Saturday, June 20, 2009

RWA and e-pubs

If you are an author published with a small or electronic press, I'm sure by now you've read about the uproar regarding RWA president Diane Pershing's last letter in the RWR. Well known agent and author Deirdre Knight responded to her letter on ESPAN , expressing concern over the poor treatment of and lack of education for RWA members who are with or are considering signing with an e-publisher. Then Ms. Pershing posted a rebuttal. The result? A lot of angry RWA members, who are left wondering whether they should stay in an organization that they feel is not helping them. Or worse, doesn't even care about them.

Personally, I'm actually a bit confused by all this. The whole reason I found my publisher, The Wild Rose Press, was because in my very first Romance Writer's Report (the monthly RWA publication sent out to its members) that I received, TWRP was featured in itsIn the Spotlight column. I submitted to them because of that article, because edtior-in-chief Rhonda Penders stressed that her company was a "kinder, gentler publisher" that gave personalized rejection letters. Sounded good to me, since that's a heck of a lot more than you'll get from most agents and publishers. Because TWRP was featured in the magazine and posted on the RWA website as being a recognized non-vanity, non-subsidy publisher in good standing with them, I accepted my first contract (after canvasing a few TWRP authors) and felt good about it. It wasn't until later that I became aware of a general feeling of exclusion by the e-pubbed community within RWA circles.

I had trouble understanding how this could be. If TWRP was important/worthy enough to garner a slot in RWA's magazine, and if RWA was happy to advertise for it and other e-pubs in its publication, then I couldn't understand why authors who have gone this route are being made to feel like outcasts, even though they pay the same dues and work just as hard as print authors. Most, if not all authors would love a contract with a big NY print publisher, but it's just not going to happen, especially in this economy. Companies are cutting back and printing fewer books, and are certainly less likely to take a risk on an unknown author. So how do you become a known author to make yourself more attractive to a NY house? You have to publish something, don't you?

Isn't it better for an author to publish the books that they've slaved over, rather than leave them in their hard drive and never making any money from them? To me, earning even a little money and gaining a readership is a far more attractive alternative. And, in the long run, those books or stories you've published will provide a backlist for future sales if and when you do break into the NY market.

Bottom line? E-publishing is a growing trend, and while it won't make print books obsolete, it can't be ignored, either. Harlequin is on board with e-book technology, and most other big traditional publishers are likewise offering their books in digital format in addition to print. Why? Readers can download a book in seconds from their computer at home, on the couch, at two in the morning if they want to. Talk about instant gratification. No need to drive to the bookstore if you don't feel like it, and no waiting for Amazon to ship the book to your door. Poof, it's there on your hard drive. Digital versions are cheaper than print, can be enjoyed on a computer or electronic reader (Sony's, for example), and they're environmentally friendly because there's no paper.

In short, rather than alientaing its e-pubbed members, I wish RWA would do more to educate its membership about the pros and cons of signing with an e-publisher. Tell us which are reputable, and which to stay away from. Tell us which are turning out good product and which are publishing work that should never have been contracted. Tell us what we can expect from an e-publisher versus a print publisher. To me, that would be invaluable information for a new author trying to figure out how to navigate thier way through the publishing labrynth.

If the total RWA membership stands at 10,000 or so and only a minority of that is published, I'm willing to bet the majority of the published group is either with a small press or e-pub. Why? There are simply not enough opportunities for every aspiring author to find a place in a NY publishing house. That's just the way it is.

E-publishing is a simply a different route to take in an authors's dream to become published. For some it's a stepping stone to a bigger deal with a print publisher, and for others it's a place to submit stories that are unconventional or not within a current trend in the marketplace. Good e-publishers provide editing, cover art and promotion for their authors, and they pay their royalties on time. My publisher does all those things for its authors, and what I love most is that all of the staff, even the editor-in-chief, are available to me via email. If I have a concern, I can shoot off an email and get an answer within 24 hours. How many print publishers can say that?

Maybe I will break into the print market one day, but if I do, I'll have TWRP to thank for giving me the platform to spring from, and I'm grateful that they took a chance on an unknown author like I was.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

What are your favorite series?

As a writer, I think penning a series is so much easier than inventing a brand new set of characters for each book. As a reader, I love getting to know the characters and then being able to find out what happens to the same cast in later books. Some of my favorites are Suzanne Brockmann's Navy SEAL series, and JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I still can't believe how Ward sucked me in so deep into her world, but she did, and it just goes to show the power a good author has over their readers. I hope to be able to do the same someday!

My romantic suspense series with The Wild Rose Press features the same cast of characters, and their stories span five books. Having started the fifth and final book, I'm already kind of sad because these characters have been with me for a few years now and I'm not certain I'm ready to say goodbye! Must be the equivalent of author empty nest syndrome or something. I've got another series in mind (my Night Stalker series, which I've mentioned before), but the characters aren't as clear to me yet.

What are your thoughts about series? Have you ever read part of a series and then rushed out to buy all the other books because you couldn't wait to see what happened in the others? Or buy any book that a particular author has written because you just know it'll be good? Like books by Linda Howard, Karen Robards, or Diana Gabaldon in my case, along with the authors mentioned above.

Tell me some of your favorite series and why they earned that coveted distinction.

Happy reading!
Kaylea :)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Cover of Darkness

I received my release date for book two of my romantic suspense series with The Wild Rose Press, titled Cover of Darkness. It will be available in print and digital versions February 26th, 2010, and features Bryn McAllister, who you met in Out of Her League. Here's the blurb:

Targeted by a terrorist cell, Bryn McAllister survives a bombing at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut only to be left to die in a desert cellar. When she is rescued by Navy SEAL Lieutenant Declan McCabe and his team, Bryn must rely on the handsome officer to get her to safety. But just when she thinks the nightmare is over, family friend and legendary CIA operative Luke Hutchinson recruits her and McCabe to help track down the terrorist mastermind responsible for the attack.

With Bryn determined to see the terrorist brought to justice, Dec joins up to protect her, prepared to do whatever it takes to keep her safe during their dangerous mission. Battling the explosive attraction between them, Dec fights to keep his distance from her so he can do his job and keep her alive. But when plans falls apart and Bryn is captured, he must make the agonizing choice between his duty as a SEAL and the life of the woman he loves.

This one's a real edge-of-your-seater, I promise!

Kaylea :)

A Writer's Garden

Here it is--my pride and joy. Oh, you thought I meant my kids? Well, that goes without saying, but this is my special place. It's where I escape with my iPod and putter around, dreaming up storylines and thinking of my characters. When the weather's nice, even in winter, you can usually find me on the back porch swing. Sometimes I sit out there and daydream and sometimes I'll plug away on my laptop. Most often I'll have at least one of my weasels sitting next to me. They like to help me with my stories, but usually their advice is to have Spiderman show up and get the bad guys with his webs. Not exactly the plot twists I'm looking for, but I appreciate their efforts.

When we bought our place I didn't know squat about plants or gardening, but I learned fast and became a regular at our local nurseries. After a lot of trial and error, my garden began to take shape, and if it weren't for the evil black vine weevils I'm constantly at war with, this place would be pretty close to my idea of heaven on earth. Enjoying my hard word relaxes me. I like to sit on the porch swing and listen to the silvery trickle of water in my fountain and the delicate music of the windchimes carried on the breeze. It's like fairies are dancing in my yard. I breathe in the fragrance of fresh cut grass, the honey of sweet alyssum and the rich perfume of roses. Bliss. Especially if the boys are quiet :).

So now you've seen my little slice of paradise and can think of me on my back porch working on my next book. Cross your fingers that it'll survive the flying soccer and baseballs that will abound for the next few years!

Do you have a special place that inspires you?