Author's Complaint About Damnation

Friday, April 30, 2010

Damnation Books has the same owner as Eternal Press, so it might be off interest to this audience that there seems to be some trouble there.

Author Alex Smith reports their use of an allegedly inflated kill fee not specified in the contract:

"Overall my experience with Damnation was quite pleasant, until we disagreed on the design of the cover. They were unwilling to negotiate, so I asked to be released from my contract. At this time, they sent me a letter charging me a $800+ “termination agreement.” This letter included an itemized list of expenses—and as a publisher myself I know how exorbitant and ridiculous these charges are."

He also stated that they carried out unauthorised editing:

"Damnation Books officially violated their own contract when they made substantial changes to my text without my approval, including the re-naming of chapters and inappropriate additions to the copyright page."

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Stuff (warning: may contain nonsense)

Erotica gives book publishers surprising boost [msnbc]
"Much of the new erotica is simply porn moved to the printed page, only smarter and largely aimed at women ... Whatever the reason, publishers are pleased."

According to Alexa "erecsite.com is visited more frequently by females who are in the age range 35-44, have no children and are college educated." And our high impact search terms are ellora's cave and ellora's cave problems

Romance Reader, Unashamed
"I'm sure there are a hundred other myths to be attacked, and none will die easily. But in the end, even if they were mostly true, the disgust for romance novels and their readers would still look more like disdain for women and feminized culture than anything else."

Tropes make me tired. I looked through this site which despite the name is about all kinds of tropes, memes and fanbabble. I was mildly interested until I clicked link after link and was left vaguely depressed for reasons I find hard to explain.

Cordelia Press: dead or just in a coma?

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Ellora's Cave Pricing

Thursday, April 29, 2010

So recently Ellora's Cave stopped discounting prices to vendors, meaning that their usual mark-up would double the price of books sold through vendors. So from their website a book might be $4.45.

Now if you look at Ellora's Cave books on Omnilit or AllRomanceEbooks they are listed as being double-price ($8.90), then normal price "after rebate". Doesn't that seem like the worst of both worlds? You have to pay the full price and jump through hoops to get some of that money back (presumably in the hope that some of them won't bother)?

Meanwhile Amazon is listing the full doubled-price with a discount that splits the difference between normal and doubled price ($7.12). So the vendor's continue to dance around the issue--but EC is still getting their money, I bet.

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ReadersChoice Publishing

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I saw a Twitter user post: "Want to have a say in a new #romance #epublisher? Forming #reader #focus #group. http://ow.ly/1DdkC (facebook.com)"

The link leads to a minimalist facebook page with pretty much no content other than three wall posts. The first being: "ReadersChoice is forming a focus group for romance readers. Help steer and create this exciting new venture, where readers choose which books we publish. Leave a note here if you're interested."

In the absence of much else to go on, I assumed the owners of this enterprise are one or more of the only four people listed as "Liking" the page (Stephen Hemminger, Jennifer Anderson, Debra Taylor Hemminger and Pam Aks Thomas). And indeed I find Debra Hemmingers twitter account is called Readers_Choice and her Linked In description is "Epublishing entrepreneur"--so I will assume she is the primary person on the project.

The concept seems to be to start a romance reader community online, then tailor some kind of epublisher to it. "At ReadersChoice Publishing ALL the great stories are published. No corporate editors decide which books deserve to see the light of day. If our readers like it, we publish it!"

Based on Googling the name I found this website which suggest they are not really open yet. It also suggests that they will be publishing books based on some kind of voting system. The first round of voting seems to be based on the synopsis and the second round on the first chapter.

So there you go, possibly yet another new romance epublisher on the horizon.

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Who was that masked epublisher?

Monday, April 26, 2010

There is only one question more baffling than: why would an epublisher be posting anonymously for Write Sensual and Erotic Romance 'Specializing in sensual and erotic romances' under undisclosed terms? And that is: why would any writer apply for the job?

Is this a new start-up epublisher looking for an opening line-up? Or an established one with something to hide?

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New e-publisher

Sunday, April 25, 2010

MiFiction

"The home of interactive fiction on your mobile phone."

"A moook should be around 25,000 words in total. This should be split into around 10 chapters, so each chapter is about 2,500 words long, and therefore is manageable for the average person to read in a typical session on a mobile phone."

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What ERECblog Can Do For You

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The new blog format is starting to get filled out. I just want to point out a few features you might be able to use.

In the right column there are two areas. One is for presses and anthologies accepting submissions (open calls) and the other is new upcoming book releases. Please feel free to send a short notice for either section. For new releases you can add a book cover and I will post it if there is space.

The short postings that used to appear as "bulletins" are now shown in the left hand column as the "mini blog". On the left are also the listings of blogs by authors, author groups and publishers. If you have one that needs to be added please just let me know.

A solicitation for guest posts appears at the bottom of the blog.

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Well, this is an odd one.....

Hypnotic Dreams professes to provide erotic romance audiobooks "told with sophisticated NLP language patterns that induce a hypnotic trance. This brings the listener into the story, enabling you to see, hear and feel everything described as if it is happening to you."

Frankly I find the idea of a self-proclaimed male hypnotist/author selling (self-dictated) stories "[w]ritten for women who enjoy kidnap and forced seduction or rape fantasies" somewhere between very unappealing and please-pass-the-brain-bleach.

But maybe that's just me. It's not like being a better sub is on my 'to do' list. I think the generic styling of the website throws me off a bit. These stories seem more like self-published fetish fiction than hypnotic sexual self help.

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Modern Beauty and the Beast Movie

Thursday, April 22, 2010



I looks pretty good except the trailer gives away the whole movie (not that it was ever going to be a cliff hanger) and the Beast doesn't really look all that bad.

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[MARKET] Accomplice Press/Curvalicious

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Accomplice Press

"Accomplice Press is launching a line called Curvalicious. The Curvalicious line will be short novella length stories featuring plus size heroines. Curvalicious heroines are beautiful, strong, intelligent women who get the guy without losing weight or changing their bodies ... We are now accepting submissions for both Curvalicious categories. Winning submissions will be contracted and published in e-book form by Accomplice Press. The TOP THREE of EACH category will be First Curvalicious Print Anthologies (Spicy and Sweet will each have their own anthologies printed.)"

This press currently boasts six titles, several written by the owners or staff. They have other romance lines upcoming, specifically older heroine (with older hero) and men in uniform.

"Many authors feel forced into self-publishing by the new financially motivated mentality of traditional warehouse publishers ... Accomplice Press is very different; we don't cater to mass production we achieve excellence in our unparalleled concentration to the tiny details that turn books into literature. Our high standards help our writers in fulfilling their dream of becoming published authors."

Wanting to make money is hardly new IMHO... is one to assume this is not an option for authors with monetary dreams?

"A creative twist on the old plots. Romance stories should be a love story between a male and female (if otherwise, please see gay/lesbian submission guidelines)."

Slight problem, they don't exist.

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Why the spammers are winning

Over the last few weeks the Blogger user "Lydia" has spammed my blogs over 20 times with an advertisement for Blogerzoom. She gets past Captcha and she has a valid Blogger profile so she gets past most of the filters. Deleting the posts has become a near daily nuisance.


When I asked for help at the Blogger "help" forum the apparently bottom line answer was: "Comments are treated as "freedom of speech". Everyone has the right to say what they wish. If you're going to allow comments, people will post comments. You have the right to approve comments, if you wish. You can't stop people from posting."

Which is rich with irony given that Blogger demands that bloggers remove posts and deletes whole blogs on a regular basis for flimsy reasons like threats from publishers who feel maligned. But before the Wordpress crowds make their usual reply, how are you enjoying the current spate of php-viruses targeting Wordpress blogs?

Sigh.

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Photobucket Phail

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I surfed onto photobucket kinda by accident. I had been image surfing on google for 'gay romance book covers' and landed on a photobucket hosted picture. Having landed there I decided to search photobucket for 'gay romance'. The result I got was:

Your search term probably relates to adult content. Photobucket DOES NOT host sexually explicit content.

Out of curiosity I searched just for the word 'gay'. You guessed it:

Your search term probably relates to adult content. Photobucket DOES NOT host sexually explicit content.

Straight, romance, queer, fornication, homosexual, pedophile, sexually and explicit are okay. Gay, fetish and porn are 'sexually explicit'. Go figure.

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Blaze on Ice

Monday, April 19, 2010


Is it just me, or is this Blaze cover continuing to give off that slightly necrophillic vibe?

Is it the harsh lighting? The closed eyes? The creepy hand position? The rigor mortis grimace?

It's Midnight Fantasies(TM)... at the morgue.

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Links

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Digital Self Publishing vs Epublishing
"My theory (and it is only a theory) is that the people who find the most success in self-publishing will be the ones who don’t have to do it."

WTF Book Title of the Week: If You Don't Die to Self, I May Have to Kill You: An Extreme Marriage Makeover
"Romance, suspense, and intrigue mark Karen’s antics, and “what not to dos” reinforce biblical principles that light the way from marital misery to a harmonious hitch."

Out of the Closet and Up, Up and Away
"... “Hero,” a young-adult novel about Thom Creed, who is coping with high school, his sexual orientation and budding superpowers. Last year, the novel was optioned by Showtime ... Showtime finally didn’t commit and we’re now exploring our options...."

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When will I get to see this movie?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Did you know that there is a movie out their that portrays a real life gay love story, and stars Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor. Well, there is. It is called I Love You Phillip Morris (official website) and it was filmed in 2008 and premiered at the 2009 Sundance film Festival. But it seems that even in a post-Brokeback world, nobody is interested in distributing this film to a wider audience. A wider American audience that is, the film has been released in Europe.

Even after being picked up by Consolidated Pictures Group, this cinematic version of the true story of Steven Russell who goes from pillar of society to audacious con man and repeat prison escapee seems destined to have its (limited) release date pushed back again and again. And this is after the rumored creation of a significantly "de-gayed" version. I Love You Phillip Morris currently has an estimated release date of July 2010 , but I will believe it, well, when I see it.

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Sometimes I think the Pedophiles have won

Because if cultural standards were established based on the outlook of psychologically normal people, pictures of naked infants would never be mistaken for erotica. They would be taken at face value as pictures of infants, taken when they happened to have no clothes on--unless there was a damned good reason to think they were being used aberrantly.

As things are a couple in Peoria, Arizona sent their film to be processed at Walmart, including a few pictures of 2, 4 and 5 year old daughters in the bathtub... and ended up being placed on the sex offenders register. The mother was suspended for her job for over a year. The children were placed in foster homes for over a month. Fortunately sanity eventually prevailed but it is hard to believe that the children and their relationship with their parents will ever be quite the same.

And what got these parents in trouble was, ironically enough, their complete lack of pedophillic outlook. It seems that never occurred to them that taking a picture of their kids in the bath could possibly have sexual overtones. It never occurred to them that the pictures were too perverted to send for public processing. They never even realised that the pictures could be interpreted as pedophillic. And that is exactly how they ended up living the hell of being accused of being pedophiles who were sexually abusing their own children.

And that is why I sometimes think the pedophiles have won. Because to stay out of trouble every one of us has had to learn to look at a picture of a naked baby--and see it as they would and treat it is something illicit and taboo rather than the family snapshot that it actually is.

See also:
Couple-sues-over-bath-time-pics-of-kids
Judge Asked to Drop Nude Kiddie Pix Suit

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Two Wrongs Make a Rant

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Generally speaking I am pretty sympathetic to self-publishers. I read a few self-published books every month and I am a member of the POD People review site which specialises in reviews of self-published books. So I went into the post "self-published author discrimination" with a reasonably open mind. What I didn't realise is that the title refers to how a self-published author should discriminate against epublished authors and blogs.

With no apparent awareness of the irony the author writes: "Don't lump the good ones in with the bad. Believe me, I've read "published" novels that are worse than a "self-published" one I've read... and don't even get me started on "e-published" ... If you're going to tar us self-published authors and close your doors to us on review sites etc, then you should do the same to e-published authors, because there's a lot of books out there, even those put out by the so-called big e-publishing houses, that are pretty dire." So apparently the answer to reviewers lumping in a group of authors together and not covering them... is to do the same to another group of authors by suggesting that epublished books are particularly notable for poor quality (rather than, for example, saying some are good and some are bad--and it is quite impossible to make generalisations about all ebooks).

Oh, and don't get her started on blogs. Apparently this is another group of writers who shouldn't be respected even though they are apparently dissing ebooks just like she wants: "Recently though, I've seen a rise in the number of review blogs. Not proper sites but just a readers blog basically who go out there with their review policies and making out that they're pretty big news, but then deny all self-published authors, and even sometimes e-published." I understand the virtues of a good rant, but to say people should treat self-published books on their individual merit but then suggest ebooks tend to be crap, and blogs aren't "real' review sites rather undermines the message.

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Yet another new low in epublishing:

Saturday, April 10, 2010

"Highly controversial e-publisher needs a brilliant, sexy actress to perform and represent our product: "How To Steal The Man Of Your Dreams From HIs Wife With Hypnosis" video/text product line."

[link]

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Renaissance, Sizzler imprint

Friday, April 09, 2010

Renaissance Ebooks is currently on the PLIST as not recommended due to reports of non-payment dating from 2008. I see that they now have Sizzler Editions as an erotica imprint. In fact they declare that they have been "one of the leading publishers of erotica in ebook form since 1999". How remiss of me not to notice. Does anyone have any more recent information about Renaissance/Pageturner/Sizzler?

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Works either way....

Thursday, April 08, 2010


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Publisher Names

Saturday, April 03, 2010

With digital publishing services and vendors becoming more accessible, more erotic romance writers--and writers in general--are opting for self-publishing. Usually this is done under a boutique press name. I have to say that some of these names seem to use a rather odd conjunction of words. Kittyfeather Press? Virgin Petals? I suppose there is a story behind these names but I hope it is better than the story behind Meow Squish ("It's the sound a cat makes if you accidentally step on it."). Un, okay. And Meow Squish has merge with Spambooks. Does this make them Squishy Spam, or Meow Books, or Virgin Pussy... no, now I am getting confused. For even more entertaining options perhaps we could get them to collaborate with Whiffy Skunk....

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Seriously?

The latest newsletter from Coffee Time Romance includes this announcement:

"Reader's Retreat ... The primary goal of New Concepts Publishing, from it's inception, was to bring high quality fiction to book lovers. By offering our authors generous royalty percentages and creative freedom, we've not only attracted many fine authors, but can offer work 'written from the heart', fresh, excitingly different stories stringent guidelines would not allow."

In the reader's retreat forum a first post awaits: "Hello and welcome to all of our guests authors from New Concepts. Don't feel shy, just step up and start bragging." I wonder what New Concepts will be bragging about exactly. Having one of the poorest reputations in the industry today?

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Verboten Datum?

Friday, April 02, 2010

I hear remarks from time to time that some publishers not only discourage reporting sales data, but contractually forbid it. Or that they have a more generally worded gag order about commercially sensitive or derogatory disclosures interpreted to cover low sales figures. But I, personally, can't actually confirm that any publisher does this. Any info appreciated. is this truth, or myth?

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[ADULT POST] Dolcett

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Every time I learn a new word I have to inflict... I mean share it with you. No doubt a few of you know it already and get to snicker about how hopelessly naive I am. When I say this is an adult post I am not kidding. Do not follow any of the links if you do not want to see fantasies of torture, murder and cannibalism. I do not post about explicit topics very often but it is part of the erotica/romance spectrum and so sometime... well, sometimes I do.

Today's word is "Dolcett". This is the name of a fetish cartoonist who specialising in showing scenarios where women are bound, barbecued alive and eaten--and love the whole experience (presumably until they are deceased). As such material referred to more generically as Dolcett is in the category of "Vore" and the sub-set of "consensual snuff"--a concept that makes "forced seduction" sound almost vanilla.

You can expect, in my opinion, to start seeing more discussion of Dolcett, snuff and similar edge-play fantasies in the near future, because the media is gradually becoming aware that these activities are being played out on Second Life. It is a great set up for a "who will think of the children" story. Mainstream versions tend to hit the newspapers a few years after the first blog posts and a few months after in uptick in people Googling the word. And I tend to look up words that people are Googling a lot (I am just nosey like that).

Personally I was surprised that people were still using Second Life, but it never crossed my mind that they would be using it to having them selves virtually spit roasted. That said, they do so in an isolated area that you aren't going to stumble upon by accident, and all participants in this virtual version as willing and hopefully adult (as best as can be determined online). It's not necessarily something I would want my (fictional) significant other to be doing all hours of the day and night. But other than that, I guess it is just another example of Rule 34.

See also [ADULT]
Dolcett Play in SL - the other other white meat
When Hannibal Met Second Life™
Wetriffs.com

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Medallion Press

My ongoing feelings about Medallion Press fall somewhere between bemusement and confusion. They have been around for a while now and some of their books have acheived mainstream success comparable to the acheivements of much larger publishers. The owner and founder is well-financed (to say the least), able to acheive these impressive results, and um... a bit on the kooky side (based on the copy she puts online complete with picture in costume).

Given that Medallion was not an epublisher I never had to think too much about them. But guess what? Medallion is now an epublisher: "...be on the lookout for some books to come out exclusively in e-book format for those welcoming in the digital age. It’s a whole new ball park, and we’re ready to play!"

Wow, how modern and progressive of them, right? Except: "Mass market paperbacks in print will become an unfortunate casualty of our new direction, as they earn the least revenue (sometimes even selling at a loss) for not just us but other publishers as well...As our e-book authors grow in popularity, doors will open for us to put them in trade or hardcover print, should the market demand it."

So, um, many of their books won't be in print any more, just ebooks because they are cheaper, and a vague promise of possible future non-mass market print version. Fair enough but hardly something new. In fact the promise that they have a top-secret plan to "take our e-books well beyond where technology is today" is positively pink-flag-worthy.

Meanwhile Medallion is also going to be Medallion Movies and Medallion Music. Because the smart thing to do when you are having trouble making money as a publisher is clearly to become a multimedia group. Uh-huh.

Time will tell, I suppose.

See also:
Medallion E-Books

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