Enhanced editions!


Hi everyone! The enhanced editions of my first five books–Unveiled, Unclaimed, This Wicked Gift, Proof by Seduction, and Trial by Desire, are now available–and they’re only 99 cents each through July 25th.

enhanced

If you want to know what an enhanced edition is, I explain it better here. If you have already purchased these books, and just want the additional content, you do NOT have to rebuy the book just to get it–I don’t believe in making people pay twice, particularly when they’ve been nice enough to buy the book in the first place. The enhanced content is available for free on my website here.

That is, I think, all that you need to know as a reader: you can get my earliest books, with more content, for 99 cents!

Here are buy links, for those who are so inclined:

Amazon: http://smarturl.it/enhanced-amazon
Barnes and Noble: http://smarturl.it/enhanced-bn
Google: http://smarturl.it/enhanced-google
Kobo: http://smarturl.it/enhanced-kobo
iBooks: Unveiled | Unclaimed | This Wicked Gift | Proof by Seduction | Trial by Desire

Authors, have asked me a lot more questions over the last few weeks, and so here are some answers to those questions.

Q. Why are you releasing enhanced editions?

A. Because I can. I know that sounds a little bit ridiculous, but let me put it to you this way–if you had a contract with a publisher for print-only releases, and the contract specifically stated that you reserved digital rights, would you put that book up as a digital edition? Of course you would.

That’s what my contract looks like with regards to enhanced editions. They specifically reserve the right to make enhanced ebooks to me. I had that right, and so I am now exercising it.

Releasing enhanced editions gives me control over pricing, covers, branding, promotion, and back matter. It also makes me more money.

Q. Are you the first person to release enhanced editions?

A. Nope! Publishers have been putting out enhanced editions for years. And authors have self-published enhanced editions before, too. I’m aware of two other authors. Christina Dodd has put out enhanced editions of her Lost Hearts series, with deleted scenes and author commentary, and Cherry Adair has put out enhanced editions of a number of her books–with more material in them than I can possibly list here.

I’m pretty sure that Cherry Adair, like me, is putting out enhanced editions while her publisher still holds an exclusive license to the underlying unenhanced text.

Q. Specifically what in your contract allows you to do this? Can I do this, too?

A. There are two parts to my contracts that allow me to do this. The first is the following statement in the Grant of Rights section of my contract:

(d)  electronic use of the non-dramatic unenhanced verbatim text of the Work, excluding video use (whether in a now known form or hereafter discovered) … Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this Agreement, electronic rights shall be limited to the display of the text in the Work and shall not include any moving images, sound or any interactive or multimedia elements.

Incidentally, give my agent, Kristin Nelson, a hand for drafting an extremely clear statement. If she’d just left it as “unenhanced verbatim text” or even limited it to “multimedia elements” we might have had to argue about what “multimedia” and “enhanced” meant. As it is, the line about “sound” gave me a really, really clear out: As long as I included audio, I was outside the rights I had granted to my publisher.

The second is something that is not in my contracts, and that is a noncompete provision of any kind.

I don’t know if you can do this. You’ll have to look at your contract. I’ve mentioned here the two things you’ll need to look at–the grant of rights section and…uh, the rest of the contract. In the grant of rights section, you need to look and see if you are only granting rights to the “unenhanced” text, or if you reserve “multimedia” rights or something along those lines. There are probably a thousand different ways to word the reservation, and so there’s no magic language I can tell you to look for.

There are also a lot of authors out there who don’t have an enhanced reservation at all. I’m pretty sure that Harlequin series boilerplate, for instance, will not allow this.

Whether you can do this will depend entirely on what you and/or your agent negotiated.

Q. Will you look at my contract and tell me if I can do this?

A. No, sorry. That’s a job for a lawyer, and I’m not licensed to practice anywhere at the moment, and don’t want to get you in trouble.

Q. Are these self-published?

A. It depends on what you mean by “self-published.” If you look at the publisher listed on the vendor websites, it will say “Entangled Edge/Macmillan.” That’s because I have a distribution arrangement with Entangled Publishing, who in turn has a distribution arrangement with Macmillan.

Why do I have a distribution arrangement with Entangled? I wanted to make sure I was falling under the safe-harbor laid out in my contract–meaning I had to include audio. Self-publishers cannot publish books to Amazon or Barnes and Noble with audio in them, so I have a distribution arrangement with Entangled to send them out.

I produced the files and covers entirely on my own, and granted Entangled a nonexclusive license to distribute them. [ETA: As a sidenote, I asked Kristin to negotiate that agreement as well, and she made sure we stuck to the points we needed to most protect me.]

I could have gone through someone like vook.com to distribute–but I’m getting a much better deal this way.

Are these self-published? I bore all the costs and work of producing the files, so in that sense, yes. Are these distributed through normal self-published channels? No. They are not.

Q. Are you worried that your publisher is going to sue you?

A. Not really. We’ve kept them in the loop throughout, and they’ve had the chance to raise objections before now, which they have not done. My contract is really clear on this point, so they don’t have grounds to sue me. And they’re not unreasonable.

That being said, my budget for this project included a phantom legal fund. Just because something’s extremely unlikely doesn’t mean that it is impossible.

Q. Are you worried that someone is going to get sued over enhanced ebooks?

A. Yes, which is one reason I don’t want to look at anyone’s contract (I mean, aside from the fact that the unlicensed practice of law is generally frowned upon). There are potentially tens of thousands of books out there that have an enhanced ebook reservation in them.

I think that there’s a huge opportunity here for authors, but I also think there is a huge risk involved, and I want to emphasize the risk in addition to the opportunity. I think there are very few authors who are positioned as well as I am: on the one hand, my contract is from my limited experience unusually clear on this point; on the other hand, I have legal resources available to me that are, to say the least, uncommon.

Q. Are you worried that your publisher is going to be unhappy about this?

A. Not particularly. But if I were still publishing with them, and wanted to continue publishing with them, this would not have been a particularly prudent course of action.

Q. Where did you get the idea for this?

A. From Joe Konrath, at the end of this post. And yes, I’ve known that I could (and likely would) make enhanced editions since before I self-published my first work. I’ve been planning these ever since April of 2011.

Any other questions? You can ask me in the comments. (I may be in and out quite a bit today, but will get to comments as I can.)

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11 Responses to “Enhanced editions!”

  1. Courtney, your smarturl links appear to be broken. They’re connecting through Facebook and bombing there.

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  2. Whoops. That’s what I get for copying/pasting. Should be fixed now. Thanks!

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  3. I’m fascinated and excited by this whole enhanced edition thing, not least because I’ve never read This Wicked Gift and now I can finally get a copy! Hooray!

    I notice that most of the enhanced editions aren’t displaying as $0.99 at All Romance right, now though. Just a heads up.

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  4. Thank you for sharing all this info… You are truly an inspiration.

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  5. Taryn says:

    Hi!

    I just purchased Unveiled and I am so excited. It’s the first booked I’ve purchased from you. I saw your post on the Passive Voice. I just clicked on the first audio button in the book. I LOVE hearing you explain things in your own words. I don’t know why I love it so much, but I do. Thanks for writing :)

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  6. kub says:

    you are saying Courtney, you paid your agent 15%+ for life, to negotiate an audio contract? What percentage does the audio distrib pay you after the fact? Thanks and best to you. I’m still not sure what an enhanced edition is… is it the entire book pub’d by trad pub with added parts by you? Or? Thanks again.

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  7. @kub:

    I paid my agent 15% (no plus) for the life of the contract, which is not the same thing as for life. For the record, she was perfectly happy to step aside in this instance and have me figure it out myself, and was willing to look over the contract even without her 15%. I preferred to have her on board for a number of reasons, one of them being that I am myself a shitty negotiator and I knew she would hold out for points that I wouldn’t hold out for, and the other thing being that if the relationship went south, I trusted her to be able to get that I didn’t trust myself to get.

    These are things like: (a) non-exclusivity. And (b) a very limited minimum lifecycle to this contract. And (c) about the best deal I could have dreamed of monetarily. Also, (d) if there are ever any issues with royalties and payments, I know she will have my back, and it’s one other thing I don’t have to deal with.

    Could I have hired someone at a flat fee to do all this? Probably, but honestly, finding someone competent who would know enough to make this happen and who I trusted to tell me when I could push and when I couldn’t–that would take me more time than the 15% is worth. When I know someone is competent to do a job, especially when it’s a job I only get one crack at, I’m okay with paying them for it.

    I also paid my agent 15% to negotiate the contract with Harlequin, and what I got for that 15% was (a) a deal that was way more than 15% better than I’d have received on my own, and (b) a deal that left me open to doing something like this–which will make me more than the 15% that she would have sent me, and (c) someone who went back to my traditional publisher and negotiated to make sure that everything was in line for this release, along with (d) a lot of other handholding and management over the years to make sure my royalties were being properly credited.

    I’m making about as much per book (after my agent’s cut, and after Entangled’s cut) as I would if I distributed the book through Smashwords.

    Finally, yes, an enhanced ebook is the entire book as published by the traditional publisher with added parts.

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  8. kub says:

    thanks courtney, appreciate your thorough reply. I u nderstand better now.

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  9. Stacey says:

    I’m fascinated by the ins and outs of publishing contracts, and pleased in particular with the way you’ve made yours work for you. This is purely selfish, because I’m on a beans-and-Ramen budget when it comes to books right now, but I read about a book a day. And my library is slow at buying new books. So your $0.99 editions enabled me to grab up a bunch of books I hadn’t read yet!
    From a marketing perspective, though, it’s smart moves too – I’ve not only asked the library to get all your stuff, but I’m watching for your new releases. Anything that gets your books into readers’ hands is good :)

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  10. Thanks Courtney, for sharing your insights & knowledge about this new business of writing/publishing. I follow you through the self-pub loop and hope to meet you @ RWA in S Antonio! I’m originally traditionally published (30+ books) but have decided to go my own way Indie -style. And although I didn’t know it, I’m putting my backlist out in Enhanced Editions with new covers, sometimes different titles, and extensive revisions & additions. I love it!
    Glad to see that you (& your agent) are strong & smart enough to omit & revise the no compete clause & others that cripple a writer’s career.
    See you in SA!
    Thanks again,
    Mary Tate

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  11. azteclady says:

    I have a question about the enhanced editions. I read mostly via the Kindle app on my android phone. I cannot listen to any of that content there–which doesn’t bother me, as I can do that elsewhere. My problem is that the files keeps downloading. Every time I open the app to read, no matter which book it is that I want to read, it downloads the files again. And again. And again.

    It could very well be operator error–I *am* the next thing to a Luddite–but if so, could someone tell me how to make it stop, please?

    Thanks in advance.

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Courtney Milan writes historical romance novels like the ones you see to the right. She still remembers bits and pieces from her old lives, where she was (variously) a scientist and a lawyer.

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