Thursday, August 16, 2012

Chris Marie Green: Digital Revolution

We’ve all heard about the “digital revolution” in publishing.  It’s changing everything, from the way books are written, to the way they’re distributed.  We’re all having to adjust, whether we’re an author, a publisher, or a reader.

It’s a very exciting time, one that reminds me of learning to surf.

(Um...okay.  I’ve tried surfing, and it was fun...except for the time my board smacked me in my mouth.  But everything other than that was great.  Really.)

Anyway, you stand in front of those waves that are rolling in, and as you wade out farther into the water, you start realizing that jumping over the waves isn’t exactly the best way to go about conquering them.  They’re starting to overtake you. What do you do?  A) just stare at that next big, incoming wave and allow it to crash into you, bringing you down?  Or do you B) learn how to “duckdive,” going under the wave and using the path of least resistance, coming out on the other side a little out of breath but ready to take on the next one?

I think you know the answer, and that’s why a couple of friends and I are attempting a “self-pubbed digital venture” this year.

We wanted to come out on the other side of that wave ready to go!

But there has been a lot of work involved with that dive.  First, we wanted to brand ourselves, so we’re calling our collections of urban fantasy novellas “GothicScapes.  Three stories per anthology, hopefully three times a year from us three authors—me, Nancy Holder, and Linda Thomas-Sundstrom.

Sounds easy enough, right?

Not actually.  There’s also the trademark issue to take care of, and we decided to use a literary attorney to handle that.  And my accountant has come in very handy, too, as we needed to set up a way for three authors to get paid on each book.  We commissioned a graphic artist to do a logo and started thinking early on about what our cover would look like.  Plus, there’s a whole lot to learn about formatting and distribution.  And PR plans?  Time to set up some blog tours, advertising, conferences, and special release events, because it’s becoming pretty obvious that standing out in the world of digital publishing isn’t as simple as it was a couple years ago.

Then came the fun part—writing!  We had to define what GothicScapes, our branding name, would be about.  Since we all love urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and paranormal mystery, we decided that’s what we wanted to give our readers...and we plan to give it three times a year, as I mentioned.  That means setting up deadlines, not only to turn in the novella manuscripts, but to have them edited and formatted.  (It’s tough getting used to thinking like an editor—scheduling our production tasks.  See, the people who are editing and formatting for us need lead time, too, LOL.)

As for the content of the anthologies, I was dying for an opportunity to continue my Vampire Babylon series in my own novella contributions.  This venture gives me the chance to reboot the series, since the last VB book, Deep in the Woods, was print published a few years ago.  What’s exciting about these new novellas is that I’m able to not only continue the adventures of Dawn Madison, but I’m making the series new-reader-friendly, meaning that it should be easy for anyone to hop on board. 

I’ve already written the first two novellas (Yes, I’m trying to be efficient!), even though the release dates are in October (for UNDEAD FOR A DAY, anthology #1) and December (for STRANGE SPIRITS, anthology #2).  My next deadline is in February (release date April, just in time for Beltane), but thanks to a recent trip I took to New Orleans, I’ve got *that* story ready and raring to go, too!

I hope your “digital self-pubbed ventures” are just as fun as the ones I’m having with GothicScapes.  It’s a ton of work, but what an exciting time this is! 

So have you read any self-pubbed books that are strictly available on e-readers?  What was the latest one, and what did you think of it?  If you’d like to answer that question in the comments section, I would love to hear your opinion.  The prize for one winner will be a first edition of my debut urban fantasy, THE HUNTRESS.  I wrote it for Bombshell as Crystal Green in 2004, and Silhouette reprinted it in an anthology, so from what I hear, the first edition isn’t available any more in print....

Also, here’s a taste of the GothicScapes premiere book, available in October!

About UNDEAD FOR A DAY, GothicScapes #1

Samhain.  All Hallow’s Eve.  A night when zombie-like revenants can be raised by a magic-using, ancient family to exact revenge on the hunter who wrecked their underground kingdom... A time when a redheaded blackbelt pits herself against warmongering witch clans...  A holiday that allows the Underworld to open and the creatures to pour out, their freedom governed by a gentleman's agreement between the forces of Light and Dark.

Welcome to UNDEAD FOR A DAY, a collection of three novellas from a trio of reader favorite urban fantasy writers: Chris Marie Green, AKA Christine Cody (Vampire Babylon and Bloodlands series), New York Times Bestseller Nancy Holder (Wicked and Teen Wolf series), and Linda Thomas-Sundstrom (Vampire Moons and Wolf Moons series). 

“Raising the Dead” by Chris Marie Green (A Dawn Madison Vampire Babylon novella) reunites you with former hunter Dawn Madison, who hasn’t been the same since she retired from the life.  She’s tired and drained from injuries sustained during the team’s last stand against the dragon, but when the clock strikes twelve on Samhain, everything changes.  It seems that someone has sent raised-from-the-dark creatures after her, and they’re out for blood—as well as Dawn’s life.

In “Into the Fire” by Nancy Holder (A Story of the Favored,) Bridget Flynn leaps into a bonfire and goes from Samhain year wife at the first stroke of midnight to widow on the last. Caught in the middle of a feud between rival magical Houses, Bridget raises a battle force of her own. But can she survive in the midst of hot-tempered witches intent on destroying each other?

“Trapped in Stone” by Linda Thomas-Sundstrom takes us to Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, where the forces of Good and Evil are playing a game of Chicken with one man's soul, and the woman he loves is a major player in a challenge that has continued for a century.

Coming to your e-reader in October!


Chris Marie Green (AKA Christine Cody) is the author of the Vampire Babylon and Bloodlands series from Ace.  Once upon a time, she used to be an eighth-grade teacher until she became a full-time author who has published nearly forty-five works under all three of her pseudonyms (including RITA-nominated Crystal Green). She and fellow authors Nancy Holder and Linda Thomas-Sundstrom have gotten together to digitally self-publish upcoming urban fantasy novella collections.  The first, Undead for a Day, will be available in October, 2012!

***The lucky winner is Melissa!  Please email with your mailing address and full name.  Thanks!***


stormvikki said...

I couldn't tell you the last time I read a self pub book, prolly too lazy to go search for them...I have an ereader, but lately it's cheaper to buy hard copies so that is what I have been doing.

Pat Cochran said...

As far as I know, I have not read a
self-published book.This sounds like
an exciting adventure, despite the
hard work that goes into it! Good
Luck to you, Nancy, and Linda!

Pat C.

Barrie said...

This sounds incredibly exciting!

a question: will you edit each other's work?

Raonaid Luckwell said...

Self-pub that is strictly in ebook. Lisa Renee Jones comes to mind on this. I had read Joan Swan's Intimate Enemies but I believe that's going to paperback. That was awesome.

Raonaid at gmail dot com

Chris Marie Green/Christine Cody/Crystal Green said...

Hey, Stormvikki, ever since I got my Kindle, it's been like a candy store for me, LOL. I love being able to read books that are reasonably priced and not available in the print stores. We're aiming for a print-book standard for our novellas, so we're hoping for quality stuff for GothicScapes. ; )

Thank you, Pat!

Barrie, thank you! Good question--we're using outside editors, but we're running the novellas by each other before they are published. The nice thing is that, since we're not sharing fantasy worlds, we don't have shared continuity details to keep track of (although we've talked about coming up with a world for future projects...). The stories will be connected thematically, though--as in all the novellas for this first collection will center around Samhain/All Hallow's Eve and Christmas for the second.
(Just a note about the Christmas anthology, GothicScapes #2: Nancy Holder mentioned that, in Victorian times in England, Christmas Eve used to be a real scary night. People used to tell ghost stories, so that inspired us!)

Raonaid! Thanks for the recommendation. More for me to read.

Melissa Cutler said...

This sounds so exciting, Chris. I can't wait to buy my copy! Congratulations to you, Linda, and Nancy.

Anonymous said...

I've read several self published e-books and a few have been picked up by publishers. One of my favorites is EASY by Tammara Webber. It's new adult and not something i thought I would like but I was wrong. I like the surfing metaphor. I liken the self-pub thing to snow skiing. It's not something I thought I would want to do but then the mountain was there and everyone else seemed to be enjoying themselves. I'm still a little afraid to get off the lift.

Chris Marie Green/Christine Cody/Crystal Green said...

Oh, Melissa, thank you so much!

LOL, Cheryl. I've got EASY in my TBR queue... ; )

erin said...

Thanks for a great post! Congrats on the upcoming releases/rereleases!

I have a read a few self pub books and I've really enjoyed them. There were a few that you could tell were stictly self pub b/c the editing wasn't as tight or there were grammatical errors but as long as you ignore that, the stories were good! A lot of them were older books that my fav authors were able to reissue and I've snatched them up. I love my Kindle, but my wallet hates it :)

Lisa Kessler said...

I read Amanda Hocking's My Blood Approves series... Loved them!!! :)

Congratulations to you and Linda & Nancy!!! I hope it's a huge success for all of you!!!


Lisa :)

Linda Thomas-Sundstrom said...

Wow, great post, Chris. Can't wait to unleash our cover for UNDEAD FOR A DAY... I'm really excited to be a part of this venture. REALLY excited.

Cassi Carver said...

Yay, Chris, Linda and Nancy!! What an exciting adventure! I love your work, so I bet your digital anthologies are going to be a huge success!!

Chris Marie Green/Christine Cody/Crystal Green said...

Erin, thanks! I hear you on the old wallet, LOL. That's the beauty of an e-reader...impulse buying. ; )

Lisa, yay--we appreciate it! I haven't read Hocking's books yet. I need to try one.

Linda! Thanks--and I cannot *wait* to show that cover. You all, we got a sneak peak of UNDEAD FOR A DAY's cover, and we all just loved it the first time out. No second cover attempt was necessary. Eeee!

Cassi! Aw, that's so sweet of you to say. Your book is in my queue and I can't wait! Fingers crossed about the success--we're putting our best writing feet forward!

So happy to see you all here. Hope your writing is going great, too! (I'm editing my second GothicScapes novella next week... Whoo!)

Eli Yanti said...

sounds a great book. Congrats :)

Chris Marie Green/Christine Cody/Crystal Green said...

Eli, big thanks!

donnas said...


I have read a few, more recently than in previous years. The last was by Lisa Renee Jones.

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Chris Marie Green/Christine Cody/Crystal Green said...

Hey, donnas!!! Hope you're doing well.