Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Publishing in Two Cities

 Have you missed us?  Mme. Moreno and I have been enjoying ourselves in the country for the past several weeks.  So we have been remiss in keeping our blog current.  But now that autumn approaches we are both committed to do better.  

Today we have invited Donna Fletcher Crow to take over our blog.  By way of background, Donna is the author of 35 books, mostly novels dealing with British history.  The award-winning GLASTONBURY, The Novel of Christian England is her best-known work, an Arthurian grail search epic covering 15 centuries of English history.  A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE, book 1 in the Monastery Murders series is her reentry into publishing after a 10 year hiatus, and today marks its U.S. publication. 

On a personal note (and I do love to get personal with the ladies) Donna and her husband have 4 adult children and 10 grandchildren.  She is an enthusiastic gardener and you can see pictures of her garden, watch the trailer for A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE, and read her international blog at www.DonnaFletcherCrow.com

Welcome, Donna!   What have you been up to this summer?

DONNA:  Thank you Mary and Amadé, it's lovely to be back with you again.  I always find an instant entry into your world, Amadé, when I hear a piece of your music, as do the characters in my books.  

I have just finished the second book in my romantic intrigue series, the Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries.  This one,  A MIDSUMMER EVE'S NIGHTMARE is set in a Shakespearean Festival with lots of wonderful references to the Bard.  Since this is meant to be a bit of a honeymoon for the newlyweds, Richard takes Ellizabeth out for a French dinner and Elizabeth enjoys her Pears Hélène to the accompanying strains of a Mozart Air.

MOZART:  Ah, Pears Hélène, one of my favorite sweetmeats!

DONNA:  And I told you last time how "your" Miserere is in the very first chapter of A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE.

MOZART:  Showing exquisite taste on your part, my dear.

DONNA:  Today, however, Mary has asked me to tell your readers what it's like working for two publishers, one in England and one in America.  I would have to characterize the delightful, sometimes frustrating and always confusing experience as being like having twins.  Let me explain:

My twin granddaughters were born eight years ago - and I clearly remember the knot of excitement that sat at the base of y throat, the desire to run through the streets shouting the news, the almost frantic wondering, "What do I do now?"  And now, here I am, at the ripe age of ...(expletive deleted)...having twins myself.  

At least, that’s what it feels like.  My ecclesiastical thriller A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE, Book 1, The Monastery Murders, released in the UK on June 1.  On June 2 I received a note from my American publisher that my thought-provoking romantic intrigue THE SHADOW OF REALITY was up on Kindle and Smashwords.  “Surprise,” the doctor said.  “There’s another one in there.”

The excitement was intense; the complications perplexing.  I wanted to run through the streets of London announcing the arrival of Private Grave. Well, okay, I don’t think that’s done there.  But a launch party with sherry and truffles at Waterstone’s would have been nice.  But I’m 7000 miles away.  Likewise, I wanted to do all I could to make the launch of Shadow of Reality a success, but I’m not quite sure how one promotes an Ebook.  So maybe I’m doing all I can by blogging about it. Rather like sitting and rocking Jane while daughter-in-law Kelly fed Adela.

Actually, this dual birth will be something of a case study for the marketing experts in this brave new electronic age we’re all doing our best to grope our way through.  A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE is published by Monarch Books, an imprint of Lion/Hudson, a very traditional, established publisher in Oxford.  (You don’t get much more traditional than that.)  THE SHADOW OF REALITY is from Stone House Ink a young, new publisher whose reason for being is to “embrace the new technology.”

Monarch, holding to the old model, is reticent about bringing out Ebooks because “We don’t want to compete with ourselves.”  For Stone House the Ebook is the primary release.  Print books will follow along about Christmastime after the Ebook has made it’s mark in the world.
Monarch sells through Waterstones, AmazonUK and their own catalog.  They have given me superb editing,  postcards and a trailer (which you can see here: http://ning.it/ac80sQ) and a beautiful baby with a glossy cover which I love to caress.

Stone House has given me a beautiful electronic cover and a carefully edited book available in all Ebook formats with a marketing plan which focuses on setting the right price for maximum sales.
($2.99 here:  http://ning.it/bCi2iA)

Book 2 in the Monastery Murders, A DARKLY HIDDEN TRUTH won’t be contracted for until sales figures are in.  Book 2 in Richard & Elizabeth A MIDSUMMER EVE’S NIGHTMARE is scheduled to release next spring.  And so the balancing act continues.

It’s a fascinating study and both publishers have been absolutely stellar to work with.  Of course, I’m trying to do everything I can to help both succeed beyond their wildest expectations. And now I’m holding my breath as the older twin A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE steps out into the big, wide world of it’s North American release in September.  After all these months of waiting, my readers in the US and Canada will no longer have to be satisfied with clicking a “pre-order here” button, but can actually get the book for immediate shipping through Amazon.com or through my website:  http://www.donnafletchercrow.com/index.php

In the meantime, I have to remember that books are like children in another way.  We do our best to mold their future, but they do grow up with minds of their own and have adventures of their own which we can enjoy watching while we hope and pray for their success.

MARY:  Thank you for stopping by, Donna.   And we both wish you success with your “children!”