Maybe there's something in this business of making lists. OnThursday, I bemoaned the length of my To Do list, and I ridiculed the idea that I could reduce it to only three items with high priority. But by today, Sunday, I'm beginning to think that I can get the list pared down after all.
I was particularly concerned about the fate of my first book, A Scratch with the Rebels. I had received my semi-annual royalties check from the publisher and was moderately pleased to see that the 2007 publication was still selling. I was less than pleased, however, with a note at the bottom of the account. "As of January 2, 2014," it said, "we are discontinuing all e-book projects." What!? I'm a strong advocate of electronic books, and from what my statement was showing me, the Kindle and Nook versions of this book were outselling the paperback version by several hundred percent. Just to be sure, I checked my Amazon listing, and found that, sure enough, the Kindle version of Scratch was now listed as "currently unavailable."
I wondered if I could protest. This was a traditional publisher, and their contracts are usually pretty airtight. This one posed severe penalties for anyone who tried to get their publishing rights back -- a $500.00 penalty to start, followed by a bill for every expense the publisher had incurred while making the book available. Ah, but there was a slight loop-hole. If the publisher refused to publish, the rights would revert to the author.
Armed with that bit of encouragement I sent an e-mail to the publisher, asking if I could get the electronic rights back. The reply came within hours: "Certainly!" I had been expecting a long argument, but there was none. They have decided to get out of the e-book business. If I wanted to try it, they would be happy to send me all their files. Wow! It was almost too easy.
Now I had to deal with Kindle. They are super careful about rights violations, and this book was already listed in their files with the traditional publisher, even if it was "currently unavailable." My e-mail to them explained the situation and asked what I would have to do to get the old version removed and my new version, bearing my own publishing imprint, active in its place. Once again I expected a hassle, and instead I got a quick and easy answer. "We have removed all traces of the book," it said. "Feel free to upload your new listing to KDP whenever you are ready." Simple as that!
Of course I don't have the files in hand yet, but it appears that this may go down as one of the easiest publishing ventures of all time
. So scratch that worry off the list.
On other fronts, I received an audition for the narration of "Beyond All Price" as well as a lead on someone who might want to do "The Road to Frogmore." Maybe audio book publishing is going to go well, too. Stay tuned for further updates!