Monday, June 4, 2012

Reversion Request Approvals - An Amazing Opportunity for Authors!

I thoroughly enjoyed Lynn Emery's recent post called Working It. She has motivated me through the sharing of her ingenuity, hard work and accomplishments, because times . . . they are a-changing!

Recently I've felt the same type of excitement when I receive a letter from a publisher stating they've agreed to grant my reversion of rights request, as I feel when I receive a contract from a publisher. That might sound strange to some, but when you already have a completed book that has been available for a while, and you have an opportunity to get your rights back, own it, and promote it yourself, considering the many avenues available today, it is really exciting.

In 2009, I received the rights back to The Chocolate Ship, and immediately re-released the trade version as well as ebook version (new cover and minor rewrites). It has done very well, sometimes outselling my current titles, particularly in the summertime. I also re-released Something He Can Feel in ebook in 2011 (new cover and minor rewrites). This past week, my request was approved to revert the rights on Make Me Hot, which will now be called Morgan's Makeover (new title, cover and major rewrites). Morgan's Makeover was the original title, but the publisher changed it to Make Me Hot, which sounds erotic, and it is definitely not, so now I can call all the shots. Also, I got the rights back on my very first book, May December Souls, which was released by HarperCollins exactly 10 years ago. I'm re-releasing it as an anniversary edition ebook (new cover and minor rewrites). Thrilled!!!

As far as the self-published book production of May Decembers Souls, I searched and searched for a cover image recently, and it dawned on me during one of my sleepless nights that since I originally self-published it in 2000, I already had a cover designed back then, so why not use that cover? It's an illustartion (above) which was popular back then. I mean I own it, I like it, and it's free! So, we're tweaking it just a bit and it will be released this month, along with Morgan's Makeover.

One thing a lot of authors don't know is that when a publisher reverts right back to you, the reversion applies only to the text of that title, and not the cover. And also, they will not send you their text file that has all of the final edits and changes, which is their edition of the final print version that they have worked so hard to shape up. They are adamant about the fact that they own the print version their copyeditors worked on, and if you want that version, you can buy it for a price - yes, they will charge you for it. In some cases, $4 per page. No it's not fair, but it is so.

So authors, PLEASE, when you turn in a book for delivery or after copyedits, for every change that is made by you or them, please add those changes to your master version regularly. Back in the day, the publisher would send the printed manuscript by mail and the author would write on it and mail it back, most times not thinking to update his/her own original version. Nowadays, thank God, there is an electronic red-lined version for edits/changes that is simply emailed back and forth, other than when you get the printed proof pages. Try to keep your masters as up to date as possible. I cannot say that enough. I have spent days and days, reading the printed book version and painstakingly comparing it to my Word version, rewriting the story as I go, so that it's not exactly the same as their version, even though I worte the book - go figure! But, it's tough to have someone else do the comparison for you because you really do need to make changes as you go along, and some parts of it that you wrote years ago, might drive you crazy now that you've grown as an author - decide to leave it fresh as it was, or tweak it. Take it a few chapters at a time, not too many, just to give your eyes a break. (By the way, publishers will include in their reversion letter that you cannot use a photo offset process to reproduce/copy "their" edition, or else a fee will be negotiated). And FYI, they can reserve the right to sell off their remaining print copies.

So June through August will include the two reverted Marissa Monteilh titles, and two new novellas that I'd started writing a while back - one is called The Six-Letter Word (finally - my apologies to the readers who email me looking for this title), and Turnabout Is Fair Play, which was written for the A Chapter A Month concept, and will be released through my own publishing company shortly.

As my fellow novelnaut, Lynn Emery, said, due to changing indie-publishing avenues, exciting ebook opportunities, and the new avenues that readers are taking when it comes to book buying, we must be versatile and develop new strategies, especially if we've been out there for a while and have titles that we can now own. There's total power in owning our masters. And I am so jazzed about that! I hope you are too. (Even if your publisher is still selling a title of yours they've published for a while, you can still request it back - don't wait for them to offer it)

Let's try our best to be creative in our writing, and in the business of writing, so we can offer as many quality titles to our readers as possible.

Write on!


bettye griffin said...

The first book of the ten I received the rights to, A Love of Her Own, aside from corrections from incorrect use of "that/which," "lay/lie," had only two words changed (is it any wonder I chose to put out that eBook version first?). I nonetheless found myself doing a lot of revising, because I'm a better writer now than I was then. My other books had many more changes made to them, which is why I've only gotten one additional title prepared for eBook reissue. I have decided on a title change for the one I am working on now for the same reasons you mention: The publisher made me change my original title to something else. I've since found a title I like even better.

It's wonderful being in charge, isn't it?

bettye griffin said...

Marissa, just wanted to add that your book covers shown on the sidebar are just gorgeous! I don't know if those are trad or indie books, but they certainly look like trad. A lot of thought obviously went into the designs.

Continued success!

Marissa Monteilh said...

Hi Bettye - so glad you feel me - and the revising thing is so much fun, right, editing an older book when you're now a different writer? But I find myself much more at ease when I revise 80k words, than when I create a new 80k word book! But yes, it's wonderful. It's a blessing! And you have 10 books that have been reverted back - that is phenomenal!!!

All of my Pynk book covers are trad, and almost all of my MM books are now indie: Turnabout Is Fair Play, The Six-Letter Word, Hot Girlz, Morgan's Makeover, Something He Can Feel, You've Got It Bad, and now May December Souls. I enjoy coming up with cover concepts, but I also have a great cover designer in Vonda Howard - you can find her on Facebook if you want to check her out. Gracias, sis and all the best!!!! I'll be looking out for your future book-babies :)

Charles Gramlich said...

I like that cover. And I sure like free ones!

Marissa Monteilh said...

LOL, Charles, the free ones are very likeable! :)))

Lynn Emery said...

Congrats! I enjoy having control as well. I agree with Bettye, those covers are lovely!

Jewel Amethyst said...

Great post, Marissa. Truly informative for me. The cover is indeed beautiful.

Liane Spicer said...

Times are certainly a-changing, Marissa. I can feel your excitement! Congratulations on the developments - and I also love that cover!