Here’s Reading You ~ An Author’s POV (Part IV)
Today, we are going to finish up our authors perspective on writing and publishing eBooks with two authors familiar to readers here at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words. Elin Gregory, author of wonderful M/M historical novels and Joe Cosentino, author of the Cozzi Cove and Nicky and Noah Mysteries among others. They kindly consented to answering our questions about writing, writing eBooks and publishing.
Reflecting back, while many authors see the eBook format as one that’s here to stay, other points of view vary widely. Here are two more to add to our picture of the eBook as it matures into an established book format and method of getting one’s story heard and out to readers world wide.
- As an author, what has your experience been publishing ebooks? Especially self published ebooks? Did you start off that way? Was a traditional publishing house not the answer? Or if it was, why?
I’ve been writing fiction for as long as I can remember but very much took on board the message that proper books were written by ‘posh folk’. Impressions that you form as a child can be very difficult to shake off as an adult so, although I wrote many novels, it was always as a cheap form of amusement rather than with any intent. In my thirties I did show a friend what I had written. She was a deeply thoughtful and serious reader and a rollicking Regency romance with a bisexual hero really wasn’t her thing. Her reaction was so negative that I went back into the writing closet. It wasn’t until the rise of the internet and online writing fora that I tried sharing things again, to a much better response, and a friend who was a published author encouraged me to try ebooks. This was in the early 2000s before ebooks were widely available and I didn’t follow it up at the time. I wish I had.
- How has the ebook industry changed since you started publishing? How do you view these changes?
It hasn’t actually changed that much other than fewer publishers, more opportunities to self publish and OMG huge numbers of authors. The consequence of this is that I think it’s getting harder to be published by one of the ebook houses – which isn’t bad. As a reader I appreciate feeling that publishers are striving for excellence. But as an author, whether with a little house or as a self pubber, it’s very hard to be ‘seen’ when there are hundreds of new books each month.
- Have you as an author benefited, are indifferent, or has it made your job more difficult to get your books out there?
I’ve benefitted in that I don’t believe I’d have ever been picked up by an agent. The competition is FIERCE. So ebooks have given me a terrific opportunity to share my work. The difficulty is in writing books that don’t properly fit the main categories so never really being sure how to describe them. Tagging them M/M won’t work because M/M is, in many readers’ minds, synonymous with erotic romance. They aren’t really romance, lacking that focus on the relationship. I can’t describe them as gay fiction because that, to me, specifically refers to books written by gay authors. I can’t call them LGBT+ fiction because they mostly only cover the G. Tagging is really important in order to allow readers to find you.
- What things would you change if you were starting over?
I wish I had been braver and had submitted the short novel I finished in 2005. It might have sunk without a trace but people might have liked it. Who knows?
If I was starting now – probably not much. I don’t think I have the steely core of self esteem you need to be a successful self publisher/self promoter. When ones natural style is to say “Oh by the way, there’s this book I wrote … no, forget it. You probably wouldn’t like it” you’re not going to sell much.
- What has been your biggest challenge? And biggest victory as an author – other than publishing that is? Is it see your genre expand?
Biggest challenge – LOL marketing! Biggest victory – ummmm, not sure. I’ve had a few lovely reviews and when you’ve been doing something for well over 50 years and someone thanks you for it, oh, how the heart lifts!
But expanding the genre is happening and it’s FANTASTIC. I can buy books that are genre first now – sci fi, thriller, historical, kitchen sink drama and all the rest – with amazing, complex characters and deeply interwoven plots. Books to really sink my teeth into by authors I just want to cheer, authors I aspire to emulate! More choice has to be a good thing.
- Where do you see ebooks and yourself in the future?
I think we will carry on a pleasant low key association, like the type of friend you might not see for a couple of years but the relationship picks up where you left off. I would like to publish a bit more frequently but one does what one can and if nobody wants it – well markets change. No point worrying about it until it happens. I’ll be writing anyway.
- From being touted as the death of the printed format to the savior of reading to everything in between. As an author, what has your experience been publishing ebooks? Especially self-published ebooks? Did you start off that way? Was a traditional publishing house not the answer? Or if it was, why?
As an actor and playwright, I did the happy dance on my desk when Dreamspinner Press agreed to publish my novella adaptation of my one-act play, AN INFATUATION, loosely based on my high school years and high school reunion. That inspired me to write another novella, A SHOOTING STAR, loosely based on my years as a theatre major in college. The staff at Dreamspinner Press was amazing. I received a main editor, four assistant editors, a cover artist, and a publicity manager. The head of the company, Elizabeth North, answered my emails quickly, cordially, and completely. We even shared a hilarious late-night email exchange about my funny Italian family. The two novellas started out as e-books. They did so well that Dreamspinner Press gave me my own paperback anthology of the two novellas, which just recently won a Rainbow Award Honorable Mention. We are now planning an audiobook for those. We are also planning audiobooks for my other two novellas: THE NAKED PRINCE AND OTHER TALES FROM FAIRYLAND (my gay take on my favorite fairytales like Cinderella, Pinocchio, Jack and the Beanstalk, Goldie Locks and the Three Bears, and The Snow Queen) and A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS (my romantic novella set on the gorgeous and magical island of Capri, Italy), both being performed by the amazing and versatile actor Joel Leslie and releasing in November and December respectively. In addition to the things I have already mentioned, the benefit of having a publisher is the assurance that your books are getting out into the market, and that you are part of a family of authors who support you. I’ve met so many generous authors who have given me advice, featured me on their blogs, and read my books. The advantage of publishing an e-book is the lower price and easy availability, though some readers prefer the paperback and/or audiobook. I assume the e-books are less expensive to publish, though print on demand has greatly reduced the cost and need for bookstore returns for publishers of paperbacks.
- How has the ebook industry changed since you started publishing? How do you view these changes? Have you as an author benefited, are indifferent, or has it made your job more difficult to get your books out there?
Though I have eleven published novels and four more written and being released over the next several months, I’ve only been writing novels for two years. As my mother says, “Don’t you have anything better to do than write novels?” Hm. I wonder if Stephen King’s mother asked him that. In any case, during the short time I’ve been writing, the only change I’ve seen is the increased number of readers in all venues. Some swear by ebooks. Others want to hold the paperbook in their hands. And the rest want to hear the book performed by a skilled narrator while they exercise, drive, or rest. The more formats available for a book, the easier it is to promote.
- What things would you change if you were starting over?
I wouldn’t worry so much about whether or not my books would be published. I’ve been lucky enough to find the right publisher for each of my series. For example, Lethe Press publishes my comedy mystery series, the Nicky and Noah mystery novels, loosely based on my life as a college theatre professor (though thankfully nobody has been murdered at my college). DRAMA QUEEN (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Poll winner of Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Novel of 2015) is available as an ebook, paperback, and audiobook performed by the amazing Michael Gilboe. DRAMA MUSCLE (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention) is available as an ebook and paperback. An audiobook is in the works. DRAMA CRUISE releases in ebook and paperback on December 1. Steve Berman of Lethe Press sees the value in offering his customers ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks. He also enjoys humor and a good mystery with a surprise ending.
- What has been your biggest challenge? And biggest victory as an author – other than publishing that is? Is it to see your genre expand?
My biggest challenge has been working as a college professor/department head while I write and help promote so many books. My biggest victory is receiving so many wonderful messages from readers who tell me my books made them laugh, cry, feel romantic, and see their lives differently. For example, I created the Jana Lane mystery novels with straight leading characters and gay supporting characters, and found many straight people loving the gay characters as their favorites, and claiming that thanks to those books their positions changed on equality. The series about an ex-child star making a comeback while she solves murder mysteries on sets is published by The Wild Rose Press in ebooks and paperbacks: PAPER DOLL, PORCELAIN DOLL, SATIN DOLL, CHINA DOLL, and RAG DOLL which releases on November 13. Since the series takes place in the 1980’s, the beginnings of AIDS is featured in the novels, and also Jana’s best friend and agent are gay and partnered. The series attracts a different readership to my other novels. I am delighted to expand in that way. I also love shocking the readers each time with the surprise endings.
- Where do you see ebooks and yourself in the future?
I think ebooks are here to stay. However, I also believe paperbacks and audiobooks aren’t going anywhere, as I’ve witnessed many readers who continue to prefer them. As for me. I spent part of the summer writing teleplays of some of my books. I think they would all make terrific television series, especially my Cozzi Cove series published by NineStar Press as ebooks and paperbacks: COZZI COVE: BOUNCING BACK, (Divine Magazine Honorable Mention and TBR Pile Book of the Month), COZZI COVE: MOVING FORWARD, and COZZI COVE: STEPPING OUT which releases in January. The stories of ex-football player Cal Cozzi and his guest bungalows in a gay resort on a gorgeous cove on the New Jersey Shore is ripe for television. Hear that producers. Make me an offer!
Looking back over all our wonderful authors interviews, I begin to see certain similarities stand out. All expect the eBook format to continue, as well as all forms of printed formats and audiobooks. Most wish they had been braver, started to write or publish sooner. Wish they had listened more to their own voices instead of perhaps someone else telling them that what they were writing wasn’t what would sell or that the public wanted to read.
Its been wonderful to have all these authors opinions for the last two weeks. My thanks to Parker Williams (Of Love and Corn Dogs), Wulf Francu Godgluck (Tooth, Claw, and Horn Chronicles), and Jay Northcote (Housemates, Nothing Serious ), Elin Gregory, and Joe Cosentino for appearing in this series. Your participation has been invaluable.
Have you learned something from our authors? Still have a question or two to ask? We have a giveaway for our readers below. Leave a comment or question to be entered.
And Happy Halloween and Samhain everyone!
We will be switching things up for November as we start to roll into the holiday seasons. We will get back to our publishers at a later date. Thanksgiving is coming here in the States. Hmmm…what will be our topic next? Only a wild turkey might tell….
Elin Gregory is giving away a eBook copy (pdf format) of her M/M historical novel, A Taste of Copper, as well as our own giveaway of $10 of Dreamspinner gift certificates to 4 lucky readers. To win, leave a comment and an email address where you can be reached on how reading eBooks has impacted you. Could be the amount of books you buy, what type of books, where you buy them. Anything. Winners will get to choose their prize, first come first served. Contest ends November 8th at midnight. Must be 18 years of age or older.
This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
Sunday, October 30:
- Here’s Reading You ~ An Author’s POV (Part IV)
- This Week at Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
- A Paul Review: The Wolves of Daos 5 by Rebecca James
Monday, October 31 (Happy Halloween – Happy Samhain):
- In the Spotlight: The Queer and the Restless by Kris Ripper (Riptide Publishing Tour/Giveaway)
- Alisa Release Day Review: Spell Cat (The Aloysius Tales #1) by Tara Lain
- A Caryn Review: Faded Into You by Remmy Duchene
- A Lila Audiobook Review Running Wild by SE Jakes and Narrated by Dorian Bane
- A Stella Review: Coffee Boy by Austin Chant
Tuesday, November 1:
- Quinn Anderson on the Challenges of Writing and her latest release, Hotline (Riptide tour/giveaway)
- Release Blitz & Review Tour – Romancing The Wrong Twin – Clare London
- A MelanieM Review: Romancing The Wrong Twin by Clare London
- A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Pansies by Alexis Hall
- An Alisa Review: Crashing Waves by CJ Baty
Wednesday, November 2:
- L. Rockwood Talks Dark Fantasy and “Defiant Revival” (Author Guest Blog/Book Release)
- Tara’s “Spell Cat” Book Blast and Review (linked to the post)
- A Melanie Releases Day Review: After the Sunset (Timing #2) by Mary Calmes
- A Paul Review: Julio’s Wolf (Werewolves of Manhattan #6) by A.C. Katt
- Alisa Release Day Review: Private Dances by BA Tortuga
Thursday, November 3:
- Summer Season from Series Recap Tour – Treading The Boards Series – Rebecca Cohen
- In the Spotlight: Posy Roberts on her latest release Stroke of Luck (author guest post, excerpt )
- A Melanie Release Day Review: Summer Season by Rebecca Cohen
- A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Love on Location by Lucy Felthouse and Joel Leslie (Narrator)
- A Lila Audiobook Review: The Senator’s Secret by K.C. Wells and John Solo (Narrator)
- An Alisa Audiobook Review: Lights, Camera, Cupid, the Bluewater Bay Anthology
Friday, November 4:
- Cover Reveal for Nobody’s Home by Dev Bentham
- Honeymoon Their Way by Morticia Knight Blog Tour and Giveaway
- Black Snow by EAB (Dreamspinner Author Guest Post)
- A Lila Review: Twice in a Lifetime by Shawn Lane
- A Stella Release Day Review: Mapping the Forest by Brandon Witt
Saturday, November 5:
~About This Sunday’s Contributing Authors~
About Elin Gregory:
Elin Gregory lives in South Wales and has been making stuff up since 1958. Writing has always had to take second place to work and family but now the kids are grown up it’s possible she might finish one of the many novels on her hard drive and actually DO something useful with it.
Historical subjects predominate. She has written about ancient Greek sculptors, 18th century seafarers but also about modern men who change shape at will and how echoes of the past can be heard in the present. Heroes tend to be hard as nails but capable of tenderness when circumstances allow.
There are always new works on the go and she is currently editing a novel about spies in the 1920s, finishing one set in 6th century AD England and contemplating one about the Second World War. Any excuse to buy more books!
You can reach Elin at:
About Joe Cosentino:
Amazon Bestselling author Joe Cosentino’s books were voted Favorite LGBT Mystery Novel, Favorite LGBT Humorous Novel, Favorite LGBT Contemporary Novel, and Second Favorite LGBT Romance Novel in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Poll. Many of his books have won Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions, and one was voted TBR Pile Book of the Month. Joe wrote In My Heart: An Infatuation, A Shooting Star, A Home for the Holidays, and the Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press); Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, and Drama Cruise Nicky and Noah mysteries (Lethe Press); Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, and Rag Doll Jana Lane mysteries (The Wild Rose Press); andCozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, and Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out Cozzi Cove beach novels. He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, Charles Keating, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. Joe was voted 2nd Place for Best LGBT Author of the Year in Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards for 2015. http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com