Mark Terry

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Tale Of Two E-Books

May 12, 2010
A couple of years ago, the publisher of my first two Derek Stillwater novels, Midnight Ink, let me go. That is to say, I had two more books contracted for and they rather unceremoniously said, "Sayonara, buddy. Good luck."

Then, because they were publishers, although they released all the rights to me for the 2 remaining books, The Fallen and The Valley of Shadows, they declined to release the rights to The Devil's Pitchfork and The Serpent's Kiss. They may have had some thoughts of squeezing a few more pennies out of them, or, being publishers, they just hold onto everything on principle, a kind of we-don't-intend-to-actually-do-anything-to-make-money-out-from-these-but-just-in-case-something-happens-and-you-become-famous-or-something-we're-going-to-hold-onto-as-many-rights-as-we-can-because-they're-ours-dammit!

So we waited a while, then nagged them about it, we being myself and my agent. At that point Midnight Ink decided to release the print rights and some of the foreign rights--but not all, because they were still marketing to some foreign rights markets, though not all.

More time went by. I got contracts for the two remaining Derek Stillwaters with another publisher, Oceanview, and The Fallen was published in hardcover and as an e-book, at least on the Kindle, although I'm not sure of its availability in other formats.

I decided, since Midnight Ink basically let The Devil's Pitchfork and The Serpent's Kiss go out of print, that I should make them available as e-books on the Kindle. I already had one book available on the Kindle, Dancing In The Dark, then The Fallen, let's get more out there--let's use up some digital shelf space, so to speak. After all, no reason to leave money on the table.

So I threw that out to my agent and she commented that she didn't think the e-rights had reverted to us. So, once again, trotting back to Midnight Ink, we asked. And while we were at it, since you haven't made any foreign sales in two or more years, why don't you release those while you're at it.

They released the foreign rights, but told us that the e-rights were still in play and they had submitted them to Amazon and B&N. Well, okay, at least they were doing something about it, although, rather like my agent, they only seemed to do these things when I prodded them to. My agent responded with a fairly pointed note that we needed to negotiate the split on e-rights, then, and in her opinion it should be 50/50. Silence for quite some time, to the point where I threw up my hands and said, "To hell with it." I made other plans to do some other e-book things.

Then, on the very day I contacted Judy Bullard to do some artwork for an e-book, I got a letter in the mail from Midnight Ink indicating they were releasing the e-rights to The Devil's Pitchfork and The Serpent's Kiss. However, they pointed out, they were not releasing the rights to the cover art or the electronic files, although if I wanted to discuss it with them, I could.

I did not. I immediately contacted Judy again and asked her to pull together some cover art for The Devil's Pitchfork and The Serpent's Kiss. I would prefer them to be somewhat similar to the original cover art (I love the cover art for the original The Devil's Pitchfork and like the cover art for The Serpent's Kiss), but I definitely wanted the same color scheme. Judy came through very nicely, as you can see above. I then contacted my computer-savvy friend Natasha Fondren to pull together the e-files. Once we got that taken care of, I uploaded it all to Amazon and waited.

Then I got an email from Amazon requesting proof that I actually had the rights to the e-books. I had the letter, I scanned it, I sent it off, they said, "Yup, okay," and now in a day or two The Devil's Pitchfork will be available to all you Kindle owners or anyone with an iPhone or iPad or computer with a Kindle app on it. The Serpent's Kiss will be available on Kindle soon as well.

See? Isn't this simple and straightforward? All you have to do is jump through hoops and be persistent and patient. Yes, the publishing world can be really annoying.


Blogger Debra L Martin said...

Hi Mark,

I'm glad you got your ebook rights back. Now you can control the books. The cover is awesome. As with anything in life, persistence pays off.

Good job.


9:30 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

That's great news, Mark. Hope the books go Konrath.

10:50 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Oh Dear God, Eric! Has Konrath become a verb?

He konrathed! She konrathed. They all konrathed.

11:04 AM  
Blogger sex scenes at starbucks said...

Haha, Eric.

Good luck! I have no kindle (Boo) but maybe I can read them in another format someday.

Do you plan on putting free versions (in other words, doing the Full Konrath) on your website, too?

11:34 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

The Full Konrath? Not free on the site, probably not. May get them into other e-book formats, though. I looked at Smashwords and discussed it with a guy with a lot of experience them, but may wait for a while.

12:11 PM  
Blogger Erica Orloff said...

COOL! I can order it now!


7:03 AM  
Blogger Linda Pendleton said...

Hi Mark,

I thought I replied to this...maybe it got lost in cyberspace. Anyway, wanted to say that Judy Bullard did a great job on your cover! Really looks good. As you may know, I have worked with her for about ten years as my webdesigner...and she's done many bookcovers for me.

12:48 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Yes, she's done a great job. And wait until you see the cover she did for an upcoming children's book for me.

5:39 AM  

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