Friday, September 4, 2015

Still going strong!

I decided to stop hybrid/indie publishing about six months ago. Five novels over two years was enough for me, and my writing/work/life balance had become unhealthy. So I decided to concentrate solely on my traditional publishing career which, thankfully, is still bringing in the book deals.

But that doesn't mean those five novels have been forgotten! They're still out there in ebook and paperback, and I've just had the happy task of working out my last tax year sales and royalties - (the Australian tax year runs from 1 July to the 30 June).

This was my third year of CAMELOT sales, and even though I've had to pay far less attention to them in terms of promotion, I'm thrilled (and slightly gobsmacked) to have had my best results for those books to date.

I don't give away free ebooks, but THE RETURN TO CAMELOT trilogy is now reduced in price on Kindle and I think that had some bearing on the great results. I also found that teachers have started putting the books onto reading lists. The biggest surprise was the increase in paperback sales compared to ebooks, and that is helped by the fact that all five CAMELOT novels are listed on Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, and many other bookstore lists.

It's taken time to build an audience and readership. My DEVIL'S series is very different and I don't believe that one readership fits in effortlessly to the other, but they seem to try, which is very humbling.

Three years of publishing, and I'm still going strong!


Saturday, August 29, 2015

August 2015 accomplished!

I'm in the Southern Hemisphere, so August for me is when I start to dream to hope that winter is over. This has been a bitterly cold winter in Australia, and quite frankly, I am over it! But it was a great month, author wise:


1. The best news was my first International Rights Sale for THE DEVIL'S INTERN, THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER, and THE DEVIL'S BANSHEE to Turkey! I can't wait to see the translated versions. It's very exciting.



2. I finished a new time travel manuscript, and it's nothing to do with CAMELOT or DEVIL'S! It might never see the light of day, but at 86,000 words, it's the longest ms I've written to date. It's edited and with my agent for her thoughts.


3. Following hot on the heels of the recommended review from Kirkus, School Library Journal (the biggest reviewer of children's books in the world) has also given the seal of approval to THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER saying "With lots of adventure and a clever twist, this book will be another favorite among readers." YAY! One month to go until DREAMCATCHER'S official release.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

School Library Journal loved INTERN and now they love DREAMCATCHER!


School Library Journal has been great to my DEVIL'S series, and they've followed on the heels of Kirkus by giving THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER a great review in readiness for the 1st October release.

"With lots of adventure and a clever twist, this book will be another favorite among readers."

We certainly hope so!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

My First International Rights Book Deal!!!

From Publishers Marketplace:


Ten months after the hardcover release of THE DEVIL'S INTERN in the US and Canada, and two months before the hardcover release of THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER, I am thrilled to announce that both books, and THE DEVIL'S BANSHEE (Fall 2016), have sold in Turkey.

It's the last tick on the list for my DEVIL'S series. Agent, Publisher, Starred Reviews, Awards, and now International Rights.

I am one very contented author right now!


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July 2015 accomplished!

July - she came, she saw, she went seriously bloody quickly! My life passed by in a blur of emails this month. I really need to be more aware of what I'm typing at 4:30am! Here's some of the stuff that happened...


1. THE DEVIL'S INTERN - which is now officially blurbed as award-winning and critically aclaimed - has been released in paperback!!!!!!!!



2. The first chapter of THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER (Holiday House, Fall 15) is now available on my publisher's website. It can be read right here. Preorders of the hardback have already started shipping from Amazon ahead of the 1st October 2015 release date and I'm loving the photos appearing online from readers!






3. For those librarians and teachers who have classroom discussions following CCSS (Common Core State Standards), my publisher has listed a number of questions for DREAMCATCHER to assist with book clubs. CCSS questions for THE DEVIL'S INTERN can be found here.

4. YALSA's 'The Hub' has an online personality test which links in with your favourite YA novel. THE DEVIL'S INTERN is one of the books featured along with books by John Green, Marie Lu, and Holly Black.

5. I removed SEARCHING FOR ARTHUR from Kindle Unlimited, and as a concession to those wonderful teachers and librarians who placed my CAMELOT novels on summer reading lists, I reduced the price of the Kindle version of SEARCHING FOR ARTHUR, THE FIRE OF MERLIN, and THE SPIRIT OF NIMUE to $0.99. Judging by the spike in sales, this has been a popular decision and I'm happy to oblige.

6. I started writing the fourth DEVIL's novel.

7. My other WIP is really coming together. It's currently sitting at 82,000 words. I think the final count will be nearer 90,000, making it the longest novel I've written to date.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

THE DEVIL'S INTERN now out in paperback!

A paperback release is kinda weird. When the hardcover of THE DEVIL'S INTERN was released last October, there was fanfare and cupcakes and OMG so many interviews...

...and the little old paperback just appears!

But I can't wait to get my hands on it because not only does it have an excerpt from the forthcoming sequel, THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER (Holiday House, Fall 2015), the paperback of INTERN has blurbs!!!! Like proper industry "ZOMG this is awesome" blurbs"!! My editor actually ran out of room to put all the accolades on including:



* Kirkus Prize 2014 nominee
* Kirkus Teen Book of the Year 2014
* YALSA 2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults
* CYBILS (Children’s and Young Adult Blogger’s Literary Award) - Best Young Adult Speculative Fiction nominee
* Teen Choice Book Awards nominee
* YALSA'S 'The Hub' Best of 2014 
* Westchester Fiction Award 2015 Gold Seal


It's all a bit awesome!
The retail on Amazon is $7.99 for the paperback. Not sure what it is in bookstores. This is the problem with living in Australia and releasing in the US first...you guys get to see it before I do!!!

Go Team DEVIL!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Why I'm removing SEARCHING FOR ARTHUR from Kindle Unlimited

(This post originally appeared on my Facebook and Tumblr over the weekend.)



If I go into a cake shop, buy a donut, and only eat half, I don't pay for what I've eaten - I pay for the whole donut. And rightly so. It's the same if I go see a movie and walk out halfway through - I don't just pay for what I've seen. To leave would be my choice, but I wouldn't get a refund for the minutes left and in no way would I expect to. And yet Amazon has decided to pay authors for what readers only actually read via the Kindle Unlimited scheme. Now I only have one novel on the Kindle Unlimited scheme, and that is SEARCHING FOR ARTHUR. My announcement is that as of next month, I am withdrawing it. All of my CAMELOT books, including ARTHUR, will still be available for standard Kindle and in paperback, but you won't be able to sample SfA via Prime. This is probably where I should say this wasn't an easy decision, but in truth, it was dead easy! I'm not an Amazon hater - far from it. Amazon has an amazing business model that has given a platform to authors, and they've also enabled book lovers to buy novels cheaply. But there is a difference between cheap and rip-off - and I won't be ripped off. If you read the opening of SEARCHING FOR ARTHUR and don't like it then that's a shame, and you are within your right to leave a horrible, Asparagus-smelling review, but you're gonna pay for the privilege!!

Right now, my first three CAMELOT books are on Kindle sale for $0.99/£0.99 to help those kids who have them on their summer reading lists. ANYONE can take advantage of that offer When they go back up in price, SfA will be $2.99. That's less than a donut! I don't want to rip you off, and with that pricing, I'm not, but I deserve the same.

Go Team CAMELOT!

Love Donna x

Monday, June 29, 2015

June 2015 accomplished!

June has been all about writing and drafting. I've been trying to clear my author schedule as much as possible because the next couple of months are going to be crazy with revising THE DEVIL'S BANSHEE (Fall, 2016), and promoting THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER (Fall, 2015).

So, knowing I'm not going to have much space in the diary for just writing new material, I've glued myself to the computer this month and I've been banging out the words. A WIP I started in April has now reached 70,000+ words! It's the quickest I've ever written so much of a manuscript - and I write quickly! But I'm really happy with it, and whilst I didn't meet my self-imposed deadline to finish it by the end of June, I will have it completed and to my agent soon.

Other accomplishments this month: THE DEVIL'S INTERN was awarded the Gold Seal in the Westchester Fiction Awards. These are chosen by a committee of High School librarians and teachers in Los Angeles. The Westchester award "honors talented authors who contribute exemplary literature to the Young Adult literary canon and the visionary publishers who bring their texts to life." 

And at the annual ALA meeting in San Francisco, THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER went down a treat with the attendees and the ARCs went quickly from booth 1203! I'm hoping to be there next year - especially as the conference is in Orlando! ALA + Harry Potter Wizarding World - here, just take all of my money!



Go Team DEVIL!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Another award win for THE DEVIL'S INTERN


THE DEVIL'S INTERN has won another award! It has been given the Gold Seal in the Westchester Fiction Awards which are chosen by a committee of High School librarians and teachers in Los Angeles. The Westchester award "honors talented authors who contribute exemplary literature to the Young Adult literary canon & the visionary publishers who bring their texts to life." 

YAY - go Team DEVIL and thanks to the committee. The other 2015 winners can be found here.

Monday, June 1, 2015

May 2015 accomplished!

May was AWESOME! Absolutely bloody AWESOME! Without further ado, here are a few of the things I achieved this month:


1. My big news was my third book deal announcement in Publishers Marketplace. THE DEVIL'S BANSHEE is scheduled for a Fall 2016 release and is the third book in my time-travelling DEVIL'S series.




2. Publishers Weekly listed its "Can't-Miss Kids' Galleys" for BEA 2015, and for the second year running DEVIL'S were featured with THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER listed!


3. Kirkus Reviews revealed what they thought of THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER: "More spendidly hellish fun" in this recommended trade review!



4. Then it was all systems go as BEA 2015 got underway in New York. I saw lots of photos from the event and here are a few of them, including my first look at the paperback version of THE DEVIL'S INTERN, and Maggie Stiefvater eating the hardcover!








5. And finally my WIP has not been neglected this month. I've managed to reach 53,000/80,000 words. I have a self-imposed deadline of the end of June to get this baby finished. I might actually do it!




Saturday, May 30, 2015

The One Where Maggie Stiefvater Tries To Eat My Book!

Everyone knows how much I love Maggie Stiefvater, right? Just in case you didn't, here are some of my reviews of her books:

THE RAVEN BOYS
THE DREAM THIEVES
BLUE LILY, LILY BLUE

I love her. She is a Goddess of Writing to me. I wouldn't want to exist in a world where her stories didn't live.

So, you can imagine my reaction when I received an email from my publishing team from BEA2015 with this image!!!!!!


Yep! That's Maggie Stiefvater holding THE DEVIL'S INTERN...or actually trying to eat it!

No more words. Just more hyperventilating from a Penniless Writer whose life has been made!

Friday, May 29, 2015

BookExpo America news: THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER

I wish I was there...I wish I was there...next year I WILL be there!

BookExpo America, the biggest book trade fair in the US, is now in full swing. I've been jealously reading everyone's fun tweets, especially the ones involving my next release, THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER.

Thankfully some awesome people have been posting photos online and I've been able to snag a couple:


 This is a tiny section of my publisher's booth with a huge poster of DREAMCATCHER! I haven't wanted anything so badly since BEA14 when there was a huge poster of THE DEVIL'S INTERN!

 


Next up is the lovely Sabrina from marketing who posted an image of her with the Team DEVIL merchandise. I made a very strange noise when I saw this photo because I'm pretty sure that book in the far right corner is the first look at the paperback of INTERN which doesn't come out until July!

Great people, great books. BEA16 is in Chicago and I WILL be there!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

BOOK DEAL NUMBER 3!!!!!!





I've had my THIRD book deal announcement in Publishers Marketplace, and it's just as awesome as numbers one and two!



THE DEVIL'S BANSHEE has sold to Kelly Loughman at Holiday House in a deal brokered by agent, Beth Phelan, of The Bent Agency, NY. It's the third novel in my DEVIL'S series and is told in the voice of a teenage Viking! The book is dark, humorous, and very scary as Team DEVIL descend into Dante's nine circles of Hell.


I'm utterly thrilled to continue working with the wonderful Kelly and the entire team at Holiday House. My DEVIL's novels could not have found a better home.

The bubbly is on me!





Thursday, May 7, 2015

THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER: BEA 2015, ARCS, and Kirkus Reviews!

I find the build-up to a new release even more exciting than the actual release itself! And even though it's still five months to go until THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER is out, things are starting to get hot in hell!

First, BookExpo America, (which is the biggest book trade fair in the US), is starting to get ready for its opening this month. Publishers Weekly has listed its "Can't-Miss Kids' Galleys" and for the second year running DEVIL'S are featured with THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER listed. BEA 2015 is on in New York from the 27-29 May, and Publishers Weekly's comprehensive list of "unmissable books" is here.

Second, arcs of DREAMCATCHER are now available. I know there will be a lot handed out at BEA 2015, but others have been given to readers via contests on Twitter and Facebook by my publisher. There are some really cute photos of winners here on my Facebook page.

Finally, it's always a nervous time when you're waiting for those first industry reviews. Kirkus is one of the biggest and Team DEVIL is thrilled that not only has Kirkus featured DREAMCATCHER in their BEA 2015 Special Edition, but they've also given it a fabulous recommended review stating the book is [quote] "More splendidly hellish fun."



Wednesday, April 29, 2015

April 2015 accomplished!

April was...mad! So much happened. I'm coming to realise that I probably need an assistant...or an intern...or forty-eight hours in a nine day week!

So, here's what I accomplished this month - (although there is one thing I can't reveal yet! That's coming soon :)):


1. I got another Amazon number one! First day of release and QUEST OF THE ARTISAN topped the Arthurian Myths and Legends chart. It was a lovely way to say goodbye to a time-travelling world that gave me back ownership of my own writing.




2. Then Hell took over my life! The cover reveal for THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER (Holiday House, Fall 2015) took place. Thanks to everyone who tweeted, shared and linked. I know ten people received arcs, courtesy of my publisher. I loved watching the videos and reading the tweets of those readers who won copies!



3. Speaking of arcs - lookie what I received in the post. And yes, I am reading my own book on the bus! I can't wait to receive it in hardback form.



4. Back in time to THE DEVIL'S INTERN which received recommended trade reviews from Horn, and Library Media Connection. 


5. Forward to the future and my current WIP is standing pretty at 30,000 words.  Not bad as I decided this month to completely rewrite it!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

More great trade reviews for THE DEVIL'S INTERN

Think trade reviews come in at the same time your book publishes? Think again. It's been a full six months since THE DEVIL'S INTERN was released, and the trade reviews are still coming in.

The latest are from The Horn Guide to Children's and Young Adult Books which has just published its reviews of every hardback novel released in the US in 2014. They gave INTERN a lovely recommended review, noting:

"Likable, complex characters; clever humor ; and a well-plotted time-travel narrative...a unique, highly enjoyable read."

The other trade review came from Library Media Connection. It was another recommended, noting:

"The humor, clever analogies, and almost "fun" depiction of Hell contrast  enormously with the trip back in time where the tone is much more tense and emotional."

Needless to say, Team DEVIL is very happy!





Saturday, April 11, 2015

Cover Reveal: THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER


I was promised colour and OMG did my publisher deliver.

Behold the cover artwork for THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER, book two in my DEVIL'S series and the sequel to Kirkus Teen Book of 2014, THE DEVIL'S INTERN.

The cover was designed by Christian Fuenfhausen. He's the talent behind THIRTEEN REASONS WHY by Jay Asher, PAPER TOWNS by John Green, and one of my all-time favourites, CREWEL by Gennifer Albin. Here is the official publisher's synopsis:


In this emotional and action-packed sequel to the critically acclaimed THE DEVIL'S INTERN, Team DEVIL reunites and takes readers on another journey to the land of the living—this time, to stop a madman from unleashing the terror of The Devil's most prized possession, his dreamcatcher.

Medusa Pallister is about to interview for the most important job of her existence: an internship in Hell's accounting office. If she gets it, she'll report to Septimus, the coolest boss in the underworld. But the job will also mean working with Septimus's other intern, Mitchell Johnson.

Medusa has a history with Mitchell. The only trouble is, she can't remember what that history is. All she knows is that she saw him and two other devils outside her house while she was still alive. When Medusa is united with Team DEVIL, she thinks she'll finally get some answers. But the teens soon have bigger problems to face when an Unspeakable escapes from Hell with The Devil's dreamcatcher. In the wrong hands, this repository for all The Devil’s most horrific thoughts could be wielded as the worst weapon the realms of the living and dead have ever seen. To prevent this disaster, Medusa must find the courage to come to terms with her dual pasts, lead Team DEVIL and a counterpart team of unruly angels from Up There into horrifying danger, and face down The Devil himself in a surprising twist that no one, not even The Devil, could have foreseen.


DREAMCATCHER is released in the Fall.

And here are my two devil babies together. Get some shades on because it's bright in Hell!





Wednesday, April 1, 2015

March 2015 accomplished!

What a bloody month! I swear I should have Gold Club membership for Accident and Emergency, x-ray departments, physios and surgical consultants in the Southern Hemisphere! On the plus side, we are now closer to getting my son the care he needs. A career in sport is the way he wants to go, and so dealing with this recurring injury is priority number one. Thank you so much for your well wishes over the course of the past few weeks. I have wonderful friends who know the power of a pick-me-up email!

This isn't a hugely comprehensive list of accomplishments this month because I've not been keeping track, but I remember doing all of this:

1. I finished my publisher's typeset edits for THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER (Fall 2015).

2. I finished my agent's copy edits for DEVIL'S #3.

3. I started writing a new ms and have managed to scrawl out over 10,000 words.

4. Oh yeah. And I published my sixth novel!


I guess I did manage to do quite a lot in March!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

HAPPY RELEASE DAY: QUEST OF THE ARTISAN!!

It's finally here! Happy release day to QUEST OF THE ARTISAN!

QUEST is the sequel to the Amazon number one, THE RING OF MORGANA. It's also my last ever CAMELOT novel.

This is such a strange day. It's taken three years and five novels (spread across one trilogy and one two-book series) to tell this generational Arthurian story. All of the books are YA. All of the books are time travel. Did I find my niche, or did it find me? Either way, it's been a long time to immerse myself in the Arthurian world. I've loved reimagining Arthur and his knights for a contemporary audience, but it's time to move on to pastures new. QUEST was the most fun to write and is certainly my favourite of the five books. Perhaps it's because I love writing from a boy's POV, but Rustin the MC is cute and fun and so darned loyal I could eat him!

QUEST OF THE ARTISAN (and all of my other CAMELOT novels) are available in ebook format and paperback. I hope you enjoy Arthur and friends one last time!

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Barnes and Noble

IndieBound

Friday, February 27, 2015

February 2015 accomplished!

February was a real juggling act for me, and at times I wasn't sure where I was. I think this is going to be the norm for me now and so I had better suck it up and start dealing with it!

Here's what I achieved in February:




1. In rather huge news of awesomeness, THE DEVIL'S INTERN was awarded YALSA's (Young Adult Library Services Association) 2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults honors! This is wonderful for me and my publisher because libraries are an incredibly important platform for publishing houses to sell to. To be acknowledged by the YA division of the American Library Association is a huge privilege and will hopefully result in even more libraries joining Team DEVIL!

2. Publishers Weekly had a sneak preview of the Fall's big releases in the world of Picture, MG, and YA books. THE DEVIL'S DREAMCATCHER (Holiday House, Fall 2015) got a name-check!

3. With DEVIL'S #1 released, and DEVIL'S #2 now at the design and typeset stage, all attention in Hell has turned to DEVIL'S #3. I submitted my finished ms to my agent just before Xmas and have received back her thoughts...four pages containing a bazzilionty words! You would think after this long I would be used to the shock of seeing an editorial letter, but I'm not! The usual feelings of panic and OMG-I'm-Never-Going-To-Do-This ravaged me. And then I got on with breaking it down and just writing. One chapter a day and it'll be done in a month - that's my goal. When my agent is happy, then it will go out on submission...dum dum dum!




March sees the release of THE QUEST OF THE ARTISAN, my final (and favourite) CAMELOT novel. Breathe...just breathe!