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Friday, September 24, 2010



Why would any author in her right mind do this? Several reasons. First you need to understand I was a mid-list author. I made money for the publishers, but not tons of it. I did write for more that one of them, so there are various reasons.

Reason One: I reached my limit of having to conform to “lines.” What do I mean? I’d send in a proposal, meaning a synopsis and a couple of chapters. A tentative okay would come back that they wanted it if I did thus and so. I then had to change my concept of the story. But I did so and got the contract. Then came the editing. Could I add a sex scene here and here? Occasionally the places where I was asked to do so were so totally wrong for the story I couldn’t, but I’d find another spot for the extra sex. Most of my editors were excellent and never asked me to add more sex in the wrong place, but they almost always asked for a touch more here and there. Hey, this was their job, to determine how much sex a line needed, and I never blamed them.

Reason Two: Taboos in many lines. Mostly paranormal taboos--going so far as to tell me identical twins couldn’t have mental links. Another was heroes couldn’t have certain jobs or professions. This was easier to avoid, but narrowed possibilities.

Reason Three: While other publishers didn’t have any non-negotiable no-nos in their much looser lines, there were other problems, one being if the author didn’t sell a certain amount of books, she had to change her name. (At least I had a choice of name here). With another publisher I did not. The senior editor decided my real name was “too depressing for a romance” and so simply changed it and told me this was my new name. She didn’t actually say “or else” but it was implied. For years after that I was stuck with a pseudonym I would never have chosen.

So when epublishing came along, I decided to see if that had fewer restrictions. I found none and couldn’t believe it. For awhile I straddled the fence, but then switched to totally writing ebooks. Do I make a lot of money? No. I refer to it as walking around money. Am I happier? You bet.

Reason One: I have a personal relationship with my actual publisher, not just the editor who goes over my writing. This is a real plus.

Reason Two: When an editor suggests a change, I find that almost all of them improve the story. Not one editor has ever asked me to add sex scenes or to change my name.

Reason Three: I’m able to finish a book on my own schedule, instead of having to rush to meet a deadline. This because most epubs don’t want partials, but a finished ms. And a plus I didn’t expect--I’m able to have my rights-back work accepted by epubs. An interesting sideline of this is that several of my epub editors have caught errors that NY editors missed. So don’t tell me all epubs have bad editing, because it’s certainly not true of any of mine.

Reason Four: I actually get cover input. In the past I had covers I hated among the ones that were either tolerable or really good. Did I have any say in getting a bad cover changed? No way. Marketing perceived it as an attention-grabber--end of discussion.

So, yes, now I’m older and that may be part of my getting fed up with what I was doing. While the switch hasn’t made me rich, it’s certainly made me much happier. And I enjoy reading ebooks more than print these days, because I can crank up the font for these getting-older-each-day eyes.

What’s my newest ebook? (Barring any editing or cover glitches)

Dragon’s Stone, the last book of the Darkness of Dragons Trilogy--Out from Devine Destinies September 1

Blurb: Evil’s once again leaking from the depths of the abandoned mine and only Gwen and Ellis are left to try to contain what dwells there. Though they both carry dragon blood, neither can shift for different reasons. They also need three special people, not two, and the only possible third is a Siamese cat…


Karen Wiesner said...

Wow. This is a great insight into the differences between traditional publishers and small press publishers, Jane. Thanks for sharing.


Joan Hall Hovey said...

A good blog, Jane. I had some of the same problems being with a larger publisher, mainly that I was midlist like you, sold thousands of books, but not enough to compete with the publisher's stars. Too, it's very pleasant when the publisher knows your name. I also hated working against deadline. Too old for that kind of pressure. I'd rather practice my piano playing. -:) And write when and what I choose. Thanks, Jane. I'm so impressed at the body of work you've put out there.


eXtasy Books said...

And it's certainly a pleasure having Jane aboard and working with her. As for changing names, the only time we've had to do that is when a NY pubbed author discovered one of the eXtasy authors was using the same name. She didn't want to be associated with erotic books. We received letters from lawyers and the author changed the name. That's the only time we've ever had to do that. We've suggested change of title if the title is already out there.

And if there isn't enough sex in a book at eXtasy, we suggest placing it at Devine Destinies where there is no graphic sexuality allowed in books. I'm an author myself and believe in working 'with' the author and I, as the publisher, always want authors to be happy.

Again, Jane, you're great to work with, and this is from editors, artists, and me.

Tina Haveman {CEO}

Fiona said...

Wow! This makes me feel a bit better about all of the rejection notices I got from the NY publishers, before I got e-published. As an unknown, I probably wouldn't have even been a mid-lister. So I'd have had no say in my covers, in the edits, and would have had to change my work to suit "bean-counters"? Maybe going the e-publishing route was a blessing in for the $, I'd be happy with "walking around money"...I still only make "crawling around money"! But at least now I have hope!

Lainey said...

So glad you've found your 'happy place' Jane!

Authors (and all creative people in general) put enough pressure on themselves striving to improve with every new venture. Outside pressure from those who only see $$$'s, not personal satisfaction, is a stress none of us need.

BrennaLyons said...

I don't think it's old age, dear. I've never found you the stiff old sort personally, and I had decided I'd rather be in indie for the same reasons you state (plus a few turnaround time, at all levels of publishing) very early in life.


JL Walters said...

Jane, You've so nicely put into words my own feelings about NY and epublishing. Of course, you were the one who pushed me over the edge and having taken the plunge I'll never go back.

Monti said...


Thank your for your comments about the differences that brought you to e-publishing. I always enjoyed the books you wrote for Silhouette Shadows which was a line I liked, as well. I didn't know you also wrote under a pseudonym--especially one you neither chose nor liked!

Happy writing,

Miriam Newman said...

Great post, Jane. I, too, have found a happy home in epub.

Margaret Tanner said...

Great post Jane,
I agree withe very word you have said.



Shoshanna Evers said...

Great post, Jane, thanks for the insight!

Monya Clayton said...

Thanks for your very clear and concise post, Jane. It certainly puts the whole matter in perspective. For years I was turned down by traditional publishers until I found the electronic presses.

Of course we'd all love to be selling lots more copies of our work, as well as seeing them on physical shelves in bookshops. (As Margaret can tell you, this is a problem to us in Australia.) But to be happy with what you do is more important.

I don't think I'll be chasing the big boys any more!

Thanks again for the encouragement!

Monya (aka Mary)

Cindy Spencer Pape said...

Excellent comments, thank you. It's always nice to see the things the publishers don't want you to know about--not to hurt anyone, just so we can be wary in our own careers.

Sandy said...


I do agree with you, and I want to add one more thing. NY is so hung up on the word count. Most epubs will work around the word count if they like the story.

Julia Barrett said...

This is an absolutely fascinating post - I feel like I'm getting insider information from someone who's been there, done that. I love your take on this business.