July 2011


Today is a special edition of the blog to celebrate the fifth birthday of Aspen Mountain Press. I write historical western romance for their Aurora Regency Historical Program.

I get private emails all the time asking me about my experiences with Aurora and AMP, so I thought I’d take the opportunity with this blog to answer some of those questions. The big one is why, after years in traditional publishing, did I decide to go with a relative newcomver to e-pubbing?

Several reasons — I was looking for a publisher that wanted western historicals — not as an afterthought, but as something they actively wanted to publish. Though I enjoy the contemporary romance and women’s fiction I write for other publishers, historical western romance is my first love, and I am happy to have found a home for those books at Aurora.   I also know the publisher personally and AMP is a Colorado company, which I like.

What’s it like, working with the people at Aspen Mountain Press?

This was the biggest surprise of the whole experience. The editors at AMP are some of the best I’ve worked with, hands down. After 40 books and counting I’ve had good editors before, but my editor at AMP is at the top of the list. Then there’s all the folks in the art department. They really do bend over backwards to do their jobs. Of course, people at the big publishers do great jobs too. But I never had the personal email of anybody in those big companies. Everyone at AMP seems to really care about every book and really go out of their way to help the authors.

Why didn’t you just self-publish your backlist?

Lots of authors do this, and quite successfully. But it takes a lot of time and effort to do that work — time I’d rather spend writing. My choice — not for everyone. But I’m happy.

Are you making a lot of money?

No. But I get a check every month and the numbers are slowly increasing. I didn’t pursue this as a moneymaker. I hope the books will earn more in the future, especially now that they’re available in so many outlets.

Are you giving up on traditional publishing?

No. I have two new contracts in the works right now with traditional publishers. My business plan has always been to have a variety of outlets for my work and AMP fits nicely into that plan.

So, that’s the skinny on my experience with AMP. I’ll also add that, as a fan of westerns and regencies, I’ve really enjoyed many of the AMP titles I’ve had the privilege to read. There’s a lot of good stuff on the site, so I urge you to check it out.

To celebrate the AMP birthday, various authors are holding a blog tour. Follow the tour and you could win a Kindle or free books. Just post a comment and follow the tour by clicking on the link at the end of this blog. The more blogs you comment on, the more chances you have to win.

And while you’re at it, stop by Aspen Mountain Press and check out the wide variety of books they offer — from steamy erotica to fantasy to traditional Regencies. And oh yeah, western historicals. They’re publishing my complete backlist, as well as a brand new book, A Long, Sweet Ride, set at a Wild West Show.

Can’t decide which book to try? As part of their birthday celebration, AMP is offering discounted bundles. Each bundle contains four books at 20 percent off the cost of buying the books separately. There’s a bundle for almost every taste — including a Cindi Myers Bundle that includes all three books in my Titled Texas series, plus A Long, Sweet Ride.

Though all the AMP and Aurora books are available on Amazon and other e-retailers (they’re in the process of being loaded to Barnes and Noble for the Nook as I write this) the bundles are only available on the AMP website. Check them out here.

Check out all the AMP authors on the blog tour and maybe win some free loot.  Post a comment here, then head on over to JESS DEES’ BLOG, the next stop on the tour.

Tour Rules:
1) Tour Starts: Monday, August 1, 2011 at Midnight (EST)
Tour Ends: August 7, 2011 at Midnight (EST)
Final Celebration is August 7th from 6pm-11pm (EST) at the AMP Community Loop.
Grand Prize: a Kindle (Wi-Fi, Graphite, 6″ Display with New E-Ink Pearl Technology) is the Grand Prize. Drawing will take place and be announced on August 7, 2011 on the AMP Community Loop at 11pm (EST). Only comments posted before 10pm (EST) on August 7, 2011 are eligible to win the Kindle. Winner will be notified by email on August 8, 2011 if they are not present on the Loop for the announcement.
***Individual winners from author contests will be drawn and posted August 8, 2011 on their individual sites.***
2) Participation at every blog on the tour is not required but the more blogs a person comments on, the more chances they have to win. If a person comments on one blog, they are entered into the Grand Prize Drawing once. If they comment on ten different blogs, they will be entered into the Grand Prize drawing ten times. Only one comment per blog per person will be entered to win the Grand Prize.
3) The winner of the Grand Prize must be a resident of the United States with a US mailing address. Non-US winners will be eligible for $50 US in Aspen Mountain Press books from the AMP Website.
4) Prizes at individual author blogs are completely at the discretion of the individual authors and are not in association with Aspen Mountain Press and its prize system. To enter the contest on any given blog, you must follow their contest rules and objectives.
5) By commenting on any blog in the tour, the participant is agreeing to these rules and policies.
6) All prize winners will be chosen randomly by using Random Line Picker.

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“Writing gives you the illusion of control, and  then you realize it’s just an illusion, that people are going to bring their own stuff into it.”   David Sedaris

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Senior Aquisitions Editor David Long of Bethany House present this look at inspirational publisher Bethany House. Bethany House began publishing romance fiction in 1979, with Janette Oke’s “Love Comes Softly.” They currently publish more than 40 novels a year, 90 percent of which are aimed at women, and 90 percent of those are romances. They publish in many sub-genres, though they are best known for their historical romances. Stories ranges from sweet and light “Little House on the Prairie” type stories, to darker themed tales with more action and adventure. They welcome humor in their books. They want plot-driven stories with strong characters, not necessarily issue-driven stories. Most of the books are set in America, and most take place prior to 1900, though they will consider stories that take place through World War II.  Early twentieth century stories are become more popular, and they do some stories that take place in Biblical times.

 They are actively seeking more romantic suspense stories for their list. Long defined these as “strong romantic stories with elements of suspense.” They also welcome historical romantic suspense. They also publish women’s fiction, which may or may not include romance. Next summer they’re putting out their first contemporary romance. 

They also publish a number of very popular “bonnet books” that take place in religious communities such as the Amish and Mennonites.

Another area where they’re open to submissions is Christian fantasy. These stories are aimed primarily at the YA market and have romantic elements. They also publish some straight suspense titles.

They don’t want vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, and aren’t interested in Apocalyptic stories or tales of spiritual warfare. No angels or demons.

The two most common reasons they reject a manuscript are no strong voice and lack of originality. Most submissions come from agents, but if you pitch to them at a conference and they request a manuscript, send a query and a couple of chapters. Their books all come in at around 85,000 words.

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Harper Collins and Create Space are holding a contest for women’s fiction writers. The prize is a critique by women’s fiction novelist Claudia Carroll and a copy of her new novel, Will You Still Love Me, Tomorrow?

Send your novel’s pitch to Pitch.Competition@harpercollins.co.uk. Claudia will choose the strongest pitch and invite the author to send in their opening chapters. Pitches should be no longer than 225 words, but you might want to consider splitting it up into a short (25 words) and a long section (200). Entrants can submit as many entries as they like, but only one pitch per novel. Closing date for entry is August 1.

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As  always, feel free to pass along the info in this blog to others. Forward it, link it, reprint it — all I ask is that you give me credit and include the link to this page. Thank you. Cindi

There are so many different kinds of writing and so many ways to work that the only rule is this: do what works. Almost everything has been tried and found to succeed for somebody. The methods, even the ideas of successful writers contradict each other in a most heartening way, and the only element I find common to all successful writers is persistence-an overwhelming determination to succeed.”
Sophy Burnham

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This week I’m reporting on the Spotlight on Grand Central Publishing from the Romance Writers of America convention in New York City.  Amy Pierpont, editorial director; Karen Kosztolnyik, senior editor and Selina McLemore, editor presented the spotlight.

Forever is the romance imprint of Grand Central Publishing. The editors there are open to all sub-genres of romance. They take only agented submissions, unless you have met with an editor at a conference and she has requested you send your material. They discussed more details about what they’re looking for:

In historical romance, they want sensual stories with strong emotion and well-developed characters. These stories should have real conflict, not a mere misunderstanding. Popular time periods include Regency, Victorian, Georgian. Settings should be English or Scottish. Series potential is a plus.

 For contemporaries, they like both sweet and sexy stories. The stories should have strong emotional conflict. They like small town settings with a community of characters. The secondary cast of these stories is important. And cowboys sell well and are always a plus.

Romantic suspense stories should be sensual and have a strong romantic conflict. The editors like well-developed characters – alpha heroes and savvy heroines. These stories should have fast-paced action and spine-tingling suspense.

 Paranormal romance should be dark and sensual – “the hotter the better.” These are hero-driven stories, preferably with series potential. They want “new twists on old favorites.” Vampire, werewolves and shape-shifters still sell, but psychic powers are good too. They’re also interested in historical paranormals and steampunk.

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Lightspeed Magazine publishes new science fiction short stories each week and welcomes contributions from previously published and unpublished writers. Lightspeed pays 5 cents a word for stories between 1500 and 7500 words. They prefer stories of 5000 words and less.  The magazine publishes all types of science fiction. Get all the submissions details here.

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The Runaway, third in my Titled Texans trilogy, is now available on Kindle. Originally published by Kensington Books, this trilogy is being re-released in e-book form by Apsen Mountain Press.

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As always, feel free to share information from this blog: reprint it in your writer’s newsletters and forward it to others. All I ask is that you give me credit and include the link to the blog. Thank you.

However great a man’s natural talent may be, the act of writing cannot be learned all at once.
Jean Jacques Rousseau

This week I’m covering the Spotlights on Bell Bridge Books and Samhain Publishing from the Romance Writers of America convention in New York City.  

Editor Deb Dixon and Editorial Director Deborah Smith presented the spotlight on Bell Bridge Books. As Belle Books, this boutique publisher opened 12 years ago, specializing in Southern fiction. More recently, they’ve changed the name to Bell Bridge books and they publish a wide variety of fiction and some nonfiction. Their list includes cozy mysteries, suspense, thrillers, inspirational, young adult, urban fantasy, romance, historical fiction and fantasy. They release as both print and e-books. The book debuts in print, then releases in digital format. They also do many subright sales. They’ve sold audio, large print and foreign language rights to many of their titles. They also reprint previously published titles. They pay 40 percent of net on ebooks. They do pay advances plus royalties. 

Deb Dixon handles YA, fantasy, urban fantasy and paranormal fiction. Deborah Smith does womens and literary fiction and cozy mysteries. Pat Van Wie edits suspense, thrillers and romantic suspense. 

They accept both agented and unagented submissions. For more information, visit Belle Books and Bell Bridge Books. Submit via email. Deb Smith prefers to see the first three chapters and a synopsis, while Deb Dixon likes to see the complete manuscripts.  Published authors with a track record may send a proposal only, but new authors should have a complete manuscript.

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Managing Editor Lindsey Faber and Editorial Director Heather Osborne presented the Spotlight on Samhain. They are a digital-first program that also has an extensive print program. They publish romance and horror. The horror line will launch in October 2011. 

Their motto is “It’s all about the story.” They publish all sub-genres of romance, such as historical westerns and many alternate setting historicals. All stories that are 50,000 or more go to print nine to 12 months after digital release. 

They have had two titles on the New York Times e-book list as novella. They accept about 8 percent of submissions. They publish 4 to 6 books a week.

 They pay 40 percent royalties on all books sold on the Samhain website, 30 percent royalties on sales from all third-part sales such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc, and 8 percent royalties on print copies. All royalties are based on the cover price.

They would love to see more science fiction romance, steampunk romance, sweet romance and more multi-cultural romance. They regularly issue calls for submissions for themed anthologies. Watch for information about a new anthology of stories about men and women in uniform.

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Long and Short Reviews reviewed Great Caesar’s Ghost this week. Check out the review here.

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The Runaway, the third title in my Titled Texans trilogy is on sale now. Available from the publisher, Aspen Mountain Press, it will soon be available on Kindle and from other ebook sellers.

Two strangers joined in a shotgun marriage find salvation in each other.

Cam Worthington was only trying to get out of the rain when he found himself on the wrong end of a shotgun, compelled to wed a lovely–and very pregnant–young woman he’s never seen before.

Caroline Allen only wants to escape her father’s wrath, and the handsome young minister seems the best way out of her troubles. As soon as they’re away from her father, she can make things right. She already made one grave mistake– getting involved with the wrong man–and she won’t do that again.

But what starts as the marriage of two strangers turns into an alliance of two people searching for a place to belong. Could it that fate has brought them together with a love that no man can put asunder?

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Next week I’ll continue my look at publisher spotlights from the RWA convention. Feel free to share the information in this blog, repost it and reprint it. All I ask is that you give me credit and include a link to the blog. Cindi

 

For me, writing is exploration; and most of the time, I’m surprised where the journey takes me.”

  Jack Dann

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I’m home from the Romance Writers of America conference in New York City. I was able to attend a number of publisher spotlights and will share those with you in the coming weeks. Every conference has certain buzzwords that are on everyone’s list. My impressions of this conference: ebooks are now “digital first” and it’s all about “discoverability” – helping people find your book in the mass of titles out there. 

All the publishers seemed to be working hard to convince authors why they’re a better choice than self-publishing. They spent more time than ever talking about their marketing efforts and showing off beautiful covers. Digital first imprints from both Avon and Ballantine, Bantam, Dell are open to a much wider range of sub-genres and settings, meaning, I think, more opportunities for authors.  The publishers seem to be putting a lot of money and effort into these ventures. 

I thought the overall mood of the conference was optimistic and the message from publishers – “we need you.”

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The Spotlight on Avon was presented by Lucia Macro, Executive Editor of Morrow/Avon, Assistant Editors Amanda Bergeron and Wendy Lee and Associated Editors Tessa Woodward and Esi Sogah. You can find more about the company at AvonRomance.com. And recently they launched their new digital-first publishing venture, Avon Impulse.

Wendy Lee presented some statistics about Avon – they receive 22,000 visitors to Avon Romance.com each month. They have 30,000 newsletter subscribers, 5000 Twitter followers and 11,300 likes on Facebook. In 2010-2011 they had 28 New York Times and 32 USA Today bestsellers and five Rita nominees. 

They publish all sub-genres of romance – Regency historical, contemporary romance, paranormal romance and urban fantasy. For historicals they prefer Regency. They prefer dark, sexy paranormals and like small-town set contemporaries. 

Avon Impluse has the same editorial team as Avon’s print program. They plan to submit publish one new romance a week, priced at $3.99 for a novel and $1.99 for a novella. They pay 25 percent royalties on the first 10,000 copies and 50 percent royalties after 10,000 copies. They publish as quickly as six to nine weeks after receive of the final manuscript. The books will be available in all ebook formats and potentially can go into print also. Avon’s print authors will also publish novellas and special promotions with Impulse.

 They are open to a wide variety of stories in all subgenres. Stories may be in first or third person. There is no length limit. You may submit novellas as well as full-length novels. Un-agented authors are welcome to submit through the Avon Impulse website. Agents should submit in the traditional manner. 

Submit to them using the form on the Avon Impulse website. Submitting to Impulse is also submitting to Avon’s print program. They will give no response if they’re not interested.

The editors shared some of their wish list items for the Impulse program: funny contemporaries, westerns, epic fantasy, “women living in a state with more men than women, preferably titled The Odds are Good,” or a series about military wives. They are only suggestions, as they are open to any ideas you can come up with.

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Night Owl Reviews reviewed Nobility Ranch recently and gave it 4 1/2 stars. An excerpt from the review: “I was caught up in the story immediately, never expecting that both Cecily and Charles would worm their way into my heart to the extent they did. Cecily surprised me; determined to get her man, resourceful, intelligent, kind-hearted – she is a delightfully charming character. Charles, too, came across as knowledgeable, generous, and masculine even though he is bull-headed in his desire to avoid what he sees as a life of boredom and discontent that he believes awaits him if he returns to England. It was often quite funny watching him squirm on the end of Cecily’s patiently baited hook as the story played out. ” Read the whole review here. Or pick up a copy of Nobility Ranch here or at Amazon for Kindle.

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My publisher for Nobility Ranch, Aspen Mountain Press, is actively seeking speculative fiction for a new speculative fiction line., Aura. The editors are looking for “science fiction, both hard and soft; fantasy, from epic to urban and in between; horror, all types; Steampunk; cyberpunk; dystopian stories and anything else that falls beneath the wide SF umbrella.” They’re not interested in erotica for this line. Romantic sub-plots are fine, but the romance shouldn’t overwhelm the rest of the story. Short stories to 20,000 words will be published as Aura Flash and novels may be up to 100,000 words.  They’re open to both new material and previously published backlist.  Find all the guidelines here.

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As always, feel free to pass along information from this blog: forward it to friends and reprint it in newsletters. All I ask is that you give me credit and include a link to the blog. Thank you. Cindi