Exciting News

A very exciting thing has just happened—the rights to three more of my books have reverted to me from the publisher. I now have the rights back to The Princess, The Damsel and The Heiress. The publishing house will be removing their digital editions from sale, but retain the right to sell the rest of their print stock.

I’ve removed the buy links from the book pages here on my website.

The original covers were designed by Alan Ayers and I always liked them. The books had step-backs, too.

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’ll be republishing these books in new editions, as soon as I can get everything pulled together. I’m also going to take this opportunity to rebrand the Bride Quest II books with new covers. There will still be two boxed sets, one of each trilogy, and they’ll have new covers, too.

The prices on the Bride Quest will be lower than they were from the original publisher, too.

Stay tuned for updates!

 

More Dragonfire Novels Reverted

Kiss of Fury, #2 in the Dragonfire series of paranormal romances by Deborah CookeYesterday, I received some welcome news. The rights to two more of the Dragonfire novels have reverted to me. I have Kiss of Fury and Kiss of Fate back. This means that you will only be able to buy NAL’s mass market editions, at least as long as they have inventory. There are NO legitimate digital editions available of these books right now.

As of today, NAL holds the rights to only one of the Dragonfire novels – Kiss of Fire. I’m hoping that the rights to that book revert soon. The reversion of rights is triggered by sales volume – when sales drop below a certain threshold of units per year, it’s possible for the book rights to revert to the author. If you haven’t started the series, it would be great if you could wait to buy the first book until the new editions of the entire series are available.

Kiss of Fate, #3 in the Dragonfire series of paranormal romances by Deborah CookeWhen I have the rights back to Kiss of Fire, I’ll republish the first eight books in new editions, in both digital and trade paperback format. Also, when Dragonfire is republished, there will also be a companion guide. I’ve talked about this before, and it’s in the works.

So, hold tight – the Pyr are gathering. I hope to be able to set them loose on the world again soon.

More Dragonfire Reversions

Winter Kiss, #4 in the Dragonfire series of paranormal romances by Deborah CookeSlowly, slowly, progress is made.

Rights to several more of the Dragonfire novels appear to be in the process of reverting  to me. The digital editions of Winter Kiss and Darkfire Kiss are becoming unavailable, which is a sign that the reversion is in progress. The publisher has the right to sell their existing print stock of these titles, so you may be able to still find mass market copies.

The books in this series are reverting (more or less) in reverse order, and of course, I need to begin republishing them with the first book, Kiss of Fire. It will be the last one to revert. Reversions become possible when the sales drop below specified thresholds, so I’m hoping that fewer people will start the series since the middle books are currently unavailable.

Once I have them all back, I’ll let you know the plan for republishing them. Those of you who like your print books to line up on the shelf will be happy to learn that the new print editions will be in trade paperback, of the same size as The Dragon Legion Collection, Serpent’s Kiss and Firestorm Forever.

Dragonfire Update

There have been a number of questions recently about the availability of my Dragonfire novels, so it seems time for an update.

Kiss of Fire, a paranormal romance and first in the Dragonfire series, by Deborah CookeThe first eight Dragonfire novels (Kiss of Fire, Kiss of Fury, Kiss of Fate, Winter Kiss, Whisper Kiss, Darkfire Kiss, Flashfire and Ember’s Kiss, plus the short story, Harmonia’s Kiss) were published by NAL, which is a division of Penguin. My contract with them gives them the right to print and distribute the books, but also defines when those rights return to me. This process is called the reversion of rights. Once upon a time, when a book reverted to an author, it often became unavailable forever, unless another publisher wanted to buy the right to print and distribute them. In this market, though, authors can republish the books themselves. (Yay!) That’s what I’ve done with so many of my historical romances that were previously published–when the rights reverted to me, I republished them in new trade paperback and digital editions myself.

That’s what I’ll do with Dragonfire, once I have all eight books back in my possession.

Firestorm Forever, A Dragonfire Novel and paranormal romance by Deborah CookeRights reversion can be triggered by anything, and the terms are specified in the contract. For these books, the reversion becomes possible when unit sales for the title drop below a certain threshold. That’s a pretty common trigger. Sales had been slowly dropping, as one would expect, but I was surprised by what happened when I published Firestorm Forever last spring. Evidently a lot of people don’t want to begin reading a series until they know it’s complete, because sales shot up for ALL of the books in the series concurrent with that release. This is why the publication of DragonFate has been delayed—I won’t publish any more stories with the Pyr, until the rights to those first eight books revert to me. It’s difficult to manage a series when individual books are managed by different publishers. It’ll all be much simpler when I hold them all again.

Harmonia's Kiss by Deborah Cooke, a Dragonfire storyRight now, I have the rights to Harmonia’s Kiss, which has been republished in a digital edition. I also have the rights for Whisper Kiss, Flashfire and Ember’s Kiss. We’re almost halfway! Many of the rights for the Dragon Diaries have also reverted to me – I have all rights to Blazing the Trail, while Allison & Busby retains the rights they acquired to Flying Blind and Winging It.

When a book reverts, the publisher removes their digital edition from sale immediately. They have the right to sell off their existing print stock, but not to print any more copies. So, for those three books, your best chance of finding a copy is to look for the mass market edition, or find a used version.

There are no legal ebook versions at this point of those three Dragonfire books.

When the books are republished in my own editions, they’ll be available in digital editions and in trade paperback, to match the print editions of The Dragon Legion Collection, Serpent’s Kiss and Firestorm Forever, which were published by me from the outset. I’ll also publish the companion volume, Here Be Dragons, along with the new editions, AND put the Dragon Diaries in new editions. Phew! There’s a lot of prep working going on behind the scenes right now! The books will all have to be re-edited and re-formatted and re-packaged. I would like to make them available in audio, as well, but we’ll see how that works out.

The last of my mass market copies of the books are available as signed print editions in my online store.

So, that’s where we stand. I’ll let you know more when I know more. 🙂

Where Have All the Dragons Gone?

This is a bit of a strange post, but it illustrates one of the big changes happening in publishing right now. A number of you have emailed me or left messages here on the blog or on my Facebook pages, asking why you can’t buy some of the Dragonfire or Dragon Diaries books. Most of you have thought there was something wrong at the portal or the publisher, but that’s not what’s going on.

When an author sells a book to a publisher, it’s for a finite measure of time. It’s not forever. Each publishing contract includes at clause that defines when and how the rights to publish the book return to the author. This is called Reversion of Rights. The trigger can be a number of different things – in the case of these contracts, when the number of units sold of a specific title drop below a defined quantity over a certain period of time (in this case, over a year) that title is available for reversion. Once that happens, the author or his/her agent asks for the rights to revert and the publisher has a number of months in which to reply. They might choose to promote the titles and give them new life so they sell  more units again, or they might choose to let them revert to the author.

Flashfire, #7 in the Dragonfire series of paranormal romances by Deborah CookeRight now, Penguin’s rights to the Dragon Diaries, to Harmonia’s Kiss and to two Dragonfire books, Ember’s Kiss and Flashfire, have reverted to me. I’ve made Harmonia’s Kiss available in a new digital edition. The publisher has the right to continue to sell their existing print copies of these books – but not to print more – and they can’t sell the digital editions. That’s why these books have disappeared from online portals, at least in the digital format. You still might find print copies, either at online portals or at bricks-and-mortar bookstores.

Flying Blind, first of the paranormal young adult Dragon Diaries trilogy by Deborah Cooke, UK editionThere’s a bit of a wrinkle with the Dragon Diaries, as Penguin sold UK Commonwealth rights to Allison & Busby for Flying Blind and Winging It. You might find the A&B editions of either of those books – in both print and digital – available for sale in your territory. A&B never did acquire the rights to Blazing the Trail, so they don’t have an edition of the third book in the trilogy. (Nope. I can’t explain that.)

Firestorm Forever, A Dragonfire Novel and paranormal romance by Deborah CookeI will make new editions of the Dragonfire books available once the rights to the remaining six books revert to me. I’ve no idea how long that will take – in a real sense, that’s up to all of you. The fewer copies that sell, the faster the rights to the books can revert to me. When I do republish the series in print and digital, the print editions will very likely be in the same trade paperback format as the final three Dragonfire books, The Dragon Legion Collection, Serpent’s Kiss and Firestorm Forever. I’ll also produce the entire series in audio.Harmonia's Kiss by Deborah Cooke, a Dragonfire story

This is why the publication dates for both the Dragonfire Companion and Hot Blooded, book #1 of DragonFate, have been delayed. I won’t be publishing any new books about the Pyr until I have all those rights back. I’m still working on all of those upcoming titles, so we can have a real dragon celebration once I have the rights to Dragonfire again.

Thanks for your patience and understanding. 🙂

Exciting News #2

Lots of good things to share this week. 🙂

My second bit of good news involves my backlist titles: I’ve just had the rights to two more of my books revert to me.

The Romance of the Rose, book #1 of the Rose trilogy of medieval romances by Claire Delacroix   Unicorn Bride, book #1 of the Unicorn trilogy of medieval romances by Claire Delacroix

What makes this particularly exciting is that these two books – The Romance of the Rose and Unicorn Bride – are the first two books I ever sold. They’re both medieval romances, and I’m very excited to have them back in my pocket again. I don’t have the text of these books in any kind of digital file, so they would need to be typed in all over again – actually, I suspect they need some revising, if not a solid rewrite, but I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to do this. I’ll have a look at them and decide their future over the next few months.

This means that of the eleven books I sold to Harlequin Historicals, I have the rights back for five of them. Here are the other three:

Honeyed Lies, book #1 of the Moorish series of medieval romances by Claire Delacroix  The Magician's Quest, book #2 of the Moorish Series of medieval romances and a shapeshifter romance by Claire Delacroix  Roarke's Folly, book #3 of the Rose Trilogy of medieval romances by Claire Delacroix

I always loved the cover on Yusuf’s book, The Magician’s Quest! It was done by Pino. The two that just reverted and Roarke’s Folly had covers by Judy York in their original editions, and Honeyed Lies had a cover by Jon Paul. It was the first one he did for Harlequin that used a photograph as the base image instead of a painting. Lots of talent on my side!

If and when these books go back into the world, they’ll need new covers and copy, in addition to a revision and edit. More in my job jar, but happy news all the same!

Here Be Dragons: The Dragonfire Companion

Here Be Dragons: The Dragonfire Companion by Deborah CookeA strange and unusual thing has come to my attention, and as a result, I’ve decided to push back the publication of Here Be Dragons: The Dragonfire Companion. We’ve talked several times about the rights to my previously published works reverting to me—which means I can republish them in new editions. Well, to my surprise, the first eight Dragonfire books are getting closer to reversion. I think that if I hadn’t published Firestorm Forever in —and thus driven sales to the earlier books, each of which had a nice sales spike in May—then many of them would have reverted this summer.

I would love to have all of these books back under my management, and to republish them in new editions. The key to that is letting sales for the series slow and drop. So, instead of HBD being published this November as the culmination of the series, it will instead be the launch title when the books are republished in those new editions. I’ve no idea when that will be, so stay tuned for updates.

Adventures in the New Wild West

There are so many interesting (strange and unusual) things about indie publishing and digital self-publishing that I thought it would be fun to share some of them with you. Here’s this week’s quirk.

The other day, I received a notice from Amazon that I needed to verify my rights to one of the backlist Delacroix titles I had re-published there. This would prove that I have the right to publish the book and am not a content pirate. Fair enough.

I’m not sure what generates these messages, because they don’t arrive routinely or on any schedule that I can discern. They just pop up, demanding attention right this minute. (I would think it would be easier to routinely request such a confirmation for the re-publication of every backlist title, but probably it would be too much data. Maybe it’s a lottery. Maybe it’s based on a complaint or the uploading of similar content. I’m also not sure whether doing this one means it’s done for good, or whether one can be asked again at a future point for the same evidence.) It’s not a bad thing that Amazon checks for rights – in fact, it’s a very good thing – but there are some curious details about this process as it stands.

The message (which is a form letter) requires the publisher (me) to provide a reply and proof that I am the rights holder within five days. Until that proof is received, the title is blocked from sale. Presumably, if there is no satisfactory reply within those five days, the book will be permanently removed from sale.

Five days. It is apparently inconceivable to Amazon that someone (anyone) could be unable (or unwilling) to check their email for five consecutive days. Five days is not a long time. Evidently, one should also be within range of one’s evidence of one’s rights. So, if I go on vacation for more than four days, I should take my file of rights reversions letters along with my email log-in (and maybe a fax machine). This time expectation might be a result of Amazon being more of an IT company than is typical in the publishing business – nothing happens in five days in publishing!

The second thing that is curious about this, for an IT company, is the apparent lack of any research on their end. Again, this is probably a question of volume – it’s easier to demand proof than to poke around and see if you’ve already got any. For example, if this message has been prompted by a similar file having been made available by a pirate, each file would be date-stamped by the server when uploaded. It would be clear that mine was the older and thus the first file.

In addition, I have already verified that this is my content (and had that claim validated by my agent and publisher) through Amazon’s Author Central portal, which is how authors manage the lists of their books, as well as how their bio displays on Amazon.com. Months ago – actually when it was re-published – I claimed this very edition of this book to be mine through that portal. So, I’ve already said it’s mine and that I have the right to publish it several times. It does not appear that Amazon KDP and Amazon Author Central share information, which would save everyone some time.

The third thing that is odd is that most reversion letters – at least those from traditional publishing houses – are on paper. Like many legal documents, they aren’t digital. You might expect Amazon to know that. But this ping doesn’t include a mailing address or a fax number where a copy of that reversion letter could be sent as evidence that I hold the rights. In previous incidents, I offered to send it, but Amazon was content to know that I had it. As a result, I’m not sure what the exercise proved – although it’s lovely that they believed me, surely someone who would steal content would also find it easy to lie about their right to do so. I’m hoping that this time, they actually want the proof.

So, on the one hand, it’s a strange exercise. On the other, I’m glad that Amazon does even this much. A great many authors get these messages and become quite agitated about them. No one likes to be challenged, but Amazon is the only portal that even asks for validation of rights. All sites have the check box on the form for publishing the title (“I verify that I hold the rights…”) but on other portals, that’s it. There seems to be no follow-up. So, kudos to Amazon for making the effort. Maybe someone is finally realizing that it’s not just authors who lose money when books are pirated. Over time, I’m sure that systems will be integrated, verification of rights will be part of the publishing process for every title, and it will become harder to publish content without holding the legitimate rights to do so.

For the moment, I’m just glad to be too busy to plan any vacations longer than five days!