And here is how it happened.
For the past few years, I thought about stepping out of the romance genre. After all, publishing is changing drastically and, just as in finances, I believe the secret to success--if there is one--is diversification. On the other hand, I've been branded as a romance author for the past twenty years with over eighty books published traditionally, and what publisher would take a chance that my readers would cross over?
With the decline in brick and mortar bookstores and therefore print sales, I took advantage of the indie publishing craze to start a series with backlist titles that I'd regained the rights to. Thank goodness. Because those books started me on a new road to promotion for those indie titles, both backlist and original. I liked publishing "between" genres with those originals. Fortunately I had some success with indie books, hitting the top twenty on Amazon's Romance and Contemporary Romance bestseller lists in both paid and free sales. The first year I progressed into serious promotion on Twitter by hiring a social media consultant for a few months. I redid covers. I learned what looked good in a thumbnail and what didn't. I watched my indie numbers when I tried something new. I continued to build my Facebook following.
Throughout the past ten years, I listened to thrillers and suspense, once in a while a cozy mystery. The problem with branching out had always been a matter of writing time and timing. In 2011, the perfect opportunity presented itself. I was between contracts and I happened to be meeting with my agent face to face for brunch at a conference. He told me an editor had asked about me writing a cozy mystery. At first I thought that was completely out of my court. But we had a two hour discussion that day and an idea was born. That evening my husband and I discussed the possibility and came up with names for the large Italian family I wanted to build in the novel. The next day on the drive home, I wrote up a synopsis. Monday morning my agent, Evan Marshall, submitted it to John Scognamiglio at Kensington. He liked it and wanted to see a more detailed outline. I put that together and then wrote the first two chapters, delineated the continuing characters, and provided blurbs for two more books. My agent submitted it. Next John asked for a package--bio, book list, social media, website, and I included lists I'd made recently. Within six weeks, I had a three-book cozy mystery contract for the Caprice De Luca home-stager series. This was the fastest anything in publishing had ever moved for me. It seemed meant to be.
My first mystery, STAGED TO DEATH, is released today. The second mystery, DEADLY DECOR, has just done through the copyedit process. I'm working on the third. I've written more romances, both traditionally published and indie, in between. I like the mix. I like the challenge. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to try something new...and branch out.
On Sale December 3
©2013 Karen Rose Smith
Karen Rose Smith's romance website
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IN TOUCH WITH KAREN ROSE SMITH ezine