Monster in the Flesh

bookkittenOn Friday, I announced on Facebook the big, exciting news that Monster in My Closet it going to be released in trade paperback on June 2.

This is pretty huge for me. I’ve had four books published so far, and I’ve never held an actual print book with my name on it. I guarantee, there will be tears when it finally happens.

But there are details I promised to share over here.

As you probably know, my publisher, Carina Press, is a digital-first publisher. Print is not their primary concern. Their parent company is Harlequin, which has been around forever. Carina is only about four-years old. We’ve all been eager to see them start coming out with print versions of their books, but that takes time, negotiations, contracts. Publishing is changing fast, and one of the reasons I chose them was that they were rolling with those changes, trying new things, and experimenting to find what works.

And now they’re looking at all the options for getting their books into print.

The old ways of doing things were/are pretty brutal, especially for the author. A seemingly arbitrary number is chosen for the print run, the books are distributed to stores, and a month or two later, any leftover copies (unless it’s a bestseller) will likely be pulled, have their covers ripped off, and the price paid refunded to the bookseller. The publisher and author don’t get paid for those books.

I’ve simplified the process, but that’s the regular way of doing things. But you can see some of the problems. Bookstores don’t have a lot of room to carry a book indefinitely. If it doesn’t catch fire right away, it’s doomed. And everybody loses money.

Carina is experimenting with traditional, mass-market paperbacks in stores. I’ve seen a few out in the wild. Now they’re trying out print-on-demand options as well.

Print-on-demand has pros and cons to it. It’s a bit more expensive to produce, which makes the price higher. (And mine is going to be produced as a trade paperback, which is larger and fancier than a mass market paperback.) For now, physical bookstores won’t carry them. (They wouldn’t be able to return the ones they can’t sell.) However, the books won’t disappear after a month or two, either. Print-on-demand is forever(ish).

Monster in My Closet will be available in trade paperback on Amazon (not sure where else, yet) on June 2, 2014. The retail price will be $17.95, though I’m sure Amazon will discount it because, you know, that’s what they do.

So, those are the details. Monster has been chosen to test this out. There’s no planned end date, but it is a test of the POD service. Things could change, or this could prove to be a success and maybe the rest of the books will follow. Who knows?

Everything is changing. I feel so fortunate to be in the middle of those changes.

Have a great week! See you real soon!


Guess What Day It Is!

Golem in My Glovebox by R.L. NaquinGolem in My Glovebox is out!

I cannot begin to describe what it’s like to know there were people sitting up last night, waiting for their e-readers to kick in and download their pre-order at the moment it was released. I have no words for that. I can tell you that I’m trying not to cry this morning, though. This is my fourth book release, and I’m hoping to make it through (for the first time) without bursting into over-emotional tears.

I’m walking a very thin line. I don’t think I’m going to make it.

I am so very grateful to every one of you who’s taken the time to tell me how much you love these books. I had hoped a few people would enjoy what I’d written. I didn’t expect so many people to truly love them. Today, especially, I want to reach out and hug all of you.

But enough of the emotional stuff. Let’s leave that for Zoey. I just wanted to stop by and wave on my way out the door.

For each of the previous release days, I’ve stationed myself in front of my laptop checking sales ranks, watching for reviews, and thanking people for their congratulations. I’m usually a complete mess by the end of the day. (Refresh, refresh, refresh.)

Today is going to be different. By the fourth book release in a year and a half, I should be a pro, right? My wonderful husband took the day off from work. We’re going out. There’s a King Tut exhibit I want to see. A restaurant that serves burgers via a model train that runs around the room. There might even be a trip to the planetarium and the LEGO store.

I’m not even going to pretend that I won’t be checking my phone all the time. And I’m not going to promise that I won’t burst into tears the minute my husband comes out of the bedroom and tells me “Happy release day!”

But I will be thinking about all of you today, wherever I end up going. Because without my awesome readers, today would be just another Monday in just another April.

Thanks for taking this ride with Zoey and me.

See you real soon!

The Mount Olympus Employment Agency

greekmytholygydisneyI promised last week I’d be back to tell you a little about the new series I’m working on. So, here I am, ready to spill my guts. Not all my guts, mind you. Some of my guts. We can’t have too many guts in one post. It’s not like I write horror, you know.

At the moment, I’m actually juggling two separate things: The first book in the new series and a brand new Monster Haven short story. In the spirit of gut-spilling, you can watch the progress bars over on the right to see how I’m doing.

The idea for the short story is a little new, so I’m not ready to tell you about it. But I will say this: It’s from Maurice’s point of view this time. I have a hunch a lot of people are going to be excited about that.

So, the new series. Books one through three follow Wynter Greene, a perpetual quitter who’s never really engaged in life, love, or career. When times get tough, Wynter always moves on. Until the day she quits her job, dumps her boyfriend, and tosses out a half-finished craft project. The triple-quit triggers a shift in her entire world. Her houseplant, Phyllis, starts talking to her, then takes over her life, sending her to the Mount Olympus Employment Agency where she’s assigned to the Muse department. How can Wynter, a lifelong loser, possibly help other people complete their projects? She’d better figure it out fast. If she fails, she’ll be transferred to the gates of Hades where she’ll be stuck shoveling poop for the three-headed dog, Cerberus.

That’s the premise. The first three books are tentatively titled Unfinished Muse, Unamused Muse, and Uninspired Muse. And yes, I have a basic outline already for all three. But here’s the big secret to it all. After I write those three, I’ll dive into the next department with a new main character.  I have ideas for several of them, including Fates, Oracles, Furies, and Graces. So, you know, that ought to hold me for awhile. That’s fifteen books. Or not. Let’s see how the Muse books go, then I’ll see what’s next.

I don’t actually intend to write a series for the Cupid department, but I did write a short story taking place in the Cupid department for a Valentine’s Day short story collection over at Here Be Magic. If you didn’t catch it, you can read it here: Unmatched Cupid.

Yep. All the books and stories follow the same pattern–Un(something) followed by the department.

So, there you go. A little more information about what I’m doing right now. I’m aiming for the new Monster Haven short story to be in the April newsletter, then it’ll go on sale shortly before the April 21st release of Monster Haven #5, Golem in My Glovebox. So, you know, if you’re not signed up, make sure you do it soon by going here: Rachel’s Newsletter.

And that’s all the guts I’m going to spill for today. Back to work!

See you real soon!

2014: The Year of Focus

butterfliesThe last few years have been a crazy ride. I went from being a complete non-finisher to a published author of three (four, if you count the book currently available for pre-order) in three-and-a-half years.

The learning curve was huge. 2010 was The Year of Learning to Finish. Up to that point, I couldn’t even be counted on to follow through to completion on a short story. A novel was a brand new endeavor. I started in July and finished (thanks to a last minute leap into NaNoWriMo) at the end of November.

I followed that up in 2011 with The Year of Chasing the Dream. I learned to edit, query, accept rejection and, eventually, accept an offer and sign a contract.

For the record, I think that was the most difficult year. It might as well have been called The Year of Not Knowing What Would Happen. Believe me, that’s a state-of-being I despise. I have to have a plan, and you can’t do that when your novel is in the submission stage.

2012 was The Year of Dreams Fulfilled. Also, The Year of Learning to Be an Author. I worked with my awesome editor, experienced the joys and sorrows of back cover copy, cover art, and a new book title and series title assigned to me. And I experienced selling a second novel to the same publisher without having to go through the gut-wrenching official submission process. And then selling an unwritten four more books in the series.

If anything, 2013 was The Year of Becoming a Professional. I repeated the writing, editing, marketing, and all the other things I’d been doing. Plus, I started really studying the industry and learning from the experts. I went to a conference and a convention. I was on the radio. I spoke on a couple of panels. 2013 was terrifying.

And now, here we are. 2014. After last year, how do I continue the forward momentum? So much has already happened in such a short time.

I just turned in book five in the Monster Haven series, with only one book left before my contract with Carina is complete. Once I turn in that final book in August, what then?

Well, here’s the thing. When I plant my ass in the chair and work instead of wandering around “planning” to write, I’m pretty fast. I should be writing a book every two months. I’ve learned the pieces I need to pull that off. I just have to focus and put those pieces together.

So. 2014. Focus. And because this blog was originally started back in 2010 with the intention of making myself accountable, I’m going to tell you The Plan. I have an enormous dry erase poster next to my desk with my editorial calendar written on it. Mostly, projects are based on the two-month cycle it takes (in theory) to write a book.

In January, I published two short stories on my own in the Monster Haven world. They’re doing surprisingly well. By the beginning of April I’d like to publish another story.

Demons in My Driveway was due in to my editor by the end of February. I was a week late, but I think I can make up the time. Demons needed that extra week to be a better book.

March and April I’ll be writing the first book of my Mount Olympus Employment Agency series. Also, book 4, Golem in My Glovebox will be out.

May through August, I’ll be writing the final Monster Haven book, Phoenix in My Fortune.

I’ll also be working on a short story collection to be published over the summer, which is why I’m giving myself four months for those two projects. There will be some new Monster Haven stories in it, some old ones, and a bunch of other stories totally unrelated to Monster Haven. Most of the stories are already written or partly finished, so a lot of the work involved will be in the editing and layout/design/formatting. I’m not doing it alone, though. I’ve got an awesome editor already working with me on it.

After that, I’ve got two more books to write for the new series before the end of the year. Believe it or not, there’s padding built in there for surprise edits, problems, and maybe even a short vacation.

All it’s going to take is a little focus. I got this far without it. Now it’s time to take it up a few notches.

But I’ll need you to keep me accountable. I’m not quite there yet.

Oooh! A butterfly!

I’ll be back in a few days to tell you a little more about the new series. I’m really excited about it, and I hope you will be, too.

See you real soon!


Quick and Dirty Update

Monster Daily DealOkay. Not dirty. But I am going to be quick today.

Why? Because I’m this close to finishing Golem in My Glovebox, and I really want to get those magic words “The End” written.

I have no idea how I’ll get anything done today, though. Monster in My Closet was chosen as today’s SF/F Kindle Daily Deal on Amazon, and the sales rank is on fire. The most exciting part about this for me is seeing how many new readers are picking up the book. Just think of all those people who are about to meet Maurice for the very first time.

I’m sure he’ll feed them plenty of muffins.

Anyway, the sale is for today only. If you know somebody who still hasn’t jumped on board but might want to, please share the link with them, so they can get Monster in My Closet for $0.99!

In other news…

I have a cover for Golem in My Glovebox!!

But… I’m not going to show it to you yet. Being named a Kindle Daily Deal is kind of a big deal. A really big deal. The cover can wait another few days.

In fact, the first people to see it will be the ones who subscribed to my newsletter. Have you signed up yet? Better hurry before the big reveal!

I’m all about the tease. Now, back to work!

See you real soon!