I’m a fan of Joanna Campbell Slan‘s long-running Kiki Lowenstein books as well as her newer Cara Mia Delgatto mystery series – I especially enjoy the quirky characters. The plots are tricky enough to keep mystery lovers engaged but not so dark that readers who aren’t mystery addicts will be put off. This is Joanna’s second post for RU – please welcome her back, and don’t forget to check out her giveaway!
“You’ll never get your rights back. Ever. Forget about it.” The veteran author shook her head. Giving me a woeful look, she added, “You’re stupid to keep writing new books in that series because all you’re doing is selling books for them.”
My heart sank as she weighed in on my predicament. Was she right? Was it possible that I’d never get my rights back to the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series? Was I stupid to go ahead and write eight more books in that same series after my publisher had dropped it?
I’d heard stories from other authors, detailing how difficult it could be to get rights back. On the other hand, I had maintained a good relationship with my “old” publisher. When they let me go, I sent each and every person I’d worked with a letter, thanking each individual for the assistance I’d been given in my career. I ended my letters with the truth: I would always appreciate the fact they had given me a chance to get started in this business.
Each year, I approached my old publisher with a request to buy back my rights. After four years, they were ready to divest themselves of my old inventory. Would I buy all the old stock? My husband and I decided it was a good move. Risky, but worthwhile.
In January of this year, I received the reversion of rights for the first six books in my Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series. I thought about slapping new covers on them and immediately putting them up for sale, but I thought they needed more attention. I had learned a lot since those books were first published. I’ve grown as an author. So rather than immediately re-publishing them, I did extensive re-edits. I commissioned new covers for the entire line. Based on what I learned from attending the RWA conference, I decided to re-release one book a week for thirteen weeks, culminating with a new title on November 13. I figured the tight sequencing would help me trip the all-powerful Amazon algorithms. I also applied for a BookBub spot…twice. When they said they’d take me, I literally jumped for joy.
It was a lot of work, and it also took an investment of time and money. Some days I wondered if I’d lost my mind as I struggled to re-edit the books, format them, and get them loaded for sale. Doing that last book, writing it from scratch, nearly killed me, but I gritted my teeth and carried out my plan.
How’d I do? Well, I’ve made back my investment, and then some. One of my books has been a category bestseller for three weeks in a row.
If you’re in the same situation as I was, don’t give up. Your fans will stick with you. Your publisher might not be willing to give up your rights today, but there’s always tomorrow. Keep asking. Ask politely. Ask repeatedly. Stay in touch with your readers. Make a plan, and stick to it.
Trust me: It’s worth it!
Would you have re-written and re-edited some of your original books? Or would you have put them up as they were?
Author KIMBERLY DEAN joins us Friday with her debut post for Romance University.
GIVEAWAY! (Times two!)
Joanna will give one lucky commenter in the U.S. a paper copy of Love, Die, Neighbor: The Prequel to the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series.
She will also give away a digital copy to a commenter anywhere in the world.
Love, Die, Neighbor: The Prequel to the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series.
As the mother of an active toddler and the wife of an often absent husband, Kiki Lowenstein already has both hands full. But when the Lowensteins move into their new house on the same day the construction crew leaves, Kiki must learn to juggle boxes, baby, and big expectations. Her determination to be a good neighbor hits a serious roadblock when she angers the Nordstroms, the couple who live next door. Then Sven Nordstrom dies under mysterious circumstances, and Kiki is forced into the one role she never planned on playing: amateur sleuth.
National bestselling and award-winning author Joanna Campbell Slan has written 30 books and twice as many short stories. Her first non-fiction book, Using Stories and Humor: Grab Your Audience, was endorsed by Toastmasters International, and lauded by Benjamin Netanyahu’s speechwriter.
She’s the author of three mystery series. Her first novel − Paper, Scissors, Death (Book #1 in the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series) − was shortlisted for the Agatha Award. Her first historical mystery − Death of a Schoolgirl: The Jane Eyre Chronicles − won the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence. Her contemporary series set in Florida continues this year with All Washed Up (Cara Mia Delgatto Mystery #3). In addition to writing fiction, she edits the Happy Homicides Anthologies.
Joanna was one of the early contributors to the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, and her work appears in five different editions, as well as being turned into a television special. RT Reviews has called her one of mystery’s “rising stars.” When she isn’t banging away at the keyboard, Joanna keeps busy walking her Havanese puppy Jax or making miniatures. Her husband, David, owns Steinway Piano Gallery-DC, so he provides the class in the family while she figures out how to turn trash into treasure. The Slans make their home in Jupiter Island, Florida.
· Visit Joanna at − http://www.JoannaSlan.com ;
· Email her at − JCSlan@JoannaSlan.com
· Ask her questions and share quotations at —http://www.Goodreads.com/JoannaCampbellSlan
· Join her community of readers for fun, special offers, contests, and more at − http://bit.ly/JCSGroup
· Like to color? We do too at http://bit.ly/JCS-ColoringClub
· Send her mail through the USPS at –Joanna Slan / 9307 SE Olympus Street / Hobe Sound FL 33455
Fatal, Family, Album: Book #13 in the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series
Two FBI agents come looking for Kiki’s nanny, Brawny–and suddenly, the Detweiler household is turned upside down.
Kiki and her husband Detweiler must ask themselves the toughest questions they’ll ever face: Can we trust this person with our kids? The answer might say more about them than it does about Brawny. But how can you trust someone whose whole life has been a lie?
Then a totally forgettable woman is found shot to dead in her car while the motor is running and her window is down in sub-zero weather. Was it a drive-by shooting gone wrong? Or an intentional, targeted murder?
One of Kiki’s friends is accused of hiring a hitman, after a cashier’s check for a million dollars goes missing. It’s a puzzle with too many pieces, but Kiki’s determined to see justice done.