Archive for June 13th, 2012

Hey, hi! How is everyone? Good, good. I want to thank the wonderful peeps here at DFRAT for letting me come over and post today.

When I was asked to blog about my experiences being published in the digital-first market, I wasn’t quite certain what I would talk about. I’ve been published digitally since about 2008. That first experience was good. I was dealing with professionals who took their work seriously and had pride in the product they were putting out for public consumption. They ran a business and it showed in the editing, cover design, etc. In fact, I have always been very fortunate to work with professional publishers, editors, and others.

In digital publishing I think that’s really important, because although my experiences have been very good, I know other authors with horror stories who have a bad taste for digital publishing because of it.

And while I realize that an author can’t always know what will happen once the contract is signed, there are ways to protect yourself from bad experiences.

    Number 1. THE most important thing…Always do your research! This seems like a no-brainer, but the number of people who tell me they submitted to a publisher without everreading even one of the books that publisher has put onto the market astounds me! Get feedback from other people who have dealt with them. Contact some of the authors they have published and ask questions. And like I said, read a book or two. Take note not only of whether there were major typos or plot holes a city block would fall into that should have been caught by a good editor, but also little things like:
    How was it formatted? Could you read it easily on your device, or was the font wonky, missing characters, symbols, even chapters?
    Where was it available? Go searching for it at all the major online retailers. Could you buy it anywhere (ie. Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Diesel, Sony, iBooks, etc.) or were you stuck purchasing it only from the publisher’s website?
    How much are they charging for their ebooks? Typical prices for short stories run between $0.99-$2.99. Novellas are about $3.99-$5.99, and full length books are usually between $6.99-$8.99. These are rough estimates, but anything more than that for a full length ebook would be a red flag for me. (Also note the difference between an EBOOK and a traditionally published book that just happens to be available in digital format)
    Have any of their titles hit any “lists” anywhere? This doesn’t always say anything about the quality of a book, but when you’re looking up these books at the online bookstores, what are their sales rankings? If all the titles look like they have more numbers in the sales ranking than a billionaire’s income statement, they either sell a ton right off their website (not likely) or they’re not selling any copies, period.
    Other things to check out by way of research. Do they have a social media platform with any followers (ie. are there 800 people following them on Twitter and Facebook, or 8000?). Keep in mind that, although authors do a lot of marketing and promo on their own, the publisher has to be able to do the same. If they’re going to digitally publish YOUR book, they need a digital platform, but if nobody’s following them, how are they going to get the word out about their books?
    If all of the above seem to be acceptable, you decide to query the publisher with your book, and low and behold they have contacted you wanting to publish it. That’s great news, right?? Well, after you jump up and down for a while, get your legal hat on quick because now it’s time to go through that contract with a fine toothed comb.

Many authors publishing digitally don’t have the benefit of an agent to assist in contract negotiations, or have chosen not to use an agent for digital contracts. I’m not one of those people who says an author absolutely NEEDS an agent. But I do say that if you’re going to do this without one, you need to know what the clauses in these contracts mean, and you need to know which ones are standard, which ones are not, and which ones can be negotiated.

Because my day-job is in law, I’ve had the opportunity to look at these sorts of contracts a lot. But I still hire a lawyer when I’m dealing with a publisher I haven’t worked with before. There are a lot of agents who can be hired just to help you with the contract. One of the most well-known is Elaine English (http://www.elaineenglish.com/)

The biggest thing to keep in mind about digital publishing is the same thing you should keep in mind any time you attempt to do business with someone. Be professional and expect the same in return. If something looks funky it probably is.

J.K. Coi is a multi-published, award winning author of contemporary and paranormal romance and urban fantasy. She makes her home in Ontario, Canada, with her husband and son and a feisty black cat who is the uncontested head of the household. While she spends her days immersed in the litigious world of insurance law, she is very happy to spend her nights writing dark and sexy characters who leap off the page and into readers’ hearts. Please find her online at http://www.jkcoi.com

Also writing Dark Fantasy for young adults as Chloe Jacobs. Find more information at http://www.chloejacobs.com.

Far From Broken is available now from Carina Press

Soldier. Spymaster. Husband.

Colonel Jasper Carlisle was defined by his work until he met his wife. When the prima ballerina swept into his life with her affection, bright laughter and graceful movements, he knew that she was the reason for his existence, and that their love would be forever.

But their world is shattered when Callie is kidnapped and brutally tortured by the foes Jasper has been hunting. Mechanical parts have replaced her legs, her hand, her eye…and possibly her heart. Though she survived, her anger at Jasper consumes her, while Jasper’s guilt drives him from the woman he loves. He longs for the chance to show her their love can withstand anything…including her new clockwork parts.

As the holiday season approaches, Jasper realizes he must fight not just for his wife’s love and forgiveness…but also her life, as his enemy once again attempts to tear them apart.

(Look for Book 2 of the Seasons of Invention series, BROKEN PROMISES, in September 2012)


Don’t forget to leave a comment for J.K. Coi. One reader will win a download of FAR FROM BROKEN. Good luck!

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