Birdie & Jay - Hooray!
A few of you know I've been working for some time on a novel set in NYC during the Gilded Age. I started the project before I got an agent and before I published my first book, Root Petal Thorn. It sat in the "bottom drawer" for years until I decided to get it out and dust it off. That was about two years ago.
Fast-forward (if you can call two years fast) and the book has been finished, edited MANY times, and sold to a publisher! My intention was to keep you up to date on this process, but once the manuscript sold things have been (actually) moving fast.
My publisher is Audible Originals! This is a new type of publishing concept in the industry (so new that it took months of contract negotiation between my agent and Audible before I had a contract). Audible is adding to their "original" content (think Netflix Originals) so they will provide content not found anyplace else. My book will come out as an audio-book ONLY for one year. After that year it will be available in print and e-book. The advance and royalties structure is very different from traditional publishing (hence the long contract process).
Why am I excited about this? Well, Amazon (who owns Audible) certainly knows how to sell product, which means they'll position my book in front of readers (listeners) who enjoy historical fiction or who have enjoyed books with a similar theme or time-period.
Why am I EXTRA excited about the Audible deal? I LOVE my new editor. She has done an amazing job of helping me improve the manuscript. Her suggested changes have been understandable, expressed clearly, and thorough. Some of you may remember I NEVER received written edits from my first editor, only vague suggestions over the phone, which was very frustrating.
And very best? I have a cover! For those of you who've hear me lament the cover of my second book, Where the Sweet Bird Sings, you'll know how important it was for me to be a part of the cover process. This time I had SEVEN cover concepts to choose from and I got to fine-tune this cover. They accepted most of my suggestions and I'm thrilled!
Things I had to consider when choosing this cover: an audio-book cover is square and when seen on the Audible site only 2.5 x 2.5 inches. The cover must portray the genre easily at this size, as the genre is a promise to the reader. They want to know quickly what kind of book they can expect. So, while I found several of my cover options more appealing at the size of a typical book cover, this one looked most like a historical fiction with romantic elements (which it is).
Here's another little thing I had to consider. The book takes place in about 1910, think early Downton Abbey clothing. The bustle dress went out of fashion in about 1890, and yet my "cover girl" has a bustle. Why? The bustle, at quick glance, conveys that Birdie & Jay is a work of historical fiction, more quickly than the "modern" frocks of the early 1900s, and the editor, designer and I thought readers wouldn't quibble this particular detail.
At this point I don't have a solid publication date and I haven't helped to choose narrators (there will be two), but I promise I'll be better about keeping you up to date with further developments! What do you think of my cover??
Ella Joy Olsen is the author of three novels. She teaches Creative Writing at the University of Utah and is co-owner of Salty City Writing Workshops.