by Janis Patterson
If you haven’t heard that I’m doing a backlist/new story publishing blitz releasing a book every two weeks from 30 June to 30 October, I haven’t been doing my job. I mean, it’s an incredible amount of work, and I want people to know about it and buy some books so I can at least pay my formatter and cover artist and perhaps have enough left to take The Husband out for a dinner that isn’t frozen pizza.
To be serious, this started as a lark. I got back the rights to a number of backlist books from several publishers and they were just sitting there on my hard drive, staring reproachfully at me. Books should available to the public, not just imprisoned in an ageing laptop.
I had self-published before, half-heartedly releasing some of my backlist in electronic only, using some inexpensive pre-made covers. They did okay, but… I had been dreaming of early retirement. I got a couple of nice dinners out.
When I got this newest bunch of backlist back, I decided to invest the money (with The Husband’s blessing and assistance) and go more professional. I got a wonderful formatter and a superb cover artist and released one, a tasty little gothic romance called FAMILY OF STRANGERS, in May. It’s done okay, recouping the costs of formatting and art in a fairly short time.
I also released it in paperback. No paperback copies have been sold yet, but I didn’t expect many to. But they’re there! I published my first novel in 1979, when paper was all there was, so it’s nothing new to hold a paper version of my words (and what a feeling that was!) but holding a version for which I was totally responsible – re-editing, layout, art – was a definite rush. And yes, I am a control freak.
When I had first released the e-only editions several years ago, I bought 10 ISBNs from Bowkers. They didn’t last long. Seeing that I would need more, I bought 100, paying roughly the equivalent of a good car payment for them, but I’m set for a couple of years – maybe even the rest of my life. (Yes, I'm older than I ever thought I would be!)
My father always told me if you’re going to do something, do it right, so when The Husband and I finally made the decision to publish both my backlist and some frontlist, I created a publisher name (Sefkhat-Awbi Books) and got a DBA from the county. When I commissioned my first custom cover, my wonderful artist asked me if I had a logo; on hearing ‘no’, she immediately designed one that I just love and have a tendency to stick on everything.
Then after FAMILY OF STRANGERS was released, a project that took six weeks from inception to first sale day, I went to work on the other books. And accomplished nothing. I thissed and thatted around, getting a lot done but nothing finished. Having grown up in journalism and advertising where deadlines are sacrosanct, I needed a deadline.
Then the insanity set in. I wanted these books out and this project over so I could go on to new writing projects. (One of the downsides to this is that I haven’t written a new word in over a month… I barely have time to sleep!) I decided to release a book every two weeks. After hyperventilating, both my formatter and cover artist said it could be done, and we were off!
To keep from drowning in sticky notes and scribbled-on napkins, I created a spreadsheet with one line per book and a column for every step of the process. Currently I have 34 columns, and that should grow by 6 or 8 as I begin releasing more frontlist. Sigh. I can’t imagine being able to do this without my trusty spreadsheet! I even add color coding.
If you’re interested in seeing some of the results, the release schedule is :
June 30 – PASSION’S CHOICE – time travel
July 15 – THE FAIR AMAZON – traditional Regency
July 30 – THE JERUSALEM CONNECTION – romantic mystery/adventure
August 15 – SHADOWED LEGACY – gothic
August 30 – THE EGYPTIAN FILE – romantic mystery/adventure
September 15 – THE AVENGING MAID – traditional Regency
September 30 – THE OTHER HALF OF YOUR HEART – romantic adventure
October 15 – THE DEVIL OF DRAGON HOUSE – gothic
October 30 – LACEY – traditional Regency
All are released under my Janis Susan May persona, and all are romances of some stripe, though a few are pretty heavily laced with mystery elements. This is primarily backlist, remember, and I did start in romance many years ago. There are, I promise, some Janis Patterson mysteries coming!
Once I get rested up!