Welcome to From Paper to Pixels

My name is Mari Mancusi and I’ve been a traditionally published “legacy” author since 2005. I’ve started this blog to chronicle my adventures in ePublishing and to share news, research, links and tips that I come across along the way.

A little about me: I published my first book with an independent genre publisher back in 2005. It was a mass market paperback time travel chick lit style romance called “A Connecticut Fashionista in King Arthur’s Court.” I got paid a $2,500 advance and was promised a whopping 4% royalty rate. Today that seems insane to me, but at the time I probably would have taken even less. Let’s face it–I was getting published! I would have an actual book printed on actual paper and sold in actual bookstores! It was more than a dream come true.

I went on to accept more low advance deals from the publisher over the next few years. I wrote six mass market romances, one Young Adult, and two novellas. Though the money was pathetic, I liked the freedom of writing for a small publisher. They would allow me to push the boundaries and write what I really wanted to write–whether it be a 1920s time travel, a chick lit expose on TV News (my day job at the time), or a post-apocalyptic zombie thriller. In the meantime I also picked up bigger contracts with two Penguin imprints–Berkley and Dutton Children’s. I started to make a living as a midlist author, especially with my Blood Coven Vampire series for Berkley.

But then my first publisher started having financial troubles. And word came that they were changing their publishing model. Oh yeah, and they couldn’t pay the royalties they owed for the already published titles. Which is a big deal when you’re not getting a big advance–you depend on the money you make on the back end. 

So my agent did the only thing she could do–she demanded the rights to the novels be reverted back to me. It was a bittersweet moment–I had a lot of good memories with my first publisher. But I wanted to make writing my career, at the end of the day. And that meant I needed to get paid.

Now, with the rights for nine backlist titles in my hands, I realized I suddenly had the power I’d never had. I could put my titles online and sell them for a discounted price. This way I could not only allow my readers access to my backlist at a decent price point, but also perhaps make up for all that lost money from my publisher. And if the experiment worked? I’d start writing front list digital first books as well. Right now I’m still keeping my “day job” as a legacy author — with two more trade paperbacks from Berkley coming out next year. (Books 7 and 8 of the Blood Coven series.) But who knows, if the experiment is successful–what will happen in the future. I truly believe ePublishing has unlimited opportunity and am excited to become a part of that world.

This blog will chronicle my journey from paper to pixels. Unlike many e-pub blogs that are written by industry pros or those who have already succeeded in creating an epublishing empire, I don’t claim to be an expert. I’m just like you probably are–muddling your way through this brave new world of self-publishing.

In addition to blogging my journey, I also plan to reblog interesting articles, feature industry experts, showcase successful authors and offer up useful links. By aggregating all the information out there, I hope to create a useful resource for others interested in self-publishing either now or in the future.

Thanks for stopping by! Let the games begin!

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