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Thursday, April 12, 2012


Several months ago, a friend of mine asked whatever happened to that paranormal historical that finaled in the Brava contest a year ago.

Oy. I completely forgot about it. We volleyed ideas back and forth on where it might find a good fit and settled on three likely prospects. Each of these publishers have something outstanding going for it and I would've been happy with any of them.

I picked one I had never worked with before because another friend had insider information and knew they were good about promoting their authors.

Maybe it was Fate, but I don't think my submission went through their electronic submissions portal. It kept buffering and never gave me a message that it had completed the transaction. (It was one of those weeks I kept having internet problems. --like that's anything new around here.)

I should've tried again, but that's when my royalty statement came in from Samhain. Touch Of Fire is old by publishing standards, yet it still brings in more revenue than my other books. Tweaking the nose of irony, I decided to submit the manuscript to them.

The editor offered a contract within days. And she said nice things, calling it "stellar writing", and how much she loved the characters and the high adventure. You know. The stuff that makes an author feel all warm and fuzzy.

I accepted for a multitude of reasons. I like Samhain's covers. (I hope saying that doesn't jinx me and doom me to a rotten cover now. :eye roll:)

As publishers go, Samhain's operations seem more transparent than others. They constantly keep their authors up to speed, and own-up when things go awry. I like that.

But there was a more important reason that made me choose Samhain. Even though True Believers (Carina) won top pick in two "Best of" reviewer lists, Touch of Fire continues to out-earn TB.

Getting all those kudos for True Believers was nice, but all it meant was that a couple of high-profile reviewers liked it. Whereas the book with higher sales meant more readers bought it. Given the choice, I'd rather have more people reading my book than getting critical acclaim.

I'll bring you more details as they emerge, but Mistress of the Stone finally has a home. They've even given me a release date already: August 28. Huzzah!

I'm glad I finally got off my tookus and submitted it.

PS  This post was actually written a month ago. That's how crazy my life has been. Sheesh.

Authors: How much do great reviews and accolades mean to you? Could you live without them if it meant more royalties, or do you wish for both? 

And I gotta know...does anyone out there forget about their manuscripts after they've written them or is it just me? I know I've had a lot of my plate this year, but really, this is bizarre even for me.   

Tank Update: The old man is going to be fine. After the terrible viruses took the two puppies, we were very worried when Tank started gagging. It turns out his tonsils were inflamed. The vet thinks it's allergy related. He's been on antihistamines and it seems to have helped. Thank goodness! 

He was a big hit at the new vet's office and behaved like a perfect gentleman despite all the poking and prodding.


Darke Conteur said...

It's always nice to be noticed for your work. It makes you feel like you're doing the right thing.

I've forgotten story idea's, but not whole manuscripts. :P

Marianne Arkins said...

YAY! For the sale and for Tank.

As a side note, my Samhain books (from two years or longer) still sell regularly and consistently. So, yes, I agree with your assessment. :-)

Angelina Rain said...

I'm so glad Tank is fine!!!! That is great news! Congrats on the new book too but I think the Tank news are better. I love Tank.

Now to the book. I have thought about that book you wrote, wondering if you will sub it somewhere. I'm glad you did. I can't wait to read it. I heard really good things about Samhain. It's my dream to publish with them. I do love getting good reviews but I think good sales is better.

And, I have forgotten completed manuscripts also. I have one that I wrote last year but it didn't work so I re-wrote it this year and it's just sitting there. It needs a lot of self-editing and polishing and I'm really bad at that stuff so I'm just ignoring this ms for now.

Maria Zannini said...

Darke: I laugh every time I get a good review. I often wonder if the reviewer was just being kind.

Marianne: Money doesn't lie. I will take the royalties over the kudos any day.

Angelina: I so wish you could meet Tank in person. He ADORES women. It doesn't matter how young or old they are. That boy is a real ladies' man. :)

He will love on you and shadow you wherever you go.

Mike Keyton said...

Many congratulations. I knew things could only get better. And Tank? Well he sounds a bit of a smoothie to me

L.G.Smith said...

Wonderful news. Congratulations. And wishing you many more warm and fuzzy moments as a writer when it's released. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: If men were as suave as this old boy, women would never stray. :)

LG: Thanks, hon. I was sorry to let it slip my radar, but considering the year I'd had, it's probably better that it released later.

Dru said...

A Big Congratulations on selling Mistress of the Stone. Woo Hoo!

Glad that Tank is doing well.

Sarah Ahiers said...

That's because he IS a perfect gentleman!
ANd yay on the MS sell! I can't wait to see the cover (and read it, natch)
And i'm with you. Accolades are nice, but more readers are better.

Angela Brown said...

So glad to hear Tank is trooping along just fine. I love it!

As for the sale of your manuscript, well, heck, you deserve it. You've been dealing with one round of battles after another, holding strong amid the trials and I'm glad you sold it to a publisher you've already found success with. Sending you a virtual bottle of wine, the year and flavor of your choice :-)

As for sales of book, honestly, critical acclaim is nice but it does not pay the bills unless readers are following that critical acclaim to the "buy" button. If I had my choice of lots of critical acclaim but few book sales versus lots of book sales that keep beefy royalty checks coming in...I'm taking the beefy royalty checks...seriously.

Anna Soliveres said...

Oh boy, I think you have a very valid point. At the end of the day, if accolades do not equate to book sales...well, enough said. I think you're correct in that more book sales is the ultimate goal, not raving reviews. Although, it's certainly fantastic to get both!

Wonderful news for you, and congrats!

Anna Soliveres

Rula Sinara said...

Congrats, Maria! That's awesome news! Good to know about Samhain as well.

Glad to hear Tank is doing well :)

Anonymous said...

I think Tank would love a cup of milk (it helps princess when she has her cough spells)... Alert: big lots is advertising a drum for compost - looks perfect for the house... I can hide it behind bushes, and looks nice... I think i'll finally try my hand at composting (120gallon, for $36).

Maria Zannini said...

Dru: I never had any doubts it would find a home. If it could final in a big contest, I knew it had the chops to go all the way.

Sarah: St. Tank can do no wrong. It's as if he knows how good he has it. He's never been anything but grateful.

Angela: The news of the deal came at the height of all my other problems so I couldn't give it the attention it deserved. Fortunately, my new editor was completely understanding and cut me some slack so I could handle my emergencies.

Maria Zannini said...

Anna: Kudos are such a wonderful ego-stroke, but in the end, it's only one opinion. I'd like to think all the readers who took a chance on an unknown got their money's worth.

Rula: I have always liked Samhain. When it comes to negotiation and explaining things to you, no one else comes close.

Mel: Tank's a little lactose intolerant, so I'm careful with his dairy. --not that he won't drink it if it's offered though. LOL. Reminds me of his father.

Ref: compost bin
What?! And get dirty? LOL. You will get the most awesome plants from your own compost though. Much better than store bought dirt.

Raelyn Barclay said...

So glad Tank is doing better. Congrats on the book! I'm with you on book sales being more important.

Melissa McClone said...

Congrats on the sale! Very exciting.

And yay on Tank being fine! That's wonderful news.

Kudos for a book are great, but personally I'd rather have the royalties. That says more about a book's success (and it's appeal to readers) than a couple of reviews saying a story is good/great.

miki said...

Congrats for your books and all the best to Tank

Clarissa Draper said...

Congrats on the news of your book. I'm glad your first book is doing well too.

It's a good question you ask. I think for me, the accolade is better only because I don't write for money however, my husband would validate my writing more if I took in an income.

Jackie Burris said...

Good to hear on both counts, WHOOPEE on the sales of Touched by Fire, HUZZAH on the new book to be out in August and congratulations to Tank being okay!

Maria you promised good news and glad you had some so spectacular to share, now maybe your days will be less stressful for awhile.

Maria Zannini said...

Raelyn: The old boy had us worried for a while. We were so relieved when it wasn't anything life threatening.

Melissa: Good reviews are flashier, but it doesn't do much for the pocketbook unless the reviewer has so much clout s/he can sway sales. I don't know anyone with that kind of power.

Miki: Thanks! They're the two best pieces of good news I've had in a while.

Clarissa: LOL. Husbands are funny that way. I think it changed my hubby's mind too the day he saw my first royalty check.

Jackie: I am all for less stress. I've had my fill of bad luck.

Jenny Schwartz said...

So glad Tank is okay ... and I would expect nothing less than gentlemanly behaviour from him :)

And congrats, congrats, congrats on signing with Samhain. I'm a money over kudos girl everyday, though I do love it when readers/reviewers find nice things to say about my books!

Maria Zannini said...

Jenny: Saying nice things about my writing never hurts. LOL. But if I get a choice, I'd rather be better known by readers.

Tank is such a sweetheart. He never meets a stranger.

James Garcia Jr. said...

Congrats, my friend. That's great news...even though it might not be the newest news. ;)
Keep up the good work. You're an inspiration!


Shelley Munro said...

Congratulations, Maria. I'd have to agree about Samhain.
I'm so glad Tank is okay!!

Nadja Notariani said...

Congratulations, Maria! That's wonderful. Sending some 'good-cover-wishes' your way, too. Ha.

Glad your dog is going to be all right. That was scary, I'm sure - the waiting to find out.

Your question got me thinking...and while I want and hope to get good reviews...I'd rather have readers buying my book. Their buying is possibly the best review of all - because word of mouth is still the best advertising. Also, let's face it, I'm in this as a career. Careers earn money.

Have a good week - and I hope life is less hectic! :)

Kaye Manro said...

Congrats! I'm so glad Stone found a home. You have had a tough year. And I'm happy to hear the good news about the dog too. So sorry for all the bad stuff. But hey, this contract sounds like it will be a fantastic deal. Good luck!

Maria Zannini said...

Jimmy: I'm just glad things have slowed down enough that I can enjoy this release.

Shelley: I'm glad my experience wasn't isolated. It makes me feel like I made the right decision.

Nadja: That's how I look at it. Nothing is stronger than word of mouth.

Kaye: If Fate will cooperate I should get my edits this weekend. :) My editor says the manuscript is very clean, so I'm hoping it will go by quickly.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

Congrats to you, Maria! I'm glad everything's finally picking up. You deserve some good things.

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara: From your lips to God's ear. :) I wasn't even worried about Friday, the 13th. I figured I already met my quota of bad luck.

Jennifer Shirk said...

That's awesome!!! I had a great experience with Samhain too!

Renee Miller said...

I'm so far behind on reading blogs, it's disgraceful. But yours is the first I came to because it's always something different, and I usually learn something.

I can't wait to read the latest, almost-forgotten book, and of course they took it. They're not stupid. :)

On the other news, my heart breaks for this pup and the one before, and for all the work and love you guys put into them just to have to say goodbye. The pics show beautiful dogs.

And did you turn comment moderation on? I've never noticed this little blurb beneath the box. Doesn't bug me. I just wondered.

As for manuscripts forgotten, yes. I have a few that I know are there, but haven't thought about them in a while. Sometimes I forget them entirely until I come across them in my Documents folders. This post reminded me that I need to find a home for something. Maybe it's time to sit down and take a good hard look at each and figure out why they're not getting a nibble.

I think your luck is turning. My fingers are crossed that I'm right. :) I think you should call the old girl "Mama." *hugs*

Maria Zannini said...

Jennifer: They've always treated me well.


Renee: There's a blurb on comment moderation? I moderate after two days, in case some godless spammer gets through.

Ref: new dog
Mama is an absolute sweetheart, but she's not particularly fond of Tank. She was probably head dog wherever she came from--something Tank corrected right away. :)

I hope you're right about my luck changing. I could use the break.