Conversation with Author Velda Brotherton

January 23, 2012

Welcome, Velda! Let’s virtually sit down and talk about books and publishing. I hear you’re getting into E book publishing.

Velda: When I began working toward EBook publishing, I never dreamed I would put books so close together. Another is still on the drawing board, so to speak. It’s an exciting time to be an author.

Lori: I’ve been seriously thinking about EBook publishing myself, now that self-publishing doesn’t have the stigma that it did until recently; also, the “royalties” from EBooks are generally higher than those from books in print on paper. What drew you to the world of EBooks?

Velda: Lori, I was probably most fascinated by Ebooks when I learned I could republish all my backlist to Kindle. Once that became a possibility, I started thinking about what books I had that had circulated in New York, had some good feedback, but never sold. Why couldn’t I submit those to E book publishers and see what happened? I had no idea that two of them would sell within weeks of my submitting them. One is still under consideration.
What I like most about E books I think is that I can do almost all my promoting and marketing online sitting at my computer. I’ve been in this business a long time and am getting weary of book signings and personal appearances. Not that I don’t enjoy meeting all my fans, I love that part, but the physical effort is getting to be more than I can handle. I also enjoy the high royalties involved. Of course that varies between E book publishers and Kindle.
You should look into publishing some of your work through Kindle. There are plenty of good E book publishers out there as well, if you wanted to go that route.

Lori: I’m not sure if I want to go through an E book publisher, or self-publish through Smashwords or Kindle, but I am putting together several of my older stories (and revising them) that I intend to at least put on Kindle, although I don’t know when that will be, or how I’ll promote it! (Maybe a visit to your blog?) Can you tell me more about the E books that you’ve sold or have “in the queue” to sell, and about your published works? I know you’ve published a fair amount, and I’d love to learn more. How did you go about selling your two E-books so quickly?

Velda: Selling those first two E books was amazing for me. I had written a western historical romance which my agent didn’t like. I really thought it was good, so I did some more work on it and sent it to Rhonda Penders at Wild Rose Press. I met her at the Ozark Creative Writer’s Conference in Eureka Springs, Arkansas in October. I hadn’t even thought of submitting anything until a friend who had pitched her work to Rhonda came over to me and told me that they were looking and buying (in this case, that simply means contracting, as Ebook publishers don’t usually pay an advance) and if I had anything at all I should pitch it. So I dug around in my mind, thought of this manuscript that was gathering dust and pitched it to Rhonda. She asked for it and they accepted it in November. Said they were absolutely enthralled with the story. It will be out in February as Stone Heart’s Woman, just a bit over a year from the time they contracted it. It will also be in print.

The second book I sold around the same time, I had spoken to Rhonda about it and she asked to see it also, but it didn’t fit their strict guidelines for a romance. She told me to submit it somewhere else as a paranormal mainstream, which is precisely what I did. In this case I got online and checked out several Ebook publishers, picked SynergEbooks because I liked the books they were publishing a lot. They sent me a contract almost by return mail. We just today finished the final edits on it. My editor was concerned about one important point in the book and she helped me work out what we should do to fix it. I just Emailed the manuscript a few minutes ago. I really thought it would qualify as a romance, but I guess there was too much “other story” in it. The title is Wolf Song, and it has a mystery, a lot of shapeshifting, murder and the like. It would appear that it’s a cross genre, but they’re marketing it as a YA and Adult novel. I’m excited to see how it does. They’ve been taking pre-orders for a few weeks.

I am all over the map, so to speak, with my writing. I have five regional nonfiction books out about the Ozarks of Arkansas. My creative nonfiction, which is a biography that takes place in New Mexico, was a finalist in the WILLA Literary Awards for Creative Non Fiction in 2008. I have six western historical romances that were originally published in NY and four are now on Kindle, with the other two ready to edit and format. I have three women’s fiction novels about middle aged women meeting some sort of crisis in their lives. I plan on self-publishing them to Kindle. And would you believe I have a horror novel that’s still with an Ebook publisher that is taking way too much time to decide. I may end up publishing it to Kindle as well.

Lori: I would believe it. The stories I’m hoping to put on Amazon are horror stories. I think everybody has a few nightmares that they can get out by writing, if they try.

Velda: And that about covers what I’ve written so far. I tried straight mysteries, but couldn’t keep everything lined up, and I don’t have the patience to write one of those big thrillers with their layers and layers of story line. What’s next? Once all of these are headed in the right direction, I’ve already started another western historical romance I hope to get published through Wild Rose Press. Did you know they were chosen for the fourth year in a row as the best E book publisher by readers through Preditors and Editors?

Lori: No, I didn’t know that. But I’ll certainly be visiting the Preditors and Editors website before I approach any publisher. I think many authors or would-be authors don’t know about that site; I hope this can help spread the word.

Velda: I think it’s a good idea for you to get something published on Kindle. Promoting and marketing is a lot of work, but at least you’re not stomping around trying to get a few people to pay attention to you at a book signing. Though I do enjoy that a lot because of the wonderful readers I meet.

Lori: Thank you for the advice. I did a lot of that stomping around with my first book, Spooky Creepy North Dakota, and I didn’t enjoy it — except for the people I met that way.
Thank you so much, Velda, for visiting my blog. I hope to be reading your new books very soon.

Velda: I appreciate you having me. It was tons of fun to converse with you this way. Sort of like having coffee together and chatting.

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11 Responses to “Conversation with Author Velda Brotherton”

  1. Meg said

    Interesting stuff from both of you. And some things I hadn’t considered.

    What do you think is the biggest advantage of going through an e-only press over publishing it yourself? Do you get much marketing help?

    • leescott58 said

      Damned if I know! Hope Velda can answer it!

    • Hi Meg, The only big difference I saw, and this only applied to the early 90s when I was NY published, is the lack of advertising in magazines like RT, and they pretty much stopped that before I left NY for Ebooks and regional publishers.
      What I like most is that I can do almost all my promotion and marketing online with E books. Some E presses do a lot in the way of sending out for online reviews, however. Thanks for commenting.

      • Meg said

        Thanks, Velda. I wondered what the advantage was to going with an epress over just doing it yourself, and now I know [g].

  2. This is an impressive interview with an impressive writer. Thanks for providing food for thought.

  3. leescott58 said

    Thank you for your comment, Mary. Velda is indeed an impressive writer, and it was a privilege to have her on my blog!

  4. Wow, I got a lot from this interview. Great stuff. Impressive how you continue to move your career along, Velda. Thanks Lori, for bringing this to us.

    • Irene, thanks for commenting. I’m keeping up with your work too. And it’s pretty awesome.

      • leescott58 said

        I appreciate the comment too, Irene. And Velda’s right — your writing is pretty awesome too! I recently read Velda’s novel Wolf Song, and can tell you it’s a great read. (and I read it voraciously in one day, because I had to know what was going to happen!)

  5. Great interview. I learned so much reading this. Crossed Trails will come out as an e-book this June from Whiskey Creek Press, but it’ll also be in book form. As I read this interview, I thought, “Here is a woman whose brain just clicks along in high gear.” My admiration knows no bounds.

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