Thursday, February 17, 2011

Listen Up! by Cindy Procter-King

Special Guest Cindy Procter-King

 Today, we are delighted to have Cindy Procter-King visiting with us. She has some amazing, exciting news. Read on!!

I’m celebrating the audio book release of my romantic comedy, HEAD OVER HEELS, which came out on Valentine’s Day from Audiolark and is available all week at a New Release Special price that is 2/3rds lower than the retail price! (Translation, surf on over and grab your copy now—well, after you finish reading my post). I admit I haven’t listened to many audio books in the past. Everyone has their reading preferences, and I prefer to read lying down, which lends to using my eyes, not my ears. If I’m listening to something, I can’t lie down. I need to jump up and move, be on the go somehow. However, back in the days of cassette audio books, my husband would buy them for his truck stereo and we’d listen to them while on long road trips with the kids.

Head Over Heels now available as an audiobook!
Today, audio books are often published as digital files, and such is the case with Audiolark. The books are DRM-free and can be listened to on any device that plays MP3s. I think there was a short time in the industry when audio books were available on CDs. Technology changes very quickly, and as writers we must adapt. In these days of tinier and tinier MP3 players (instead of huge “portable” stereos, or can you imagine carrying a Hi-Fi around on your shoulder?) (if you don’t know what a Hi-Fi is, yes, it’s confirmed, I’m much older than you are), I can easily imagine readers listening to audio books on MP3s while driving to work, cleaning the house, or exercising. Rather than listening to music on your player, select an audio book. Just be wary of those love scenes if you’re listening to a romance. You don’t want to run into traffic when your heart rate escalates!

I was able to sell HEAD OVER HEELS to Audiolark because my ebook and trade paperback publisher, Amber Quill Press, only contracted the subsidiary rights they intended to pursue. I consider this a plus, even though it’s difficult to sell subsidiary rights on your own, especially if you don’t have an agent. I managed to sell the Manga rights to HEAD OVER HEELS to a Japanese publisher that has published anime comic book editions of hundreds of Harlequin and Silhouette romances. The translation is complete and illustrations are now in process. The publisher also purchased Japanese cell phone rights. Imagine, a romance novel serialized on cell phones! What has the world come to? However, in the case of my Manga sale, the publisher came looking for me (via the NYC scouting arm of a Japanese literary agency). The opportunity pretty much dropped in my lap, for which I’m grateful.

As an author published (so far, anyway) under two different names with small presses and non-NYC publishers, I’m very particular about the rights I sign away. My decisions always come down to a particular publisher’s distribution, reputation, and whether they offer an advance. I have turned down an e-publishing contract because the publisher in question wanted to retain rights they didn’t intend to pursue. However, they didn’t offer an advance. That made no sense to me. If a publisher is large, or earns decent money for its authors within a relatively short time frame (I need to keep my family in macaroni and microwave popcorn, you know!), or offers a decent advance, then it’s a different ball of wax. I’m more likely to sign away subsidiary rights. Because pursuing those rights on your own is time-consuming, and I prefer to write more books. Both as Cindy Procter-King and as my super-secret erotic romance author persona (hint, checking the Site Info link on my Cindy website pretty much gives away my alter ego’s identity) (viewing the RWA Conferences slide show on my Photos page does, too) (I’m nothing if not proud) (but what’s the use of having a secret identity if you don’t attempt to keep it secret?) (Yes, I’m addicted to parentheses) (but only in blog posts, not my novels).

The upshot is that in these days of “indie” or self-publishing via Kindle, authors are realizing that we have more control over our stories and our characters than we did a few short years ago. Gone are the days when a successful, RITA-nominated romance author discovers she can no longer sell a book in the traditional sense because of an editor change at her publisher that stalls her career in its tracks (I have seen this happen to several writer friends. She’s writing the same stories, the books already in the pipe are getting nominated for the same prestigious awards, but the new editor doesn’t connect with her writing or the publishing house is dropping the line of books for which she writes). Today, that same author, who might have felt at the mercy of her publishing house or an editor’s subjective taste, can take her skills and years of pleasing her fans in new directions.

What do you think of the new opportunities available for writers? “Self-published” was once a red flag. If a book was self-published, it was usually considered crap. Granted, hundreds, if not thousands, of self-published books could still fall into the “crap” category. It’s not always the greatest idea to self-publish the first book you write. Most professional writers hone their craft over years and years and years of writing and submitting, enduring critiques, getting down and dirty with revisions, and doing comprehensive editing. They send out their work, bear the beast of rejection that is bound to occur, then dig in and make their work better (or more marketable) and send it out again. But then there are the “orphaned” authors who have survived rigorous learning curves and now find themselves without an editor or book line. Or the talented unpublished writer who has come close to selling to a major house over a dozen times, but writes too out-of-the-box to ultimately satisfy New York. For those authors, the current publishing opportunities must feel like a creative field day.

Do you buy ebooks or audio books? Are you more willing to try new authors in these venues or do you stick to your tried-and-true traditionally published paperback writers? If a writer finds herself abandoned by her publishing house, would you follow her into audio book or ebook territory? Would you support her self-publishing efforts? How have the changes in publishing changed YOUR reading (or listening!) experience?

Cindy Procter-King writes quirky romantic comedies and emotional contemporary romances set in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest. Cindy lives in Canada with her husband, their two sons, a cat obsessed with dripping tap water, and Allie McBeagle. Learn more about Cindy and her books at or visit her blog at


  1. I have bought numerous audio books over the years for family car trips. Our all-time favorite was CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN, in part because the reader was so animated. A friend of mine, who travels for business, swears by audio books. Another listens to them while she does housework.

    As to your questions about ebooks or audio...I already have tried new authors through ebooks, and definitely would follow favorites. I'd definitely try new authors via audio, as well.

    And I would like to add that I am a long-time fan of HEAD OVER HEELS, and think everyone here should pick up a copy, be it visual or audio!

  2. Cindy, it's me waving from Texas. Loved the book. Congratulations on going audio.


  3. Hi, Tina, thanks! I think everyone should pick up a copy, too. My little romcom has been around a long time, but is still managing to find new readers.

    Caroline, thanks for dropping by!


  4. Amen, Cindy, preach it. More control for authors, hurrah!!

    I haven't ever listened to an audio book -- I read faster than I can listen. LOL. But I have developed a taste for ebooks. Ebooks are a lot more portable and easier to store, too, which are absolute pluses.

    Congrats on your audio book release, and on making good use of your book rights! Way to go.

  5. Wow...great article, Cindy. And major congratulations on your newest accomplishment!

    **clapping, clapping, clapping**

    Cindy Nord

  6. Congratulations, Cindy! I actually love audiobooks because I am in the car for almost an hour four times a week. I listen to books I wouldn't normally read, just to get different flavors. Often, I'll pick up on cadences and ways of layering suspense or romance elements into books I hadn't noticed before. But it can only be in the car!

  7. Cindy,
    Congratulations on your audio book! I tried listening to a romance on a vacation trip years ago when my daughter was in college. When it came to the love scene I had to turn it off it was so hot. Didn't work for a family vacation by car. ;-) But I like the idea of listening while doing housework, and listening while I'm alone is a definite.

  8. Excellent post! Congratulations on your audiobook, Cindy! I sometimes listen to audiobooks and enjoy them. I also love ebooks and the new direction publishing is taking. I see self-publishing losing the negative stigma as established bestselling authors self-publish their backlist or new books. It's a great thing because authors earn a much larger percentage.

  9. Yes, Cindy, the opportunities are great now for authors, giving us more choices as well as more sales. Got most of my rights back, ebooks doing well, anybody know where I can get a paperback ONLY-author-friendly contract?
    Jackie Griffey

  10. Excellent post, Cindy, with fabulous insight as questions. I'm so proud as thrilled for you and wish you continued success. You've have been and inspiration to me over the years and I know you will continue to be so. You're amazing!

    As for the publishing options, I find the explosion of publishing venues good. Competition in business challenges us all to be at the top of our game.

    I have several friends who have taken books unpublished as those where the rights have reverted back to them and uploaded their books to on-line markets and are they doing well. I believe the greater challenge for those new in the publishing end of the business is the marketing, which is where having an established publisher with a fan base is a huge bonus. But like everything else, determination, digging in to learn the steps as believe in self is the key.

    My sincere best to you, you truly are an incredible inspiration for us all! *Hugs*

    Love you!

  11. Hi,everyone!

    Susan, I read faster than I can listen, too. My son buys audio books, though. My youngest son. He's never been much of a reader and finds he gets more comprehension and enjoyment out of audio books.

    Cindy, thanks for dropping by!

    Jennifer, you make great points about authors can learn about their craft by listening to audio books! Anywhere there are long commutes, that would be a great use for audio books. Don't people get tired of listening to news and the same music over and over? Buy an audio book!

    Jeanmarie, I LOL'ed at the picture of you having to turn off the audio book. Yes, that would be an issue, wouldn't it? The love scene in HEAD OVER HEELS is relatively tame, so I don't think it would be an issue per se.

  12. Hi, Nicole,

    I bought a Kindle for my birthday. It arrived while I was on holiday. I'm super busy right now, but in a week or so I'll crack it open and order some ebooks. I have ebooks on my hard drive, but I tend to buy them and not read them, so I stopped. Like I said, I like to read lying down, and I can do that with a Kindle in a way that feels even more comfortable to me than lying down with my netbook.

    Jackie, LOL, yes, it's pretty much gotten to that point, hasn't it? Generally authors can fare far better doing their own Kindle, etc. editions. But then you also have to do all the formatting and getting a cover made or making one yourself. So far I have been happy leaving this task to my publishers. If I want a Kindle edition of my Dec. 2011 release, though, I'll have to do it myself. But it can't come out for a year after the library hardcover release. I'll get my experience in publishing to Kindle on my own sooner or later. I might try a short story under my erotic romance pen name.

  13. Diana, yes, I AM amazing, and don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise! Spread the word, my friend! :) Hugs.

  14. Hi, Cindy,

    I'm a big fan of audio books. I listen to audio books as I drive. So much more enjoyable than music. I agree--try to limit the subsidiary rights you sign away! They might be worth real bucks in the long run.

  15. Thanks, Jacqueline! I hope you give HEAD OVER HEELS a shot!

  16. Thanks so much Cindy for blogging! Love your post and will definitely get your audiobook. I listen to them while I work. I'm a numbers cruncher and listening to audiobooks and podcasts keeps things from getting too boring. It took me a while to get used to books in the audio format, but now I love it and I listen to all kinds of things. Thanks for all of the wonderful information.

  17. Chiming in late here but wanted to congratulate Cindy on this new venture! Audio books are great and I'm thrilled for you! Big hugs!

  18. I buy a lot of e-books now. More than paper, although my husband still buys all of his in paper. I don't listen to audio books much at all, as I have a hard time concentrating while listening. I can focus better on the story by reading, either on paper or on my Kindle.

    That said, I do think the digital publishing world is exploding for authors and it behooves us all to jump on board.

  19. Thanks, Wendy! I hope you enjoy the book!

    Hi, Marian! Thanks for dropping by. I appreciate your friendship and support.

    Hi, Maryann, yes, I can see how some people could focus easier reading with the eyes. Others, like my youngest son, get bored reading with the eyes. For him, audio books are less daunting.

  20. Great to see you here blogging - I love audio books and your work is fantastic!

  21. Late here. Sorry. I tried audio books in the car w/kids and that was a dud. I've never purchased an ebook though I've won several (without trying) and I find it difficult to read on the computer. Maybe if I had a Nook...But, what I wanted to say is, I would follow an author I loved anywhere. Though I'd prefer to follow her to a traditional book I can read while on the treadmill. I may give audio books another try now that the selection is broader. Congrats on your release!