Welcome an author who knows how to go with the flow and survive in a tricky industry — Nancy Gideon!
Staying Alive: Coming Full Circle in Romance
I almost let an anniversary slip by me.
Twenty-five years ago, in 1987, I celebrated my first Release Day. In fact, that year I enjoyed three of them (two in July and one in November!) with Sweet Tempest, a historical regency written as Lauren Giddings, and Pirate’s Captive (now referred to as the naughty pirate novel by my co-workers) and Rebel Vixen written as Dana Ransom. Though 25 years and 53 books have gone by since that July in 1987 and the 12-17-12 launch of Betrayed by Shadows, the excitement and anxiousness is still the same. What’s changed (other than my hair color. I refuse to comment on my weight or my age) is the publishing industry . . . dramatically!
I remember the moment romance struck me. It was in the book aisle at the department store where I worked part time. Everyone was whispering about a new book and we took turns huddling over the pages when no one was watching. The book was Kathleen Woodiwiss’s The Flame and the Flower. At that moment, I knew what I wanted to become. I’d always been a writer, but now I knew – I wanted to be a romance writer. I wonder how many writing careers that single novel launched?
Those early years in romance were fabulous. The print runs were generous. Your books were everywhere. Readers . . . and publishers couldn’t get enough of them. I sold on my second ever submission. I sold everything I submitted, starting with historicals then series contemporaries and paranormal, for first one then three concurrent publishers with three pseudonyms. Of course the advances and royalty percentages were often laughable but the books always earned out and there was always a check coming in. Then, like the Stock Market, those years of prosperity were followed by a fall – the crash of the midlist. Publishing houses disappeared or were assimilated into bigger entities, offers dried up, doors of opportunity closed. Authors who weren’t jumping out of figurative windows were scrambling to survive. It seemed like overnight 3/4s of the names I knew in the business were gone, many never to return to writing as my publishers didn’t pick up my contracts and my agent bailed. Romance was no longer about books – it was about bottom line, and that shift changed everything. Faced with a collapsing dream, I learned two things: how much being a writer meant to me and what I was willing to do to keep my career alive.
Change and adapt. Just ask the animal kingdom – that’s the key to survival. Many of the
writers who never came back were unable to learn a different way to approach their careers. Mine was to hunker down and wait it out with small press, ImaJinn Books. And I discovered big wasn’t always better when it came to nurturing an author’s battered psyche. I kept writing, submitting, and selling on my own, getting back in with those Big 6 companies by keeping my name out there and stalking following up with former contacts in New York. Finally I hit my stride on what I hoped would be the home stretch of my career.
Funny. You finally think you know where it’s at . . . and someone moves it. Everything was in place. A hot series, Publishers Weekly’s glowing reviews, massive publisher support. I just knew it was about to happen . . . and when you least expect it, expect it. Borders went under. Self-publishing began to gain respect and momentum, pulling readers from print to e-book in startling droves. Everyone’s numbers plummeted. New York went into panic mode, just as we authors once had. And again, it was time to shift gears to survive with a two book e-exclusive contract that could compete on price points and hopefully shore up my readership. I’m too old to start all over. But I kept telling myself to hang in there. Ride it out. Look for ways to adapt.
My life raft came on a full circle tide . . . back to those titles that began my career, with the return of the rights to those written as Dana Ransom. Possibilities bloomed. I could self-publish. For those series that were left dangling, I could tie them up with original books! I could resell to new outlets with a new mantra – start small – stay long. Cue Gloria Gaynor singing “I Will Survive!”
So, here I am at another crossroads, about to begin a new learning curve with two new e-exclusives for Pocket Star, the first BETRAYED BY SHADOWS debuting this week! I am uber excited to be continuing my dark paranormal “By Moonlight” series and was thrilled by the tantalizing four week special price of $1.99!! One click and you’re reading!
AND, I just began that full circle effort, reselling four of my contemporary romances written as Dana Ransom (three that were circulated in the ‘90s and one that was completed but never released!) to their new home, BelleBooks! Look for them in Trade print and e-book in 2014!
Happy Anniversary to me! The rest of this half century is going to be great! Now . . . what to do with the rest of those projects . . .?
Nancy Gideon is the author of over 50 romance ranging from historicals and contemporary suspense to paranormal and even a couple of horror screenplays! When she’s not at the keyboard, she works full time as a legal assistant and feeds her Netflix addiction. BETRAYED BY SHADOWS is the 7th book in her dark paranormal series and is a new release from Pocket Star available for Kindle and Nook. For more about Nancy, her backlist and her series, visit: http://nancygideon.com.