One of the front-runners in the crafty cozy writers, the crafty Lois Winston, is my guest today. I’m SO EXCITED to have her here!
Award-winning author Lois Winston writes the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series featuring magazine crafts editor and reluctant amateur sleuth Anastasia Pollack. Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in the series, received starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Kirkus Reviews dubbed it, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” Other books in the series includes Death By Killer Mop Doll, Revenge of the Crafty Corpse, Decoupage Can Be Deadly and the ebook only mini-mysteries, Crewel Intentions and Mosaic Mayhem.
Lois is also published in women’s fiction, romance, romantic suspense, and non-fiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. In addition, she’s an award-winning craft and needlework designer. She often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry.
Lois just got her electronic rights back on her Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series. Tell us about it, Lois!
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Sometimes no matter how hard we try, things don’t work out the way we’d hoped. Back in late 2009 I signed a contract for the first three books in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series. In the beginning, I was very happy. And my publisher was very happy. The books, the first of which debuted in January 2011, sold well and garnered great reviews, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. I was looking forward to a long partnership.
But things changed, and I suddenly became concerned by these changes. You know that uneasy feeling that you get in the pit of your stomach? That’s a warning left over from our prehistoric ancestors. It’s like the robot on Lost in Space who flailed his dryer hose arms and shouted, “Danger, Will Robinson!” If you’re smart, you listen to him.
After several “Danger, Will Robinson” moments I made the decision not to sign a contract for any more books in my series and also turned down a contract for a new series. It was a huge decision and one I agonized over for a long time. I’d worked long and hard to become published, and now I was contemplating walking away from the legitimacy of being published by “real” publishers. However, in the end I knew in my gut that I was making the only decision I could make without allowing myself to become a victim. As Dear Abby used to say, people can’t take advantage of you if you don’t let them.
Walking away from a publisher is like getting a divorce. Very rarely is it an amicable situation. Last August I received letters from my publisher stating they were releasing the print rights to Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun and Death by Killer Mop Doll, the first two books in the series, back to me. All remaining warehouse stock would be pulped. Pulped! The books had earned out within the first reporting period after release and were still selling moderately well. Plus, trade paperbacks are generally remaindered, not pulped like mass market paperbacks.
However, although they were giving me back my print rights, the publisher insisted they had the right to keep selling the ebooks versions of each title. They didn’t. It was a clear violation of my contracts, and my agent began working to get those rights back. I’m happy to say, I finally have them.
One of my biggest gripes with publishers in regard to ebook sales is the price many of them charge. My publisher still has the rights to the third book in my series. The trade paperback of Revenge of the Crafty Corpse sells for $14.99. The ebook on iTunes also sells for $14.99. On Amazon the ebook is currently discounted to $8.69. On B&N it’s selling for $10.49. I think this is outrageous. Ebooks require much less cost to produce, and there’s no overhead. There are no printing costs, no paper and ink costs, no warehousing costs, no shipping costs.
One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard from readers is that the books are too expensive. I totally agree. We all have to keep to a budget. Food for our families, mortgage payments, and gas for our cars rightfully take precedence over ebook downloads. I certainly don’t buy as many books as I’d like to; therefore, I can understand readers who have limited funds to spend on books.
Since receiving back the e-rights to both Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun and Death by Killer Mop Doll, I’ve made them available as ebooks at the very reasonable price of $3.99. I hope more readers will now be able to discover and enjoy Anastasia, her oddball family, and her adventures as a reluctant amateur sleuth.
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I know they will, Lois!
Where to find the crafty Lois Winston
Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun
Death by Killer Mop Doll
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Do you have a craft or hobby? Does your main character? Drinking doesn’t count.