Saturday, April 16, 2011

Resurrecting Lily's Ghosts: from OP book to ebook

So, while I've been preparing for the Highlights Whole Novel Workshop in Fantasy that I'll be leading with the fabulous Anne Ursu, I've also been working on something else: turning my first novel, Lily's Ghosts, into an ebook.

When people ask me which of my own books is my favorite, I usually say that it's the book I'm currently writing, because that unfinished book still has a shot at becoming a shining jewel of abject perfection. But if I have to pick, I pick Lily. Lily's Ghosts was my first published novel, and you don't forget that. You don't forget that Kirkus Reviews -- yes, crankypants Kirkus -- called it "a slightly spooky, romantic mystery, capped by that rarest of animals: a twist ending that's totally earned. This should be a movie just so teens and tweens will come ask for the book."

So, I was sad when it went out of print.

But not as sad as I would have been had it happened a few years ago.

More and more people are putting their backlists online themselves — sci-fi/fantasy writers Diane Duane and Art Slade to name some entrepreneurial people comfortable with technology. Me? I'm easily frustrated and somewhat technologically challenged. When I have to look at long strings of numbers -- like ISBNs -- my eyes cross, the numbers get jumbled, and I have to snack to fortify myself. I don't even like the words "upload" and "format." I'm too disorganized, too distractible, too, too, too. But it made no sense to allow my book to disappear when I could keep it alive myself.*

And I was glad for the opportunity to give Lily's Ghosts a fresh look. I've always loved the old illustrated cover, but I wondered if it skewed a bit young for the tweens and teens I had in mind when I wrote the story. I wanted art that was photographic rather than illustrated, more iconic, darker and spookier. Here's the new cover, which I love, designed by Janie Bynum:

Right now, you can only get the ebook on Amazon US and UK; hopefully, it will appear on B&N soon. Still working on getting it into the iBookstore and elsewhere. (I was planning on using Smashwords for that purpose but I'm not happy with their kookoo-bunny formatting. Hmmm.) I'm also planning a print-on-demand version. Perhaps even an audio edition one of these days.

Today's my birthday, normally not that big a deal for me. But having Lily back on the (virtual) shelves? That's a great birthday present.

-- Laura

*Well, not entirely by myself. I hired Rob Siders at to do the formatting for me.

UPDATE: Now up at Barnes and Noble too.


  1. Hurray! This looks terrific. And Happy Happy Birthday to YOU!!!!

  2. This is great. I'm looking into getting an eReader and I think I'll make this my first purchase. Happy Birthday again!

  3. Hey Heidi:

    I just got a KIndle for my birthday. It's...interesting. Reading on screen doesn't feel quite the same as reading a page. Still, I'm happy I can load so many books onto it.

    If you do get Lily's Ghosts, let me know if you find any glitches!

    -- Laura