I am thrilled to announce that I have accepted a very exciting deal with Montlake, Amazon’s new romance imprint, for the re-release of Unforgettable, one of my contemporary romance novels originally published by Signet Eclipse. I held back releasing this out-of-print title as an ebook on my own, because I wanted some way to finally achieve my original vision for packaging this story.
Original Vision: Release a Novel with a Music Soundtrack
The heroine of Unforgettable sings American standards in a nostalgia bar. While writing the book, I became good friends with a fabulous singer, Barbara Calderaro. Many of the songs Barb sings became inspirations for the songs my heroine, Riley Stone, would sing. At some point, I suggested — half-joking — that Barb should cut a CD to go with my book. To my surprise, and delight, she said “Okay!”
We had visions of a joint release, cross promotion, and creating huge buzz. Only one problem. This was 2007. We were, apparently, four years too early.
Timing is Everything: Then vs Now
The marketing department at Penguin loved the concept. Logistically, however, it couldn’t be done. Penguin’s marketing department and sells reps weren’t set up to market a CD along with a mass-market paperback. As for the big-box bookstores, they have separate buyers for music and books. They also have separate areas to shelve those products. Everyone loved the idea, but the challenges proved too great at the time.
Welcome to the Digital Age
With the explosive popularity of ebooks and multi-media devices, including phones, tablets, and now the Kindle Fire, all those barriers vanish. Especially when you add Amazon’s new publishing arm. I’m very impressed with Amazon’s willingness to explore innovative ideas. When Montlake first approached me through my agent, this wasn’t what any of us had in mind. But the minute we all realized I had Unforgettable WITH a soundtrack waiting in the wings and Amazon had the Kindle Fire about to launch, we jumped on the idea and hit the ground running.
Life in the Fast Lane
Things move VERY quickly in the digital world. This all started in Oct. Now it’s Nov, and the ink is barely dry on the contract but, if all goes as planned, my ebook romance novel bundled with a digital soundtrack will launch shortly after Christmas. That’s less than three months! Even in the digital world, that’s fast for a project of this magnitude.
What better way, though, to showcase Amazon’s new multimedia device, the Kindle Fire, and their new publishing branch, than releasing an ebook bundled with an eCD.
A Fresh New Start: New Title, New Cover
For a number of reasons, we’re looking at a total repackage of the novel and music, including a new title for both. Again, I’m impressed with Amazon’s openness to author input. This feels like a partnership in which they respect the success I’ve had as an indie author, combined with my experience in designing ebook covers for myself and other authors. I look forward to working with Amazon on the packaging of this project. It’s going to be exciting.
Looking Toward the Future: Indie Publishing
Does this mean I’ve abandoned indie publishing? No. I’ve been working on a couple of short stories set on Pearl Island, the setting for my popular Pearl Island trilogy, and have enjoyed being back in that world so much, I plan to set even more stories there. Whether I work with Montlake and Amazon again on full-length novels, and that’s certainly a possibility, I plan to indie publish any Pearl Island novellas as a way to complement my future works.
I’ll post updates on my Facebook Page as this adventure continues to unravel.