Monday, January 28, 2013

Me on Publishing and Some Cover Love

[Note: I've got a short post over on the Indelibles blog (link) today. But it's not about me! It's about my good writer-friend Ali Cross and her new Writer's Dojo! Check it out~]

Now for this post... Because lord knows, we all need another opinion on what's happening in publishing.

Get me!
I stumbled into self-publishing with a little book the traditional guys all rejected (The Truth About Faking, link), and had a shockingly good experience.

Then I followed it up with a book the traditional guys wanted (Rouge, link), and had what I think is the typical self-publishing experience.

So I don't consider myself expert on all this. (If you want an expert, see my good writer-friend Susan Quinn, link). But I listen a lot. And I observe a lot. And I tend to be excessively analytical at times.

Some observers have noted that self-publishing seems to be the new query letter. I think there's validity in that argument.

I disagree with observers who think traditional publishing is going away. When I interviewed Tammara Webber here last summer (link), she made a great point: Traditional publishers haven't been doing this for as long as they have to not know what they're doing. (I paraphrased--she said it better. LOL!)

Gigantic bookstores are probably going away, which is a little scary. But if it means smaller bookstores will begin to thrive, I like it. I just hope they'll be open to indies...

When I was offered my traditional ebook only deal Spring 2012, it was identical to a "nice" traditional print deal. Now, advances and royalty rates coming off of indie sales are way more writer-friendly.

You even have successful indies like Hugh Howey or Coleen Hoover keeping their ebook rights altogether and signing traditional print-only deals. (Which I say is brilliant!)

I do know a ton of writer-friends are embracing self-publishing, and it's lost almost all of its former stigma. Even with once-anti-self-publishing curmudgeons like myself.

When I put TTAF out there, I thought of it like a little paper boat floating down this fast-moving stream, rounding curves, hitting rapids, wobbling, and I was just standing on the bank watching it, holding my breath, waiting to see if it would stay afloat.

That's kind of how I feel about what's going on in publishing right now. We're in a hugely transitional time in the business, and I don't think anybody can predict what will happen next. I think it's good to stay flexible, try different things, do what works for you, and hold on!

And good luck to all my writer-friends, traditional, indie, or some weird hybrid mix like me. I'd love to hear what you guys think!

Now, bring on the covers!

First, my great Indelible writer-friend G.P. Ching (link) has a gorgeous new installment coming in her Soulkeepers series (#4). I agreed to share the word on it--and just look at the cover (below)...

Soul Catcher, Soulkeepers #4 description:

Add me!
Dane Michaels has been to Hell and back and isn't interested in repeating the experience. But as a human caught up in the Soulkeeper's world, his life isn't exactly his own. 

No one can explain why Dane was allowed through the gates of Eden, but it's changed everything. Now, the only one who can make him feel safe is Ethan, the telekinetic Soulkeeper with a dark past and a heart of gold.

When Malini asks Dane to be part of a mission to find the last Soulkeeper, Cheveyo, more than one team member thinks she's tempting Fate. But Malini suspects Fate has had a hand in Dane's life for some time and that he could be the key to unraveling Lucifer's latest plan of attack.

Add it on Goodreads (link)!

Finally, the ebook version of Rouge (link) has a new look. You can see it on the sidebar and below.

Get me!
I'm also highlighting the romantic suspense and coming of age elements of the story more to reader-friends.

What do you think?

[Note: The original cover will remain on the print version of Rouge (link), so don't despair fans of that look.]

My brilliant cover-designer and writer-friend Jolene Perry (link) had the idea for this new one, and since she's my covergirl, we're giving it a go, trying something new for fun!

Have a great week, reader- and writer-friends~ <3


Jessica Bell said...

You know how I feel about all this :-) I'm excited to embrace it, but also scared.

Love the new look for Rouge!

Laura Pauling said...

I like both the covers and it's good to experiment with covers, that's part of the freedom. Like I love Jessica's new cover too! I changed up covers for my first book too. It happens. I guess now we understand why traditional guys do it too. :)

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Love G.P.'s cover! And you already know I adore yours.

As far as the rest of your post, you present evidence that highlights both sides nicely. This business is so so so subjective; it's crazy, at times. Once again, it's my belief that every writer has his/her own path. It's up to him/her to make the needed decisions as the path curves and changes. That doesn't mean those decisions are easy ones, especially with the industry changing so. You know my current situation. I hope (and think) I made the right decision for me, but I'll always keep my views open. I'm thrilled you had such an awesome experience with TTAF!

Natalie Aguirre said...

So agree that the industry is changing and we should all do what's best with us. Interesting how you've two different experiences with self-publishing.

Love your new cover but I really like the old one too because it has a good feel for the time period of your story.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Love the new cover! (And GP's too!) Thanks for the shout-out, but there are very few experts in this biz (and I LOVE Tammara, but I'd say the trad-pub folks know a lot about how things used to work, but now? At best, they're learning along with everyone else). But, as I was saying to the Indelibles this morning, there are a few people who are successful at selling books in the e-era, and I'm grateful to the ones who take the time to share their new-found knowledge (and I try to be one of those people too).

Pat Hatt said...

Yeah there is many a thing one can learn, just have to keep their eyes open. Main thing I've found is do it yourself and you learn a ton. Also keep pumping them out as the best advertising is another book, great cover too.

Coleen Patrick said...

I like the new cover for Rouge, Leigh! I bet readers will find it and love it. I know I liked the emotional journey I took while reading it. :)
And as for the indie pub world, I'm getting ready to put my little paper boat in the water too. I like your advice on staying flexible.

Stina said...

Love the new cover, Leigh!

There's no predicting where things are going in the publishing industry. You just have to prepare for all possible outcomes.

Carolyn Abiad said...

I like both covers. <3

I see your point, especially since the big houses are creating e-book only lines now. How much different is their e-deal from self-publishing?

There are so many ways this can go - I can't even speculate.

Barbara Watson said...

Your journey is such a mix! Thanks for sharing so openly about each part of it.

Patti said...

Love the covers to both of your books.

Self publishing has definitely lost a lot of the stigma it had just a few years ago. I think it comes down to any decision, what do you want. Which seems like it should be an easy question, but not always.

Anonymous said...

A little paper boat floating on a raging current--YES.

Love your new cover.

So excited for more news!

Matthew MacNish said...

Who is that on the new Rouge cover? Hale and Beau? Hale and Freddie? I like to think of it as Hale and Roland.

Old Kitty said...

I do so hope there will be more, albeit smaller and more indie- physical bookshops in the future. Amazon can't have it all surely!!?!??! :-(

Yay for your gorgeous book cover!! It's totally ambiguous in a very sexy way! Take care

Jolene Perry said...

I think everything in publishing is shifting, but in a good way.
Authors are gaining more power w/ self-publishing doing so well for so many.
It's a pretty fabulous thing.
And the big publishers won't disappear - not with the ereader market thriving.
So... yeah... Everything in publishing takes forever, and they'll take a while to shift, but it is a fascinating thing to watch...

Rebecca Green Gasper said...

My thought is to go for whatever path works best for the writer. I'm excited about the ever changing publishing world and embrace it.

Love the new cover-exciting:)

DL Hammons said...

The new cover for ROUGE is awesome!! Truly!! :)

Janet Johnson said...

The changes in publishing have been fascinating to watch, and I feel like I've had a front row seat to it all as a writing trying to get published through it all. I am thrilled at how well TTAF is doing and send you all my congrats (which should probably already sitting in your 'congrats' drawer). The new cover Rouge definitely changes my perception of it. I want to hear how it affects sales! :)

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I agree with you that with the big chain stores closing, first Borders and now B & N will be shutting down 20 stores a year (I expect it to end faster for them that that myself) that the little independents that have been hanging on for so long through it all will now come back into their own. I look forward to that! It's cool that you did both. I like hearing your viewpoint from both sides. And also agree that traditional publishing isn't going away. Why should it? There's room for all of us here.

Tracy Jo said...

Interesting. Always love reading your opinion and have learned so much from you. I love that their are so many options now and writers have more flexibility. I LOVE the new Rouge cover! Love pictures that make me feel something and that cover does! Have a great week!

LTM said...

@Carolyn--thanks, hun! I'm so with you on that. It'll be interesting to see what everything looks like once the dust has settled. Whenever that is! :D <3

@Laura--Thanks, and yep. Little boats. Hang on! :o) <3

@Rebecca--I couldn't agree more! It's a GREAT time for writers. Thanks, girl! :o)

@Don--Yaaay! Glad you like it! <3

PK HREZO said...

Love the new cover look!

You're right, it's scary and we're all just holding our breath. But what I've learned so far, is that as long as we keep writing stories, we will have our very own library to offer either way. And those stories keep getting better over time.

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing your journey :) I changed the cover of my first book (you'll remember, Clockwise?) and it made a huge difference. I hope that's the case for you as well. Keep us posted!

And like Laura said, it's awesome that we can experiment easily like that.

Hart Johnson said...

Such a wacky time, isn't it? I am sticking with a traditional route for a while longer, but mostly because I am just not ready with time or attention to get anything PERFECT, AND because I believe self-publishers do best when they put out several in somewhat rapid succession (say, quarterly for a year) to get a shelf really going, and I just don't have that many READY.

Carolina M. Valdez Schneider said...

The face of publishing is changing, that's for sure. And though it still feels like we have so little control over what happens, it does feel like we (and readers!) have more viable options, and for me that seems like a good thing.

What you're doing is inspirational and downright amazing. I hope it only gets better from here.

Also, can't wait to see you!

M Pax said...

I agree. We're all paperboats floating, trying to figure out what's around the bend. There's really no telling, but I think Amazon is poised to make us all more miserable than the Big 6 [about to be Big 4]. Staying flexible is very necessary.

Jennie Bailey said...

I love the new cover, especially with the romantic suspense element you want to highlight. I think it's perfect for that! I'm glad to see self-publishing losing the stigma attached to it. I have more friends actually considering that route now, which is a good sign, I think!

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