Publishing ebooks

When I began writing novels many moons ago, it was done by hand and then laboriously copied onto a typewriter with a carbon copy. If I made a mistake it was out with the tippex or rip the page out and start again. With my first royalties I bought a golf ball typewriter, huge and heavy, but it dealt with mistakes more easily. The next step was an Amstrad word processor, then a PC and learning to use Word, but even so, manuscripts had to be printed out and posted. Then came the internet and email and life became a whole lot easier. I now submit my books and correct proofs by email.
And now we have ebooks.

After over fifty novels published in the traditional way, I decided the time had come to tackle ebook publishing. It has been a steep learning curve, but with considerable help from my daughter-in-law and loads of advice from my friends in the Romantic Novelists Association who have taken the plunge before me, I now have several ebooks to go alongside those of my print publishers.

The Stubble Field was the first family saga I had published way back in 1991, so I started with that. Orphaned brother and sister, Sarah Jane and Billie Winterday are forced to go to the dreaded workhouse when their parents die. They are separated and from then on their lives follow different courses, although every now and again, they are within a whisker of being reunited. I wrote the original story from both points of view but it became impossibly long and I knew that would not be acceptable, so I split it in two. Sarah Jane’s story was published as The Stubble Field, but when I sent the sequel to the publisher, I had one of those setbacks familiar to every writer. Billie’s story was turned down on the grounds that historical novels were out of fashion and no one was buying them. I was stuck. No publisher would take a sequel to a book published elsewhere.

So many people who read and enjoyed the first book have asked me ‘What happened to Billie?’ the opportunity to e-publish was heaven-sent. The Stubble Field has become A LINE THROUGH CHEVINGTON (my original title) and Billie’s story is now available as an ebook with the title: PROMISES AND PIE CRUSTS, so now they can be bought and read together. These were followed by THE POACHER’S DAUGHTER and that one alone has made the effort worthwhile.

Some of my early Mills & Boon books were out of print and I regained the rights to these and we converted these into ebooks too, updating and finding them new covers. There will probably be more as titles become available.

How long or how successful the ebook phenomenon will be there is no telling. It had its plus and minus side, but at the moment it is giving my out-of-print books a second airing.