Upsides and Downsides

Now that EMBER’S KISS has had its release month, I can share some news with you: my publisher and I are no longer partners.

This is both good and bad for me personally, but I think the good outweighs the bad. It also results in both upsides and downsides for you as readers, but again, I think the upside is more powerful than the downside. Let’s walk through the list.


• More Dragonfire
Once upon a time, not that long ago, when a publisher and a writer ceased to be partners in the middle of a series of books, that series died on the vine. There was no other way for the author to finish the series, as publishers tend not to buy series that have been started at another house. Also, when an author was writing a series, it was impossible to be certain beyond the current contract whether there would be more books in the series. This posed a challenge to plotting and also was irritating to readers.

But the world has changed, and there are more options for writers. Dragonfire will continue to the end of the series.

• More Frequent Dragonfire
While I will still echo the editorial and production process followed by publishers to ensure that my books are as good as they can be, my books won’t be in a queue anymore with books from other authors. This means that we can get to publication more quickly. I also have more flexibility in terms of publishing linked novellas, which is fun.

• More Dragons
Publishing houses tend to be cautious in terms of pursuing new ideas. Authors, on the other hand, have tons of ideas and like to chase them all. There needs to be a happy compromise somewhere in the middle. Over the years, I’ve had some ideas for Dragonfire spin-offs. One, The Dragon Diaries, was taken on by the house, but I always wanted more. The others have been sitting in my computer’s memory and in mine – until now.

There will now be other dragons in addition to the Dragonfire series. Some of these stories will take the form of novellas instead of books, which again will give you more dragons sooner. I have two ideas in particular that I’m pursuing right now.

There’s a post about the future of Dragonfire queued up to post an hour after this one, so you can find out more about my plans there.

• More Cooke Books
Publishing houses also tend to be reluctant to “diversify the author brand”. They like to ensure that an author has a solid audience before moving into other sub-genres. Authors tend to define their work more broadly. This past summer, I republished a contemporary romance series that I’d written years ago (The Coxwells) and the response to it has been terrific. I’ve always wanted to write more contemporary romance and now I will. I also have a very pushy chick on a paranormal quest who has been prowling my office for a few years. You’ll get to meet Mel, too.

• Lower Price Point on Digital Books
Because I’m not an international conglomerate with office expenses and payroll to cover, I can be a bit more aggressive about pricing for digital books.

You will get to read more for less.


• Higher Price on Print Books
I will create print editions of my new book releases, and print anthologies of linked novellas, however the only current mechanism is to offer Print On Demand trade paperbacks. Because each book is created individually, there are few economies of scale here – as yet. I’m not the only one worried about this pricing so I suspect that there will be changes in the near future. The list price on these POD books will be higher, but I’ve noticed that many portals are discounting them for consumers. Shop around. 🙂

• No Physical Distribution
POD means no print run and no physical distribution. Whether you read me in digital editions or whether you want the trade paperback, you will have to order online. There are some bricks-and-mortar bookstores offering instore POD – one technology is called Espresso.

Again, I suspect that this will change even more radically in the near future.

• No Formal On Sale Date
Publishers have the ability to pre-set a publication date as much as six months in advance, which lets you pre-order the book for either digital delivery or physical shipping as soon as it becomes available. As yet, those options do not exist for authors who indie-publish their books. The book can only be offered for sale through various outlets once the author publishes the final version.

So, I can tell you the publication month, but there will be some squish in the actual date of the release. There also will be variation between outlets – any works I publish myself are available from Smashwords and Amazon within 48 hours. Other outlets (Sony, B&N, Apple etc.) can take up to six weeks to get the work and make it available to you. Again, I suspect that there will be changes in this area, but this is how it works now.

You might want to subscribe to my YahooGroups newsletter, like my Facebook page or subscribe to this blog to know as soon as each book actually is published and available.

• Different Branding
This is nitpickity, but I’m one of those people who likes to line up a whole series of linked books on my bookshelf and admire how they look all together. Obviously, switching to trade paperback format in the midst of the series is going to change how my Dragonfire books line up on your shelf, as well as the look of the series overall.

I’m taking the opportunity to modify the branding slightly, but all of the Dragonfire books from this point forward will have a similar look. Essentially, they’ll fall into two groups. Also, all of my new trade paperback POD editions will be the same size, so they can get along together on the shelf.

I think that’s it!

Overall, I’m quite excited about these changes and I hope that you are, too. When I teach, I always remind authors that the only constant in publishing is change. The important thing to me is that there are readers who want stories and there are stories being told. That will always remain the same, although the way that my stories get to you is changing now. More good news – I’ve done a lot of writing this year in preparation for this, so we can get off to a nice crisp start.

As mentioned, later this morning you can pop by here for the Dragonfire plan.

17 thoughts on “Upsides and Downsides

  1. Never say never. Maybe your publisher will decide to partner with you again in the future. Glad to hear that you won’t have to disappoint your readers just because your publisher wasn’t as committed to the books as you are!

    Enjoy! Maybe by next year, you’ll be able to announce you’ve found a publisher to handle the print distribution. Wouldn’t that be sweet?


    • Hi Kelly – it was great to meet you at the NINC conference! Thanks so much for your hard work in pulling it together – it was a great conference.

      Unlike many at that conf, though, I don’t believe that authors need to choose indie or trad. I suspect the best balance is in the middle with a mix of publishing options – in fact, there’s a post queued up for my Wild West Thursday series next week about that very topic. I suspect that a great deal will change in terms of options and possibilities in the next year.

      And now, I’m racing off to World Fantasy. Yikes, I barely got my laundry done. 🙂



  2. Deb, you are not a stranger to this phenomena I know. But you have a voice and it has to be heard and however you can get it out there you have to do it. I love print books, they sit on my shelf and months and sometimes years after the first read, they call to me to be read again, especially yours, especially when you’re telling a dragon’s story and I have to go back to remember why he did what he did. They’re too easy to forget setting on the virtual shelf in my Nook. But I will pay the price, it’s worth it. I will follow you anywhere, whether it’s self pubbed or what ever publisher is fortunate enough to get you because what ever you’re selling I want it.
    Good luck with this endeavor, it’s not such a brave new world as the last time, but I can imagine it’s still a bit scary. Another good thing is that your fan base is pretty big and those of us who love you happen to have big mouths and will shout your message from our mountain top.
    All the best
    I hope you were not effected by Sandy, I know your PA was and hope she’s okay.


  3. Huzzah for more Dragonfire books!

    No matter what format (e- or print) they come out, I’ll buy them. In fact, I’ll probably buy them in both formats: ebook when they’re published (love that instant gratification!) followed by getting them in print, probably via a gift list/wish list request or when I’m splurging on myself.

    I am not terribly bummed that the rest of the stories will be in trade size — as long as there is coherence in dimensions and the artwork, I am happy!

    I am glad Deborah you’re willing to keep going with the series — as a reader there is truly nothing more disappointing to hear that a favorite series ended in the middle of the series’ story arc because the publisher didn’t choose to contract for the rest of the series. Authors willing to explore e-publishing and indie publishing for their publisher-orphaned series are a godsend to their readers. Thank goodness for technology!

    Can’t wait for the next installment! 🙂


  4. How exciting that you’re going indie, Deborah! In my experience, the upsides outweigh the downsides–I think you’ve made the right decision. Congratulations, and enjoy your continuing career!


  5. congratulations! I think you’ll find the freedom of going indie very seductive. Our creative sides NEED this outlet. Forcing our imaginations into a mold simply was not working.
    Yes, there is always a use for print publishing. A large part of our readership is still there, and I don’t want to leave them behind. But moneywise, indie pubbing is a good alternative.


    • Thanks for the encouragement, Lauren, Patricia, Donna, Layna and Julie. I’ve been indie-pubbing backlist for about two years (since Jules kicked me into action at RWA in Orlando!) and I really enjoy the process. Adding more original works is an even more exciting prospect. Future, here we come!



    • Thanks Deborah!

      And how nice to see you again. I hope all is well with you. Are you going to RWA National this year? I am, and am really looking forward to it.


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