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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Save the Series!

Hello Friends,

Many times you hear horror stories of authors being rooked by unscrupulous agents, small press publishers folding and authors books tied up with red tape and all sorts of things. As you know, I've experienced my share of disasters and near disasters.

But what you may not know is even large publishing houses will pull a book or series. Today I have a very special guest, Christy Barritt to talk with you about the possible demise of her series.

Bio: Christy is the author of the Squeaky Clean Mystery series, which follows the adventures of a crime-scene cleaner who likes to stick her nose into police business. The first book in the series, Hazardous Duty, was a finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year. She’s married to a teacher and they have a two-year-old son. When Christy has some free time, she’s enjoys… who’s she kidding? She never has any free time! And she wouldn’t have it any other way. For more information, visit her website at: http://www.christybarritt.com/. Help save the Squeaky Clean series by buying a book… and win a gift certificate in the process. Visit her blog at http://myblog4fun.com/cbarritt for more details.

Christy's Story:
Do you remember the TV shows that had cult followings and were critically acclaimed, but the networks canceled them because their viewership wasn’t high enough? Shows like Jericho, Firefly, Freaks and Geeks, Twin Peaks, and Arrested Development. All had a good fan base, but, in the end, it just wasn’t enough.

We have to face it: sometimes good TV shows that have gotten great reviews have the plug pulled.

I never thought the same might happen with my Squeaky Clean Mystery series. My fan base was steadily growing and the series was getting great reviews. But in September, my publisher informed me that unless my sales numbers increase, the Squeaky Clean series will cease to exist. My publisher said he loves my writing and wants the series to continue. But, like any business, money is the bottom line.

You see, even when you’re published, you still have to seek publication.

When I heard about my numbers, I realized I had two primary choices. I could pout and whine and feel sorry for myself. This was a very tempting option, one filled with lots of chocolate and sappy movies and “woe is me” moments.

Or, option number two, I could fight with everything in me to keep the series alive. I could put on my boxing gloves, prepare to sweat and take a few knocks in the face. I could prepare myself to take a bullet and maybe pull some hair out, all with the hope that I might come out victorious.

If I went with option number two, then I knew I had to be honest with my readers about the potential fate of the series. But let’s face it—does any writer really want to own up to having bad sales numbers? I mean, what if I marked myself in the industry as a failure and no publisher ever wanted to touch me again? There were definite risks involved with total and complete honesty.

But over and over again, God has been calling me to honest. I know this sounds funny, since I am a Christian. But I’m a peacemaker, so if being honest causes hurt feelings or drama, I have a tendency to keep my mouth shut. In more than one area, God has been leading me to speak up, even if it means ridicule, conflict or falling out of someone’s good graces.

So, I went with option number two. I decided that if my Squeaky Clean series is going to go down, it’s going to go down fighting. The process has surprisingly been energizing so far, probably more of an adrenaline rush than anything else. I’ve been contacting the media, book clubs, libraries and following up with them if I don’t hear an initial response. I’ve been blogging and doing more blog tours. I’ve been contacting stores and readers, trying to get them interested.

I’ve been learning a lot this whole situation, things that I think can help other writers, both published and unpublished. I’ve been learning that:

· If you’re called to do something, don’t give up, even when the odds are against you
· If you believe in something, give it your very last breath. Anything that’s worth having is worth fighting for.
· Publishing isn’t for the faint of heart.
· View being published as a challenge—and learn to embrace challenges.

By the way, I started a contest to save the Squeaky Clean series. Tell me how you’re helping to spread the word about the series, and be entered to win a $50 gift certificate to Christianbook.com. Details are on my blog at: http://myblog4fun.com/cbarritt.

About Suspicious Minds: Rock and roll may never die, but the King is definitely dead . . . again.

In this smart and suspenseful sequel to Hazardous Duty, crime-scene cleaner Gabby St. Claire finds herself stuck doing mold remediation to pay the bills. But her first day on the job, she uncovers a surprise in the crawlspace of a dilapidated home: Elvis, dead as a doornail and still wearing his blue suede shoes. How could she possibly keep her nose out of a case like this?

Elvis turns out to be Darnell Evans, a down-on-his-luck impersonator whose luck just got a lot worse, and there is no shortage of suspects. When his widow begs her to help, Gabby takes on the case of who-killed-the-King. In the meantime her would-be rival, Chad Davis, is turning into one hunka hunka burnin’ love and starting to dish out some serious TLC, which is the last thing Gabby needs right now.

Realizing the futility of running from God and from her responsibilities, Gabby decides to reconsider her priorities her life. But when the ersatz Elvis killer catches on to her investigation, will she survive long enough to be able to?

Well Friends, there you have it....the story of a couple of books which may be pulled from distribution due to the bottom line.

If you enjoy mysteries, check out Christy's Squeaky Clean Series - Hazardous Duty and Suspicious Minds!

Saturday Spotlight this week will be author Julie Lessman and two of her Daughters of Boston series books, A Passion Most Pure and A Passion Redeemed.

Also on Saturday I'll be the guest over at Elaine Cantrell's Blog!

Hope to see you here!


1 comment:

Judith Leger said...

Great post, Pam. Thanks Christy for the information. Wishing you the best.