On Signing with a Publisher

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I’m excited to announce I recently signed a 21-book deal with LMBPN Publishing! That means The Judah Black Novels, Hellbent Halo, and The Lazarus Codex all have a new home.

When I first started publishing in 2016, I decided to indie publish my books for a variety of reasons. Urban fantasy was a hard sell in traditional markets, partly because a few big names were dominating the playing field, and agents/publishers just weren’t taking on new books in that area. As an indie published author, I also got to keep a much larger chunk of my book royalties and have 100% control over my publishing schedule, brand, and advertising. After talking to several authors on both sides—traditionally published and indie published—I decided that’s what I wanted to do.

I learned very quickly that it was more involved than I expected. When book sales started picking up with the publication of Death Rites, I was quickly overwhelmed. I was putting in 16- and 18-hour days and frequently working myself sick. You see, aside from all the writing, production of a book also requires spending a lot of time talking to designers, formatters, other authors for promotion, learning ads and marketing, editors. It was being “on” all the time, which is genuinely difficult for me, even if I enjoyed it.

At the same time all that was going on, I was involved in a child custody case with one of my stepchildren. The case dredged up some repressed memories and I found myself sitting in a doctor’s office while she explained complex post-traumatic stress disorder to me. The legal battle and the c-ptsd diagnosis affected me deeply late last year and I buried myself further in my work.

The downward spiral eventually meant I hit burn-out in November of 2018. I was so sick, mentally and physically, I couldn’t get out of bed for a week. At that point, I knew something had to change.

As much as I wanted to be in total control of my publishing empire, I knew I wasn’t doing a good job. In addition to the slow down in my publishing schedule, I brought on a personal assistant who took over a lot of the background work, saving me a TON of time. Working with Grace, I discovered giving up some control wasn’t a bad thing.

When a friend introduced me virtually to Michael Anderle at LMBPN publishing, I was skeptical. I was making a decent income. Signing with a publisher meant reduced royalties for me and I had just broken into making a livable income.

But working with a publisher also means I don’t have to shoulder the burden of publishing alone. It also meant having the backing of a powerhouse like LMBPN. I won’t bore you with the details, but I’ve been able to invest very little in advertising on my own. I don’t come from means. I jokingly call myself the Cinderella of indie publishing since I literally started doing this with negatives in my bank account. I can’t always pay for the multiple passes of editing and proofreading that the books need to be their best, or get the covers I think my books really need. I’m operating on a shoestring budget that hinders my reach as an author. I hope signing with LMBPN will help change all that for the better.

I have promised my readers from the beginning that I won’t ever put my name on a book that isn’t my absolute best work. That means every book I publish must meet minimum quality standards. That will continue to be the case. I will continue to write and publish the best books I possibly can for my readers. I firmly believe that my new relationship with LMBPN publishing will further those goals, and allow me to create a better work-life balance for myself and my family.

Thank you for supporting me and my publishing journey so far!

 

If you have any questions about the changeover, feel free to post them below or email me at eacopen@eacopen.com. There will also be more posts coming on the subject. 😊

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Fractured Souls: Change in Release Date

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Life is stressful. Deadlines are stressful. Having a life and writing on a deadline? Insanely stressful.

As an independently published author, I didn’t used to use deadlines. I didn’t like the idea of being boxed in by having a date to meet. It felt like added pressure and the very idea scared the hell out of me. When I started using them, however, my productivity jumped from only putting out 4 books a year to releasing 10 last year and completing two more. I tripled the number of books I completed per year with one simple tool.

Deadlines.

Basically, I started out releasing Death Rites, Organ Grind, and Shallow Grave a month apart. That meant I had to have really tight scheduling and not miss any deadlines. I was writing books in 21 days. Was it stressful? Oh, you bet. But the payoff was worth it.

Eventually, I decided I couldn’t keep that up because of some personal things going on—family stress, moving, etc—and I spaced the book releases out to one every 60 days instead of one every 30.

Right now, however, The Lazarus Codex books are coming out even slower at one every 90 days. That’s because all that wonderful productivity ground to a halt when I moved from Ohio to Kentucky. I was blindsided by a serious bout of depression. As the work piled up, the darkness around me only seemed to multiply and I found it near impossible to get out of bed every day, let alone get to the keyboard and churn out thousands of words. From the date the move was confirmed in October 2018 until halfway through February of 2019, I wrote one book, Dark Revel. It took me 4 months to complete an 80,000 word novel where it used to take me just days.

By the time Dark Revel came out, I was feeling much better. I had my depression under control, and I was settling into life in Kentucky.
However, I was hopelessly behind. Turns out writing thousands of words a day wasn’t something I can just sit down and do after not doing it for 4 months. I fell out of practice. Concentrating for long periods was even more difficult. More days crept by where I didn’t get as many words down as I wanted.

I got overwhelmed trying to play catch up, both with my writing and all the other aspects of running my own business. There were taxes to take care of, people to email back, plans to set in motion.

So when it came time to set a release date for the very first book in my new spin-off series, Hellbent Halo, I sort of just picked a date and went with it. It felt like April was a really long way away.

Then, yesterday, while I was looking at a countdown to Avengers: Endgame I realized I’d set Fractured Souls to release the same day as Endgame! Since it’s basically going to be the cinema event of the year among my geeky core fanbase, that was a BIG mistake! Rather than push it back a week, I moved the release date up to the 19th.

Sadly, I’m still not caught up and it’s leaving me scrambling a bit. No fear, however. I’ll get it done in time. It just means some 12 and 14-hour work days between now and then. But that’s the life of an independent author, isn’t it?

I’m hoping to settle back into a routine soon that allows me to get back to writing more impressive word counts like I used to, and completing a book in 3 weeks or less. That’s going to take time. It also means there won’t be another Lazarus book out until June, since Dark Horse was actually supposed to be done in February. As of April 10th, it’s not even half done, but getting there in record time.

After Dark Horse, I’ll be starting work on the second Hellbent Halo book, due out in July. That should put me back on schedule to get a book out every month the second half of this year.

I want to thank my readers for their patience and understanding. I know it’s not easy to wait on books. I just finished a book (Grave Destiny by Kalayna Price) and now have to wait a good while until book 7 is out, so I know the feeling! But I love the Grave Witch books and I’m sure it’ll be worth the wait, as I hope the rest of The Lazarus Codex books will be for my readers.

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A rogue wizard. A reckless mission. Who knew rescuing the devil’s daughter would raise holy hell?

Click the cover below to reserve your copy of Fractured Souls for release day!

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