The Precious Gems line which all of us authors wrote for at the turn of the millennium may not have paid us a fortune, but it did offer something no other romance publishers were offering. It gave us our rights back as soon as our print runs were sold out. I waited a couple of years, wrote to Kensington Books and asked for reversion of my rights to A Lady by Chance, promptly got them back, and sat on them for several years.
It was the first book I self published in 2011, and it did very well. I have since built a series, House of Haverstock, around it, and it has been extremely rewarding financially.
Enough time had expired to request reversion from Kensington of my first tthree Brides of Bath books, and I received them, but was denied the the fourth in the series until the prescribed time had passed, which was just a few months later. With the four-book series, I made the first book (The Bride Wore Blue) a perma free, and the series has done extremely well. I even added one more book, then a Christmas novella bringing most of the characters together.
After that, it got much harder to get my rights back. Kensington gave me the first in my Brazen Brides series, Counterfeit Countess, but--after the contracted ten years had expired--refused to give me the second in the series.
And then there's Harlequin. My first contract with them was in 1997. Even before eBooks, this company wrote very long, very restrictive contracts that virtually said if the book was for sale in any format, the author couldn't get her rights back. I was so clear, I didn't even try.
|Does this look like a "new" book to you? Original is on the right.|
But over the years I talked to a lot of authors who had gotten back their rights from Harlequin. Hmmm. I started first with a reversion request for the Love Inspired Historical (Marriage of Inconvenience) that Harlequin published six years ago. The line closes at the end of this year, and our authors' loop said many authors would be able to get back their rights easily. My contract said I had to wait five years before a reversion could be considered. I did. Then I put in my reversion request.
It was declined because they were going to "republish" it. I was disappointed but consoled myself with the notion that for the first time in a long time I'd have mass market paperbacks once again in stores--and they make nice giveaways. I'd run out of most of my old paperbacks.
Now it's been announced the book--which is currently for sale as an eBook everywhere--will be "republished" in July. I've heard through the authors' loop that they're not publishing these books in print. The cover has been tweaked. My name is bigger, and it says New York Times Bestseller. They've reversed the hero and heroine's images and enlarged them. This is "republishing?"
I am not happy.
But, alas, there's some consolation. I have just been notified that book I first contracted with Harlequin in 1997 (A Duke Deceived) will be reverted to me--only in English, as they published an Italian edition a couple of years ago.
See what you think of the "republished" cover.--Cheryl Bolen, whose latest series, Lords of Eton, launched in May with The Portrait ofLady Wycliff and continues in June with The Earl, the Vow, and the Plain Jane.