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Drumroll, please.
BSP is delighted to present the cover for A Matter of Mercy by Lynne Hugo. It’s a beautifully written book, perfect for the beach, for reading time curled up by the fire, for book clubs, and for giving (& recommending) to friends. We’d love it if you’d help spread the word. 
Cover Reveal: A Matter of Mercy

You’re going to want to pick this one up, especially if you’ve:
1) ever been to Cape Cod,
2) if you like oysters or clams,
3) if you’ve ever made a mistake in your life,
4) if you’ve ever had to forgive someone,
5) if you’ve ever had to take a chance on trust and/or love,
6) if you’ve lost a parent,
7) if you’ve lost a loved one to cancer,
8) or if you like, uh, just damn good fiction.
Here’s the lowdown on this beautifully written novel:Caroline Marcum thought she’d escaped the great mistake of her life by leaving Wellfleet harbor, but is forced to face it when she returns, reluctantly, to care for her dying mother. Ridley Neal put his past—and his prison term—behind him to return home to take over his father’s oyster and clam beds. Casual acquaintances long ago, when a nor’easter hits the coast, Rid and Caroline’s lives intersect once again. When Rid and two other sea farmers are sued by the wealthy owners of vacation homes who want to shut them down, and Caroline accidentally meets the person she most wronged, they each must learn to trust—and love. Inspired by an actual lawsuit, A Matter of Mercy is a riveting novel about treasuring the traditional way of life in the shallows of beautiful Cape Cod bay by discovering where forgiveness ends … and where it begins.

Blank Slate Press is pleased to announce the upcoming publication of COUNTERFEIT, the second in Scott L. Miller’s Dr. Mitch Adams crime series set in St. Louis, MO.

In THE INTERROGATION CHAIR, the first in the series, Mitch Adams, a social worker in private practice, is framed for his girlfriend’s murder. COUNTERFEIT picks up the story when Mitch gets a late night phone call for help from St. Louis Homicide Detective JoJo Baker, the same detective who dutifully followed the planted evidence that almost landed Mitch in prison. Blank Slate Press will also be republishing THE INTERROGATION CHAIR, the first in the series which Miller self-published, as well as the third in the series which is due out in 2014.

With every one of our books, we’ve asked readers to help us select the direction for our cover. COUNTERFEIT is proving particularly difficult to nail down a concept, so we’re turning to your wisdom once again. Please read the short synopsis and then vote on your favorite cover based on the synopsis and on which cover you’d pick up if you saw it on a shelf.

If you leave us a comment telling us why you voted the way you did, you’ll be automatically entered for a copy of COUNTERFEIT once it comes out.

Here’s the synopsis:

Mitchell Adams, a social worker in private practice in St. Louis, is still reeling from the murder of his girlfriend when the detective who tried to imprison him for the crime surprises him with a late-night call for help. Lonnie Washington, an African American from North St. Louis sits in a jail cell accused of armed robbery and counterfeiting millions. The evidence suggests an open and shut case, but the detective insists there’s more to the story.

Reluctantly, Mitch agrees, but Lonnie refuses to cooperate. Is it to protect his partners, the subject of an intense manhunt by the city’s chief prosecutor and the Secret Service, or has he done the impossible–create perfect, undetectable copies of hundred dollar bills? To learn the truth no one wants exposed, Mitch must take to the streets and risk his life as the case polarizes the city along racial lines. Mitch comes to realize that none of the major players are what they appear and becomes the next target of the brilliant prosecutor, a candidate for U.S. Senate who also happens to be the son of a former president. What Adams discovers changes his perspective on who the real counterfeiter is and turns a routine case into a life or death drama where nothing is ever just black or white.

Click to enlarge.

COUNTERFEIT cover selections for online poll

Thank you all who voted and offered feedback on the cover of Steve Wiegenstein’s debut novel, Slant of Light. We’re really happy with the end result:

 

We randomly selected one of the commenters on the cover selection entry, and the winner of a copy of Slant of Light is Ellen Kobayashi. Ellen, we’ll be in touch to see which format you’d prefer.

 

The idea of developing a cooperative relationship among a group of writers and artists/designers and then publishing the group’s work (ala Hogarth Press) has intrigued me for a long time. (See earlier posts or check out our musings on the TWC page.) As the ebook phenomenon continues to develop and more publishers, agents, and editors jump into the self-publishing fray to try to get a piece of the self-publishing dollars, my thinking on the cooperative idea has continued to evolve. What we’re focused on now is the idea of an imprint that forges a middle road between traditional and self-publishing. In other words, an imprint that would publish authors who, like traditionally-published authors understand the importance of professional editors, designers, and marketers working as a team on their behalf, but who also want the advantages of self-publishing by having a yes/no say in the title and cover design, by getting a larger piece of the revenue pie, and by getting their book to market faster.

The Treehouse model, so named because a treehouse is emblematic as a refuge for the imagination, is, as I envision it, a middle way that will make sense to a lot of authors. (At least, it makes sense to me.) First, let’s consider the advantages for an author:

  • A professional editor will work with you to make sure your book is as good as it can be while at the same time giving you final say over editorial decisions.
  • A professional designer will work with you to create a cover that is both arresting and true to your vision and over which you have final yes/no control.
  • Your book is “curated,” that is it is vetted and ushered through the publication process by professionals. Not all books are ready for prime time and the Treehouse crew will make sure each Treehouse author’s work is at its best before it goes “to print.”
  • Your work will be published under an independent imprint.
  • You have the Treehouse team on your side when it comes to advocating for and promoting your book.
  • You do not have to wait a year to 18 months for your book to be published.
  • You split the revenue 50-50 from each book sold–from the first book sold.

Now, let’s look at the disadvantages:

  • You do not get an advance.
    • But the truth is advances, even at the big houses, are getting smaller and many small publishers are paying very small advances, if any, on the front end while not raising royalty rates on the back end.
  • Not only do you not get an advance, but you have to pay to invest in the upfront time/costs of editorial review, layout, design and e-book conversion.
    • But the bottom line is that you pay either way.
      • If you pay an editor to get your manuscript in shape so you can attract an agent, he or she will then shop it to an editor at a publishing house which then takes the cost of their own editorial/design/marketing, etc. out of the post-publication revenue stream. So in that case, you’ve paid twice. Remember, publishers are not in the business to publish your book for free–we have to make money (ideally) or at least cover our costs.
      • Or, if you are doing self-publishing right, you will hire a professional editor and designer anyway, and you will have to spend the time converting your book or pay someone else to do it for you. Why not have a team work with you through the whole path-to-publication process and then keep that team engaged as your partners on your promotional/marketing efforts as well?

Treehouse Publishing, as I see it, gives authors the best of both worlds. How do you see it? What are the advantages and disadvantages of our proposed Treehouse curated publishing model? If you’re an author querying your manuscript now or considering self-publishing, I’d especially like to know what you think. Climb up into the Treehouse with us and let us know what you see for the future of publishing.