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.