January 27, 2011

Welcome to Evelyn David, author of Murder Off the Books and other Brianna Sullivan Mysteries

Author Independence Day
By Evelyn David

Last October we – authors Marian Edelman Borden and Rhonda Dossett who write together under the name Evelyn David - decided to join the ebook revolution and become an Indy Author.

Yes, we have two mysteries that have been published through a traditional publisher and we plan to continue that method of getting books to readers. Murder Off the Books and Murder Takes the Cake are available in print and ebook formats from Wolfmont Press.

The cozy mystery series, true whodunits we call "fast, fun, and furry mysteries with a little bite," feature a private detective and his trusty sidekick, an Irish wolfhound named Whiskey. The third book, Murder Drops the Ball will be published in spring 2011.

While our series is traditionally published, with the influx of e-readers and their growing popularity, we not only wanted to be part of the new wave of ebooks, we wanted to ride it from the beginning. We wanted more.

Going the traditional publishing route, it takes two years at a minimum to write, edit, find a publisher, edit some more, get on the publisher's schedule, and finally if everything goes right, end up with that same book in a reader's hands. Often the time frame is a lot longer - or if you can't interest a publisher in your book - the time frame is "never."

With ebooks, the clock runs faster. The author writes the book, edits it (or hires an editor), formats it (or hires someone to format it), creates a cover, uploads it to one of the many new digital publishing platforms (Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, Google), and in a couple of days, the ebook is on sale ready to download into e-readers all over the world.

What's an Indy Author?

The best we can tell, it means the same as "self-published" but without all the negative connotations of the past. Writing and publishing your new novel directly to ebook without the services of an agent or publisher is not only possible, but popular. If you have books that are now out-of-print, assuming you had all rights reverted back to you, becoming an Indy Author can mean continuing to earn money on stories you thought were, pardon the pun, dead.

We had written several short stories detailing psychic Brianna Sullivan's adventures in a small, fictional Oklahoma town, but hadn't found the perfect way to publish or market them. Too short for a novel, but too long for traditional shorts for magazines, we decided to develop the series in volumes of ebooks with the total word count of each volume coming in at about 16,000-18,000 words. And most importantly, we decided to self-publish them. Wait, let me revise that statement. We became Indy Authors.

To date we've published three volumes - I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries, The Dog Days of Summer in Lottawatah, and The Holiday Spirit(s) of Lottawatah, available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. A fourth ebook is scheduled for release near Valentine's Day.

Tackling the impossible?

We began the process of converting our stories into ebook formats without any idea of how to go about it. Of course we're used to jumping into the deep end as we only learned afterward that collaborating on a novel was supposed to be impossible and we've been collaborating for six years now without any problems.

So when we decided to publish the Brianna Sullivan Mysteries, we were used to taking risks. We researched the formatting processes and taught ourselves how to do it. We are both readers in addition to being authors, so we learn how to do something by reading about it.

The best "how-to" guide we found was the free guidebook at Smashwords, an ebook publishing and distribution platform. You upload your manuscript and Smashwords converts your book into multiple e-book formats, including Kindle, Nook (e-pub), pdf, Apple iPad, etc. The guidebook also helps get your book ready to upload directly to Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

If you have enough patience to read the guidebook several times and can follow instructions to the letter, you can successfully format and publish your own ebook. And if you can't - based on your past history of never being able to put together "some assembly" required furniture without parts left over, or never being able to install a software program without crashing your computer- save yourself a lot of hair pulling and hire someone to format your ebook while you write the next one. Either way you win.

One warning. Being all things - author, editor, cover artist, and publisher - means you are responsible for not only writing a good book, but editing it, and making sure the formatting results in an ebook that readers want to read. If you skimp on any part, your sales and reputation will suffer. If you have questions about our ebook journey, please feel free to ask.

About the author:

Evelyn David is the pseudonym for writers Marian Edelman Borden and Rhonda Dossett who together author The Brianna Sullivan Mysteries, Murder Off the Books, Murder Takes the Cake, and the short story, Riley Come Home.

Marian lives in New York and is the author of 11 nonfiction books on a wide variety of topics ranging from veterans benefits to playgroups for toddlers. Rhonda lives in Muskogee, Oklahoma, is the director of the coal program for the state, and in her spare time enjoys imagining and writing funny, scary mysteries.

Marian and Rhonda write their mystery series via the internet. While many fans who attend mystery conventions have now chatted with both halves of Evelyn David, Marian and Rhonda have yet to meet in person.

** Don't forget the contest at the end!

** Check out Evelyn David's appearance schedule and writing projects at The Stiletto Gang blog, and at the website.

**CONTEST!! We'll give two winners their choice of one of our Brianna Sullivan Mysteries - in the ebook format of their choice. If they already have the first 3 volumes, we'll give them a copy of volume 4, being published next week - Undying Love in Lottawatah.

The first winner is for the best comment left on the blog by Sunday 6 pm Central. Or if they have problems leaving a comment, they can send a email to us at evelyn@evelyndavid.com saying they read the blog.


  1. Thanks so much for hosting us today, Chris! You have a wonderful blog site!

  2. I've read the first two Whiskey books...(what does it say about me that I think of them as Whiskey's books..?) and I loved them.
    And your self-pub journey seems a lot less tortured than some. Way to go, ladies!

  3. Thanks Rosemary. As you know, Rhonda is a tech wizard, so our journey was relatively hassle free. I'm just the cheering squad :-)


  4. I love the idea of being an indy author/publisher. Did you use someone else to do the covers or did you do them yourself? It would seem finding photos and putting lettering on it would be the hardest part.

    Can't wait for the next book!

  5. Hi Fiona,

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. We did our own covers. There are several on line sites where you can buy the rights to photos/images for a few dollars to use for your cover. Then you use photo editing software to crop, size, and add titles etc. Ebook covers need to be relatively simple because most readers will first see them at the 2-3 inch size. You want them to look interesting but not busy in the small version.

  6. Rosemary and Fiona,

    Please send an email to us at evelyn@evelyndavid.com and we'll arrange to send you a Brianna Sullivan Mysteries ebook of your choice. Thanks for leaving a comment and for your interest in our writing!

    Evelyn David


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