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.
*Well, not entirely by myself. I hired Rob Siders at 52novels.com to do the formatting for me.
UPDATE: Now up at Barnes and Noble too.