by Sandra Parshall
Book bloggers and publishing analysts all over the internet are busily telling us this week what a crazy year 2013 was.
Major publishers that were anguishing not too long ago about ebooks putting them out of business are making lots and lots of money – from ebooks.
The writers who started the self-publishing boom often found their books being pushed aside by digital versions of print bestsellers, as readers decided they were willing to pay higher prices after all for ebooks by their longtime favorites. But digital prices have been up and down for months and nobody seems to know what the most enticing figure is. Even free doesn’t satisfy some readers. Give them a free short story and they’ll post a nasty “review” complaining that it isn’t a full-length novel.
Print hasn’t gone away, but the weekly sales reports in Publishers Weekly aren’t encouraging. Juvenile nonfiction and board books for kids are the only formats not losing sales, and mass market paperbacks continue to take the biggest hit – down another 9% for the year, after staggering losses in the preceding years.
But writers, traditionally published and self-published, keep writing. We hear a lot about search engine optimization and metadata and careful selection of keywords, all of it adding up to discoverability. That doesn’t even sound like it should be a word, but it’s the concept that rules writers’ lives in the internet era. Readers have to be able to discover our books. And most of the responsibility for that falls directly on the authors.
We end up shouting with joy: “I have a new book coming out!”
...and simultaneously moaning with dread: “I have a new book coming out.”
Once people start reading it, and saying nice things about it, the dread fades and the satisfaction of accomplishment returns, but still we know that success or failure depends on our ability to get the word out, to help readers discover the story we’ve worked on for such a long time.
So... Guess what?
I have a new book coming out!
If you’re my friend on Facebook, you’ve no doubt heard about it already, but let me tell you again. Poisoned Ground is number 6 in the Rachel Goddard series. She’s now married to Tom Bridger, the recently elected sheriff of Mason County, Virginia. Rachel is close to her sister Michelle again. Life couldn’t be much better.
Then a big predatory development company decides to build a sprawling mountain resort in little Mason County, and company reps promise jobs galore and plenty of money pouring into a place that badly needs it. The only problem is that the company wants to build its resort on the McKendrick Horse Farm, owned by Rachel’s good friend Joanna, and the smaller properties that border it. Joanna and some of her neighbors have no intention of giving up their land. When an elderly husband and wife are gunned down on the farm they refused to sell, a small-scale civil war erupts in the county. If you know Rachel, you know she’s right in the middle of it.
The violence escalates – but is it all due to disagreement over the resort plans? Or has the development issue only served to stir up old enmities, open deep wounds and bring back memories of betrayal that have lain dormant in the poisoned ground beneath Mason County’s bucolic surface?
Poisoned Ground has some new characters I enjoyed writing and hope you’ll find entertaining – especially the eccentric Jones sisters, three unmarried women of a certain age named Winter, Spring, and Summer. A fourth sister named Autumn is no more than a photo on the mantel and a sad memory...
Poisoned Ground comes out March 4. I hope you’ll discover it.
Happy new year from all of Poe's Deadly Daughters!