Editorial & Giveaway (US/Int): Lara Adrian on how self-publishing saved her long-awaited Midnight Breed Companion book
Please help me welcome best-selling author Lara Adrian to GraveTells Indie Week!
A note from GT’s Evalitta: I would personally like to take a moment to introduce Lara Adrian, the writer of the The Midnight Breed series of which one day I hope to wake up and discover a moon and tear drop sign on me. Dante <3 ~Evalitta
Thank you very much to DaVinciKittie and Grave Tells for inviting me to take part in the annual “Indie-pendence Week” celebration. I’m excited to be here, and thrilled to have a chance to tell you about my first true independently published release, THE MIDNIGHT BREED SERIES COMPANION.
First, some background: I’ve been published with Random House since 1999, where I began my career writing medieval romances under the pen name Tina St. John. Despite some really nice reviews and awards for those books, they never had any kind of presence in stores (ebooks were basically nonexistent at the time). Because the books weren’t in stores, except one or two copies in a few of the bigger chains, they all quickly went out of print, never to be seen again. Until the recent rise of independent publishing, that is!
In March of 2012, I finally received the rights to those seven out-of-print titles and set about reissuing them myself as independent releases. It was great fun giving them fresh new covers, more attractive pricing, and sending them back out into the world for a second chance at reaching readers who’d only known me as Lara Adrian, as well as all-new readers who’d never tried any of my work before. Based on how lackluster the sales had been when Random House originally put the books out, I didn’t expect to earn much from them as indie ebooks. So, I was absolutely stunned when the first book I’d ever written, LORD OF VENGEANCE, became a USA Today bestseller—13 years after it originally published! And that’s not all. It stayed on the USA Today list for four weeks straight!
I released another three backlist titles, an intended four-book series that was axed by my publisher after the third book, and those began to sell very well as indies too. In fact, I earned more revenue off those four reissues in their first *month* of sales than I earned over the entire six-year length of my career writing as Tina St. John. Granted, my advances were pretty low back then (and my first two books were the only ones to earn out—barely, at that) but still, my indie revenue was an eye-opening revelation. We’re talking total game-changer for me.
I’d been watching indie publishing with more than a passing interest since it first started taking off in 2010. The money that some indie authors were making and the market visibility they were achieving was definitely attractive, but one of the more frustrating realities of traditional publishing for me has always been the lack of control and lack of information. Authors are advised to focus on writing books and more books, and trust the business and marketing decisions to wiser heads (i.e., publishers and agents). I’m fine focusing wholeheartedly on the writing. I do that every time I sit down to work on a book. But having been in business for myself and with my husband for several years before I published, completely turning over the reins of my career to anyone else was something I chafed against from Day One. Imbalanced contract terms and handcuffs placed on what I write, when I write it, who I write for (or with), etc., has also been a frustration that I had simply accepted as “the way it is.”
So, back to THE MIDNIGHT BREED SERIES COMPANION. I’d wanted to write this book for a very long time, mostly in response to reader demand over the years, but also because I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished with the series and I wanted to share it with fans who’ve been with me from the beginning. I’d long been promising a novella for Gideon and Savannah, and since their story takes place 30 years before the events in Book 1, KISS OF MIDNIGHT, including the story in a series Companion seemed the best, most logical way to bring it out.
I pitched the Companion to Random House in 2010, the idea being it could release between DARKER AFTER MIDNIGHT, a book that closed the first arc of the series, and EDGE OF DAWN, which opens the second arc of the series and introduces a new generation of characters (along with the old) twenty years in the future. Well, apparently Companion books don’t sell in high enough numbers for publishers to get excited about them. Random House liked my ideas for the book, but not enough to offer an advance on it, and not enough to publish the book in print format, just ebook to start. To say I was disappointed is putting it mildly. I was stung. Okay, I was kind of pissed too.
Had this been just a couple years earlier, I would’ve had little choice but to toss the Companion under my bed and sulk at the unfairness of it all. But this wasn’t years earlier. Thanks to Kindle Publishing Direct (KDP), PubIt (now Nook Press), Kobo, Apple, Smashwords, et al, I knew that I could publish my book on my own—and do it just as well, if not better, than a big publisher. I could release my book in ebook and in print (even audio, if I chose to) and I could release it on my terms.
So, that’s just what I did. It took me a little longer than I would’ve liked, as I was also working on contracted novels that had to take precedence over my solo efforts. I wasn’t able to release the book in between DARKER and EDGE, as I’d envisioned, but I’m pleased and proud to announce that THE MIDNIGHT BREED COMPANION is available now in ebook and print!
In June of 2012, GraveTells hosted a Meet the Breed week-long event to celebrate the sexy warriors and brave breedmates of the Midnight Breed series. Check it out here and learn more about each individual warrior, as he was represented a fantastic blogger!
About the author
As a child, Lara Adrian used to sleep with the covers up around her neck, afraid she might become the midnight prey of deadly vampires. Later on, under the influence of Bram Stoker and Anne Rice, she had to wonder if her fear wasn’t actually something else: a secret desire to walk in a darker world, to live a dangerous and sensual dream with a man of seductive, preternatural power. It is that twining of fear and desire that fuels Lara’s own fantasies today, and the idea that she explores in her New York Times bestselling Midnight Breed series of vampire romance novels from Bantam Dell Books.
With an ancestry stretching back to the Mayflower and the court of King Henry VIII, Lara Adrian lives with her husband in New England, surrounded by centuries-old graveyards, hip urban comforts, and the endless inspiration of the broody Atlantic Ocean.
Lara Adrian is giving away signed print copy to one commenter on today’s post! Two runners-up will also win a Midnight Breed swag pack! To enter to win, leave a comment on this post then fill out the Rafflecopter below. Good luck!
More Indie Week giveaways and spotlights
Check out our special spotlight of the Midnight Breed Companion here! That’s also where you’ll find today’s Indie Week Sponsor mega-givewaway entry form.
Want to see the GraveTells Indie-Pendence Week 2013 schedule? Click the badge below!