Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Unexpected Turn in Promotion Plan!

About a month ago, I decided to ask my publisher, Musa Publishing, to discount the e-book version of
 Steeled for Murder, the first in my Jesse Damon Crime Novel series, to 99 cents for ten days.
The Fussy Librarian
an effective promotion site

My hope was that people who had not read any of the books would try one for the bargain price, and perhaps purchase some of the others.

A number of sites, some free and some with fees, run promotions for discounted or free books.

I contacted the ones I felt were appropriate for my series. They have more requests than they have openings, so it’s a bit touch-and-go whether an individual book will be accepted.

Steeled for Murder was accepted by all those I contacted except Bookbub. That was both a disappointment Bookbub has a huge mailing list, and a relief because they are so expensive. Some of the others charge a modest fee, but Bookbub’s is in the hundreds of dollars.

My intention was to see whether this project increased the sales of Steeled for Murder, and whether there was any spillover in sales for the rest of my books. I was planning to use this blog time to report on my results.

Well, there was a gratifying increase of sales for Steeled for Murder, and my other books, especially those in the series, showed an uptick. I was pleased with the results.

But--and it’s a big but--Musa announced on February 21 that it was ceasing operations and all its books would be pulled from sale websites as of February 28.

I managed to self-publish
some short stories, but it
wasn't an easy task for me.
So much for seeing how long the effects of the sales would last.

I was devastated and my immediate concern became not how well my sales were doing, but that my books would not be available at all.

All my thoughts and energy needed to go to deciding what to do next.

Several people suggested self-publishing, which can be very successful and no longer carries quite such the stigma it used to. I’m not particularly computer literate, and although I do have two short story books that I have self-published, I hired someone to make the covers and format them, and had a friend help me get them uploaded.

It was a very nerve-wracking process, and I wasn’t eager to embark on it again.

Reviewing the lists of publishers that might be appropriate and might consider taking over a series in progress, I narrowed the list to fewer than ten publishers, and contacted them.

To my surprise and delight, two immediately came back with offers of publication. One is a very small
Wildside's new cover
for Steeled for Murder
publisher that was cautiously expanding its list. I have read some of their work and like it, but it is a start-up, like Musa was when I signed my first contract with them.

Since my last publisher was an ambitious new project when I first signed with them three years ago, I decided to be more conservative this time around.

Wildside Press, the other, is an established publisher. Several people I know have worked with John Betancourt, who is proving to be very cooperative. Among other things, Wildside publishes Guppy and Sinc anthologies. I have several, and have been impressed with how nice the print copies are.

The books will need new covers. The old ones used images with non-transferable licenses that Musa owns. I only hope no one will purchase a book with a new cover, not realizing it's another addition. That would make them frustrated and annoyed, and no one want to frustrate or annoy readers!

Have you run into unexpected glitches that totally upended your plans, and how did you manage to muddle on through?

Hard at work on the next book.


  1. Congratulations on finding a replacement publisher. I have worked with Wildside on the Guppy anthologies. I know that is a relief. Did you finish your own covers – and if so, did you offer those to your new publisher or are you keeping them for yourself?

    What’s the contract period for Wildside?

    ~ Jim


  2. KM, I'm happy you found a new publisher and especially one like Wildside, that is a reputable publisher and probably won't be going out of business anytime soon. I wouldn't worry too much about someone who had already bought it buying it again. Probably, very few would, and probably they'd still be hooked reading it all over again.

  3. Jim, I wasn't very happy with the covers I was coming up with (with which I was coming up? Dangling participles are out to get me!) so I was happy to let the publisher take over. I long ago recognized I have few artistic or musical talents, and such matters are best left to those who can handle them better.

    The contract period for Wildside is four years, and does not include a provision that I can't use the characters elsewhere. The last contract prevented me from writing short stories using those characters.

  4. Gloria, I know you self-publish, which was my fall-back option, but I don't know that I could do it as successfully as you. I've been told that Amazon, the biggest distributor, will link up the different editions of the books and thus it should be obvious what are re-issues.

  5. Congratulations on finding a replacement publisher so quickly, KM. Since your contract now permits you to use these characters in short stories, I hope we will see more of them.

    I like the new Steeled for Murder book cover!

  6. So happy for you, KM! I am a fan of your Jesse Damon books, so I am glad they have found a good new home.

  7. Thanks, Kara. I was pleased to see that Steeled for Murder is now up again on Amazon! I hope the others will follow soon.

    Shari, I feel like I've landed on my feet, so to speak, and am very pleased with the outcome.

  8. I really like the new cover, KM. I've read all your books, and I'm so glad Wildside picked them up. We'll have more Jesse Damon stories to read. Let us know how your experience goes with Wildside. One nice aspect is that Wildside is close in Bethesda. John and Carla are fellow Chessie. Congratulations!

  9. Thanks, E.B. I think tho will be a good move.