I finished writing and editing what I often call my “Old Lady” book in 2011. A KILLER PAST is the story of Mary Harrington, a 74-year- old widow who for 44 years has been living a quiet life in a small Michigan town. It’s only when two gang members try to mug Mary that her situation changes, mainly because it’s the gang members who end up in the hospital. When Sergeant Jack Rossini investigates the incident, he begins to question Mary’s past. He soon discovers he can’t find out anything about Mary before she moved to the town. His prying, however, has put both Mary’s and his life in danger…and he’d better hope this seventy-four-year-old hasn’t forgotten her KILLER PAST.
I queried several agents regarding the book, and in 2013 found an agent who loved the story. She began shopping it around, but, alas, none of the big NY publishers were interested. However, there was a publisher in London, England who loved the story and wanted to publish it Internationally. At the advice of the agent, I signed a contract, and in 2015 A KILLER PAST came out as a hardcover and an e- book. Later that year it was also published in large print, but that was only available in the UK.
Reviews have been very good, and people continually tell me they love the story and love Mary Harrington; nevertheless, sales have not been that great. I might be wrong, but I attribute this in part to the price ($29.95 for the hardcover [recently discounted to $20.95 by Amazon], and $8.99 for the e-book) and that most bookstores won’t carry it because of the price and return policy.
This year, I began to wonder how it might do as a paperback. But, I’d signed away those rights. Still…
I have dropped the agent who represented the book, but last month I decided what the heck and contacted her regarding getting the paperback rights reverted back to me. She was very negative about the idea, but she did contact the editor. Her initial letter pointed out all of the reasons why I shouldn’t get my rights back, so I think she was surprised when the managing director said he thought it could be arranged. (A good lesson on why it’s better to ask than assume.)
My HAPPY news is on June 20th, I received the official confirmation that I have the paperback rights to A KILLER PAST.
The agent was also very negative about my chances to use the same cover (I think you can see why she’s no longer my agent), but again the managing director surprised her by saying yes, I can use the cover if I pay a use fee. (He quoted an amount I find reasonable).
NOW I have a decision to make:
This is the original cover (hardcover edition and e-book)
This is the cover on the large print version.
I think I would like a cover that shows an older woman (I’ve always pictured Mary as looking like Helen Mirren) as the main focus with maybe a residential neighborhood behind her. Lighter in color than the hardcover cover.
What do you think? Should I change the cover or use the original?
Any ideas regarding a model/image if I do change the cover?
All suggestions welcome.