DFRAT Guest Post Cindy Spencer Pape + giveaway

Our first guest author in the Digital First Read-A-Thon is Cindy Spencer Page. Cindy is also giving away a copy of her new book Kilts and Kraken. Simply leave a comment telling her why you like digital books.

When I first started writing, I absolutely wanted to be published. The problem was, I didn’t know much about the industry, and well, that first book was pretty awful.

Three books and a few years later, I’d been rejected by most of the traditional publishers who accepted unagented submissions. None of them said they didn’t like my books. One was too short, another touched on a few too many iffy subjects, the third just wasn’t what THAT line was looking for. By 2006, I was pretty discouraged, about ready to chuck the whole idea of writing, when a friend of mine said, “Why don’t you try the e-publishers? They’re a lot more flexible on length and content and such.”

So I thought about it. I had three finished books (not counting that first one, which, trust me, you don’t want to see!) One was a contemporary western romance, set at Christmas. It was light and family oriented, but a little too steamy for the line I’d targeted it at. The other two were both paranormal, but very different in tone and length. So I researched the e-publishers and studied what each was putting out. I sent off one paranormal to Ellora’s Cave, for their Cerridwen Press line, and another to Triskelion. Both at the time had aggressive print programs, and I could find their books in Borders.

While I was waiting to hear back on either of these, a new publisher, Wild Rose Press, popped up, specifically looking for ready-to-go Christmas books. So I sent them the cowboy romance. Three submissions were out to three publishers. I told myself if ONE of them sold, I’d keep at it. If they were all rejected, I’d find something else to do with my free time. Imagine my shock, when within a month or so, all three sold!

Suddenly, I went from unpublished to multi-published. There was a rush to get The Cowboy’s Christmas Bride out in time for the holiday. All three publishers wanted more books. Now I was scrambling.

Shortly afterward, Triskelion went out of business, and I got my rights back to Curses. Wild Rose happily accepted it and within a few months it was out with them (where it’s still available!). I heated up my work for Ellora’s Cave, and though Dragon in the System was with their Cerridwen line (now BLUSH), the next 25 titles have all been part of their regular Romantica ™ line. I published 5 more with Wild Rose, and added a few others at Resplendence and Total-E-Bound over the next few years. In 2010, I sold Motor City Fae to Carina Press, and now have two very successful series there, one paranormal romance and the other steampunk/gaslamp fantasy.

The steampunk books, The Gaslight Chronicles, aren’t erotic. Contrary to expectations, though, they’ve quickly become my best-selling work. I had debated with the first book, Steam & Sorcery, whether to offer it to Carina, or to look for an agent to pitch it to New York. I decided on Carina for one very specific reason. In digital-first publishing, the timeline is so much shorter. I knew the book would be released somewhere around six months after it was acquired. If it had sold to a traditional house, it would have taken somewhere around two years. Steampunk as a subgenre was just beginning to appear in romance. I wanted my name out there in the forefront, not tagging along two years later, so I chose the faster route. I certainly don’t regret it. Steam & Sorcery has sold thousands of copies, and will be in German bookstores sometime this month. I’ve sold four more in the series to Carina, including Kilts & Kraken, releasing June 4 as a solo e-book and as part of the Editor’s Choice, Volume I anthology.

So while I do have an agent now, and am exploring traditional publishing for future books, I remain proud of my 48 sales to digital-first publishers in the last 6 years. I can say with very little doubt that you will see more books by me coming from some of these publishers, even if I someday get that “big” contract somewhere else. Digital allows for so much more freedom with regards to length and style, and the higher royalties are very author-friendly. All my publishers pay on time and more frequently than the traditional houses. I have great editors, catchy covers, and have made wonderful author friends at each of my publishers.

Digital-first publishing probably isn’t for everyone, but it’s certainly been very, very good to me.


 Kilts & Kraken:

A Gaslight Chronicles novella

Available from Carina Press: June 4, 2012

 Magnus, Baron Findlay, longs to bring the wonders of the steam age to his remote island home, but his hands are full fighting the vicious kraken ravaging the coast. When he’s swept to sea during battle and washes up on the shore of an isle in theHebrides, he is near death.

Struggling to establish herself as one of the first female physicians inEdinburgh, Dr. Geneva MacKay is annoyed when The Order of the Round Table sends her north to care for an injured highlander. To heal him,Genevaescorts the handsome warrior home, just in time to defend the villagers from another onslaught.

As the attacks escalate and they work together to fight off the threat, neither Genevan or Magnus can resist the overwhelming attraction between them. But as their relationship deepens, a new threat arises – from within the village itself…


Award-winning author of more than forty books, Cindy Spencer Pape firmly believes in happily-ever-after. Married for more than twenty-five years, she lives in southern Michiganwith her husband and two grown sons, along with an ever-changing menagerie of pets. Find Cindy at her website: http://www.cindyspencerpape.com, on Twitter: http://twitter.com/CindySPape or on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100000270304390




  1. Aurore

    I love digital books because they are easy to buy: no need to go to the bookstore and hope they have the book you want. That’s especially true for me because I live in France, and there’s no way I’m going to find romance in English here. And I love that I can have hundreds of books in my kindle and it doesn’t change the weight of my bag!
    Thank you for sharing your story. That’s great that your three first books were published! “Kilts and Kraken” sounds interesting (I love the title, by the way). I’ve never read steampunk even if I want to. I never had the opportunity, I guess. But your book sounds like the opportunity I was looking for. Highlanders and steampunk? Count me in!

  2. Mireya

    Well, I discovered ebooks in Feb. 2003, and I haven’t bought any print books since… since … 2010 I think. Although I miss the days of print book browsing in a brick and mortar bookstore, fact remains that now I do all of my browsing online these days.

    Ebooks have offered me a convenience in terms of accessibility, storage and portability that I never had with print books, and since I started using dedicated readers since I first started with ebooks almost 10 years ago, I never felt that they were burdensome. The pricing may have been an issue sometimes, as I always refused to pay more than $8 for an ebook, but I managed.

    Hope you continue having success in your writing endeavors 🙂


  3. Cindy Spencer Pape

    Thanks so much, Aurore & Mireya! I’m glad you’ve discovered the convenience of e-books. I’m in agreement on the price–it shouldn’t be more than a paperback!

  4. Janni Nell

    Great post, Cindy. So interesting to read about your journey to publication.

  5. Molly Daniels

    Curses remains one of my faves of yours:) And loving your steampunk books! Keep up the good work and hope to finally meet you at RT next year:) And this time I’ll work the alphabet backward, lol:)

  6. Carol

    E=books are great for niche sub-genres. I’ve read steampunk (yours included) and doubt I would ever have even found the genre without e-books. The pricing is better (at least with the publishers who are primarily e-book) and it is easy to store the collection.

  7. Cindy Spencer Pape

    Thanks, Janni! Molly, we definitely have to get together. And Carol, I agree completely.

  8. Ethel

    I like digital books because I live a long way from a book store but can download a book when I want it. It is easier to store the digital books and easier to carry them around while reading them

  9. Cindy Spencer Pape

    I so agree, Ethel. You can have a whole library at the tips of your fingers.


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