Book Plug Friday: Ringing in the Changes

Sometimes you can hear change clear as a bell.

Sometimes you can hear change clear as a bell.

Hi, this is Sarah, and I’m writing this on Halloween night, while my sons and husband man the door for trick-or-treaters (the things I give up for you guys. Apparently I just missed a toddler dressed as an elephant.  You owe me.)

Halloween to me personally was always the change between light and dark, between a time of warmth and a time of cold, but something more too.  The quick explanation is that in Portugal Halloween isn’t associated with trick or treating or costumes or spooky stuff.  Instead, it’s a time to go to the cemetery and talk about lost family members, and then we initiate the winter season which is both colder and more perilous, and filled with wonder.

The wonder part got particularly associated with late fall and early winter in my mind because for my extended family what was the time most birthdays happened.  So Halloween initiated a time of lights and parties, and a time for gathering in and getting close to your family, unlike Summer when you might be out doing your own thing.

Yes, this is relevant, in a way.

It’s important that I write this column on Halloween night because in publishing too, we’re ringing in the changes.  The changes have been fairly gradual up till now, but they seem to be accelerating and it’s becoming obvious that one time is passing away and another time starting.

Take for instance how, even last month, while teaching at a workshop in Texas I told people if they wanted to see their books on a bookstore shelf, they should consider traditional publishing. Mind you, even there it wasn’t guaranteed you’d end up on the shelves, (one year I published six books with Berkley and Bantam and not one made it to a bookstore in Colorado) but it was more likely than if you went solo or indie.

It seems that too is changing. Take this article from Publisher’s Weekly this last week:

Format has been a long-simmering topic of debate in book publishing, and the question of when, and if, a title is published in hardcover, paperback, and/or digital has become even more pressing as bricks-and-mortar bookstores dwindle and e-book sales grow. The idea that any standard deal from a major publisher guarantees a print format release—which was previously a foregone conclusion—is something agents no longer take for granted, with some expressing concern that the big houses are starting to hedge on print editions in contracts.

While e-book-only agreements are nothing new—all large publishers have imprints that are exclusively dedicated to digital titles—a handful of agents, all of whom spoke to PW on the condition of anonymity, said they’re worried that contracts from print-first imprints will increasingly come with clauses indicating that the publisher makes no guarantee on format. The agents say this is a new twist to the standard way of doing business.

I submit it’s not so much a new twist but one of the stronger fore-shocks of the earthquake hitting publishing.  Or, if you prefer, the first frost of winter.

For a while now things have been blurring.  Going traditional is no guarantee you’ll have a better copyeditor or a better cover or better publicity than if you go indie.  The writers have been having to do more and more.  But, ah! at least you had a “real book” and might be on shelves, right?

Well, the major shift has hit, like the first snow of winter which usually comes around Halloween, in Colorado.  From now on there will still be many print books out of traditional publishing, just like there will be warm days after tonight.  But you can no longer be sure of them.  And they’ll grow rarer.

Is it all bad? *Shrug.* Just like the shift from summer to winter, each has different attractions.  Yes, there will be more completely unedited books.  But there were already quite a few from traditional houses.  In exchange, we’ll get to see books that the houses would have considered too “unconventional” or “not appealing to enough people” — which included a great deal of censorship of political or social views that didn’t agree with those of New York publishing.

So we’ll have greater variety.  There will be lights in those naked trees in the “winter” ahead.  And indies are already starting to band together for mutual comfort and security.  So, there will be that too — family of a sort, to get you through the difficult storms ahead.

And before I storm the metaphor any further, give a look at our offerings below, and maybe download a few chances, to give the New Ways of Publishing a chance.

Remember to send an email to [email protected] for guidelines to submit to Book Pulg Friday.


Jingles All The Way
By Barbara Morgenroth 

Jingles is a dog on the lam. He’s met the perfect person, and wants to stay with her forever but his former owners have millions of reasons why that’s impossible. After escaping from uncaring owners, Jingles discovers canine paradise with Sassy Collins and her Eat Dog Eat Gourmet Take-Out Dog Dinner Shop. Sassy is easy to love and Jingles falls hard for her. So does the town police officer, Ethan Monroe. But Jingles is carrying a secret that could destroy their happy family before it even begins.


Bittersweet Farm 4: Counterpoint
By Barbara Morgenroth 

Greer Swope has something to prove. But even she doesn’t quite know what.

Always believing that even if she was good enough for nothing else, she was good enough on a horse. History hasn’t borne that out. Now Greer’s left equitation and hunter classes behind for show jumping but it won’t happen overnight. It might even take the help of a new trainer. Enter Cameron Rafferty whose horse is lame, who was fired from his last job and who wants the newest Bittersweet prospect. He’s one of the top riders and he is a player. Can Greer handle her horse, Counterpoint, and Cam Rafferty, too?

Talia can only look on at what might be the latest train wreck.


The High T Shebang
By Mark Philip Alger 

Everyone around Gabrielle Francesca East — Dolly to her friends — has an agenda. Mitchell Drummond, her lover, guardian, and Geppetto wants to wrap her up in bubble wrap and protect her from the world. Dolly just wants him to make her forget her name by making hot, monkey love with her. Her family resent Dolly’s fortune: a fortune they assert is rightfully theirs. Dolly? She just wants to shop. Half the Gods want to control her; the other half want her dead; Dolly just wants to party with her friends.

When clones of blonde, Hollywood starlets — probably from the same lab that made Dolly’s body — start showing up halfway around the world, Drummond and Dolly set out at the head of the Troll Action Team to find out what’s behind the clones. The answer will send shock waves through the whole shebang.

Growing out of a long series of email exchanges on The Center for Xena Studies, a Xena: Warrior Princess mailing list, The High T Shebang is the first volume of the long-awaited epic, the Dolly Apocrypha. See where it all began.

Truth in advertising disclaimer: Violence. Explicit and graphic sexual dialog and situations. Adults only. Parental discretion strongly advised. Not for children or young teens.

Coming in 2014, The Baby Troll Chronicles continue.


By Karla K Goodhouse 

Air Force fighter pilot and rookie astronaut Martina Redrick is flying the space shuttle when disaster strikes. A satellite about to be repaired explodes above the cargo bay, damaging the shuttle and knocking the mission commander unconscious. But the explosion was no accident. When an unmarked spacecraft attacks the defenseless, crippled shuttle, Martina must save the ship and crew. And she soon discovers, returning to earth will not put them out of danger.

The shuttle isn’t the only target. Someone is systematically destroying US communication and surveillance satellites. Determined to protect America’s assets, the President sends Martina and Navy pilot Rachel Ansetti back into space, flying top secret space-fighters on a search and destroy mission.

However, the attacks are only the beginning of a far more sinister plan, which threatens the heart of the free world. Now it’s up to Martina and Rachel to stop them before it’s too late.


Mexican Hit Girl
By S.C. Smith 

“FROM THE GET-GO I WAS HOOKED” The Mexican drug war has reached critical mass, and the U.S. Government, under the direction of the INL and National Clandestine Service, must take drastic measures. Mason Church, a decorated U.S. soldier, returns home plagued by the emotional scars of war and the fragmented memories of his father. Loveless, broke, and jaded, he’s recruited by National Clandestine Service to assassinate Mexico’s biggest drug kingpin. 16 year-old, Valentina Vargas, witnesses the massacre of her family by the ruthless drug lord. Suddenly orphaned, she must make a decision to remain a peasant or retaliate against the sadistic murderers. Following the D.C. bombing death of the Head of INL by an unrecognizable and grotesque assassin–a mole is suspected within the high ranks of Washington. In order to succeed in Mexico, Mason must partner with Valentina, maneuvering through the dangerous labyrinth of menacing drug cartels, and corrupt government officials. Brought together by accident, Mason and Valentina realize that their only hope of survival lies with each other.


Girl Act
By Kristina Shook 

She wanted Hollywood to discover her…
She wanted her name in lights…
She wanted the glitz and glam…
And true love.