Saturday, November 29, 2014

Rekindling the Passion

Recently I attended Bouchercon 2014, the World Mystery Conference. It's always so much fun to get together with readers and with other writers and I had a blast. But one of the things I came away with was a renewed passion for my writing career.

Self publishing or independent publishing has been around a very long time. My Odelia Grey novels began with the first two books in the series being originally released by me via iUniverse before they were picked up by traditional publisher Midnight Ink.  In addition, I've been self-publishing short stories on Amazon for several years now with moderate success.

Over the years, Midnight Ink contracted with me for a total of 12 Odelia Grey books. I have only two books left under contract and I'm currently working on #11. In 2017, the 12th and final Odelia Grey book will be released by Midnight Ink and the series will come to an end ... or will it?

But we'll come back to that...

I've been a bit burned out by my writing career for a while now.  I'm not bored with writing either the Odelia Grey or the Ghost of Granny Apples series, but I am burned out on working so damn hard and not making much money from my efforts. Even though I'm considered a "successful" author with nearly 20 books in publication, there is no way I can support myself with my royalties and advances. That's the ugly truth of publishing.  Most of your favorite authors, except those in the rarified air at the very top, can. 

For a few years I've been chatting with many authors who do support themselves with their novels and who are not at the top of the New York Times Bestsellers List. And almost all of them are indie authors, meaning they self-publish their books.

Here's another dirty little secret, usually the author of a book makes the least amount of money from it. That hardly seems right, does it?  But indie authors make the lion's share of the sales of their books. No wonder they can support themselves.  They are selling thousands and pocketing most of the money.
Where do I sign up?

I'm not looking to quit my job. I like my day job. More importantly, I am just a few years away from retirement. To leave now would be foolish, unless I won millions in Powerball. But there's no time like the present to think about extra money for my retirement. I'm also not looking to dump traditional publishing. As long as Granny Apples has a home with Berkley, I'm happy with that arrangement. And my agent has some ideas for other publishing projects. But authors today need to have a foot in both traditional and independent publishing. Even my wonderful agent agrees with that.

After coming home from Bouchercon, I made a list of all of the writing projects I want to complete that are not under contract. It's a long list:

Holidays From Hell, a novel based on my popular short story series
More Madison Rose Vampire Mysteries (Midnight Ink canned the series but my readers are still clamoring for more)
More short stories
A new steamy and humorous romance series
A dark murder mystery that I've had on the back burner for quite a while
A new paranormal series

With the list made, I got to work.  First, I finished up a short story that I'd been working on and published it via Amazon for Kindle.  It's called HO HO HUMBUG and contains two Odelia Grey Christmas short stories.  The first one, HO HO HOMICIDE, has appeared now in two anthologies. With my rights returned to me, I paired it with a new short story called HO HO HELL. You can find it on Amazon for Kindle for 99 cents. 

I'm also working on another short story called EARLY RETIREMENT. That should be done and ready for release in the next several weeks.

As for the steamy romance series, I've already started the first book in the series, which has a working title of RUNNING WILDE.  The series is called The Adventures of Winnie Wilde and will feature Winnie Wilde, a woman who just turned fifty and is on a journey of self-discovery.  These will be released under the pen name of Meg Chambers.  Meg already has her own Facebook page. Expect the first one to be released in the summer of 2015.

Madison and her vampire pals will be back, too! Expect to see BETRAYED BY BLOOD, the 3rd book in the series, come out in late 2016 or even early 2017 if I get bogged down with other things.

Why the delay? Remember, I'm still writing books for two traditional publishers and working a full-time day job.

As for the Holidays From Hell novel, the dark murder mystery, and the new paranormal series, those are in the mix but I don't have anything scheduled for them yet. But stay tuned.

NOTE: All of my self-published works will be released by Arakel Press, my personal imprint. I don't want anyone to think I'm trying to hide my self published status on these projects. I'm proud to be an indie.
Now back to Odelia ...

Yes, I am planning on there being a 13th Odelia Grey novel, but that's all I'm saying at this time, except that Odelia may be returning to her indie roots.  Expect it out in early 2018, providing I live that long and people still want to read about her sleuthing.

In this season of giving thanks, I want to thank you all for supporting my writing career and my work. Without my wonderful readers and without the support and information given me by my writing colleagues, I couldn't think of starting this journey. Now I can hardly wait!


Bev Cooley said...

Sue Ann! I want to thank you right back! Thank you for having such a wonderful imagination and sharing it with us! Thank you for the hours of entertainment you have provided. I've only been following your work for a couple of years, but I've read everything I can find that you've written, except for the Madison Rose series (I'm not into vampires.) and I've even downloaded the first book in that! It's on my Kindle waiting for me to delve into it. I'm so happy you are going to continue to write because that means I can continue to read very happily.

Jeanne K said...

I am so glad to hear about Madison Rose!!! I love all of your books but must admit Odelia hold a special place in my heart! I just finished re-reading the whole series through Hell on Wheels and am impatiently awaiting the next installment!!!!! I have a huge secret book crush on Steele, Willie and Dev. Haven't told the Hubby he's being upstaged yet :). So thanks to you for making my days a little brighter!