February 2019 newsletter

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The roller-coaster ride publisher experience

Greetings – and thanks for signing up for my newsletter. It’s dreich day here in Scotland, so perfect for getting those pesky marketing tasks out of the way, hmm?

On the other hand, I could just go back to bed with a good book.

Let me share with you a recent experience—the highs, the lows and the what next…

In December, I sent a copy of Highland Fling, a romcom, to one of the new e-publishing companies that have sprung up in recent years. These companies concentrate on the e-book market, they get books to market much faster than traditional publishing, and they offer more generous royalties. You can submit directly too.

I submitted, and two weeks later I got an email from a publishing executive who said she’d fallen in love with the warmth and charm of the story. The highs, right? Could I wait a few weeks so she could share it with her colleagues.

Patience, patience

We exchanged a few emails, and I waited. And waited. To be fair, it wasn’t that long. Patience comes nowhere near my top ten personality traits. On Valentine’s Day—the irony, seeing as I’d written a romcom—I heard back. ‘Fresh, fabulous and funny’ was mentioned, as were comparisons to Jill Mansell and Sophie Kinsella.

But they couldn’t think of a strong enough marketing angle for me as a debut author. The lows.

On the other hand, did I want to work with them on a collaborative project? They come up with the outline, I write the story and I get 40 percent royalties. But, and it is a biggie, the intellectual property (IP) belongs to them.

Pros—I learn how to write to market. I love writing when I know exactly where the story is going. I could make money.

Cons—oh, that IP thing… Dilemma, dilemma. And my name might not go on it; Emma Baird is unlikely to strike a chord with US readers, apparently…

Anyway, I’ll make my decision when I see the contract.

In the meantime, I’m throwing hard work at Highland Fling, and I aim to publish it this summer. If a publishing exec liked it, and fresh, fabulous and funny are among the adjectives they used, perhaps this book will resonate with others too. I can always change the name I publish it under too. What do you think of Marcia Bloom? Glamorous-ish?

A little something I tried in lumen5 – created from a blog post about The Girl Who Swapped. It took less than 30 minutes.

Writing news

What happens when your fledgling relationship meets issues early on? I’m in the middle of a follow up to Highland Fling. It takes two supporting characters from HF and gives them a starring role of their own.

Remember the old saying, ‘that difficult second book’. Reader, I always know when I’m struggling to write because the pacing steps up. Useful for my Fitbit stats, but no good for focus and concentration.

Cover of Ten Little StarsI’m attempting to make one of my books, Ten Little Stars, perma-free. Amazon won’t let you do that from its KDP dashboard, but if you make your book free on another site, you can let them know the book is available at a cheaper price elsewhere.

Voila! The retail behemoth gets jealous and makes your book free too.

Ten Little Stars is a book of short stories, some of them featuring characters from my books so you get a bit of a back story.


I’m currently reading Educated by Tara Westover, a memoir of her childhood with her family of survivalists waiting for the End of Days when the World of Men fails. Tara grew up without a birth certificate and the family weren’t in the education system. Fascinating stuff.

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