By Jody Hedlund, @JodyHedlund
It's official! I recently signed another 3-book deal with my publisher, Bethany House Publishers!
I'll continue to write inspiration historical romances, but this new contract is for a series. The series will center around Michigan lighthouses in the 1800's and some of the characters will be based on real women keepers, especially since Michigan is known for having had the most lighthouses as well as the most women keepers.
In the line-up of my publication schedule, book 1 of the lighthouse series will release next fall of 2014, and then books 2 & 3 in 2015.
Before the lighthouse books, I'll have two other releases:
1. Rebellious Heart releases THIS fall in September. (Be watching SOON for signing up to get an Influener copy of the book!)
Rebellious Heart follows in the same vein as my first two books The Preacher’s Bride and The Doctor’s Lady in that it’s also inspired by a famous couple from history. The story is set in Colonial America and is based on the beautiful courtship of John and Abigail Adams.
Of course, as I've done in the past, I've changed names and fictionalized the account, but it still gives insight into one of America's most famous couples. I hope that you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I loved writing it!
2. Captured by Love releases NEXT spring of 2014. (Be watching soon for the COVER REVEAL!)
It is 1814 and the British have taken hold of Mackinac Island and its fort, forcing American residents to swear an oath of loyalty to the British crown in order to retain their land. Pierre Durant is a voyageur—a fur trader who left his family home to find adventure. He’s been gone five years and when he returns, his family’s farm is at the mercy of the British invaders.
Torn between the life he’s grown used to and guilt over leaving his brother and mother, Pierre’s drawn back into the loyalist fight against the British—and into a relationship with Angelique Labelle, a beautiful local girl who’s been befriended by the British commander's daughter. As tensions mount and the threat of violence increases both Angelique and Pierre must decide where their loyalties rest, how far they will go to find freedom, and how much they will risk to find love.
So what's the status on all the books? Rebellious Heart is DONE and ready for publication which is just around the corner in a matter of weeks! Captured by Love is completed too. I'll be starting in-house macro-edits in the next couple of weeks.
As far as the lighthouse series, I'm about half done writing the first book in the series, and I'm really enjoying the story! It involves deep dark secrets, betrayal, pirates, storms, and a marriage of convenience.
With the coming of age of self-publishing, I'm sure there are plenty who may question my decision to continue with traditional publication rather than going at it alone. There are several quick reasons why I'm sticking with my publisher:
1. I love working with my publisher. Yes, they've been effected by the changes in the industry just like everyone else. But in spite of the difficulties, they continue to provide quality editing, excellent cover design, top notch marketing, and have an aggressive sales team who gets my book into most brick and mortar bookstores. They have a reputation for quality historical fiction which has helped launch my writing career in a successful way.
2. I've been able to rapidly grow a worldwide readership. Of course self-publishing provides the opportunity to grow a big readership too. But in my genre especially with stand-alone novels (versus series books), I'm not sure I would have been able to gain a substantial readership as well on my own–at least not as quickly or efficiently. My publisher still has the capability to gain me new readers through a variety of channels including libraries, book clubs, audio books, and even contracts for foreign language editions.
3. I want to focus primarily on my writing output. At this stage in my life as a busy homeschooling mom of five, I don't have a lot of extra time to put into the venture of self-publishing. That's not to say I won't ever try it. When I do take the plunge, I'll make the time to learn the in's and out's of self-publishing. But I know I'd have to sacrifice something else while I go through the self-publishing learning curve. For now, traditional publication allows me peace of mind and the ability to keep my writing top priority.
Obviously, none of us knows what the future may bring and what will ultimately happen with traditional publishers. The only thing that remains true is that WRITERS WRITE. One way or another, I'll continue to write because that's my passion.
What do you think of my new contract and publishing schedule? Do you have any advice for me?