Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Talking to Monique DeVere About Publishing and Book Rights

Hi Everyone, 
I'd like to welcome Monique DeVere. You may recall that Monique has made a couple visits to my blog and I'm pleased to have her back today to talk about her journey from traditional publishing to indie publishing. I'm sure you'll all find something interesting here. 

Thank you for the introduction, Celeste!

Today I’m talking about traditional publishing, book rights, and indie publishing.

First, allow me to draw a quick picture of my path to publication. Like many wanna-be Harlequin Mills & Boon writers, I spent more years than I wish to reveal trying to crack the category market without success. In the mean time, I was getting short stories published and read on radio but I just couldn’t break into Mills & Boon. I kept at it nonetheless, excluding any other possible area of publication. I became almost like a dog with a bone—obsessed.

Each time I had a rejection, I’d convince myself I had no talent and should look elsewhere for a career, so I’d toss out the MS and go off to study something in complementary therapy. All the while, I’d still be writing because I just couldn’t NOT write. Then I would grapple back some confidence and send off something to HMB again, only to be rejected, and the process would start all over again.

Finally, my husband suggested I send the last rejected book to a small press and see what happened. To my shock-horror, they accepted Divorce Etiquette straight away and offered me a contract!

I envisioned a rapid succession of books going out the door. I wrote and sent my new publishers a novella, which they took and all looked bright...

That is until a couple of months before the first book was due to be released when my last baby (then age seven) got sick and it turned out to be Leukaemia. I was living miles away at the hospital with her when my first book released so I did no promo for it. I wrote another novella while in hospital with my little girl and that got accepted also. Proof that I really did have some kind of talent, even if it wasn’t for category romance.

After that, things became a bit of a haze of chemotherapy and sleepless nights for three and a half years. My books weren’t really selling, but why would they when I wasn’t promoting?

Let’s fast-forward four years to present day and why I decided to go Indie. I have a few girlfriends who made the decision a few years ago and are doing amazing on their own. They encouraged me to take the plunge and late last year I did so with my novella More Than Friends. I wanted to start small so opted for a novella to get my feet wet. Now I have total control over my books, and I love it that way!

I got back two of my novella rights this year and decided to add those to my indie list. I can’t get back the first book rights just yet since I signed an extended contract offer when the book was picked up by a publisher in Greece who has translated it into Greek.  

When you get your rights back, you aren’t allowed to use the cover the publisher commissioned, and you have to change the contents a little so it isn’t the same book the publishing house first published.

I think Crystal Swan, my cover designer, did an amazing job with the three covers she’s created for me. So with covers sorted, how much work did I have to do to change the contents? Not as much as you might think. For More Than a Playboy, I added an epilogue and a full love scene, changing the novella from sweet to sexy. I’m not sure how it happened because I hadn’t don’t any real promo, but More Than a Playboy made it to 55 in one of Amazon’s Bestseller lists only hours after going live! It hung in there for a couple of days. Not a long time, but I’ll take it!

For Let’s Pretend, I added two chapters to the beginning and ‘went all the way’ with the love scene. Previously, I’d closed the door, but it’s wide open in this new version of Let’s Pretend (about to go live on Amazon any day now).

I love having sole control of how my books get into the world, and I love that I no longer have to wait close to a year to see my books on the virtual shelves.

I say if you’re considering going it alone, you should first ensure you have access to professional editing and amazing critique partners. I love, love my CPs and wouldn’t feel as confident without them. As Indie authors, we have to wear many hats and we have to remember we are competing with the big six authors out there. We need to give ourselves the best possible chance at success. 

This means, good, better, best, never let it rest, until your good is better and your better best—in every area of your book project. Indie books are getting a bad rep and we need to pull this back! As they say, an author is only as good as her last book. A scary prospect, don’t you think?

Thanks for having me back on your blog again, Celeste! As always, I love hanging out with you. J

You can find Monique at any of her hangouts below.

Monique’s Hangouts:
More Than Friends is free at Amazon from 12-14th Feb 2013!

Download your free copy of More Than Friends here:

More Than a Playboy can be purchased here:

AmazonUK: http://amzn.to/XVQGdG 


  1. You are fortunate. it's scary, having to do it all yourself which is what I do. And I can't exactly tell friends and coworkers to go out and buy my books. (In the work environment even telling a coworker about my books could be viewed as sexual harassment, not that I would even want to do that.) So I envy the fact that you can get help, promote and market to people you know. I suspect this is a problem for many of us in this genre.

  2. Hi, Rollin,

    I'm not good with promo, but I think if you mention your books on FB and other social networks you won't go far wrong. Friend your colleagues on FB and twitter. They will automatically see your books and might even go and buy them without you ever having to say a word to them. ;)

    Thanks for leaving a comment.

  3. You're in good company since long traditionally published and best selling authors like Bella Andre and one of my favorites and a Bay Area author like me, Barbara Freethy, have chosen to go Indie. Without a doubt, going Indie doesn't mean that you had no other choice. Going Indie means you're going to work hard, wear many hats, and take control of your own future in publishing. It's a great time to be an author!

    1. Amen to that, Maria!

      I am so glad I took the plunge. I'm very interested to see what the future holds for authors. Sometimes I worry that I sat on the decision too long and now the bottom has fallen out. I don't hear of so many big successes anymore. But then, books will always sell as long as they're entertaining.

  4. What an interesting journey you've had. I also love being an indie author and being in control of my career. I love being with Wild Rose Press, too, but not all publishers are as great to work with. Congrats on the releases and your success. Wishing you even more success!

    1. Hi, Alicia,

      The Wild Rose Press is a lovely publisher and I'll always remember that first book acceptance email with deep joy and fondness. They keep going from strength to strength.

      I know how hard you work and I have to take my hat off to you. You're amazing.

  5. Congrats on all of you recent successes, Monique! I love my ebook publisher, Decadent Publishing, and this year, I'm going to indie pub some of my stories as well. All the best!

    1. Thank you, Jessica!

      I wish you a smooth journey into Indie world. :)

  6. I think it's wonderful to have so many options. The variety of types and lengths of books available as ebooks is great, I think.

    Thanks for all the interesting comments everyone and thanks to Monique for sharing her journey. I'm excited to see what the next chapter (har-har) holds.

    1. :D Thanks for having me, Celeste, it's been a pleasure.

      Hugs x

    2. many congratulations on your successful journey thus far. i'm still too chicken to try indie and admire those who do.

    3. Hi, Nora,

      I hear you big time. It took me over two years to work up the courage. Then I decided to start small with a novella.

      I love that I took control of my career. The only pressure and hoops to jump through are the ones I give myself. :)

    4. Sometimes those self-imposed hoops are the worst. :)

  7. What a rocky road you've had. Indie publishing has certainly become a viable option for authors. As you say, good editing is critical.

    1. Absolutely!

      If we were going after agents or contracts with the Big Six we'd do some serious research. Check out our competition since they're the authors we'd be going up against. We'd put forward our very best in the hopes of snagging an agent/big book contract, so why not put forth the same, if not more, effort with our Indie books?

      It's not good enough to have a "That'll do" attitude to publishing.

  8. Glad things have worked out with the indie publishing.

    Dare I ask about your little girl

    1. Hi, Sunnygirl,

      I love talking about my daughter. She's great! She's the kind of person I wish I was. Such an amazing little girl, and so bright and self-motivated. A proper happy, giggly girl. She wants to be an author and has now moved from penning short stories to writing a book!

      Thanks for asking about Meg, she's my favourite subject ;D

  9. Sounds like you life and your writing as taken an upward turn. Good for you and I think the professional attitude you are taking toward indie publishing puts a good face on it.

    Good Luck to you and your little girl!

    1. Hi, Anon,

      Thanks so much! Professional is the only way to go :)

  10. UPDATE:

    When I checked this morning, More Than a Playboy was at no. 3 in the Top New Releases list on Amazon.com! :)

  11. Congratulations Monique. Thank you Celeste for featuring her books on your blog.


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