Sunday, December 07, 2014

Too Cute by Half

The last person posting work by all sorts of people on Amazon under his own name seems to be Jay Cute.  So if you see something you know, pass the word to the authors involved.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

No female ejaculation please, we're British

gruntzooki / Foter / CC BY-SA
So British-made pornography makers have just been issued with a list of things they may no longer portray.

Female ejaculation or facesitting
Spanking or caning or whipping that is "not gentle" (a.k.a. "the English vice")
Fisting or penetration by any object "associated with violence"
Urine play
Breath restriction
All verbal abuse even if consensual

Because these are all obviously... things. Um, things that people shouldn't do or be seen doing because... um, well one or two indicate a women being aroused. So that's obviously... bad?And then there's inserting things other than penis's that clearly ... um.

Then there is things that might seem violent that are not permitted even between consenting people because that might undicate that people can make their own decisions.

And some fetish stuff (specifically some fetishes especially common in the UK) because fetishes are obviously.... and the way to undermine domination fetishes is clearly to be really strict and authoritarian.

Yeah.

Way to go guys.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

NEW MARKET: Syn Publishing

Syn Publishing seems to be an erotic romance focused all genre publisher. They pay 50% of net on a two year contact.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Romance First Publishing Closing

Romance First Publishing will reportedly close on July 15, 2014.

Monday, September 29, 2014

In case you have been living under a rock....

Ellora's Cave Sues "Dear Author" and Its Creator, Alleging Defamation

Just when I thought it could not get any more crazy...  Which given EC's history was pretty naive of me.

Even this little blog gets a nasty lawyer letter every year or so, but I have been able to assume they were empty threats because pursuing this kind of suit is not, as far as I can see, any kind of rational thing to do.  I guess we will just have to see what happens next.

I do think this is the point at which Ellora's Cave's ultimate demise became inevitable.

For more see Twitter hashtag #notchilled

Monday, September 15, 2014

Ellora's Cave Compendium

For those of you following along:

[Aug 19]
[Aug 20]
[Aug 21]
  • PublishersLunch:  Acknowledging Big Drop in Amazon Sales, Ellora's Cave Cuts Staff, Expenses
[Aug 22]
  • PublishersLunch: Ellora’s Cave Cuts Staff, Blames Big Amazon Sales Drop  
[Aug 25]
[Sept 10]
  • Christina Mandara: Ellora’s Cave Book Sales down by 75% due to new Amazon Algorithms 
[Sept 14]
[Sept 15]

Market: Strange Flesh

Strange Flesh is a publisher of lesbian erotic fiction.  Unlike many lesbian presses they seem to treat lesbian, f/f/ and femslash as synonyms. The editor-in-chief is Teresa Wymore.

Monday, September 08, 2014

New: Entertwine Publishing

On their Facebook page Enterwtine publishing states: "Help Indie Authors make their dreams come true." Which makes me assume they are not a full publisher but some kind of self-publishing assistance company, or something? Honestly, I wish people would be clearer about what their companies actually do.

I spotted three typos on their index page which were fairly minor, but then I am a terrible proofreader so there may be more. Their website is offered via a free service.  There seems to be pretty heavy overlap between staff and authors suggesting a self-publishing co-op, but they are soliciting outside submissions. 

Overall, there is not much to suggest this would be a good place to send your manuscript.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Forever Romance Publishing Group

Forever Romance continues to be a bit of and odd duck.  
  • Either they did not know about the much larger 'Forever' imprint of Grand Central Publishing, or they did not care about the similarity.
  • And then there is Craiglist add asking for a resume and romance fiction writing sample. Not an actual manuscript and... who out there has an author resume? I know I don't, but perhaps I missed a memo somewhere along the line. And their 'no manuscript, no problem' attitude is not just for their series but also general submissions.
  • They have yet to splash out and buy their own website domain or hosting. Or a logo. Or... anything.
  • "...we treat all our staff and writers like family"
No books yet and I am not holding my breath.  IMHO there is a different between an erotic romance publisher and a generic content producer treating 'erotic romance' like an SEO cash grab opportunity.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Cleis enters the erotic romance fray

Venerable GLBT/sexuality press Cleis launched an erotic romance imprint Tempted Romance earlier this year.  Normally seeing another press jump on the band wagon makes me roll my eyes a bit, but Cleis has always struck me as a quality press with a clear scope and a lot of integrity.  Yes I do have one short story in a Cleis anthology but that is more a side effect of being impressed by their output than a biasing factor.

When I go to their Tempted site I see a refreshing lack of red, pink, and tacky symbolism (hearts, lips, heaving bosoms in corsets etc). In fact the simple branding fits easily into the greater Cleis website. And their opening line up includes familiar names such as Delilah Devlin and  Mitzi Szereto. They started off a line up of five professionally edited anthologies.

What I like about this erotic romance imprint that sets is apart is that erotic romance is a logical area for them to expand into, the branding is clean and professional, the books are a type they have a proven record with, and their editors are top professionals.  I feel this is a great cook trying a new recipe, not th3 more common scenatio a greedy amateur offering me mystery meat.

See Also
 Cleis Launches Erotic Romance Imprint

Monday, August 18, 2014

When educational articles... aren't

Some highlights from an Examiner article entitled: "From eHarlequin to Ellora’s Cave: Where to find the best romance e-books" (Beware, multiple popup and popover ads on that site).

"No longer would a soccer mom have to scuttle shamefaced up to the counter at Barnes & Noble, eyes averted, as she handed the cashier a book with a cover featuring inflamed buttocks and a title like Spanking Sarah."
How many cliches and stereotypes can you get in one sentence? I count three. Other groups mentioned in a patronizing way include mom's, Christians, Christian moms, and denizens of the Midwest. I am none off these things but still found it cloying to equate them with prudery. Also not neglected: the usual mention of Fabio and "bodice rippers".

 " a plethora of specialty romance e-book sites have cropped up"
If by "popped up" you mean: for people who look at the internet once every decade or so, sure.  (The three examples given being: AllRomanceEbooks founded 2006, Ellora's Cave founded 2002, Harlequin-E was admitted later at around 2012--still, and average age of 6 years at the time this article was published).

"All Romance E-books carries an impressive selection of lesbian and gay e-books, so if you’re a straight gal, don’t just assume that the rippling six pack on a book cover means it’s for you."
Because no straight gal would want to read about teh gay, obviously. Sigh.

The Rise and Fall of Ellora's Cave

Ellora's Cave has been on with a long and wandering journey.  From illustrious trail blazer, to eccentric player, to what looks like a dramatic but surprisingly slow decline.  They have remained an important part of the erotic romance publishing community for fourteen years and rumors of their impending doom have proved incorrect for at least half of that time-span.

Jaid Black -- grooverotica / Foter
So, is it possible that it is finally time to prepare to bury Caesar?  Rumors have started to swirl that Ellora's Cave have fired essentially all of their offsite editors.  Meanwhile Jaid Black (a.k.a. EC founder Tina Engler) reports having lost interest in writing erotica and is planning to open a second publisher for other genres.

While there remains very little that can be verified or found online, this currently flurry of speculation does suggest a new low in the slow decline of the once-proud flagship of erotic romance e-publishing.

Edited to add: see the official Ellora's Cave communique here. Now available here.

See also reactions from:
[Aug 19]
[Aug 21]

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Why I am Not a Hybrid Author

I am an author who is published by medium and small presses, and under my legal name by a large press for scientific nonfiction. I have released books in hardback, paperback, and various digital formats. I have published textbooks, poetry, novels, short stories and blogs. I am an author who has self-published novels and a short story collection.

I am, ultimately, an author who tries to publish any given work in the manner most likely to reach my target audience,and generally with a goal of optimizing my own income.But I am not a "hybrid" author.

A hybrid is a cross between two species which, the normal course of events, who never breed.  A hybrid is a sterile novelty. To identify as a hybrid is to say that authors normatively come from two completely different species where only one approach (trade versus indie) is pursued, but there is the occasional individual who might be cute and plucky but is ultimately a freak.

Hybrid is synonym to mongrel and bastard. It resonates with the philosophy of miscegenation, which asserts that pedigree types are superior and pure and should remain that way. It carries an overtone of illegitimate. I think this not only treats publishing under both models an aberration, but makes using only one model spuriously honorific when it should be merely unremarkable (in and of itself).

I am doing what any author should: that is to make a conscious decision as to how to deliver my books to their readership, and who to do that with. And like many authors I think that words matter.  That is why I  am happy to call third party publishing "trade", as that is what most people who favor this approach seem to want, and self-publishing "indie", as that is what most people who favor that approach seem to want.

kevin dooley / photo on flickr
And the debates over those terms and every other thing suggest that we already have an entrenched "us" versus "them" approach to these publishing choices--one that makes no more sense to me that insisting a person can only like one flavor of ice cream, or wear one kind of garment no matter what the weather is like outside.

I shall be very interested to see what authors who color inside and outside and across those lines ultimately decide we should be referred to as. Those, I suppose, electric cars might have transitioned to seeing the word in a different and more aspirational way. But for my part, "hybrid" is not a term I will easily embrace.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

RIP Red Rose Publishing

So the word is that the outage of Red Rose Publishing's website is now permanent. Given the ongoing problems I just hope it will be wound up tidily. Their authors have only just been notified, so there is not much more to say about it right now.  I will post any updates I receive, or feel free to comment if you have anything to share.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Keeping in Mind...

In a post-Slash world I would have expected that this phrase would have died out by now:

"Keeping in mind that this volume is targeted at women, the editor seeks mainly hetero stories, but will consider bisexual or lesbian encounters and polyamorous relationships."

If you don't want the gay male stories that is your call, but it has nothing to do with 'keeping in mind' the general female-ness of the readership IMHO.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Interview with Scarlet Day

The following post is part of the AbsoluteWrite Erotic Writers Blog Hop.  If you have not checked out the AW forums feel free to drop by. I lurk there as a moderator of the erotica sub-forum.

Can you tell us a little about your latest release? 
Leashed comes out tomorrow and is my first foray into the world of BDSM. It’s the first book of a new series, Shifter Sanctuary, combining shifters, ménage and BDSM. I’m comfortable writing in the shifter and ménage universe, but BDSM really scared the heck out of me. I did tons of research, from reading real-life accounts of people in the lifestyle to learning about different types of floggers and various equipment. I’ve been so worried about screwing up the BDSM aspects that I’m now alternating between doing my typical release-day happy dance and hiding under my bed while I bite my fingernails to bloody stumps.

 What is the most interesting thing you learned from your research? 
The Dominant/submissive dynamics initially piqued my curiosity. I’m a very independent woman and I went into this with a complete lack of understanding as to how an independent person could surrender their will to someone else. What I learned surprised me and compelled me to learn more. I’m even more excited now about writing stories incorporating BDSM than I was when I started my research.

Would you prefer to be the Dominant, the submissive or both? 
 That’s a tough one. As I said, I’m pretty independent, not to mention stubborn. But I also lead a very hectic professional life with a mountain of stress and responsibility. After learning more about the lifestyle, I can understand the appeal of taking the submissive role, at least temporarily. I’m certain I could never manage it full-time, but I could probably get used to a few hours of blissed out submission every now and then.

 Can readers expect to see more BDSM elements in your future books? 
 Oh, absolutely. The Shifter Sanctuary series will have at least four books, and I’m also contemplating a contemporary series. Now that I’ve had my first taste of writing about the dynamics of the BDSM lifestyle, I’m hooked.

Where can readers find out more about Leashed and your other books?
 All of my books are available at www.bookstrand.com/scarlet-day and the major online retailers. I also have a blog at www.scarletdaybooks.blogspot.com.

About Scarlet 
When she’s not writing or at her day-job, Scarlet can usually be found on one of Southwest Florida’s beaches or hanging out at the pool, waiting for the cabana boy to bring her another daiquiri.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Dear Taylen Lane Publishing

Make space for a short rant.

Putting aside all of the other things I could say about this publisher, let me say this: saying all genre romance is banal is in itself a banal statement.

By which I mean crap like: "Though we understand the popularity of the Romance genre, [our imprint] Procyon Press seeks smelling salts as opposed to opiates and lotus leaves."

This is a bullshit. If you think every story that is about love and ends happily is boring, this is a failure of your imagination not the scope of the genre.

If you don't want to publish romance, that's fine.  But it is not because romance is all by definition boring.  And it surely is not because you "understand" anything about it and why poor schlubs like me are involved in these efforts you deem so soporific.  It is because doing something interesting within this genre is outside your skill set or just not something that you wish to do. And that is all there is to it.

Grow up and show some respect to your fellow publishing professionals if you aspire to becoming one yourself.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Start Media Buys Whiskey Creek Press

Start Media had previously acquired Night Shade Books and have now added Whiskey Creek Press to their stable.

See also:
Counting Down to RomCon!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Jack Trammell, "Romance Novelist"

Jack Trammell, the Democratic candidate will run against the man who knocked Eric Cantor off his perch, is described by the New York Times as a "romance novelist". This turns out to be "Sarah's Last Secret" (Amazon), a 2001 release from e-publishing pioneer Hard Shell Word Factory.

He has also written non-fiction,  thrillers, YA and a children's adventure story but that--presumably--doesn't make as good of a sound bite.  His other publisher choices include Whiskey creek press, Muindania... and Xlibris.

So... I guess at least he would be representative who was unusually au fait with the world of digital publishing?

Friday, June 06, 2014

50 Shades of Acrimony

The Writers Coffee Shop publishing house has descended into acrimony over how the payment Random House made to acquire Fifty Shades of Grey should have been distributed. Were two other people partners in the business at the time? Did Hayward have authority to sign for the publisher?  Were promised about guaranteed employment broken? ...Or are these the the type questions that only come up when millions of dollars up for grabs?

See also:
Reuters

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Apparently I can still be naive: House of Erotica

I don't think of myself is being naive, but when it was suggested that editing was not a free service for authors at House of Erotica I was pretty sure that was not true.  I even said so on this thread.

Well, it looks like I was 100% wrong.

"Editing is not a service we really provide due to the costs involved to authors. We can offer proof reading but this is a separate paid for service (I believe the price is £10 per 1000 words) as it just would not work under our normal 50/50 royalty split. In order to create the books at a high standard and split the royalties equally we need the authors to have the books completely finished."

 This makes them, by the most commonly used definition*, a vanity publisher and not eligible for listing on this site.  (Not that I had got around to listing them, actually.  But now I will not have to bother.)

* Vanity = charging any up front fee for publishing or for any service integral to the publishing process (e.g. cover art, release as POD, editing).

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Fountain Blue Publishing

Fountain Blue Publishing (founded 2012) is a rather in enigmatic publisher in terms of who is behind the company. Even the Linked In profile of the Editor in Chief is anonymous. The website is a free Weebly site.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Lost in the Amazon

i eated a cookie / Foter
Amazon's model is based heavily on automation and distributors providing their own listing information.  Their ability to offer such a wide selection or products at very little mark up rests heavily on having a proportionately very small salaried workforce. A fact often lost of reporters covering whatever salacious thing they have found listed there.

However it is becoming increasingly apparent that what Amazon doesn't know might still be able to hurt it.  Such as the widespread listing of drugs that cannot be legally imported into the US without a prescription, and that if improperly used could injured or kill the unfortunate customer.  A customer who may not even know that the product they purchased is prescription strength.

Anyone who makes a purchase from Amazon needs to be aware, this is not a platform that is proactively managed to ensure all of the products available are safe, non-fraudulent, and legal. Of course the specific items mentioned in the stories have now been taken down.  But equivalent products have already been re-listed and are available for purchase.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The dark underbelly of the alpha male myth

Amidst the coverage of a tragic shooting in Santa Barbara, I see how the apparent/alleged shooter was striving to be a "true alpha male".

From the study of animal behavior, heck even from the reading of romance fiction, this statement should make no sense whatsoever.  The alpha male protects the vulnerable. The alpha male acts in the interests of the community.  The alpha male will lay down his life to protect the citizens of his community.  The alpha males asks for no reward, he does this because it is the right thing to do. Communities with mature alpha males have less violence, are more respectful, and create a safe place for mutually respectful courtship and the raising of children.

I, personally, think the entire alpha male myth is anti-diversity and often catoonishly over-blown.  But those who choose to follow it should realize it is a model of masculine selflessness, basically a macho version of sainthood.

It is not killing women because they rejected your sexual advances.

Monday, May 19, 2014

So, Crescent Moon Press

Crescent Moon Press
And I am guessing it is probably not all uphill from here.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

RT still wobbly on Self-Pub

Bless them, they try their best, but the Romantic Times convention is being dinged again on the 'separate but equal' approach to self-published authors. This time for putting them in a separate book signing room with less space per author and at least some people referring to them as 'aspiring authors'.

Predictably, Hugh Howey is not amused. Courtney Milan also discussed this issue.

See also:

Friday, May 16, 2014

Angela Gabriel / Prateik Gupta

This literotica story Forever Ink is being is being sold by "Angela Gabriel" on Amazon.  A person who is not the author.  (And apparently against their policy about implied underage as the heroine is described as no more than nineteen)

But it gets better. Or should I say worse.

On the Amazon forums the author posts as Prateik Gupta.  And this same person offering to republish kindle authors with the benefit of some dubious new editing and cover art for a mere 30% of royalties.

These outfits just keep getting more blatant. I wonder how many other authors are in the "club" without ever having been asked? I would predict that many more of these stories are plagiarized. A quick Google shows they appear at Literotica as the work of many different authors.

And that is before I even get to calling your publisher a "teenage club" and using it primarily to release sex writing.

Oh and this book of "N***** jokes".

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Is Amazon picking on Hatchette?

The New York Times is reporting that Amazon has a "secret campaign" against publisher Hatchette.  Specifically that they deliberately inflating the price of Hachette books and delaying their delivery to customers. This includes books by the imprints Grand Central Publishing, Orbit, and Little Brown.

I generally find accustaions of this type unconvincing. But in this case they are being made with people who are very familiar with how publishing works and showing specific evidence of in print books being listed as unavailable and prices being noticeably lower at Barnes and Noble. It is also being presented as researched fact by a well informed journalist.

Amazon has accumulated a great deal of influence and dominant market share.  Would this sort of strong arm tactic to get a better deal with a publisher be enough shift the balance of trust, and therefore ultimately the balance of power?  Or are people not directly involved just going to find reasons not to care and continue with consuming as normal?

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Some featured Open Calls for Submissions

Blasphemy Anthology -- Burning Book Press
"This anthology seeks to explore the transgressive and varied nature of blasphemy, through eroticism. I am looking for stories set across a variety of religions and ethnicities."

Lesbian Novels -- Riptide
"Have you written a novel-length lesbian romance? We want it! Any genre, any setting, any focus."

Retro Romance -- Samhain
"Classic romances from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s can find new life in the digital age with Samhain Publishing®.If you are an author with digital rights to your classic romances, we would love to hear from you."

Vikings -- Cleis Press
"IN VIKINGS’ ARMS will seek stories to satisfy the reader who craves the romantic idea of that hard but questing man while exploring stories set in the Dark Ages. Traditional themes/tropes can be used, but writers are encouraged to create tales that surprise."

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

News

Changeling continues to surprise me
E-first publishers thrive on Joan Hessayon shortlist
"Seven of the 17 titles shortlisted [see below] for the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) Joan Hessayon Award for new writers are from e-only or e-first imprints or publishers."

Lambda Literary Foundation announces 2014 award winners
"Commenting on Radclyffe, Freeman stated, “Prolific and multi-faceted, Radclyffe has published more than forty novels" (And should have won a lot more awards by now)


Romance Is a Feminist Genre 
"...Charlotte Bronte, for example, wrote RPF (real person fanfic) about the Duke of Wellington" 

Diesel China Disguises Fashion Campaign As Italian Pornography
"In China, fashion brand Diesel found a way to get customers downloading its latest campaign with great excitement -- by diguising it as pornography" 

The politics of science fiction 
"...the average science fiction or fantasy reader is far more likely to have strong political views and be interested in ideology than the average reader of, say, romance or detective novels" (because... INSERT SELF-AGGRANDIZING ASSUMPTION HERE)

Friday, April 25, 2014

Red Rose Rancor

...-Wink-... / Foter
Red Rose Publishing has been the subject of author complaints for some time now. 

But things hit a new low when someone representing themselves as Red Rose staff posted comments tot he author discussion group including:

"Vultures, know that term?"

"My mother works for IRS and my father works with the FBI. My husband is a Sherriff..."

While Wendi (the owner) writes: "There will be no request of rights given back for the next 3 to 6 months."

These messages are of course unavailable to authors removed from the publisher list due to their persistence in asking for their royalties and/or tax forms.

Under these circumstances I would suggest that most publishers would benefit more from letting the disaffected authors go than from locking them in.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Seeking sales data on Musa Publishing

Mykl Roventine / photo on flickr
The sales data records are getting a bit stale, so I will be asking you all to please consider sending sales data so I can post some updates.

Right now I am especially interested in sales data relating to Musa Publishing, not limited to erotic romance.  This is some discussion as to whether the complaints some authors have about low sales are representative of what the average author is seeing.

All sales data is only reported as an average for all authors, for data sets of at least five books (usually more).  All data is stored under a codename rather than an author name.

So, if you can please send your info to veinglory at gmail.com. Data relating to any digital or digital first publisher accepted.

1) Name of publisher: _____________
2) Is the book erotic romance?: Y/N
3) How many copies sold in the first month?: __
4) How many copies sold in total to date?: __
5) Has your book been on sale for one year or longer?: Y/N
6) How many copies sold in the first year?: __

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Silver Publishing Circling Drain--confirmed

So stories are swirling that Silver Publishing has been sold or abandoned by the owner.  It has been the subject for pretty serious complaint by authors for at least two years, and this seems to be yet another turn for the worse.

A.J. Llewellyn writes that sole own Lodewyk Deysel "has fled. He went to South Africa on Monday." This post also includes a pretty thorough documentation of the rise and fall of Deysel and Silver Publishing.

Otherwise the web-verse is still pretty quiet about the whole thing, but it does seem like this is the beginning of the end for Silver.

See also
ETA: It is now confirmed that Silver Publishing will close on May 1st.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Cover: Full Moon?

This cover overlay is... an interesting choice.



Monday, March 31, 2014

Noble, Entranced and echoes of the fall

When Noble Romance closed the email circulated was:

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.


And then when Entranced Publishing closed the email circulated was:

To our Authors,

Today, I regret to inform you that a decision has been made that Entranced 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 compile finalized statements for all titles and pay all royalties owed once all vendor payments have been collected. We anticipate that this could be as soon as June, but we do not completely control third party sales.

This means that your rights will automatically revert to you per your contracts and at the end of the thirty day period. If after this period you still find your title available, please email me and I will promptly have it removed. If your title has yet to be released, this reversion is immediate.

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

Regards,
Bob   


I love the smell of sock-puppets in the morning. (Or is there some other explanation?)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Roman Payne: much ado about "erotica"

On one hand we have Amazon insisting on categorizing a book as erotica based purely on the presence of a nude on the cover. 

On the other we have the authors not just protesting that this would be ab inaccurate genre label that might lead to reader confusion and dissatisfaction.  Which would be an entirely reasonable point to make. No.  He had to rant that being called erotica as an "accusation"--going on to say used loaded words like "convicted" and "condemned"as if simply being identified in the wrong genre category was like being charged with a felony. 

None of which is consistent in any way with the author's statement "I have absolutely nothing against Erotica".  If that were true he would be talking about Amazon's ineptitude or incompetence, not their "accusation".

That aside. (Sigh).  If Amazon wants to block covers from search it needs to have a way of doing this other than calling the books erotica when they are not any such thing. But is that what is happening here at all? 

I mean is seems plausible as even very blurry buttcrack is deemed "non permitted". But when I looked up the bookSales Rank Express show no adult tag on the listing. I see no genre mention at all on the Amazon listing itself although it is technically within the romance/erotica category.  So I guess either they sorted it out or the whole thing is a publicity beat up?

See:

Monday, March 17, 2014

Forever More Publishing


According to me, and Merriam-Webster, 'forevermore'  is one word. So I must assume that Forever More Publishing is dividing the word for artistic reasons. There website is a little plain.  But FWIW they are seeking romance, erotica and erotic romance specifically, but all other genres of fiction as well. They have open calls for BDSM, BBW and older woman themes. Owner: Marisa Chenery

Starbuck's Mermaid Erotica

So if you combine monster erotica with a famous trademark, is that infringement, or satire, or... well. I just don't know. 

"My Starbucks Mermaid goes boldly where no man (or woman) has gone before—all the way into the mystical deeps with this seductive siren and her promise of pleasures even more compelling than caffeine."

Edited to add: It seems the cover has been altered to the public domain image of the original Starbucks logo.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

You May Also Like....

Barnes and Noble is going old school with their 'also bought'  algorithm.

Does it really make sense to add this sort of thing to a receipt--at which pointed I am really done with shopping.

Am I meant to save it for next time?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Off topic post: Really, Amazon?

Amazon did not approve my review below.  It is indeed a non-complying review--but reporting the problem directly had no effect.  Apparently openly buying fraudulent reviews is fine, posting protest reviews about them is not.

1.0 out of 5 stars Paying 10 dollars for review, March 13, 2014



I saw an ad on Craiglist for this exact product offering people 10 dollars to post pre-written reviews ("you will be given a review to post"). So, take that into account when reading the other reviews.

http://imgur.com/y9vDlTd

Monday, March 10, 2014

Luminosity Publishing

The latest erotic romance epublisher is Luminosity Publishing

My interest waned considerably at "Alternative lifestyle romance. Gay Lesbian Love." I thought we might finally be at the point where publishers that accept and sell GLBT romance knew not to refer to homosexuality as a lifestyle.

Other than that they seem to have the usual requirements other than specifying that submitted manuscripts should be "free from grammatical errors".

They are based in London but I could find no information about the founders.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Press Releases drive me crazy

Do you know what I want from a press release? The answers to these questions as quickly as possible:
1) What is this thing you are telling me about?
2) Why should anyone care?

And do you know what I don't want from a press release? Here are some examples from the recent press release on Mills and Boon's new announcement that they are (very belatedly) releasing an app you can find and buy their books from:
1) Suggesting you are an ebook pioneer when.... ha ha ha ha, no.  Getting to party and doing some good stuff, yes--but rather late in the day when the risk had gone down considerably.
2) Suggesting that they are innovative online (ditto).
2) Acting like a book buying app that makes recommendations based on book content is in any way unique or new (albeit still a good idea).
3) Buzzwords. If this is about a website call it a website, if it is about an app call it a app. Better yet, tell me what the damn thing will actually do for me as a reader.

"digital future ... innovative, direct-to-consumer web platform ...genre based entertainment ... vibrant and constantly evolving ... destination ...  integration of unique ... digital DNA ... floating feedback tab (God I hate those things) ... brand platform ... synonymous with passion ... digitally tap ... online experience ... driving more engagement ... user experience ... compelling visual experience ... fully integrated ...  internal business systems .... flexibility to react ... Shifting brand perceptions .... the experience strategy ... create a destination ... shares their experiences .. the experience ... embrace the key focus of discover ... increase brand and content ... engagement with ... omnipresent shopping experience."

Blah blah blah experience blah blah blah branding blah blah destination blah blah blah-fucking-blah.

Dear Mills and Boon, please  tell me what this thing is and what it does in plain language.  I do not give even the tiniest of damns about your brand development or inane quotes from your jargon-obsessed consultants who still seem to think that social networking is a nifty recent invention we may not have heard of yet.

I do not come to you to "experience" your "brand"--
talk
to
me
about
books.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Tule Publishing

Tule Publishing is a digital publisher that seems to have opened late last year. Their website is pretty, but very short on information. They say to research their imprints before submitting but I am not sure what these imprints are?  Based on their current line up they seem to have a romance focus, especially American/Western romances--and based on this post Tule was started by author Jane Porter.

Okay, so, about Ellora's Cave....

Orangeya
From where I sit, Ellora's Cave seems to be having the longest, slowest meltdown in the history of e-publishing.  Quite a few people have turned up to bury Caesar over the last few years, but Caesar refuses to lie down.

That said, over the last few months things do seem to reached a new low with staff cuts and turnover, and problems with timely royalty payments. In terms of the blogosphere things remain rather quiet, perhaps because this is "second verse same as the first"?

If you have any information or insight on just what the hell is going on with Ellora's Cave, please do share.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Green Mountain gets Coff-blocked: Keurig and DRM

A nice hot cup of "screw you" from Keurig--angela n./Foter
I have never been a fan of digital rights management software.  Being an early adopter of ebooks, this kind of tech is the reason why I have lost many ebooks over the years because they are linked to obsolete tech, stuck in obsolete formats, or require the input of a password that I have long since forgotten.

But I never expected that DRM would start to invade even the non-digital world.

Enter Keurig's application for a patent for a coffee machine that will refuse to work with genetic "pods" of ground coffee. That's right.  Keurig is DRMing coffee pods.  Thus propping up yet another irrational market like computer printers that sell below cost so they can screw you over the price of proprietary ink cartridges.

Coincidentally I was looking at replacing my hard-to-clean Keurig with a plain old drip filter by Mr Coffee (they have one that makes "lattes").  And I think this has just sealed the deal.

Big Bang Press

Big Bang Press is a UK press formed to publish the original novels of fanfiction writers.  Other than that is it a typical case of inexperience, rhetoric and crowd-sourcing.  They already have their own fandom wank post which made a mention by Wired seem almost inevitable.

Those who understand the tolerated-rather-than-legal status of a lot of fan-fic are worried about their use of fan-fic as Kickstarter rewards. Other than that the usual new press nonsense is in play including the delusion that what they are doing is new and radically different, the mission to give writers a "chance", and choosing a name some other press is already using.

Much ado, I think, about a doomed enterprise.  But I suppose they might surprise me. In my experience the direct crossover of readership from free fan-fic to professional non-fan novels is surprisingly small. That is why most former fan-fic writers just get on with submitting to whatever publisher is most appropriate for their original manuscripts.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Anti-Anti-Bully Pro-Pen Name Petition

Todd Barselow (whoever that is) seems to have started a petition to stop people from being mean to authors.

It has been given the thoroughly revealing title of: "Protect Amazon.com Users and Indie Publishing Authors from Bullying and Harassment by Removing Anonymity and Requiring Identity Verification for Reviewing and Forum Participation." 

Excerpts from this 650 word sob story give the gist of the request:

  • "...there is an incredible amount of bullying and harassment of some of these self publishing authors taking place on the Amazon platform/system...
  • ...the reason this bullying and harassment is able to take place is because of the allowance of anonymity on Amazon...
  • ...By removing their anonymity and forcing them to display their real, verified identities, I believe that much of the harassment and bullying will cease...
  • ... transition to implement a policy whereby reviewers and forum participants must also have their identities verified
  • ...Author Anne Rice has recently taken up this cause, as well, after experiencing the vitriol and hatred spewed by sock puppet account holders in the Amazon forum"

Anne Rice (yes, that Anne Rice) signs and comments: "My experience with the gangster bullies in the Forum has been very bleak and ugly. I post there under my own name.":

My reply: sure, the should do that immediately after they outlaw the use of pen names by all authors and other content providers and require their real name to be confirmed via a credit card account and home address.

Alternatively, 
1) Report abusive reviews and live with how Amazon chooses to respond on what is, after all, their website.
2) If you take part in the forums, understand that they are subject to light and sporadic moderation and are basically... forums... with people on them...and um, I don't know how best to explain this, but some people are jerks. Some people are even trolls.  It's called the Inter-fucking-net and that's how it works.
3) Get the hell on with your lives.

[/rant]

Sign the anti-petition by comment below should you feel moved to.

I the undersigned think allowing screen names on Amazon reviews and the Amazon forums is acceptable and should continue:
Emily Veinglory

Monday, February 24, 2014

Market: Leap of Faith Publishing

"Leap of Faith Publishing is a royalty paying publisher of romance and erotic romance fiction primarily"

Interesting choice of name because what it suggeat to me is "inspirational" rather than "erotic".

"The breakdown for royalties is 40% of net sales on all electronic and digital copies sold through the Leap of Faith website, 25% of net sales of electronic and digital copies sold through 3rd party distributors, and 10% of net sales for any print copies sold either through the Leap of Faith website or 3rd party distributors, should your book go to print."

 Even if you assume "net" only excludes retailer fees (which my not be true) I would not count that as a generous royalty rate.

"A Promotional Plan. All authors must submit a plan that tells us how they are going to market their book. Please do not tell us you are open to suggestions, instead give us an idea of what you are going to do to get the word out, such as posting to groups where romance readers congregate or participating in online chats for example. We are looking for authors who want to hang out with readers and enjoy talking about their book(s). Authors who do not make an effort to market their book(s)will not be offered new contracts."

I really wish publishers would stop acting like "promotional plan" = "internet whoring".  Or indeed that the author should initiate and be the sole users of such a plan.

"Taking a leap of faith in the belief that readers want books from talented authors with stories that will stand the test of time. We believe that a higher power will assure that the journey will be mutually rewarding for our readers and writers."

Insert raised eyebrow here.  Interesting "publishing plan" they have there.  Make books + divine intervention = $$$$?

From their job listing for editing assistants: "Because we are a small e-publisher who is just starting out, we cannot offer cash payment at this time. However, editing assistants will receive as compensation the following: a final version of the book he/she edited, an editing credit on the copyright page, and another e-book of his/her choice from our catalog."

Okay, I will be honest here.  There is no way I would have anything to do with a publisher that does not pay their staff any actual money at all.  No way, no how, never. Those that perform the labor that creates the product (including all editors and artists)  should be paid first and always. That aside, asking for free work suggests a publisher that is not capitalized at all, which generally indicated a publisher not long for this world.  That's my 2c.  Make of it what you will.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Too Much Puff

The Cartoon Network owns the Powerpuff girls normally shown as below in their ongoing comic series:


But it seems someone, temporarily, though it would be a good idea to run this variant cover:


A cover then withdrawn when comic store owners (of all people) were uncomfortable with it....

I have honestly always been a bit confused as to who the target audience for the Powerpuff Girls was. It's a bit to meta to be purely for the under-10 set, regardless of the apparent (unspecified) ages of the girls (6? 7?).

 I mean, we have tween Dora now--is teen puff really so shocking?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

All Mixed Up

Mixer Publishing states "We offer a 50/50 split of royalties with the author". The only problem with that is that royalties are by defintion the "amount of money that is paid to the original creator of a product". So any publisher can really only ever pay a writer 100% of their "royalty". This leaves prospective authors playing the now familiar game of trying to work out what, exactly, they would be getting 50% of, and I bet it ain't the cover price.

As for being "post genre", they do not seem to be post-post-modern which is arguable more passé these days. Recommended for writers who use worlds like dialogical, epistemology, and 'affirmative humanist ideology' in everyday conversation. They do seem to want erotica, but beyond that... I will need a translation from someone who speaks the verbose lingo of those that dwell in the land Focault forgot.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Contemplating the best publishers as per the 2013 P&E Readers Poll.

Angelo González / Foter / CC BY
1. Wild Rose
2. Solstice Publishing
 3. MuseItUp Publishing
 4. Astraea Press
 5. Pen-L Publishing
 6. Naughty Nights Press
 7. Books We Love
8. Central Avenue Publishing
8. Prism Book Group
9. Horny Devil Publishing
9. 4RV Publishing
9. Boroughs Publishing Group
10. Etopia Press

 One is closed, one is in trouble, two have a very troubled history, one has a silly name, five I have never heard of, one is a very small press of indifferent reputation.

Honestly, is it time to stop pretending this is in any way a poll of the general community of readers? Or have I been living under a rock and these, of all the publishers in the world in digital and print format, are the ones readers were all totally excited about last year?

Or should winning this honor be considered faintly embarrassing?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Hulk Fists

If this was the cover of an erotica novel rather than a sports magazine, do you think Amazon would approve it?



And more importantly,what do you think that novel would be about?

Erotic Romance, Craig's List and John McCain

A Craigslist ad is proclaiming: Online Publisher seeking Romance Fiction Writers!

In this advertisement they show the cover from a Karen Moning book published by Random House.  Which is misleading at best IMHO.   But then you look closer and see it looks like John McCain's head Photoshopped onto it which is outright baffling.  Does that mean they really want geriatric Republican erotic romance.  Or they just don't pay a lot of attention to what they are doing.  WTF.

Beyond that we are told "Jason" owns an online publisher that is seeking erotic and romance.  He is apparently in Vancouver and willing to meet and discuss things with potential writers over coffee.  And he writes "Below are some bestselling authors that I currently work with"-- Serena Bell, Christina Lauren, and Sharla Saxton.

When I look at who publishes these authors is see:
Random House, Harlequin, Samhain, Simon and Schuster, and self.  Impressive. These are clearly some kick-ass authors whose endorsement I would take very seriously.

So who is it, exactly, that is leaning so heavily on the names of these authors but not providing his own surname or the name of the publisher he is recruiting for?  And do the named authors actually have anything at all to do with this press?

Inquiring minds, etc.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Horny Devil Publishing closed

Horny Devil, (2012-2014) is now (rather suddenly) closed. I could be more surprised.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Hack Anti-Gay Bias

This "Public Advocate" group emails their supporters to create biased surveys about homosexuality.  If you have a junk email address or good spam blocker to deal with the hate-filled propoganda emails you will get several times a year after signing, I encourage you to reply to this survey:

"Radical homosexuals claim YOU support homosexual "marriage," special job rights and promotion of homosexuality in schools. Please fill out the survey below and let your voice be heard."

Thursday, February 06, 2014

News and Updates

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

New Publisher: Brown Girls Publishing

"Bestselling Simon & Schuster co-authors Victoria Christopher Murray and ReShonda Tate Billingsley are now teaming up on the business side: the two writers are launching Brown Girls Publishing, a new digital publishing venture that debuts today." [Link]

There are now generations of erotic romance writers

cliff1066™ / Foter / CC BY
It used to be there were so few erotic romance writers that they could only be thought of in two ways: as a group, and as unique individuals.  But it seems to me that we are now in an age of cohorts with vague gen-x/y style traits.

  • For example we have writers from before "erotic romance" was a thing.  
  •  We have writers from before the breakthrough of self-publishing and e-publishing respectively.
  • We have authors from when these things were brave new frontiers, and those from after they become mainstream.
  • And now we have the first fresh intake of authors who were oblivious to erotic romance until they read 50 Shades of Grey.

By no means are these hard and fast divisions as some of the most progressive and original authors vault from paradigm to paradigm with envy-inducing ease.  But as I read yet another press release from an author inspired by 50 Shades to revolutionize our now rather venerable sub-genre, I must admit I roll my eyes a little.

It is not as if any of us were in the business of writing banal hack fiction waiting for 'Susan from Alabama' or 'Kat from Australia' (or the next self-proclaimed savior of sex writing) to rescue us with her shocking new ideas that sex is good and erotica can be literary.

We're here, we're writing erotic romance,  and... um... we've been doing this for a while now.  Is it not time that people stopped planting a flag and claiming to have suddenly discovered the fact that sex and romance are a pretty nifty literary combination?

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Don't Add Me to Your Newsletter, Really

Little things can be really annoying.  I think some authors overlook this.  From their end, a person has shown an interest in their books.  Therefore it is natural to assume they will want to here more about said book, and be subscribed to the author's newsletter.

From my end: #%@!*$

I am currently getting added to an author newsletter most days of the week.  I used to reply asking why I was added to he newsletter.  And I would get an apologetic reply saying they assumed I wouldn't mind and they would unsubscribe me.

I no longer have the time and energy to do this.  I am on the receiving end of too many honest mistakes based on over enthusiasm to let every single one turn into a conversation.  It makes me feel like just a little bit of a bitch but now you just get unsubscribed and spam blocked, and if Mail Chimp or whoever asks why, I click the button saying "I never subscribed to this" because--sorry--but that is the truth.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Open Call: Ardent Books

"ArdentBooks, a royalty paying house, is proud to publish the finest in quality erotica novels.  We're actively accepting submissions from aspiring and established authors in a wide range of erotica and erotic subgenres.  Stories must have a clearly recognizable hook from the start, appeal to our wide female audience and capture the male mind as well. 


Accepted Erotica Subgenres include: Contemporary, Paranormal, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Steampunk, Cyberpunk, Historical, Romance,Ménage,BDSM."

See also:

Monday, January 27, 2014

WTF Cedar Fort

Ritycan / Foter.com / CC BY
For many years all I knew about Cedar Fort Publishing is that they are LDS (Mormon) owned and they make really good cook books. I mean, cook books that cook-book-hating people like me find useful.  I literally own all of three cook books, the one I learned to use as a kid and two from Cedar Fort.

But lately they have been acting, well, fucking weird.

First we had the 'drop an author just before publishing because he won't obfuscate his gayness'.  Something that might have alerted the PR brigade that the need to keep a closer eye on things.

Now they have been soliciting submissions for Nano writers, and however they are doing it, they are doing it wrong.  How can I say that? Because they are freaking people out. Even of they are just thinking outside the box and looking for fresh talent, this is apparently not the way to do it.

It seems to me that they are two steps into 'how to completely destroy your good reputation in three easy steps'.

Friday, January 24, 2014

More Disney Mermaids

I am not sure the world needs more mermaid stories, let alone ones from Disney Publishing.  But I have to say there is something about this cover that really appeals to me, and it is relatively cliche free.

But reading the press release about "companion content opportunities" leaves me feeling a bit queasy. The Waterfire Saga is not a book series, it is a "franchise".

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Steven Zacharius and Laura Kaye on Self-Publishing

If you have some time put aside, the comments are interesting.  Not so much on points of fact as where we are as regards the rather unnecessary trade/indie schism.

December 16: Self-Publishing: The Myth and the Reality (Steven Zacharius)
December 18: Response to "Self-Publishing: The Myth and the Reality" (Laura Kaye)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Dear Telegraph Headline Writer

Sharks really just want to hug you, with their teeth  Mila Zinkova / Foter.com
Re: "Writing about sex: The last thing you'd expect from this mother of five who knits"

One thing you can assume about most mothers is that they know the basics of coitus, and are thus equipped to write about it.  Nor, in my experience, is knitting highly correlated with celebacy or illiteracy.

So can we please retire some of these tired stereotypes and write a headline that does not imply that people who write about sex are weirdos who should not be allowed within 100 meters of infants, or that everyone who takes part in handcrafts is a frigid and unimaginative spinster?

Nor is the writer Geraldine O’Hara really doing very much to undermine these stereotypes by harping on about them.  It is a bit like opening a documentary saying sharks are the misunderstood poets of the sea and then spending the next 90 minutes loving depicting thrashing limbs, snapping teeth and ketchup in the water.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Fisking Spam

I am not normally a fan of unsolicited editing, but in this case it seems warranted:

Hello Sir/mMadam,
I visited your web site earlier today and just wanted to congratulate you on a well presented, and informative web site. I have a site which has content relevant to your site. I am interested in providing ato do guest post/ article submission onfor your site. Aas paer gGoogle update we all known that unique and relevantrelevent content is increasinglymore important for a site. So Ii want to submit my SEO , Web Design , Technology , Computer , Blogging , Wordpress related article or post on your site, I also have good sites to post your. So if you are interested please inform me soon.
Thanks & regards
[Name redacted]

Dear [Name Redacted],
My site is not about any of the topics you have listed. If I were to even consider a guest post it would need to be on the topic of my blog, display a basic level of competence with the written word, and link to a directly relevant and high quality website.  Also, as per Google update, we know that back links that are not organic in appearance are penalized and do more harm than good to pagerank.
Seriously, the days of just getting an back link you can are long gone. People who placed links of this type in my comments section are now emailing me and asking me to delete them.  To which my answer is: Ha ha ha ha ha ha.  No.
Thanks
Emily

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Kensington Acquires Lyrical

CD Brennan has posted a press release reporting that Lyrical Press is now an imprint of Kensington.

"Kensington Publishing Corp., one of the foremost commercial independent publishing houses in the United States, announced today that it has acquired the eBook publishing company Lyrical Press. Beginning in January 2014, Lyrical Press will operate under its current name as a digital-first imprint at Kensington Publishing."

It sounds to me like Renee Rocco of Lyrical Press has made a clever strategic choice here and it is a ringing endorsement of the quality of Lyrical's releases.

See:
Edited to add: Official Kensington announcement.