07-21-18 Patricia Sargeant

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Opal Carew: Boxed sets, Single Titles, Series - Oh My!

First, I’d like to say congratulations to Judith and Sarah for the 5th Blog-O-Versary of Romancing The Genres, and to thank them for inviting me back to share with you what I’ve been up to.
Before I get started, I would like to invite you to join my Reader Group. I give away a free story to everyone who signs up, and I will keep you informed as to new releases, special offers, and any interesting news I have. Plus there are cute pictures of cats! J Also, I will be offering exclusive material to those in my Reader Group periodically. I am working on a special collection that will be available soon, so don’t miss out! Just click here to sign up: OpalCarew.com/ReaderGroup

Now, on with my news. The last time I wrote a post, I had recently hit the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists. I accomplished this dream of mine by collaborating with other savvy authors in boxed sets. I have been in eight sets that have hit USA Today and four that hit New York Times.
I spent a lot of time working on these and other collaborative projects for about two years, but last year I decided I needed to bring my focus back to my own stories. During the boxed set fever, I had, by necessity, become extremely efficient with my time. The demands were high. Writing the stories was the easy part. The communications with a dozen or so other authors while coordinating our efforts was intense. My inbox already has high traffic, but that increased the volume tenfold. Life became absolutely frantic.

Once I shifted away, I found that I now needed to work at a new and faster pace. Given the publishing market and the rapid decline in ebook sales across the market, it’s good that I had developed that ability. I’m the sole income earner for my family, so with income from ebooks dropping to less than half, I certainly had to hustle to make more money.

Before that, I had written self-published works when I could squeeze them in between my St. Martin’s releases. (I publish 3 books a year with them.) In January 2014, I realized that I needed to put a priority on getting out more self-published stories. I decided that I would start two series: one with a BDSM and the other with a ménage theme. Doing some quick calculations, I realized that my best plan would be to aim for 4 novellas in 2014 (in addition to my three St. Martin’s books.) Since I also decided that I wanted to chain the novellas—whenever one came out, the next one available for preorder—I knew I needed to stick with one series, so I decided to go with the BDSM series, which I called MASTERED BY. Each story is a stand-alone novella and they can be read in any order.

I more or less met my goal. I didn’t get four MASTERED BY novella written last year, but I did get three done and instead of the fourth, I wrote the next novelette (the 4th) of The Office Slave series.
That is another advantage to my decision to pay attention to my self-published projects. I am now able to finish a number of series I’ve been writing slowly over the years. I felt so bad for my readers because when I wrote the third story, I left them in a crazy place with a cliffhanger I hadn’t intended. That’s just where the story went. You see, I hadn’t intended this to be a series at first. I just found that at the end of each story, another episode drew me forward.

Buoyed by my productivity last year, and because St. Martin’s had to delay some of my releases so I only have one book out this year with them, I jumped into the new year with vigour and have pushed myself to write a lot more. I have finished all seven of The Office Slave novelettes (the final one just released on May 3rd.) Many readers have told me they cried (in a good way) through the last story. (I did, too!)

I have paired the Office Slave novelettes in duets at a lower price
This year, I am also finishing my Red Hot Fantasies series, I hope to write another Ready To Ride biker book, and I will have at least four more MASTERED BY novellas.


In all, I will be doing at least 18 releases this year, including a couple of ebook-only novellas with St. Martin’s.

Oh, I almost forgot. Many of you may know that I am a nail polish fanatic. (Madelle interviewed me for a post called Holiday Nail Art & Polish Giveaway.) I love nail polish because of the delightful colours, textures, finishes, et cetera, that I can appreciate at all times. It’s also a fun way to bring out my creativity in a visual way.

The reason I’m telling you this is because I was able to convince my editor at St. Martin’s Press that I should write a book where the heroine is starting her own  indie nail polish company. Of course, there’s intrigue, domination, a sexy man from her past, more domination, and a reluctant marriage of convenience. As part of the writing and the promoting, I am hoping to connect with nail polish bloggers and vloggers to talk about the book and... I’m so excited about this... Literary Lacquers is going to produce the nail polish collection from the book!  Squeee!!!! I’m absolutely thrilled! The book and the polish collection will be released on August 23rd and I can hardly wait!!!

So as you can see, I’ve been pretty busy! And I must say, I am loving it!

As a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of erotic contemporary romance, Opal Carew writes about passion, love, and taking risks.  Her heroines follow their hearts and push past the fear that stops them from realizing their dreams… to the excitement and love of happily-ever-after.

Opal loves crystals, dragons, feathers, cats, pink hair, the occult, Manga artwork, Zentangle, and all that glitters. She earned a degree in Mathematics from the University of Waterloo, and spent 15 years as a software analyst before turning to her passion as a writer. She grew up in Toronto, and now lives in Ottawa with her husband, and three cats.  One of her sons just finished a Masters degree at Sussex University in the UK and is now pursuing a second Masters at Carleton University in Ottawa.  The other son just finished his undergraduate degree at Carleton University.  Yes, mom is proud!

Social Media Links:
Reader Group:         http://OpalCarew.com/ReaderGroup
Website:                   http://OpalCarew.com
Facebook:                 https://facebook.com/OpalCarewRomanceAuthor
Twitter:                    https://twitter.com/OpalCarew
Pinterest:                  http://pinterest.com/opalcarew
Blog:                         http://bit.ly/OpalsBlog
Tumbler:                  http://opalcarew.tumblr.com
Goodreads:               http://bit.ly/OC_Goodreads
Amazon:                   http://bit.ly/OpalCarewAmz
Smashwords:            http://bit.ly/OpalCarewSW
Contact Opal:           http://bit.ly/contactopal


Diana McCollum said...

OMG, Opal! You are one busy writer. The heroine in my work in progress is named Opal! Great news about the nail polish, from your book being produced. It is great when there is a connection like the polish between fiction and reality!

I have one question for you, what is the difference in length between a novella and novelette? And what would the price difference be?

Thanks, Diana Web: dianamccollum.weebly.com

Judith Ashley said...

Opal, Very inspiring to see your success! And see the dedication and commitment you've made to your career. Congratulations!!! And thanks for joining us this month!!!

Paty Jager said...

Opal, what a fun new way to connect with readers through nail polish. I don't wear nail polish every day but I make sure I have it on when I do events and and special things because I agree, it is a creative way to express oneself. Good luck with this new project!

Opal Carew said...

Diane, yes, I do tend to keep busy. You've made a great choice for your heroine name! Lol!

Everyone seems to have a different idea of how long novelettes, novellas, etc. are. When I got started, I took a course from a literary writer and we studied Canadian authors (because I'm in Canada) and short stories were considered 1500 to 1500 words. Shorter than that was flash fiction. The same seemed to hold in science fiction when I was writing that. In romance, however, short stories never seemed to be shorter than 5000 words.

I've recently switched from calling my short stories, which are 7000-12000 words novelettes. I saw an article with this definition:

Short story - 3,500 - 7,500 Words
Novelette - 7,500 - 17,000 words
Novella - 17,000 - 40,000 Words
Novel - 17,000 - 40,000 Words

Though, I'd argue short stories start shorter than that. I used to read short science fiction anthologies all the time and most were under 3500 words.

As for price, that's a tough one. Since the on-line vendors drop the royalty rate to half when you go below the $2.99 price point, I won't sell anything for under that price unless it's for a promotion. Thus, my novelettes and my novellas are all generally $2.99. BUT I try to bundle my novelettes as pairs (or triples) and I explain right in the product description that you can buy this and another story for the same price as buying the one!

I put the novelettes out individually because I don't like to keep my readers waiting for a story while I finish a second one to pair with it, but I assumed the sales of the individual novelettes would drop off when the bundle was out. That's not what I've seen, though. It's interesting that many readers still buy the novelette even though they can get it cheaper in the bundle.


Opal Carew said...

Thanks again for having me, Judith! :)

Opal Carew said...

Paty, I'm a real addict and have nail polish on all the time. I love when it sparkles in the sunlight when I type (because, of course, I often wear glitter, or holographic)!

I hope people enjoy the collection when it comes out. I hope to be seeing the first samples in a couple of weeks and I can hardly wait!

Kathleen Lane said...

Good evening Ms. Carew!
I found you during the box set frenzy. I believe it was the Men of Eden Set that brought me to you. Since then I have bought what ever I can. I have so many of your books in my wish list right now it's crazy. ❤ I'm so excited to add more to the list. As soon as I get a new job I'll buy them all up.
Don't ever stop writing. I love your work. Have a great weekend!

Opal Carew said...

Hi, Kathleen! I'm so glad you love my work. It's always such a pleasure to hear that! :)

Please remember when you buy the books to get the novelette series in bundles because it saves you so much that way!

Thank you for stopping by!


Diana McCollum said...

Thank you for your reply to my questions. Wishing you lots of sales on the new nail polish series!