Kath here. It’s such a thrill to be able to introduce one of the most courageous writers that I know, and a dear friend, historical romance novelist Elena Greene. Like most professional writers, Elena suffered ups and downs with a bit of sideways thrown in for good measure throughout her decade-long career writing Regency-set romances. Things didn’t look so great when en masse and seemingly overnight romance publishers left the genre of category historical romances behind for good. Elena was one of many orphaned authors struggling to regain a foothold in an industry saturated with historical romance authors.
But as we know, digital publishing was right around the corner, and Elena had the foresight to make astute decisions that put her right back on the bestseller lists, and she did this all while overcoming a personal hardship. It’s the kind of writing success story that I love. I knew you would too, so I asked Elena to guest post with us on how she was able to revive her career by capitalizing on the new digital paradigm, and sell more books than she did when she was traditionally published. Happily for us, she obliged. Enjoy!
In September of 2005, my writing career looked quite promising. Having sold five traditional Regencies (short romances set in the era of Jane Austen), I was enjoying the debut of my sixth. Lady Dearing’s Masquerade was a Signet Super Regency, longer and more sensual than the usual traditional Regency, a stepping stone toward my goal of writing longer historical romances. I had a great relationship with my editor and Lady Dearing’s Masquerade was garnering great reviews.
However, the writing was on the wall for the traditional Regency genre. Both the Signet and Zebra lines closed soon after. My editor moved to another publishing house. My agent and I could not see eye to eye on which project I should tackle next. For the next few years I struggled, trying different projects but losing my confidence on the way. Finally, in 2008, I decided to part ways with my agent. My enthusiasm for writing rebounded and I finally knew which story I had to tell next.
I had about 50,000 words written by January of 2009, when things fell apart again. My husband suffered a sudden and severe stroke, due to a dissection of his left carotid artery, which left him paralyzed on the right side and unable to speak, read or write. For the following two years, I was too busy caring for him and our school age children to do more than miss my writing. Fortunately, he made good progress. Though still unable to work, he became independent enough that I once again had some time for writing.
As I emerged from my caregiver’s fog, I discovered that digital publishing had taken off. Authors I knew were doing well reissuing their backlist romances on Kindle, Nook and other readers. Encouraged by their success, I decided to reissue Lady Dearing’s Masquerade, since it was my best work to date. I did the formatting myself, since I knew some HTML and wanted to cut costs. Knowing a good cover was important, I commissioned a gorgeous one from Hot Damn Designs. And my strategy paid off when Lady Dearing’s Masquerade hit the Kindle bestseller lists in October. [Read more…]