2018 Dragonfire Editions

Firestorm Forever, A Dragonfire Novel and paranormal romance by Deborah CookeI’ve been sick this week, which means that no writing is getting done. Being under the weather is a good time to catch up on other jobs, though, like formatting, and that’s what I’ve been doing. Updated versions of Kiss of Danger, Kiss of Darkness, Kiss of Destiny, The Dragon Legion Collection, Serpent’s Kiss, and Firestorm Forever are now available at all digital portals.

Serpent's Kiss, a paranormal romance and Dragonfire #10 by Deborah CookeThis included updating the series information. The series is now called The Dragonfire Novels, and numbers from 1 – 14, with every story having a whole number (no more decimals).

I also updated the print interiors for The Dragon Legion Collection, Serpent’s Kiss, and Firestorm Forever. Now there are dragons inside!

POD interior of Firestorm Forever by Deborah Cooke

 

A while ago, I found a fun display font with dragons that I wanted to use in my book interiors – now that I use drop caps, I knew that this font would be perfect. Here’s what it looks like on the page:

POD interior of Firestorm Forever by Deborah Cooke

 

Buying this font meant that I got dragon-y dingbats, too, instead of the stars used in the previous edition:

POD interior of the Dragon Legion Collection by Deborah Cooke

What do you think? I’ve very happy with these updates.

There’s more Dragonfire news, too, but I’m waiting on documentation before I can share. 🙂 Stay tuned!

New Paperback Editions

The Renegade's Heart, book #1 of the True Love Brides Series of Scottish medieval romances, by Claire DelacroixOne of the interesting things about indie publishing is that there are lots of experiments an author can try. Some work and some don’t, but having the option (and seeing the possibilities) is pretty exciting. So, this post is about an experiment that didn’t work, but two new options that just might. 🙂

When I originally started indie-publishing my titles, I made print editions available through Createspace, which is an Amazon company. That meant the print issues were listed for sale on the Amazon website. Theoretically, since I’d chosen the Extended Distribution option, they were available for other bookstores to order, but a lot of bookstores don’t like to order anything from Amazon.

The Highlander's Curse, book #2 of the True Love Brides series of medieval Scottish romances by Claire DelacroixSo, a few years ago, I made my print editions available through Ingrams as well as Createspace. This meant some tweaking to the files – the covers need to be adjusted because the interior paper is a different thickness – but was a good thing. Print editions of my books were available to libraries and also at chains other than Amazon. The less-good thing was that the cost of all that extra distribution makes the book prices a bit higher. My books are still all available from Ingrams, because I think wide distribution is a good thing, but I’m always looking for ways to get you a better deal.

The Frost Maiden's Kiss, a medieval romance and third book in the True Love Brides series by Claire DelacroixAbout a year and a half ago, I spoke to a publishing company that had a lot of ideas for improving distribution for print titles. I met with them at a conference to continue our discussion, and ultimately decided to license my two newest Claire Delacroix series to them in print. They took over the print distribution of The True Love Brides series and of The Champions of St. Euphemia series. Two of the Champions titles were only ever published through this company.

Companies change, employees leave and some experiments just don’t work out that well – like this one. This company and I agreed to part ways in December 2016, and control of the print editions of those books has returned to me. They are still distributed through Ingrams, but a very cool thing happened last summer—both Amazon and B&N created portals to publish print books directly through them. The Amazon option is a lot like the older Amazon option (Createspace) but I like that everything is tracked in one place when I publish through KDP. The B&N option means that B&N stores can more easily order stock of books. Both portals allow for better pricing on the books, because the distribution is exclusive to each company and not wide.

Simply Irresistible, a contemporary romance by Deborah Cooke and first in the Flatiron Five series.The first book I pushed through these two new portals was Simply Irresistible, which is also available through Ingrams. The cover designer has to do some modifications for the cover spine, but it’s a pretty easy process. So far this month, I’ve published The True Love Brides series through both of these portals—it means that the retail price is lower for the print titles at both portals. The Ingrams distribution ensures that the titles are available beyond Amazon and B&N.

The Warrior's Prize, a medieval romance by Claire Delacroix and book #4 in the True Love Brides SeriesWe’re trying to work out one glitch at Amazon with The Warrior’s Prize, but I expect that will be resolved shortly. The other three books in the series are available at Amazon in print and all four are listed at B&N—you’ll know which are the new editions because the retail price is $9.99 or $10.99US instead of $14.99 or more.

Next, I’ll be publishing print editions of the  Champions of St. Euphemia series through these two portals.

Since I now have the rights back, I’ll do a Collectors’ Edition of The True Love Brides series later this year, with all of the books in a single hardcover volume. (I don’t think I can do one for The Champions of St. Euphemia – with five books in the series, the page count will exceed the maximum. I’m thinking about that puzzle, though!)

The Mini-Books

Wyvern's Mate, book #1 in the Dragons of Incendium series of paranormal romances by Deborah CookeI’ve had a couple of questions about the print editions of Wyvern’s Mate, so it’s clearly time for a post on them.

The Dragons of Incendium series has a different format than Dragonfire. It’s a different series, set in a different world, so can be based on a different premise—and have a different structure. The main stories in this series are novellas, and each novella is a romance. In between the release of each novella will be a short story. Because there are lots of characters in this world—twelve dragon-shifter princess sisters, to start with, never mind those eleven princes of Regalia—there are a lot of interpersonal relationships to explore. There’s also a fair bit of worldbuilding. So, my idea is that each novella or story will reveal a slice of the world, but that you’ll build an understanding of Incendium over the series, as well as see those interpersonal relationships develop and evolve. I’m hoping that this will be a very long-running series, with a novella published every quarter and a short story in between each novella.

This is the kind of storytelling adventure that is well-suited to digital publication, and I’m glad to have the opportunity to experiment like this. (I’m having a lot of fun writing the stories, too.) The trick is that many of you like print editions, so I had to consider how best to present these stories in print editions.

Many of you like the mass market format, but that is only available through traditional publishers, who have distribution relationships with bricks-and-mortar bookstores. The only option available to me right now is print-on-demand. The cost structure of POD is such that it works best in trade paperback format.  A full length book of 100,000 words, for example, can be formatted into a trade paperback of 300 pages or so. The POD book can be priced at $14.99US which is comparable to a trade paperback edition from a traditional publisher. Although there are smaller trim sizes available in POD, the costs are consistent—even when the size is closer to a mass market paperback (the exact size isn’t an option) the price is very nearly the same as for a trade paperback. I doubt that anyone would pay more than $10 for a mass market book, which is why I and many other indie authors favor the trade paperback size.

BUT Wyvern’s Mate is a novella, which opens an interesting possibility. There is a format available in POD called a mini-book, which has a 4″ by 6.5″ trim size. They are cute little books. One downside is that this size can only be distributed through Amazon and Createspace. On the upside, the pricing works out in a more appealing way, given the length of the story. For example, the mini-book of Wyvern’s Mate (which includes the short story Nero’s Dream) is 188 pages. The spine is a little less than 1/2″ deep. This book is priced at $6.99 US. I really like the look of this format—here’s a picture of the mini-book on top of a copy of Flashfire:

Wyvern's Mate by Deborah Cooke minibook print edition

There’s about 1/8″ difference in size in each dimension.

Here’s another shot, this time of the spines:

Wyvern's Mate by Deborah Cooke minibook edition

The mini-book is thinner. Wyvern’s Mate is a novella, so the work is shorter.

And here’s a shot of the interiors:

Wyvern's Mate by Deborah Cooke minibook interior

It looks as if I chose a font that is a little bit smaller than that used in the Dragonfire novels. The POD edition is printed on cream paper, which improves the readability, and the paper used in POD is also thicker. The show-through from the type on the next page is much less in the POD book than the mass market one.

Now, I know that this format won’t suit everyone, but it provides a way to have each individual story available in print.With mass market unavailable as a format, we must find alternatives.

I will also compile anthologies for the Dragons of Incendium: each group of three novellas, with the intervening short stories, will be bundled together in print and digital editions. The print edition will be POD in trade paperback format, the same size as Serpent’s Kiss. Because of the length of the anthology, the pricing will likely be $19.99US or less for this anthology in print. I’d like it to be closer to $14.99, but we’ll have to wait and see how it works out once the page count is finalized. This trade paperback edition will be available from all online portals. You can expect the anthologies to be available several months after the last book in the series is published, probably concurrent with the first book in the next trilogy of novellas.

The mini-book print edition of Wyvern’s Mate is available now from Amazon and Createspace. The digital edition is available for pre-order at all major online portals and will ship June 14—buy links are on the Dragons of Incendium site, right here.

A Tale of Two PODs

I told you recently about my quest to get print editions of my new indie-published titles listed on the Chapters/Indigo website. Part of the solution was to make those titles available through another print-on-demand portal. I was using Createspace, but now have made the True Love Brides available through LightningSource as well. This is a new edition, with a different ISBN#, but otherwise the books are the same.

The finished books don’t look that different from each other. The Createspace editions are on the left and the LightningSource ones on the right. (The Highlander’s Curse DOES look different but it’s not a fair comparison. My last copy from Createspace has the glossy cover but it’s now matte, and the LightningSource cover is matte. The photograph looks really different because the finish reflects the light differently.)

There are slight variations – The Warrior’s Prize is a little darker on the right book, and The Renegade’s Heart is a little more yellow, but this is within the tolerance of different print runs. They look pretty much the same.The Ture Love Brides series of medieval romances by Claire Delacroix in print editionsThey do feel a bit different, though, and that’s because of the paper. The paper used by LightningSource is thinner, and I like the thicker Createspace paper better. I also like the Createspace cover stock better. Here are the LightningSource editions on the right and the Createspace ones on the left – see how that little bit of difference adds up over 300 pages per book! The Ture Love Brides series of medieval romances by Claire Delacroix in print editionsThere is one other difference that had to happen for the books to be stocked at Chapters/Indigo – they had to have the retail prices printed on the back cover. Here you can see the LightningSource cover on the left and the Createspace one on the right. The Ture Love Brides series of medieval romances by Claire Delacroix in print editions

When you use the cream coloured paper for the interior pages at Createspace, it makes the spine wider because the paper is thicker. I hear through the grapevine that the cream paper through LightningSource is the same thickness as the white paper from Createspace. I’m giving that a try with the three Dragonfire books currently in production at LightningSource and will show you how that comes out. They’ll also have glossy covers, just like those Dragonfire books do from Createspace.

The first three True Love Brides books are already listed for sale at Chapters/Indigo and there have been some orders filled already. I’m curious to see whether any other booksellers make these editions available. Time will tell!

The Crusader’s Bride will be my first title to be published simultaneously at both Createspace and LightningSource. Those books are both in production now.

The Experiment

In the quest to do things better and more efficiently, I’ve done some analysis of the year past to plan for the year ahead. One of the things bugging me has been the sales of my print editions. I’ve made them available to the widest number of portals, but that’s meant that the prices on the trade paperbacks have ended up higher than I’d like. There aren’t that many units selling through extended distribution, particularly of backlist titles. I think this might be because there are still used mass market editions out there available cheaply for many of those titles.

So, the experiment begins. I’ve made all of my backlist titles available exclusively through Amazon. This means that the prices have dropped on those editions, particularly in the US. They’ve also dropped a bit in the UK. The difference is pretty significant: instead of most of these titles having a list price of $14.99US and ÂŁ9.99, they’re now list-priced at $9.99US and ÂŁ7.99. Some of the longer books—like Fallen—are still more than $10, but not as highly priced as before.

This experiment DOES NOT include the new titles that I’ve indie-published, like The Dragon Legion Collection and Serpent’s Kiss, the True Love Brides Series, Abyss and Beguiled.

Firestorm Forever WILL HAVE extended distribution, too.

We’ll see how this shakes out, then I’ll decide what to do with the Champions of St. Euphemia. Stay tuned!

Matte Covers on POD Editions

Sometime last fall, the print on demand supplier I use (Createspace) introduced a new cover finish. Until then, all covers had been glossy, but they began to offer a choice of finish: matte or glossy.

Beguiled was the first book for which I used the matte finish, and it really is lovely. Because I like it so much, I’ll be using it for all future books, and also working back through my publication list to switch older books over to the matte cover finish. The print edition of The Frost Maiden’s Kiss is all locked and loaded, and it will have a matte cover. This week, I also switched over The Last Highlander to a matte cover because I was updating the interior anyway.

Just in case you like the matte finish as much as I do, I’ll keep you posted on my progress in changing the settings on the older books.

Books in Bookstores

As the world of publishing and book distribution changes, there are new challenges to be solved. Here’s one issue – getting POD books into bricks-and-mortar bookstores – and one solution. My new trade paperback editions are printed by Createspace, and I’m really pleased with the product. These are print-on-demand books, though, which adds a wrinkle to print distribution. POD books are not returnable and orders often need to be prepaid. In traditional book distribution (for example, mass market paperbacks) books are both returnable (for up to two years) and are shipped on credit. The payment cycle in traditional publishing can run 180 days after shipping, so you can see that there’s a huge cash flow difference here for bookstores. There’s also a risk, because they have to order books and pay for them without being certain they can sell them. Finally, there may be corporate policies to follow: because Createspace is an Amazon company, some bookstores will not order from them on principle.

I can’t do anything about a lot of this, but I can do something about those bookstores who have no mechanism to order from Createspace. This solution has been derived in working with some of those bookstores, and I’m happy to do it for others. Most of these stores are independent bookstores, not chain stores, and they all have the ability to buy books from local authors. We’ve used this support-local-authors mechanism to get my new books into these stores, stores which know that they can sell my books. They contact me and tell me what titles they want in what quantity. I charge them 50% of the retail price, plus the shipping direct to their store. They pre-pay me, then I place the order with Createspace, giving their address for delivery. I independently mail them some postcards and signed bookplates. This seems to work out well and it makes readers and booksellers happy. If other bookstores are interested, please just get in touch.

Serpent’s Kiss Print Edition

Serpent's Kiss, a paranormal romance and Dragonfire #10 by Deborah CookeMany of you have been asking about the print edition of Serpent’s Kiss – and whether there will be one. There is, but I couldn’t set it up for pre-order. It was available from Createspace yesterday, and last night, it appeared on the Amazon site. Here’s the link for the print edition on Amazon – within a day or two, the digital and the print will be linked. It takes up to 72 hours for that to happen.

The information about the print book’s availability is perking through databases as we speak. It will appear on B&N and the Book Depository, but there’s no telling how long that will take. We’ll just have to keep our eyes open.

And yes, this is a trade paperback. It’s the same size as The Dragon Legion Collection in print. I know many of you like to line books up on the shelf (because I do, too) so I chose the size closest to that of The Dragon Diaries US trade paperback edition. I have the mass market Dragonfire books followed by The Dragon Legion Collection, followed by The Dragon Diaries on my shelf, and they look great together.

There is no physical distribution of this book – that means you won’t walk into your local bookstore or drug store and find a copy. You will have to order one online. Technically, any bookstore can order a copy for you, but in my experience, they don’t bother. On the upside, this is print on demand, which means that they’ll make a copy just for you when you do order it. You won’t get some copy that’s been fingered and read, has its corners turned and its cover scuffed.

This is the only way that I could finish the series, and given that, moving from mass market to trade isn’t that bad of a compromise.

Fallen

Fallen, an urban fantasy romance by Claire Delacroix

Fallen, the first of my Prometheus Project series of urban fantasy romances (set in a dystopian future and featuring fallen angel heroes) has gone off to be formatted. Phew! it’s also formatted for print now, and the print edition is waiting on its cover.

Having these books re-edited has proven to be quite the adventure. My editor found far more than I anticipated, so we’ve been working on the entire trilogy at once. On the upside, though, I’m much happier with the book. There have been some changes and corrections, plus there’s bonus content in this edition. I should be able to give you buy links for Fallen soon.

And tomorrow, I’ll work on finalizing Guardian!