Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Currently Hollan Publishing has an imprint called Ravenous. Apparently Ravenous Romance they are going to be huge in erotic romance epublishing. News to you? News to me too. See here for the only website they have up as yet. My feelings could be described as 'skeptical'. Skeptical with a side order of incredulous, hold the benefit of the doubt.
I would be more convinced if not for weird aspects of the deal such as an agent being involved in multiple roles (editing an anthology for the press, and editing her own author's work to submit to this new press). Agent involvement would only make sense if Ravenous are anticipating selling tens of thousands of copies of each erotic romance ebook title. That would be literally unprecedented. Some ebook romance titles do that well, but all titles from an epublisher, routinely? Never.
If they actually do change the face of epublishing I will have to eat some crow. But we hear this kind of hubris all the time and it tends to fall flat. The fact that you can make pretty successful art, craft and non-fiction romance coffee table books doesn't mean you can sell steamy ebooks. (p.s. 'When Cats Fly' seems like a pretty transparent 'homage' to Ten Speed's 'Why Cats Paint'? that seems less like a leading book than a following one...)
And if their strategy will be: "...marketing push for this new imprint will include full-page ads in Romantic Times, Publishers Weekly, and other major magazines, as well as major broadcast media. There will also be a huge presence at the Romantic Times conference in October" (comment 27) Well, good luck with that.
So far the only evidence of Hollan’s ability to sell ebooks in the 10,000+ range is they are rather good at doing something else, and they plan to advertise in venues where the majority of readers are not very interested in ebooks (an approach others have tried in the past many times). If there is more to it I would like to know. I think it would be unwise to underestimate what the top epublishers are already capable of, and to assume any company will certainly (or even probably) do an *order of magnitude* better. Especially when they don't seem to have any notion about how to carry out a controlled online launch of the new endeavour.
Can you feel the contempt for Ellora's Cave in this author's comment?: "I think this lack of knowledge about publishing and reaching target audiences (and the slow growth of those audiences) show that even the successful epubs have not exploited all avenues for building readership. I’d rather have a seasoned publishing executive with 20 years experience publishing books that sell big behind a startup publisher than a an unpublished housewife." Lord knows I never sent a book to EC, but ... ouch.
If there is a large untapped market we have all been ignorant of Hollan/Ravenous and their authors will have my abject and sincere apologies for not seeing it. At all. The ebook reading public is small, growing slowly, and I can’t see any way it would support those kind of figures over the next few years. My prediction, a new genre, new format and big mainstream ad push = overextending in every way.
Time, and sales volume, will tell.
So Much for the Industry's Famed Collegiality [Aug 03, 2007--MediaBistro]
MEN IN SHORTS too! [Aug 12, 2008--The agent in question, Lori Perkins]