The Cultural Gutter

going through pop culture's trash since 2003

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -- Oscar Wilde

Catching Up

Chris Szego
Posted January 19, 2012

Last February, I had a chance to talk to Julianne MacLean, a USA Today bestselling Romance author from Bedford, Nova Scotia.   We discussed her career development, her move to a new publisher, and her connection to the writing community.  Julianne was about to see the release of a brand new trilogy, all three books of which were to drop in quick succession.  She was also planning some independent e-publishing ventures.

So here we are almost a year later.  I wanted to follow up with Julianne, to see how everything had shaken out.  Turns out:  pretty well.

CS: You had HOW many books come out last year?

Julianne MacLean:  All three books in ‘The Highlander’ trilogy with St. Martin’s Press (Claimed by the Highlander; Captured by the Highlander; Seduced by the Highlander).  Then Harlequin reissued my first four books (Prairie Bride; The Marshal and Mrs. O’Malley; Adam’s Promise, and Sleeping With the Playboy).  I self-published two novels:  The Color of Heaven and Taken by the Cowboy.   And I self-published a short story prequel to the Highlander Trilogy.  That’s ten!

(CS, privately:  Holy crap!  That’s… a lot of books.  Move over Nora Roberts!)

CS (publicly):  Let’s start with the two titles you published yourself, as e-books.  Why the pseudonym for the first?  For the second, why not?

Julianne MacLean:  I decided to take a pen name for The Color of Heaven because it is written in a very different style and voice from my historicals.   I didn’t want to blindside my readers with something unexpected. I kept my name for Taken by the Cowboy because it is consistent with my voice and storytelling style as a historical romance author.  Readers who enjoy my historicals will enjoy the same reading experience with Taken by the Cowboy, even though it has a paranormal time travel element.

CS:  Did the success of Color of Heaven inspire you to release Taken by the Cowboy?

Julianne MacLean:  The success of Color of Heaven was wonderful and completely unexpected, but most importantly, I enjoyed the overall experience of having full creative control with the publication of my work.  I was able to make the decisions about the packaging and cover design, and I could release it very quickly as well.  Also, I value the higher royalty rate an author receives when she self-publishes.  We are paid 60-70% of the cover price, vs approximately 17% with a traditional publisher.

CS:  I notice that the cover of Taken by the Cowboy changed a couple times.  What happened there?

Julianne MacLean:  Originally, I had a fun, contemporary cover designed for the book, because again, I wanted my readers to know it was different from my regular historicals (the heroine is a modern woman who travels back in time to the wild west, and she loves shoes and misses her cell phone).  I launched the book in June under the title The Sexy Girl’s Guide to Cowboys.  It was unlike all of my previous covers, however, and it stuck out like a sore thumb on my website.

To make a long story short, the sales were not what I had hoped for, and I quickly realized that the majority of my long time readers were shying away from the book because it looked like chick lit.  I had essentially alienated my readers, which meant I was starting from scratch to target a new and completely different readership – yet the story had the same voice and historical setting, and the same emotional heartbeat.

That’s the beauty of self-publishing an e-book.  You can make changes if something is not working.  I immediately re-hired my cover designer, and I had the new version uploaded (with the new title).  It has been selling very well since then.

CS:  Did you enjoy the process of being your own e-publisher?  And contiguous to that, do you still enjoy working with your print publisher?

Julianne MacLean:  I love every aspect of self-publishing, because I enjoy having full creative control over a project, but it’s a lot of work, especially in the promotion department.  For that reason, I value what my publisher can do for me in terms of “discoverability” and also getting print editions into the retail outlets.  Whether or not I will continue to self-publish will depend on the project.  Right now, St. Martin’s Press is doing a fantastic job with my historical romances, so I’m very pleased.  But if I want to write something different that may not appeal to New York, I will self-publish.  Right now, I’m enjoying the best of both worlds, and I hope that can continue.

Julianne’s ‘Highlander’ trilogy landed her back on the bestseller lists.  Her e-pubbed books are selling strongly.  She accomplished so much this past year that I was almost intimidated to ask what was up next, but frankly, she’s just so darned nice that I couldn’t be nervous.   Her next major project is another trilogy with St. Martin’s.  Be My Prince, the first book in the ‘Royal’ trilogy, will hit store in late April 2012.

 ~~~

Chris Szego has fond memories of Bedford.

 

 

 

Comments

One Response to “Catching Up”

  1. Julianne MacLean | Mysterious Order of the Skeleton Suit
    January 27th, 2012 @ 9:34 am

    […] FULL ARTICLE This entry was posted in Literature. Bookmark the permalink. ← Golden Skeleton […]

Leave a Reply





  • Support The Gutter

  • The Book!

  • Of Note Elsewhere

    Actor Billie Whitelaw has died. Whitelaw was Samuel Beckett’s “perfect actress” and she also appeared in television and films, including: Gumshoe (1971), Frenzy (1972), The Omen (1976), Space: 1999 (“One Moment of Humanity”) (1976), The Dark Crystal (1982), The Secret Garden (1987), The Krays (1990), Jane Eyre (1996), Quills (2000) and Hot Fuzz (2007).  The Guardian, the BBC and Variety have obituaries. Here Whitelaw performs in Beckett’s “Happy Days” and “Not I,” written by Beckett for Whitelaw.

    ~

    At Comics Alliance, Chris Sims talk abouts the art of lettering in comics. “Comic book lettering is up there with inking and coloring in the holy trinity of underrated comic book skills, but it’s also one of those things that, once you start paying attention to it, you’ll never be able to not notice it again. I’m not exaggerating even a little bit when I say that it’s one of those things that can absolutely ruin a comic if it’s done wrong, even if everything else is perfect. But to be honest, of those three elements, lettering is still probably the most underrated. The thing is, when it’s good, it can be absolutely gorgeous in its own right. And fortunately for us, there are a lot of people who do it very, very well.”

    ~

    Comics Alliance suggests seven Star Wars comics to read before Disney makes them disappear. (Including a comic by one of Comics Editor Carol’s favorite creative teams–Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman). “Starting in 2015, Disney’s handing the publishing of any and all new Star Wars comics over to Marvel Comics, with an all new, optimized-for-corporate-synergy canon that will spread across all their media platforms. Anything that’s not a movie (especially one of the Original Trilogy movies), or a Clone Wars cartoon, will be unceremoniously Order 66-ed out of existence, giving future filmmakers a clean-ish slate to make movies (and money) on. But what about all those Dark Horse comics? That’s where we come in with 7 Dark Horse Star Wars comics you should track down before they disappear.”

    ~

    At the New York Observer, Ashley Steves writes about Craig Ferguson’s The Late, Late Show. “No one could ever prepare you for watching an episode of Ferguson’s Late Late Show. A friend could not sit you down and explain it (“Well, it’s really meta and deconstructive and there’s a horse”). There was really no good way to recommend it. It was something you discovered and became a part of. You had to stumble upon it on your own, perhaps restless or bored or simply curious while flipping through channels when your eye quickly caught some of the madness. And that’s the best part. It was an unexpected gift. At its worst, it could still send you to bed grinning and comforted. At its best, it was art. It was silly and fun and truly not like any other late night show.”

    ~

    At Comics Alliance, Chris Sims interviews Ed Brubaker about his work on Batman, Gotham Central and Catwoman. “When I look back at [Catwoman], I’m so proud of the first 25 issues of that book, when I felt like everything was firing on all cylinders. I probably should’ve left when Cameron Stewart left instead of sticking around. That’s one of those things I look back at and think “Ah, I had a perfect run up until then!” (Incidentally, Comics Editor Carol’s first piece for the Gutter was about Brubaker’s first 25 issues of Catwoman).

    ~

    At Sequential Art, Greg Carpenter writes a lovely piece about Charles Schulz’ Peanuts. “After only two installments, Schulz had solidified the rules for his comic strip.  Random acts of cruelty would punctuate this irrational world, and Schulz’s trapped little adults would be forced to act out simulations of human behavior, using hollow gestures to try to create meaning in a universe where no other meaning was evident.  If Shakespeare’s Macbeth had been a cartoonist, the results of his daily grind, “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,” might have looked somewhat similar—each character a “poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage” until he or she was heard from no more.”

    ~

  • Spilling into Twitter

  • Obsessive?

    Then you might be interested in knowing you can subscribe to our RSS feed, find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter or Tumblr.

    -------

  • Weekly Notifications

  • What We’re Talking About

  • Thanks To

    No Media Kings hosts this site, and Wordpress autoconstructs it.

  • %d bloggers like this: