Like everyone else, this is the time of year when we like to look back on what has happened in hopes that it might guide us in the new year.
A year ago we were planning on attending two writers’ conferences; the first in San Diego and the second in San Francisco three weeks later. We learned a lot at both but the biggest takeaway was that the traditional publishing world is nearly paralyzed due to the digital revolution. Agents and editors who can barely use email were lost on where eBooks were going to take them and most of them were in denial on how much of their lunch Amazon was going to eat. We dutifully followed up with letters introducing ourselves and our work but were convinced by spring that, since we hadn’t slept with anyone famous or were related to a failed vice presidential candidate, it was going to take years to get noticed by the trade press and years more to get anything out of their cumbersome and outdated process. By Saint Patrick’s Day we had decided to be independent.
Our collaboration blog launched shortly after that. We introduced Lynn Evans on the last weekend in March and tried, mostly successfully, to put out a post every week. While initially designed to help us
connect to people who would want to read our eBooks, the blog soon had a life of its own that encompassed more than our shared struggles to develop, produce, publish, sell, and distribute our stories. We decided early that it was better to write about what was on our minds than trying to limit the virtual discussion to just stuff about collaborating. So, even though we posted about the trials of writing and editing, we also tried to show how living our daily lives influenced what did and did not make it into our work. Along the way we learned that if we included pictures of people kissing or bikini clad rear ends, our anonymous Google hits increased. We ended the year by acting as journalists and covering another independent author who found our blog while looking for places to announce her own recently completed eBook.
Our favorite part of the year was doing the thing that got us started in the first place – writing stories. At the start of the year we had four draft novels. When we decided that we wanted to help support Poway High Student Services, we poured all of our creative energies into finishing our young adult paranormal adventure, Bobbie Titan in the Mark of Kain, the proceeds from which we are donating to the school. We worked hard and dutifully adhered to everything we learned to make our eBook a professional product as well as a great read. We were delighted and full of nervous anticipation when we announced in late June that it was available for download. It’s hard to describe how anxious we were while we waited for people to read it or how giddy we felt when the reviews were good. This was followed in the first week of October with our second eBook, The Valentine’s Game. The first reactions to our hybrid chic-lit novel have been very encouraging and we are looking forward to reading full reviews as the folks who bought the eBook over the holidays have the chance to finish it and write down what they thought. In between these two momentous achievements came the sad realization that one of our novels just didn’t meet the high standards we hold ourselves to. We decided not to pursue Promise any further after we failed to get our advanced readers to fall in love with the story. It was a hard decision, but, even though there wasn’t anyone telling us we had to stop, we are absolutely committed to only publishing eBooks we’re sure are worth the readers’ time and effort.
Looking forward, we are planning on using everything we learned last year while we finish our fantasy novel, The Dragon Princess. We’ve just started incorporating the readers’ comments and completing our final edit before handing it over to our professional editor. We’re still on track for a spring release. We were pleasantly surprised when we finished the first draft of the Bobbie Titan sequel a couple of days before New Year’s. We know that there is a lot of work to do before we get it out in the fall, but we’re anxious to learn if our advanced readers think Bobbie’s next adventures are as wild as we do. And, yes, Bobbie is going to fall in love, but like everything else in her life, it’s not going to be a typical teenage romance.
2011 was a good year for us and 2012 looks to be even better. We hope you’ll join us and find out if that’s true.