as I look up and ponder the next sentence or word will be so much better than looking out onto a blizzard in Ohio. Right now there's nothing to even sit on, but it will all come together before I know it.

The sooner the better, since my next Regency is due to the publisher in mid April. Losing Lily has been in process since NaNoWriMo. It's now being put through the ProEditing program and then a final read-through should do it. It's about the sister who works out of doors all the time. She wears men's clothing because it's more functional, but she longs to be able to put on a dress and dance the night away.

And if you get a chance, head over to USA Today's Happy Ever After column, where Mary and I make a guest appearance.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

The Waiting Game

As most of you know, I'm in transition on the home front. Buying a house is not as simple as it used to be. After the collapse of the market as we all knew it, the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction. My lender tells me things have gotten a whole lot tighter than they used to be. So, as a consequence, I've been running to banks in West Virginia to get the necessary forms. I don't normally bank in West Virginia, but the bank I had my money in while in Ohio only extends south a little ways. So the choice was either Pittsburgh or Morgantown. These new regulations seem to have left logic at the door, but until the pendulum swings back, I'm stuck with them.

All these different regulations got me to thinking about the state of our industry today. Publishing a book is more simple than it used to be. No longer do you need to print out your manuscript, bundle it up and mail it off to a publisher or agent, who may or may not get back to you in six months to a year.  Now, if you want to go the traditional route, all you need do is attach a file and hit the 'send' button on your email. And if you wish to skip the traditional route altogether, publishing a book on your own has become so simple, almost anyone can do it. The publishing pendulum has swung in favor of the author, finally.

But this new found freedom comes at a price. There are more books hitting the market than ever before. In 2015, more than 700,000 books were self-published, and new books published for that year crept over the one million mark for the first time. What that means for an author is the threat of being buried under an avalanche of other books is greater than ever. Some of the finest voices of our generation will never be heard, while others who aren't accomplished writers achieve head-scratching success. It's a constant battle to get books reviewed by legitimate sites, and every author I know struggles daily with the best way to market their books.

The pendulum will swing back sooner or later, on both fronts. But until it does, we've got to deal with the situation the best way we can. As my lender says, "If you haven't applied for a mortgage in the last three years, you're in for an awakening." The same holds true for publishing. If you haven't been in the market for the past three years, the old ways no longer apply. I've heard a lot of established authors, when talking about how they got started in the business, quantify their remarks by saying things are different now. Not better, necessarily, but different.

This is our new normal, and as I've learned from going through the mortgage process, you adjust your thinking accordingly. The house will happen, my next book will be released, I'll make my deadline for the WIP, and life will go on. I'll still struggle with marketing, but at least I'll do so with a golf course view out my back window.

If you can spare a minute to follow me on BookBub, I'd greatly appreciate you clicking over and following me. My goal is 1,000 followers and I've got a ways to go. Here's the link: