A new contract in February was NOT on my 2023 writing BINGO card, but I’m here for it!
I just signed another contract with City Owl Press for a new project, making this my 4th contract with them. The first project I signed with them was their acquisition of Enigma which was retitled/recovered/re-edited to become Girl On Fire. They later acquired film/TV rights negotiation rights for my book The First 100 Kisses, followed by a contract late last year to sell A Single Step to the Yonder App. That title is aligning for an April 3 release, but stay tuned as that gets closer.
This new project that I just signed for was something I was going to pitch to them for their 2024-2025 lineup. Mostly because I knew their release schedule was pretty tight and I still hadn’t written the book at that time. They had wanted me to write another dark romance/suspense/thriller to jump off the success of Girl on Fire. Sure. Easy. No problem. *panics
Fast-forward to December 2022. I had a rough draft of the manuscript but I knew it was flawed. There were some problematic situations and I was dealing with a subject matter I wasn’t sure would be ‘fit-to-print’ given the taboo nature of what my crazy brain thought up as a story. (Seriously, WHERE did this idea come from????) I presented this conundrum to City Owl Press and they suggested assigning me a content editor of theirs to see if, together, we might figure out what things needed fixing to get it to a project I’d want to pitch to them. I took them up on the offer and was quickly assigned such an editor. They asked the content editor to have it finished by April so they could determine if it would be a good fit for their 2024-2025 lineup.
I’ve never worked with a content editor before so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but we had until April to figure out the issues, so I sent her the draft of what I had and went about my normal writing schedule, putting that project on the way back burner. It was in someone else’s care now. I had months to focus on other stuff while that draft was ripped to shreds. I gave them the draft on December 28, 2022.
Seven days later, the manuscript came back to me. The content editor devoured it. And had some great suggestions for where to improve the story, but overall, loved what she saw. Twisted as it was. Places I thought they’d ask me to tone down or remove, they said to leave in. She helped me see the places I’d been struggling, and offered up ways to smooth over the rough edges. We bounced back ideas and messages.
Suddenly, that backburner project was bubbling over and needed tending. Not wanting my current writing plans to go off the rails, I did my revisions on this project at night and on the weekends until I addressed all of the issues the content editor had. I sent my final revisions back to her and she, in turn, let City Owl Press know they needed to sign this book right now. An offer came the next day to publish it for August of THIS year.
Now what? Now, I come to terms with the fact that this book is going to see the light of day. *double gasp. I can count on one hand the number of people who have read this story. It is NOT a sweet romance. It is NOT a steamy romance. But there is romance. Just not where you might expect it. This one is dark. I’d say it’s darker than Girl on Fire… I honestly don’t know what genre to even call it. Is it dark romance? Is it a thriller? Horror? I’ll let the publisher decide. That will be their headache when they try to market this one. ha.
But… but… WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
I’m not quite ready to say yet. I know that’s a lame answer but this one is going to take some time to carefully explain/promote/discuss. As of now, I only have a draft of a blurb, no cover, and no marketing materials. Just a finished content edit of the book and a signed contract for an August release. I’m not even ready to say the title as it might not end up being that and if it does end up with that title, it will give a big clue as to what the book is about so…
In the meantime, I have to write the second book for it. Currently, this story arc is outlined as a duet. And I’d like to have the second book ready to go shortly after the first book is live because I hate waiting for sequels to come out just as much as you do.
So how does this shift the 2023 release plan? Not much, actually. Vol. 4 of Where You Left Me came out last week and Vol. 5 is still on track for its May release. The Yonder project in April, which is done except for promotion, then, this new project in August (which is done save for copy edits), and then MAYBE something in November. The bulk of my writing for 2023 is done. I’m working on projects for 2024 because, despite my constant releases, I am a pretty slow writer. It only seems fast because I write my books well in advance of my release dates.
For now, I’m busy promoting Vol. 4 and trying my luck with Facebook ads (it’s so confusing. ha.) *shameless self-promotion to follow:
WHERE YOU LEFT ME, Vol. 1 (0.99 Cents)
WHERE YOU LEFT ME, Vol. 2
WHERE YOU LEFT ME, Vol. 3
WHERE YOU LEFT ME, Vol. 4 (NOW LIVE)
WHERE YOU LEFT ME, Vol. 5 (Pre-Order)
Until then, I have some writing to do. 🙂 See ya next week!
Danielle/Dani Bannister, author and signer of contracts