Thursday, May 24, 2007
Dear Shadowrose proprietors,
Welcome to romance epublishing. Your website reminds me of many of the websites posted by start-up epublishers in this genre therefore I thought it might be instructive to make a few comments about it which are meant as a basis for discussion, rather than just to be a big meanie. If you would like to see more submissions from romance writers I would suggest the following.
1) Get rid of the contest that charges a $10 entry fee for manuscript submissions from unpublished writers and offers a contract and $50 as top prize ($25 for second place). Submitting to a start-up e-press is uninviting enough without being asked to pay for the privilege, let alone according to a format that allows you to turn a profit within seven submissions--this from a publisher claiming to "...receive upwards of 100 submissions per day". Furthermore do not plug a $4 self-published "short" ebook to potential authors instead of just requiring them to follow your submission guidelines. Make an effort to look like you wish to profit from selling books by other people (rather than your own?).
2) Be aware that you may not get as many romance submissions as you wish because you compare poorly to the competition not only in being a start-up but in many smaller but telling details. For example your covers are highly overused (Lulu?) stock graphics, you seem to require hard copy submission of accepted manuscripts and the use of author photos for publicity (not all authors are comfortable with his in the erotic genres). Ebooks are an instant gratification purchase. I suggest that you improve upon: "please allow 7-10 days delivery time." You need to look like you are investing in the success of the books you publish by paying cover artists and web-designers and filling ebook orders quickly.
3) You say "we" and "us" a lot but never say who you are and why you will be able to run a successful romance epublisher in this very crowded marketplace. If you know more about this biz than me (as a typical ebook writer) I might assume your approach is the correct one and I am being overly critical. Anonymity, however, is a red flag especially as it can disguise self-publishing by writers not able to be accepted elsewhere (c.f. a start up by a successful author). If this is a publisher run by Patricia Fuller and Erin Gordon, and printing is done via Lulu, it really is best to say so right on the publisher website--charging a higher cover price for your books through Shadowrose than you are through Lulu is only compounding the problem (currently $11.95 vs $14.50).
4) Get someone else to proofread your websites. e.g. "All submission should be sent electronically" and "The titles published are intended for mature audiances". If you must plug a self-published book on "Editor [sic] Pet Peeves and How to Avoid Them" to potential authors try and make sure that the links (both of them) are pointed to the correct place (currently one goes to your current releases where this work is not listed and the other goes to the surfer's own Lulu shopping cart). Cover links from the front page should go directly to that book, not just to the top of a page containing many books in a long column.
p.s. re: "We are looking for readers and reviewers. This is a non-paying position, but you will be the first to read and review new and upcoming titles." You want unpaid slush readers? Or am I off-base here and you are just looking for reviews to post online?