Publishing, as an industry, as been on a real roller-coaster ride in recent years. I've followed the news avidly, since I've been involved on one level or another in the book business for over 25 years now. I've been a writer, a publisher, an editor, a writing teacher, and a bookstore owner. Each of these roles has provided me some new and valuable piece of the great puzzle that is bookselling--moving books from a mere idea in the writer's mind to a page that a reader will enjoy to the fullest.

Now, anyone who follows my newsletter already knows that I am a huge fan of e-books--lower cost, instant delivery, availability of an author's backlist titles--there are so many reasons. BUT, I am still and always will be a fan of printed books too. I love my local library and support them wholeheartedly. I love browsing a bookstore (many of whom are now offering e-books, did you know?). What I'm saying is that I doubt any true lover of books is going to give up printed books altogether, even if we love our Kindles and Kobos and Nooks and iPads.

It was with great interest this week that I did a little catching up on the news in the retail bookstore end of things. And the news is great! After a few years of doom-and-gloom predictions, the number of independent bookstores has actually increased over the past couple of years. Part of the reason might be because there are fewer major chain stores now, with the closing of Borders, but all the dire predictions about how e-books would put bookstores out of business have just not materialized.

So . . . what's the new, big, exciting news in the last few months for booksellers? The major book wholesalers, Ingram and Baker & Taylor, have recently changed some of their terms and practices to allow bookstores to easily order titles of independent writers (I'm one of those) and small presses. This was not always the case, as I discovered during the years I owned a retail bookstore.

If you are a bookseller, this is a huge development. There has always been big frustration for those who wanted to carry a wider variety of titles but were unable to find them through wholesalers. Now, even POD books are available to you at favorable terms.

If you are a writer, it means there is a greater chance that your books will find space on the shelves. At the very least, it means that your fans can go into their favorite shop and request your book.

And if you are a reader (aren't we all?), hallelujah--you can go into your local store and ask for the book you want, even if it's an older title, and chances are very good that bookseller can get it for you.

I'm thrilled about this. In my days as a bookstore owner I worked with both of the major wholesalers and found it frustrating at times that I couldn't order certain books--for instance, the older titles of an author who was coming for a signing, or a self-published book that had gotten great reviews. I could buy it at retail from another store and sell it at a loss, but that hardly pays the rent. Having both major wholesalers bring the titles of lesser-known authors to your neighborhood bookstore can only be a good thing!

I say hurrah for the changes in the publishing industry in the past few years, because in the long run it's really about writers and readers meeting up. In an industry that has, in many ways, put roadblocks between writers and readers we are now seeing a much clearer path and a lot more interaction. I love it!

And, on that note, I'd like to add my personal thanks to every reader who has bought my books. I know there are millions of choices for you, and I am truly grateful when you choose me, whether you prefer a printed book or an e-book--thank you!!
 
 
This has been an incredible year and I'm feeling somewhat dizzied by how lucky I've been. I've met so many new readers (I'm SO appreciative of your comments about my books!), and I spent all summer writing and hoping to live up to your expectations with new stories.

The newest Samantha book, Sweet Holidays, just went live today on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords in all e-book formats. The print version is on CreateSpace and will soon be just a click away through the other bookselling sites as well, plus being available to any bookstore where you might want to order it. My home page has the links.

And . . . this past week has been a milestone for my Charlie Parker series. Amazon's promotional efforts resulted in sales of nearly 30,000 books in one short week, propelling the first Charlie title into the #1 ranking in Mysteries/Women Sleuths, the #1 spot in Thrillers/Suspense, and the #6 spot in Kindle books overall. I literally had to catch my breath when I read those stats. And it's all because of the wonderful folks who buy and read my books. You guys are awesome!

As we head into winter, I hope Sweet Holidays will bring the holiday spirit to readers and that you will have fun with Sam and Beau and the whole crew at Sweet's Sweets. Enjoy the treats, savor an extra piece of chocolate, and know that I count you as a special blessing in my life.
 
 
My July newsletter just went out today, announcing this month's Kindle winner and a few more things (if you didn't receive your copy, click here to sign up).

Since summer is such a favorite time for kicking back and reading, I thought I would include some ideas for finding more of those fun summer reads.

I've recently come across a new mystery newsletter, AllMystery! email newsletter. The editor is, herself, a mystery writer and she is doing a great job of getting the word out about new books. The newsletter features both big-name bestsellers and newer authors that you may not already know about. Each issue follows a theme (the current one is PI's and Police; future ones will include Murder at Work and Christmas Cozies). Click this link to read the current issue and to sign up to receive AllMystery! every month.

Among the other great websites that feature books and book discussion, visit Goodreads, Shelfari and Library Thing. I love getting updates from people I have "friended" on those sites because I get such great ideas for new books I want to read.

On my own Facebook page I posed the question: What are you reading now? I'd love to hear from you. Click on over there and let me know. Or follow me on Twitter @connieshelton


 
 
It's always so exciting for me when I've finished a new book and know it's coming out soon. My newest Charlie book, Stardom Can Be Murder, was slated for early May release but I've learned that a couple of sales outlets have gotten on it even more quickly. So, I'm having a hard time waiting to tell everyone.

Yes, there will be a paperback version. Yes, the ebook version will be out there to all sales outlets very soon... Meanwhile, for my readers who've been asking about it, Stardom is already showing up on these sites in ebook versions:

Kindle version

Sony, iPad, Kobo and others

Thanks to everyone who has encouraged me to keep writing this series. And a huge thanks to everyone who has recommended my books to their friends and posted such wonderful comments online. I couldn't do it without you!!

Happy Reading!
Connie
 
 
Complete redesign of my website--it's about time! I realized that I'd not added any significant updates in about three years. I must do better!!

I'm really excited about the new changes. The blog is new, and I love the way my Tweets can feed to this page automatically. This is going to be fun!
 
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    I try not to write a LOT of blog entries--I know your time is pretty full already-- and subscribing to my newsletter is really the best way to get news from me on a timely basis. But I invite you to stop in now and then to see what's up. And if you have a question that you would like to have addressed here, feel free to send me an email.

    I welcome comments here on the blog or you may email me.


    Writers:

    If you are a writer or want to be, sign up for my free writing tips and learn more about the novel-writing course I've developed at NovelinaWeekend.com

    Booksellers:

    All of my books, including the full backlist, are now available in trade paperback through Ingram and Baker & Taylor.

    Libraries:

    Library Direct now distributes all of my e-book titles. Libraries get a 50% discount from the retail prices (average cost to you, about $2.50 per book) and no limits on checkouts.

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