Building a World Guide

This past week, I’ve been talking in my reader group on Facebook about keeping track of fictional worlds. Since compiling the world guide for Dragonfire – which was a seemingly endless job – I knew I needed a better system. I’ve been using a new tool this past year, mostly for DragonFate, and am pleased with it. Since people were interested, I thought I’d share that here, as well.

I’ve tried a lot of methods for keeping track of my worldbuilding and character lists. The tried and true is a stack of index cards. Each character gets a card with his or her pertinent details. Locations that recur get a card, again with any mentioned details. I still use index cards for Flatiron Five Fitness and Flatiron Five Tattoo. I use a highlighter to mark the side of each card with that character or place’s first appearance in the series. (The index cards are lined. On the right edge, I colour between the first and second line for anything in book one. Between the second and third line means that element or character is introduced in book two, etc.) This means I can easily grab all pertinent cards, and also helps me find the first written description of any given element in the book manuscript.

This works well for contemporary romances but I find that paranormal romances have too many elements. This index card system gets overwhelmed quickly and doesn’t offer me enough ways to search for details.

I’ve tried other systems like Scrivener but have settled on this one, called Plottr, for the moment. I don’t want to create in the software, as I’m perfectly happy to use Word for that — actually, I’d be happy with a typewriter or writing longhand. I prefer as little interference from tech as possible when I’m writing.

Plottr is intended for plotting a new work, but I don’t plot in such detail in advance. I use it as a worldguide. I compile the timeline for each book after it’s written. This is kind of backwards, but it works for me. Let’s have a look.

Here’s the series page from Plottr for DragonFate. I need to update the covers since the second two now have gold type instead of grey, but here you can see the series at a glance. Each book has its own detail page but I like being able to see the series. (And yes, there are more books below this, but you can’t see them yet!)

The DragonFate Novels tracked in Plottr by Deborah Cooke

Here’s the plotting page for Dragon’s Mate.

Dragon's Mate by Deborah Cooke, timeline in Plottr compiled by Deborah Cooke

The timeline is a grid, almost like a spreadsheet. You can add as many columns to the right as you want and as many rows at the bottom as you like. The default is for each column to be a chapter, and the scenes to cascade below that, presumably in order. I have more than one plotline in the series, and want to track them in order of events. I also don’t plot by chapter. There are a number of templates included in the software for plotting, but for me this is more about tracking the series once each book is written than plotting in advance.

The timeline is more important to me, so I put it in the top line. The chapter line is a reference to the book manuscript, in case I want to double check any detail. The green line is the main plot: in this case, Hadrian and Rania’s firestorm and romance. There are two longer slow-burn story arcs in this series, and they’re tracked below: Sebastian and Sylvia, then Theo and Mel. There are a lot of magickal elements and items in this series and I track them on the next line. Finally, I track mentions of the rest of the Pyr. (Ignore that box with the dotted outline on the last line: it thought I wanted to add an item when I was taking the screen shot.)

Each box is a scene, and I list them in order from left to right. I end up with 70 columns or so for each book, but I can find anything later and quickly.

If I click on one of those scenes, like the very first Fae Attack, that opens a detail card:

Opening scene of Dragon's Mate by Deborah Cooke in Plottr

Here I can add a more detailed description of events, plus I can choose the characters in the scene from my character list, and choose the location from my list of places. This means that later, I can filter the timeline by character or location. This is hugely useful when cross-checking what secondary characters have witnessed or heard. (I don’t use the tags as yet.)

Of course, I can look at characters or places and get a similar card for details. Here’s the card for Arach.

Arach Knights, one of the Pyr in DragonFate by Deborah Cooke, tracked in Plottr

The character list is sorted into groups – this is the list of main characters, but there are secondary and other characters. I’ve added a field for “kind” so I can keep track of my shifters. On the Character page, I can filter by kind or by specific words, which helps me track (for example) the selkies that I’ve specifically named already in the series. I put unnamed characters here as well – “Nameless Wolf Shifter” – and they often get names later.

I like the sort and filter functions. If I forget the names of Rania’s twelve brothers, for example, I can just sort by name and scroll down to “Rania’s brother”.

Rania's brothers in Dragon's Mate by Deborah Cooke, documented in Plottr

There are other options to display your plot as well. I use the timeline, but here’s the outline that can be compiled from the timeline.

Dragon's Mate by Deborah Cooke outlined in Plottr.

The colored boxes indicate which storyline the scene is from.

You can see on the menu bar that there’s a display for Places, which is similar to the one for Characters that I showed you above with Arach’s listing.

Bones from the DragonFate novels by Deborah Cooke, documented in the places list in Plottr

In my version of the software (which is older) the book list isn’t automatically populated for each location. It seems this feature could be easily added and it may have been since I updated my version.

When I set up a new book in Plottr, the next one in the series, I copy the plotlines – they’re the same for each book. In the first column, I list the outstanding items or status of each and also the goal for that line in the next book. So for the next book on the Magick line, I’ve noted that the gem of the hoard is destroyed and that Maeve is a lizard, Fae is no longer a separate realm, the Fae weapons that slice between realms are destroyed, and the Regalian magick is gone. One question is how earth magick has reasserted itself. Another is what happened to Bryant. A third is what happened to the earth magick charms mentioned in Dragon’s Heart that were given to species of Others. And on and on. This will be modified when the book is done and I create the final timeline for it, but gives me a snapshot of what I need to address (or can consider) in the next book.

One of the great things is that as I move deeper into the series I can easily locate all previous mentions of the two longer arc stories. I’m compiling a timeline for Sylvia and Sebastian, for example, which includes all mentions of their interactions so far – and the gaps – with dates and locations. That will make it easier for me to see where I can fill gaps and list questions that are outstanding. I’ll do the same for Mel and Theo, as well.

Plottr also has an export function to Word which I haven’t tried yet. That would make it simpler to compile an actual world guide when that time comes.

I’m sure that I’m only using a small percentage of this software’s capabilities, but it’s working well for me. I find that many applications are almost overwhelming and tend to focus on what I need to get done instead of exploring all the options. Because it is essentially a spreadsheet, this one makes the most sense to me. (I always want to lose myself in the story, not in the tool.)

There’s a peek behind the scenes for this week! I hope you found it interesting, or, if you’re a writer yourself, that it gave you food for thought.

An Upside Down Month

Things have been a little quiet around here lately, so this morning, I thought I’d explain why.

Four weeks ago, my laptop booted up, then the screen went black. That woke me up faster than a strong cup of coffee! I had everything backed up (twice) and I did manage to coax it back to life intermittently, but its untimely demise forced some changes on my daily routine.

Fortunately, there’s nothing wrong with my last laptop that a battery recharge wouldn’t fix – I’d upgraded because I wanted a lighter laptop for traveling. So, I loaded the old one up with the files for everything that’s happened in the past seven years. Its modem was never configured, because that used to be my trick to staying offline and getting more writing done. Now, it would need a lot of software updates to go online, and I’m not sure its OS would support them all. I really don’t have time to sort it out. Instead, it’s acting like a glorified typewriter, and I’m using Mr. Math’s computer when I need to go online.

Just One Silver Fox, book six in the Flatiron Five Fitness series of contemporary romances by Deborah Cooke

We’ve both discovered that I go online a lot more than suspected!

As a result, I’m behind on social media stuff, and have been quiet. I do my publishing and research work in those moments online when I get the chance. The upside is that I’ve been writing a lot, which is a good thing – and I’m loving Jacquie and Pierce’s book. Sonia has a cameo in Just One Silver Fox that has convinced me that her book will be next. (More about that in March.)

I’ve also published some new translations this month—The Crusader’s Bride was published in Spanish at the end of December, then The Crusader’s Heart followed in January. The Rose Red Bride was published in German in January and my first contemporary romance translation, Just One Snowbound Night, was also published in Spanish in January. Some of the books are enrolled in Kindle Unlimited.

Just One Snowbound Night, book one of the Flatiron Five Tattoo series of contemporary romances by Deborah Cooke, Spanish edition

I have two Spanish translations—one Delacroix and one Cooke—and a German one for Delacroix due in February, plus am waiting on two Portuguese translations of Delacroix books. Publishing these editions means getting the cover translated by the designer, formatting the interior, then publishing the book and putting up pre-orders when possible. I’ve also set up new website pages and newsletters for each language, with the help of the respective translators, so I send a newsletter when there’s a new release. And I’ve contracted with some new translation teams for more foreign editions. Phew! It’s a lot of work but exciting too—Mr. Math thinks it’s cool to look at the locations of the various members of my team.

You can see the current translations (and some of the upcoming ones) on each of my websites:


Translations of my contemporary romances

Translations of my paranormal romances

Translations of my historical romances

Stolen Brides, a digital boxed set featuring four full-length medieval romances by Claire Delacroix

Claire has a new boxed set coming out this week, a themed bundle of Beauty-and-the-Beast medieval romances called Stolen Brides. It’ll be 99-cents through February 15 and includes four full-length novels.

I published some of my books on Radish this month, and need to upload more content there.

And I’m participating in three BookFunnel promotions this month, too – these are the ones where readers sign up for an author’s mailing list in exchange for downloading a free book. Here’s one for contemporary romances – there will be a second one in the middle of the month. Here’s a paranormal romance one.

I’m running behind on creating memes and blog posts and getting newsletters prepped, and I haven’t created my monthly features on this blog or the Delacroix blog for trope of the month. At this point, I’ll wait until March to feature another one. I plan to be back on track by the end of the month, after Jacquie and Pierce’s book is all set up for publication in digital and print. Then it’ll be on to Max and Alys, then Sonia and….(?)

I hope your January was a little less challenging than mine!

New Pub Date for Dragon’s Mate

Dragon's Mate, book 4 of the DragonFate series of paranormal romances by Deborah Cooke

I’ve moved the publication date for Hadrian and Rania’s story to November 24. Dragon’s Mate has been challenging to write—these two characters have run off with the story multiple times and made it into their own. I love when this happens because it creates a better book, but I also want to ensure that the book is published as it should be. This extra month will give me time to think about the story and ensure all the ends are tucked into place. I’ll be able to get the print edition published in advance of the ebook, and will be able to give my ARC reviews more than a heartbeat to read the book.

How this will shake down for you varies by portal. Apple and Kobo allow me to change the publication date and I’ve done that already. Nook had some issues this month, but I’ve managed to update the publication date there, as well. There isn’t a pre-order at GooglePlay, so there’s nothing to change or update there. I asked Amazon if they’ll move my pre-order by a month and they agreed so pre-orders there will remain in place.

If you follow me on Amazon, you will likely get a release announcement for Dragon’s Mate next Tuesday, even though the book won’t be published. It appears that the dates on those announcements can’t be changed or updated.

I appreciate your understanding and support on this. 2020 has been quite a year so far and not an easy one for creative endeavors. I hope things settle down soon. In the meantime, I’m thinking about changing my processes for the future. More about that in another blog post, coming soon.

Missing NINC

This week, I should be at the Novelists Inc conference at St. Pete’s Beach in Florida, learning so much about publishing and promoting that my To Do lists have To Do lists. Instead, I’m home, thanks to Covid-19, and missing the conference, with reps from the portals, my writer friends and that beach.

One of the things that’s valuable about attending a conference is that I step away from my day-to-day rhythm and look at the broader picture of my publishing and writing goals, as well as learn about possibilities I’m overlooking (or haven’t explored yet). There are always a lot of those.

The Beauty Bride by Claire Delacroix in audio

Here’s an example of one thing I might reconsider after attending a workshop or having a conversation at NINC – audiobooks. I recorded a dozen audiobooks 2015-2017 (mostly historical romances) and haven’t done any since. So, if I had gone to NINC, finding out more about where the audiobook market stands right now might have been one of my action items. (I always have a list when I go to a conference.) There’s the industry at large, the trends and patterns, then there’s the strategic question of how to manage my content in that niche. Should I record my contemporary romances? Should I record my PNR? What about more historicals? Should I write and record novellas? In what sub-genre? How is the audiobook market changing? What promotional opportunities exist that didn’t before? How can I improve on what I’ve done before with audio and build for the future? I’m doing my research and considering possibilities. It’s a little harder this way than attending a session or having a drink with someone, but it’s a useful exercise. I should have a new audiobook (or two) contracted for production soon and will tell you about it when I do.

This exercise also means re-evaluating my audio distribution, which I changed in 2019. I’m mostly happy with it, but think it needs a tweak or two. For example, KOBO has opened the option of publishing audio directly to their portal: I’m going to take my audiobooks direct to them instead of using an aggregator. That means lots of uploading for me. The KOBO links for my audiobooks will change as a result. The other change I’m considering will be invisible from your end, but you can see how my To Do list is growing, just from this one item.

There are more ways to promote audiobooks than was the case four years ago, as well, and I’ve added regular promotion of my audiobooks to my monthly To Do list. You might want to follow the Delacroix blog if that interests you, because my audio backlist at this point is pretty much all historical romance. I’m sending some emails and exploring some websites and updating my idea of what’s possible to formulate a new plan.

You can see how my To Do list grew, just from that one item. I’d do the same for translations, for print editions and for getting my work into libraries. I’d probably learn more about subscription services and the exploitation of performance rights, as well as see trends in ebooks. I’d attend workshops about sending newsletters and managing social media and a host of successful marketing strategies—as well as running CPC ads. Watch that To Do list grow, even though I’m not at the conf this year.

I like how conferences like NINC compel me to plan for the future and look ahead. I bought my 2021 planner this week and have started to fill it in, both with writing and with promotion. Another thing I’m going to do this week is review the financial reports for my various book sales over the past year and look for patterns. What strategy works best? Does the answer vary by sub-genre? Does it vary by portal? It invariably does, so choosing the best path forward isn’t as easy as it might sound.

Just One Fake Date, book one of the Flatiron Five Fitness series of contemporary romances by Deborah Cooke

Another big responsibility for me is managing my backlist, to ensure that it continues to perform in a changing market. I repackaged three series this year—The Champions of St. Euphemia, Flatiron Five Fitness and Flatiron Five Tattoo. I rewrote the series starter for Flatiron Five Fitness, giving Tyler a new story. How did those efforts influence results? Was it worth doing? (Yes, it was.) If I intended to repackage another series, which one would it be? If I was going to rewrite a book, which one would it be?

One Knight's Desire, book #3 of the Rogues & Angels sereis of medieval romances by Claire Delacroix

Which series do I need to complete next? I already made a move on this one and set up a pre-order for book 3 of my Rogues & Angels series of medieval romances, One Knight’s Desire.

Which new project should I undertake next? How do I take what I’ve learned and apply it to future efforts?

You can see that my list of things to do and explore has grown by leaps and bounds, just by composing this post—and compelling myself to take the time to take a bird’s-eye view, just as I would when attending a conference. It’s not the same. I’m not hearing the news from the portals or hearing from other authors about what’s worked for them, but it’s not all bad as a compromise. I still miss attending NINC, but these items will keep me busy for a while.

New Contemporary Romance Editions in the Works

Simply Irresistible, a contemporary romance by Deborah Cooke and first in the Flatiron Five series.I’m making some changes to the Flatiron Five series and the Secret Heart Ink series, and I thought we’d talk about that today.

If you subscribe to my newsletter, Heroes & Happy Endings, or belong to my Facebook Readers Group, you know about this upcoming change already. (If you don’t subscribe, why not??? 🙂 )

When I started to write Flatiron Five, I had a plan of what the books would be like, based on what I saw as strong trends in the market. By the second book, though, I was telling the kind of stories I like to tell, which was a little bit different from the original plan. I really like Simply Irresistible and Snowbound – okay, mostly I like Tyler and Spencer! – but the fact is that they’re a bit different from the other books in both series. That makes them less effective as series-starters. In terms of good marketing, a series starter should demonstrate what a reader can expect from the rest of the series.

Snowbound, #1 of the Secret Heart Ink series of contemporary romances by Deborah CookeIn addition, the two series don’t look similar in their branding. I like the covers, but they’re not doing their job as well as they should. At a glance, readers may not realize the stories are set in the same world.

I had been mulling over all of this since finishing Bad Case of Loving You and Under the Mistletoe last year, then I went to a conference that offered a lot of amazing workshops on marketing. Wow! I learned so much – and developed a new plan. I need to do a better job of marketing these books, so there are changes ahead.

First of all, I’m changing the covers on both series, both to look more like other contemporary romances and romantic comedies and to look more like each other. I’m working with a new-to-me cover artist with fabulous credentials in this niche and I’m thrilled with our progress so far. (I love even her first draft!) I’ll be revealing those covers first in my newsletter and Facebook group, hopefully later this month. They’ll appear here on the site on April 15.

Secondly, I’m making some changes to the books. Some are small – like fixing the continuity error of Sonia/Sonya/Sonja’s name being spelled differently over the course of the series ARGH! – some are medium – like changing the titles – but one is bigger.

The big change is that Tyler is getting a new story, with a new heroine. He’s still the same finance guy who needs to be nudged out of his comfort zone, but Shannyn is a lot more forthright than Amy was. She’s sure Tyler doesn’t remember her from college, and really hopes he’s forgotten her telling him off at a party. But Ty remembers Shannyn very well – and he’s intrigued by the changes in her. She’s not his type and he knows he’s not hers, so she might be perfect for a fake date to his sister’s wedding. Ty suggests a deal and Shannyn surprises him with her terms. Ty takes it as a personal challenge to surprise her in return – and that’s only the beginning of these two shattering each others’ assumptions….

I’m having so much fun with this new book and I think you’ll love it!

Under the Mistletoe, a contemporary Christmas romance and #4 in the Secret Heart Ink series by Deborah CookeThis change will have a ripple effect and create some smaller continuity changes through the other books. For example, one of the things that I wanted to address was that Amy doesn’t have much of a role in the later books. There’s not much for her to do at F5, since she’s a writer. Shannyn, though, is a photographer and the whole idea of the billboards for the club is now her idea. She’ll be more actively engaged in the promotion plans for the club, which I like. She also has tattoos, so we’ll get to meet Chynna sooner. There are a lot of small tweaks like this that will add to the cohesion of the books in the series.

I’ll also make some revisions to Snowbound, to make it more similar to the other books in that series. (I’m still deciding whether I’ll lengthen the books in the Secret Heart Ink series to make them more similar to Flatiron Five. I need to finish Ty’s new story before I can think about that.) Those new editions will probably be available this summer.

And this will all set things up well for me to write a new series set in the same world as Flatiron Five. Yay! That will mean that some of the existing characters will make cameo appearances in the new books and is part of the reason I’m working on the Character List here on the site. I’ll tell you more about that new series later this year, once all these changes are published.

Addicted to Love, a contemporary romance by Deborah CookeIf you’ve bought the books, you’re probably wondering how the mechanics of all this will work. Don’t worry! It’s pretty simple. Simply Irresistible will be unpublished and become unavailable. The new series starter will be published and will be a free download. If this doesn’t happen immediately at the portals, subscribers to my newsletter will be able to download a free copy from BookFunnel.

The new versions of the other books, with their new covers, new titles, and slight content changes, will be published under the same ISBN#’s and ASIN#’s, since the changes are minor. This means you’ll be able to download an update free of any of the books you’ve bought. It also means the buy links to the portals will remain the same. I’ll add a note to the metadata of the revised books of their previous titles, so their history will be clear on the portals and at Goodreads.

But if you want any of these books in their current print editions, you should buy them now, as those editions will soon be going away.

Phew! That’s my big news! To be the first to see the new covers, and to have a chance to download Tyler’s new book free, please be sure to sign up for my newsletter, Heroes & Happy Endings!

Welcome to 2020!

It’s a brand new year! What will you do in 2020? What will you change? What will you accomplish?

I’m not much for New Year’s resolutions but I’ll take any opportunity to review and revise. The start of a new year is a good time to do that. First, let’s take a look at things I learned in 2019.

Bad Case of Loving You, book #6 in the Flatiron Five series of contemporary romances by Deborah CookeAccomplished in 2019
• I published four new books last year: Bad Case of Loving You, Under the Mistletoe, Maeve’s Book of Beasts and Dragon’s Kiss.

• I also published revisions of three titles: One Knight’s Return, Unicorn Bride and Pearl Beyond Price.

• I published four new Dragonfire boxed sets: Dragonfire Quest, Dragonfire Elixir, Dragonfire Reunion and Dragonfire Triumph.

Under the Mistletoe, a contemporary Christmas romance and #4 in the Secret Heart Ink series by Deborah Cooke• I started to initiate translations of my historical romances and published my first two Italian translations. (You can find Claire’s translations here.)

• I attended two conferences, a reader conference (Romancing the Capital) and a writers’ conference (Romance Mastermind). I taught a workshop at RTC.

Lessons from 2019:
Unicorn Bride, a medieval romance by Claire Delacroix, 2019 new edition• A year ago, I was wondering where my days were going. It seemed that I didn’t have much time to write, even though I planned to do so every morning and spent all day at my desk. So, I started a spreadsheet, documenting exactly what I did every day and how long it took. The answer became clear very quickly: I knew that being my own publisher took time, but those publishing jobs were taking a lot more time than I’d realized. Part of this was because I’ve republished a lot of older books in the last couple of years. I’ve been streamlining my publishing processes, experimenting with timing – either a publishing day per week or a few publishing afternoons in a row seems to work well.

Dragonfire Quest, volume one of the Complete Dragonfire Novels digital bundles including Kiss of Fire, Kiss of Fury and Kiss of Fate from the Dragonfire novels series of paranormal romances by Deborah Cooke• I experimented again with KDP Select and was underwhelmed again by results. Switching between wide distribution and exclusive-to-Amazon distribution is a lot of work, so I’m sticking with wide distribution for the foreseeable future. I may write some projects specifically for KDP Select, but we’ll see.

• Recognizing that my focus had shifted from writing to publishing, I started a creativity journal last winter. I bought a planner and a lot of stickers, then tracked and celebrated how much I wrote each day. Having it open on my desk helped me to write first, then turn to the other jobs after the writing was done. I really like the stickers, which is silly but it’s effective. I wrote 700K words last year, which is really a lot for me. I’ve already set up my new journal for 2020. (And it has stickers in it already!)

One Knight's Return, book #2 of the Sayerne series of medieval romances by Claire Delacroix• Those are pretty big take-aways from 2019, but there was another big one. A year ago, I thought I could republish some older Claire Delacroix titles easily. I knew I had a full schedule with launching DragonFate, plus finishing up Flatiron Five and Secret Heart Ink, and didn’t want Claire’s readers to be neglected. I chose three books that had been published by Harlequin, blocked in a week to proofread the scanned book files, and scheduled them for publication. That plan had worked well for the Bride Quest and Dragonfire. It didn’t work for these books. They needed revisions to the point that it would have been easier to just write new books. Those revisions added a ton of stress to my year, because I miscalculated and hadn’t left enough time for them. There isn’t a lot of upside to doing these revisions either – while it’s nice to have the books available again, they aren’t the stories I’d write now and they don’t have a huge following. My time really would be better spent writing new books. At this point, four of Claire’s eleven Harlequin Historicals have been revised and republished in new editions, and there won’t be more in the foreseeable future.

Pearl Beyond Price, book two of the Unicorn Trilogy of medieval romances by Claire Delacroix• Another milestone from 2019 was initiating translations of my books. My Italian translator and I are making good progress on the Jewels of KinfairlieThe Beauty Bride is available and The Rose Red Bride is publishing, while she is translating The Snow White Bride. I’m waiting on the Portuguese (Brazil) translation of The Beauty Bride and will have the German translation this winter. It’s been a very interesting process, with lots to learn, and many new connections to make.

The Year Ahead
Dragon's Kiss, book two of the DragonFate novels, a series of paranormal romances by Deborah CookeFor the past year or so, I’ve been aware that I’m coming to the end of existing series for each of my author brands. Last year, I launched DragonFate for my Cooke paranormals, and I’m really pleased with Dragon’s Kiss. I’m having fun with that series and looking forward to its continuation. I’m in a similar place with my contemporary romances – Secret Heart Ink is done and after Some Like it Hot, Flatiron Five will be done. (Maybe. I’m not sure where Nate’s story fits yet. It might be a novella at the end of the series.) And Claire needs a new series, too. So, I’ve been planning and dreaming. The hardest part is always deciding between competing ideas.

Here Be Dragons: The Dragonfire Companion by Deborah CookeRight now, these titles are scheduled for publication in 2020:
Here Be Dragons: The Dragonfire Companion – January
Flatiron Five: The First Collection – January
Some Like it Hot – February
All’s Fair in Love and War – March
Dragon’s Heart – May
Dragon’s Mate – October

That’s about 300K of new words right there.

Some Like It Hot, book #7 in the Flatiron Five series of contemporary romances by Deborah CookeI really want to get ahead of the publishing cycle this year, and get back to having books done and uploaded at least a month or two before their publication dates. I also want to publish linked books more closely together. That means the calendar is going to look empty for a bit as I write and work to get ahead of the curve. (You can see that gap in the schedule above.) The plan is that by the time you see the cover reveal and the pre-order, the book will be complete.

I’ll be filling some of those inevitable gaps with boxed sets. The new Flatiron Five bundle Flatiron Five: The First Collection comes out this month, at a special price. Claire has a new boxed set, All’s Fair in Love and War, coming in March and there will be other trope-based bundles. I’m hoping to write and publish some shorter works, too, to keep you reading while I write away.

Dragon's Heart, book three of the DragonFate Novels, a series of paranormal romances by Deborah CookeI’m also revising my schedule to keep my focus squarely on writing. I’m not teaching anymore or making treks to writing group meetings. I attended two conferences last year and while they were great, this year, I’m staying home to write.

This year, it’s all about the words—and the self-care. A year and a half ago, I started walking 4 km every day and that’s become a habit. I really miss it if I skip a day. I’ve added yoga at least three times a week, too. I’m still not very good at it, but it does make me feel better. 🙂 I’ve cut back on social media commitments, too.

Of course, there’s still knitting and crafting. I’ll show you a new sweater tomorrow on Fiber Friday.

I hope you have exciting plans for 2020. Let’s make it a great year!

More Paperback Editions

Bad Case of Loving You, book #6 in the Flatiron Five series of contemporary romances by Deborah CookeUntil about two years ago, I was creating two editions of each of my paperbacks. One was published through Createspace (an Amazon company) and made available to Amazon stores. The other was published through Ingrams and made available everywhere else. The two editions were the same, except that there were slight differences in the width of the cover spine, probably because the two print-on-demand outlets use different paper for the interior pages. (At one point, I also created editions at Nook of some books for B&N stores, which also have slightly different spine widths, but don’t see enough sales on those editions to justify paying the designer to tweak the spine, so I’ve stopped doing them.)

About two years ago, Amazon began merging Createspace (the POD publishing platform) into KDP (the ebook publishing platform) which made a lot of sense. Many indie books are available in both POD and ebook, and creating both through the same portal, with the same metadata, and reporting sales for both in the same place was a good plan IMO. Also the Createspace interface was older. The KDP interface was being updated, so the print update was rolled into that. Authors could migrate their titles from Createspace to KDP. There were some (inevitable, in such a big transition) hiccups, but ultimately, Createspace was closed to new content.

Unicorn Bride, a medieval romance by Claire Delacroix, 2019 new editionSince then, I chose to create my print-on-demand editions only at Ingrams, and have them distributed everywhere. Another variable was that I’ve been creating mass market sized paperbacks and during the initial transition, KDP didn’t support this format although Createspace had.

Recently, writer friends have shared that their Ingrams-print edition is showing a delayed delivery on Amazon – of about 60 days. Also, the Ingrams editions aren’t eligible for free shipping through Amazon Prime, which is a big deterrent to Amazon Prime shoppers. So, this week, I added KDP print editions for the books that didn’t have them before, just for the Amazon stores. They’re all going live now, and as they do, the Amazon edition will replace the Ingrams edition on the same link in the Amazon store. (This is because they have the same ISBN.)

So, if you’re an Amazon Prime customer and you’ve been holding off on buying print copies of these titles for your keeper shelf, now’s the time!

Under the Mistletoe, a contemporary Christmas romance and #4 in the Secret Heart Ink series by Deborah CookeBad Case of Loving You

Snowbound

Spring Fever

One Hot Summer Night

Under the Mistletoe

The Mercenary’s Bride

The Runaway Bride

Unicorn Bride

Maeve’s Book of Beasts

 

Hard Cover Editions with Cloth Covers

Ingrams, the supplier I use for printing my books, has announced that they will be discontinuing their clothbound books. From their email: “On October 22, 2019, we will be retiring our blue and grey cloth covers and gold foil spine stamping in favor of a blue and grey digital cloth image with linen textured lamination.”

I really like the clothbound editions so am disappointed by this, although I understand that it must be a more complicated production process.

Right now, I have the Flatiron Five series and the Dragonfire Novels available in these clothbound hardcover editions. Both have blue cloth. The interiors are the same as the trade paperbacks and the books are just a little larger for the case. Here are my Dragonfire editions beside each other on the shelf:

The Dragonfire Novels by Deborah Cooke, in their print editions

If you’d like any of these books in the clothbound hardcover editions, you should order them soon. You can order them from the usual online portals – there are links on the landing pages for the books – or you can order signed copies directly from me.

Here’s a link for ordering the Dragonfire Novels in hardcover from me:

The Dragonfire series of paranormal romances by Deborah Cooke in Kindle Unlimited

Buy Signed Hardcovers of the Dragonfire Novels

Buy directly from Deborah and get signed copies of all eleven Dragonfire Novels in hardcover collector's editions – Kiss of Fire, Kiss of Fury, Kiss of Fate, Winter Kiss, Whisper Kiss, Darkfire Kiss, Flashfire, Ember’s Kiss, The Dragon Legion Collection (which includes Kiss of Danger, Kiss of Darkness and Kiss of Destiny, Serpent’s Kiss and Firestorm Forever – as well as some swag. The price is in US$ and includes $40 US postage from Canada.

$324.99

If you’re interested in Flatiron Five, please add a comment and I’ll email you. 🙂

 

Workshop at RTC

Romancing the Capital 2019This morning, I’m teaching a workshop at RTC (Romancing the Capital) called A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing Options. I have two hours. The workshop clocks out at an hour and twenty minutes. I have over 100 slides! I hope the projector works. I hope I get through the whole talk without getting derailed by questions and we can have questions at the end.

Fingers crossed!

For simplicity’s sake, I created a page here on the site with hotlinks for all the portals and services I’ll mention in the talk. Their logos go past on the slides, but the links are on the RTC Links page under the Author Resources tab.

After the workshop is over, it’ll just be fun. I’m participating in several panel discussions and will be hanging out, talking to readers. There’s a huge booksigning on Saturday afternoon – which is open to the public, if you’re in the area – and I loaded the car up with books. It sounds as if this will be the last RTC, which makes me sad because it’s a terrific reader conference, but I know it will be a particularly awesome one this year.

Wish me luck with my workshop!

TRW’s Northern Hearts Conference

Northern Hearts conference, hosted by Toronto Romance Writers, September 2019I’ll be attending the Northern Hearts conference hosted by Toronto Romance Writers, which will be held at the North York Novotel from September 20 – 21, 2019.

There’s a booksigning on Friday night to launch the conference and I’ll be signing there.

I’ll also be teaching a workshop on Saturday (time TBD) called “Ten Reasons Why Traditionally-Published Authors Stumble When They Go Indie.”

I hope to see you there!