So many of us reinvent ourselves in the New Year, so we're asking authors who are rebranding themselves - through choice or necessity - how they go about a writerly reinvention.
As part of our special PHS Rebranding Edition, Reese Ryan is talking about embracing new opportunities and writing for multiple imprints...
When the clock struck midnight, ushering in 2013, I was anticipating the release of my debut title by Carina Press, a digital-first imprint of Harlequin. It was the culmination of a long-held dream to see my first book published by a traditional publisher.
However, as excited as I was about that impending debut, I already knew I wanted to spread my wings with other publishers—including my own indie imprint. I was a publishing newbie, but I’d participated in a variety of writing groups. What I learned in those groups made it clear that times were a changin’ in the industry.
Just as working for a single company throughout one’s career has become the exception, rather than the rule, it has become pertinent for career writers to spread the love by working with more than one publisher or imprint. For a growing number of authors, that includes being a hybrid author who also indie publishes.
Spread Your Wings, but Don’t Burn Bridges
At the end of my two-book contract with Carina Press, I pitched them another book. I got an insightful Revise & Resubmit (R&R). I incorporated most of the suggestions given, but when it was time to resubmit it, something kept pulling me in another direction. The story felt like a better fit for Harlequin’s Kimani Romance line, so I submitted the revamped story to them. Several months later, Kimani made me a four-book, one novella offer with the blessing of Angela James, editorial director at Carina Press.
That led to the anticipation of two more new beginnings in 2017. In January, I finally published my first indie title—a prequel to my March debut with Kimani Romance. My Kimani debut marked another exciting achievement—finally seeing my books on bookstore shelves.
Not long after the release of Playing with Desire, the first book in the Pleasure Cove series, I received an unexpected invitation. Stacy Boyd, Desire senior editor, had read the book and invited me to pitch her a series for Desire. This opportunity undoubtedly came about due to the incredible editor I had at Kimani. Shannon Criss had floated my name for a variety of projects—including a Harlequin Free Read and the collaborative serial project Secrets of the A-List. All of which provided additional exposure with both readers and editors.
The turn of the calendar to 2018 finds me eagerly awaiting yet another debut. Savannah’s Secrets, the first book in my new Harlequin Desire series, The Bourbon Brothers, hits shelves in March. It’s the first of three Desire titles of mine that will be released in 2018. Within Desire, I am grateful to have been offered the opportunity to participate in some of their popular miniseries—Billionaires & Babies and Texas Cattleman’s Club. And thankfully, my streak of fabulous editors has continued with Charles Griemsman at Desire.
Tips for Working with Multiple Imprints
Are you ready to increase your exposure as an author and expand your readership? Here are a few tips for working with multiple imprints:
- Write the best book you possibly can. It’s your voice and/or storytelling that will attract other publishers and readers.
- Be the kind of author who editors enjoy working with. This doesn’t mean giving up ownership of your story. It means knowing when to compromise and when to take a stand. Most importantly, it requires that you keep the relationship with your editor amiable, even when you must defend your vision of the story and/or characters.
- Accept new opportunities. While I was honored to be considered, I was initially hesitant to accept the free read and serial collaboration opportunities. Both presented challenges for very different reasons. I wasn’t sure I could do it. However, my editor was confident in me and encouraged me. Both opportunities taught me important lessons, improved my skills as a writer, and brought additional readers and opportunities.
- Network with authors and editors. You’ll build important relationships and discover imprints and impending opportunities you might not have been aware of otherwise.
- Don’t be afraid to go after a new opportunity. At the end of my Carina Press contract, I was nervous about pitching another division of Harlequin. It turned out to be a wise decision that moved my career forward.
- Be persistent. I didn’t hear back from Kimani Romance right away. Not even after nudging them a second time. I received a response after the third contact, and if I hadn’t received a contract from Kimani, I would’ve indie published the series.
So what’s ahead for me in the future? I’ll continue to strengthen my author brand and grow my readership. This year, that means putting out another indie title or two. In the future, I hope it will mean spreading the love even more by writing for additional imprints.
Reese's latest release, Playing with Seduction, is out now. For more information about her and her writing check out her website, and follow her on Facebook and Instagram.