The publishing industry continued to change this year. Large publishers still stumble to find a new path, small publishers struggle to survive, and self-publishers thrive (a few), hang on (many), and give up (countless). One trend I’ve noticed is the proliferation of hybrid authors—those who get their work to the public through both traditional and independent publishing. Whatever works.
Like most people, I’m guessing about trends in the industry. What I know is what I, one writer among millions, did last year. Here are some highlights.
The year began with my working on the first draft of Show Me the Sinister Snowman and promoting Show Me the Gold. I launched Gold at Columbia Books, an independent bookstore that supports local writers and serves readers who want knowledgeable recommendations and who search for rare books online. Such bookstores remain endangered species.
In April, Gold won the Missouri Writers’ Guild’s Show Me Best Book Award. The Guild presented the award at a special conference organized to discuss how to meet the changing needs of the century-old organization’s members. Chapter representatives spoke of who they served and how. Chapters operate quite differently, but clearly all play a vital role in informing and supporting writers.
In late April I spoke at a much larger and more focused conference, Malice Domestic. Spun off from Sisters in Crime, this annual national event features mostly traditional mysteries written by women. You promote your books, get the feel of what’s happening in mystery publishing, and enjoy meeting hundreds of mystery writers and fans.
While at Malice, I received an acceptance of Thunder Beneath My Feet, my historical novel set during the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-1812. I signed a contract with Rocking Horse Publishing, St. Louis, on the 50th anniversary of becoming a professional writer and editor. In May 1965 I began working as an assistant editor of the NEA Journal, then a top monthly education magazine, in Washington, D.C.
In June Harlequin Worldwide Mystery published the paperback edition of Show Me the Murder, the first in the series. That’s sold from the Harlequin website, not in stores.
Much of the summer went to polishing the first draft of Sinister Snowman, the fifth book in the series. I also gave major presentations at the Osher Institute Book Talks and the Livingston County Library, Chillicothe.
In the fall, I planned promotion for Show Me the Ashes (scheduled for release December 16), spoke at Bouchercon (the country’s largest mystery conference) in Raleigh, and began revising an earlier mystery called Ancestral Plot.
In mid-December came an unpleasant surprise. The publisher announced the release of Ashes will be delayed until March 16, 2016. I went ahead with some of the guest blogs scheduled weeks ago, and I’m still reworking my promotion plans.
December ended on a positive note. I proofed the pre-publication copy of Thunder Beneath My Feet, which will be released in February.
As 2015 ends, I’m planning my writing and promotion schedule for 2016.