I've discovered that the best way to help a series as long as mine stay fresh--and keep myself sane--is to take periodic breaks and do other things. So I decided to take a few weeks between finishing Sebastian #12 and starting #13 and devote the time to bringing out my old historicals as ebooks and POD (print on demand). Given the number of people now self-publishing, I thought, How hard can it be? Answer: HARD!
I decided to start with Midnight Confessions and Beyond Sunrise. Their galleys and copyedited pages drowned in Katrina and the files were zapped into nonexistence by last year's Great Computer Crash. So I had the paperbacks scanned. Some people have great success with this process. Here's a sample of what I got back:
Imagine 400 pages of that. I almost quit right there.
But I persevered. I've now read over the danged things so many times my eyeballs are bleeding. Do you know how hard it is to spot an "I" that has been turned into a "1"? (Actually, in the passage above, the "1" should be "she"!) And of course because I am who I am, I rewrote them a tad . . .
And then there's the covers. Days and days spent analyzing cover trends, visualizing possibilities, and pouring over stock photo sites looking for just the right images. (Hint: the right images don't exist.) And then my publisher pitched a fit over me putting "C.S. Harris writing as Candice Proctor" on the covers, so the first cover I had made--a really lovely one for Midnight Confessions--is currently languishing in limbo while I calm down. But I can give you a peek at the one I'm having done for Beyond Sunrise. This is just a proof and may be modified some yet, but here's what we have so far:
I'm now working on The Last Knight and Whispers of Heaven. Fortunately I had those manuscripts saved to disks. Unfortunately we're talking these disks:
But yes, you can still buy an external disk reader for these dinosaurs and yes, the current version of Word reads them. Sort of. My cover designer now has the images for these two projects and says she'll have proofs to me by the end of the week. But I still need to write the cover copy/blurbs. And that is HARD, too.
If nothing else, this exercise has given me a new and profound appreciation for what my New York publishers do for me--and I haven't even tried to upload the dang files yet! But I'm also getting ready to bring out Confessions of a Dead Romance Writer, which is the unpublished (and admittedly rather weird) manuscript I wrote between my historicals and the Sebastian series but never managed to sell to New York. And the fact that I can now get it out there makes this seriously trying self-publishing struggle worthwhile. I think.
But never fear, come the first of February I'll be devoting all my time to Sebastian again. After all this, it will be a relief to get back to him!