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.