Some of my followers will know that I started as a self-published, Independent author. I may have gone that route for a lot of the wrong reasons–impatience, desperation, insecurity, frustration with the query process, et alia. I just wanted to share my work, e readers were becoming a thing, and people balked at reading manuscripts. I didn’t know at the time of free programs to convert Word docs to epub without actually publishing (if these existed; they may be relatively new). So when a friend suggested Smashwords, I jumped on it.
At first, I felt good about my choice. People read my work and I got positive feedback. However, I quickly came to realize that being an Independent author is harder work than I had ever imagined. I dislike doing marketing and promotion, and I don’t think I’m very good at it (which annoys me because I’m not used to not being good at things). I wanted help I had no way of getting. And, despite putting a positive face on things and all my protests to the contrary, I still didn’t feel like a “real” author. I wanted the validation of someone in traditional publishing telling me my work meant something.
As a consequence, shortly before Christmas, I pulled my books from publication, entered a couple pitch contests, and started querying agents. To my shock, both agents and publishers showed interest. Somewhere along the line, I got better at writing those despicable queries which I loathe writing so much. I also learned that I had hamstringed myself as far as most agents were concerned by uploading my work through Smashwords. When you self-publish in any way, whether you promote the hell out of your book or just give it free to your grandmother, most major publishers consider this “test marketing.” So unless you can demonstrate success to the tune of 10,000 units or more sold, an agent simply can’t sell your book.
I asked a number of agents about this, because it seems self-limiting for publishers automatically to reject something on the basis of low sales when an author may not have worked very hard or well at promotion. Lots of authors, I think, have NO IDEA how to go about this in any effective way. The clearest answer I got was: “That’s the rule in New York. They won’t buy it, so I don’t want to pick it up if I can’t sell it.” No clue why New York feels bound to this rule–the book business just doesn’t take the risks it used to, I guess. And I still haven’t had an answer to the question of why, if I sold 10,000 copies of anything, I would care about getting an agent in the first place. I mean, I’m fairly intelligent, and I have good negotiation skills and good boundaries, and 10,000 sales would double my family’s yearly income. So what would an agent do?
Until recently, I was still talking with a small press. But the more I thought about it, the more I began to wonder if any form of traditional publishing made sense for me. My genre, Supernatural and Paranormal, is a “hard sell” right now. I write unusual stories that might not appeal to the masses, especially because I do not have a typical world view. I want to write the stories I need to tell, rather than cater to some nebulous market or common denominator. The word counts of my novels often exceed “industry standards.” Most important, I admit to having trust issues and wanting to control my work as much as possible. I don’t like to think of this as a matter of ego, but it may well be. I honestly believe I’m smarter and more skilled than 90% of the population, and when it comes to writing I have a difficult time with the concept of someone telling me to do massive rewrites which may not suit my vision for my work. Although, I must say here that several editors gave me valuable feedback over the last months, which I have used.
The long and the short of it is, I made the decision to return to self-publishing. In the last weeks I have gone over each of the novels in my Caitlin Ross series and done a FINAL (I swear) round of edits. I also reformatted all of them. I’m planning on new covers, but that’s going to have to wait a bit. My books are now, once again, available through Smashwords and Amazon, both in print and e reader editions. In the coming days I will be adding a sidebar menu listing each book individually along with links for purchase. For the time being, however, here’s the list.
For Caitlin Ross, every day is a struggle. Born a witch, she renounced use of her powers out of fear of what they might bring to her and the people she loves. However, a ghost’s plea and a series of strange events at the bar where her Irish band is playing prove too much temptation for even her strong will. When she discovers that the bar’s owner is a magician bent on raising a demon with the power to destroy her home, she chooses to take up her powers once more, no matter what the consequences. In challenging the magician and ending the threat of the demon for all time, Caitlin will discover there’s more to the world, and to herself, than she ever imagined.
“This wasn’t just urban fantasy fare; Lampe delves into the real New Age/pagan world of tarot, circles, gods/goddess (or patrons, if you prefer) and infuses it with a touch of fantasy… I look forward to reading more in the series.”–Sequential Tart
When her best friend ropes Caitlin Ross and her band into playing at a local music festival, Caitlin expects to be irritated with the whole affair. She doesn’t expect to find one of the festival promoters murdered with magic. As the only person with knowledge that the death is anything but natural, Caitlin sets herself to unmask the murderer, and discovers that he or she is after an amulet that grants wishes to those lucky–or unlucky–enough to obtain it.
Determined to find the amulet first and use it to lure the murderer into the open, Caitlin plunges into the festival armed with her magic and with her wits. But even as a series of chaotic events points her in the right direction, Caitlin finds out that her magical gifts have consequences she never imagined.
“This second in the Caitlin Ross series continues to impress with multiple complex characters and action that sweeps you along into the story.”–Deborah Jaques
After Caitlin Ross suffers a devastating miscarriage, she and her husband, Timber MacDuff, become estranged. Before they can work things out, he leaves on a quest about which he will tell Caitlin nothing, taking only his drum and his sword. Soon after, however, Caitlin discovers the quest is not what it appears, but a trap set by one of Timber’s old enemies, a ring of powerful mages who steal souls. Fearing for Timber’s sanity, she pursues him to a cabin in the mountains outside Boulder, Colorado, where she finds him broken almost beyond healing. To save him, Caitlin must persuade Timber to participate in his own salvation and face the demons of his past. Only then can the two of them confront the ring of mages who have caught Timber in their snare and put a stop to their evil once and for all.
“The most powerful descriptions of magical and emotional healing in Contemporary Fantasy.”–Stef Maruch
Caitlin Ross is content with her life as the owner of a metaphysical shop in Boulder, Colorado. And although she doesn’t advertise her arcane abilities, she isn’t averse to applying them in good cause. When a Lakota medicine man with a drinking problem begs for Caitlin’s help, she has reason enough to get involved. But before she can do anything, he vanishes, leaving Caitlin with nothing but questions. Soon after, a stranger from Scotland appears on Caitlin’s doorstep, seeking news of the missing shaman. His insistence and his refusal to share any information about his purpose rouse Caitlin’s suspicions: is this Timber MacDuff what he seems? Or does he represent the very dark power the absent shaman was trying to avoid? For anyone who has wanted to hear the story of Caitlin and Timber’s first encounter, this is the book you’ve been waiting for.
“Superb writing and a knack for story-telling… It left me moved, teary-eyed, laughing, swooning, angry, and on the edge of my seat.”–Jennie Davenport, author of Hemlock Veils
When Caitlin Ross was fifteen, her mother had her committed to a mental institution in hopes of curing her of magic. After a sympathetic psychiatrist helped Caitlin secure her release, she left her family, and ever since she has kept as much distance between herself and them as possible. But when her sister calls to tell Caitlin her mother is dying, she yearns for some kind of reconciliation and chooses to return to her childhood home. In Detroit, Caitlin runs into her former psychiatrist, who asks for her help with one of his patients, a troubled teenaged girl. Although Caitlin at first refuses to get involved, escalating family tensions drive her to visit the girl as an escape. Discovering the source of the girl’s problems will lead Caitlin into a world she’s only imagined, one that holds a startling revelation about her own origins.
“Katherine has created a world within a world that will twist, turn and bend your mind, imagination and leaving you guessing until the very end on a roller-coaster ride that your brain will still be reeling from long after the book is over.”–Keri Dudas
So there you have it. Give them a look, read a sample. If you like my work, post a review. I look forward to hearing from you!