Wednesday, May 7, 2014

IWSG: Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose Your Prose and . . . Cover Reveal!!


I’m a closet hoarder. I hate to throw away anything I spent time or good money on. When my daughter-in-law was a featured artist with her ReMary’d Originals reinvented jewelry at a trendy shop called RETRO, it got me thinking about all the discarded bits and pieces of story plot and characters I’d tucked away in folders, used, broken and forgotten because they didn’t fit industry standards or had outlived their shiny first run. How very un-Green of me to discard these buried treasures when, with a little polish, a few fixes, a couple of changes, I could bring them back to new life in this suddenly rejuvenated writer-centric marketplace.


How about those rejected manuscripts? Those jilted proposals? We all have more than a few. Time to dust them off and see if they can be retooled to fit the current trends. Hey, Chick Lit is back (with a little extra HOT sauce!). The industry focus is constantly changing. I’ve dipped back into my recycle bin on more than one occasion to resuscitate a manuscript into a lucrative sale – the biggest being a ten year old werewolf story that became my eight book “By Moonlight” series for Pocket! 

Do an inventory. Look for ways you can reuse, recycle or repurpose your words. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Reuse: Social Media (and editors) beg for a little lagniappe: A little something extra thrown in along with your book. I’m a firm believer that no words, once written, should be erased. Deleted scenes, alternate endings, a blooper reel! These are things you can put on your website or blog to delight readers. Hey, any good chef knows how to use leftovers!

2. Recycle: Make use of research information. I used factoids on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for both a contemporary and in a historical. Use knowledge untapped in one book to launch a different project. Volumes of information for your Medievals can be recycled through a contemporary character who is an art history expert or social anthropologist. Ancient herbs or ways to kill someone are always in demand. How about your characters or fictitious places? Do spin-offs using your secondary characters. Create a series around the world you’ve built. Why not take that cast of characters to the next generation . . . or a previous one?! Waste not, want not.

3. Repurpose: Put a new spin on an old plot. Instead of waiting for shoulder pads to come back in style, create a new silhouette from an out of date proposal. Add suspense. Pour on the heat. Take your characters to the past or to another dimension. Make a novel into a novella or vice versa. Switch gender roles for the hero and heroine. Let her be the hard edged bounty hunter and him the witness on the run. Take out the supernatural elements. Take out the sex and make it family friendly. Take it to a different market by upping the ante of your mystery to make it hard boiled crime fiction. Find a new use, a new home, a new slant . . . a new sale.

4. Reissue: Some of us are lucky to have gotten the rights back to previously released books that could now find a totally new readership. Get them back out there, whether you self-pub or find a publisher to reissue them. I’ve resold seven books that have been out of print forever to BelleBooks/ImaJinn Books. Four contemporaries written under my old Dana Ransom pen name will be out this year (starting this month with LOVE’S OWN REWARD!) and three more will relaunch my complete for the first time, nine-book “Midnight” vampire romance series beginning in 2015. That’s two years of shelf time and exposure and all I had to do was update the technology (pesky rotary dial phones!). Even if you don’t have a backlist, you certainly have unpublished manuscripts that fell through the cracks. Check out small presses or self-publish to establish a presence or fill in the spaces between publications. No one can read it and enjoy it . . . or buy it if it’s under your desk or on your computer.

Now for that Cover Reveal . . .

Love’s Own Reward was originally the third book in Zebra’s ‘Lucky In Love’ line and my first contemporary romance back in the ‘90s. It came out with a gorgeous Pino cover (THE cover artist of those early romance decades) . . . and was quickly out-of-print.



Skip forward twentysome years. Here’s the gorgeous, fresh and updated cover of my May release, available NOW for preorder on Amazon with a release date of 5-27-14: my birthday!!


What do you think? Old or new? Which would you reach for on the shelves in 2014?

What’s on your hard drive that could be in your wallet? Start thinking about Green as something you can take to the bank.

What is the Insecure Writers Support Group?

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! We’ve got your back!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group from the amazing links below and connect with your fellow writers - aim for a dozen new people each time.

23 comments:

  1. Woot! You've come a long way, baby! The new cover is fantastic, and I refuse to say I recognize the format of the older line!

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    1. At least they weren't chiseled in stone!

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  2. Thanks for all the great ideas! My backlist isn't nearly as long as yours, but I've got a few deleted scenes I could do something with - sounds like a rainy day project. Love the new cover - best wishes on the books reincarnation!

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    1. Thanks Patty! Unread words are a crime against creativity.

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  3. What a fantastic post! I'm permalinking to this on my Writers Resource page. Best thing I've read all week. And so great to see a side-by-side cover comparison. Lucky in Love line, huh? Great name. ;)

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    1. "What's in a name?" Was thinking of you. Thrilled to be permalinked!

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  4. Love the cover and the ideas! You certainly got me thinking. Thanks, Nancy. I'm co-hosting for Alex this month. Cheers.

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    1. Thanks for all your hard work Joylene!! This hop is awesome.

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  5. This post is a keeper! So many ways to recycle those yellowed-written in longhand-typed with carbon paper-finally with a computer manuscripts. Thanks for sharing such valuable suggestions, Nancy. You Rock!!

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  6. I love the new cover! So pretty! I also loved the message of your post! Nothing old is ever done... we can always use them again!!

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  7. OMG, I love this post, Nancy. And the new cover is awesome. The comparison between chef and leftovers really grabbed my attention. I've got stuff in my word file just waiting to be used.
    Thanks for the great suggestions.

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  8. I hate to say it (revealing my age), but I remember that book. Love the new cover! I, too, am a pack rat--saving anything that I might use "someday". While I got rid of a LOT when we moved, I never get rid of my "precious" words. LOL I'm all for recycling. Great post!

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  9. LOVE the new cover!
    And great post. I especially like the 'repurpose' tip. :D

    S.K.Anthony: IWSG

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  10. I also remember that original cover! I love the new one; it's really a great update. I've been publishing my old short stories into collections on Amazon, so yay for recycling. Wishing you much success with Love's Own Reward in its new dress.

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  11. Wise words. I love the idea of going back and seeing if anything i did could be used today. My skill set is different. I'm more mature. it would be a great source of inspiration if nothing else. :-)

    Anna from Shout with Emaginette

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    1. Sometimes it's like retailoring clothing - it's easier to just buy new!

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  12. Love the post, Nancy...simple but powerful! And OMG to the new cover! Love it! Very romantic, sweet yet sexy. But I will admit to being a fan of those "old covers" - aren't they just classic?

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    1. Considering I'm a classic myself (snort!)

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  13. Think I prefer the new one, lol!

    I love the philosophy in this post. With so many ways to put work out these days, there's no reason to waste anything (unless it really shouldn't see the light of day, of course ;)) Even a character profile can be put on your blog to draw readers in - there's a lot of work gone into it!

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    1. Character profile . . . good idea! And yes, some things deserve to remain in a drawer as is but the idea might yet have merit.

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  14. Such a source of inspiration and information. Great post!

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  15. I'll have to remember your advice about the Four R's! I also try to recycle my writing whenever possible. Your new cover looks fantastic!

    Julie

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  16. The 4 Rs! Great advice for all writers. I keep everything I write too, trouble is I'm terribly unorganized. Your post has motivated me to look through all my old stuff and organize it because you're right, the industry is always changing, and you never know when some of it might come in handy.

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