Tim Myers is the author of over 24 traditionally published mystery novels, including the upcoming A PIZZA TO DIE FOR written as Chris Cavender and A KILLER COLUMN under the name Casey Mayes. To get a list of his ebooks, published both traditionally and in ebook form, go to www.timmyers.net
By Tim Myers (aka Chris Cavender, Casey Mayes, Elizabeth Bright, Melissa Glazer, and I’m red-faced to admit, several more!)
These are exciting times to be a writer. With the massive adoption of ebooks in several different formats, it’s now possible to bring books that have been out of print for years and collecting dust on shelves around the world back to life. In the past six months, I’ve reissued my lighthouse inn mysteries, my candlemaking mysteries, my soapmaking mysteries, and my cardmaking mysteries (written under the name Elizabeth Bright). I love seeing them available again, and making me a bit of money in the bargain. The process isn’t all that simple, but it can be done with a little work, and I’ve found a surprising joy in creating covers for these books as well. What an added bonus! But there’s more. I get many, many letters asking what happens next with each of my series, none more than the lighthouse inn mysteries, so I decided what better time to write one than now. Taking my characters Alex and Elise, I decided to follow up with a promise I’d made in the fifth book of the series just before I learned that it would not be renewed by the publisher. With great joy, I sat down and wrote a novella, titled Key to Murder, where Alex and Elise go to a lighthouse on the NC Outer Banks. This was original fiction, written specifically for the electronic market. The response was so strong that I decided to bring out other novels I’d written over the years that hadn’t found a home, from suspense, young adult, fantasy, traditional fiction, middle graders, science fiction, and much more. Those started getting some attention, so I finally decided to write the final lighthouse inn book, called Ring for Murder. The title kind of gives it all away, with the series culminating, to no one’s surprise, with a wedding, and it just went live.
But I said both worlds, didn’t I? I’m also continuing to publish traditionally with St. Martin’s, Kensington, and Penguin/Berkley. I love the ebook readers, and the opportunity to tell new stories, to explore new boundaries, but I also love the smell and feel of a brand new paper book in my hands. Many folks are predicting the death of the printed book, but I don’t see that happening, at least not in our lifetimes. There are too many folks who love bound books for that to happen, in my humble opinion. I also enjoy the give and take with my editors, and in many ways, they help me to maximize the story I’m telling, advice I don’t always get going it alone.
Working alone and working with a traditional publisher is as different as riding roller skates or being on a bus. Publishing your own titles (roller skates) entails quite a bit more than dealing with just the manuscript. You are your own publisher, which means you have the freedom, and the opportunity to make good decisions, or bad, on many steps along the way. You set the price, design your cover (or pay to have it designed), come up with a typeface, write cover copy, and do any promotion your book is going to get. That can be a two-edged sword, and is not for the faint of heart.
There’s something comforting in turning your manuscript over to your editor (riding that bus), knowing that chances are they will catch any blunders you make. The cover, like it or not, is usually out of your hands. But so is a share of the promotion and marketing, which can be a nice thing indeed.
In the end, though, it all boils down to one thing.
I love being a writer, and it means a great deal to me when readers enjoy my work, whether they read it on a Kindle, a telephone, a printed book, or if it’s written in the sky.