The Cultural Gutter

beyond good and bad, there is awesome

"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

    A gallery of pages from Philippe Druillet’s Nccronomicon. (Via elmatpe and thanks, Steven!)

    ~

    An interactive sculpture of Hanuman made from 26,000 light bells made by Charuvi Design Labs. to promote their film Sri Hanuman Chalisa. Here is a video of the interactive experience. (Thanks, Beth!)

    ~

    At The Daily Beast, Arthur Chu writes about GamerGate, Disco Demolition and Lilith Fair. “The biggest 1970s music bonfire was not done by a church, and the records they destroyed weren’t metal records. And they didn’t use kerosene and a match, they used explosives. And rather than singing hymns and being quietly self-righteous, the event erupted into an orgy of violent rage. I’m talking, of course, about the ill-fated promotion the Chicago White Sox ran on July 12, 1979, known as ‘Disco Demolition Night.’

    Yes, in an era where Christians literally believed rock bands were Satanic cults who used backward masking to hypnotize people, the worst violence against music was wrought by guys who just didn’t like disco.”

    ~

    Actor Elizabeth Peña has died. Peña appeared in both film and television including, La Bamba (1987), Batteries Not Included (1987), Blue Steel (1989), L.A. Law, Lone Star (1996),  The Incredibles (2004), Justice League, Prime Suspect and Modern Family. NPR remembers Peña. The Guardian has collected clips of Peña’s work. Latino Review, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and  The Hollywood Reporter have obituaries.

    ~

    The Book Design Blog has a gallery of Valeria Brancaforte’s hand-printed books.

    ~

    Jake Adelstein has shared an unpublished chapter of his book Tokyo Vice online.  “This chapter never made the final cut of Tokyo Vice because it’s not about crime or the underworld. It is about the battle to tell the truth when it is inconvenient for the powers that be to have it known.  It could probably use some more editing but for those who feel like the Japanese government isn’t telling you the whole truth about the actual environmental damage coming from the Fukushima meltdown–which is still going on–because if they stop pumping in water, nuclear fission will start again, this should help make you even a little more paranoid.  Enjoy.”

    ~

  • 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: