From Paperback to E-book

Back in 1997 Silhouette published Heiress Seeking Perfect Husband under their Yours Truly line. I loved the story. It’s a “You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find Prince Charming” type of story and is probably the most humorous one I’ve ever written.

When the publisher dropped that line, my agent was able to get the rights back for that book. (Harlequin still holds the rights to the second book I wrote for the line.)

I was lucky, not only to get back the rights, but also to discover I still had the disc with the finished manuscript I’d sent to Silhouette. Last summer I was able to convert the file to my computer, and I started changing the formatting to fit e-book requirements. I soon realized my version wasn’t the edited version. That slowed my process as I compared my copy to the published book to make sure I picked up all of the line and copy edits.

Once I had the new formatting and changes in place, I left the file for a while, both to work on another story and to allow time before I looked at the ms again. During that time I also started looking for pictures that might work for a cover.

This is the original cover, used for the paperback. It clearly shows the story, and would look fine on a bookshelf, but I didn’t feel it would work for an ebook. (Also, I didn’t want to pay for the rights to use the cover.)

heiresspaperbackcover

I contacted Florence Price, of The Novel Difference, http://thenoveldifference.com/ who has done several covers for me, and she started working on a cover.

I then went back to the ms and added the front and back material and read through it looking for typos, repeated words, etc. Considering I’d already edited the original ms before sending it to Silhouette, you would think it would be perfect by this stage, but I still found some errors.

Florence came up with a great cover. (What do you think?)

heiressseekingperfecthusband-cover

So now I was ready to go…or, almost ready. I needed a blurb, key words, and how, exactly, to categorize the book.

The blurb, in my opinion, is extremely important. When a potential buyer is browsing through Amazon looking for a book to buy, it’s the cover and the description of the book that often sway the buyer one way or another. But how do you tell all you want to say in 4000 characters?

Tuesday I met with a writers’ group and showed them what I’d written.

After the front page of the Detroit paper’s Metro Section says HEIRESS WANTS LOVE LETTERS, Shannon Powell starts receiving letters. When she decides to answer a few, Clint Dawson, isn’t sure what to do. His title is chauffeur, but Shannon’s late husband actually hired Clint to be her bodyguard. More than once she’s said she doesn’t need a bodyguard and has threatened to fire him if that’s his job. Now he must keep Shannon from seeing him as he follows her on her dates. And, what’s worse, Clint ends up writing letters for one of the would-be suitors. It’s Cyrano de Bergerac all over as Clint writes the words he’d love to tell her in person, if he only felt worthy.

Several didn’t like the first sentence. They felt it sounded as if Shannon had put an ad in the paper (which isn’t what happened). So home I went with their suggestions on how to fix it. This is what I finally decided on. (The nice thing about Kindle is if those of you reading this blog feel it doesn’t work, I can go in and change the description again.)

Shannon Powell thinks the interview is over when she mentions that her late husband never wrote her love letters. She isn’t prepared for a headline that says, “Heiress Wants Love Letters.” When the letters start arriving, she decides to answer a few…to even meet some of the men. Clint Dawson, isn’t sure what to do. His title is chauffeur, but Shannon’s late husband actually hired Clint to be her bodyguard. She’s said she doesn’t need a bodyguard and has threatened to fire him if that’s his job, which means he must keep Shannon from seeing him as he follows her on her dates. What’s worse, Clint ends up writing letters for one of the would-be suitors. It’s Cyrano de Bergerac all over again as Clint writes the words he’d love to tell her in person, if he only felt worthy.

So now it’s out there, and now I have to market it. I hate that part of this job.

Tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to From Paperback to E-book

  1. Nancy Gideon says:

    Lucky you to have disks to work from. I had to have scans done from the paperbacks and a LOT is lost in the translation. Isn’t it fun to revisit older works and still fall in love with the story all over again! Best of luck on the reissue.

    • Maris SouleMaris Soule says:

      Nancy, this was only one of 4 that I discovered and it was only because a friend had an old computer (that read hard discs), that I was able to convert it. Of the 4 I found on the disc, Harlequin still has the rights to 2. Bummer.

  2. Melissa Keir says:

    Sounds cute! I’m sure you will do wonderfully with the book! I wish you all the best!

  3. Lucy Kubash says:

    Sounds like a fun story. Definitely like the second blurb better, too. What luck to find it on a disc! I still have a few older stories I may rewrite, and I know for sure they are only in ms form because the old floppies are long gone. Have fun and best of luck with the promoting. It really is the hard part.

    • Maris SouleMaris Soule says:

      Thanks, Lucy. I was lucky. Wish I’d found more mss. Since I do my own retyping, it’s nice when all I have to do is double check what I have. And yes, promotion really is the hard part for me.

  4. The cover is great. Simple and neat. Love how he tips his cap. (HE’s not a frog, is he?) I like it much better than the original.

    As for the blurb, I think you did a great job with it. The opening reels me in much better now. I like the fact that we see Shannon is as surprised at the headline as readers would be, albeit for a different reason. I don’t usually read romances, but I just might take this one on! Good job.

  5. Louise Reiter says:

    I agree that the second blurb is better, and it more accurately describes the plot. Lots of luck with your promotion endeavor!

  6. You’ve done a lot of work and I wish you much success. Romance novels hold up well with just a few changes to the contemporaries. This one sounds like it will be successful one again.

  7. ann bennett says:

    Oh the revised first sentence pulls you right in to buy the book. You are a good writer Miss Maris. The new book cover is great too. Funny how times change and what looked great at time gets dated.

    • Maris SouleMaris Soule says:

      Thanks, Ann. When my cover artist showed me the image for the cover, all I could think was, “Yum.” And yes, times have changed what appeals to readers now compared to almost two decades ago.

  8. Barbara Vortman says:

    I remember when your first book was published. Can you tell us how marketing has changed since then and how you adapted? I have never been a self-promoter and I detest the job. My novel will languish forever on Amazon because I don’t have the time, energy, know-how or inclination to market it.

    • Maris SouleMaris Soule says:

      Barbara, there have been so many changes, I’m not sure I can list them all. That said, yours is a good question, and rather than answer it here, I’m going to use it for my next blog. Thank you.