From the Booking Desk:
Elaine Viets is one of my favorite people in the mystery community. With multiple series under her belt, she has something to please every type of crime fiction reader. Her stories about the various jobs she has held in the name of research are some of the funniest things you will ever hear at a crime convention. She’s stopping by to tell us a bit about where things stand for the Dead-End Job Mystery series. If you haven’t read them yet, you will certainly want to when you see these fun new covers.
Series sell not only the current novel – they sell into the past. I have four mystery series: the Dead-End Job mysteries, funny mysteries set in South Florida. The cozy Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper mysteries. Four Francesca Vierling newspaper mysteries, and my forensic mysteries with death investigator Angela Richman.
I am “backlist rich,” as my agent, Joshua Bilmes says. Joshua is president of JABberwocky Literary in New York, and he wanted to re-release my backlist. JABberwocky represents award-winning authors including Charlaine Harris, Brandon Sanderson, Toni Kelner and Tanya Huff and has made books available from two dozen of its clients within its e-book program.
Done right, re-releases are expensive: re-releasing my 23 books can cost a solid five figures, and JABberwocky fronted the money.
It takes a lot of work…
- First, Joshua got the rights back from the publishers – he sent them revision of rights letters, and the publishers granted most of those requests.
- The novels get new covers and fresh cover copy. It was exciting to work with artist Jenn Reese at Tiger Bright Studios for new DEJ covers. She designed 13 clean, bright covers with a different symbol and color for each novel. They captured the novels’ lighthearted tone.
- Meanwhile, I had to read all 13 Dead-End Job mysteries, and correct the small errors that happen when the files are converted to book formats, plus the occasional typo. I was blessed with good copyeditors for this series, but one was crazy for semicolons. I have a deep, abiding hatred for semicolons in novels. They should be banished to term papers. I rewrote to get rid of the pests.
- Each book had new cover copy, and this slogan: “The thrilling mystery series about one woman trying to make a living . . . while other people are making a killing.”
It had been awhile since I’d read my novels. Readers will ask me about a scene or a character, and I can’t remember what happened.
“Well, you wrote it,” they’ll say.
Yes, I did. But once I write one book, I’m on to the next.
I can’t read my novels when they’re hot off the presses. That’s when I see all the parts that sag and the phrases I wish were more graceful.
But reading Shop till You Drop, which I wrote in 2003, almost made it seem like it was by someone else:
- Some lines made me laugh. In one DEJ novel, a co-worker says this about Helen’s hated boss: “Her heart is as hard as her fake boobs.”
- When Helen meets her future husband, she notices, “His nose was slightly crooked. Helen liked that quality in a man.”
- The novels were wistful at times: Helen wonders, “How come when you finally got what you wanted, it wasn’t what you needed?”
- I liked the books. They’re mysteries with a sharp look at Florida life.
I hope you’ll like them, too.