Back in 2010, after Annette, Heather, Julie, and I had developed this idea and written the first 50 pages of the first set of Newport Ladies Bookclub books, we had a meeting with our publishers. I was under contract with Deseret Book and the three of them were under contract with Covenant so we brought them together to notify them of this project which was unlike anything any of us (including the publishers) had ever done.
We pitched the idea of the series to them and brainstormed how this would work with two publishers interests to consider. We all then went our separate ways and for almost a year we had no idea how it would all work out. We expected that one publisher would end up doing all the books--of which we only had four planned at the time--but that's not how it came together. Instead, Deseret Book and Covenant agreed to work together on the books. They would coordinate covers and typesetting and release dates and marketing but, in the end, focus on the book(s) they were producing by the author(s) they had under contract. And it worked great. I was very pleased with the way they worked together and, from my perspective, things went quite smoothly.
When all four books were done, Covenant purchased some copies of Daisy in order to make a 'set' of the books, and then we began exploring an e-book bundle. That's where things started to struggle. Would Covenant 'buy' some e-books of Daisy and bundle them with their titles? How would that work with copyrights and listings and permissions? Would they pay Deseret Book for every digital copy of Daisy, and if so, how much? If Deseret Book then sold the bundle, would they subtract the portion of profit from Daisy and pay Covenant for the other three? How would they track this? How would it work with combining ISBNs assigned to different entities? This was uncharted territory and many a brain was working on how to do this fairly, smoothly, and in the best way possible.
Meanwhile, I had turned in Shannon and Lisa Mangum, my editor, was polishing it up for publication in May of 2013. Some weeks ago I got a call from Deseret Book exploring the idea of letting Covenant publish Shannon. Because of the issues that had arisen in regard to Daisy not being produced by the same company as the other three, they were wondering if it wouldn't make everything simpler to have Covenant do all four. While Daisy had "worked" it had created some time consuming considerations none of us had anticipated. I wanted whatever would work best for the book and the series and all the people involved and the more we had talked, the more it sounded like my working with Covenant would be the best solution.
It was a few more weeks before the shift was made but as of now, Shannon is in the hands of the talented Samantha Millburn. It had already been edited by Lisa Mangum, so Sam is focusing mostly on typesetting and overall production. Because of the change, Shannon was pushed back to July of 2013 for release. Tori (by Julie Wright) is slated for October 2013, with Ilana (by Annette Lyon) and Ruby (by Heather Moore) to be released in 2014. I'm positive about the change and very much appreciate Deseret Book's willingness to forgo their position (which meant giving up significant revenue) and Covenant's willingness to take on the project (which meant shifting their production schedules.) I'm grateful to both companies for doing such a great job with the first set of books and I'm eager to have the second set come out as well.
The whole thing has also been a reminder of how much goes into a published work. So many people, so much investment, so much ability and time and passion and thought--all so that words can go out into the world and, hopefully, do some good.
Onward and upward, I hope you'll mark your calendars to get to know Shannon come July. :-)