ORWA Workshop in 2019

Ottawa Romance Writers AssociationI’ll be teaching a workshop at the Ottawa Romance Writers Association in Nepean, Ontario on May 5, 2019.

Switching to Glide:
Join Deborah Cooke for a workshop on targeting opportunity, managing back list, and ensuring your own productivity to create a steady revenue stream from your writing. Whether you’re indie, hybrid, traditionally published or an aspiring writer, you can use these techniques to plan for success.

This is exciting, since I haven’t taught for a while. It’ll be a totally new workshop.

Visit their website for more details about this group and their meetings.

The Plan for One Knight Enchanted

One Knight Enchanted, book #1 of the Sayerne series of medieval romances by Claire Delacroix

One Knight Enchanted, book #1 of my new Rogues & Angels series of medieval romances, will be published January 9 at Amazon.

The publication of this book is where marketing plans from 2017 collide with marketing plans for 2018. 🙂 Right now, One Knight Enchanted is set to go into Kindle Unlimited immediately, which was last year’s plan for historical romances. A number of you have contacted me, though, saying that you’d like to buy it at a portal other than Amazon. And my 2018 plan involves making my books available to you first through my online store, which can’t happen when a book is in Kindle Unlimited (because those books have to be available exclusively at Amazon.)

But I have a solution! On January 9, I’ll have the option to remove the book from Kindle Unlimited. I’m going to do that. I’ve also made it available to you today through my online store (as well as at Amazon) at the same price as Amazon. (Those are the rules). The delivery of sales from the online store will be handled by Book Funnel, so that you can be sure to get Rolfe and Annelise’s story onto your device of choice. You’ll have two weeks to buy the book in my online store.

Pre-order eBook for January 9 delivery:
Amazon

Buy eBook directly from Claire (Available January 2 – 15)

Order a signed Print Edition from Claire.

On January 16, One Knight Enchanted will be enrolled in Kindle Unlimited and be available only at Amazon.

 

Home with Lists

The exciting thing about attending a conference like Novelists’ Ink is that I always end up with so many action items. Novelists’ Ink is also unusual among the conferences I attend because it’s only for published authors, most of whom write genre fiction. (A high percentage of members write either romance or mystery.) So, there are no reader events like booksignings during the conference (although Jodi Vaughn and I made an exception and met with some readers for lunch on Saturday. It was such fun – Jodi is lovely and it turned out that her fans were also some of mine!) So, NINC is about the business of publishing. In this still-changing market, there are not only new options available, but better ways evolving to get things done. I always end up making lists on the flight home. You’ll notice some changes happening as a result of what I’ve learned this past week, although a number of them will happen behind the scenes.

You’ll notice some changes happening as a result of what I’ve learned this past week, although a number of them will happen behind the scenes. For example, I need to review my notes from Erica Ridley’s wonderful session on newsletters, and decide what to improve first with my monthly newsletter. (There are LOTS of things to be improved there!)

Wyvern's Mate, book #1 in the Dragons of Incendium series of paranormal romances by Deborah CookeI’ll also be changing the numbering of the Dragons of Incendium series. Amazon doesn’t allow incremental numbers on series pages and I’ve been stubborn about changing my idea of the book numbers to fit theirs. 🙂 In talking to other authors, though, it’s clear that there are tangible benefits to having all of the books on the same product page. I’ll make them the same at all portals once they’re reformatted. The short stories will be given whole numbers in this arrangement, so the book order will become:

  1. Wyvern’s Mate
  2. Nero’s Dream
  3. Wyvern’s Prince
  4. Arista’s Legacy
  5. Wyvern’s Warrior
  6. Kraw’s Secret
  7. Wyvern’s Outlaw

Love Potion #9, a paranormal romance and romantic comedy by Claire DelacroixI’m going to commission new covers for my time travel romances, and probably move Love Potion #9 over to the Deborah Cooke side of things. It is a contemporary paranormal romance, after all. I do love the cover image, but it doesn’t communicate the subgenre clearly enough to do its job well – if you love this cover and want a print copy, grab it soon!

There are dozens of other tweaks and changes to be made. I attending workshops with tips on productivity and on strategies for publishing. I learned about conferences that I haven’t attended before and revisited the idea of attending some others again. I’ll let you know when any of these items impact what you see on your end of the publishing biz.

The second exciting result of going to conference is meeting new authors. I always meet some authors I haven’t met before and learn a bit about them during the conference, then come home with a huge shopping list so I can become acquainted with their books. No matter how avidly I read, there are always new voices and new fictional worlds to be discovered – that I’ve sat with the author in a workshop or had lunch with him or her is icing on the proverbial cake. I’ve already added a dozen books to my reader and am looking forward to digging in. When I find some I particularly love, I’ll share them with you here.

The third and maybe the biggest benefit is creative. Walking the beach is certainly a contributing factor, plus I went offline for the week. I came home from NINC recharged, with my imagination full of new stories. I did a lot of plotting, which surprised me but that’s all good. I also have more ideas to connect my existing stories with each other. I have started to do this (as some of you have seen in A Duke By Any Other Name) but the possibilities multipled for me when I gave them the opportunity.

Whisper Kiss, #5 in the Dragonfire series of paranormal romances by Deborah CookeIn the Midnight Hour, book #3 of the Flatiron Five series of contemporary romances by Deborah CookeFor example, I need a tattoo artist based in New York for the Flatiron Five series and realized that Rox’s tattoo shop, Imagination Ink, which we encountered first in Whisper Kiss, is in NYC. Rox has a partner and friend named Chynna (as well as one named Neo). I decided that Chynna would be perfect. She’ll turn up at F5 in Damon’s book, In the Midnight Hour and become a continuing character in that series. Flatiron Five doesn’t have any paranormal elements, but Chynna isn’t paranormal. Even Rox isn’t paranormal herself—she’s just partners with Niall, a dragon shifter. This kind of cross-pollination between series is particularly fun—I went back and read what I’ve said so far about Chynna and got excited about the possibilities. I remembered writing a scene with Chynna that didn’t make it into the final book and had to hunt it down. I posted it as an out-take right here so you can meet Chynna. (She doesn’t actually appear in Whisper Kiss.)

There are wonderful plans in the works already, and I’ll share them with you as soon as I can!

Since we’re talking about conferences and reader events, tell me whether you attend any reader events. If you don’t go to reader conferences or events, is there a reason why? (Some readers like to save their money for books, which is good, too.) If you do go, where are the events located? Do you attend for workshops or signings or both? What’s your favorite part?

 

Kindle Unlimited and Medieval Romance

Heartbreakers:Three Medieval Romances in one bundle from Claire DelacroixI’ve launched another experiment and wanted to let you all know about it. This summer, I’ve seen a new trend in my sales at various portals. My medieval romances always sold best at Amazon, but over the last few months, the percentages have shifted even more. As a result, I’ve decided to give Kindle Unlimited another try. If the books are mostly selling at Amazon, I might as well take advantage of the exclusivity offers there.

So, I’ve unpublished three series from the other portals and enrolled them in KU. The Rogues of Ravensmuir, The True Love Brides and The Champions of St. Euphemia, as well as the upcoming bundle Heartbreakers, are exclusively at Amazon and mostly enrolled in Kindle Unlimited.

The Crusader's Bride, a medieval romance by Claire DelacroixThere is one straggler—The Crusader’s Bride is in a promotion at Kobo until the end of August, so it will be unpublished from Kobo after that. It won’t be going immediately into KU because it’s going into a special KU bundle. I’ll tell you about that as soon as I can, but it’s an exciting project.

The registration period for Kindle Unlimited is 90 days, so we’ll see how this goes and I’ll reassess in November. In the meantime, if you’re a KU subscriber, here’s your chance to read a lot of my medieval romances!

I’ve also been moving the print distribution on these books from Createspace to KDP. This seems to allow lower pricing, probably because the books are only available to Amazon, and I like getting my trade paperbacks to $9.99 or $10.99US (instead of $14.99 or $16.99US).

Of course, they all remain available in Ingrams editions which are distributed everywhere, so if you don’t shop at Amazon, don’t worry! You can still buy print editions of my books. 🙂

Edited to Add – I’ve added a menu item for Kindle Unlimited so you can easily find links for the books that are enrolled in that program.

For Libraries

My books are available to libraries!

Digital editions of my books are available to libraries through Overdrive and Bibliotheca. This includes my new releases, as well as new editions of many backlist titles. I used to upload directly to Overdrive, but now am using Pronoun (a Macmillan company) to deliver to both of these library portals. Their interface is easier for me, so new releases will appear more quickly on Overdrive than they did before. I also like their version control better.

Print editions of my books are available to libraries through Ingrams. Some of my books are also available in hard cover editions from Ingrams. You can find them on the Collectors’ Editions page here on the site.

My audiobooks are available to libraries through Overdrive and Blackstone Library. Blackstone makes physical cd’s of my audiobooks for libraries, as well as offering digital download licensing.

Quiet in the Office

Notice how quiet it is around here this week? That’s because I’m in the middle of several nitpickity jobs.

I’m weeding and mulching my garden – when it’s not raining.

The Princess, book #1 of the Bride Quest series of medieval romances by Claire DelacroixAnd I’m preparing the book files for the republication of the Bride Quest. This is the first time I’ve worked with scanned book files and it’s been an interesting process. I had the books scanned, which means that a single copy of each book was torn apart and put through an OCR scanner to generate a Word document (and a PDF, too, but I’m not using that.) The thing is that the scanner tries to recognize characters, but it’s not smart at all. It doesn’t look at context or grammar or anything beyond trying to identify each character. As a result, you end up with a file that’s mostly right but has some characteristic quirks.

I’m developing a system. 🙂 The scanner interprets the end of each printed book page as a section break in Word, and those section breaks have to be taken out. Page breaks at the end of each chapter have to be added in. Scene breaks are odd little interpretations of the dingbat used by the publisher, and can vary each time. The same is true of the drop caps at the beginning of each chapter. All of that gets addressed in my first pass through the book.

The Countess, book #4 of the Bride Quest series of medieval romances by Claire DelacroixThen there are the misinterpretations. For example, the scanner might perceive rn as m. Fortunately, Word has a seach and replace utility, and I have a growing list of words that get mucked up. Burn might appear as Bum; ruin might appear as min; corner as comer. It might decide that I is 1, that an m is a w (we instead of me) or present a double quote (“) as two single quotes separated by a space (‘ ‘). We won’t even talk about what happens with italics. Each time I think I’ve found everything, I find something else to add to the list. Spellcheck has helped to find some things, Grammarly has helped with others, and I’m sure the proofreader will find some more.

I think it’s saving time over retyping the books completely but at the end of each day, I do wonder.

Two down, four to go.

What are you doing this week?

ACX for Canadian Authors

Today’s the day so many Canadian indie authors have been waiting for! ACX is now open to authors in US, UK, Canada and Ireland. 🙂

ACX (Audiobook Creation Exchange) is a portal that helps indie authors create audiobooks of their work and distribute them. There are many many (many!) voice samples there from narrators all over the world, and you can request auditions – that’s when narrators read a sample of your book, so you can hear their interpretation of it. You can contract for the audiobook through ACX and once the book is done, distribute it to Amazon, Audible and iBooks.

ACX has a blog post today about this new opportunity for Canadian and Irish indies: you can find it right here.

The Bride Quest

As I told you recently in Exciting News, the rights to my original Bride Quest trilogy have reverted to me. The trilogy includes The Princess, The Damsel and The Heiress. This means that I’m in the midst of creating new editions of these books for publication, which means that they need new covers.

The Princess, book #1 of the Bride Quest trilogy of medieval romances by Claire Delacroix  The Damsel, book #2 of the Bride Quest trilogy of medieval romances by Claire Delacroix  The Heiress, book #3 of the Bride Quest trilogy of Scottish medieval romances by Claire Delacroix

I decided this was an excellent opportunity to update the covers of the second Bride Quest as well—The Countess, The Beauty and The Temptress—so that the whole series has similar graphical branding.

The Countess, book #1 in the Bride Quest II trilogy of Scottish medieval romances, by Claire Delacroix  The Beauty, book #2 of the Bride Quest II trilogy of Scottish medieval romances and a NYT bestselling title, by Claire Delacroix  The Temptress, book #3 of the Bride Quest II trilogy of Scottish medieval romances, by Claire Delacroix

As of today, the house has removed their digital editions from sale, so it’s time to move forward!

My plan is to relaunch the first Bride Quest in August. I’m in the midst of removing the digital editions of the second Bride Quest trilogy from sale, so that I can relaunch the whole series with shiny new covers and updated interiors.

The new covers will be revealed in my May newsletter.

So, if you’re looking for these titles, don’t think your eyes are deceiving you. They’ll be back!

 

Dragons of Incendium at GooglePlay

Wyvern's Mate, book #1 in the Dragons of Incendium series of paranormal romances by Deborah Cooke I’m making steady progress on getting my books listed for sale on GooglePlay again. (Yay!) As of this past weekend, all six Dragons of Incendium books are available there.

We’re working on getting the series information right for all of my various series and book product pages, as well as getting all of the books onto my profile page, but we’re getting there.

You can find Wyvern’s Mate on GooglePlay right here.

My author page—which includes both Claire Delacroix and Deborah Cooke books (but not all of them just yet)—is right here.

I’ve been uploading to GooglePlay using Pronoun, and working by series. Right now, the following series have been uploaded and published:

Simply Irresistible, a contemporary romance by Deborah Cooke and first in the Flatiron Five series.The Jewels of Kinfairlie—here’s The Beauty Bride on GP.

The True Love Brides—here’s The Renegade’s Heart on GP.

The Champions of St. Euphemia—here’s The Crusader’s Bride on GP.

The Coxwells–here’s Third Time Lucky on GP.

The Prometheus Project —here’s Fallen on GP.

And some onesies 🙂 including Simply Irresistible, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and Highland Heroes.

The GP links have been updated on my websites, and when I catch my breath, I’ll add some more books.

Pre-orders, Placeholders and Final Book Files

I’ve decided to make some changes in how I work, which will be mostly invisible to you. The one thing you’re going to notice is a little gap in new books being released. What’s happening is that I’m switching the order around.

Here’s why.

To date, I’ve listed books for pre-order (and shown you the covers) when they were still being finished. The idea is that when you finish book #1, you might like to order book #2, so I’ve made those links available for you. Even though I leave what seems to be enough time, plus a buffer, schedules have been getting tighter and tighter over the past year. The reason for this is pretty simple. The vendors I use are very good, which means they’re getting busier. They have more clients and tighter schedules. Everything works as long as everyone keeps to deadline—not just me, but ALL of each vendor’s clients. If someone gets sick, or there’s an unexpected development in their personal life, the domino effect kicks in. When vendors are less busy, they can move things around, but I’ve noticed in this past year that it’s become much harder for everyone to be flexible.

In a way, indie publishing is becoming like traditional publishing: when one deadline is missed in the production schedule, the domino effect might mean that the book’s publication date has to be moved. Each step in the production process is scheduled for a certain date, and the book can’t just move a week down the schedule because there’s another book scheduled for that time.

The Crusader's Vow by Claire Delacroix, book #4 in the Champions of Saint Euphemia series of medieval romances.Another thing that’s been happening this year is that portals have been delivering the wrong file to readers. How can this be? At some portals, a pre-order can only be made available with a book file. Of course, if the book isn’t done, the correct book file isn’t available. The best solution is at iBooks, which doesn’t require a placeholder file at all. There’s no chance of confusion there. (This is called an asset-less pre-order.) At other portals, it’s common to use a placeholder file—for example, the placeholder file for The Crusader’s Vow at Kobo is a single page, which says that if you receive this file instead of the book, you should contact Kobo customer service. I like this solution, as there’s no chance of confusion, but it doesn’t work elsewhere. At Amazon, for example, the page count displayed on the product page is derived from the book file—if I upload a single page like the one at Kobo, the book will be listed as having one page and I will receive many emails complaining that a single page book shouldn’t be priced so high. (I know, because I’ve done this before!) The book will also automatically appear in a lot of quick read categories based on the size of that file, which would be wrong. So, the placeholder file for The Crusader’s Vow at Amazon is the final file of The Crusader’s Kiss. I had expected the two books to be about the same length (but actually Vow is longer). The benefit of this strategy is that it will be immediately obvious to a reader if the wrong file is delivered to them. Since B&N requires a book file and has been delivering the wrong file a lot this year, there has been no pre-order or placeholder file for The Crusader’s Vow there. The book will be listed for pre-order only when the final file can be uploaded.

There’s a deadline, of course, for providing the final file at each portal. Once the final file is uploaded (and uploaded on time) the portal should deliver it to the customer on the on-sale date. What’s been happening this year is that the placeholder file is being delivered instead. As you can imagine, this creates a huge mess. (If this happens to you, btw, please contact customer service at the portal in question. Please do not leave one-star reviews for the book or send hate mail to the author. Neither of these actions will get you the right book file. Of course, it’s frustrating, but only the portal can deliver the book you’ve paid them to receive.)

I’ve been thinking for a while that the best strategy is to only ever upload one book file.

Something Wicked This Way Comes, a Regency romance novella by Claire Delacroix and #1 of the Brides of North BarrowsTo give it a try, this year I set up a pre-order for a book that was already done. Something Wicked This Way Comes was written last summer and published in the Spellbound anthology last fall. I have the right to publish it on its own in March, so in December, I put it up for pre-order. I had the final book file, commissioned a cover, had it formatted and put it up for pre-order with the final book file. This has been a wonderful experience. Not only does the book have a nice volume of pre-orders because it’s been available longer as a pre-order, but its publication has been completely stress-free. I’ve even forgotten about it a couple of times, then remembered that I should make some memes. I want all of my book publications to be this easy!

Addicted to Love, a contemporary romance by Deborah CookeSo, my strategy going forward is going to be listing the book for sale only after it’s done, when the final file can be uploaded.

There’s one last asset-less pre-order out there—it’s for Kyle’s book, Addicted to Love, and is only at Kobo and iBooks. I’m going to write that book next and get it all loaded up early. When you see the Amazon pre-order, you’ll know Kyle’s book is done!

It will look to you as if I’m not writing much for a bit, but things will be busy behind the scenes. Once we make the transition, the publication schedule will look as busy as ever and ALL pre-orders will be for completed books.

I’m looking forward to it.