Friday, October 4, 2013

Dreamspell authors: We're back!

By T.W. Fendley

Two months ago, the authors of L&L Dreamspell were reeling from the death of publisher Linda Houle and co-publisher Lisa Smith's decision to close the business. Since then, many have found ways to get their books back into print, thanks to Lisa's prompt execution of their Reversion of Rights.

"I think what I've learned is just how much persistence is an essential part of this business," said author Chris Ferguson. "Obviously the closing of L&L DS was a personal and community tragedy for us. But of course it was also disappointing as an author. Fortunately there are avenues for good work to continue on, so setbacks are not the end of the world."

I solicited status updates from the Dream Team, and their paths to publication are as varied as the books they write. 


With Jennifer Stolzer's cover design, my historical fantasy novel, Zero Time, is available through Kindle and "in process" at CreateSpace. 

Jo Hiestand also chose the self-publishing route via CreateSpace and has already published 15 of her mystery novels (including two that were out of print for five years) and Esther Lutrell has several of her titles out under their new imprint, Golden Harvest Press. In addition to her novels, Jo also compiled two anthologies and published Carols for Groundhog's Day.

"We've learned a lot in these months," Jo said. "How to format the books for trade paper and ebook publication, how to buy ISBNs, how to list the published books thru Bowker so the books are included in the books-in-print catalog that other bookstores and libraries use to get info on your work, how to set up royalty payments and follow the sales reports, and how much work there is to getting a book out -- and so my admiration for Linda and Lisa grew tremendously."

Facing a busy fall speaking schedule, Cindy Sample chose to upload her two backlist books to Kindle. "I didn’t want to spend money advertising until my new book is released [in October], but word of mouth seems to be working. Today was exciting because for the first time ever my books placed in a top 100 bestseller category. As of this second, Dying for a Date is # 73 in sales of over 22,000 fiction books in the humor category."

Bobbye Terry (aka Daryn Cross) said, "I released mine as indies. Walk Right In became Like Humans Do, and Walk Right Back became Like Demons Do. I plan to release the third one, Like Zombies Do, next year, The two currently out were both re-edited before re-releasing and came out in both Kindle and print through CreateSpace. I did my covers with their Cover Creator. I placed two of my short stories in the collection, Moonlight Magic, published the same way."

"I quickly put Ghost Orchid on Kindle to keep it in the market while searching for a reprint publisher," D.K. Christi said. "I am particularly grateful to Lisa Smith of the former L & L Dreamspell team who provided quick assistance with our search and with the team of authors who have helped each other."

Christy Tillery French also placed all her books in The Bodyguard series as Amazon Kindles.


Nancy Means Wright reported her middle grade/YA novel,Walking into the Wild, is now available. "With a good review coming out soon in a magazine, I wanted to get it out asap, so the book will be published by my own imprint, Wildcat Books, at the new publisher Prince and Pauper Press."  

"(Jennifer Carson) and I have worked closely together to bring out my book with a bright new cover, new interior pages, back cover, adding a map, etc," Nancy said. "I paid her $300 for all this, and then put it up on Amazon in my name. So it’s a sort of alternative affair, not exactly self-pubbed, but I have some control for the first time in my writing  life!  And we’ve done it in about a month—which wouldn’t have happened had I tried a traditional press. I will take all royalties from e-book sales, and she will take a small % from online print book sales."

Anita Page's novel, Damned If You Don't, has been reissued as an e-book by Glenmere Press.

L.A. Stark said two ebooks (13 Days: The Pythagoras Conspiracy and Strike Price) will be published by Stone Thread Publishing. "They have asked for more e-books in the Lynn Dayton series," she said.

Elise Dee Beraru said, "I'm going to release my two short stories as a double feature through Dark Hallows, probably at 99 cents for the pair. I just need to get them formatted and a new cover." The stories are "By the Dark of the Moon" and "Three Wishes," from the Dreamspell Romance and Magic anthologies.

Thom Reese's The Empty will be rereleased in early 2014 by the publisher of his other novels, Speaking Volumes. It will be an expanded edition that includes material removed from the Dreamspell edition to meet their word count restrictions. 

Catherine Winn has signed a contract with the new YA imprint of Poisoned Pen Press, The Poisoned Pencil, for the YA mystery novel that had been slated to be published by Dreamspell this summer. 

Peter Green said, "My plan has been to look for good sustainable small presses. I have found one, an imprint of a larger, established  press, where my two mysteries are on submission. If that’s accepted, I’ll go with it. If not, I may look for others. My fallback position is to self-publish with Lightning Source (which many indie publishers use, including the former LLD—part of Ingram, best distribution) or Amazon CreateSpace and KDP (best marketing in one huge market, but no others)."


When Lisa announced Dreamspell would be closing, she also let us know of her arrangements with Rhonda Penders, one of the owners of The Wild Rose Press Inc.  “You will not have to go through their usual "slush" pile but rather go directly to her and she will assign you an editor. She doesn't promise a contract for everything but she does promise to try very hard to find you a home at TWRP if you want it.”

Dreamspellers who have contracts with The Wild Rose Press include:
  • Leigh Neely and Jan Powell, True Nature
  • Marilyn Gardiner, Comanche Moon
  • Susan Coryell, A Red, Red Rose
  • Mark Rosendorf, The Rasner Effect
  • J.D. Webb, Smudge
  • Chris Ferguson, Suicide Kings
  • Nikki Andrews, Framed
  • Joyce Scarbrough, Symmetry
  • Lynn Schurr, A Trashy Affair, Love Letter for a Sinner, A Convent Rose
Contracts are also under consideration at TWRP for a new book from Jo Hiestand, D.K. Christy's Ghost Orchid, and Lynn Shurr’s Wish for a Sinner and Kicks for a Sinner

“I feel lucky to have titles coming out next year," Lynn said. "Trashy Affair was all edited and only lacked its cover before DS folded, hence the quick turnaround.” A Trashy Affair is also on Kindle.

Other advice Dream Team authors shared about getting books back in print included:
  • BackinPrint through The Author's Guild--"Costs you nothing at all except you have to join Author's Guild. iuniverse will do the printing and cover art. I hand all my St. Martin's Press books done that way. They don't do ebooks, though, just print." -- Nancy Means Wright
  • StoneThread Publishing--A traditional royalty-paying publisher for e-books only, is particularly interested in series. Publisher Harvey Stanbrough recommends first reading the About and the FAQs pages before reading the submissions page. 
  • Harlequin Worldwide Mystery & Suspense--"...they bought the first 
two in [my] series as reprints."--Jacqueline Seewald
  • Prince and Pauper Press--the publisher is Dreamspell author Jennifer Carson,
And advice on other markets (some currently closed to submissions):
  • Penumbra Publishing--"They cover a wide variety of genres. My latest sci-fi novel, Status Quo, is through them."--Mark Rosendorf  
  • Belle Books--"... is another publisher with a good reputation...They do romance and mystery and do give an advance.
They are very slow to reply though.

"-- Jacqueline Seewald

  • Spencer Hill Press--"We usually only take queries from agented authors, except in cases where we have met authors at conferences, etc. I am extending to you an open door because of our situation. Spencer Hill does have a wing for contemporary stories. Unfortunately, we don't do straight historical though."--Spencer Hill Press senior editor Jennifer Carson (who is also a Dreamspell author)  
  • Kings River Life Magazine--(Lorie Ham, editor) Reprints individual mystery short stories.--Nancy Means Wright

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