Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Carolyn Hart on New Books and Old

Carolyn Hart sent a peek at a few recent books, some forthcoming titles, and a piece she wrote about new books, and old. Thank you, Carolyn!

 Published in 2012: 
 Reprints: FLEE FROM THE PAST and RENDEZVOUS IN VERARUZ, Oconee Spirit Press;  SKULDUGGERY, Seventh Street Books.
 Forthcoming new in 2013: DEAD, WHITE AND BLUE in May, and GHOST GONE WILD in October. 
 Forthcoming Reprints: THE DEVEREAUX LEGACY, February, Seventh Street Books; A SETTLING OF ACCOUNTS, Oconee, March; ESCAPE FROM PARIS, Seventh Street Books; June; THE SECRET OF THE CELLARS, Oconee, July, and BRAVE HEARTS, Seventh Street Books, August.
All of the abone is why I wrote the piece below:

    I'm not a fan of reunions. It isn't that I don't enjoy remembering those out of my past, it is more than I want to remember them as they were, young, vibrant, so many exciting adventures ahead of them. I like to live in the present, which may be the only Zen quality of someone who is challenged to sit still for more than a few minutes at a time. 

    True to this mantra, I've never given much thought over time to old books. In my case, that would be 14 books published prior to Death on Demand in 1987. The 34 books since 1987 have remained in print since publication.

    The advent of ebook technology changed my attitude and gave me an appreciation for remembering past loves, the books that I thought were consigned to dusty garage sales. 

    Authors who hold the rights to their early works have many avenues open to them. They can self publish as ebooks, which provides better monetary reward, or they can explore posting the ebooks on Amazon exclusively for a year then deciding what platforms to add, or they can seek a small press that would take both print and ebook rights. 

    In 2011, Amazon posted all 14 early books plus two short story collections with exclusive rights for a year. Sales were respectable but the unexpected outcome for me meant a great deal more than accruing royalties. Two small presses - Seventh Street Books and Oconee Spirit Press - are now republishing between them seven of those titles. 

    I love this because I am still an old fashioned want to-hold-the-book-in-my-hand reader. 

    There have been other huge - not monetary - rewards for me.

    Finally, after 29 years, ESCAPE FROM PARIS, a WWII suspense novel set in Occupied France in 1940, is available as it was first written. To make the initial sale to a small pub house in England, i cut 40,000 words from a 93,000 word ms. When some of my backlist was previously reissued, I refused to have Escape from Paris republished unless in its entirety. When the offer came from Amazon to post the backlist as ebooks, I included the book on the understanding I would provide the complete original ms. 

    Sometimes our author's angel sits on our shoulders. The book was written before computers and all I had were the tattered bond paper pages. In 2001 - for no good reason, no one wanted the book or as far as I knew ever would - I hired a typist to put it in an efile. That file resided untouched in my computer for years but it was there when I needed it. I plunged into revising and improving the book. 

    I had not reread the book since I finished it in 1980. I came into the house one evening and my husband asked me what was wrong. I suppose the strain was evident. I said I'd been reading Escape from Paris and discovered I used to write tougher, harder books. His response summed it up: Readers will find a Carolyn Hart they never knew. The first edition of the complete book was briefly published last year and will be reissued in both paper and ebook by Seventh Street Books in June.

    I didn't do many revisions to the other earlier titles. Re-reading Rendezvous in Veracruz, a light romantic suspense novel set in Mexico City in the early '80s, was a different experience alotgether. I  told the editor that rereading it was better than a trip to the Fountain of Youth. The background was drawn from time I spent as a freshman at Mexico City College. When I read the galleys I felt once again that I was eighteen and living in Mexico City. Oconee Spirit press published it in 2012. 

      The rebirth of early titles either as ebooks or as ebooks and paper prompted me to look in my closet. All old wirters have closets and in mine were several never before published mss. Berkley put out Cry in the Night last fall as an ebook only, but it will soon be published in paperback. 

    Another early ms. - which might possibly shock my readers - is a very sexy novel of danger and suspense in first century Rome and my agent has just submitted it. I'll let you know what happens.

    My advice to writers is to be sure that you get reversion of rights of all OP books if at all possible. A negative aspect of ebooks is that publishers can retain rights by keeping books available as ebooks but with no paper copies available. I think some agents are now trying to inlcude in contracts a provision that a certain number of ebook sales must be made or the rights are reverted.

    Many writers are doing their own self pub of ebooks and doing very well with them.

    As almost everyone agrees, no one in publishing is sure of how much ebooks will transform our world. To my surprise, the ebook revolution has brought the past close to me and now my books are available if there are any readers who wish to seek them out. I don't foresee a big audience or big sales, but the nicest part for me is remembering books that I'd not thought about in years and rediscovering the writer I once was. 

Carolyn Hart's website is


Pat said...

Carolyn, I am so glad that your earlier books will become available. I have read all your "Death on Demand" and "Ghost" books and loved them. I got your "Escape from Paris" in ebook format from Amazon in May of 2012. Did I get your full version or was it the shortened one? Now that I know there are two, I sure hope it was the original. Pat

Anonymous said...

I always enjoy your books
and will look forward to there
being more of them out there!

The cover of WHAT THE CAT SAW
is especially fabulous IMHO,
the Paris cover is great too.