I've just sent a request to the publisher of my first three books, requesting reversion of my rights. They're lovely people, and I'll always be grateful for the first magical contract that set me on the road to being a published author. I learned a great deal about writing and the publishing business, but it's time to say goodbye. It's probably costing the publisher more to keep theses titles on their records than they're making in profit.
The books are classic, old-school, historical Americana romances--a sub-genre I no longer write--and haven't sold many copies in the last few years. The publisher never did any real promotion or marketing, and I haven't paid any attention to them since I switched writing gears. I've focused my efforts on my humorous romantic suspense novels instead.
However, I think there may be life left in these earlier titles. I've recently finished editing and formatting the first book, Harvest of Dreams, and was thrilled to discover it was in pretty good shape. Better yet, I loved it! The only real editing I did was to tone down the love scenes a a bit. They're still much spicier than what I write now, but they fit the characters and story, so they're staying. I hope to find the second book, A Man Like That, in similar condition. The third book is a cute, short novella that should require very little work.
The main upside to owning the rights, besides retaining the lion's share of the royalties, is the ability to advertise with AMS, offer occasional free promotions, etc. I believe there is still an audience for Western historical romance, albeit a smaller one than for other sub-genres. All I have to do is figure out which authors are popular and target my ads to their readers. With luck, I'll sell a few copies from time to time.
After finishing the formatting, I took a little time to design new covers. I wanted them to be eye-catching but resemble the original covers closely enough not to confuse readers into thinking they're new releases. (I'll also make it clear they're re-releases on the copyright page and in the book description.) Since the sub-genre was never particularly clear, I decided to add the text "Historical Romance from the Heartland" to the covers. It will also appear on the Amazon page as the series title.
What do you think?
Look for them sometime later this summer!