Can’t find the books? Here’s why

So I got an email from a reader today asking why Finding Their Balance (Neighborly Affection No. 5) was listed as “unavailable” at an online vendor.

That was the first I’d heard about it, so naturally I went looking to see what was going on. After confirming that all of my books except one–Playing the Game (Neighborly Affection No. 1)–had been removed from digital sales, I reached out to my publisher. Turns out they made a miscalculation and removed the books from online vendors before notifying me of the change in status.

Not cool.

What is cool, though, is that I’ll be able to move forward as an independent author in 2020. (Cue confetti, balloon drop, Champagne toast!) I have reclaimed the rights to all of my books except Playing the Game, which my publisher is keeping because it still makes them a small bit of money.

Since Playing the Game is the first book in the series, that’s a tad inconvenient for me–I’m legally required to put new covers on the rest of the books when I republish them as an indie author, and I can’t put together a series box set that includes Playing the Game because my publisher still holds those rights. So for the moment, I’m in a holding pattern while I determine the path forward for my books.

The author's beagle mix stares pleadingly up at the camera. She's a good doggo, yes she is!
This good doggo says, “Please be patient with my human. She stares at the computer a lot, but then she notices that you’re waiting patiently and delivers the tummy rubs and yummy treats.”

But I’m excited to explore this new-to-me frontier! Please have patience with me while I navigate all of the indie author jobs–the book formatting, choosing a cover artist, planning release dates and marketing, and maybe even attending some conventions to meet you all in person.

And, of course, continuing to write books!

So if you were planning to recommend the series to a friend or fifteen (and thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who has brought someone new into the fold!), please hold off for a few months until I have this indie publishing gig under control. ๐Ÿ™‚

Step one for me will be to correct any typos in the existing text before I get it reformatted. That means carefully re-reading all of the existing novels. Step two will be to choose a cover artist and hire them to do digital and print versions for all of the books.

I will try to keep you all informed throughout the process, and I’ll be asking for your help, too! If your eagle eyes spot a typo, please let me know! If you have a favorite cover artist who you think could do justice to the characters and the emotions, send me their name!

Because this whole indie thing is new to me, I can’t set a date for the return of the books yet, but once I get up to speed, I hope to start putting out new stories, too. In any case, 2020 should be a very exciting year!

Thank you to all of my readers and friends for your patience on this journey with me. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

M.Q. Barber

M.Q. Barber is the USA Today bestselling author of the Neighborly Affection contemporary romance series. She's also an inveterate, unrepentant scribbler of ideas on whatever's handy.


  1. Good luck with your new venture!

    And as an occasional beta reader, I usually do one “read through” by having my Kindle read it to me. It’s proven to be the best way for me to catch those little words that my eyes automatically correct (such as, it instead of is/if/in – you get the idea). So if you have a way to have your book read to you as you follow along, I can’t recommend it enough.

    Looking forward to more great stories.

    • That’s a brilliant idea, Angela, thank you! I sometimes read a section aloud to myself when I feel like the wording isn’t quite right, because you’re right, the ear can be more sensitive than the eye for fine-tuning that sort of thing. I’ll have to see if I can get my Kindle to “read” to me, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I will be patiently waiting for you to give the word and I will be first in line to book buy. You got this publishing stuff, don’t fret. Once you get going it will come easy for you. In each new step you take, stop, take a deep breath, then forge ahead. I think this is awesome news for you and your readers and fans.

  3. That must have come as quite a surprise, M Q … POOF, no books available! I hope this new situation turns out to be a grand success for you. As an avid reader I can say with genuine sincerity Your Neighborly Affection series is my all-time favorite MMF reading experience. I will be patiently waiting for what you have in mind for Henry, Jay, and Alice, as well as whatever else is rolling around in your cranium. Here’s to a terrific 2020!

    • Big surprise. Huge! ๐Ÿ˜‰ But I’m hoping it’ll be the right move for me and for wonderful readers like you, Sharon. <3 All of the decisions are mine now, which is daunting but super-exciting, too. Thank you for being so patient! <3

  4. What a great opportunity! I have all your books, both printed and digital and reread them often. Can’t beat Henry!
    Your readers will be on the side lines waiting to cheer you on. So, Congratulations and Good Luck!

  5. To discover your books not for sale anymore? What an unsettling find!

    I’m in the midst of the same process…. I got my rights back and am now re-editing the first book (because I’m a better writer now than when I wrote it), re-proofreading the second book, and getting new covers. And then to upload them. It’s a process. And an investment of time, money, and brain power!

    Good luck! And congrats on taking back control of your work.

  6. Well that’s just plain rude of your former publisher.

    Your faithful fans will be patiently waiting by the sideline ๐Ÿ™‚ I am very much looking forward to reading the continuation, but I’ll make sure to buy the re-release of the series as well!

  7. I love your books. Every time I re-read them I check to see if you have more. Thrilled to find out more will be coming.

  8. That sucks that you had to find out that way, but good to hear you got control of your work. I hope that means that you will be able to bring out audiobook versions of your books. We had this email conversation before and patiently waiting. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love your books and re-read them often and I have them all and waiting for #6 of Neighborly affections.
    I will definitely buy all the audiobooks if and when that happens. I know Christian Fox is an extremely busy narrator but I will once again mention his name or Sebastion York as narrative options. lol Hope to read more from you soon.

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