Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Crown Returns Home

Almost exactly two years ago, my wife Robin checked her email, which for her is like climbing Mt. Everest as she gets avalanches of mail. Sometimes as many as three hundred messages a day. A week goes by and her mailbox can easily exceed a thousand. So “checking her mail” can be a daunting task more associated with cleaning out a neglected closet, or perhaps more accurately, moving from a lived-in MacMansion to a one room apartment.

Back then, Robin was trying to get me published. I’m not good at such things. I am the creative visionary, she’s the practical engineer. (She actually has a degree in electrical engineering.) Robin is my imaginer, a term I stole from Disney to describe how she manages to build my dreams into reality. You see, she’s good with numbers, finances and business ventures, so when I decided to start my own advertising agency, she brought it to life setting up the paper work, arranging the office space and bringing me my first clients. And when I decided to become an author, she found me an agent.

My agent was a wonderful woman—the first in the business who I felt really understood and appreciated what I was writing. She helped me fix a few problems and then began sending the manuscript out, starting with the big houses. Sadly, after only a year she retired from the business when her husband relapsed with leukemia.

Having lost her, Robin took over the task of being my agent. Robin sent out several queries and we were considering my options of either attacking the YA market or self-publishing. The holidays had just come through and Robin was far behind on checking her email on that particular morning in January two years ago. The day lacked some of its drama due to this particular email having arrived months ago and left unopened in the cyber-ether of a Gmail account. The message she found buried below the drifts was from a publisher named Aspirations Media, Inc. saying they wanted to publish The Crown Conspiracy.

It was a thrill. Few moments in life compare to that singular moment when after a lifetime of struggling you see that contract from a publisher offering to spend their money because they believe your work is good enough to gamble on. Instantly everything changes as if a switch is flipped. Years of wasted time, become years of well invested work. People who knew you were foolish chasing impossible dreams, become people who always knew you would make it. You switch from being embarrassed when people ask you what you do, to being proud.

Aspirations Media, Inc. did that for me. They found me. AMI has four other authors besides myself. They aren’t a large press by any means. It didn’t matter—-they were the people who granted me the mantle of Author. They proved I wasn't wasting my time and they proved it to my harshest critic--me. For this I will forever be grateful.

I signed the contract for The Crown Conspiracy and AMI went to work editing it. Based on the response of his editors—-who reported that they were having trouble editing the book because they kept getting caught up in the story-—Lee Corrie, the owner of AMI, asked to put Avempartha under contract as well, even before Crown was released. Within sixth months, I went from aspiring writer to the author of two novels. Unfortunately, the economic crisis laid into the publishing trade. Several small houses went out of business. AMI weathered the storm, but six months later did not have the finances to pay for Avempartha’s release. Lee negotiated with us and I managed to get the rights back in time to see the book released on time and on schedule through Ridan Publishing.

Now, as you may have heard, The Crown Conspiracy has sold-out its first printing. Great news, but once again AMI faced another decision, one that would require another major investment of capital. Robin and I have been waiting to hear what AMI would do. The last of the books shipped out of the warehouse and still we waited. Then we got the call.

AMI has decided not reprint The Crown Conspiracy.

By the terms of the contract, AMI had up to six-months to get the book back into print, but this could be disastrous as readers tired of not being able to purchase the book would dry up and go away. There are also subtle aspects of the contract that could have delayed the printing beyond six-months and eventually caused a lengthy custody dispute that might have dragged out for years. But none of this happened. One of the reasons I was so happy to have AMI publish my books in the first place was Lee Corrie. Lee is a decent, and honest man of integrity, and when he knew he would not reprint Crown, he released me from the contract with no strings attached. He also released his lingering contract on Avempartha. This whole thing could have gone another way, and it has been a great relief to discover my trust in Lee and AMI were not ill-founded.

What does all this mean?

It means that I now have complete control of the series. All rights belong to me. Crown is already being refitted for republication through Ridan and pushed through the pipe at lightning speed. It will be back out and available within the month.

There will be minor corrections to the text, fixing typos, but no real change to the story. What’s more, the interior layout will be reformatted to match the subsequent books. Some of you have mentioned that Crown had an odd layout with “Parts” instead of chapters and “Chapters” instead of section breaks. In addition, the headers will now contain chapter names and the book title instead of my name and the book title. It sounds like a silly little thing, and it probably is, but it is something that bothers me as I sometimes need to look up details from the previous books and I never know what chapter I’m in. There will also now be a page inside indicating that it is the first book of a series. I cringe wondering how many people have read Crown and assumed it was all there was!

The cover will also undergo a small change following the original design I created for it as well as new quotes for the back. Perhaps best of all, Crown will now match the rest of the series, so when you place it on a shelf, the spines will all line up properly.

Once re-released, Crown should no longer appear “out of stock.” In addition, I am now free to pursue audio versions as well as foreign, and motion picture rights. All of which were complicated without control of the first book in the series.

So while I have been very pleased with AMI, I must say it is nice to have Crown home again.

8 comments:

  1. Excellent!!! :-) Well, you know what I mean. ;-) And I wouldn't mind recording an excerpt of Crown so you can get a taste of what it would sound like. :-)

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  2. I am glad this all worked out well for you. AMI has really been what we would like to think people would and should act like. It is great to hear there are many great decent people out there in the world doing things repectfully.

    Congrats!

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  3. Just last week I ordered your series through amazon, and now that I know you are going to have a new format, I'm itching to get that one too. Perhaps this first set will go to our local library.

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  4. Dave,
    I actually think I might have something lined-up for an audio version. But should you like to produce an excerpt for your blog, that would also be nice.

    I tried to make an audio myself but I am a terribly reader.

    Melissa,
    Thanks for stopping by, and for being so supportive here, and across the rest of the net.

    Wendy,
    LOL! Yes, by all means. In fact, I think everyone who bought the first book should all consider donating them and repurchasing! :P

    Thanks for posting all.

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  5. Oh wow are you serious?! :-) I would absolutely love to do that, Michael! :-) If you'd like, I've got an audio excerpt of Steven Erikson's Gardens of the Moon on the blog (it's in the sidebar), and you can give it a listen to hear my voice, etc.

    I would seriously love to a piece for you! :-)

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  6. For those wishing to buy the "new" version from Amazon here is a link:

    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0979621135

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  7. Absolutely Dave. You have my permission to produce an audio excerpt of The Crown Conspiracy--and boy it feels good to be able to legally say that. As far as I can see, it could only create more interest in my book and I hope will draw more people to your site.

    Stay in the beginning of the book and try not to do the whole thing.:) There is a pronounciation guide on this blog called: "Something While You Wait" posted in Oct. 2009 (I would post a link but Blogger isn't letting me.)

    If you shoot me an email I will also send you an audio file I made covering all the tricky words.

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