Hi everyone! I’m Sharon Ihle, author of fourteen historical romance novels set in the American West. All of the books feature the nineteenth century from the 1850’s to the 1880’s. I feel very passionate about this time in our history, and loved researching the western towns of old and the very colorful characters that played such a big part in settling the West. Who isn’t fascinated by Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane (featured in WILD CAT) or Jesse James and his gang (featured in GYPSY JEWEL)? And what about Wyatt Earp (featured in MARRYING MISS SHYLO)?

I loved digging up the pasts of each and every one of my characters, but had to hang up my writer’s hat due to some health issues. I thought I was through publishing, and then along came this startling new world of e-publishing, and here I am again.

A few years ago, at least ten years, a friend of mine started her own electronic book publishing company. At the time I thought the idea was kind of nuts, but kept that thought to myself and allowed her to publish one of my novels as an electronic book (eBook).  As it turns out, my friend was ahead of her time, way ahead. The business failed, but only because the general reading public lacked suitable devices with which to read eBooks. Today we have Kindles, Nooks, Sony, Kobo, iPads, and other electronic reading devices. The world of ePublishing has since exploded.

Some years ago in a moment of supreme brilliance (okay, maybe it was simply dumb luck) I requested and received the publishing rights to all of my novels except DEAR PENELOPE. The rights to that last book belong to the publisher until late 2012. As it turns out, that move put me ahead of the curve for getting my backlist up and
running in eBook format. Publishers are notoriously slow at returning rights, and that in turn can dramatically slow an author’s attempts to republish his or her book in eBook form. Even though retired from writing, I retained my membership in Novelists, Inc., an organization of novelists who have had at least two books published by reputable New York publishing houses. Even though retired, staying with this group was yet another brilliant move (okay, maybe I just couldn’t let go of the world I’d come to love). It was there that our discussions turned more and more to this strange new world of eBooks, and how it gave authors, not publishers, control over his or her work. A truly novel idea, pardon the pun!

Now I’m no computer geek, not by a long shot, but since I already had the rights to most of my work, all I had to do was hire someone to scan them, hire another person to
create new covers (the actual covers on my paperback books belong to the artist who painted them) and then learn how to format the scans for each ePublisher. I did the formatting myself, which tells you that it was a very simple process. I wasn’t the first author to put my backlist into eBook formatting, but I’m far from the last. It’s unbelievable how many retired (and not retired) authors are ePublishing their books these days. Not only does this give new life to the work, but we’re reaching a whole new generation of readers. I never thought that I, a person who loves to hold a real book in hand, would even consider reading an eBook, much less publish my own.

But then a Nook came into my life. Soon, that wasn’t enough. I needed to see how books look and read on Kindle and other formats as well. The Nook gave way to an iPad2, a device that lets me download books from anywhere. Not to worry, though. I still love holding ‘real’ books in my hands, and keep a nice stock on hand. After all, there’s no way I’m taking an iPad into the bathtub with me, and what’s a bath without a good book?

I’ll try to check in once a week with updates on the writing life, and hopefully, to answer your questions and comments…till then!

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One Response to Hello world!

  1. sdjohnsonnt says:

    Looking forward to following the blog!
    Lots of love from Virginia!
    Daughter #2 with grand kids #3 and #4.

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