Monday, December 30, 2013

A reminder to back up

Eastlaketimes / Foter.com / CC BY
Quite recently, multi-published author Molly Evans came home to find her laptop stolen, with a nearly complete manuscript on it.

So remember not only to back up, but to another site so you cannot lose the computer and the back up in one fell swoop!

I keep dithering about using an automated online service.  But for the books I am currently working on, gmail and dropbox offer a useful place to leave a duplicate.

Now is as good a time as any... make some back ups!

Frivilous off topic post

Do you think there is a reason "Seeds and Things" chose this pepper to showcase on Amazon?


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Janet Dailey: In Memorium

This holiday season saw the passing of Janet Dailey (69) on December 14th.

A lot of today's romance readers probably don't remember when romance fiction lent heavily on British tropes and damsels in distress destined to be the right man's other half. Dailey along with Nora Roberts were pioneers of romances with strong-willed heroines with careers in lovingly depicted American settings. 

Dailey's highly productive career started in 1974 with the publication of "No Quarter Asked" but took a detour in the late 1990s when some of her work was found to contain material plagiarized from Nora Roberts. Dailey managed to come back with a multi-book deal with Kensington, the creation of the successful Calder series, and Kensington's acquisition of her reprint rights.

Even with its periods of ignominy, Dailey's was a career of significance and she was a key part of the development of romance with an American sensibility.


See also:

Friday, December 27, 2013

New Market: Hekate Press

Hekate Press is planning to open on May 1st, 2014.   They accept all genres of romance and as well as speculative fiction. I didn't see any named owner or editors.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Whispers Publishing (2006-2013)

Whispers Publishing apparently closed on June 30, 2013.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Shadowfire

There is a little confusion about Shadowfire Press.  They are closed to submissions and have clearly they have said farewell to some authors such as Gwen Campbell.  On the other hand the owner says they are just on hiatus while the correct a shopping cart issue, but still selling only via All Romance Ebooks.  But at what point does a "hiatus" (with authors being dropped) become a (temporary?) closure.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Amazon Associates and Double Standards

Illinois residents recently became eligible to be Amazon Associates again.  So I signed up and added two sites, then a third.  This third site was Gay Sherlock Holmes, my blog about books and movies where Sherlock Holmes is depicted as being gay (I went for the "Captain Obvious" approach of choosing a blog name with that one).

At which point my account was rejected and clised as "your site may not present a mutually beneficial business opportunity."

Huh.

You see almost every book on this blog, and all of the more explicit ones, are for sale on Amazon.  But Amazon finds something objectionable about being associated with a site that names and reviews them.  Go figure.

I see it as just another example of Amazon being a mule between to piles of hay.  It wants all the money from explicit books, but it wants the regulatory convenience of being acceptable to the moral pundits.  This causes it to split the difference in unpredictable and irrational ways.

Like being okay with selling the books, but not wanting anyone to draw attention to that fact?

Amazon thinks "gay" is inappropriate language

I decided to add a signature to my Amazon reviewer profile.  Specifically: "Reviewer for 'POD People' and 'Gay Sherlock Holmes' .I thought this might help alert authors to the type of books I would be most likely to review for them on Amazon.

I was slightly surprised to get the signature rejected for "inappropriate language".  I bet you can guess which word is not permitted. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

About Libboo

Libboo is a website that allows users to trade posted about books on their social networks for rewards.  The basic idea is pretty sound, but the site does not seem to be taking off with users.  The number of publishers or authors posting tangible rewards like gift certificates has dropped to about nil.  The number offering essentially nothing (called "recognition") is growing. This trend is matched by a continuing decline in participating users.

This means that the most common reward now offered is a free digital copy of the book.  And there is something a bit upside down about having to praise a book, in order to actually be able to read it.  It starts to feel a tad dishonest.

Also, we are in an environment now where getting free copies of pretty good books is not very difficult.  In fact if you are a reviewer you get offered them on an almost daily basis. So I suppose that this embarrassment of free reading opportunities may have reduced the value to me of the reading copy, unless it is on a topic that I am super enthusiastic about--and so far Libboo seems to have a pretty predictable range of genres, self-help and poetry.

Are any of you trying Libboo as either promoter or promotee? 

Monday, December 09, 2013

Tentacles

There seems to have been an upswing of tentacle erotica recently. Not just the old style rapey kind but various kid of consensual and even romantic fantasy (both M and F). It seems like tentacles are the new zombies. And honestly, zombies was already beginning to push it for me.

Can some one help my understand the appeal?

Is it about the novelty of the physical sensation?  Is it the transgressive nature of a radically non-human lover? It is the queerness of getting away from sex being all about genitals and who has what?

For those of you who have already ventured into the world of cephalopod erotic romance, what book would you suggest to a tentacle virgin?

Friday, December 06, 2013

File Under...

Agree (I do)
"[Man of Steel's] Zack Snyder getting to be the one to introduce Wonder Woman on the big screen is a terrible idea" [io9]

Magnus [see: Rivendale books (imprint)]:
"I joined forces with her last fall as an imprint of Riverdale Avenue Books"--Don Weise [Huffington Post]

No Shit, Sherlock:
Navy Pier decides a 50Shades tree is not a good fit for their "Winter Wonderland" [Chicago-ist]

Point, the (the missing thereof):
"No great novelist should have to resort to explicit sex scenes" [Catholic Herald]
 
Stupid, the (it burns):
"That awkward moment when your author photo is exposed as stolen from a Revlon hair extensions ad"--EvilWylie [Business Insider]

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Erotic Romance: On the Shoulders of Giants

Flame and the Flower
Claire Siemaszkiewicz says Totally Bound is "here to pioneer erotic romance as a credible literary genre." And I am all for that, but I think newer publisher should show just a tiny bit of respect for the earlier pioneers of this genre.

For example, Tina Engler is due some credit for proving the viability of the erotic romance e/POD model back in 1997 when very few people thought it could work.

And of we are talking specifically about the UK, Black Lace put well-written erotica aimed at women (often romantic in theme) on the shelf for all to see starting in 1993.

But wait a minute, she is not specifying e-books, or in the UK. So actually what about Kathleen Woodiwiss whose 1972 novel The Flame and the Flower broke free of the category romance tradition of the times and was arguably the first modern erotic romance novel?

Totally Bound is doing some interesting things, but by saying you are (apparently single-handedly) pioneering erotic romance--you are suggesting that the efforts of those who began that journey decades ago are somehow too insignificant to even acknowledge or palpably lacked that much-vaunted literary credibility we are all supposed to strive for.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Market: Love, Sex and Merlot

Before seriously considering "Love, Sex and Merlot" I would suggest that authors look into the parent company The Zharmae Publishing Press (website, cooler thread).

My person feeling is that their website and blog are written from the point of view of a person who is not quite as au fait with the world of romance and erotica publishing as they seem to think they are.

This is perhaps unsurprising as they are a small press, with limited expertise, that recently opened three different imprints for spec fic and literary as well as erotic/romance.  Which is biting off... well, quite a lot.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Market: Forbidden Lust

I investigate any new market with an open mind but my suspicions began to form when I saw all the cheesy photography on the front page, my interest waned when I saw they take pretty mauch all romance and erotica genres and was extinguished when I saw that the pay a flat rat that amounts to $50 per 10,000 words.

But that's just me.

Website here. Owner Kayci Morgan.

p.s. If "Forbidden Lust was founded on the ideals that love and sex are a beautiful and wonderful part of the human experience and should celebrated, not censored" why the name?  Shouldn't it be "Celebrated Lust"?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Gay Romance Press closed

Gay Romance Press has been dissolved and their books now sold via Eye Scry Publications.  This seems to be a parent company also owned by Della Van Hise.

I note that she also offers editorial services where "...after your work has been edited, if your manuscript fits the guidelines for our publishing endeavors, you may be offered a contract for Gay Romance Press or Eye Scry Publications to publish your work as an e-book."

Non-Peer Authors and Publisher-Related Advice

AJC1 / Foter.com / CC BY-SA
I have always been aware that asking for peer-advice from an author can be a minefield, especially in the small and digital press.  There is always a chance that the author you approach is actually an insider to the company--an owner, editor, artist, or friend of the above. But this forum post is the first time I have read someone who claims that an author approached for peer-advice about a publisher praised the publisher and did not disclose their interest as an owner of the press.*

So here is my 2c.  When giving peer advice to authors considering a press please disclose anything that even looks like a conflict of interest, in the service of transparency and fairness.  This means not only the obvious (being an owner or salaried staff member) but also being a commission-based staff member, friend of the owner, or even an author who has worked with the press long enough to develop friendships and emotional affinity to the company.  Or if you feel you cannot provide objective feedback perhaps referred them to another author or just do not reply.

In the long run fostering unrealistic expectations is going to cause a press more trouble than letting the chips fall where they may.

*Edited to note the person in question categorically denies that they did this.

Monday, November 11, 2013

On the virtues of giving up

There are a lot of inspiring true stories out there about authors who persisted for many years against great odds to break through and become successful.  But sometimes I think we forget that giving up can also be a virtue. For example, if I had never given up (for the most part) being an illustrator I would never have discovered my abilities as a fiction writer.

If I had stuck with my career goals from high school I am quite sure I would now be in a job that made me miserable, not the rather weird but extremely satisfying career I wandered into five-career-aspiration-changes later.  Because, unlike what many a gold medal winner or NFL player might tell you, not everyone can be where they are if they just train hard enough and believe in themselves. You have to have the right goal for you, for any amount of effort to pay off.

Selective giving up is a crucial part of finding your path to success.  And persistence on the wrong path is an obstacle, not a virtue.  Sure, you need some irrational persistence in the beginning when where your are and where you want to be is so far apart you have no way to even guess how long the journey will be, how steep the climb and how arduous the obstacles.  Or, indeed, whether the place you are trying to end up is even where you really want to be.

At several points in my life I have closed in on a long cherished goal only to discover it was not what I wanted after all.  But I had got far enough up the mountain to see a destination I had previously not even known to exist.  That is why I am not a journalist, an architect, a psychologist, a university professor or a full time writer--because those where not the areas in which I found (respectively) my interest, my talent, my patience, my fulfillment, or my lifestyle.

So sometimes I wish people added a little subtlety to their aspirational advice.  Yes, you should dream, strive, persist and not be discouraged.  But also analyze, strategize, adapt, and evolve.  The dreams you have as a child might be your fated mission in life, or they might not.  So if something stops looking like the prize you really want, take your eyes off the damn thing and have a good look around.  You never know what you might find.

Market: Dragonfairy Press

Dragonfairy is a spec fic publisher including paranormal romance.  It seems like they would also consider other kinds of fantasy or sci fi romance.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Everything you need to know about Bar Publishing...

...is right in their introduction.

"We are a full service e-book publishing company. We are tired of the Indie Authors being over looked. 

We offer services from getting your copywrite, full editing, formatting for all outlets and submitting to them. We can arrange book covers if you do not have someone that you use already use. 

Our main goal is to stop Authors from getting ripped off by so called "self publishing" companies. We offer our services for a flat fee, no hidden cost. You keep 100% of royalties. No hidden fees everything is up front. This also includes the UK Authors. 

We also want to publish the UK Authors that are shunned buy certain sites. As of this morning on October 24th, 2013 we have a new & talented author F.L Hope. We are so excited to have her on board!."

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Market: Dark Hollows Press




Dark Hollows Press  is seeking erotic romance.

And then there's this....

Joyee Flynn / Flynn Eire's attempt to hit Siren* with a restraining order was unsuccessful.

Flynn is self-publishing books initially offered to Siren but withdrawn when author and publisher were unable to agree on key issues (or so it seems).

Siren is displeased, but I wonder why they did not let this slide--all things considered (including the 93 titles she has written for them).

Full text here.

* Post edited to correct some errors.

Market: Ylva Publishing

Ylva is a publisher predominantly of lesbian fiction including romance and erotica. They accept female authors only. Their submission guidelines are not super-easy to find from their main page (you can find them here).

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Yes, okay...

...your cup size is larger than mine....


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Erotic Copy Editing

I have never seen copy editing as being something genre-specific. But at least one copy editor is advertising their services as an erotica and romance specialist.  I wonder what that would involve.  Knowing how to spell obscure fetishes? Expertise in clarifying who is doing what during an orgy? Or just a guarantee that your editor won't get squicked and quit?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Bellebooks acquires ImaJinn

According to Publishers Weekly ImaJinn will now become an imprint of BelleBooks.

ImaJinn was a trail blazing small romance press founded in 1999 by Linda Kichline, who sadly passed away earlier this year.

I'm not sure what's more confusing....

...the dress design or the anatomy.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What M/M would you vote for at AAR?

If you plan to vote for an M/M romance (or already have) for the AAR readers poll--please comment and suggest titles.  If we focus votes on a smaller number of titles this might help them rise.

Feel free to suggest other books that represent diversity in some way.  And of course only every vote for a book you have read and feel deserved nomination. This is about discussing great candidates for nomination, not vote-fixing.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Great Erotic Ebook Panic of 2013

First Amazon, again.  Nothing too surprising about that. (Oct 9, 2013)

Then WH Smith and Kobo. (Oct15, 2013)

Acting as if they somehow did not know what was in their catalog. As if that would even be possible. They want to sell the books, but deny knowing they were selling them.  Hiding behind ambiguous definitions of pornography and lots of plausible deniability. So that they somehow say with a straight face that things that staff members explicitly permitted months or even years ago have now always been forbidden.

Sigh.


See also: 

Apparently I don't have a dirty mind after all



(Because someone else had to point out that this doesn't just look like a pen, but also a menstruating vagina heart.  Of course now that's all I can see.)

Total-E-Bound Rebranding, and a question

Total-E-Bound seems to have decided to ditch the ambiguous name and go with the more direct Totally Bound.  It is more clear what this means but it does make me think of a BDSM niche publisher. Whereas the look is more generic skinny-white-girls-grinning-like-idiots (romance?) with a dominant gold color.

I got distracted by whether this cover gal was wearing a flesh-toned bra or had just lost her nipple in an unfortunate accident.

Then I scrolled up and down to try and find a description of just what Totally Bound does publish, to see if it had changed.  But I couldn't find anything.
I tried "authors", "aspiring authors" and got a page-coming-soon notice.  Help was all about technical problems.  "Browse" looks like all sub-genres of romance, but could also be sub-genres of other genres.

So, can someone remind me.  Are they romance only?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Women are succeeding, so something must be wrong

I found this Forbes article about what is going on with publishing rather amusing.  Especially the section about publishers acquiring previously self-published authors. What is wrong when you look at the list of those authors...?

"First, it’s all women and secondly it’s largely confined to the romance and YA paranormal genres."

Oh, the horror.  Well actually: Oh, the romance, paranormal and YA!  And the author interprets this as: publishers are being faddish and looking for the next 50 Shades.

I would offer another alternative.  These are the areas where self-publishers have raked it in because there is a gap in the market.  Because large publishers have been asleep at the switch and should have been acquiring more women writers and more in these genres, starting almost 20 years ago.  But they never even noticed until the self-publishing technology supplied private entrepreneurs with a real, practical way to fill that need without them.

So the fad they are finally following is a shocking one: give readers (even the wimminfolk) what they actually want. 

 When the lists of authors picked up by publishers were dominated by men (as, outside this route, they still often are) this do not look weird to people.  But suddenly now a gender bias is a problem?

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Half man, half rug.

Many covers straddle the fine line between "shapeshifter" and "unfortunate skin condition" -- but I would file this one under "not even really trying".



Monday, October 07, 2013

Soltice acquires Alpha Wolf

Solstice Publishing has acquired Alpha Wolf Publishing which will now serve as a Solstice imprint.

In an unrelated questions: do two wrongs make a right?

Sunday, October 06, 2013

G+ comments problem

If you have a Google+ account and a Blogspot blog you might want to check to see whether you have been locked into only allowing G+ comments.

Some people have found this option got enabled without their knowledge, stopping people from commenting using open ID or any other options.

If this happened to you, you can reverse the change by going to Settings > Google+  and unticking "Use Google+ Comments on this blog"

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Market: Crimson Frost Books

Crimson Frost Books seems to be a new erotic romance digital-only press. Patricia Bates and Celeste Brammer, publishers.

Cover Clones

Does anyone know where this art comes from?  It's rather nice.



Thursday, October 03, 2013

New Market: Roane Publishing

Just when I thought that I understood the new definition of "indie" publishing Roane Publishing (new publisher of erotica, fantasy and romance) comes along:

"We are an "indie" eBook publisher of quality erotica, fantasy, and romance .... Roane Publishing provides competitive royalty rates, professional editing, eye-catching covers, and we work closely with readers, reviewers, and bloggers to ensure a strong promotional and marketing presence for all of our releases. We do, however, also expect our authors to contribute to their own marketing and maintain an active online presence. We are an e-publisher, after all."
 
Some of the usual pink flags:
  • Website aimed at authors
  • No names provided
  • Typos on web page ("Each genre we publish has it's own submission guidelines")
 

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

A quick way to see if Amazon has ADULT tagged your book

ADULT tagged books do not appear in search.  They are in danger of being de-listed in the latest purge.To see if your books have been tagged go to http://www.salesrankexpress.com/

Tagged books have a red ADULT after their title. If you search for titles including words like "sexy" you will see a mix of tagged and untagged books.  This is also a practical way to see what kinds of book they are tagging and what ones they aren't.  (e.g. self-publishers are being hit pretty hard).

Fenanov / Foter / CC BY

 Of course consistency is hard to find when a vanilla M/F set on a ranch is tagged and a collection of stories about having sex with horses is not.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Rebel Inks says: we don't really want self publishers

My opinion has always been that published versus self-published is a way to describe a book, not an author.  there is nothing at all to stop authors from pursuing both options. Unless of course your publisher invests in your career so thoroughly and successfully that it is only fair to work exclusively with them in return.

Rebel Ink, on the other hand, thinks that "We prefer to work with authors that are interested in developing a professional relationship in lieu of self-publishing.  While self-publishing can be a worthwhile and enriching endeavor, it is our experience that authors do best with both feet firmly planted in one world or the other, not both."

For any author preparing to have that conversation with them I would recommend asking: so, what's in it for me?  Other than the same thing that every other small e-publisher is providing, that is.  Me, personally?  I think authors working in the small press arena are wise to diversify.

In Defense of 3/5

When, exactly, did 3/5 become a bad rating?

In stricty objective terms, three out of five is either above average or neutral.  If you were taking a test it would be a passing grade, if not necessary something to stick to the refridgerator door.

In terms of a book I have always taken it to mean "better than meh" or "I don't regret the time I spent reading this book". I would even go as fair as to suggest that it equates to "good" on a scale of bad, fair, good, very good and excellent. And lets be honest, it is a rare book that exceeds an average rating of 4 on GoodReads.

It may be overly fashionable to blame everything on Amazon, but I do not think that it helps that they not only list 3/5 under "negative reviews" but count them as such against vendors--leading some vendors to beg customers not to post less than 4 or 5 unless they want the company thrown off Amazon and flogged with razor wire into the bargain.

Everyone wants to write not just a good book, but an excellent one.  But at the end of the day shouldn't having written a good book be good enough?


Does "erotic romance" = tattoos?

Because the new releases at GoodReads sure make it look that way!


Friday, September 27, 2013

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Shey Stahl Plagiarism Claims

On the Daily Dot Aja Romano suggests that popular romance writer Shey Stahl (see Amazon) may be "harvesting" fan fiction to create her novels.

Other blogs display examples such as between Stahl's "For the Summer" and a Twilight fanfic called Dusty.

Stahl has withdrawn her work from Amazon in the face of the allegations.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Regarding the GoodReads kerfuffle:

Not to be totally unhelpful, pundit-wise, but--
my big box of "don't give a damn", let me show you it.

Tiger Girl / Foter / CC BY

Probably because as an author I had disengaged some time ago.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Five things I wonder about fictional werewolves

This is mai sexy face -- Arrr! / Foter / CC BY-SA
  1. Why do they continue to act like we thought wolves acted in the 1970s, not how we know they act now?  (e.g. the wolves that lead the hunt and first attack the prey are typically young females because they run the fastest.)
  2. Why are only humans werewolves?  Why not, for example, pigs.  Petunia the pig-wolf.  It's totally plausible as these things go.
  3. In fact, why is it werewolves at all.  the greatest cultural interaction would have been with dogs.  Is it just because sexy man-dogs is just too much like bestiality?
  4. Why has the furry fandom approach for wolf-men really never broken through into romance?  Same reason?
  5. Is anyone writing a different take on werewolves rather than rehashing the usual dour-brothers-who-blame-their-alphahole-ways-on-being-part-beast mythos?  If so, who?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Better World Books

A lot of college kids get approached at the end of term to donate their books to Better World Books.  BWB collection boxes are also placed in various locations out in the community and they on-sell these books with the tag line "Your purchase benefits world literacy!"

But there are some things you should know about Better World Books. They do not send actual books to people in need of them. They are a 'for profit' book reseller operating through their own site, Amazon and Ebay.

If you donate a book to this program you should realize that 93% of the net proceeds from the sale of the book do not go to charity.  And that is by their own estimate.  As BWB is not a charity, independent verification is not easily obtainable.

In their defense people often laud them for having good and very cheap books.  Well of course they are cheap!  They got the books for free, sometimes (often?) from people thinking they were making a charitable donation or giving a book to a kid in Africa. And on top of that, college kids collect the books for BWB, thus providing the company with free labor.  This gives them somewhat of an unfair disadvantage over other resellers.

While it is quite true that 7% is better than nothing, many people donating books to this company are allowed (arguably encouraged) to misunderstand the nature and function of this company.So if you are talking about a book that would otherwise end up in the landfill, no biggie I guess.  If it is a resellable text book worth up to several hundred dollars--that is quite a different story.

So if you see a green box like this, consider walking past it to your nearest charity store or literacy charity such as Global Literacy Project or Books for America.  Many of these programs will pick up books from your home or business, and as they are charities your donation is tax deductible.

See also:

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Gay Detective

As soon as I saw this cover for the Cleis press 2003 re-release of the original 1961 pulp I knew I had to have it.  Holding a revolver with an extended pinky FFS.  It's better than the original cover which for some reason chose to focus on a female sort of covered by a blanket.


A Word About Safe Sex and Werewolves

ginnerobot / Foter / CC BY-SA
I often see authors suggest that safer sex practices are unnecessary for disease prevention between a human and shape-shifter characters, because the two are different species.  I have never understood this argument.

Firstly, a good many werewolves are described as acting and reacting in a fully human way when in human form, and even having children with human partners.  I mean, if you want to make your shifters super immune to all disease, that is fine--but that has nothing to do with the species barrier.  If human x shifter matings are barren this makes a stronger argument for a species barrier, but that has very little to do with disease transmission.

You see, a majority (60%) of pathogens effecting humans cross species boundaries.  Rabies, plague and the common cold come to mind. In fact, it is estimated that a full  three-quarters of the most recently emerged and potentially emerging diseases are zoonotic, consider: HIV/AIDS, Arbovirus, West Nile virus, Mad Cow disease and H1N1. And yes, there are sexually transmitted zoonoses (such as the bacteria Q fever and Lepto) although data on this is difficult to collect and it is hard to separate the respective roles of sexual versus non-sexual contact. 

Long story short, if you want your werewolf nookie without safer sex precautions, you need a better reason than the idea that diseases refuse to jump the species fence, because they actually do it all the time and most readers probably know that.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Advertising

My usual advertisers does not seem to be renewing.  So this is a chance for anyone out there to grab the spot via Project Wonderful (just click the link under the ad spot).  Or you can have a guaranteed spot for $300 per year (or part thereof).

Publishing Contract as Prize

You know that stuff I usually say about contests with a publishing contract as a prize? Imagine I just said it again.

Oh, and in the case of Safkhet Publishing, they don't even pay anything for the use of the winning story.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

MARKET Masque Books

Masque Books is a genre e-publisher (digital imprint of Prime Books) with the catchy tag line "Explore the Future. Indulge in the Fantastic. Revel in the Romantic". Started by Sean Wallace with three named editors with relevant industry experience.

"Masque Books is Prime Books’ new digital imprint. Our emphasis is on both general sf/fantasy, and sf/f romance. We plan on launching with three titles in July 2013 and publishing three titles a month thereafter."

Saturday, September 07, 2013

No Boundaries Press Closes and Defaults on Payments

Erica Pike reports that in 2012 No Boundaries Press began to not send statements with payments, and then to not send payments. She gives the various aliases of the owner of this press as Kharisma Rhayne, Denise Caroline, Mystee Blackwood, and Denise Blackwood.

No Boundaries Press is now closed with no apparent mechanism in place to make good on overdue and unpaid royalties.

Liquid Silver... Something

So, a recent press release said: "Liquid Silver Books owner, Linda Eberharter, announced today that she will take a more active role in management of the publishing company."  Which is a tad confusing as Mike Feury has been referring to himself as the owner for some time.

The PR release feels like some kind of internal power politics issue that I don't really understand and probably don't need to know about.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Rise of the Dark Vanity

And I quote:

"Out of the raging fire of injustice a new company rises up from the ashes, spreading its wings like a phoenix in flight. A new day has dawned and Vigilante Publishing Group LLC is born. We have come to avenge those who cannot defend themselves from the predators who lurk in the dark and shadowy publishing world"

And all that for only $1125 to $2925.

LOL.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

More About Iconic

More details about the alleged behavior of Iconic Press (the press that registers author copyrights under its own name) can be found in the blog posts of Amy Metz.

Other delightful features of this press are described include paying no royalties for the first 250 sales in each format, and claiming to hire editors that did not appear to actually exist.

Erotic Superheroes

In his book "Erotic Lives of the Superheroes" author Marco Mancassola depicts an aging gay Batman alongside various other super-heroes.  The twin themes are aging and sex. Reviews have been mixed with some critiques suggesting that the author did not seem to know much about the iconic characters he is pastiching.

I can't help but wonder where trademarks come into this. I suppose there must be some kind of parody or literary merit defense. I vaguely recall a Susie Bright anthology that had a Batman story.  But most presses take the safer route of using only original superheros, not those belonging to Marvel or DC.

See also:

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Vanilla Heart Smoke

S R Claridge has posted a detailed blog entry questioning the conduct of Vanilla Heart Publishing.

Cedar Fort backs out of contract with gay author

I will start by saying that I have bought multiple books from Cedar Fort, specifically gluten-free and flexitarian cookbooks. I know Cedar Fort is a Mormon/Latter Day Saints press and am completely indifferent to that fact.  At that risk of falling into that "some of my best friends" cliche, I grew up near a Mormon Tabernacle and have always always been in communities that include LDS-followers. I simply have no strong views about that approach to religion, one way or the other.What I do have strong views about it a press cancelling a book contract because they they could not get a gay author to agree to putting a censored bio in the book.

Woven is a YA fantasy novel, and Cedar Fort never at any point said they had a policy of discrimination towards authors, and the acquiring editor apparently knew one of the authors was gay. But when both authors wanted similar "significant other" statements in their bios the shit hit the proverbial fan. Complete with an allegedly very unpleasant phone call where the editor referenced the infamous "gay agenda".

So the upshot is Cedar Fort wants to use work written by gay people, on the conditions they never acknowledge their home life, even when their co-author is encouraged to include a comment about his wife and kids in his bio. I get that they want to sell to LDS readers and an openly gay author might be an issue.  But where do they get off just assuming he will get in the closet just to meet their marketing needs?

IMHO as a religiously affiliated press you either stick to faith books written by people of that faith, or you join the secular word.  This is not an area where you can try to split the difference and ask people to hide things that make some of your retailers uncomfortable.

Noble Romance closes

Recived by authors via email:

"To our Authors,
Today, I regret to inform you that a decision has been made that Noble Romance Publishing will be exiting the publishing business.

We are not insolvent, we are not going bankrupt, we simply have decided that we no longer wish to be in the business and therefore we will be exiting this business in a professional, orderly fashion.

Over the next 30 days, we will remove all books for sale through all sales channels.

We will continue to send monthly royalty statements out and pay all royalties owed until all payments have been collected. We anticipate that this could be as soon as October, but we do not completely control third party sales.

Once this process is complete, this means that your rights will automatically revert to you per our agreement and if you need a letter confirming this, please email us and we will be happy to provide you one.

We wish to thank all of you who have been good partners with us and we wish everyone nothing but the best."

Monday, August 19, 2013

I come not to praise romance, but to bury it...

Barkaw / Foter / CC BY-ND
That seems to be the questionably inspiring aim of Good Mourning Publishing.

They trumpet the end of traditional romance stories.  So if Good Mourning supports "the best and most unique love stories that cover the spectrum of sexualities and cultures indiscriminately" one can only assume traditional romance is (in their estimation) bad, derivative and bigoted.

How true that is depends, I suppose, on which publishers you feel make up traditional romance.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Copyright registration by the publisher

It is pretty widely considered that publishers should cover the cost of copyright registration, but most e-publishers tend to leave this up to the author.  A recent situation with Iconic Press provides at least one, albeit highly unusual, example of why you might not want your publisher to register copyright.

That is Jano Donnachaidh who did register the copyright for some of the books accepted by Iconic Publishing... to himself.  And in the cases that I have seen--these are not work for hire contracts, just standard publishing contracts.  They give no basis for the press to hold the copyright for these works by authors including C N Howard, Tricia Drammeh, Wayne Zurl and Conor P Dempsey.

See Also:
Aug 9: This Latest Publishing Disaster
Aug 21: Publisher Alert: Iconic Publishing / Jonquil Press / Red Lizard Press

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Nocturnal Press Publications

Nocturnal Press Publications seems to be open to most genres including romance.  They list royalties as being 50% of cover.  Not sure what that means for distribution. 

Founded and run by Shane Almond.  I am not sure of the value of a "mentoring" approach when the founder has one self-published book currently pulled from sale as it needs re-editing.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Market: Mobile Love Stories

Mobile Love Stories is seeking stories of under 2000 words. Pay rate unspecified.

Query letters must be in pdf format.  Which is kinda weird.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

TouchPoint Press

TouchPoint Press is apparently another agent-turned-publisher* seeking manuscripts in multiple genres (hashtag innovative)  (hashtag bandwagon).

* Sheri Williams / Red Writing Hood Ink

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Crave

Crave, an imprint of Polis Books, is seeking romance and erotica.  Polis was founded by Jason Pinter.

See also:

Friday, August 02, 2013

Beate Uhse logo

Beat Uhse make sex toys and other sex-related products for a user-base that leans female (around 60%) and will probably go more in that direction over time.

Cut to Beate Uhse execs:

We need to make our logo appeal more to wimmin folk

Okay, so pink and cursive then?

Genius. And add some hearts too!

We totally understand women!

I know, right?


Before:
After:
See also:

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Chick Lit

I am not a huge fan of chick lit, although I have certainly read a few. Like most people who read romance I also read other women's fiction and indeed mystery, non-fiction, manga, westerns and all sorts of other stuff.

I do get tired of people taking pot shots at chick lit.  For example a recent Huffington Post article that said "We're not deriding the chick-lit genre" but then went on to say that what women should really be reading is books that are about "fearless female protagonists realising their dreams in the face of adversity" and "witty social commentaries on the female condition".

Newsflash dipshit, that is pretty much a definition of chick lit.  It has a lighter end which is embedded on conventional western aspirations, but those are the aspirations of many of the people that read them.

So I think that certainly counts, unless wanting love, professional success and family harmony is to be deemed somehow improper for proper post-feminist womanhood (the rules of which make Jane Austin social mores seems simple)

And there is also chick lit that tackles what the intelligensia might recognize as serious issues worthy of their respect like Fat Chance (body image), Little Coffee Shop in Kabul (acceptance of Muslim culture), Courting Samira (the immigrant experience), and Rachel's Holiday (drug abuse).

So, yes HuffPo, you are deriding chick lit -- the fact you felt the need to disclaim it was your first clue.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Negative Review News

She hates your book more because she expected to like it -- neil conway / Foter / CC BY
ABC News reports that a new study of negative review on websites like Amazon has uncovered an interesting finding. While crazy and fraudulent reviews do occur, the typical negative reviewer is in fact one of the products best customers (defined as the most loyal csutomers who spend the most money on the product). And their study specifically included analysis of Amazon book reviews.

So what does this mean--well, first off don't rush to assume your worst critics are competitors, ignoramuses or the habitually grumpy.  Surprisingly (to me anyway) most reviews were found to actually be feedback from legitimate customers. About 95% had bought the product through the site and some of the rest may have bought it elsewhere and gone to the site to review it.

But also don't think this means everything in the reviews is gold, because the bad reviews are generally from customers who don't like change, and it is inevitable that a writer will create different kinds of books during their career.  So they are a small number of people with a specific perspective, but to the extent you care about their point of view at all, you have to try and work out where they fit in with your other, less vocal, readers.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

MARKET: The Little French

Okay, I am not encouraged by the tag line of the oddly named e-publisher The Little French.  It is:
"a shelter for new authors". Hopefully the have goals that relate to readers as well.

The Little French is seeking romance and mystery. They publish in multiple languages, but based on their blurbs I would recommend that the take on an editor who is fully fluent in English. The Amazon "look Inside" feature suggests that their books have some formatting deficiencies also.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Shaneful

One Michael J Wagner wrote an abuse survival book called Shane (June 24, 2013). As the many reviews suggest, this book is a complete rip of JP Barnaby's book called Aaron (October 8, 2012).

But wait, there is a whole new level of scumminess at work here.  The plagiarizing "author" also started a crowd souring plea for $15,000 to go to trade shows and book fairs.

Wow.


Update #1:

I ran a check on Wagners other book "Jilted" and it matches Dream of Me by Fern Michaels.

Others have already identified the "The Telling" as a book by the very same title by Eden Winters.

I found a match between "Steel Oil" and  "The Texas! Trilogy" by Sandra Brown.


I wonder why plagiarists activate the Amazon "Look Inside" feature.  It makes this very easy to unravel.

Please note there is a different Michael J Wagner who writes non-fiction.  He is not involved in this.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Etopia Press Smoke

There are some indications that all may bot be well at Etopia Press. Piers Anthony gives this press a mixed report, and Preditors and Editors has just down-graded them to 'strongly not recommended'.

See also:

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Siren versus Secret Cravings: Round One.

A lot of writers and an author yahoogroup recently received an unusual message including a chain of emails between Beth Walker of Secret Cravings Publishing and an un-named representative of Siren Bookstrand.

The gist of it seems to be that Secret Cravings used a cover request form that was, let's say, "modeled on" the cover request form used by Siren Publishing. Including leaving in the original embedded email address which lead several forms intended for Secret Craving to allegedly end up with Siren.

It seems Secret Cravings was asked to stop using the form, and it seems they haven't done this.  As a result Siren is "considering" dropping all Secret Cravings titles from their Bookstrand e-tailing site.  And now said "considerations" and the entire preceding email chain, are broadcast to a bunch of authors, some of whom would rather be left out of it.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Accent Amour

British press Accent Books (founded 2003) is starting a contemporary romance imprint Accent Amour. The covers look a little like Mills and Boons of 20 years ago. I guess the slightly twee pink wholesomeness is intended as a contrast with Accent's Xcite Books imprint (founded 2007)

See also:

Monday, July 01, 2013

MARKET: Untold Press

Not currently open to submission.  Untold Press publishes Fantasy, Paranormal, Sci Fi, Steampunk, Horror and Romance but not Erotic Romance.

Friday, June 28, 2013

No Boundaries Press is Closing

If you are an author with No Boundaries Press I would suggest reacting with alacrity to ensure you get a release that specifies your title and is address to you by (pen) name rather than some online "blanket release".

Friday, June 21, 2013

Pros and Cons of Net Galley by Lissa Trevor


One of the quickest ways to get word out about your book is through word of mouth.  But unless you have a street team or a line of fans who are dying to get their hands on your book, trying to get reviewers can seem daunting.  NetGalley.com offers a solution.  They have a database of book lovers who want Advance Reader Copies in order to blog about them.  By signing up with NetGalley, your book could get into the hands of a lot of reviewers.  But it is expensive.
 
The downside is unless your publisher already has a subscription to use the service, it’s almost out of the question for a single author to pay to be on NetGalley.

CON:  $399 listing fee unless you’re going through the Independent Book Publishers of America and then it is $350.

However, if you can get into a co-op with a few more authors, there is a subscription service.  It’s still the $399 set up fee, but there is a $150 a month charge.  Split between a large group of authors, it might work out to be more cost effective, depending on how many books are going up in that time frame.
The upside is NetGalley has a tremendous reach of potential reviewers. They also send out targeted newsletters throughout the year.

PRO: 80,000 professional readers. 1 million page views a month. Heavy social media traffic on Facebook and Twitter.

But not all those readers are going to be a good fit for your genre.  Anyone can request a review copy, but if my book is erotica and the reader has never read an erotic title, there’s quite a learning curve.  The best case scenario is they love it.  The worst case scenario is they leave a nasty review because it wasn’t what they expected or liked to read.

CON: Forest Gump approach to reviewing.  “Reviews are like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get”

However, there’s some evidence that even a negative review will build a readership and perhaps even get the book into Amazon’s algorithms. 

PRO: Sometimes there’s strength in numbers.

I think NetGalley is worth a try – if you have a publisher who can put your book up there.  At this time, I don’t think the high cost of the listing fee is worth it if you’re going alone.  But if it fits in your budget, there are worse ways to spend your marketing dollars.

Lissa Trevor has her stilettos firmly entrenched in the romance community.  Spank Me Mr. Darcy, an erotic mash-up of Pride & Prejudice is her debut novel from Riverdale Avenue Books.  She is a frequent reader at Manhattan's Between The Covers events, where her novellas Wild Oats and Timelash from Coliloquy’s Entwined volumes 1 & 2 have been very popular.  You can find her at http://lissatrevor.wordpress.com/