Book Launch Party

Here’s an incredible thing: I have fifty (or more) books out in the world, yet I’ve never had a launch party for the release of a book. I’m not sure why that is—probably I’ve always been too busy writing the next book!—but in August, we’re going to fix that.

I’m hosting a Facebook event and book launch for The Frost Maiden’s Kiss on August 26 from 6 to 10 PM EST. I’m hoping you can join us, as I think it will be a lot of fun. Not only will The Frost Maiden’s Kiss be on sale that very day, but I’ve invited a number of author friends who also write Scottish medieval romances to join me to celebrate the publication of Malcolm and Catriona’s book. Come and talk about castles, kilts, and knights with Terry Spear, Eliza Knight, Suzan Tisdale, Kathryn Le Veque, Tanya Ann Crosby, Donna Grant, Laurin Wittig, Terri Brisbin and me. (Psst – I suspect there will be doorprizes and swag!)

The event is right here on FB, but you’ll have to log in to confirm your attendance and to attend the event itself. Hope to see you there!

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!

Kiss of Danger Released!

And there goes Alexander, out into the world!

This is the first of the Dragon Legion Novellas. There will be three in total, and each will be published digitally first. After the third one is published, they’ll be gathered into an anthology, which will be available in a digital edition and also in trade paperback.

The excerpt is right here.

Available at:
Amazon (the link is for Amazon.com but it will be available at other Amazon portals, too.)
Barnes & Noble
KOBO

Other buy links are coming – Apple is slow this week – but these ones are live now!

The Future of Dragonfire

As promised, here are the details of how the Dragonfire series gets completed. I do have plenty of spin-off ideas, but want to get the main series finished before we venture into new territory.

So, here’s the plan.

First off, we need to catch up with Drake and his Dragon Teeth Warriors. They collected the darkfire crystal from Lorenzo in FLASHFIRE and have been scarce ever since. As you might expect, the darkfire crystal has been taking them to some strange and unlikely locations, but in pursuit of a greater good. There will be three novellas following Drake and his men, each one of which will be a paranormal romance in itself. These will be digital-first releases. They will then be gathered into an anthology which will be published in simultaneous digital and print. (It’ll be a trade paperback print on demand book.) This bit of Dragonfire’s future looks like this:

KISS OF DANGER – February 2013

KISS OF DARKNESS – March 2013

KISS OF DESTINY- April 2013

The DRAGON LEGION Anthology – print and digital – will follow. This will be Dragonfire #9.

There will be a new page on my website for this suite of novellas. I’ll let you know when it’s live.

I am waffling about Drake himself. His story will be told, but there are two options for doing it: his could be the third novella in another trilogy of novellas featuring the Dragon’s Teeth Warriors, or he could get his own book. I’ll decide after finishing this trilogy and let you know then.

As for Dragonfire novels, Dragonfire #10 will be Thorolf’s book, and I’m aiming for a summer release. Whatever happens with Drake will be the subsequent release, Dragonfire #11, and it will be a winter release. Finally Dragonfire #12 will be Sloane’s book and the culmination of the series – the Apothecary has to heal the world, after all. I’m aiming for spring 2014. I’ll firm up the dates as they get closer.

After that, well, we’ll venture off the edges of our map – where there be dragons!

A Frustrating Detail

One of the things that’s starting to drive me nuts is the lack of control over distribution for indie-pubbed books. This is funny, as I never have any control over the distribution of my traditionally published books. On the other hand, indie publishing gives control over so many things that discovering any area with very little control – especially one so important as distribution – is annoying.

It all seems very straightforward. When a title is indie-published, the publisher (in this case, me) chooses which formats to make available, and opts in to certain portals. So, for my digital editions, I publish on Amazon for Kindle, on All Romance eBooks in EPUB and MOBI, and on Smashwords in EPUB and MOBI. I also opt into a number of portals available to me through Smashwords, including Sony, Apple, B&N, KOBO, and a couple of smaller ones. For my print editions – which are print on demand through Createspace – I automatically get distribution to Amazon and Createspace. I opt into Amazon’s European portals and purchase the extended distribution option which gets the books listed at Baker & Taylor. This means that other bookstores (like B&N) can offer the books for sale on their website. All good.

There are two issues here. The first, I hope, is temporary. Extended distribution is very slow, regardless of whether it’s digital or POD, and it has become much MUCH slower in the past six months. I suspect this is due to raw volume, but it is still annoying. For a title to be made available to other portals through Smashwords, it must first be manually reviewed by their staff. This used to take a few days, but currently it takes at least two weeks. It can take a month. After approval, the book goes in the queue for distribution to the portals selected. Once upon a time, this happened fairly quickly – uploads were weekly, so it would go in the next upload – but now books can stall in that phase for weeks. I suspect that this is also due to volume and might also be temporary. Additionally, the book will be reviewed at the destination portal before being listed for sale, a process that can take two to three weeks on top of the time so far.

I’m hoping that, as all of these outlets staff up to deal with the volume of digitally published material, these delays will erode. What would be even better would be the option of setting a universal release date, so that the book would be available to all readers on the same day. This is completely impossible under the current system, and I’m sure that’s as annoying for readers as it is for me. Having the on sale date straggle over two months, depending upon the portal, is irritating. It would probably require uploading the book content file 14 or even 30 days in advance at every portal, but it would be worth the delay IMO to have a nice crisp on sale date and consistent availability.

The second distribution trend, while also influenced by volume, is one that I suspect might not go away. It is clear that vendors are not taking all titles that are available to them. They are cherry-picking, trying to focus on the titles that will earn them more money. This means that they choose first from established sellers at their portal. For example, THE RENEGADE’S HEART is moving more quickly through this publication and distribution process, almost certainly because the Jewels of Kinfairlie trilogy has been selling very well at most portals. The print edition is even available for pre-order at B&N, the first time I’ve ever seen that for a POD title of mine. This is good.

What is not good is the random nature of these choices. I suspect that the decision is not automated, because it’s not consistent. In direct contrast to THE RENEGADE’S HEART print book, the print editions of THE ROSE RED BRIDE, THE BEAUTY BRIDE, and THE LAST HIGHLANDER are not listed at all on the B&N site. This, even though they’ve been available for sale for months. Createspace says they cannot compel a vendor in extended distribution to list a book for sale. This is fair, but it’s also a silly choice on B&N’s part – these three titles are my bestselling print titles through Amazon.

I can’t do anything about this, which is pretty frustrating. If you, however, want to buy one of these books from B&N, please let them know directly.

The bigger implication from this cherry-picking is that it must be becoming more difficult for new authors to get extended distribution at all. If an author has never had a title distributed to a certain vendor, then the author has no sales history through that portal – and thus the title might be overlooked or passed by when the vendor selects its weekly take. I’m curious to see how this works with the Coxwell series – I’m publishing them as Deborah Cooke books and as Deborah Cooke I have only one indie title in distribution, my “Coven of Mercy” short story.

I’ll let you know!

Optimism & THE RENEGADE’S HEART

Well, it appears that I have miscalculated in terms of getting THE RENEGADE’S HEART out into the world.

I was late getting the book to my editor, but had hoped we would make up the time. Instead, I lost my place in her queue – which is only reasonable – and now I won’t hear back from her until early June. So, a May publication date is out of the question, although I am still planning to burn the midnight oil to get the book out into the world in June.

My apologies to all of you who are waiting for the book – some of you impatiently! – but you wouldn’t be happy if it wasn’t right.If it’s any consolation, I’m probably more disappointed than you.

Next time, I will plan better. 🙂