Wednesday, December 28, 2016

No Relation to Justin B-IE-ber, obviously


All Romance Ebooks Closing

So, e-tailer All Romance Ebooks (2006-2016) is closing.  With the explicit intent, per emails sent this morning, of not paying publishers and authors what they are owed (offering 10c on the dollar).Their ad space was sold out through 2017 and I doubt purchasers will be seeing refunds.  Customers have four days to download their purchased books before the site goes down. Those left holding 'ebucks' can no longer use them for purchases.

I leave you with this irony from their Facebook page:


Sunday, December 25, 2016

More Smoke from the Cave

It seems that Fifth Third Banks is pursuing Tina Engler of Ellora's cave to reclaim a motor vehicle after agreed payments were not made.

Monday, December 12, 2016

The "new" era of erotic romance e-books is now almost 20 years old.  And yet in many ways things seems to remain the same.  People seem to think that they can start an e-publisher that targets the same genre, the same audience, with the same message, open for submissions, and start raking in the money.

There was some element of truth this this hope in 2006.  Although for every press that did well for even a year or two, four or five crashed and burned.  And in 2016 the chances of any significant degree of success are slim to nil.  This is a time when the approach pioneered by Ellora's Cave, Samhain, Amber Quill, and Torquere are not even working for them, so why would the exact same strategy work for an inexperienced start-up?

Take, for example, newbie Raven's Seduction Press.en’s, and watch us reach for the stars.

"Raven’s Seduction Press is not your typical publisher. We strive to bring you only the very best of all things romance, and erotica oriented. We are run by authors, and publishers who’ve been in the business for years. We’re taking romance and erotica to the next level, and showing that we can make anything classy. Make sure you follow our authors, and watch us reach for the stars"

So that's a claim with nothing to support it.  The same ol' genre focus. A claim that the unnamed people behind the press are experienced.  Another unsupported claim with an implication that most erotic romance is not "classy".  And a cliche.  All presented on a free Weebly site with Amazon rankings suggestive of very few sales. And selling books of the type, and with the kind of packaging, that have been sold by e-publisher for decades, with backlists a mile deep easily accessible to any reader.

For the established presses we are already in a situation of innovate or die.  So new presses following the same path are just going to walk straight off a cliff.

Torquere

Torquere Press is reportedly closing. This announcement seems to have been made directly to authors and is not currently reflected in their online presence.

So far there has been very little reaction. However once there has been an extended period of non-payment or under-payment of authors, there is rarely a way back to normal operations.  Hopefully there will be an orderly return of rights to authors.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Torquere

Torquere Press has been on a noticeable downward glide-path, especially since changing hands in 2014.  On December 1st this unhappy state of affairs was noted on the prominent Writer Beware blog

Torquere continues to be openly behind on author payments, but still accepting submissions and apparently hoping to trade their way out of trouble--a plan that rarely works out for small presses.

Lee Pulanksi is the latest author to talk about his stormy experiences with Torquere.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

MARKET: Deeper Desires Press

Deeper Desires Press is a new publisher seeking "all genres and subgenres of erotica and erotic romance".  Nothing stands out about them; a lot of e-publishers like his have come and gone.  The editors, proof reader and cover artist are paid a percentage of royalties, which is probably not going to be a good deal for them.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Market: Encompass Ink

Encompass Ink is the latest imprint of Crushing Hearts & Black Butterfly Press (a.k.a; Vamptacy, Hot Ink). All you need to know about them can probably be found on this AbWrite thread. I guess it's nice the LGBT fiction is now so popular people are lining up to make money from it.  But this particular effort strikes me as bordering on parody.  Unlike their other imprints this one comes with a lot of breathless statement about how they"believe in romance for all" and "no hiding", which might not have seemed odd twenty years ago but is a bit behind the curve now.

It is my unabashed person opinion that this one should not be touched with a Teflon-coated barge pole, not because of how they are presenting, but their appalling track record re: drama and lack of professionalism, not providing editing or professional cover design, and very mediocre performance.


Thursday, August 11, 2016

I don't normally complain about publishing trends...

I mean, if something is popular, that's great.  Publishing is about supplying an audience with what they want.  It's all good.

On the other hand when one end-cap holds eight different swear word coloring books, I do have the urge to roll my eyes.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

A Tour of the Newbies

As usual there are new romance publishers opening all the time.  Here is a thumbnail guide to my impressions about some of 2016's new arrivals.

City Owl Press: "City Owl Press is a cutting edge indie publishing company, bringing the world of romance and speculative fiction to discerning readers."  A well-presented start up, but with a less than clear attitude to erotic content. Probably a matter of" wait and see.

Fifth Ink Publishing"Though Fifth Ink Publishing is an indie publishing company dedicated to our authors and their success as well as bringing our readers quality and entertaining reads in print and digital formats worldwide." Their use of publishing terminology is a tad dodgy. Five imprints and four books so far, three of which are poetry.  Offer "self-publishing services".  Pass.

Ink Monster: "We’re Publishers of New Adult Romance Books in the genres of Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Paranormal and Urban Fantasy."  Looks more like a self-publishing team than a publisher seeking submissions. Which is a bit of a pity as they are the most promising one of the bunch.

Paper Lion Press: "I want edgy stuff. I want stuff that pushes boundaries, that calls privilege into question, that makes my skin crawl a bit when I read it." Not seeking fiction as such, but a quirky list of non-fiction that includes erotic memoirs and queer romance. Nothing in particular to recommend them yet, but they are carving out an interesting sort of niche.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Torquere Talk

Those of us not living under rocks have noticed how Torquere Press's reputation took a sharp nose-dive late last year.  The press's golden goose, Sean Michael, received a late and rather bouncy check-. Last month this lead to current owner Kristi Boulware-Talbot having a very bad daySean Michael and Jodi Payne have cut ties with Torquere and others are likely to follow.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

It's not everyday I find myself siding with the RWA

But in the case of "Rosy Press Vs Romance Writers Of America" I do. Not so much on the matter of their dismissive tone in relation to romance comics, but on the matter of substance. Specifically RWA does not admit publishers that recoup all of their costs before paying any royalties. And Rosy Press defines net as "the total amount of money generated from sales of the Magazine and Book minus any fees or costs directly associated with formatting, editing, printing, distributing, and storing the publication, including Talent’s page rate and any attorney’s fees Publisher may incur."

This is not especially unusual in comics.  But it is still wrong.  There is no innate connection between how common a practice is and whether it is predatory to authors. Academic journals in some fields charge authors a page rate to publish. Market behemoth Harlequin has always paid a well-obfuscated and very  low royalty rate. It is not at all unusual for literary journals to charge reading fees. But all of these practices unfairly exploit authors as a source of financial gain.

Call me a zealot if you like, but for me--when it comes to commercial publishing--Yog's Law is absolute.  Author and publisher embark on a journey hand-in-hand, each risking the time and effort they have put on the line, and each sharing--according to some equitable ratio--any profits that are made.  When the publisher takes all profit until they are made whole this is indeed "predatory publishing"--and instead of asking RWA to accept it, the world of comicbook publishing should damn well stop accepting it too.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The End of ERP Sales Data

Hi all, 

It's been a while since I received much in the way of sales data reports.  I have decided to stop collecting sales data and shut down the sales report pages.  Any previously collected, anonymized, data in my files will be deleted.

I will now concentrate on fixing up, developing, and improving the list of erotic romance publishers (which is currently a bit of a mess) Any suggestions, corrections or additional information for this page can be submitted any time to veinglory at gmail.com -- subject heading ERP.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

It's the Same Samhain


I realize this is not going to be my most popular post, but I have a slightly different perspective on Samhain's recent trouble.  Specifically, the problem is not that Samhain publishing has changed, but that the world has changed around it.

Samhain in it's heyday, and now, is pretty much synonymous with Chrissy Brashear. Chrissy Brashear, like many entrepreneurs is a idiosyncratic and rather pugnatious person.  She has a particular dogmatic style and a general tendency to give zero fucks about other people's opinions.

This style worked well for people when she was playing David to Ellora's Cave as Goliath.  Her quirks were charming when the money was rolling in. And if it led to some ambiguity of expression, and some delayed reports and messed up payments, ain't nobody complaining so long as they are getting paid in the end. And we sure were getting paid.

But no entrepreneur is on top forever.  The winds of change have blown through the crowded halls of Erotic Romancelandia.  In this new climate, the ambiguity of Samhain's official communications is a little harder to deal with: is Samhain's closing or not (apparently: not, but a lot of authors got messed up during the hokey pokey).  Is Chrissy Brashear's unwillingness to admit she ever said they were closing quirky or crazy? Is her humorous tone in official communications suitable when discussing the serious matter author's incomes and futures?

Maybe, maybe not.  But for Samhain authors, this is the horse we rode in on.  She may have trotted us right into the quicksand, she may or may not be able to trot us back out.  And I certainly don't blame anyone who decides to grab a passing branch and try to climb to more solid ground. It's a publisher, not a cult, and any author would probably be well advised to get out while the getting's good.

But in this case, as with any other publisher, what we saw is what we got.  The Brashear brand was working through the good times, but now--not so much. And this is where it got us.  Maybe not all that terribly rosy right now, but our bank accounts much better off for having taken the ride.

The authors annoyed by recent developments at Samhain are 100% justified, but also should not, perhaps, (if they were paying attention to Samhain's management style right from the beginning) be 100% surprised.


Monday, July 18, 2016

The Ongoing Story of Eternal Damnation

I have previously commented on the checkered history of Eternal Press and Damnation Books. Eternal opened in 2007, Damnation opened in 2009, and was acquired Eternal in 2010. Venerable fantasy magazine "Realms of Fantasy" joined the group in 2010 and went under in 2011.

In 2015 the entire kit and caboodle was acquired by Alan Leddon, who was also in charge of Spero Press. In the same year all three were positioned, along with four other imprints, under the umbrella of Caliburn Press. In 2016 Leddon posted a GoFundMe page to open a "Spiritual Bookstore" and raised $30 of his $25,000 goal. In the description Leddon represents himself as essentially living in poverty. This does not seem to prevent him from snapping up struggling publishing companies like hot cakes.

Complaints about the various heads of this publishing hydra have built up over the years, including accounts of unapproved editing, crazy kills fees, and non-payment of employees and authors. While their website solicits refugees from Samhain's trouble, some of their own authors and staff can be seen fleeing out the back door. Author Nannette Laree Hernandez sued Leddon and Lulu.com for diverted and unpaid royalties and falsified statements. The action was dismissed without prejudice earlier this year.

TL;DR  -- not with a bargepole

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Azure Reading Books

Not an ER publisher, but still providing your comedy moment of the day.  Vanity publisher (fee-charging, amount not specified on webpage) Azure Reading Books finds an author has released a Kindle version of their book, possibly in breach of contract. 

So, being a serious publishing endeavor its clear what they should do, right?  Contact the author, clear up and misunderstandings, and possibly go their separate ways if it can't be worked out.  Or possibly go on the Amazon Kindle forums and ask random strangers if you should throw a lawyer at them.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

How Good Intentions Run Amok

A recent climbdown by Evanston City Council comes as a relief to local massage and bodywork businesses. The good news is that these local government officials recognized that massage is a valid activity often with a therapeutic purpose. In their efforts to ensure secret prostitution dens were not operating in the local decades-old registered businesses, they came up with a ballooning proposed ordinance that prohibited touching peoples behinds or having advertising with pictures of the masseurs.  Eventually the trouble they were causing legitimate providers, and the fact that illegal sex work is general not done in licensed premises anyway, caused the council to drop the whole idea.

I can't help but see a parallel to the various efforts to quash pornography being accessed by children or the spread of extreme pornogrpahy which end up proxy-banning anything involving nudity or intimacy altogether.  From frozen Paypal accounts to rampant Amazon adult tags to RWAs covergate to prisoners having erotic romance novels seized as contraband.  The relatively short history of erotic romance is replete with examples of the genre being caught in the cross fire between well-meaning regulators and their real target material--generally of some kind of obscene material.

And as a point of clarity, in the United States erotic material in itself has been established as legally not meeting the requirements of "obscenity" because an interest in sex is not innately prurient ("shameful" or "morbid"). In general the features that have been judged to cross the line are sexual activities that would be illegal in real life combined with being in the erotica genre which is widely deemed not to have literary merit, a rather dubious pair of distinctions.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Quoth: Google's AI could "theoretically" write a romance novel of its own

"According to a Google spokesperson, romance novels are particularly helpful to learn colloquial language because they have predictable themes and plotlines, but use colourful and varied vocabulary to convey them."
 --The news that Google's IA is learning conversational language from erotic romance novels.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Smoke at Renaissance Romance

Based on reviews on their Facebook page Renaissance Romance is falling behind on their royalty payments. Their free Wix  website is also less than impressive. File this one under: NOT RECOMMENDED.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Market: Hot Tree

Hot Tree Publishing is seeking romance in all sub-genres.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Author of BDSM Non-Fiction Charged with Crossing a Legal Line

Michael Makai, author of BDSM non-fiction guides, has pleaded guilty to sending obscene material to a girl prior to initiating a relationship with her. The relationship, with a 17-year-old, was not itself illegal.  This creates what seems to be an unusual situation where it seems that the written word was criminal despite the end goal itself being legal.

That said, one wonders if it is wise to take BDSM advice from an author that the NY Dailly News reports is a registered sex offender due to a sexual assault conviction in 2001.

Update Aug 4 2016:  Erotic book author sentenced in OKC federal court case

RWA Apologizes for 2005 Romance Definition Survey

"The survey ... asked RWA members to vote on whether romance should be redefined as being between one man and one woman. .. The survey, however, sparked a discussion that compelled our LGBT+ members to justify their existence to others and to participate in debates about their humanity and their capacity to love. This incident was a low point from which RWA’s reputation has never recovered ...We apologize for letting our members down and for failing to treat all our members with the respect they deserve."

See the full text here.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Torquere non-payment reports

Venerable M/M epublisher Torquere Press is reportedly bouncing check on one of their prominent authors Sean Michael. These reports are back by former owner of the press, Julia Talbot. It seems unlikely that if this is happening only one author is effected?

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Fireborn Publishing

So, more on Fireborn. Fireborn Publishing seems to be a coop publisher started by some people involved in Silver Publishing, as was. Personally what I am looking for in a publisher is not a "new experiment in publishing" that involves "crowd funding" their "start-up costs" (after being open since 2014). but YMMV.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Samhain Slightly Un-Closing

So a follow up email to authors suggest they might not be totally dead, and authors should maybe hold fire on making other plans.

Like a lot of mid-level erotic romance authors my only plans would be to self-publish when the books revert and I get around to doing it.  Nothing very urgent given that my small press and self-pub books do about the same these days (a.k.a. "selling like cold cakes").

To those of you doing better, my hat is off to you :)

Friday, February 26, 2016

Samhain Closing

Email to authors posted, for now, without any comment from me. Names and emails redacted and email shortened.

Dear Friends,

It’s with the heaviest of hearts and a great sadness I bring you the news of Samhain beginning the process of winding down due to our market share's continuing decline. We’re approaching the point where we cannot sustain our business.

We prefer to go out gracefully and not get to the point where our overhead compromises our ability to pay the authors' royalties. That’s would just be wrong. We want to stay on the high road and keep your respect. This company was started with the purpose of providing a safe and friendly house for authors to publish and begin or expand their career. If we have to end, then we shall do so in the same manner.

This has not been a decision made lightly. The recent sales numbers are not providing any hope for recovery and none of our efforts have been successful. For the last two years we have tried many and varied types of campaigns to promote your titles and have had no success in reaching the new customers we need to thrive. Each month that goes by our sales continue to shrink and it would be disingenuous to keep contracting new titles.

We’ve tried to renegotiate terms with Amazon in order to buy better placement within their site and perhaps regain some of the lost traction from the early days but have been met with silence. Other retail sites are trying, but the sales have never risen to the level of Amazon and are declining as well.

As it took time to grow to the size we became, it will take some time to shrink down and end our run properly. This means that we are NOT turning off all of the books and just closing down. It doesn’t work that way. We are going to continue on with selling our titles and launching the titles that are ready to go, but we are laying off about half the staff, and releasing all freelance people.

Many of you are going to ask for your rights back, I expect. Please be patient and understand it will take time to process those titles where rights are available to be returned. If your title/s haven’t yet reached the point to have your rights returned, we won’t be making any mass releases at this point. We need the income to continue while we wind down and ask that you understand that we will release the books when we can and we won’t be abusing your trust. I won’t drag this out any longer than I have to, but it isn’t going to be something that will be wrapped up in the next six months. Samhain has commitments to vendors other than writers and to turn it all off now would put me in bankruptcy. I hope you don’t want that any more than I.


...


Saying goodbye is always hard. I will miss working with all of you. Samhain has been my greatest adventure and I’m bereft at having to give it up. Please accept my thanks for all the trust you've invested in Samhain and I hope you understand that this choice to begin the wind-down to close is made to honor that trust.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Is that you, Elsa?

The potentialtrademarkinfringment doesn't bother me anyway

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

ShadowHunter in Court: Sherrilyn Kenyon vs Cassandra Clare

Cassandra Clare's ShadowHunter series has clearly been a success, most recently with its release as a television series.  However there has been ongoing conflict between Clare and Kenyon as to how derivative the series is of the Kenyon's also illustrious (but less multi-media)  Dark-Hunter books.

I have not read either series and so cannot personally judge whether there is much evidence of direct copying.  But to me the case seems weak. Paranormal fantasy and romance is replete with tropes that are far from distinctive. Claims such as "Both feature symbols reminiscent of ancient ruins, angels, and crystals" are pretty laughable to anyone with even a passing familiarity with the genre.

The fact that the Shadow Hunters had previous been called Dark-Hunters and were referred to as having "marks" does suggest that the resemblance between the two works was initially a good deal closer. But on the other hand the fact that Kenyon has trademark rights to “Dark-Hunter”, “Dream-Hunter”, and “Were-Hunter” regardless of font or presentation strikes me as pretty damn outrageous. What next, a trademark claim for "were-wolf"?  (Although I assume dispensing with the hyphen would prevent one for being sued?)

If you have read these books I would love to know whether you think this suit has substance.  FWIW my only direct experience of either of them is watching the new ShadowHunters TV series and found it rather insipid.  But perhaps I am not the target audience.

 See also:

Monday, February 08, 2016

Creative Online / Vasko

An outfit called Creative Online Publishing Inc (a division of VaskoBooks) has been soliciting authors of romance.  They seem to be particularly angling for previously self-published authors. Creative Online offers an eyebrow-raising US$1000 advance for only your digital Apple (iBook store) rights.  Honestly, I just do not see how that adds up.

See also:

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

A Few New(ish) Places

Baronet Press, founded in 213,  is seeking erotic romance and BDSM fiction. The owner of the press is spanking-specialist author Casey McKay.

Dark Hollows Press, also founded in 2013, is seeking all genres of romance. The press is co-owned by author Shannon West and Michelle Williams.

Crimson Romance, founded in 2015, is seeking romantic suspense, contemporary, paranormal, historical, and spicy romance. Crimson is F&W Media's digital romance imprint.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Yes, We Shall Have a Facebook Page

I know I am very late to the party here, but our Erotic Romance Publishers Facebook page has arrived.  I am coming up with ideas for things to do on the new page. 

One thing definitely on the cards is new release announcements for any books published in the previous 30 days. Please add them as a visitor post ad I shall aggregate them onto the new page weekly 

Other than that... I am open to suggestions.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Big Sky Press = Big Copyright Issue

As pointed out by aliceshortcake on Absolutewrite, Big Sky Press seems to have a very weak grasp of the idea of copyright.  Compare for example this (rather cheesy) shot of Jude Law with this book cover:



Thursday, January 21, 2016

Will Amazon start publically flagging poor quality ebooks?


There has been a lot of debate about this post which suggests Amazon is going to publically flag ebooks with technical errors and maybe even delist them starting on February 3rd.

Here is an email multiple authors report receiving from Amazon:

"Our shared goal is to provide the best digital reading experience for customers on Kindle. When customers contact us with quality issues in a book you published, we validate the issues and send them immediately to you to fix.
Starting February 3, 2016 we will begin showing customers a warning message on the Amazon.com Kindle store detail pages of books that contain several validated quality issues. We will remove this message for a book as soon as we receive the fixed file from you and verify the corrections -- typically within 2 business days.
We understand that even with the best quality controls, defects sometimes make it through. That's why we've limited this messaging to books with several issues. Books with more serious quality issues will continue to be suppressed from sale."
 As I read this, the process continues to be activated only by customer complaints.  So the only new step is that books under-going this process will be marked with a public warning about potential quality problems.  Annoying, but IMHO not a huge deal.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

WTF South Carolina?

Okay, now I am pretty open about being a socialist pro-gun control pro-right-to-choose bleeding heart nouveau hippy.  But I live in America and I understand the deep traditions of personal freedom and the role of the private citizen as a check against tyranny. I am cool with the fact that people have different points of view about this stuff.  That said....

In South Carolina you do not have to register guns (a.k.a. yay, second ammendment!), but if this bill passes you will have to register if you want to practice any kind of journalism (a.k.a. fuck the first ammendment!).  This is  bonkers. Not to mention, unconsititutional.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Bizarro Kindlerotica + Real Person Slash = Protest Porn

I have posted before about how the bizarro edge of erotica, especially evident on Kindle, has expanded the genre well-beyond topics that the author or reader would seriously consider sexy.

If you combine this freedom from what would previous have been considering the central tenant of erotica, will the practice of writing erotica (including gay erotica) about real people.... you end up with protest porn.

Colin Meloy: musicisentropy via Foter.com / CC BY-SA
And in yet a further development while "real person slash" is often about musicians (especially boy bands) this example is actually written by one.

Specifically the Decemberist lead singer Colin Meloy is writing erotic unfan-fiction about the militia members occupying an Oregon wildlife center.  An idea that has now taken off under #bundyeroticfanfic

Thursday, January 07, 2016

If a new, talented erotic romance author asked you which epublisher to write for, what would you say?

I am not a very active writer, and so I have limited direct knowledge.  But based on everything I see online and the emails I receive, it is hard to be enthusiastic about any e-publishers right now.  Even those that were steady earners over may years seem to be going through rocky times and providing dwindling returns for the author's effort.

The erotic romance industry is maturing and the demands of the readership are changing.  Back in the day (insert sound of nostalgic violin music here) the M/M readership (for examples) was growing rapidly and the authors supplying it could still be counted without running short of fingers and toes. It still felt a little like the fanfic frontier where readers where just happy to get something in the flavor they craved. But over time this readership has become more fragmented and more demanding.

Now erotic romance and adjacent subgenres cater to easily hundreds of discernable types and tropes of writing. The readership is very large, but also very well supplied by professional grade authors, many of them maintaining an impressive level of  productivity.  I went from being the new girl at the EPPIES watching (with some surprise) as grey-haired pros limped up to accept the awards inn he new erotica categories, to being someone who is increasing a semi-historical player in the industry --  watching to see where it will go next--knowing that I will probably not go there with it. (Released from my previous financial imperatives I am thinking of moving more into pure high fantasy ad just seeing how it goes--or maybe popular nonfiction).

I wonder how many erotic romance e-publishers are essentially in the same boat.  To start a small press any time over the last 20 years you had to be a strong-minded person with a clear vision.  But maybe that sometimes comes with a resistance to change? Some people were considerably less surprised about the closing of Amber Quill than I.  They mentioned a tendency to keep publishing the same stuff, a bullish attitude to requested changes in their contract, and a general "my road or the high road" outlook. Kudos to AQ for see the writing on the wall and wrapping things up in a relatively tidy way, but maybe their drift from relevance offers clues as to what the e-publishers of the future will need to accomplish to survive and thrive.

I am not now, and have never been, a publishing professional.  But from the authors side I see a future where publishers will have to actively locate underserved niches, recruit authors, and move their editorial interests constantly to keep profit in focus.  And this does not mean just acquiring what editors think is hot (Steampunk FFS, it cool and everything but it will never be super-profitable) but some kind of empirical, analytical method for reading the evolving market.

I also see that there will always be super-hot authors who will bring in the lion's share of the profits.  And as much as I, like most authors, resent back-alley favoritism, these authors will need to be given special consideration.  After all, they have other options: going to another publisher or self-publishing for example.  And the answer is not to lock them in with non-compete clauses and long term contracts, it is to sweeten the deal as an acknowledgement of the extra value they bring to a publisher and to the rest of the author stable under the same brand.

There is no particular publisher I would actively recommend right now, although there is always a long list I would actively discourage any new author from submitting to.  When I finish my next erotic romance novella, I honestly have no idea where I will submit it, but I suspect it will be somewhere I have never submitted before--maybe even my first book self-published title that is not a reprint. My old strategies are not paying off the way they used to, and that means it is time to try new things.  Even the old soldiers like Loose Id and Samhain look stagnant and shaky, respectively, and merit more of a wait-and-see attitude these days.  They need to try new things too, and trying new things always brings with it  risk of failure. But the earlier it is done the more resources they will have to plow through into pastures greener. Of the two Samhain shows more evidence of being willing to try new things, take risks, and make unpopular choices--but they also seem to be retrenching, so who knows.

 If you still have an "I HEART Publisher" to share, please do. Be it a long-timer you still submit to and see steady returns, or a new kid on the block who is off to a roaring start.  The erotic romance market, print and digital, is strong--and I am confident that as it develops and matures there will be recipes for success.  But what remains to be seen is who, in the coming years, is going to discover them.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Author Scams Reviewers Pretending to be from Penguin Random House

An author going by the name Christine Catlin a.k.a. Corinne Rosanna Catlin has and publishing under the name Silvestri Books has plumbed new depths in dishonesty.  Essentially she solicited reviews by presenting herself as an employee of Penguin Random House.  She then provided review copies of her own book as well as Penguin ARCs apparently bought secondhand to support her ruse that her book "Spectaccolo" was slated for publication by Penguin Random House.

Authors, especially indie authors, sometimes think outside the box to try and get some attention to their work. This can lead to innovated marketing ideas but also pretty dishonest stuff like fake awards and planting your book on bookstore shelves without permission.  No matter what you might think about that kind of "disonesty lite", outright scamming individual private citizens who review books crosses oh so many lines.

Since being detected in her scam Catlin has pulled her head in (taking down her website and Facebook page), and is probably about to be visited by Penguin Random House Lawyers wearing their stompy books. Seriously, even overlooking the rampant dishonesty of such a scheme this was never going to work out in the long term because: the internet.  Which is also why it is never going to be forgotten.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Amber Quill Closing

Amber Quill has reportedly informed their authors that the press will be closing. They have long been a solid publisher of high quality genre and erotic romance fiction. This does make me wonder how many professional-level e-publishers will be left after a few more years, as the market becomes ever more crowded and correspondingly less profitable.