Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Publisher Not Renewing the Contract?

I'm sure you all remember the scene in Logan's Run where the blinkers report to carousel for renewal because they've reached their maximum age limit. It was kind of a privilege to make that transition. Now, imagine that you were exempt from renewal...

So your time for renewal with your publisher has come up and they have decided to pass on extending the contract for an additional two years, or three or what have you. Bummer. Actually it really sucks and there can be only one good good reason for such a decision--you haven't got the sales numbers. In reality, with the way this world works, you could have had a tiff with an editor or the CEO and pissed them off, but that's not typical. What's more likely, is that your book didn't pull it's weight. And there could have been any number of reasons for this problem: bad cover art, ineffective blurb, substandard editing, lack of promotion and marketing, lack of brand-name recognition, few or no retail sales channels and the list goes on. In my situation, I knew exactly where the fault was since all the other bases were covered. So this might turn out to be sort of a rant. 

My publisher did not promote or market this book. The one exception, giving credit to their initial effort, was one guest blog post in a romance reader site two weeks after it hit Amazon. And that was it during its two-year journey in the big bad world of consumerism. It was listed on three other retail sites, when I believe there were at least five or six available and easily attainable. I rather had my suspicions from the onset that this publisher was asleep at the wheel when they breached contract with me before publication, then had two editors ditch the house, leaving me stranded. Oh, the warning bells and scarlet flags! When we finally got back on track, two years and four months had elapsed. And they were in possession of one of the best multiple viewpoint, adventure thrillers I'd ever written in my life. The Wolfen Strain came out of the starting gate at a full gallop, kicking up great clods and pulling ahead of the pack. It sat on the top 10 list of two retail sites, taking number 1 and 2 slots for horror and thriller and stayed on them for months. I shoved hard every day, hitting every display site, ad site, writing group, FB, twitter and blog site I could find, letting the world know there was new werewolf book in town.

All this time, I knew my publisher was doing nothing. All I had to do was Google my title and I could find out exactly where my book was and who was talking it up. Every source I found came from my efforts. Every one of them. Every time I reported some milestone to my publisher about some exposure, article, interview or accomplishment, it was met with a "hey, that's great" and nothing more. They pretty much had me right where they wanted me--I was their perfect patsy--a shoe-in free sales person. So why did they even need to expend any type of effort? In reality, they probably had no promotion, PR or marketing team to begin with. So I'm not that surprised. And neither should you be if this happens to you, and it does happen a lot in the small and indie press world.

So what do you do in a case like this when you know you've been short changed and you have a great book?

KDP and KDP Select is here. There's no reason to let your book die. I know of dozens of authors who've re-published their back-list and realized new life in their titles. I've already done it. You'll need to re-edit just as a precautionary measure, even if you believe you have a fairly clean copy. Change your storyline at this point if you wish to beef it up or make improvements. Hire an editor if you're in doubt about the editorial passes made my your previous publisher. Create a new book cover or hire out for a graphic artist to craft one for you. You won't own the copyright to the last one. Format for Amazon Kindle--Smashwords has a nice program complete with step-by-step instructions, or hire out for this service. Change up your front matter a little, and be sure to add links to any other books you have available. I would suggest changing the title (or tweaking it), although you don't really have to do this.

Download your new (yes, I said new) book on Amazon and on any other retail site you wish. Go print if that's your desire. Promote like hell won't have it. But this time you'll be taking 70 percent and in control of the entire process. Success is the sweetest revenge, and the proof of this is, that in my own experience, my re-published back-list title has now out-sold its first incarnation. Now who would have thunk it? 


Welcome to The War Gate, a paranormal romance/thriller with a time-travel twist.

“This was a solidly written tale with a trace of fantasy and complex thought used in defining the concept of leaping from one time gate to the next—excellent job of structuring.”
Terrie G, Bitten by Books, 4 out of 5.

“The War Gate is a captivating book. Mystery, magic and the paranormal blend together in a perfect mix. I would thoroughly recommend this book to fantasy enthusiasts who also like romance.
Orcid, Aurora Reviews, 5 out of 5.

Tag Line: Through a miraculous conception, Avalon Labrador must give birth to herself before she is executed, to solve her husband’s murder and her own wrongful conviction.

When the reincarnated Avy Labrador is kicked out of her stepfather’s house on her 18th birthday, she has no idea that the man who raised her framed her mother to cover his murder so he could acquire a major software empire. Now, years later, with the help of her magician boyfriend, Sebastian, Avy is about to discover that her birth was otherworldly and for a purpose. The ancient Roman God Janus was so appalled by the heinous murder of Tom Labrador by his brother Drake that he opened up a War Gate.

Avy has received half of her mother’s soul light and half of a God’s essence. Her mission is to put the real killer behind bars. The only catch: she must learn to “Gate-Walk”, that’s time traveling to the layman. She soon finds out that she is a drunk driver on the space/time continuum super highway.

Just when she believes she has too much on her plate to contend with, she learns that she’s pegged the wrong man as the killer…her boyfriend is not who he appears to be…and Janus, the so-called God of new beginnings, doorways and gates, just might be the biggest conman and liar she has ever met.

The War Gate has a heavy mystery structure, as well as paranormal/magic and romance elements.

War Gate Author's Note: The antagonist character, Wax Man, is not for the squeamish. I warn you ahead of time that he is the most disgusting, vile creature/human you're ever likely to read about. Not for younger readers under 13.