Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Harlequin Teen Panel

I certainly read romance as a teen. Not a great deal as it happens, but it was readily available. So it is strange that I baulked a little at the idea of Harlequin starting a line specifically for teens.

It seems that even in my own mind there are some tangled strands between the idea of reality versus fiction, love and sex, genre and moral virtue. Certainly reading is good, and romance is as appropriate as any other genre (if not more so).

I just hope they get a panel of kids that is more or less representative--to help move this venerable publishers into the current millennium (Not every damn thing for girls has to be pink, for a start).

A few years ago I might have had more trouble imagining a line of Harlequin books I could give to teen relatives for Xmas. But since their expansion into manga and non-fiction I suppose anything is possible. (But I do wonder why the manga line is not featured on the eHarlequin website?)

-------------[quote]----------------


"Harlequin will be launching a new line of Teen fiction books in the future. These books will be different from the books that Harlequin publishes for women today.

In addition to our new line of books, Harlequin has also just launched a Teen Research Panel for young readers ages 13 to17 who are U.S residents."

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Mrs Giggles puts EREC on the Map--veinglory


See the original post here.

Just the right place in MHO as Kiwi :)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Bulletin: Cacoethes, smoke?

The Cacoethes Publishing guestbook makes for some interesting reading (newest posts are first, I suggest reading from the last page back to the first).

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bulletin: NCP are "Trekking"--veinglory

The Pickled Cupid blog notes that New Concepts has an upcoming print release call Star Trekking. Perhaps not a great tactical choice if it might be seen as infringing on a zealously guarded brand?

Another True Story that Isn't (a.k.a. a worm in the apple) --veinglory

It seems that Oprah's penchant for heart wrenching true stories has left her, once again, endorsing a story that isn't is a novel dressed up as a memoir. Angel at the Fence: The True Story of a Love That Survived goes that extra insult by drawing on the tragedy of the Holocaust to add pathos to the tale.

It seems to me that if Oprah and publisher's like Penguin (and uindeed the agency of Andrea Hurst & Associates) want to benefit from the popularity of amazing true stories they could both afford to hire fact checkers and investigators before putting the word "true" right in the book's title. It seems the story falls at the first hurdle in that prisoners and locals could not meet at the fence of the camp where the future couple allegedly met. Oprah and Penguin have both made this same mitake repeatedly and surely should have learned from it by now?

I feel sad that on older person who no doubt had a true story worth telling let an embellished version escape the circle of his immediate family (where granddad came ebroider his tales to his heart's content). But as with Cassie Edward's plagiarism, deliberiberately false memoirs cannot be excused out of sympathy.

Friday, December 26, 2008



One more year and average ebook sales figures continue to gradually improve. Based on the current data set:

Average sales in the first month: 228 copies (up 53 copies from last year)

Average sales in the first year: 395 copies (up 79 copies from last year)

Average sales for all books out one year or more: 703 copies (up 182 copies from last year)

Remember to update your data! All data that has not be updated within the last year will be removed from the data set.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Erotic/Romance Clips and Links--veinglory

'App Store, Apple rejected the book [Knife Music] for containing "objectionable content," citing a clause in the iPhone SDK that states: "Applications must not contain any obscene, pornographic, offensive or defamatory content or materials of any kind ... In its rejection letter, Apple singled out the passage in question, which we actually can't print either. Let's just say it involves a teenage girl telling a detective that she overheard her friend asking a gentleman caller to "love me like you mean it," just with a slightly more emphatic verb.' [CNET] Apple App Store, not erotic romance friendly?

'Girls, I know you've searched long and hard to find a site with naked straight men, but you can relax. This site features free pics of naked men, all chosen because they're NOT GAY. You won't get any ****-**** shots here. Just 100% straight men, getting nude for your pleasure. REAL erotica for women!' [Naked Straight Men, Not Work Safe] Insert raised-eyebrow smiley here.

'Nicole FáLon Garrett's successes always seem to come with a small twist, as if fate just needed to tweak her plan. The 39-year-old author and UI graduate recently donated 10 copies of her début urban-romance novel, Double Dippin', to the UI Libraries, including a personally autographed copy for President Sally Mason.' [The Daily Iowan] Call me cynical, but by the end of this first paragraph I knew the book was self-published.

NEW MARKET: Absolute XPress

Absolute XPress: "a publisher dedicated to E-Books and Short Run Printing in the Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Romance and Mystery genre." An imprint of Hades Publications along with three other imprints. They seem to have a respectable record as a Canadian small press focusing on speculative fiction.

Absolute X-Press opened last August and seems to be an imprint for their POD/ebook releases, but also to have a much stronger erotic/romance focus. Not currently open to submissions, but reported to be planning to accept submissions from Jan 1, 2009. So, one for the PLIST, perhaps?

Friday, December 19, 2008

New Publisher: Trimaxx


Well, they seem to be at least a couple of years old. And although erotica, romance and ebooks are all part of the package I honestly don't know if they are an erotic romance epublisher per se. They aren't open to submissions anyway so it may be moot. But if you have a free moment please pop over and check out Trimaxx, and let me know if you think they should be on the PLIST.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mills and Boon--veinglory

It was recently announced that Mills and Boon is initiating a new campaign to lure younger readers. They have emplyed a company called St. Luke's for this purpose ("In short, no one understands community like us.")

Quite coincidentally at least one user appeared on several forums yesterday to share how much they love Mills and Boon, in a link-to-M&B-in-every-post, three-posts-per-forum, sort of way, (like here, here and here).

I hope they are paying St Luke's well for their stunning understanding of generation X and Y and how to woo them. (Disingenuous spam, everyone under 40 adores it, right?).

The countdown to the 'over-enthusiatic intern' excuse begins now.

Edited to Add: Another example, also from the same day and fitting the same pattern: 4

He Said, She Said...and You Said--veinglory

In the comments on this post TeddyPig said: "Hell, I would gladly publish these type of lists from each ePub and the covers and sales links to each book just to be able to show in as unbiased a way as possible how well the ePubs are doing and who the top sellers of the year were."

And Angela James replied: "Challenge accepted. At the end of the year, Samhain will release the top ten list of sellers at My Bookstore and More, and maybe a few other top ten lists if we can pull them together in the time list."

And no doubt realising that purchasing a book is only part of the story there will also be a listing of which Samhain books reader's most enjoyed. So if you have a Samhain book you particularly enjoyed this year please fill out the survey here. (You can also vote for cover art and share any other opinion you might have).

Monday, December 15, 2008

Can MM Fiction be Mainstreamed--veinglory

I seem to have some kind of glitch that stops me from commenting at Dear Author so I will post my answer here.

My answer to the lack of mainstream MM is: Marion Zimmer Bradley (Ballantine), Laura Argiri (Penguin), Ellen Kushner (Unwin), Elizabeth Knox (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Fiona Patton (Daw), Diane Duane (Corgi), Lynn Flewelling (Bantam), Stephanie Johnson (Random House), Tanya Huff (Daw), Mercedes Lackey (Roc), Elizabeth Lynn (Berkeley) etc etc etc

Romance is the exception in excluding this theme but even then it leads to reshelving rather than extinction. M/M is mainstream in literary, contemporary, fantasy, sci fi, horror and erotica and many of the books shelved in these areas (or under 'gay interest') are romances.

A publisher specialising in mainstream MM romance would be mildly interesting but not IMHO revolutionary. A` large publisher dabbling in it with a romance slant doesn't even strike me as novel....

I would also note that any Borders store I have been in has had at least a dozen lesbian romance novels available on shelf.

p.s. what ever happened to Romentics?

Bulletin: Red Rose andMore About Smoke--veinglory

Since placing Red Rose in the smoke category I have received several informative emails which have led me to remove this designation as of the website update later tonight.

I have also received one email suggesting malicious motives for the use of the smoke category. Please allow me to clarify. The smoke category is used based on 5 or more complaints of a non-specific nature and removed if these are not substantiated or there are 10 or more contrary reports.

If an unacceptable practice is confirmed then the 'fire' category is applied and the press becomes 'not recommended'. Thus 'smoke' is an alert, not a condemnation, although I appreciate that it is alarming for those associated with a press who know that it functions well and admirably and does not deserve to have a shadow cast over it.

I feel the smoke category is useful and worth retaining as an alert to help clarify a situation that is weaker than a 'not recommended' status but stronger than direct report of specific anecdotes. In all prior cases 'smoke' presses have either retained this status or progressed to 'fire' or 'dead market'--so it does act predominantly as an early warning system but cannot be always interpreted in this way.

I would like to thank the Red Rose staff and authors that chose to respond constructively and provide information to this site that allowed a correction to be made.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

GUEST POST: Taking Ourselves Seriously, or, I Got the EPPIE Blues--Mima


And now there is one more dichotomy of “love my epub world but am actually still trying to be part of the print world too.” Let’s talk about the EPPIES. I looked at the EPPIES last year. I heard from people the winning entries weren’t that great. I heard from various places the EPPIES weren’t that respected. And yet, this is our award. A commonly made analogy is that this is the Oscar of the epub world. This year I entered two books in the EPPIES. With one of those books, In Service, I finaled in the erotic scifi category.

Naturally, I feel my book is excellent and am proud it finaled. Curious to see if the dismissive opinions were warranted, I bought several of my fellow EPPIE finalists books and read them. Most were wonderful. A few were just ok. I am sorry to say this, but when I looked at the Quasar Cover Award nominees to place my vote as an EPIC member, I was ashamed. With a few exceptions, the covers I saw there in NO WAY represented the best of epub’s graphical world. In a few categories, I declined to vote.

Let’s imagine that in Hollywood, directors who thought they made a good movie could nominate their movie for an Oscar, for a fee. Then, when the final nominations were announced, no one cared, because they knew the choices weren’t from the pool of the best reviewed or most popular. And the producers and movie houses who funded them never even advertised them. Sound fun? Sound effective? Sound like an industry that has organization and pride?

But that is what the state of the epub awards is in right now. Self-selecting authors pay to enter their works. The finalists come out, and just one of my publishers bothered to make a congratulations statement (on their yahoo group, mind you, not their webpage). Yippee. Imagine if you will the money making machine that is the Oscars—the advertising, the re-releases, the featured lists, the specials. Imagine what it would mean to authors if they got the same treatment in the publishing world for finaling in the EPPIE. Kinda like what the RITA authors get from their houses when the finalists are announced. Only the epub world could do it better, faster, because we work with web presence, not posters and visual logos that have to be added to the author’s next book. In terms of business, buyers DO pay attention to awards they respect. Why aren’t epubs more interested in developing this sales tool?

What if the EPPIES were the BEST of ALL of the epublishers? I propose a call to action. In the spirit of the self-made e-author, the EPPIES can and should still be self-nominated. But what if each of the epublishers made a promise to enter their top 3/10/20 books. Both the ones who landed several perfect review ratings, and the ones who topped the sales charts for the year. Then, just imagine this, the publishers trumpeted their winning books AND their winning authors who might have won with a book from another house. They would do this on the webpage, with a featured sale slot, and through all their means of communications. The logo would be added to the ebook’s cover, and the author’s tag would forever read “an EPPIE winning/nominated author” just like the print world does.

Would e-authors still be bitching about the RITA’s byzantine rules? No. Because we wouldn’t care. Our epublishing world can go head to head with NY. We keep saying that. Maybe we should believe it. Then maybe we should prove it. All it would take is a little organization and teamwork. The framework is in place. I think we’re up for it.


Mima is an erotic romance author published at multiple houses. She lives in western NY and is a children's librarian by day. Visit her at mimawithin.com

Responses to this post:
My Two Cents....--Linda Mooney
Of Cabbages and Kings--Sela Carson
Popularity vs Lifes Legacies--Pickled Cupied

Friday, December 12, 2008

PLIST--veinglory

Due to technical problems the PLIST page has fallen and it can't get up*. This will be corrected in about 7 hours when I get home from work and have access to ftp.

In other news, Rainbow Reviews is seeking reviewers.

* Bonus point for knowing the reference.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Focus on the Happy-ometer--veinglory


As a reminder, ERECsite collects not only sales figures but answers to the question: I am satisfied with the performance of my publisher [name of publisher] -- Y/N. The 'Happy-ometer' is the percentage of authors who reply with the "Y". (veinglory at gmail.com).

Happy-omoter figures so far:Amber Quill: 100%
Ellora's Cave: 87%
Liquid Silver Books: 100%
Loose Id: 91%
Samhain: 88%

Romance B(u)y the Book Winners--veinglory

[Full list here]

Erotic Romance Category winners:

YEAR'S BEST EROTIC ROMANCE - SENSUAL EXPLORATION
"Chilli Heat," by Carrie Williams

YEAR'S BEST EROTIC ROMANCE - HEA CENTERED -- TIE
"Seven Nights of Sin," by Lacey Alexander
"Flat Out Sexy," by Erin McCarthy

YEAR'S BEST EROTIC HISTORICAL
"Master," by Colette Gale

YEAR'S BEST EROTIC PARANORMAL
"Unleashing the Storm," by Sydney Croft

YEAR'S BEST EROTIC ANTHOLOGY
"Unlaced," Jaci Burton*, Jasmine Haynes, Joey Hill and Denise Rosetti

RBTB VANGUARD AWARD - This erotic romance presents with empathy and intelligence fluidity of sexuality and sensuality within the central love story
"Raine: The Lords of Satyr," by Elizabeth Amber

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bulletin: M/M Poll--veinglory

Uniquely Pleasureable is running a poll on M/M reading habits. I will be very interested to see what the results are.

I just can't help but comment....--veinglory

You know I defend the right of any writer to work for free or for any rate they deem sufficient. But the following ad still cracked me up, bold type added:

"I'm looking for writers who would like to write erotic stories and/or articles. All the writing has to be done with good taste, I'm not looking for 'cheap' porn. It has to be erotic and sensual!

Right now I'm looking for people who are not looking for a lot of money for their work. I am able to pay about $2 per 500-750 word story/article but I will take volume, like a 100 articles/stories. Please note that I would like to have the option to resell your work. If you do not agree with these terms, please do not respond."

Monday, December 08, 2008

Oh No, Promo! (in a good cause): Illuminations--veinglory

This may be rather off topic but the holiday season is here and if you are interested in a good gift book that fits the spirit of the season please consider Illuminations: Expressions of Personal Spiritual Experience (including a poem by yours truly). You can see a sample of this gorgeous book here. Illuminations is a not-for- profit project of Evolving Editions LLC - all net proceeds received from the sale of the book are put toward interfaith and peace building projects.

Updates--veinglory

.

Iota Publishing, formerly here, is closed.

I had been using a blog preview widget from WidgetBox on ERECsite and my personal website--however the code was being hacked. It may not be immediately obvious on the page but if you are using the same widget check your source code for spam links and text. (Thanks to Dusk for the heads up)

There is also possible smoke signals from the direction of Forbidden Publications re: delayed payment. Confirmation or refutation appreciated: (veinglory [at] gmail.com)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Link Love--veinglory

A list if sites for legal free ebooks. It seems to me that if people want free ebooks it is easier (i.e. less self-interested and so more convincing) to tell them how to access these without pirating than try and convert them into a paying customer.

It seems like the cycle of make and re-make is accelerating with Fox already considering a remake of Romancing the Stone, made waaaaay back in 1984. But then again, how many of you remember that the heroine, Joan Wilder, was a romance novelist?

Read this only if you want to be annoyed: Emotional pornography: Men and women affected by different stimuli.

An ethical question involving ebooks.

I appreciate the New York Times description of the Metropolitan Museum of Arts current special display of Renaissance art: "Profane love is acknowledged with a choice display of erotica. The commodification and adoration of women run on parallel tracks...." We get so concerned bout tawdry erotic portrayals that I think we sometimes forget it is, and always has been, only one side of the coin.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Bulletin: New(ish) Market--veinglory

Mythica, seems to be an epublisher for all genres, including romance. The website went live November 2008. Their web copy contains some phrasings and memes that do not suggest, to me, that the operators have extensive industry experience. The owner is Graeme S. Houston: an author previously published by e-micro-press StoneHenge Publishing and who previously operated the late Stargazer Publishing. The two current upcoming books are by Brian L. Porter, an associate of Mr. Houston and consultant (editor?) at Mythica.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Press Release: Linden Bay acquired by Samhain--veinglory

-----[quote]-----


In a bold move, Samhain Publishing announced the purchase of Linden Bay Romance. In light of the downward spiral of the economy and the rapid consolidation of many of the larger publishers, Samhain Publishing has seized their chance to expand their market share by creating a new fiction line under the popular Samhain brand.

"From the beginning one of my goals was to create multiple lines within Samhain," says Christina Brashear, owner of Samhain Publishing. "With Linden Bay Romance's excellent reputation, I made the offer in the hopes the owners would see this sale as a mutual benefit to both houses."

"We hadn't considered selling Linden Bay and we were slowly making inroads with regards to increasing print distribution, but we've found, especially in light of the economy, neither sales teams nor buyers are very open to taking a chance on something new," says Lori James, part owner of Linden Bay Romance. "Samhain Publishing has the relationships in place that would take us years to develop." James continues, "The offer came at a time when we realized under the Samhain umbrella, Linden Bay Romance will be stronger and reach its full potential faster."

"For Samhain, it is a win-win situation," says Brashear. "We will expand our lines with an established name in the electronic book industry and we'll acquire an excellent stable of authors, editors and artists."

Samhain Publishing opened its doors on November 1, 2005 and already they've made a splash in the publishing world. From Publisher's Weekly features to dozens of fiction and cover art awards, this publisher is one to watch.


-----[end quote]-----

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Bulletin: Ellora's Cave Website--veinglory

What is with the simultaneous existence of this Ellora's cave website, and this one? I hope the later is just a glitch or test because it doesn't look like an improvement on the tried and true. It does roll all their imprints in together. Maybe some of them, like Lotus Circle, confused the customer base as much as they confused me?

(via Karen Scott)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Romance Stereotype Watch--veinglory

"It’s a common misconception nowadays that people don’t read. That’s not true. Middle-aged women read a boatload. They just seem to prefer mediocre fluff romance novels" [CinemaBlend.com]

"When she isn't reading trashy romance novels, Brit hits the gym and has slimmed down and toned up since the beginning of the year." [StarMagazine]

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Hard numbers -- Jules

It's that time of the month again. Royalty statement time. Time for me to bore you all again with the mantra of "8 copies in the first month is not a bestselling book, whatever your publisher may be telling you".

My royalty statement this month is showing the effects of the financial turndown. Either that, or it's something I said or failed to say on a blog somewhere, and I've caused more than my usual number of "never buying one of *her* books again" moments... Either way, numbers are definitely down slightly across my titles.

That means one book just missed out on reaching 1000 copies sold since it first came out, when I'd expected it to hit that mark this month. On the other hand, Lord and Master has just squeezed past the 1500 mark. And I'm still getting a tiny trickle of sales reports on the last few copies of the treeware edition of The Syndicate, which was formally taken out of print back in June.

Titles vary in how successful they are, even with the same author, publisher and genre. But at this point I'm going to be disappointed if one of my titles doesn't manage 500 copies in the first year. 500 copies is a respectable enough number in small press publishing.

I've been around long enough to be on at least one or two people's auto-buy lists, but in erotic romance ebooks, people mostly seem to buy by publisher. Do your homework on sales levels when checking out a potential publisher. "Good sales" isn't enough. Nor is "bestselling". What are the actual numbers behind those phrases? The hard number behind one publisher's "wonderful performance" may be what another house considers a poor level of sales.

The place with the highest overall sales isn't necessarily the best place for your book. There may be issues with the standard contract, there may be issues with getting paid in a format that doesn't involve massive taxes or currency conversion fees if you live in a different country, they may not publish the genre you write. If sales numbers were my only consideration, I'd learn to write het so I could sell to the mainstream. But sales is one of the factors that goes into the mix, and when it's your book at stake, you want hard and spiky numbers, not warm and fuzzy phrases.

E-pubs and in ehouse' e-magazines--veinglory

A lot of epublishers now have some kind of electronic magazine that is rather more formal and traditionally formatted than a simple newsletter. I, personally, do not read them. I am not sure how much I am missing out on but I am a bit 'goal oriented'--I go to epublishers for ebooks. I am not fond of supplemental materials. Perhaps some of you can put me right on that issue and tell me what I have been missing and which epublishers emagazines are the most interest, and if any have good industry information rather than more in house/entertainment/readership loyalty material.

There is of course nothing wrong with putting out a magazine, my personal tastes being quite beside the point. But it is rather labor intensive and must suck up staff time--and most epresses are not richly endowed when it comes to staffing. I notice that Cobblestone Press Quarterly recently came out looking gorgeous. But despite being marked 'September' it was clearly released in November--two months overdue?

I am also left feeling a little guilty about the number of requests for emagazine content that I have ignored. I do want to support my publishers--but I am not sure that is a terribly effective or efficient way for me to do so. Perhaps I am wrong to think so because Google patterns show that readers are constantly looking for free erotic/romance material and that magazine provide that, wrapped up with promotion of their/our books and the genre/ebook format in general.

So what are your thoughts--in house emagazines: wonderful promotion opportunity for author, publisher and out inductry as a whole--or sparkly distraction for the core business of creating the publishing ebooks?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Links--veinglory

* An interview with Holly Schmidt re: Ravenous Romance (now open for business).

* Website for DCL's main cover artist.

PLIST Update--veinglory


ERECsite.com publisher list (PLIST) update November 28. Total list 61 current markets.

Removed from list: Logical Lust--no problems with this publisher but it does not really have an erotic romance focus. Although recently they have been moving more in this area so I am open to relisting them based on your comments.

Added to list: Blade Publishing

Added to list: Carnal Passions

Edited to Add: Red Rose added to the 'Smoke' category.

Updates, additions and corrections for the list should be emailed to veinglory at Gmail.com.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Preditors & Editors Comparison


It is never wise to depend on a single source for information, especially when it comes from the internet. In terms of publisher listings, one of the long established and most comprehensive sites is Preditors and Editors. I visit this site to see if a press has reached a high enough profile to be listed, and to see if there are any specific warnings or recommendations.

Listings tend to be very short, and given the size of the site it is not surprising that some of the listings are out of date (i.e. listing Loose Id as "new" and Lady Aibell as still open. Other comments and notations are to some extent a matter of opinion. Nevertheless here is a quick summary of the P&E listings of the erotic romance epublished also listed at ERECsite--for the purposes of comparison.

Please note the following is a summary of information from the Preditors and Editors site not material or recommendation from ERECsite. For full information and notations please visit Preditors and Editors.

Publishers Not Listed at P&E
Alinar, Amira, Black Velvet Seductions, Carnal Desires, Crescent Moon Press, Dark Castle Lords, Dark Roast Press, Diabolic, Discipline and Desire, Draumr, eXcessica, Forbidden Publications, Freya's Bower, LA Media, Logical Lust, Lyrical Press, Mystic Moon, Noble Romance Publishing, Pink Petal Books, Ravenous Romance, Romance Divine, Shadowfire Press, Siren, Tease Publishing, Wicked Women of Color.

Publishers Listed
ABCD Webmasters (specifically the imprints Wicked Velvet and Wicked Castle), Amber Quill, Aspen Mountain Press, Asylett Press, Cacoethes, Changeling Press, Cobblestone Press, Ellora's Cave, Erotique, Eternal Press, eXtasy, Hearts on Fire Books, Imajinn Books, Lachesis Publishing, L & L Dreamspell, Linden Bay, Liquid Silver Books, Loose Id, Midnight Showcase, Mojocastle Press, New Concepts Publishing, Phaze, Pink Flamingo, Red Rose Publishing, Renaissance Ebooks, Resplendence Publishing, Romance at Heart, Samhain Publishing, Tantalizing Tales, Torquere, Total E-Bound, Whiskey Creek Press, Whispers, The Wild Rose Press.

Special Categories
Highly Recommended: Ellora's Cave
Recommended: Liquid Silver Books
Not Recommended: Red Rose Publishing

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dark Castle Lords in Print

Dark Castle Lords is preparing to release their first print novels:

* The Lord of Merewood Keep by CH Admirand
* Naked Visions Silver Dreams by by Veronica Towers/DCL Peter DeCicco
* Deadly Sins by Annmarie Ortega, Kate Hofman, Adra Steia, Serena Knight, S.J. Ronayne, Skyler Grey & Veronica Towers/DCL Peter Decicco Edited to Add: it appears there is an update on the line-up pf authors contributing to this volume's current edition. I will post it when I receive it. -- Further edited to add I still have received no updates. But according to the yahoogroup this book has an as yet undisclosed author line up. So the only correction I can offer is that the author list shown is out of date.
* The Tudor Falcon by Pam Seres

The Tudor Falcon seems rather like the odd one out, having not been published by DCL as an ebook as the other three were. The other three were presumably selected on the basis of ebook sales volume? One must assume that the fourth book is selected because it is the basis of DCL's movie project and/or because Ms. Seres is co-owner of the publisher.... In my opinion the cover art is not consistent with the usual appearance of 'print' romance works.

#

Edited to Add: it has been suggested that this information is incorrect so I would like to offer my sources

#1: DCL yahoogroup dated June 1st, 2008 [links in this post now broken due to message archive being set to members-only]

"Stuart & I are happy to announce our first DCL Publications, LLC print run!

Congratulations to the following DCL authors and the Dark Castle Lords that will grace their covers which will be done by Annie Marshall, of Beyond the Book Productions.

We would also like to thank Ines Dinn, of InesCreations for her wonderful e-book covers of these novels that helped create the following author’s sales.

NAKED VISIONS SILVER BLUE DREAMS by Veronica Towers/DCL Peter DeCicco

THE LORD OF MEREWOOD KEEP by C.H. Admirand/DCL Bill Freda

DEADLY SINS by Annmarie Ortega, Kate Hofman, Adra Steia, Serena Knight, S.J. Ronayne, Skyler Grey & Veronica Towers/DCL Peter Decicco

Look for more information coming soon!"


Althought this message is fairly old I see no corrections or changes offered in later posts. If there have been updates I would be happy to hear about them.

#

#2: yahoogroup messaged dated August 24, 2008

"I have been traveling some and gearing up for the next faze of the first THE DARK CASTLE LORDS/THE TUDOR FALCON movie which will be filmed in the NYC area.

For movie updates and progress check out:
http://www.myspace.com/thedarkcastlelords_movie

After much consideration and offers from NYC publishers, I have decided to have DCL Publications publish the movie novel which will be available in print and e-book next year before the movie comes out. The cover will be done soon."


#

Updated with correction as provided to the yahoogroup:

"This information is not correct:

DEADLY SINS by Annmarie Ortega, Kate Hofman, Adra Steia, Serena Knight, S.J. Ronayne, Skyler Grey & Veronica Towers/DCL Peter Decicco

The sin novel will go into print and the new authors will soon be announced along with our release dates."


#

Further Edited to Add: Commentary from Pickled Cupid.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

[GUEST POST] Basics of Male POV

This guest post is provided by Sascha Illyvich. You can visit Sascha at literalseduction.net and radiodentata.com

In this brief article I’ll be giving you a few tips on creating characters and writing from the Male POV. These tips are pulled straight from my workshop: Writing from the Male POV and Creating Better Heroes.

Most of character creation is just voice. Once we figure out back story, physical attributes and the like, we have a basic character with which to work with. That’s generally the easy part but when it comes to voice, women seem to do well once stories hit publication but during that four to six weeks (or longer) it takes to create the first draft, many writers struggle with opposite sex gender writing.

The problem is, that it’s not as easy as observing the other sex. There is a reason for the way humans of both genders behave. But nobody bothers to ask questions, and if they do, I feel they ask the wrong ones.

We deal with archetypes, whether we realize it or not. Those archetypes are what they are for a reason but unless we’ve taken the time to understand the ones we use the most, then we will struggle with writing in the opposite POV.

In my class, I teach basics such as Emotional Response, Feelings and explanations relating to the previously mentioned things.

The key here to remember is that a person’s behavior is based on the tape in their head, i.e. the belief system they hold onto that was formed in early childhood. Why? Why does he frown, dress casually, wear his hair the way he does?

Probably because he’s a man and that’s the way he likes it. Our first encounter with him may take form in any setting, but one thing should be clear from the start. Don’t mess with me! This applies if your hero is ultra Alpha or even Beta with strong Alpha tendencies. Variations occur.

The tougher question we have is why is his behavior justified by a standard he holds that he no longer needed? In short, what is the why behind his way of being?

A-Ha! Now we’ve hit a key phrase! His method of being is no longer a necessity for survival. This leads us to asking what archetype is he?

For a well-balanced and believable pair, he’s got to respond to the same scenarios in a manner that compliments hers. Even in weakness there are strengths. He cannot react. Why? There is a difference in definition according to professional speaker and the Worlds Greatest Salesman, Zig Ziglar. When you respond to an event, that is a positive. When you react, that is a negative.

Our stories are about balance and acceptance of our sensuality. They’re about (in many cases) a happily ever after. Our goal is often to get a hero and heroine together (or more-some) that distracts the reader from the stresses of daily life that we mentioned earlier.

For those interested in my course, it’s a week long course that details the things we’ve covered here in more detail. I also go into detail on the gay male mindset! You can always email me at thesilverwolfprince@gmail.com and ask to be put on the list for my next course. The fee is inexpensive and is educational, so it’s a tax write off!

I hope this has helped you somewhat in your journey crafting the perfect hero that readers want to die for!

Ellora's Cave Ebay Store--veinglory


If you visit the Ellora's Cave Ebay store, at least when I did at 2pm GMT, it shows only a link to the Ellora's cave main page and a single 'buy it now' product. Presumably they are undergoing some kind of transition or restocking. However Ebay policy is a rather explicit on this point: "Linking from an eBay Store to Web sites that offer to trade, sell, or purchase goods or services, or including links for any purpose other than those listed above is not permitted."

Monday, November 17, 2008

Background material: economics for sf&f writers -- Jules

SF blogger James Nicoll has a post up asking about useful economics texts for science fiction and fantasy writers, from which I deduce that he has just read yet another example of why recommendations might be useful. Those of you who write paranormal romance might find some of the books mentioned in the comments thread to be useful background reading. I suspect they may also be of use to some historical romance writers. There are some good "popular science" type books being recommended.

Bulletin: Agent Jenny Rappaport Goes Solo


Previously of the Lori Perkins Agency Jenny Rappaport will now be going it alone with her own agency. Ms, Rappaport will focus on sci fi/fantasy, but will also consider submissions of historical and paranormal romance. You can find the Rappaport Agency website here.

Publisher alert: Alyson -- Jules

Alyson was at one time a respected GLBT press, but there have been rumblings over the last month or two that all is not well. If you were thinking of sending a submission there (or have sent one recently), read the thread at Absolute Write, in particular posts 11, 12, 13 and 24. It appears that Alyson may be "gone away, no forwarding address". I have no independent confirmation of this at present.

writing for the money -- Jules

I've just had an interesting demonstration of commercial considerations in writing. I regularly check the submission guidelines posted at ERA, partly to look for markets for things I've written, and partly for inspiration -- I've had a couple of good short stories out of reading interesting calls for submissions there, including my vampire short Promises To Keep, which is published by Loose Id but was originally written to submit to an anthology edited by M Christian. And there was a period when I tried to come up with something for every appropriate call there, not necessarily with the intention of submitting it, but as a writing exercise.

I've just been over there for pretty much the first time since I started the new day job, and started skimming the listings. And skipped right over the one for pulp sf shorts -- because it only pays $25.

There was a time when I'd have been moderately pleased with $25 for a short. I probably wouldn't have written a story especially for such a market, unless the call itself inspired me to something, but I'd have spent time considering which stories in hand best fitted which markets before submitting them. Now, it's not really worth my time doing even that, not if the money is the only interest I might have in the market. I'm a lot better off spending the time working on my next novel, because I'll get a much better return on my investment of time. That vampire anthology would have paid me $50 or $75 plus 2 copies of the book (the usual rates for presses like Alyson or Cleis), but I've had something like $650 so far from the Loose Id ebook.

That doesn't mean I won't submit stories to low paying markets. Money isn't the only concern, and there are no-pay markets I'd happily submit to because I respect the editorial team. There's another anthology paying $25 where I regret not having time to write something. But if it's just about the money, then $25 isn't enough.

So yes, I'm writing for the money. But I'm in the happy position of being able to write what I love writing, for the money. I have more interesting ideas than I'll ever be able to write, and if I pick and choose amongst them based on commercial considerations, I'll still have nothing but stories I wanted to write anyway. And there is this consideration as well -- I don't write purely for the money, but if I'm writing for publication at all, then I'm writing for an audience. And if you want to know how many people like your work, then knowing how many liked it enough to pay for it is good. Money is a way to keep score.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Orphaned Works Bill

Chip MacGregor reports that the US Orphaned Works Bill is scheduled to be reintroduced in the next congress. If you belong to any writing groups, guilds or unions I would encourage you to contact them and request that that make a formal statement opposing this legislation. For a previous post on this legislation please see here. A list of the groups already in formal opposition can be found here.

* Poster by Brenda Pinnick, available at full (printable) size here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Straight from the Horse's Nostril--veinglory

Craig Teicher with Publishers Weekly seems rather disoriented when it comes to the whole epublishing thing--or at least his online article suggests as much. There seem to be a suggestion that they whole idea of making and marketing ebooks is a gyroscopic blur not a routine sort of business with all the usual risks and opportunities of being a manufacturer and/or retailer. Personally I think that although trivial change is rapid, real change in this area is glacial.

For example there is a huge amount of speculation about ebook readers, prototypes, new models and so forth. But for any given reader a device they wish to buy has yet to be developed. For those that use an ereader the arrival of a significantly improved model probably does not occur more often than every year or two.

It is also the case that most people do not read ebooks, and those that do fall into certain areas, academia, manuals, romance, erotica, self-help and a few other niches. These sectors are experiencing some growth, but ten times not very much is still, if we are to be honest, not very much.

Other than that publishers open, publishers close. they tend to open, and close, for monotonously similar reasons suggesting that the state of the industry has not itself changed a great deal since the emergence of ebooks as a viable consumer product.

The revolt ion may be coming but after hearing about this from various enthusiasts (and a few angry zealots) for a decade or so I am not wasting too much of my time scanning the horizon for the death of publishing as we know it and emergence of a new world order.

Nevertheless Mr. Teichers articles might be a good update for those who haven't paid much attention to this area for half a decade or so and it includes some quote from various notables. E.g.:

Random House
"...we can expect international opportunities to open up where they might not have made sense economically before."

Penguin
"We are still seeing e-books as a rapidly growing area"

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
"I don't think that the pricing structure has sorted itself out yet."

Kensington
"We've focused on romance and women's fiction titles, as well as gay and lesbian and mystery titles"

Macmillan
"consumers is ... want easily transportable files rather than devices"

The one thing that confuses me most is that this article about epublishing did not interview a single publisher that sells a majority of its books in digital format. Which seems to be a little like asking movie theatres about the confectionery market. They may sell candy, they may have some idea about how to sell candy, but it would make a little more sense to interview someone who runs a candy factory or a candy store. The revolution may not be imminent, but if/when it comes I expect Simon & Schuster et al will be riding on the coat tails of epublishers dedicated to the format as their primary product, not leading the way.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bulletin: scheduling changes

Hi guys, due to some changes in my schedule I will not be sticking to a daily posting schedule for ERECblog for the foreseeable future--although there will be a new post at least once a week. I will still post any useful information that I come across, but I will no longer posting the other more trivia/entertainment posts. Basically I need to make some time for other things and some of it is getting cut from here.

I am also going to have significantly less time to monitor forums, blogs and so forth to come across industry news and factoids about erotic/romance/epublishing and related issues. With that in mind if you come across anything interesting please do send it in to me, or considering joining up to the blog as a contributor. If more people choose to come on board we might manage to keep the blog trotting along, so if it is ever something you have considered please email me now -- veinglory at gmail.com

Monday, November 03, 2008

Publisher PR (how not to do it)--veinglory

The Absolute Write thread on Cacoethes Publishing gives some great examples for authors of how *not* to defend your epublisher. So I thought I would use this as a basis for discussing the issue. Many of us feel loyal to epublishers who treat us well. However many count 'accepting my manuscript and validating me as an author' to be sufficient for extreme faith and fidelity--others are more demanding and less ardent. In any case I would advise against the following strategies of online publisher endorsement:

#1 (Ad Hominem): "Amazing cynicism", "a person who uses his real name here about the children who hide behind the bushes and throw rocks at passing cars." , "...is your book done? Is it ready to go out?"

#1a (Ad Hominem with ego stroking): "potential bitter authors who are simply slandering the company, or who were rejected and have not gotten over it"

#1b (Ad Hominem with paranoia): "I think people reading this forum should stop and think about whether some bitter or disgruntled writer hasn't taken it upon themselves to start a little vendetta against the company here"

#2 (A press is good so long as there exists any press that is worse) "Let's face it, if you want your book on shelves of book sellers, everyone of the publishers talked about in this website will not be doing that for you."

#3 (Good girls don't say negative things in public) "why wouldn't you simply contact the publisher directly and talk to them about your concerns?"

#3a (Really good girls don't think negative thoughts at all) "I have faith in this new publisher", ?"I refuse to dwell on such negativity."

#4 (The company isn't mean, what else do you want?) "the company has been kind to me", "They are nice to me and I appreciate it - period."

So how do you show support for your publisher? I would suggest:

#1 Discuss the substance of what is being said and provide accurate information.

#2 Acknowledge the short-comings of small presses openly.

#3 Provide concrete examples of adequate or excellent publishing services that the press provided including editing, packaging in general and, of course, sales.

Contributors to this thread also state that Cacoethes is paying 30% royalties off net and that the author pays: paypal fees, set up fees and marketing fees. Cacoethes seems to have a 'non-disparagement' clause in their contract and one anonymous poster who claims to 'have a lot of information' about this company reports that Cacoethes are in the process of suing two authors for slander. Most of this information was provided by authors with the goal of making Cacoethes look better and to defend their reputation as an epublisher. I would question whether that was the outcome for the majority of readers.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

On Being Provocative--veinglory

I was listening to a radio interview with a marketing professional last week. His suggestion was that what is useful in marketing these days is not so much sex, as the controversy that it can stir up. People will buy sexually explicit material or they will not--that is simply a commodity, or a genre. But a little bawdy material in a public place with get you huge amounts of free publicity.

One master of this technique is the British Lingerie maker aptly named Agent Provocateur. Their advertisements make use of celebrities, soft fetish props and as much skin as can be legally displayed on the side of a bus stop. The latest campaign also seemed to lean heavily on some romance cover tropes and a little light femdom. The practical part of my mind insisted that stilettos and pirate ships would be a bad combination, let alone when conducting a semi-nude saber fight.... but practicalities are rather beside the point in this sort of thing. But it is at least interesting that romance imagery is part of this ultra-modern, hip campaign.



It does make me wonder if erotic romance advertising that focus on hot, sexy, hothotHOT11!11, may be missing the important element of being provocative (naughty, bawdy, suggestive)? More of the feather, less of the whole chicken?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Sweets to the Sweet--veinglory

I have been resisting increasing the scope of EREC. But I have recently been thinking that it would not be too difficult to include non-erotic romance ebooks from the publishers listed here, and other similar epublishers.

I could use some opinions on a key point. That is:

1) Should all books from a publisher be counted together, that is I would simply add the relatively small number of non-erotic romance publishers to the PLIST or to a separate "sweet-P" list, but count all books from the same press in together producing a single sales-figure score.

Or, 2) should non-erotic romance books be counted separately--so if a press does both the books in each category would be kept separate and it would have two sales figure, one for hot and one for not-hot releases.

Frankly it would be considerably easier to keep all the books from a publisher together and it would be easier to reach the 5 book threshold for reporting sales figures. However it must be admitted that erotic fiction is likely to sell better, and so summed figures would probably under-esitimate the performance of presses that cover both sub-genres. But then again, many books are a little hard to designate erotic or not but are in the steamy but not-explicit middle ground and would be hard to put one way or the other.

In any case, I need some input. And if any of you have ebooks sales data for non-erotic stories 20,000 words and over--I will start collecting it now and figure out exactly how to handle it once I get some responses here. (First month and total sales, first year sales if you have it to veinglory [at] gmail.com)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bulletin: Closings....--veinglory

Bygrace Publishing plans to close in December, 2008. Closing had already been announced, but this establishes an early date).

Blog Network 'Blogrush' is closing effective immediately: "After careful consideration, we have decided to shutdown the BlogRush service. If you have the widget code on your blog you will need to remove it."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Women and Ebooks--veinglory

In the wake of Oprah endorsing Kindle Lee at Squawking Tech writes about Kindle and women--quoted in part below:

"Why Women May Be Key To Driving Adoption"

Um, because we are half the human race, and the majority of readers?

"It’s a pretty interesting move since Oprah’s audience isn’t full of typical technology early adopters."

Interesting assumption. Is it because they are women? Because they are either on time off or home-makers? Because they like talk shows? Is there some data here or is this fact considered self-evident? Because the hot ebook market is romance and I suspect that early-adopter readership would overlaps fairly heavily with Oprah-philes.

"While her endorsement is unlikely to make the Kindle a mainstream hit overnight, it may be a sign that women are a critical demographic for the device."

Y'think. Because who knew that women in their middle years were important consumer except for... well, everyone trying to sell something. I used to conduct surveys for a mainstream radio station that was trying to attract the listeners that every single one of their advertisers most wanted, that being women in their 20s-40s.

"For women, however, the Kindle’s cost/benefit ratio is far more favorable. To begin with, a purse is a much more convenient place to carry a Kindle than a pocket or even a briefcase."

Because very woman has a purse, it gets issued at birth along with your vagina--for fear that otherwise a girl might grown up keeping her cell phone and loose change in there instead. I get it now, females may drive Kindle sales because we like to put things in bags. (p.s. briefcase? How Mad Men)

"My girlfriend usually carries everything from a book and an iPhone, to a pair of shoes, in her purse. Fitting a 10 ounce Kindle in wouldn’t take much extra effort."

Isn't it fortunate that his girlfriend happens to be the archetypal female so that one anecdote about her can represent the motivations of an entire gender. A paragon of statistical normality who not only has a purse but one large enough to store spare items of footwear, and possibly a clue-bat (which any respectable iPhone-owning female who be using on him about now).

"Still, women aren’t immune to the Kindle’s high price (which is $50 off under Oprah’s special). However, if Amazon can bring the price of the Kindle down over time, women may be key to driving long-term adoption."

Translation: 1) Women notice how much stuff costs (um, yeah). 2) If you want to make a lot of money you might want some female customers (no shit). How is it that in the modern era the female consumers can still be considered an anomaly whose relevance to marketing a product requires explanation with reference to our obvious ignorance of all things technological and love of accessories (a.k.a. I love the Kindle, but will it go with my belt?).

Monday, October 27, 2008

NewsQuotes--veinglory

From PRLog: "Beginning December 2008, Lyrical [Press] is set to launch an aggressive print campaign, with ads featured in many popular magazines such as Romantic Times BOOKReviews, Doorways, Penny Blood and TAPS, owned by The Atlantic Paranormal Society of the Sc-Fi channel's show Ghost Hunters."

From Bookseller.com: "Mills and Boon is embracing the e-book revolution with the conversion of 200 of its books to e-book format... "We're looking at the types of series that sell really well ... We're adding the [erotic] Spice series to our site as well as the [supernatural] Nocturne series coming soon." ... we're not sure what to expect."

From the Ontarion: "Critical thinking and tolerance are the tools of intellectual freedom, and with intellectual freedom comes personal responsibility. They are bedfellows. Think of them as friends (with benefits)." (This is more an essay than news, but I recommend checking it out for a pithy but clever defense of erotica as a part of the community of ideas.)

Affaire de Coeur vs. Lee Goldberg, Update--veinglory

On July 21, 2008, or there-abouts, author Lee Goldberg deleted a review of one of his books by an Affaire de Coeur reviewer. The basis for this was the association (now severed?) with LightSword Publishing, who had been extensively and positively featured in the magazine. And because "advertisers get positive reviews and articles written about them depending on the amount of page space they purchase." Mr. Goldberg covers Romantic Times' assertion that bought reviews are not rated any higher than free ones but concludes "Whether that's true or not, the practice is highly unethical and creates an unacceptable conflict of interest. It's shameful. Advertising should never have any influence over editorial content. That's a basic tenet of ethical journalism." Making it clear that it is the buying of reviews at all that he objects to--even if the favorability of the review is unaffected.

I had previously commented on the open policy the magazine to allow advertisers to provide content for the magazine (apparently to be printed 'as is' based on some of the articles I have read) and in order to have cover art shown with reviews and appear on the cover. And to guarantee reviews for books by advertising publishers or authors. There is nothing to suggest that purchasing advertising effects the rating of a book. On might argue that if AdC doesn't run negative reviews any review is "positive" review. However, a quick scan of the latest issue shows reviews that lean positive (average rating=4.1/5) but certainly do cover the full scale with some of the lower scores relating to books by advertising publishers. (p.s. I am pretty confused about the AdC review that got 5.5/5 stars. Typo?) I would consider Mr. Goldberg's initial statement correct only if the word "positive" was removed--but the post in full establishes that whether the bought review is positive or not is not the key aspect of his objection.



I could quibble about the exact correctness of several of Mr. Goldberg's statements but in blogging and comment he made the main thrust of his objection quite clear. And when Ms Snead wrote: "It came out that there are some magazines and web site where authors have to pay for reviews ... We have never done that." Um. Well, Mr. Goldberg clarified in his comment: "What I said is that AdC will review books and publish editorial content in exchange for the purchase of an advertisement. In other words, reviews can be bought." Of the two statements the latter is more correct (with reference to AdC's own advertising pdf brochure): "To compliment your ad and review we also offer interviews and articles. If you would like to have an interview let us know 3 months in advance so it can appear in the same issue as your review and ad" (emphasis added).

Why am I bringing this all up again. Well, because the good folks at Affaire de Coeur, have and I do not think it an apt last word. In the most recent issue of Affaire de Coeur, Louise Snead (Editor in Cheif) called all authors and publishers who had ever been reviewed by the magazine "cowardly" and "disinterested in the truth" for not stepping forward to declare "Goldberg's opinions were false". In a full page rant Ms Snead characterised Mr. Goldbergs words as (let me count the ways): unverified hearsay, untrue, slanderous, lies, false, unfounded, unresearched, and careless. She persists with making a straw man out of Mr. Goldberg's complaint by focusing on the money-for-stars aspect that is not true, and also not the point. Whereas in her own words the accusation that "we sold reviews vis a vis ads", if I am parsing that right, is factually correct.

Ms. Snead seem not to realise that the palpable lack of support for her position has less to do with widespread inability to comprehends basic facts or simpering cowardice, and more to do with the fact that her position is not strong. Paying for ads does get you reviews with the magazine. No amount of pointing to sites who do worse, or accusations of slander, will obscure that. She might have spent a little of her page space in outlining and defending the practise, rather than reprinting large sections from her blog--with a side order of editorial spleen and torschlusspanik. Because if the magazine is to have this kind of 'you are with me or you are a yellow-bellied moron' tone I may not be the only one not renewing. (And given the use of my own name in some of the blog comments I must say that spreading hearsay of dubious accuracy is apparently sometimes considered good for the AdC goose even when it is slander for the Goldberg gander.)

For me, Karmyn, first comment on the same post, sums the whole thing up: "Goldberg can be a total douche about some things, but he seems to be right about this. Books should be reviewed on their own merits, not on how much money somebody paid for advertising with the reviewers."

p.s. The magazine has a quarter page advertising their blog--in which they have not replaced the default 'about' page. Meanwhile they continue to have this blog with one different post. Will the real AdC blog please stand up?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Adsense/New market?--veinglory

I have noticed a few more adsense spots from Siren (Erotic Romance from SIREN/Buy Best Selling Erotic Romance/Indulge Yourself, Feel the Heat) and Ravenous (FREE Erotic Short Story/Hot romance, award-winning writers/Win an iTouch at Ravenous Romance!) and even what I assume to be very small presses like Club Lighthouse ("Lifeguard" a new e book/download an exciting, sexy, erotic/sensitive love story).

And speaking of Club Lighthouse, in what seems to be something of a trend they are hosting books from another publisher, named as Erotic Excursions (their homepage here). The seem like an interesting epublisher, but more on the erotica side than erotic romance, so probably won't list them. However I would consider a separate list for erotica epublishers if their is interest--including collection of sales figure data. Let me know if you think this would be useful. I would note that Erotic Excursions are, in turn, looking to e-tail for other presses. Hmmm.

Not to mention Wicked Castle (Romance E-Books/See why our romance ebooks/have dazzled since 1998). I would note that sporadic reports of low or missed payment continue for this publisher, which is listed as 'not recommended' at ERECsite (under the general company name of ABCD webmasters, also known as Bethany's Group). However I could use some direct confirmation.

p.s. I am not entirely sure I understand what 'Siren Bookstrand' is. Could someone explain? I guess that as Siren is a publisher and Bookstrand is an e-tailer, this is just a publisher-specific storefront such as fictionwise and others also provide? (e.g. the EPIC fictionwise store)

Ebook deals

DearAuthor reports that the code OPRAHWINFREY will get you $50 off a kind, bringing the price down to $309 (see details on Oprah's site) "After today," The New York Times declares, "it will be a lot harder to argue that the Kindle is just a niche device for tech nerds."

The Sony Reader is down to $299 with free shipping. You can also opt for a special edition with free romance ebooks by Debbie Macomber , a decorative skin and, um, knitting patterns (once again I get the message I am not the "typical" romance reader). Although if you want a touch screen and built in reading light you still need to come up with $399.

p.s. how are the altered romance contest entries coming?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Adsense for ER E-Publishers--veinglory

There was mention on DearAuthor of Noble House using AdSense, which they certainly are. (A little heavy on the initial capitals, perhaps?).

"Hot Erotic Romance Ebooks
From Today's Most Talented Authors
Download Yours Today"


I would note, however, that they are not the only one. The following is for Ellora's Cave. They are a little less specific about the ebook angle (but then they do offer trade paperbacks) and a little more specific about sub genres.

"Erotic Romance Novels
Fulfill your hottest fantasies
All genres - chick lit to vampires"


And another from our friends at Loose Id. I am not sure about that tag line for cold selling, but what would I know?

"The Hottest Romance
Put a leash on boredom Buy erotic
romance e-books from Loose Id!"


I hadn't noticed the Ellora's Cave or Loose Id ads until recently. I wonder if they idea came from the Noble Romances ads which certainly have been ubiquitous, but probably not cost effective?

I am also am not sure that the wording of these ads, essentially tag lines for e-publishers, are terribly snappy. But I guess they do the most important thing in marketing--that is they say what products is for sale. I guess the AdSense format doesn't give much room to manoeuvre?

If you add the three texts together, and retain any word that appears in at least two out of three, you get the very pithy and to the point message:

"Your hot erotic romance ebooks"

And I think the point of general audience advertising is that we do need more people to be aware of erotic romance ebooks. We want more people who are even able to speak of "their" erotic romance ebooks--rather than having all 60 erotic romance epublishers continue to pit fight for the same small pool of existing readers.

Noble Romance is taking something of a financial gamble, but good on them. Ellora's Cave and Loose Id have shown a willingness to reach out to a wider readership in the past (such as advertising in gay and women's magazines). It is something of a shot in the dark (I imagine) but this kind of strategy is needed to grow the erotic romance ebooks readership as a whole, which will benefit all of us.

Friday, October 24, 2008

New Market: Queered Fiction


Planning releases in ebook and paperback. Currently only seeking short stories for their "Queer Wolf" anthology. Planned opening some time next year. The usual cautions and caveats apply.

Found via Dusk/ERWF

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Romance Research Round-Up: Happily Ever After--veinglory

I like to read the peer-reviewed research and thought I might share a few of the more interesting recent papers. The following is the first paper I have found that specifically mentions an erotic romance epublisher: Ellora's Cave.

"In contemporary culture the erotic popular romance novel serves the function once filled by the fairy tale. Fairy tales have been interpreted as encapsulating collective fantasies ... women see these novels as escapist fantasies. If we reposition the conflict in romance novels from the quest of a love that conquers all to a struggle for power through knowledge of the other, it becomes possible to read these novels also as fantasies of female empowerment."
[Lee, Linda. (2008) Guilty pleasures: reading romance novels as reworked fairy tales. Marvels & Tales: Journal of Fairy Tales Studies, 22, 52-66]

To any other audience, comparing romance to fairy tales might be considered an insult. However Ms. Lee is writing for a journal devoted to the fairy tale not as a children's story but as important narratives that "invoke a fictional fantasy realm and express a collective fantasy...."--often addressing very adult concerns and anxieties. She outlines the history of romance up to (but not past) Ellora's Cave's romantica and shows the clear similarities between fable and romance, including romances novels clearly based on 'Beauty and the Beast' and other clasics. She gently chides fairy tale scholars for neglecting the modern romance and limiting themselves to high literary re-imaginings of traditional tales.

p.s. I liked her point that many masculine genres have predictable plot elements (e.g. detective stories) but don't get hit with the "formulaic" stick. I mean, why do we have to find out who the murderer is at the end, that is so predictable.

Brits Get Pounded (and then some)--veinglory

Ebook Reader prices in the UK, What Gives?

I was watching the clip below, in which librarians from the British Library try out various ebook readers. The comments are, on the whole, extremely predictable. But what caught my ear was the prices!



The Sony reader at 199 GB pounds, The Cybook at 269 and the Iliad at 389. Compared to a currency conversion of the US price, these readers are retailing for an extra 7% for the Sony and Iliad and a whopping 19% for the Cybook. And of course the Kindle is not availble at all via Amazon.co.uk although I notice they do sell power cords and other accessories for the US model.

Bearing in mind that most of the manufacturers are based closer to the UK than the US (Netherlands, France) what accounts for the difference? Taxes? Economy of scale?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fresh Linky Goodness--veinglory

Review: of 'The Jewel of Medina': "Is it worth risking your life for the sake of a bodice ripper?" [Time] (Um, yeah. Prejudice is a terrible thang)

Interview: “God wants us to be madly in love with our husbands,” wrote the anonymous women behind the site ["Christian Nymphos"]. “He wants us to keep that fire burning in our marriage beds.” [Telegraph] (Anonymously)

Preview: Trailers for Dark Castle Lord's movie debut. [Youtube] (no comment)

Free-view: free downloads from Midnight Moon Cafe.

...and Mrs Giggles: "if you have a story about a girl spending the weekend in some cottage having sex with five men, that's erotica. Pretending that she has "intense love" for all five men and have them marry her in a ceremony by the last page in order to make all that sex stuff "respectable" won't cut it." [blog] (hear, hear: except I work equally hard to establish that I think erotic romance, and erotica in general, is porn.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

On Working for Chickenfeed--veinglory

working for chicken feed
It is one of those tired old debates: should writers work for low pay? In fact it normally starts of as an assertion, writers should not work for low pay--doing so means they have now respect for their craft, their colleagues, or indeed themselves. And the responses can be equally emphatic. This is, indeed, an issue that can make me act like a shrill asshat as members of one yahoogroup have recently seen (the less said about that the better, at least from my POV).

However, given some time to think and make those thoughts orderly, this is what I have to say. When people do thing, they have reasons. You may not share those reasons, you may not respect those reasons, but reasons will exist. And showing respect for ones colleagues may in fact include allowing that we don't all have to agree in issues like this.

#1: Non-Pecuniary Gain
If a writer is accepting a small rate of pay it may be because they are receiving other benefits. For example they may go with a lower paying publisher because they are more approachable, more responsive or provide some other less tangibel benefit. Not everyone is aiming for the top with all of their energy--so ease of process can be a consideration if writing is a sideline. Further to that, a good many of us would be writing whether it made money or not. So any money more than none is a bonus (versus anything less than pro-rates being an insult). Writing may be done for fun, for profit or for any intermediate combination of the two. Ultimately a writer who is in it primarily for the money is going to have to offer something the amateur can't or won't, in order to command a professional wage (i.e. don't blame the monkeys if you can't successfully demand more than peanuts).

#2: Taking What they can Get
Any writer might want a high wage, but if the best they can get is a low one a lot of them are going to take it. In the global market place we are competing with people who require only supplemental income, or are logging on from nations where a US dollar goes a very long way. If an author has a manuscript and they have shopped it around the upper tier for as long as they are temperamentally equipped to, they will take it down a notch. The work has already gone into the book, so the choice becomes taking what you can get or getting nothing and this book potentially never being read. Some people to shelve the book and try to write a better one, but others sell the book at the best market they can and then still go on to try and write a better one.

#3: Cluelessness
This is the only reason I really have a problem with. Especially in royalty-based markets a writer may effectively accept a very low rate of pay because they have no idea how many copies of the book their publisher will be able to sell. I may not share or respect a lot of writer's reasons for consciously choosing to be paid peanuts, but it is ultimately their life and their choice. But wandering into epublishing on the assumption you are going to make out like JK Rowling just isn't a good idea. And that is what this site is about.

Ultimately if a writer wants to work for high pay they need to find high paying markets and give them what they want. A gourmet chef is not competing with a steak house, a hot dog vendor or a church bake sale--and the more people writing, and reading, at every level, the better.

p.s. still looking for sales data, especially for Wild Rose Press and Ellora's Cave.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Excessia--veinglory


On Piers Anthony eXcessica is quoted: “We're a partnership publisher who works on a load-sharing/balancing principle to keep our costs negligible.”

I went to check out the submission guidelines and found: "we are a partnership rather than a standard publisher (who have editors and cover artists on staff) we require that you have your own manuscript edited and provide your own cover art ... With eXcessica there are no contracts, and no need for them. There’s just a simple agreement giving eXcessica non-exclusive right to publish your work, and we keep nothing. That’s right, we take no percentage of your sale. All sales are yours."

and

"to be clear, don’t worry! If needed, we do offer resources for editing and cover art production at no monetary cost to you."

So, I am assuming eXcessica is a co-op ("collaborative") where the founding members are covering overheads. However I find the offer of "resources" anything but clarifying. If a business is a publisher it provides these services as part of its contribution, if it is a co-op it does not provide these things as the author is self-publishing and so responsible for creating a retail-ready product. Anything in between, frankly, gets very confusing.

I will be tagging epublishers on the list that do not provide full service, coding (C) where the author provides their own editing/art etc and ($) where they are required to pay a fee for some services such as cover art/advertising etc. I am considering listing these companies separately from full-service epublishers with no fees, but could use some feedback on this issue.

As ever, sales data would be appreciated.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

EREC Happenings


Altered Romance Contest

The Altered Romance contest is going ahead. For details see this post. Entries must be submitted to me by email by 12pm (GMT) on November 1st. Winner and runner-up received $20 by paypal :)

Open Call and New Release Notice Area

Those of you not on feeds might notice a new area in the right column for open calls. Publishers, feel free to send a short notice about open anthologies, new imprints, contests and the like. Keep it brief and provide a link. Open Call notices will remain up for one month, or as space allows.

I am also considering an area for new releases (title, author, tag line and link only) if there is interest. Send open call and new release notices to veinglory at gmail.com with a clear subject line (e.g. open call notice for EREC, new release notice for EREC) to avoid being mistaken for spam.

Cliterature: Women, Sexuality and Books

I am trying my hand at paid blogging. Not all that well paid as $1 a day and $1 per 500 unique hits ($50 payment threshold)--but worth a go I thought. The blog is Cliterature and the site is Today.com, if anyone else wants to try it. Although possibly you know of sites that offer a better deal?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fresh Links & Pictures--veinglory

.
Internet use is making us stupider... and smarter.

Note: some new comments on the Dark Castle Lords post from February (where does the time go?)

Questionable Halloween Costume --unless you are intending to go to a very interesting party in which case I would have positioned the spots differently.


At YahooAnswers: Open Question, Sleeping Clue (a.k.a. worst. market. ever.)

TeddyPig on Torquere Press

The I Love You mouse. Every time you rub its scoll button it lights up and says 'I love you'. Disturbing, much?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bulletin: Lyrical Hiring

"Lyrical Press is expanding our editing department. We're currently seeking four to six full-time copy editors. Rate of pay is 8% of cover price for digital sales and 5% of cover price for print. Interested parties, please direct all queries to Stephanie McGrath at employment[at]lyricalpress.com. You will be sent a .pdf with complete information about the position and instructions on how to apply."

[Contest] Altered Romance

.
[Entry edited to update rules]

Inspired by a link from a few days ago I would like to proposed an Altered Romance Contest.

All you need to do is photocopy or scan a random page from a romance book of your choice. You then selectively remove as many words as you like to create your own piece.

You can just cross out the words with a marker or get a little more creative. In fact so long as you start with a page from a romance book, and end up with an artwork, anything goes!

The prize for the top two entries would be $20 by paypal (one chosen by vote, and one by me). Please email entries to veinglory at gmail.com.

Just as an example here is my alter of a page from Beloved Enemy by Jane Feather. It didn't start out quite so homoerotic, go figure.


[click picture to enlarge]

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

No Slash Please, We're British--veinglory


It is easy to forget that for the great majority of people M/M is imply not on the radar. The Metro article today explain what M/M is and that some women like it is basic yawn-tastic. But the comments on these things are always a bit of a social barometer. It looks like the UK (at least those that hit this page so far) is current running:

For (2):
* "Phwoarrrr"
* "Why does this merit discussion as though it were an 'alternative' sexuality"

Against (2):
* "who find this above topic interesting to watch on t.v must have some serious phycological problems"
* "Urgh! You wouldn't get me watching any of that!"

Even More Against (2):
* "Why would I enjoy watching people having sex?"
* "I am offended by porn"

Against the Against (2):
* "Shut up"
* "If you find the article so offensive, why did you bother going onto this page..."

Against the Against the Against (1):
* "My statement was merely a personal preference"

And My Favorite (1):
* "I am a gay male but hate gay porn and find hetero porn a massive turn on."

So, fess up--much Chi Chi La Rue on your DVD shelf. Raging Stallions? Any good recommendations of more smoochy, less grunty/slappy gay skin flicks?