05-26-18 – Blog Queen - Sarah Raplee

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Publishing Trends: It's a Great Time to be a Hybrid

I had my first romance, a red hot sci fi shifter tale, published in 2008 with Samhain Publishing.

That was a great time to get pubbed. Readers were making the big shift (if you'll pardon the pun) to ebooks, and uber-sexy romance was hot, hot, hot. My first royalty checks were crazy big. This continued well into 2010, as I wrote and sold the next three books in the series. RT listed me as one of the sci fi romance writers to watch for. Whoopee!

Then, a strange thing happened. More and more publishers leapt into the ebook market. With more and more choices, readers spread their dollars out among them. My royalties dropped--partly because I genre jumped into contemporary paranormal, and readers did not follow me.

My Hawaiian Heroes were highly reviewed--RT and Library Journal loved them, yay! Readers did not vote quite as highly with their dollars. But, I kept writing, Samhain continued to publish my books, and another strange thing happened.

Romance writers began to publish their own books, with no middle-man except the sales platforms such as Amazon and With a plethora of more new choices, readers spread their dollars thinner. Yikes, my royalties dropped yet again. Still highly rated on Samhain, still good reviews, but I was becoming extremely worried that I'd made the wrong decision to quit my teaching job and write romance full time.

Then, in June of this year, I went back to my roots. I self-published the first book in my new sci fi romance series, The LodeStar Series. Book 1, Stark Pleasure sold well enough that it earned nearly half as much as my eight books at Samhain. Wow, this was cool.

I got busy and wrote Book 2. Actually, I battled my way through Creed of Pleasure, fighting with the characters and the plot. With the help of my skilled editor, Jessa Slade, I finally wrestled it into the shape of my signature story--red hot romance, action and danger, with a little laughter in the mix. And some fantastical galactic creatures and futuristic inventions, of course. That's the fun of sci fi, after all.

With a gorgeous cover by Christy Carlyle of GildedHeartDesigns, the book went live November 7, 2013.

At latest report, my Amazon author rating is the highest it has ever been, a good indicator of reader interest. The book is the highest on the Zon charts I've ever had a book rise, except for my Free Read, Heart of Stone, another sci fi romance, but you kinda expect free books to go higher.


Shobhan Bantwal said...


It is very heartening to hear about your success with self-publishing. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Although it is very tempting to do so, I haven't tried my hand at it yet. Perhaps one of these days...

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Maggie Jaimeson said...

Cathryn, you deserve every bit of success. You've been working hard for a long time.

Don't write off contemporaries if you love them. It just may take a little more time to find the readership. But I know you also love SF Romance. So go for it and enjoy the riches.

Judith Ashley said...

Thanks for sharing your journey into self-publishing with us, Cathryn. Finding the right audience is crucial. While I love reading Nora Roberts, I've never even looked at a JD Robb book. Why? because I don't read futuristic no matter how well written it is. No reflection on the writer - it's reader preference.

I will admit I recently purchased an Anthology where Jessa Slade has a story because I love her sense of humor and way with words. So I will be dipping my reading toe in the sci fi genre. I know if I like it, you'll be one of the first authors I read! You do have luscious covers!!!