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!

Romancing the Capital & Signed Books

f3a66-rtc2015I’ll be attending the Romancing the Capital Reader Conference in May, and am really looking forward to it. It was a fun conference last year (its first) and the second year promises to be even better. This year, in addition to the games, dinners, panel discussions and spotlights on individual authors, there will be some classes for aspiring writers on the day before the other activities begin. I’ll be teaching, as well as participating in several panel discussions.

The conference is sold out, but there may be some people with changed plans. If you want to attend, visit the RTC Facebook group and/or contact Eve Langlais, who is organizing the event. Her email is on the RTC site right here. At this writing, there are still some places available without meal tickets. (You could attend my Knights vs Dragons session or our panel discussion Dragons are a Girl’s Best Friend.) If you’re interested, contact Eve and she might be able to find a solution for you.

99e8c-bannersIf you’re attending the conference, I’ll look forward to seeing you there! You’ll find me pretty easily. I have a number of events on the schedule, plus I’ll be taking the boys. These banners are six feet tall.

If you’re NOT attending the conference, you can still attend the booksigning, which is open to the public.

Last year, the booksigning was CRAZY! Most authors sold out of books very quickly. So, if there’s a specific title of mine that you’d like to get at the booksigning, I strongly recommend that you pre-order it. There’s a limit to how many books I can bring and I don’t want you to be disappointed. I have a pre-order form for books for the conference right here.

I’ve also added a new option to my online store for pick-up of signed print books, with RTC as one of the possible locations. There are more backlist print titles and editions in the store than on the Google form, but I won’t bring any of these unless they’re ordered in advance. Some quantities are limited, also, like the number of complete sets of Dragonfire in mass market available. As usual, you can choose to pre-pay for your books with Paypal, Mastercard or Visa, or you can pay cash at the event. They’ll be set aside for you, either way.

To Do Lists

Every time I go to a conference, I come home with a To Do list. This has always been the case, but my lists have become longer with conferences in the past year or so. RWA Atlanta was no different – and I still have list items from BEA in May and even Novelists’ Ink last October. I’m halfway wondering if I should stay home for a year, just to catch up on my To Do lists!

The reality isn’t that I’m inefficient. We’re in a strange market in which everything is changing very quickly – and those who are nimble and take advantage of new opportunities quickly see the biggest results. Also, being indie-published means everything is my own responsibility. While I have a team (a beta reader, an editor, a cover designer, a formatter, etc.) everything stops at my desk. This is the challenge of indie-publishing – being completely in charge and fully responsible – which not every writer welcomes. There is something enticing about the idea of having someone else (like the publisher) do all of the nitty gritty while the writer just writes: the problem is that, in my experience, it doesn’t work out that way very much of the time. As I said many times at RWA this year, my publishers over the past 20 years – by offloading jobs to me – have done an excellent job of training me to publish my own books.

So, what’s on my updated list this time? RWA for me was about opportunity and networking. There are a lot of interesting ideas and possibilities out there, so many that I’ll have to pick and choose. (Sadly, my days still have only 24 hours. Boo.) Kim Killion had a fabulous idea for Thorolf’s cover which I’m hoping works out well. It would be a whole new adventure for me, which is exciting. I’ll let you know more about that when/if the details come together.

Overall, though, my plan for the next year is to write, and all the other stuff will have to fit around the perimeter of that. I’m ready to finish up my existing series and dive into a new project (and there are lost of candidates in my office.) There are two more paranormal romances  to finish the Dragonfire series (Thorolf and Sloane) and two more medievals (Malcolm and Elizabeth) to finish The True Love Brides series. I suspect Drake and Ross will get novellas of their own to conclude both series. (In an ideal universe, they will be Christmas 2014 novellas.) I’ll spend the next year researching other story ideas and developing them, maybe even launching something new soon.

These are exciting times. Stay tuned!

Coastal Magic

I spoke to a number of people at the RWA National conference in Atlanta who were interested in the Coastal Magic Readers’ Conference that will be held in Daytona Beach next February. I’m a featured author there, which is very cool – the conf is focused on paranormal romance and urban fantasy romance. Registration opened at the beginning of July, so think about attending. (Winter in Florida. What could be bad about that?) It should be a fun conference and I’m really looking forward to it.

Click through here to find out more.

I hope to see you in Daytona next February!

RWA National

It will be quiet this week on the blog, as I’m off to the Romance Writers of America‘s annual conference. It’s in Atlanta this year, which is a city I’ve never visited before. I’m looking forward to doing a bit of sightseeing, maybe some shopping, and catching up with friends and business acquaintances. I’m hoping to hear lots of juicy gossip and learn a lot about writing and publishing (because there’s always more to know). It’s like that I’ll bring home too many books, sleep too little, then come home both energized and inspired. It’ll be fun.

Ember's Kiss, a Dragonfire paranormal romance by Deborah Cooke

  The Renegade's Heart, first in the True Love Brides series of medieval romances by Claire Delacroix

If you are in or near Atlanta, the booksigning to raise money for literacy is open to the public. I’ll be signing copies of Ember’s Kiss and The Renegade’s Heart there. The “Readers for Life” literacy signing will be on Wednesday July 17, from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at the Marriott Marquis in Atlanta. More info is here.

Double Trouble, book #2 in The Coxwells Series, by Deborah Cooke

The Beauty Bride by Claire Delacroix, first in the bestselling trilogy of medieval romances The Jewels of Kinfairlie.

If you’re attending the conference, I’ll also be participating in the Indie Author Signing, which will be on Thursday July 18, from 3 to 4:15 in the Marquis Ballroom D. I’ll have postcards with QR codes for a free digital copy of Double Trouble and/or a free digital copy of The Beauty Bride from KOBO.

If you’re staying home, then be good this week and stay out of mischief while I’m gone. 🙂 Be sure to pop back here next Monday as there’s something good in the works for next week…

Update!

It’s hot and humid here this week, but the construction frustrations of last winter are paying off – the new air conditioning is truly wonderful. Usually in hot weather, I get nothing done, but this week, I’m zipping along. Yay!

So, I thought I’d update you on the status of various projects.

The Highlander's Curse by NYT Bestselling author Claire Delacroix, #2 in her True Love Brides series of medieval romances.

I’m doing the final final FINAL read through of The Highlander’s Curse. It’ll go to the formatter tonight or tomorrow, so I should have it back Wednesday to upload it to various portals. It’ll go live most quickly at Smashwords and All Romance eBooks (in EPUB and MOBI at both portals) but should be available from Amazon on Thursday. (Fingers crossed.) B&N and KOBO should post it Thursday or Friday, and I hear Apple is taking about a week to process and post new book files – count on seeing it in the iTunes store by the end of next week.

My monthly newsletter will go out Thursday or Friday, depending when the Amazon link is live.

Kiss of Destiny, #3 of the Dragon Legion novellas in the Dragonfire series of paranormal romances, by Deborah Cooke

Next, I’ll write the last couple of scenes in Thad and Aura’s story, Kiss of Destiny. That’s #3 in the Dragon Legion novellas, which together are Dragonfire #9. I’ll send it off to my editor by the end of this week, and she’ll do her thing while I’m at RWA National in Atlanta next week. I’ll publish the digital novella when I return (i.e. two weeks from now), and it’ll appear on the various portals with the same kind of speed as mentioned for THC above.

The Dragon Legion Collection by Deborah Cooke

Once Kiss of Destiny is done, I’ll format the Dragon Legion Collection and publish it, initially in the trade paperback print edition. It’ll be available from Createspace and Amazon early in August (maybe very early in August) then will perk out to be listed on other portals. The timing on that distribution is hard to predict.

Abyss, an urban fantasy romance by Claire Delacroix

In August, I’ll be heading back to the Republic. I’ll be finalizing files for Fallen, Guardian and Rebel, plus doing edits for Abyss. The goal is to publish the books in order, with Abyss going on sale at the end of October.

Phew! After that, it’s Thorolf’s turn and I’ll dig in to his story. After Thorolf comes Malcolm, then Sloane, then Elizabeth.

That’s where we’re at. Now you know – and now I’m getting back to work. Stay cool, everyone!

Changing Relationships

As the world of publishing changes and mutates, we all need to reconsider our industry relationships. This isn’t a bad thing by any means – it’s simply a sign that more things are possible.

One of the big changes that writers constantly remark upon, for example, is how freely indie-published authors exchange and share information. With indie-publishing, authors can work together more readily, rather than perceiving each other as competition. This is a big change from traditional publishing, in which every publishing house has a certain number of publication slots each month. Authors who are prolific often feel that they are competing against other authors with the house for those slots, as well as for release months which are perceived to be better for sales. Publishers assign their budgets for individual books on the basis of sales, so an author who sells at a higher level will get better covers, better sales support, better promotion, better publication months and probably more publication months.

In addition, some houses actively encourage this sense of writers competing with each other. For example, I wrote for one house which arranged a dinner for all authors attending RWA’s National Conference each year. This was a lovely event and might have been more enjoyable if seating arrangements hadn’t been made on the basis of sales – those authors who sold best sat near the most senior editor in attendance, and those who were new to the house or had languishing sales were assigned seats way down at the other end of the table with the editorial assistant and the intern from publicity. The hierachy of sales was inescapable at these kinds of events – and no matter how well you sell, there is always someone selling better. At a subsequent conference, this publisher actually arranged separate dinners: one for the superstars with all the senior people from the house, and one for the remaining authors, with the assistants and interns. (I halfway think that publishers might encourage this sense of being in competition to keep authors from chatting too much and comparing too many details about the house’s support of their books. The other half of me thinks this is paranoid.) This house was particularly emphatic about ensuring every author knew his or her place in the sales hierarchy. They’re not all that way. I’ve also written for houses that had the tables set up for 6 or 8 people, and the senior representatives from the publisher changed tables with each course, ensuring that they each talked to every author. Those were much more pleasant meals!

Because the house’s support of an individual title affects how that book is presented to the world, and because sales of books from traditional publishing houses are so focused on the first two weeks that the book is available, there is a justifiable sense that budget is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Books tend to sell as well as the house expects them to sell, which means that if they think your books don’t sell well and budget accordingly, it’s very hard to push your books out into the world and have them succeed in defiance of these expectations. As a result, it’s quite easy for authors who feel unsupported by the house to resent those who get more support from the house.

In contrast, in the indie publishing world, there is no maximum number of books being released each month. There is no hierarchy of slots. While some authors do get a promotional push from one portal or another, most are on their own. The indie-published author buys her own cover, pays for her own formatting, pays for her own promotion, etc. etc. There’s a welcome sense that there are enough consumers of digital books for all of us, and that we can cooperate instead of compete. Any book can go viral and sell like crazy. If a book doesn’t sell well, the author can change things up, maybe modify the cover or the copy, maybe do a promotion. That shift in both power and possibility totally changes the tone of conversations between writers.

I like this change a lot.

This change has even more interesting implications than just sharing information. It means that authors can market their works together much more effectively – and that they may be more inclined to do so. It means that authors can share information about what cover artists or promotions or portals work best for them, and maybe speculate on why. We might share information and experiences about other industry players – some publishers, for example, encourage writers to publish some work for the house and some on their own. Other publishers want complete control of the author’s brand. Some agents provide a la carte agency services, contracting to negotiate specific and individual deals. Others don’t. It means that authors can build support networks with other authors, and even create works together – like linked anthologies. As the world changes, the kind of data we can share, and its usefulness, is multiplying at an astonishing rate.

As a direct result of these very exciting changes, a group of writers and I have decided to organize a local networking event for authors and other publishing people. It will be pretty small this April, but we’re hoping it will be a success, and that we can repeat it semi-annually. We’ve tried to organize it so it will be a minimum of work for each of us. We won’t make any money – that’s not the point – but we won’t be out of pocket either. I think the exchange of information will be invaluable and am very excited about our experiment. I’m also curious to see whether other authors run with the idea and start similar networking events in their own areas.

We’re booked for April 20. I’ll let you all know how it goes!

RWA National Conference

Yesterday, the virtual doors were flung open for registration for Romance Writers of America’s annual conference. This year, the RWA National conf will be in Atlanta, from July 17 to 20.

I’ve booked everything to go, so will be there!

There’s a booksigning at the conference to raise money for literacy programs, and that signing is open to the public. It will be on Wednesday July 17, beginning at 5:30 PM at the Marriott Marquis in Atlanta. More info about the signing is right here – I see that they’ll add a list of participating authors in May.

I hope to see some of you in Atlanta, either at the conference or the booksigning!