Tuesday, November 8, 2011

May I Introduce ... Steel Magnolia Press

Steel Magnolia Press is a site where imagination blooms, offering romance and mainstream fiction from a talented circle of Southern writers. Our anchor author -- with 65 novels and 15 other works under her belt -- is Jennifer Blake, a New York Times bestselling author and winner of multiple awards and recognitions in romance and women's fiction.

Did I say "our?" Why yes I did! That's because I'm involved in this new venture.

Why "Steel Magnolia?" It's the nickname given to Jennifer a decade ago by Public Relations genius, Nancy Berland. And, seeing as how all the affiliated authors are from the South, it has a feel that fits.

Right now, the venture is limited to 6 authors: Jennifer, me, Tamelia Tumlin, Trudy Edgeworth, Delinda Corbin and Katharine Faucheux. The latter 3 will have books up the beginning of 2012.

Steel Magnolia Press is a way to bring Jennifer's backlist out as rights are reverted, to offer never-before-in-print-or-ebook works, to showcase her backlist titles from other publishers, and to highlight her new books as they are released through some big-name traditional publishers.

As a corollary to the main reason for being, it's a new venue to showcase works by the other affiliated authors. I have a page on the site with my two novels and the Extinct anthology. Plus there's a sub-page with all of the Extinct singles.

What happened to Dare To Dream Press, you ask? Since that's the name my novels, the Extinct anthology and the Extinct singles are all published under, and since there's an e-store already set up under that name, it'll remain viable, just not so visible. I've jumped whole-heartedly over to Steel Magnolia.

Right now at Steel Magnolia we're running a contest to draw business to our newsletter. Each week, we'll be giving away a virtual basketful of 4 ebooks in the format of the winner's choice. Plus, everyone who signs up for the newsletter gets Jennifer's free e-booklet (in PDF): 20 Tips for Writing Romance Novels.

So what do I bring to the table besides a free book that was supposed to be unfree in time for the launch? I provide the techie stuff. I've dusted off some old skills to create the website (wow, when did iframes become so popular? And how easy is that to pull in a blog and an e-store now?) and am applying new skills to produce the new ebooks themselves.

In fact, there are new ebook editions of two Jennifer Blake classic novellas from the 90s that we're releasing in tandem with the site launch -- and may I just say I think the matched pair look quite pretty inside and out! You can see them on the Steel Magnolia homepage or take a peek at them on Amazon directly at:
For now we've decided to leverage the internal promotions Amazon and BN offer rather than sell direct from the SMP site. But we're setting up to be agile enough to change that model if and when needed.

Is print publishing dead? Absolutely not. Authors just need to be open to new venues and new possibilities. And they need to remember the smart portfolio is the diversified one. Jennifer has a stake now in each of the three selling models:
  • Traditional Publishing, with 3 new titles released successively in July, August and September of this year, and in contract negotiations right now for a new trilogy.
  • Agent/Publisher, with the majority of her backlist reverted, converted and offered up through eReads, the pioneer of the agent/publisher model.
  • Author/Publisher Coalition, with the launch of Steel Magnolia Press through which she'll publish out the remainder of her backlist herself as rights are reverted, plus publish brand-new works never before in print or digital versions.
 I'm quite honored to be a part of this venture and will, of course, offer periodic updates and insight on it.

Meanwhile, Spoil of War has been downloaded 11,190 times at Amazon (I was hoping for 5000) and has 27 brand-new-since-it-went-free ratings on Apple iTunes (I don't have the data on how many times it's been downloaded there). The average rating on iTunes is 4.5 stars. So far there's only one text review, and it's 5 stars.

Look for a post soon about the influence of reviews on other reviewers ... ;o)

I've neglected my Confessions of an Animal Junkie blog while getting the final bits finished for the Steel Magnolia Press website, but I'll be back to regular posts there tomorrow on Friday

Please check out the Steel Magnolia Press website -- and sign up for the newsletter while you're there!


Kay said...

Congratulations, girlfriend. This rocks!

Landra said...

Super excited for you and this new venture!
Already signed up for the newsletter.

Sarah Laurenson said...

This seriously rocks - and I'm late for work!

Jo-Ann said...

OMG, Phonenix... do you ever stop??

Looks great, and I'll have a Capt'n Cook (rhyming slang, guys) right now.

McKoala said...

Very cool, congratulations!

Sylvia said...

Wow, this is awesome!

Wilkins MacQueen said...

I am so happy and excited for you. Grand news. Heartiest. To all the authors, best wishes.

Wilkins MacQueen said...

Phoenix, Lex, just getting caught up on the blog.
I left Bangkok Oct 31, still in Hua Hin. I don't think I can return until end of Nov or first of Dec. Not sure. Our American friends did indeed return with one carrier and did recon over Tland. Thanks friends. The US provided vital info, and stood ready to help. We may be over the worst of the water but the conditions are dreadful for many people. I can't bear to think about the animals.

Lex, if you are moved to help, I'd recommend donations to the Tland Red Cross, which is where the generous US donation was given.

Thanks Phoenix,

Beckah-Rah said...

That's so awesome! Congrats!! :D

Whirlochre said...

Congratulations on another new venture. Keep us all posted.