Wednesday, January 28, 2009
We haz it. Latest time trends in first month sales, excluding Ellora's Cave which continues to lead the pack. Full figures here.
I am not one of those 'the sky is falling' types when it comes to normal publishing and distribution models. they have lasted a few hundred years in more or less this form, I am thinking they will last a few hundred more with only minor tinkering.
But I do have to wonder if Borders is teetering a little. Many branches seem to have a lot of stock out back they aren't shelving, the overseas franchises were sold off, and there were some branches closed after Christmas. Now I see via Dear Author that they won't be stocking Bujold's new book, Sharing Knife #4: Horizon, in store at all. Not a single copy.
I am more of a Vorkosigan Saga fan than Bujold per se, but any book by this author would have a chance of getting bought if I saw it on the shelf--and I have seen the new series widely and favorably reviewed by grassroots readers. (And Paladin of Souls was pretty damn good.) I am having trouble seeing how this decision makes sense at all.
On related note I find it interesting that Ravenous Romance offers returns/refund on their ebooks if a customer is dissatisfied. I can't think of any other publisher that does this as open and routine policy. And yeah, I am officially lifting the self-ban in discussing Ravenous. I blog not to praise or bury them, they just keep doing interesting things I want to talk about.
Oh, and a minor case of WTF: Bujold's Sharing Knife #2: Legacy audio edition uses the same stock photo as my Samhain ebook Wolfkin.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
John Updike, the author of of 50 books--many showing great insight into human relationships--died today at the age of 76 as a result of lung cancer.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Think All used a classic trap. Offer a reasonably priced product, and hide a monthly subscription fee deep in the copious fine print. In June of 2006 I fell for it. I didn't notice for almost two months.
I cancelled the subscription, the took a second charge anyway. Think All said it had already been processing when I cancelled and I couldn't get it back. A three way phone call with the bank, where the bank said they would go to court to get that payment back, caused them to rethink that position.
I figured I was out the first payment, but I still registered a dispute with Think All. And today I got most of that money back by way of a Federal Trade Commission Settlement.
Scams are like viruses, they adapt and attack. But a little proactive activity helps keep your immunity up so you can still afford to get sneezed on from time to time. In this case 1) use a credit card for payment, 2) register disputes with all possible agencies (company, bank, BBB etc) even when you doubt it will have any effect.
Which isn't why I do it. I complain when I get screwed over because the only thing worse than being screwed over is acting like you think it was okay. But every now and then it also, quite literally, pays off.
This may be my bias showing, but I think any publisher whose authors report their sales may well be a step up from those that don't. I also think there is something to be said for a smaller press whose sales show an upward trend.
I know some press owners have instructed authors not to communicate with watchdog sites or included non-disparagement and other clauses into author's contracts that prevent this. Or reference might be made to sales figures being "confidential"--which they are: to the author. This means the author can usually choose to disclose them to whomever they wish. Of the 63 epublishers currently listed only a handful are well represented in the EREC dataset. And in order to provide publisher-specific data I need a bare minimum of 5 books by 3 different authors from that press--preferably a lot more.
I would like to give a shout out to those who have reported data in the past. If you look at the graph below, relating to sales achieved by ebooks that have been on sale one year or more, you can see the dataset is dwindling a bit. In order to fairly reflect the sales of presses whose performance is improving I count only data for book that was reported within last last 365 days. The yellow arrows show epublishers that have dropped from the publisher-specific data set due to lack of data. If you have sales data you could add, or update, I would really appreciate it.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
While I am temporarily reopening the RWA issue.... The following is a forum post by Xandra Gregory, a LSB author (reprinted with permission).
RWA's biggest problems stem from the dual need it has to both encourage its members in their careers (providing markets, growing readership and increasing visibility for the genre, etc.) and act as a guardian/advocate against the career paths that take undue advantage of authors. For starters, there's just no real good way to do that except on a case-by-case basis. RWA's best intentions are setting up an environment where the organization "norms" include a career path that enables a writer to earn decent money, see his or her books in places where they can be bought by customers, and retain reasonable rights to his or her intellectual property.
What this does is sets up a tacit approval of the "proper" way a career should progress. What this fails to do is take into account new markets, emerging markets, or "breakout" situations where an author can expand the reach of romance, grow her audience, or explore new methods of getting stories in front of people and getting money for said stories.
It's not inherently bad to say, "authors should be paid at least X for their time and effort, and should be able to keep Y from their publishers without penalty." But it all goes pear-shaped because firstly, RWA doesn't have the kind of muscle needed to enforce the norms they set in place--the thing where RWA advocated with Harlequin over the ownership of pen names wasn't something that happened overnight. It took *years* and it depended on a lot of agents and authors and editors, too, having good will towards working together. And RWA couldn't do much if the results were different. Harlequin would have done what Harlequin was going to do for business, period.
But by the same token, RWA is dropping the ball on things like electronic rights. Instead of making their members fully aware that electronic publishers offer somewhere in the range of 35-50% royalties on a title, while traditional/NY/mainly-print publishers are offering the same royalties on electronic editions as their mass-market paperbacks (somewhere around 8-10%), the RWA is busy nitpicking over how many pennies make a "srs bzns" writer, and why a book is only a real book if it's sold by bookstore Z. RWA should be warning its authors to negotiate e-rights separately, and to pay attention to "worldwide" rights and their presence or absence (see "Hachette Book Group" and "no more ebook titles" en la Google).
Upthread, someone mentioned that members should push for an erotic romance RITA category. I've been a member of Passionate Ink (the erotica/erotic romance) chapter since its inception, and our board members have been pushing for an erotic RITA category from the word "go." And every year, we've been stonewalled. There are good and bad points on both sides, as other posters have pointed out (if romances aren't just about "the sex" then the sexual content and heat level shouldn't matter, versus how can an erotically-focused novel be accurately compared to one that is not when the points of the two books are different). Efforts were shifted into providing RITA judges with an option to either opt-in or opt-out of judging explicit content, that also met with a dead-end. So on PI's part, it's not for lack of trying.
I'm a member of RWA for at least another year, because I think the organization can change, and it's still a really good value for the unpublished writer, or the writer just starting out. There's a lot out on the internet about writing, but there's a lot of crap out there, too. RWA is one of the places that can weed out the crap about writing (even if it engages in its own crap-manufacture in other ways). My own local chapter brings in editors and agents periodically, so my membership gets me access to them on a more intimate level than the slush pile. My chapter also embraces e-published and non-traditional published authors, erotica/erotic romance writers, and even mystery writers if they're open to romantic subplots. National membership buys me access to my local events and Passionate Ink, and it's still within the realm of "can afford even if I'm not crazy about some of the stuff going on." It may edge its way out of there in the future, but it's still there for now.
(see also: Why RWA Needs to Revisit PAN Eligibility Rules)
Friday, January 23, 2009
Fiona Glass, founder and former editor of the original slash magazine Forbidden Fruit, is making her bows and leaving after seven years. The new editorial team which is taking over on a full time basis currently consists of Stan Ridge, Nigel Purchase, Alex Hogan, Piet Bach and Liz Nicholson. The zine is edging away from its original slash roots and aligning itself more closely with the traditional gay male market. It will still be seeking original slash submissions but these may no longer form the main focus of the zine and the shift will soon be reflected in an exciting new look.
Says Fiona, "Due to sheer lack of time I'd already stepped back from the day-to-day running of the zine into more of a consultancy role. With the shift in emphasis I feel I have less in common with Forbidden Fruit these days and it seemed like a good time to step aside and move on to new projects.
"I would very much like to thank everyone who has been involved with creating and running Forbidden Fruit with me over the years - my co-founder, my editors (not least Emily Veinglory herself), all our brilliant writers and artists, and perhaps especially, the readers. I wish the new team every success with the current, and any future, form of the zine and am looking forward to putting my feet up for a well-earned rest!"
Thursday, January 22, 2009
January is the month for reneging on resolutions. As I have already had a little slip on self-banned topic #1 (Ravenous Romance), I may as well also slip a little on self-banned topic #2, RWA.
There is a petition online, open to members and non-members, suggesting some categories changes at Romance Writer of America. Specifically:
1. A move for total inclusion in PAN for those who qualify based on the current $1000 earnings, non-vanity, non-subsidy guidelines, meaning that all PAN members are eligible for every PAN benefit, including entrance in the RITA competition. (But not asking for the RITA to be PAN exclusive.)
2. The removal of the exclusion of those who don't qualify for PAN, but are epubbed or small press pubbed, from the Golden Hearts.
3. The refund of entrance fees to every PAN member who entered but was disqualified from the RITAs due to the addition of the phrase "mass-produced."
(Feel free to add your RWA member # in the comments if you're a member!)
SPAM: "It is always necessary to make your creation safe in order to secure it from the duplicity. There is one online service Copyright [link removed] that helps you to make your creation secured from getting duplicate. It makes copyright of your original work and avoids the possibilities of cheats and frauds to whip your work." (e.g. here, here , here, here, here, and here with the bonus comedy subject line of: "Say no to dupilcity". Actually, it's pretty much everywhere).
Response: It is never necessary to register copyright anywhere, and only arguably beneficial to register if the need to sue for damages in the US is foreseeable. In this case the work must be registered with the US copyright office. No other register is admissible in a US court. The UK register (wcauk.com) seemed a unnecessary, but not ridiculous, precaution until they started hiring one-post-wonders to spam the entire cyberverse.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Today I sat down with a copy of a magazine. Well, actually, several copies of it. It was a magazine for authors so the topics are for the most part familiar.
Is erotica ruining the genre? Is modern fiction less skilled? Is the market over crowded? How much do writers make? Why do writers make so little? Why do celebrities get published when I can't? Couldn't romance be better written? How can authors avoid bad publishers? Shouldn't writers help each other avoid bad publishers? Why does retailer, or the publisher, make so much more off a book that the author? How bad is slush pile?
The magazine is "The Author", the year of publication is 1890. Every quote is from a different article.
"...it would be fatal to literary art to exclude from legitimate use those facts of life and character which the erotic novelist turns to illegitimate account."
"I don't wish to discourage anyone from starting a really good periodical if he has the correct knowledge..."
"These figures, I think, will do more to answer the problem, "Does poetry pay?" than all the essays that could be written on the subject."
"One of my friends ... remarked to me not long ago on the great number of low-priced volumes containing impure fiction which were flooding the market ... he was surprised to learn ... the demand for this sort of stuff comes chiefly from ladies..."
"It seems to me that one of the greatest functions of literature at this moment is not merely to produce great works, but also to protect the English language." (Echoes of the editorial of the copy of Affaire de Coeur I just received except that work seems to make at least one of the errors it so disdains.)
"But how do you tell if your publisher is honest?" (Followed by naming some good and bad publishers with observations about what pay and contract terms are fair--much the same now as then.)
"You may write like Shakespeare and go begging ... simply because your Shakespeare."
"No romance is any worse, but far better, for being well written."
"Why is there no society of authors ... to keep the author out of the clutches of the dishonest publisher... the dishonest publisher is not such a rarity that the author need not beware...."
"...a lady who handed her manuscript to a publisher, and was told the cost of printing a specified number of copies would be $800 .. direct to a printer ... that number if copies [would cost]m $80" (Also covered, contests as a dishonest way to get manuscript submissions cheaply from novice writers).
"Authorship ... its money rewards are not so great as other occupations."
"an American author ... ten percent ... the bookseller ... fifty percent..." (Also mentioned that to earn a good living an author is pushed to be prolific).
"the widow of General Grant ... paid .. ten times what the unknown writer of a good story would receive, and even much more than a writer of considerable celebrity could demand."
"Of the vast multitude of manuscripts offered to book publishers each year, probably 75 percent, are worthless."
"Had he typewritten his manuscript, the novel would have thrown him into debt..."
"One has very little sympathy with authors who grumble at the publisher's getting his share."
...and so much more on the same tried and true themes that I wonder of all our current magazines and blogs could not, with a little judicious find-and-replace, be replaced with Victorian-era reruns--and no doubt material from even early than that.
Monday, January 19, 2009
A new lesbian press is opening soon: Box Lunch Books. (E-, print? I don't know.)
I have now seen several reports that authors advertising in a newsletter put out by Jewel Stone have not received the ad or a refund.
Also, the cat of curiousity-ness would like to see any and all sales figures for Ravenous Romance (
as promised stike that, no figures available yet) and The Wild Rose Press (as widely promoted, but before lapsing from the data set they seemed rather underwhelming, sales-wise).
Any feedback on the new looks so far? Any feedback, requests? Font size beig enough? Banner too big?
Re: my off topic Blue Star events scam story. Emails to Marriott and Blue Star went unanswered. The email to the Better Business Bureau got the routine response and is working through the system to be the first official black mark on Blue Star's record. Why, I wonder, has no one else complained? Edited to add: victory, I have a promise of a refund from Marriott
Edited to add: Re: the Emergency Liquidation Sale this weekend (Jan 30-Feb 1) at the Donald Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont, IL. This is run by Aroma Senses LLC which has a Better Business Bureau rating of F--the lowest rating. Avoid.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
The Absolute Write site's back up, but is not entirely reliable just yet. They're running test stuff, plus the server is melting under the load as people flock back. :-) The forum in particular is under a lot of strain, so you may find you can see the site front page and the general articles, but not the forum.
There are Bad Publishers out there who will try to scare inexperienced authors into putting up with abuse by threatening them with being put on the industry blacklist. As lots of more experienced authors will point out, there is no such blacklist. If your writing's good enough to be interesting to one publisher, it's good enough to be interesting to another, because there really aren't many niches that are small enough that there's just one publisher and its tentacles.
So yes, blacklists are mostly not an issue. Mostly. Because there is one way to get on a blacklist. That way is to behave so appallingly badly in public that every editor in your genre decides independently that they do not want to have anything to do with you ever again, in case they have to deal with the crazy. Editors do not like having to deal with the crazy. They can always find another author who doesn't do what Kevin W. Reardon aka Cole Adams appears to have done, which is to repeatedly suggest to an editor suffering from depression that he should commit suicide, and follow that up with a death threat. All because said editor had a one line unfavourable comment about Reardon's short story in a post commenting about stories he was considering for a reprint anthology.
It's possible that the guy's being framed by someone else posting under his name, but the timeline suggests it's real.[*]
Poppy Z Brite has a particularly lucid summary of what happened at http://docbrite.livejournal.com/656
I did the odd bit of anthology editing long and long ago. The therapy worked and I'm on the wagon, but I can still see things from the editor's side of the slushpile, if I squint. This is the sort of thing that makes me think that the easiest way to deal with seeing a particular name at the top of a submission is to reject it without reading it. Because who wants to deal with edits on a story where the author is that sensitive to any suggestion that his prose is less than perfect?
[*The editor in question confirms that there's solid evidence it's really Reardon in a comment to this post: "Please note that I asked the publisher of the anthology to speak to the author. He did so and received word back, confirming this was not a case of 'sock-puppetry.'" ]
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
This blog will have some scheduled downtime tomorrow (Saturday 16th) for updates to the template and website.
Edited to Add: Basic template changes made, but I will be adding more cosmetic elements later.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
As much as I think we could use a good non-erotic romance epublisher, I am not confident that this is it.
"We want to bring back classic romance storytelling without excessive sex to bog down and hide the true element of the story -- Love."
"This conversation led into talk of the general industry ... the saturation of the market with sex-based storytelling and the decline in quality of the actual novels.
I can feel the respect for their erotic romance colleagues and peers from here; it just makes me all warm and tingly inside.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
I sometimes wonder about F/F, which is to say lesbian erotic romance equivalent to M/M (which is written mainly by and for women).
I mean lesbian romance clearly existed, written largely be and for lesbians, mainly in print, and with a fairly significant non-gay and/or non-female secondary audience. (I read a little Radclyffe myself). But would F/F be lesbian erotic romance for or deliberately inclusive of a straight female audience? This seems to be the assumption but the actual 'mirror product' would be lesbian erotic romance by and for men.
If we look at femslash (c.f. slash) and yuri (c.f. yaoi) the lesbian side of the prose coin is clearly not a direct mirror of the gay male material in angle or amount. While it is apparent at least in yuri that the male authorship and audience is increasing and popularity is growing as the genre expands--the western F/F audience in general is largely female (straight, lesbian and otherwise) and a lot smaller than for M/M.
And the "otherwise" may be a big part of the equation. As sexuality research is showing that men and women do not make up a simple dichotomy. While men showed arousal almost exclusively to visual material relating to the gender they are attracted to romantically (gay men to men, straight men to women), women react in a fairly indiscriminate manner to the intensity of the sexual activity regardless of its nature.
So it may be that when you look across the diversity of erotic material many areas will be of interest to women regardless of their romantic orientation. When you add to that the female reading bias erotica is, perhaps, becoming a chick genre. Now perhaps that won't be so bad. After years of any kind of pornography being a vice for the male of the species, maybe it is time for erotica to emerge from the chrysalis and enter its feminine, literary age of Aquarius?
But I do wonder if locating F/F within the erotic romance genre on websites heavily themed with female-centric language and hetero-centric images might just continue to fulfill the industry prophecy that 'F/F doesn't sell well'. Because to be honest there are only so many clinches and dew-bedecked rosebuds most people can stand on their way to find the kind of hot chick-on-chick action that might encourage any guy or gal discover the middle ground on their Kinsey scale.
A more (or perhaps less) 'broadly'-based F/F genre might need to strike out beyond the realm of romance rather than remain in the shadow of M/M forever.
Edited to Add: What Women Want (Maybe)--NY Times.
A 22-year-old virgin prostitute needs the money to train as a marraige counsellor.
You seriously cannot make this shit up.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Liquid Silver Books regularly appears in the top five erotic romance epublishers in terms of sales, and I like to keep up with what they are up to as a 'major player'. So when they updated their submission guidelines I dropped by to look them over.
There are two things that struck me about the new guidelines. The first being this:
"Sex in the stories must be descriptive, titillating for the reader, further the plot ... The stories must hold on their own if the sex scenes are omitted .. Taboo subjects include pedophilia, rape or incest [etc] ... and our definition of pornography."
Is it just me that has a little difficulty, even as someone very familiar with erotic romance, with the idea of titillating non-pornography that advances the plot but could be omitted without undermining said plot? Justice Stewart famously said that hardcore pornography is hard to define but "I know it when I see it." But if there is an editorial definition of it at LSB it would be helpful, IMHO, to provide it to authors considering submission.And the requirement that the submitting writer provide their "thoughts on ePublishing" is also, IMHO, odd and rather non-specific. My thoughts on the subject lean cynical and I doubt that is what they are after.
I also note extensive specification of non-standard formatting. For example the use of Ariel (sp. Arial?) font and no page numbers. I know that many authors submit frankly inappropriate material in mangled formatting and without any proofreading, but for the most part I would expect presses to be open to the use of MS standard formatting rather than micro-managing (down the level of providing the author with a checklist) an idiosyncratic format and list of writers sins to avoid. It does bring to mind my disquiet when Chippewa specified submission in 16 point font and no use what-so-ever of contractions.
p.s. I see they also use the mid-word capitalising in ePublisher and eBook. I really don't understand how this usage has arisen. Epublisher or epublisher, sure--but why ePublisher, especially when it is a mid-sentence word use?
p.p.s. The LSB banner doesn't display nicely at 1280 wide.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
A serious essay writer posted the following today:
"It was ... rather discomforting when I had to realize that the formula of the standard mass-market-romance ... fits rather too well to describe major plot elements of my cherished Jane Eyre."
Oh noes! She may be a romance reader. What next? Tuning into NASCAR while biting the top off a bottle of cheap lite beer? Because this is obviously a fate worser that death. But here is the basic point of the essay:
"Once I had got over the fact that I had something in common with fans of the ‘bodice-ripper’ ... what Heathcliff and Rochester share with the heroes of mass market romance is that they too can be considered to be examples of the dangerous lover."
Hmmm, the alpha male in my romance is like the alpha male in other romances. Who'd've thunk it. But never fear, the natural order of literary superiority with soon reassert itself.
"By introducing the dangerous lover the Brontës use the same concept as modern mass market romances, but they explore it more thoroughly ... fully embraces the ambivalence of love ...their love is great – but it is also ultimately destructive. Modern mass market romances with their obligatory happy ending shy away from fully exploring this second aspect, thus invariably hollowing out the concept."
Love that ends in a committed relationship is hollow, love that ends with people destroying each other is far more... thorough. Hmmm.
This overlooks, to my mind, a few things:
1) The Brontes wrote books with happy endings (the essayist's favorite, Jane Eyre, for example).
2) Modern love stories come in happy, ambivalent and tragic forms, genre romance just happens to be heavy on the happy--other types of books can be found on other shelves.
3) The Brontes wrote genre romance.
Not all of their books fit the genre definition and it would be somewhat revisionist to apply it--but if the hat fits, no need to spit on it. The Bronte's actually helped to invent romance fiction as we know it today, and the similarity of the alpha male in the modern day to Heathcliff, Rochester et al is not exactly coincidental. Authors read the classics too.
Their books were the genre romance of the day. What set them apart is how damned good they were at it. Less talented writers in the same genre certainly existed in abundance--they just aren't much thought of today. And there are people alive today who write genre romance and literary love stories that are in the ballpark of the Bronte's talent. History isn't entire populated by the authors of undergraduate reading lists, nor are the shelves today entirely the domain of hacks and harlots.
The Bronte's were good not because their books 'aren't romance', or because their stories didn't have HEA. They were good because they were good. Their prose, their characters, their plots, and yes--bodices were actually ripped on occasion. Shockingly, some modern romance writers are also good--for the same reasons.
"It appears that Fictionwise and Overdrive have broken up. This is important because Overdrive supplies over 300,000 books to Fictionwise ... You’ll want to go to Fictionwise and download all those titles." [See Dear Author for more information]
Also the comments on this Dear Author thread seem to explain some of what has been going on with Ellora's cave print books (in that you don't see much of them any more). Edited to Add: More about this on Behler Blog.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
The UK Mail gossip column reports:
"A new book of erotic fiction will trigger a juicy literary guessing game after a gaggle of female writers were invited to contribute risque stories under pseudonyms.
Among those to write for the anthology are Fay Weldon, Esther Freud, Daisy Waugh, Imogen Edwards-Jones and the saucy Rachel Johnson, who tells Harper's Bazaar: 'I wrote my story on a flight coming home from San Francisco.
'It took me about three gin and tonics to get it done. At the end, I suddenly felt all hot and steamy. And I thought to myself: "I can finally see the point of the Mile High Club.'"
Ho hum. I suppose it was bound to happen eventually.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
I am pretty blase about genre. If you want to write fiction about fetishistic mudwrestling with aliens who look like a cross between a My Little Pony and Priapus: more power to you. If you want to write PG Little Home on the Prairie fanfiction: that's fine too. But there are some things that can still manage to boggle my mind.
And Harlequin's Inspirational line guidelines (for Steeple Hill books) fall into that category.
For example, I find it truly hard to imagine a world (post turn of the last century) where the waltz is forbidden as "“sexy” dancing". And what is with the inverted commas? The directive is clearly not meant ironically.
Add to that a list of forbidden words that includes dagnabbit, bet, for Pete's sake, gosh and "Undergarments - of any kind".
Not to mention that one is not to mention of changing clothes or being in the same house as a man overnight unchaperoned (not bed, not room... house).
Also forbidden is "playing cards"--unless "used in connection with bad guys or disapproving of them or such." ("or such"?)
Finally: "Bodily functions, like going to the bathroom, should be mentioned as little as possible and some euphemism may be necessary but we don't want to sound quaint or absurd."
No, well, of course not.
Monday, January 05, 2009
When I first heard about rugby romance fiction I though: 'that could work'. I mean, dude. Daniel Carter -->. Nuff said. (And besides, ex-Brit rugby player Roger Sanderson has been writing M&Bs for years).
Of course being a British imprint they don't have access to the All-Blacky goodness of Carter et al, but they will only be using fictional characters anyway. No thinly disguised celebrity-porn here.
They did, however, lose me at "The RFU are very much behind this and see great opportunities to make rugby more appealing to women."
Oh. Fuck. Off.
I'm sorry, did I type that aloud?
Rugby is about buff, muscular sweaty guys grabbing each others arses in the scum and slamming into each other at speed--with the condiments of competitive pseudo-combat and national pride.
Rugby already appeals to women (and gay men). You don't have to Barbie it up (idiots).
p.s. this is in the Billionaires imprint? What rugby player makes billions?
Friday, January 02, 2009
Back in May of 2007 I first posted about Shadowrose. I wasn't all that impressed. By March 2008 people were having trouble getting a response from the owner, Patricia Fuller, and I considered Shadowrose to be a dead market. In recent times some authors have managed to raise Ms. Fuller and secure a release. I will leave it up to those directly involved to provide more details of they wish to. But any other authors still in limbo might find this a good time to have another go at getting their rights returned.
"Scamwise Banshee", hee. Apologies to Tolkein but that is striking me as funny right now (perhaps due to an overdose of decongestant medications). It would be defined as: "a person who, having been conned, is very keen to warn others and generally diss the institution that conned them."
This isn't about publishing, it is about my ability after 10 years of university education, thirty-six years of life on this planet and plenty of relevant experience... to still get conned.
The TV advertisement for the "Liquidation Clearance Expo" sounded good. I have been to liquidation sales in the past and done rather well. Companies do sometimes decide to get rid of a big lot of last year's models of whatever and sell them off. I have some very nice jewellery from a liquidation sale.
The Liquidation Clearance Expo is for computers, MP3 players and other electronics. So I popped down to the Renaissance Convention Center to see if I could get a good deal. I could use computer speakers, iPhone accessories, and possibly a new desktop if the deal was good.
Warning sign number 1: People exiting the expo noticeably not laden down with boxes and bags.
Warning sign number 2: The hall being used is one I know to be fairly small in size.
Warning sign number 3: You need to pay for a ticket to get in. The price is not posted.
Idiot number 1, namely me, has come all this way, after work, with a headcold, in the dark and nasty weather, and is not in a hurry to just turn around and go home. So I justify it to myself. They wouldn't need much room to display electronic goods. And it is cold, so those people might all have cheap MP3 players in their overcoat pockets--or the computer people might deliver. And the ticket price might cut down shoplifters. (I mentioned the idiot thing, right?)
So, I pay my $9 to go inside to see a 'sham wow'-type product and liquid detergent selling stall, one with hideous costume bling, one with terrible cat's-pee-smelling perfume, one with appalling men's pimp-style clothing that would have been considered a little garish even in the mid-Eighties, one with [insert another derogatory word because I am running out] knitted and printed clothing no doubt bought for pennies from some third world country, one with a dismal selection of picked over and shop-worn shoes, one with cheap plastic toys and cliched 'waterfall' prints, and three with grubby refurbished computers and some obscure car stereo products.
All of this, mind you, at maximum reasonable retail price given what total irredeemable tat it all was.
What should I have done to avoid being scammed? It's simple. I could have gone around to the exit and asked the people there if the sale was worth the ticket price. Failing that I did go around to the entry and warn a few people going in. As I walked away again I could hear one lady saying: but we've already driven all the way over here..."
p.s. for the purpose of key word density: liquidation clearance expo, renaissance convention center, Schaumburg, scam, not worth it, nine dollar cover charge, don't do it, run, run away, save yourself while you still can, liquidation clearance expo.
Edited to add: the parent company is BlueStar Shows. If you are disatisfied you might try requesting a refund directly and/or via the BBB. You can email Marriott here.
Jan 21, 2009 update: After a second email the Renaissance Convention Center has offered to send me a refund and I have provided them with a mailing address for the check. Persistence pays off.
Feb 10, 2009 update: Although they never at any point contacted me directly, Bluestar shows shows offered a refund to resolve my BBB complaint, which I have accepted. So I will cash that check and return the one from Marriott. I would encourage everyone to pursue a compliant about these shows through the BBB, where Bluestar shows still has an 'A' rating. I would note that although I had retained my ticket/receipt I was not required to produce it.
A couple of Triskelion books have been spotted in a Borders store. I emailed Borders Customer Care to ask on what basis they were being sold and who would receive the profit. This query has apparently been sent "to the research team for the answer." Does anyone know more about the ultimate disposition of Triskelion's left over stock? Have you seen them in bookstores recently?
Thursday, January 01, 2009
Amazon review for the Hitachi wand vibrator: "I think I will sew a small tuxedo for it and marry it. It would look just smashing with a tophat."
Q: How many [Kindles] have you sold? (Walter Mossberg)
A: We're not diclosing that. (Jeffrey Bezos)
"I write sensitive characterizations of women's sexuality; you write erotica; he writes porn." (James D. MacDonald)