- by Cynthia Wright
I’m writing about something that is old news for most of you: resurrecting out-of-print novels and transforming them into ebooks. I see that NINC has been breaking ground in this area, starting with the conference in 2010 . While the rest of you were on the beach in St. Pete’s, I was in a cave in Northern California, not writing anymore and not having a clue about the eBook Revolution…
I’m still so new at being a novelist – again! – that I really don’t have anything to do a blog post about – yet – except the early miles of this journey! My first writing career began in the mid-1970’s, when I was 21 and I began writing an historical romance novel in longhand on lined notebook paper. I checked out “Writer’s Market” from the library, followed its advice, and sold CAROLINE (without an agent) to Ballantine Books.
After it was published in 1977, I got an agent and went on to enjoy a fairly typical career in traditional publishing. I stayed with Ballantine for two decades. I wrote 13 novels that were read by a couple million people. I went to the first Romantic Times Convention in New York and became a member of NINC in its very early days. For many years I loved my work. However, toward the end, in 1996, I was suffering from intermittent burn-out and a chronic case of publisher neglect and broken promises.
It seemed that I’d lived my life backward: beginning to write before I’d really experienced much of life. I missed people after all those years working alone in a room at home. I went to work as an interior designer and had a lot of fun making house calls and designing rooms for clients. Yet, sometimes I still fantasized about plots… and my old pals encouraged me to write again. In my heart I knew I was still a writer, but I couldn’t face the traditional publishing process.
I did take a moment to write Ballantine two years ago and get the rights back to my books. In the back of my mind there was a word: ebooks. I met author Susan Crosby, who lives in my town, and last winter she confided that CAROLINE had inspired her to become a writer. It was a reminder that my books were not forgotten.
Life has been really happy and challenging. I went back to college and will graduate in May 2012 as a Physical Therapist Assistant. My goal is to work with the elderly. Last April, I was in San Francisco for a book launch party for Ciji Ware’s new novel. I was talking to her husband about my plan to dig out my 13 novels and turn them into ebooks… just as soon I finished last May’s finals.
Of course, I had absolutely NO CLUE what was involved. NONE. He remarked that I would have to have new covers made. Huh? That conversation cracked open the door for me. When my exams were over in May, I started digging around on the internet for information about ebooks. I read lots of blogs. I learned.
Thank God for Nina Paules at eBook Prep. I didn’t have the time or ability to learn how to format my books – and I had only the paperbacks, nothing on disc. (And I hadn’t had the NINC conference to instruct me!) I contacted Nina and soon sent off CAROLINE and SILVER STORM. When Nina began to send the .doc files to me and I realized that I could really go back into a novel that I had written 36 years ago and edit it, it was both scary and thrilling.
I felt like I was in a time machine! And I had the final say. No editor could override me, or insert her own words into my book (as my first editor had done). I started out making small changes but I gradually realized I could cut the dull parts and even re-write whole portions of a novel that felt dated. It was quite a moment when I wrote and reread my first scene in fifteen years. I wish I had had had more time, yet it’s also liberating to realize that I can still make a change and republish.
I was also lucky enough to discover Kim Killion through Nina. I am continually in awe of the magic she creates when she designs a cover for me. And, again, what a thrill to be able to be part of that process rather than feel powerless as I often did during my original career as a novelist. I got to choose the images I wanted Kim to use, and I also suggested the medallion on my 7 related Beauvisage and Raveneau novels. Kim began with the most amazing cover for SILVER STORM! I’ll never forget that moment when I clicked on the attachment and it gradually opened on the page. It was as if a part of me was there.
My first two books went live on Amazon and Barnes & Noble July 21st. Since then, I’ve added seven more, with four more waiting for me to work on over this Christmas vacation from school. I have two unfinished manuscripts that I’ll complete and publish in 2012. I’m a member of NINC again and interacting daily with other authors on NINKLINK and other online groups.
I love the way new technology has made writing so much less lonely than it was before. Readers can interact with authors on Facebook and on websites and Twitter. What fun! I’ve been enjoying every moment of this new career that feels so familiar… and yet so fresh and different and liberating.
I’m thrilled to be back among all of you again and to identify myself as a novelist!