Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Author Carolyn Brown: How Publishing Has Changed

I am always thrilled to have New York Times bestselling author Carolyn Brown visit because she perpetually makes me laugh and if she’s visiting, it means she has another wonderful book out.

Her stories capture your imagination transporting you to whatever small town in Texas she’s writing about. Her characters are realistic and so likeable you can’t help but want to visit them time and time again. Besides, she always writes about the sexiest cowboys and the feisty cowgirls.

Can you tell I’m excited to have Carolyn join us today? Well, before I forget - thanks to Carolyn and the delightful Danielle at Sourcebooks I have 2 copies of Carolyn’s latest book, ONE HOT COWBOY WEDDING, to giveaway to 2 lucky visitors who comments on today’s post by 8 p.m. (EST) on Wednesday, April 25. Be sure to leave your email address with your comment, if it’s not included in your profile. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada. Now here’s Carolyn.

Thank you so much for inviting me back to Thoughts in Progress! It’s a delight to be here again to talk about my new book, ONE HOT COWBOY WEDDING, the fourth book in the Spikes and Spurs series.

It is available in paperback at Sourcebooks, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Wal-Mart, Waldens, Hastings and most major book stores. If you have a Nook, Kindle or E-reader you can get a copy at B&N, Amazon, Sony and most of the eBook stores. And if you prefer a hardback copy, Rhapsody and Double Day Book Clubs has it available.

Wow! That’s a lot of places to get a copy of ONE HOT COWBOY WEDDING! Things have definitely changed in the writing and publishing world since I sold my first book fourteen years ago.

And if you go back a few years prior to that, it’s really done a turn-around. More than thirty years ago my third child was a newborn baby and believe me she was part night owl. She didn’t scream and cry. I didn’t have to walk the floor with her or rock her until daylight. She was quite content to watch the fish in the aquarium and spin tales in her baby brain. 

One Hot Cowboy Wedding CoverI sharpened a dozen pencils, bought a spiral back note book and set out to write the best selling novel in my head. Publishers all over the world were waiting to buy it for sure and Hollywood was yanking all their hair out in anticipation of the great movie it would make.

When the notebook was nearly full of profound words, Husband figured I was serious and brought home an old Underwood manual typewriter that he’d found at a garage sale for five bucks. Lord, I thought I’d done died and gone to heaven! White out, ribbons, sticky keys, and all!

The book was finally finished and visions of book tours danced in my head. I was going to be famous, eat bon-bons all day, build a new house and a swimming pool and the contract was going to be for a multi-book deal.

It did not sell! 

My daughter started sleeping at night so the writing business got put on hold for many years. When I pulled it out again there were electric typewriters on the market, word processors that looked like glorified electric typewriters and I found myself in a much easier world than the old Underwood days. The ribbons were even half white so corrections were even easier.

I was now ready to write the next big thing…a visit to Oprah danced in my head.

Those stories did not sell!

PC’s came to the market. Surely with all that technology and many years of writing a newspaper column under my belt, I was ready to produce the novel of the century. I had enough rejection slips to paper the White House; that big one on Pennsylvania Avenue, not the two holer at the end of the back lot. 

Those were the years of writing query letters, sending them with SASE (always) and waiting six months for a reply. Hopefully, the Gods of Publishing or Gods of the Agents would ask to see three chapters and a synopsis. When they did, the job involved getting it ready to send in hard copy, mailing it and waiting another six months. Then if they asked to see the full manuscript, it was typing the whole thing perfectly, printing, mailing and you got it…waiting!

But one day all the waiting paid off and I sold two books! Revisions came in letter form and hard copies went back and forth. Then I sold four more and it was the same. 

The line I’d been working for died and I went to another publisher and not much changed. Query in letter form, send hard copies by mail, revisions by mail. 

And then boom! I started selling cowboys and everything started popping. Everything was done by email…no more trips to the post office, no more edit letters by mail and buying reams upon reams of copy paper for hard copies. 

Don’t tell me cowboys don’t make things happen in a big way!

The next step my books being available in e-book format for the new and upcoming Nook and Kindles and then they hit the book clubs and were available in hard copy as well as eBook and paper back.

ONE HOT COWBOY WEDDING was written on a lap top that I can carry with me wherever I go. It was backed up on a flash drive no bigger than a tub of lipstick. No more hardcopy back ups that take a whole closet shelf. No more computers as big as a desk top. It can be ordered on line in any format that you want: paperback, hard copy, eBook.

Nora Roberts spoke to the RWA Conference in Orlando a couple of years ago and her words have stayed with me. She said that we have it easy these days with the technology and less waiting and more avenues to get our books out to the readers but to remember that our craft can be done with a pencil and a notebook. That if we have a writer’s soul with a book full of quirky or interesting characters begging to be written that we can do the job. However, it takes discipline to keep writing and determination to keep on going when the rejection letters are piling up.

For me, it all started many years ago with a pencil and a notebook. There has been lots of determination and discipline but it’s paid off. ONE HOT COWBOY WEDDING is my fifty-sixth published book. 

It’ll be fun to see what direction the writing and publishing fields take in the next five years. What do you like…hard cover books, paperbacks or eBooks? Do you take a book from the shelf if the cover catches your eye? Or do you grab it because you know the author? What do you foresee in the future for the publishing industry?

Carolyn, thanks so much for visiting again and giving us this glimpse at how the publishing industry has changed. I think the changes have been a wonderful thing for us readers. I realize each day how eBooks are becoming more popular and convenient, but I still enjoy the feel of a print book (hardcover or paperback) in my hands. 

Now for a brief synopsis of ONE HOT COWBOY WEDDING (which I’ll also have a review for you soon):
A marriage made in Vegas...
Hunky cowboy Ace Riley wasn't planning on settling down, but his family had other plans for him...The only way to save his hide, and his playboy lifestyle, is to discreetly marry his best friend, Jasmine King.

Can't possibly last…
Fiesty city–girl Jasmine as just helping out her friend—that is, until their first kiss stirs up a whole mess of trouble, and suddenly discretion is thrown to the wind.

One hot cowboy, one riled up woman...
And they'll be married for a year, like it or not!

Now for a bit of background on Carolyn. She is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author with more than forty books published, and credits her eclectic family for her humor and writing ideas. She writes bestselling single title cowboy and country music mass market romances. 

Born in Texas and raised in southern Oklahoma, Carolyn and her husband now make their home in the town of Davis, Oklahoma, where she continues to write more cowboy romances! For more information on Carolyn and her writing, visit her website at www.CarolynLBrown.com

If you’re a writer, has the changes in the publishing industry been a good thing for you? If you’re a reader, has the changes expanded your ability to get more books or books sooner? Thanks so much for stopping by today. Remember to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of ONE HOT COWBOY WEDDING. It’s a fun read that you’ll find hard to put down.  


  1. Carolyn, thanks again for stopping by and talking about publishing and your fun new book, ONE HOT COWBOY WEDDING. I hope you went back and finally published that first book you wrote. Wishing you continued success with your writing and looking forward to the next installment in the Spikes and Spurs series.

  2. Goooood Morrrning, Massson! Can you tell I've already had a pot of coffee? I never did get that first book published but if I drink another pot of coffee, I betcha I could talk someone into looking at it again! Thank you again for letting me prop my boots up again on your site.

  3. Some of my favorite cowboys live in small towns. The life suits them so well and cowboys make great heroes. I do like that I am able to have access to more books and sometimes earlier with the changes in publishing. I think there is room for all types of books and I hope writers keep writing great stories :) Carolyn, congrats on another great sounding release!


  4. Hi Mason - good to read about Carolyn and also to read her words about her approach to writing.

    It's patience is a virtue isn't it .. and building a theme that you can add to over time ..

    Interesting to read your process through the various technologies - many of us have experienced in some way or another ..

    Cheers Hilary

  5. Na, thank you for taking time to stop by and leave a comment. I always appreciate your input!

  6. Hilary,
    Technology has changed drastically through the last decade but if a writer truly loves what they are doing, then they'll find a way to get it on paper! When I make mistakes I'm really glad to have a delete button, though.

  7. Yes, book publisging has changed a great deal. I still prefer holding a real book, turning pages and owning books, paperback and hardcover. No e-books yet. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  8. Your career sounds fascinating and glad that the cowboys are here to stay. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  9. Traveler, most of my family feels the same way but it is nice to be able to offer my books in any format the reader wants. Personally, I still prefer a real book, too!

  10. Petite, keep your hat on and your boots by the door ready to do some two steppin' because there are more on the way!

  11. As a reader, I like to read paperbacks because they are easier to bring everywhere. Now I like, too, my new ebook for the same reason and because I have access to books that I could not buy without driving many many miles.

    Some covers help me buy books but when I know and love an author, I tend to read all her (his) books.
    Thank you for this post Carolyn and Mason, it's fun to learn about
    how it went for an author.



I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.