If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Here are the upcoming WWK interviews for the month of July!

July 4th Christopher Huang, A Gentleman's Murder

July 11th V. M. Burns, The Plot Is Murder

July 18th Edith Maxwell (Maddie Day), Death Over Easy

July 25th Shari Randall, Against The Claw

Our July Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 7/7--Mary Feliz, 7/14--Annie Hogsett, 7/21--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/28--Kait Carson.

Our special bloggers for the fifth Monday and Tuesday of July--Kaye George and Paula Gail Benson.

Please welcome two new members to WWK--Annette Dashofy, who will blog on alternative Sundays with Jim Jackson, and Nancy Eady, who will blog on every fourth Monday. Thanks for blogging with us Annette and Nancy!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Are We There Yet?

Every parent I know who has taken a trip with children eventually loses patience the umpteenth time their kid asks, “Are we there yet?” Parents are different so they’ll have different approaches to answering the pesky kid, but eventually you are there. But those last few miles can be the worst. I suspect (but have not asked for fear of the answer) that when it comes to their books authors take the role of child and the publishers stuff their ears with wax to avoid hearing, “Are we there yet?”

My mystery Bad Policy has an official publication date of next Tuesday, March 5, 2013. Since I am a published non-fiction author (One Trick at a Time: How to start winning at bridge) I’ve been through the run-up to publication date. Everything is the same—except everything is different.

I’m reminded of the story about a ship’s captain who, on taking over the ship, discovered there were only two compasses on board. He couldn’t find a third to break a tie in case the two disagreed, so he threw one overboard to avoid being in a dangerous situation and receiving conflicting information.

I am living that captain’s fear. Moral of this story: I assumed based on one previous experience and instead experienced a different result. The fault is mine: had I asked, I would have been told what this publisher’s work flow was.


In both cases I received my “proof” copy as a pdf file months after I had turned in my “final” copy after working with the editor. Then from the ether the email arrives and I have only a few days to review the proofs. I drop everything and get it done. In both cases I found typos I couldn’t believe no one (including me) had not noticed before.


With the bridge book we did not get any advanced blurbs, but for Bad Policy I thought it would be a good idea. Asking people to say something positive about my book was not something I was particularly comfortable doing.

I considered authors I “knew” who might find a connection with the book and contacted three successful authors. One had helped my writing through a critique group; a second lived in the area where my protagonist grew up and I had a secondary character who (it turned out, I hadn’t planned it that way) was a younger version of her protagonist; the third had fans I thought might be interested in my writing. Two of three responded and gave me great blurbs. Since then I’ve tried to pay back that generosity and have provided a blurb for another author.


With the bridge book I received my “free” books almost six weeks before the publication date and received my own initial order at the author discount nearly a month before the official date. With the novel, the books will be printed by the publication date, but unless I make a rush order, I won’t have any in hand. Since I’m thrifty and won’t pay for special shipping, I’ll pass the official publication date without any books in hand.

Which is the standard practice? I have no clue.


For the bridge book there were no press releases or flyers, but the publisher did purchase an advertisement in the monthly bridge magazine most US contract bridge players receive. I had to make up my own poster-board to advertise the book when I gave lectures at bridge tournaments.

With the mystery, the publisher has created a very attractive poster I can print and has written a press release. The publisher provides no advertising—that’s my bailiwick.


The bridge book is sold through a large US online retailer of bridge supplies, Amazon, Barnes &  Noble and the like and at the publisher’s website. E-books can be purchased only on the publisher’s website. The e-book versions were available at the same time as the print version. Most online retailers had the information by the official publication date, but for some it took a bit longer. I learned there is a long lead time.

Bad Policy became available at the publisher’s earlier this week. Online retailers are starting to include it and it will become available at each one depending on their scheduling. The e-book will be available sometime after the print version, perhaps as much as a month later. Unlike the bridge book with its limited online retailers, both versions of the mystery will be available almost anywhere books are sold.

The only physical booksellers for the bridge book are those folks who sell books at bridge tournaments. I suspect the mystery will only be available in bookstores at which I make an appearance.


Good thing I’m already retired, because royalty checks aren’t going to fatten my accounts. Of course I already knew the differences in royalty provisions since I signed both contracts. It is useful to sit with a calculator and determine the expected royalty for different books depending on how they are sold.

It is not surprising that I make the most on any book I personally sell. Not only do I get an author’s royalty, but I get the retailer’s mark-up. It makes sense since I am fulfilling both roles. The contracts structure the author’s discount & royalty rates differently, but in either case I make about $5-6 on a book I personally sell. (That’s gross – for example, if I am driving to a bookstore the cost of gas, etc. is on me.)

In neither case can I personally sell an e-book. Those generate royalties in the $1.65 - $2 range.

Otherwise, my print royalties depend on how large a discount the retailer receives on my books. The mystery will pay royalties at about twice the level of the bridge book.

And of course I get nothing from a used book sale.


For the price of giving the publisher your email address, you can read the first four chapters of Bad Policy for free and earn a 35% discount when you buy the book (print or e-book).

If you’d like a signed copy from me, you can order from my website.

And if you are wondering if I’ll be in your area, I have a list of planned appearances.

~ Jim


E. B. Davis said...

I came from the Barking Rain website where I saw Bad Policy featured, your bio, and saw Kaye George's promotion for her music series. It looks like a good publisher, but I wonder about non-profit publishers--why do they not want a profit?

Only one more day to wait. After all these years, you can do it. But I'm sure it is agony. I hope you have a lot of fresh books at Malice. See you there.

James Montgomery Jackson said...


I wondered the same thing about why Sheri Gormley chose to make Barking Rain Press nonprofit.

She's our guest next week on Salad Bowl Saturdays and that was one of the questions I asked her.

So stay tuned.

~ Jim

Kaye George said...

What a great idea, interviewing your publisher on your blog! AND this is a very interesting comparison. It also gives me a head's up! Thanks.

Gloria Alden said...

Interesting blog, Jim. I understand how hard it is to wait for something. I'm a lot like those kids you mentioned. I look forward to getting your signed book at Malice.

James Montgomery Jackson said...


It will be so much fun to meet people at malice who I have only "known" online.

~ Jim

Paula Gail Benson said...

Jim, thanks for all this good information. Congratulations on your launch. Please add me in the list of people waiting to meet you and get your signature at Malice! Paula

Warren Bull said...

Congratulations and good luck.

Kara Cerise said...

Thanks for the interesting comparison and good lesson, Jim.

I look forward to reading Bad Policy soon. Congratulations and best of luck with the launch!

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Speaking of Malice Domestic. Just heard by email that I was accepted for one of the panels.

~ Jim

Paula Gail Benson said...

Great news! Congratulations!

E. B. Davis said...

Terrific, Jim. I'll look for you in the program under panels. I think Barb Goffman sets those up. Panels are fun--I like attending them. Very spontaneous.

Carla Damron said...

have a spectacular launch on the new book!

Beth Green said...

Congratulations on the new book launch and thanks for the interesting comparison between the two books' publishing process.