Tuesday, January 26, 2016

What I've Been Doing

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 But I'm also getting ready to bring out Confessions of a Dead Romance Writer, which is the unpublished (and admittedly rather weird) manuscript I wrote between my historicals and the Sebastian series but never managed to sell to New York.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!


Helena said...

Unless there's a cast-iron legal agreement preventing you from doing so, I think that you absolutely should put "C.S. Harris writing as Candice Proctor" on the covers, and too bad if the publisher doesn't like it. You have goodwill in both names and it's important that fans of one name can find the other! It's quite a common thing to do -- usually when authors *don't* want it.

I think this is a great project. When I discovered you and then found out you'd written as Candice Proctor, I searched out and bought old paperbacks of all your books and loved them. I look forward to owning them digitally as well.

cs harris said...

Helena, legally I could do it. The problem is they could then use the fact that I went against their wishes to deny me future publicity pushes, lower my advance, etc, etc. (Yes, they can be that vindictive.) I tried to compromise, saying I'll put the CS Harris only on MIDNIGHT CONFESSIONS (which is really a historic mystery) and just Candice Proctor on the others. But they didn't like that, either. I am really mad. And disappointed. And frustrated....

Rakesh Sharma said...
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Ali said...

Candy -Sorry to hear about the troubles!Its hard to believe that you can't control your own material without paying a price. Some people are just plain mean. And I too found all your romance novels in paperback years ago and always wanted them digitally. As a matter of fact this weekend I was housebound due to the arrival of Jonas. Which dumped 26 inches of snow on Hoboken. So I decided to re-read the Last Knight. The paperbacks are in box I cant get to at the moment and then I remembered it was on my kindle.

I forgot that I had it in digital form. And now that you have brought all this up. I went on to Amazon to check out what they are currently listing. And looks like the books are no longer available. I did buy them in July of 2014. And glad that I did. Really looking forward to getting the others.

I hope this work out the way you want and without too much aggravation. Can't to hear more about Hero and Sebastian. Best, Ali

Ali said...

PS I forgot to say I really like the new cover for Beyond Sunrise! You should see the kindle version I have now. Not even like the paperback! Ali

cs harris said...

Ali, when I finally got the rights back after YEARS of trying, they had to take down the ones they had put up, which is why everything disappeared. Now I'm curious to know what the Beyond Sunrise Kindle cover looked like! Even the paperback was a horrible cover; no foil or step back like the earlier ones, I guess because it was the last book and they knew I was leaving (which goes back to the vindictive bit!).

Ali said...

Candy - if I could send you a picture I would only its not worth it because it really isn't even a cover - I really exaggerated that. But here is were it gets weird - I have the Kindle app on my iPhone so that if I leave the kindle at home I can then use my phone. Comes in handy.

Anyway....when you look on the iPhone the book cover is the same as the paperback (Palm Tress) but when you open the book its the same as the actual kindle version - its a white font with a green background - the book title, your name and then some strange Ballantine Book logo. You probably know it. If you google them it comes up on Wikipedia.
Jeez I hope this made sense. Ali

Lynne said...

If the situation weren't so sad and distressing to you, Candy, that scanned page would be hysterically funny. And the photo of "antique discs" was just delightful. You really have my sympathy with this project and hope you can revive all the books at some point. Meanwhile, know that all of us are behind you, if only in spirit. You've tackled a truly amazing project. Go for it!

Barbara Butler McCoy said...

If we couldn't laugh we'd go insane, right? I am especially looking forward to the 'Confessions..." title ... It sounds like it holds cathartic possibilities, if you know what I mean. Never forget, we're here pulling for you!

Charles Gramlich said...

Egads on those scans. Good reasons to keep updated versions of everything. I was thinking about this myself last night. I have no electronic version of my dissertation, or of any of my graduate school work

cs harris said...

Ali, yes, I know that look. How nice of them....

Lynne, those scans really were hysterical--until I realized I had 900 pages of that to clean up! Thanks for the moral support.

Barbara, you nailed it.

Charles, the really scary thing is that I have more of these old files than I do of my Sebastian series. I am thanking my 20th century self for saving these.

Naveen Chaudhary said...
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Suzanne said...

It's terrible that people can be that petty. I really don't understand how that could be hurting them. Good luck with getting the romances all up as ebooks, I am really looking forward to them. And the cover is beautiful.

cs harris said...

Suzanne, I think it's a control thing. But there's a been a hysterical new development in the Name Game, so stay tuned!

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