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Digging for Change

We all have them — the metaphorical “books under the bed” that are better left where they are, to gather a patina of dust and cobwebs and never see the light of day. These things are a mess. Often it’s the first book you ever wrote, before you learned the finer points of plot and characterization.

My first manuscript is like that. It made the contest rounds (and even won the Jasmine back in 2006) under a number of titles (my favorite title was From Miss Bitch to Mrs. Rich, although it mostly finaled under the title Looking 4 Love) but, well, let’s just say that when my husband was trying to tell me to self-publish it earlier this year — “But you’ve already done all the work! Why not?” — I never took his suggestion seriously.  I know I’m not the world’s best housekeeper (understatement of the year), but there is no amount of polishing that could make that book something I’d want to release today. It served its purposes for what it was, my learning book. But it needs to stay balled up under the farthest corner of the bed … my preferred way of quickly cleaning up and making the rest of the room look quasi-presentable.

Okay, so let’s leave the books-under-the-bed, well, under the bed (or on the hard drive) and turn our attention to a different piece of furniture.

The couch.

I’m sure you’ve heard the old cliche about digging for spare change between your seat cushions. You may even have done it yourself once or twice (or a hundred times). But this can also be applied to publishing.

If a book under the bed is a hot mess, then the spare change in your seat cushions are the stories that are actually pretty good, but you’re not doing anything with them at the moment for whatever reason. Maybe it got great editorial — or contest –feedback, but didn’t sell. Or maybe it did sell, but it went out of print and you got the rights back. Either way, it’s just sitting on your hard drive at the moment, doing nothing for you.

Behold, my spare change, which just released today exclusively for the Kindle!

I had a few contemporary romance short stories just sitting on my hard drive, taking up space. Three of them (“She’s Got Legs” — which had received an 88 from snarky hard-ass Mrs. Giggles; “Love @ First Site”; and “Dancing Cheek to Cheek”)  had been published before, but one (“Birthday Gifts”) is brand new. I’d always liked these stories, but I figured they were too short to really do anything with them.

But then it hit me — why not bundle them as a super-short single-author collection? And yes, I do mean short. The entire ebook of 4 stories is around 15,000 words total. But I think 99 cents is a fair price for around 50 pages.

NY Times bestselling author Angie Fox calls the collection “sweet, sexy and laugh-out-loud funny!”

(Did I mention this one isn’t for teens?)

Jana DeLeon says “Amanda Brice has a voice that easily captures the self-deprecating humor and strength that so many young women have as they attempt to find their place in the world and the man of their heart.”

NY Times bestselling author Christie Craig describes them as “short reads that aren’t short on entertainment. Sassy humor and sigh-worthy. Amanda Brice delivers.”

And NY Times bestselling author Gemma Halliday says “If you’re in the mood for a sweet escape this holiday season, Amanda’s Brice’s Short and Sweet is just the ticket!  I loved all the stories in this collection. And anyone who is a ‘White Christmas’ fan will adore ‘Dancing Cheek to Cheek’.  The best things don’t only happen when you’re dancing… they also happen when you’re reading an Amanda Brice novel!”

Not bad for spare change.

And from now until New Year’s, it’s spare change for a good cause. A Jersey Girl at heart, I’ll be donating 100% of my author royalties from Short & Sweet: Four Fun & Flirty Tales to relief efforts for the survivors of Hurricane Sandy and to rebuild the shore.

I’ve also been inspired to dig out my first Golden Heart finalist, Party Like It’s 1899, from between the cushions and get it ready for publication. This one is a little dustier than the short stories — and I have to squeeze in the revisions around an already hectic writing schedule — so it’ll take longer to get it ready, but I’m aiming for Fall 2013. (And if it’s ready before then, say spring or summer, then bonus!) Here’s a sneak peak at the cover art.

Gorgeous, huh?

So what about you? Do you have any metaphorical spare change hidden in your cushions? Have you considered digging out an old story and giving it new life through self-publishing? Tell us!

23 responses to “Digging for Change”

  1. Laurie Kellogg says:

    Great post, and nice anthology! I’ve got LOTS of spare change, Amanda. It’s finding time to do something with it that’s the problem. But I’ll get to it all one of these days. 🙂 I love your Party Like It’s 1899 cover. There’s no question what it’s about.

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    • Amanda Brice says:

      I’m so glad for your spare change — the stuf you’ve already published has been keeping me entertained, and if there’s still more where that came from, then awesome!

      I agree that’s it’s hard to balance the actual new writing with dusting off the old and making it ready to publish. I lucked out with this one because it was pretty much ready-to-go. Three of the four stories had already been professionally edited back from when they were previously published. So it was simple to make a spur of the moment decision.

      Now my time travel on the other hand…LOL.

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  2. Jenn! says:

    Love the post, Amanda.
    Yes, I have spare change. And none of it could be classified as romance. In fact, there is not a happy ending in sight. A lot of dark matter floating around in those stories.

    I have often thought about creating an anthology for those tales, all of which are historically set. Your post has spurned me into getting serious about it. 🙂

    Love, LOVE the Party Like It’s 1899 cover!

    Jenn!

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    • Amanda Brice says:

      Ooh, that’s great! I hope you do put together a collection.

      I think as long as you make it clear that it’s definitely NOT romance that you should be fine. Yes, your pirate romances definitely have HEAs, but they’re grittier than many romances, so I don’t really see a conflict in publishing the short stories.

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  3. Liz Talley says:

    Yay, Amanda, you busy girl!

    Love the cover for both. The short stories sound fun and perfect for a hectic holiday season. And I can’t wait for Party Like it’s 1899. Way to make that spare change add up!

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    • Amanda Brice says:

      Yes, I am busy. But due to circumstances beyond my control (aka, balancing work with life of an almost three-year-old and an almost-one-year-old…Baby Boy turns 1 tomorrow!), I had to push back the book I’d planned to release before Christmas. And I wanted to have a new release for Christmas, to keep getting my name out there. So it hit me — I have these stories already on my hard drive just sitting there doing nothing…why not?

      If they hadn’t been almost completely ready to go, however, I’m not sure I would have done it. Or at least not now, during the busiest time of the year!

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  4. I love the covers. And spare change? OMG I have a spare bank hidden on my hard drive not to mention the ms that are literally holding my bed up and can never see the light of day.

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  5. I’m cleaning my spare change right now. 😉 Re-writing a story that I’ve always loved but that didn’t go anywhere. And what I’m finding is that the actual *writing* in the original isn’t all that bad; I just didn’t know enough about plot/conflict to carry it off.

    So excited to see that you’re going to be releasing Party Like It’s 1899! I love that book! Great cover, too! 🙂

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    • Amanda Brice says:

      Good for you, revising that book! I revisited my first book and realized that the writing was actually pretty good, but that there wasn’t much in the way of a plot. It was like Seinfeld — a book about nothing. Except that Seinfeld is genius. LOL

      Anyway, I’m too scared to ever touch that. Here’s hoping it won’t be too big of a job to polish yours up.

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  6. Love the covers, Amanda! I don’t typically write short, so I don’t have a lot of spare change, but I was converting the one short story I wrote into a longer contemporary…before my romantic suspense stories started going somewhere. Someday, though, when I make the time, I’ll be dusting that one off for sure.

    Congrats on the new & upcoming releases!

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  7. Addison Fox says:

    Amanda:

    Wonderful post! And I LOVE the cover for PARTY LIKE IT’S 1899!!! Wow, wow, wow!!!!!

    Addison

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  8. Congrats on the release of your anthology, Amanda — I just bought it! What a fabulous idea to donate the proceeds to the Hurricane Sandy recovery effort. And I’m looking forward to finally getting my hands on Party Like It’s 1999. 🙂

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  9. Rita Henuber says:

    Suger Congrats my sister.
    I have some change in the cushions but it will need a supreme cleaning. Maybe one day.

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  10. Vivi Andrews says:

    Congrats on the new release, Amanda!

    I do have a few spare change books, but if I were to pull them out, I’m not sure I would self-publish them. I kind of prefer having a publisher. Just suits me better.

    Wishing you tons of luck with this and all those writing projects keeping you so busy! So wonderful to see your success.

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    • Amanda Brice says:

      I only said self-publish because I was assuming that these pieces had already made the submission-go-rounds and thus a publisher probably isn’t in the cards, but if you have publisher options for your spare change, then awesome!

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  11. Hope Ramsay says:

    Love the cover on the anthology. Nice way to make the spare change work for you.

    It took me twenty-five years to make my first sale. Oh boy do I ever have spare change. But my situation is complicated by a publishing contract that requires me to give my publisher first crack at any full-length romance that I write. So, I’ve been keeping my powder dry on those old romances for the moment.

    I also have a couple of non-romance novels, including one traditional fantasy that could be reworked into something that’s a little more YA. When I get a moment, I intend to haul this one out give it a going over. I think there may be some kind of future for this particular manuscript. Most likely as my first venture into indie publishing.

    All I need now is time…

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  12. Cate Rowan says:

    Amanda, both covers are great–and I hope your spare change grows into a big bank deposit!

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