a reversion of rights
I got some of the best news of my writing career last week and I’m still OVER THE MOON about it.
Lo These Many Years Ago, I wrote a trilogy for Harlequin’s quick-to-fail Bombshell line, which were meant to be action-adventure romances, James Bond type stories where the heroine was the Bond character.
The line flopped badly for a lot of reasons, and the books I wrote never made any money, but I had a WONDERFUL time writing them and always wanted to do more. In fact, despite the books not doing well, despite it having been the better part of 12 years since they were published, despite everything, I’ve had readers ask regularly over the years if I ever *would* do more.
Well, there was a problem with doing more. It’s stupid and complicated but basically it goes like this:
I didn’t have the rights to publish the books myself. Those rights resided with Harlequin, because right-to-publish is basically what they’re buying when they give you advance money. And there’s always a clause in the contract that says under what circumstances those rights can revert to the writer, and what the publisher has to do in order to retain the rights. In these contracts, I wasn’t even supposed to ask for rights reversions for 5 years after publication, and the publisher had the right to reprint them within 18 months of me asking, if they so chose.
And those contracts were signed before the E-Book Revolution. So there was *no* language in them defining out-of-print in a world where e-books could be produced for almost nothing*…which meant that when the 5 year window *I* had to wait was up, they turned around and released e-books of the trilogy…which then sold basically No Copies At All, because they were under a different name, there was no demand for them, etc etc etc.
That happened two more times over the next EIGHT YEARS.
Now, there was no actual reason for the publisher to keep the rights. They were making no money off the books. They wouldn’t even re-release them under the CE Murphy name, where they almost certainly WOULD have made money. But every time I asked, they found another market to release them in as e-books, and thus re-started their 5 year window.
SO! The problem with writing more books in the series was that I could either:
1. write more books and NOT MENTION the first three, hoping that the lack of sales would someday allow me to get the rights back, or
2. write more books, talk up the first ones, try to get them selling, and therefore be certain I would *never* get the rights back, or
3. spend years gnashing my teeth and trying to get the rights back without talking about them very much, much less writing more.
I chose option #3 and my friends and family will attest to the SHEER FRUSTRATION I have vented over the past decade about the whole situation.
Eventually there were digital amendments added to the contracts, which gave me some of the language I needed to argue my case, and I put in Yet Another Reversion Request.
AND THIS TIME I GOT THEM BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mes amis, there was actual screaming involved. Like, fist-pumping foot-kicking incoherent bellows of joy. I kicked my feet so hard MY SOCK LITERALLY CAME OFF. I may have cried. I’m nearly crying right now, writing this blog post, in fact. I am SO HAPPY to have these books back and I am SO EXCITED to FINALLY GET TO DO WHAT I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO DO WITH THEM!!!!!!!!!!
I’m working on revising the original trilogy. Not LOTS of work, but some: updating the dated stuff (to my huge amusement, my heroine was carrying data around on a mini-CD, which was like the Height Of Awesome when I wrote the books *laughs and laughs and laughs*), trying to future-proof it a little, fixing some continuity errors, etc.
Once the revisions are done I’m going to run a Kickstarter for new cover art and book layouts. Kickstarter backers will get the revised books right away, and they’ll be re-released to the general public probably around the middle of next year.
Then over the next several years, I’m going to write the sequels on the side and run little Kickstarters for editing, cover art, layouts, etc. Backers will get the books more or less as they’re written (I’ll be doing the Kickstarters AFTER the books are written @.@) and eventually, when the entire series is finished, I’m going to do a year-long book-a-month release to put the whole story out almost in one big chunk.
I am SO EXCITED OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG I CANNOT WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIT I AM SO HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAPPPPPPPPPPPPPPYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!!!!!! *KICKS SOCKS OFF AGAIN*!!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
*E-books cannot be produced for almost nothing up front. All of the heavy costs–paying the author, editing, cover art, book design, copy edits–still have to be done, and that costs money. However, in this case, because books had already gone through all of that, producing e-books was cheap and quick.
omg chance painting!!!!
I got a package in the mail today from Leah Moore, for whom I drew a silly little comic recently (which I’ll be posting soon, in fact!). It contained a watercolor sketchbook and a dip pen and ink and I thought AW YOU DARLING! and said AW YOU DARLING! to her on Twitter.
“Have you looked inside the sketchbook yet?” she asked.
“NO!” I said, “LET ME GO DO THAT RIGHT NOW!”
“I’ll wait,” sez she, and I ran downstairs to open the sketchbook and inside was THIS!
OMFG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG *INCOHERENT SQUEEING*!!!!
It was painted by a friend of hers, Al Davidson, and I swear I haven’t stopped squeeing since I opened the book and found it. OMG. It’s SO BEAUTIFUL and that was SO KIND of her! Of them! OMG! *falls over*!!!
Also, now I totally have to do more art. I’ve got dipping pens to try (a terrifying thought!) and the new pens Ted got me for Christmas, and just yes! I must art!
we have amazing friends.
this morning i came home from dropping indy off at school and ted, looking very emotional, said, “come into the kitchen and see what our friends have done.”
a little befuddled, i went into the kitchen, and there saw a large box and thought, “oh! yes, one of them said they would send a few–” and somewhere around that point a started to realize that there were two large–*large*–boxes, crammed full, and…
this is…i just…i don’t even know where to start. they organized a care package of Food We Can’t Get Here, in the wake of Mom’s death. a dozen people helped put it together. people across the whole the united states, from alaska to boston and everywhere in between.
i have literally never seen so much bakers’ chocolate at once in my life. not even at a store. (the lady who bought it cleared the place out of it. <3) you can't get crisco here at all, nevermind in giant tubs. this will last us forever. i used to eat that kind of cereal when we were in alaska, and missed it terribly when we moved here. people sent me some for a while, but then i got used to other stuff, but someone (i suspect mary anne) *remembered*. i will be bringing one (or 1.5) of the ENORMOUS BOXES of mac&cheese to my sister Deirdre, whose boys love Kraft mac&cheese with... well, all the love of 11 and 13 year old kids. :) and i'd just used the last of the chocolate chips we had, and now we have bags and bags of POSH ones. and one of my oldest friends sent me a hug, in the form of this beautiful, beautiful scarf that she made:
i’ve been wearing it all day. ted and i have been pretty much crying all day. every time we go into the kitchen it just starts again. we are so overwhelmed. so grateful. so thankful. so amused because OH MY GOD IT’S JUST SO MUCH!
i had pop tarts for breakfast, of course. <3
we don’t really know how to say thank you. we’re just stunned and grateful and feel so, so loved. ♥ ♥ ♥
Take A Chance graphic novel!
I’ve just gotten the counter-signed contract, so I can make a Big Announcement!
I’ve been in (slow, because of me, not them) talks with Markosia Enterprises, a comics-and-graphic-novels publisher in the UK, and I am SO EXCITED to tell you that my comic book series, “Take A Chance”, is FINALLY going to be available as a graphic novel!!!
I don’t have a release date for it yet, or a pre-order page, but it should be available late this year or early next, and HOO BOY am I gonna come begging you wonderful people to pre-order when the time comes, because (honestly) you’d be astounded at how few sales (in the grand scheme of things) can get graphic novels onto bestseller lists. There are enough of you to make it happen, let me put it that way. <3 <3 <3 OMG SO EXCITE *SO EXCITE*!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I’ll be in my bunk.
I’ve just realized that things like this are what Pintrest is for, isn’t it? Instead of having an “awesome stuff” in my Flickr set, you use Pintrest. Only I don’t know if you can then stick a Pintrest picture on a blog any more easily than you can do with Flickr. Can you? Because I suppose I’ll make a Pintrest account if you can…