ROSEMARY HARRIS Talks Switching Genres and Debuting Again + Double THE BITCHES OF BROOKLYN Giveaway!

Optimized-RosemaryHarrisWe’re excited to welcome Rosemary Harris, whose latest novel, THE BITCHES OF BROOKLYN, has been called “smart, sassy, and sophisticated.” After writing four successful traditional mysteries, Rosemary has taken the exciting plunge into a new genre and publishing journey.

Don’t you just love the title, The Bitches of Brooklyn? Be intrigued, be very, very intrigued by this description:

Are they really bitches? That depends who you ask…Rachel, Clare, Tina and Jane are four friends awaiting the arrival of a fifth at a secluded Cape Cod bungalow where they spend an all-girls weekend every summer. But this year the fifth woman doesn’t show.

Instead she sends a note that reads –  “I’ve run off with one of your men.”

HBitches coveras she? Is it a prank? Do they run for the phone or try to enjoy the weekend without her? Fun, flirty and filled with Harris’ trademark snappy dialogue and quirky characters forced to reevaluate their marriages, their friendships and their memories, The Bitches of Brooklyn has been called “a cross between Pretty Little Liars and Sex in the City.”

Inspired by a classic Hollywood film, The Bitches of Brooklyn is for every woman who’s ever had a best friend and wondered…is she really??

Rosemary has offered to do a double giveaway: a signed copy of The Bitches of Brooklyn PLUS a nifty The Bitches of Brooklyn backpack to one lucky commenter; details are at the end of this post.

Welcome, Rosemary! Tell us about debuting again and your transition to a new genre and publishing experience.

So hard to top Gigi Pandian’s story about debuting twice (not that this is a contest…), but in my own way I feel like I’ve debuted twice, too. Maybe this happens to more writers than we realize.

My first four books were published by Holtzbrinck/MacMillan/Minotaur/Thomas Dunne. Sounds like a law firm, right? I had a blast, met loads of other authors, and felt as if I’d been initiated into a wonderful club. They shared my obsession with prologues, semi-colons, and point of view — things I could never share with long-time friends who’d glaze over after two minutes on the pressing subject of em dashes versus ellipses.

After four books, the bloom was off the rose on my Dirty Business mystery series (forgive the bad pun, it’s endemic with so-called cozy mystery writers). My latest novel, The Bitches of Brooklyn, was a departure — to the dreaded and unloved (except by readers) category of commercial women’s fiction. My agent suggested a name change. Hunh? People will expect a mystery, she said. And gardening. Won’t they look at the cover and see that it’s not a Paula Holliday book? Doesn’t matter, she said.

I trust my agent’s judgment in most things but on this I thought maybe she was wrong. Uh … no, she wasn’t. She sent the manuscript out and received a few “thanks, but no thanks,” so I decided to self-publish. Unlike the legions of writers who start by self-pubbing in the hopes of finding a traditional publisher, I’m reversing the trend (;-).

What an education. I had assumed that since I had done the lion’s share of the promotion for my traditionally published books, how much different could it be? A lot.

It’s still quite early in the life of this book, but for any writers considering taking the plunge, this is one woman’s story. The end hasn’t been written yet, but here’s the beginning and perhaps the beginning of the middle.

I signed on for a package deal with Bowker — ten ISBNs, two bar codes, two widgets, and conversion of the Word document to both Mobi and Epub (thru Vook) for $399. Could have done some of it myself but it was worth it to me if only to avoid the screaming and hair-pulling. Vook would also distribute if I chose.

I decided to go with Amazon Kindle Select. I uploaded the book myself and asked Vook to defer distribution to other outlets. I thought publishing an ebook first and giving Amazon the 90-day exclusive that allowed me five Free Offer days would help me generate reviews and interest for the eventual paperback. Didn’t really happen. I gave away thousands of downloads and got only ten reviews that I could attribute to the offer.

My best get was the cover design, which I got through 99designs, a company I highly recommend. Briefly, designers join, you tell 99designs what you want, and designers submit entries. You set the budget, you choose, and if you don’t like the design, you don’t pay. I found a great designer, and she’s done all of my promo materials. And she’s also doing a cover for the reissue of Slugfest, one of my Dirty Business mysteries.

Most of the POD companies seem to be close in price. I don’t think going with CreateSpace gives you an edge with Amazon, but I went with them because I found their website the easiest to navigate.

Something else I’m learning is that if a traditionally published book has a shelf life of somewhere between milk and yogurt, ebooks are forever. They’re not being yanked off the shelves to make way for next Tuesday’s new releases!

So, I am a debut author from Chestnut Hill Books. How does the story end? Ask me in six months…

Bitches bag2What new adventure in writing or life do you have going on right now? What do you want to be asked six months from now?

GIVEAWAY! Comment on this post by noon EST on Friday, December 6th, and you’ll be entered to win a signed copy of The Bitches of Brooklyn PLUS a nifty The Bitches of Brooklyn backpack. Follow The Debutante Ball on Facebook and Twitter for extra entries—just mention that you did so in your comments. We’ll choose and contact the winner on Friday. Good luck!

Rosemary Harris is a native Brooklynite like some of the characters in The Bitches of Brooklyn. Rosemary’s debut novel, the Agatha and Anthony-nominated, Pushing Up Daisies (Minotaur), was followed by The Big Dirt Nap, Dead Head, and Slugfest. She is a past president of the Mystery Writers of America’s New York Chapter and the Sisters in Crime’s New England Chapter.

Visit Rosemary at www.rosemaryharris.com and Like her on facebook at www.facebook.com/RosemaryHarriswriter.

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Lisa Alber is the author of KILMOON, A COUNTY CLARE MYSTERY (March 2014). Ever distractible, you may find her staring out windows, dog walking, fooling around online, or drinking red wine with her friends. Ireland, books, animals, photography, and blogging at Lisa Alber's Words at Play round out her distractions. Visit her at www.lisaalber.com.

11 thoughts on “ROSEMARY HARRIS Talks Switching Genres and Debuting Again + Double THE BITCHES OF BROOKLYN Giveaway!

  1. Thanks for the post Rosemary. Did you ever think about using a pen name when you switched genres? I’ve heard it is common and several mystery writers I read do it for their different series. On the other hand, it means creating multiple brands for different types of writing which seems like a lot more work.

    • Hi Debbie,
      I didn’t think of using a pen name – but my agent suggested it. I would have used my maiden name (isn’t that a retro sounding expression?) In fact, she sent it out to some editors under that name. We were both surprised that there wasn’t more interest. When I decided to self-pub, I thought – what the heck?! The notion of using a pen name has as much to do with retial buyers as it does with readers. Alas…retail buyers like new. since I didn’t have them to worry about I stuck with my real name.

  2. Good luck with your new book, Rosemary. I really enjoyed your mysteries and I’m looking forward to this book. I liked The Debutante Ball on FB. Have a great weekend.

  3. Thanks Debra!
    The Bitches of Brooklyn is a little friskier than the Paula Holliday books – but not much. And I’m trying to get the two groups of women to meet in the next book. that would be fun!

  4. What a journey! Thank you for sharing the details with us here at The Deb Ball. I hope all goes well with Bitches. I just added it to my Goodreads list. 🙂

  5. Such A Special Borough Brooklyn is..Of course I am Biased,Born And Raised There too Rosemary,I live and Love Vermont Now…Dancing lol What a Generous Giveaway…Best…Susan

    • Hi Susan,
      It is a leap of faith! But I think we have to have confidence whether we’re trad-pubbed or self-pubbed. The truth is not everyone will like every book, but if you feel you have an audience then why not do your best to find them?
      And Susan S – Brooklyn rocks. have you been to the I grew up in Brooklyn page on facebook? it’s a hoot.

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