Monday, March 31, 2008

This 'n' That--veinglory

* The Happy-omoter (which will be shown on the website with the happy grrl--->) will debut in next month's PLIST. The three publishers that have already made the threshold minimum of 10 responses are Ellora's Cave, Loose Id and Samhain--all at 100% satisfaction.

* Re: Amazon, my favorite point made so far is a quote by Amazon's Jeff Bezos about the 1998 Barnes & Noble/Ingrams deal: “To our customers: Worry not … Those who make choices that are genuinely good for customers, authors, and publishers will prevail. Goliath is always in range of a good slingshot … Our long-term strategy has been to diversify our supplier base and to increase our direct purchasing from publishers.”

* See also: PW has Ingram statement on Amazon/Booksurge mess

* eXcessia? Um, make of it what you will. (Or read what Karen & Co. have to say).

Amazon FYI--Pepper

Just in case somebody hasn't seen it, here's Amazon's Response/Explanation of the POD stuff.

ETA: Also, I've seen some mention that Whiskey Creek Press will be one of the publishers affected by this change. This is from the publisher, posted on the WCP Business Loop:

I really need to clarify my statement. The Bru-ha-ha affects those
people who have their books with Amazon Advantage. Very few of our
books are listed with the Advantage program! I pay a monthly fee to
keep us in Amazon Marketplace. There has never been a 'buy now' button
on most of our books. We list our books at Retail to cover the costs
of the % and fees that Amazon takes from the book price. When you go
to your book listing the site tells the customer that the books are
available through PawPrints at a specific price. It has always been
that way and will never change. We, really, are not involved in this

There are a few that do have some of their books available through the
Amazon Advantage program. Amazon has left those alone for the time
being but even if they shut off their button, the Marketplace
offerings will still be available. As it is, we don't get very many
Amazon Advantage sells since we have to ask such an exorbitant price
for the books to cover the 55% of sale that Amazon Advantage demands.

Through Marketplace, we get the on-line exposure we need and, no,
people can't use the shipping options that Amazon offers as an
incentive but we still make good sales through Amazon Marketplace.
Customers have commented that they save enough buying from PawPrints
at the retail price to more than cover the shipping prices they have
to pay rather than the very high price of the Amazon Advantage prices
we list for those books to cover their 55% .

Sunday, March 30, 2008

PLIST Update--veinglory

The April 1 update is up. The highlights are:

* updates to the first month sales figures including the addition of rather widely hyped Wild Rose press with a figure at the low end (average first month sales, 17 books, based on 18 books).

* Based on recent behavior, including apparently now selling Ellen Ashe's work against her wishes, on sale, New Concepts is now on the 'not recommended' lists along with ABCD Webmasters and LA Media. The primary reason that I cited on PLIST is their recent admission that they do not provide substantive editing.

* Closures include Dark Eden, vanishings counted as closures include Silk's Vault and Shadowrose.

If I missed anything or you can see any inaccuracies or oversights please let me know. I am also looking for a volunteer willing to go through the list and find which of these publishers offer print versions and under what terms. Anyone have a little time to donate to EREC? (Note: anyone who helps out EREC gets a cover spot for at least 6 months, on the main page or blog)

In the next update I will be providing the 'EREC Recommends' List based on sales (an aggregated rating of first month and total sales) and a happy-omoter rating of 90% or more. Please do keep sending me your happy-ometer ratings. Are you satisfied with your epublisher or not? (Note: all I am looking for from authors is a simple yes or no answer, the figures reported are the percentage of authors who say yes). Early reports suggest many epresses have 100% satisfaction ratings, but some unexpected ratings for major epresses (e.g. under 50%) are also coming in. Email veinglory at

Edited to add the monthly data without Ellora's Cave. The thickness of the line indicates how much data I have for each press with thicker lines showing more books contribute to that average.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Working With Good E-Publishers Part 2--Pepper

In case you missed it, here's part 1. I'm posting part 2 tonight, because tomorrow is my MA exams, and I don't think I'll be online at all.

So, you've been accepted by an e-pub, and you've gone through the process of editing. You've looked over your galleys. You've got your promotion in place. You've braced yourself for the reviews. You've told all your friends. What comes next?

I always find the day of the release pretty anti-climatic. Make a few posts about it, update the webpage, and then what?

Oh right, and then you get back to work. Once you're in with a good publisher, you want to sustain that relationship. The best way to promote your title and to sustain that relationship is start a new book. I'm very suspicious of authors who seem to spend more time focused on promo than they do writing. I would say I'm suspicious of authors who spend more time playing around online than writing, but well, I do that. So as soon as you get one book released in the world, you get to work on the next one.

Some publishers have a first refusal clause in their contract. Others don't. Make sure you understand your contract. Remember the long paragraph(s) I wrote about open communication with your publisher? That's pretty important when you're signing a contract. If there's anything you don't understand or don't like, speak to your editor about it. Most contracts are negotiable, too. So if there's a clause you simply will not agree to, then you should definitely negotiate.

Some publishers will accept submissions "on spec." This means they'll contract based on a synopsis and the first few chapters. Some publishers will not. I've honestly never sold a book "on spec." I only submit completely finished manuscripts. I feel like that's the best way to prove I'm not a flake. Because I'm a horrible flake, but I don't want my publishers to know that. Either way, be sure to ask your editor about the submission process for already contracted authors. It'll probably be slightly different from when you were a new author to the e-pub. Whatever your editor tells you, follow it. I wish I could say some hard and fast rules, but honestly, it's different with each of my e-pubs, and it's never a good idea to assume. Generally, however, e-publishers want to keep good authors producing good work on a fairly regular basis, so they'll make the process easy for you.

Also, I've never had my submissions rejected based on previous sales. And here's the thing, ladies and gents--you might get some seriously disappointing sales figures. I wish I could tell you why. I have some general guidelines I follow. I will only submit contemporary het romance to one e-pub, and if it's not an idea I think they'll buy, then I won't write it at all. Yep, I just admitted to "compromising my art" for the bottom line. Hey, this isn't a hobby for me, and I'm not going to pretend I'm not interested in sales. On the flip side of that, I've never, ever written a story designed to sell a crapload of copies, though it would be easy to do. It'd just be hell to write, and when I don't want to write something, it shows. I'd be embarrassed by the very poor quality. There's one publisher I will only submit gay romances to these days. The het titles I have with them just sold much, much too poorly. I'm talking a mere fraction of what my gay titles sold.

My point is, if you get disappointing sales figures on your first time out, it's not the end of the world. I'm not saying it won't hurt. It'll probably sting quite a bit. But that just means you need to figure out A)what market you're targeting and B)what market your publisher is targeting. Then figure out away to mesh the two goals together. But poor sales figures isn't a sign that you suck. Our first Jamie Craig title Unclose Me hasn't even sold 100 copies yet. Master of Obsidian was released the same weekand has sold close to 1000 copies to date.

Now, it is very possible that your editor could reject your next book. That doesn't mean you suck. It doesn't mean your editor hates you. It means that your editor thought your book didn't fit their needs at that time. But that's fine. Now you've had some experience under your belt, you can start targeting other reputable e-publishers and expand your horizons a little bit.

On 'epublishing is all totally sucky'
If any of the following epublishers close within the next five years I will donate $50 to the black-footed ferret conservation people: Ellora's Cave, Loose Id, Samhain Press. Anyone want to take me up on the bet to ensure the ferrets get paid whatever the outcome?

On the Happy-ometer
Come on guys. Just answer this question with a yes or no for any epublisher you have released a book with: I am satisfied with the performance of [name of publisher]. All I will post is percent satisfaction based on 10 responses or more.

On the EREC postcards
No, I haven't had them printed yet. My records are a bit of a mess again. If any of the artists have not been paid in full please email me.

On the postcards again, sorta (or somewhere to take them)
I am trying to find some time in the second half of the year to go to a convention. I need to book my holiday time now. Any recommendations?

Oh and by the way....
I have major dental surgery coming up and need a really good feel-good confort book to console myself afterwards. Any recommendations? Any genre considers but ultra cute non-alpha male characters appreciated.

p.s. File under A for Alarming: Telling POD Publishers - Let BookSurge Print Your Books, or Else...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Did You Know?--veinglory

There is discussion of at Romance Divas about how many people who entered the RITAs were not aware that ebooks are not eligible. I must admit I kind of assumed RITAs were for paperbacks, or at least an ebook was about as likely to final as a sled dog in a greyhound race. Not really what the event is set up for, y'know?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Eternal Press has been sold by Julie .A. D'Arcy to Allyson Robertson. This involves changing the free .au based website into a presumably also free .ca website with the result that currently "some links or carts may not work". I am wondering why they don't do as most epresses do and cough up $8 for a standard .com?

ShadowRose Press continues to be a missing in action and is beginning to look like it might be effectively closed.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Post on behalf of Debra at Dark Eden--veinglory

The following notice, written to the authors of Dark Eden Press, is forwarded with permission.

"I don’t often share much personal stuff about myself or what is going on with me, so I never thought I would be coming to any of you with this but sometimes life comes at you and you have to deal with it, and this is one of those times for me.

I could beat around the bush here but that's not me. You deserve the truth even if it is painful for me to talk about.

I have found out recently, very recently, that my cancer has returned. For those of you who do not know, this is my 6th time around with this in a little over 10 years. It started as cervical cancer 10 years ago and each time has gotten worse and spread to other places. I will be starting chemotherapy and radiation treatments shortly and as I have been through these same treatments twice already, I can honestly say it isn’t pretty.

After discussing the issues and options with Susan and Billi, and then Gretchen and Brenda, it was decided for a few reasons that I will discuss below, that the only option was to close Dark Eden as of April 1st. I have to devote my energies and my time to getting better, and to my daughter.

One reason for closing is the treatment plan itself. I will be in no shape to run a company, much less take care of anything else. Another reason is with Brenda having gone back to work fulltime, that would leave just Gretchen to do it all and as great as she is, she can’t do it by herself. Billi works fulltime and does her part of the business in the evenings and on weekends. Susan has health problems that she didn’t have when we started this company and wouldn’t be able to do the things that I do. It was hard enough after the house fire to keep things running smoothly and even then they were getting some help from me. They pitched in and ran things beautifully after the fire but that was only for a few months, this would be for the next 6 months at the very least.

The last reason is all of you. All of you deserve an owner who is going to be here, who is able to get the things done that need to be done. I don’t want my authors trying to figure out why I haven’t answered emails for a couple of days, or why royalties are late, or wondering when the things that need to be taken care of are going to get done, when the reality is that I will be too sick to do it.

I will spend the next two weeks preparing letters to release your book rights to you, doing March royalties, and closing the readers group. I will then begin shutting down all the DEP email addresses except for my own and forwarding all mail from that to my personal email address. By May 1st, I would hope all payments have cleared the bank, and on that date I will also close the author group.

On a personal level, I feel horrible that this has to be done to all of you. I have come to know almost every one of you personally and I feel as if I have let you all down when you trusted me with your stories, and I am so sorry for that. You trusted in the fact that DEP would be around for a long while and I am truly sorry that we are not going to be.

If you have any questions or problems, please don’t hesitate to email me as I will be working to get last minute things tied up over the next several weeks.

Please feel free to post this on your blogs or websites as you see fit. I would rather have the truth out about why we are closing, even if part of it is a personal issue, than to have DEP’s name trashed across the blog universe. Lord knows some of those people do not have enough to do but sit around and pick their next victim. I do not want it to be this company.

If I have not told all of you lately, it is and has been, a pleasure working with all of you gifted writers and DEP’s fantastic staff.

Debra Durham


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Blogger's Remorse--veinglory

In February the blog 'Bitch Envy' opened to make with some anonymous snark (see cache) about romance-genre goings on, and by March 23rd it had come to this. A very rapid case of blogger's remorse. I think extremes are dangerous things. Bloggers often thrive on drama but tend to rest on firmer ground. Beneath all the snarks, sparks and bitchery I think most of us do, in fact, have an affirmative goal. So as for "I don’t know how people can maintain blogs filled with so much mean and not be physically sick." 'Mean' may be an active ingredient, but so--underneath it all--is meaning well. If you lose that not only are there no taboos but also no reason for breaking them, and the whole thing is indeed pointless.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

New PLIST updates schedule--veinglory

I have seen a few mentions online about the EREC publisher list being updated only occasionally or erratically. I can't really deny that. So from now on you will see updates on a monthly schedule, going up on or just before the 1st of the month, with and changes or additions in blue font.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Positive Saturday :)

So, I encouraged people to post anything they want that is positive about small press and epublishing this Saturday. I thought I would pick one little story. I don't know that the person involved would want to be named so if they come by I leave it up to them to raise their hand ;)

A few years back I was new in the US, no credit and having to pay all the moving and immigration costs up front (they were to be reimbursed but that didn't help me right then). The first pay check was still almost two weeks off and all I had to my name was a bag of dog food (and a dog who wasn't going to share), half a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter. I was in a new job in a foreign country and I didn't have money for food, credit or anyone nearby to turn to.

Literally, that was it. 37c to last ten days. I got a little desperate and tried with some embarrassment to ask one of my epublishers for an $10-$20 advance against future royalties. I totally expected that this was almost certainly not possible. What I didn't expect was that a few days later a box would arrive, a food package. The person I had emailed was making up food packages (I think for the troops) and made an extra one for me. Best cheese and salami I have ever had and enough to get me through a few more days after which I manage to get a pay advance.

Small gestures leave lasting impressions.

Please tell me about your own postive Satuday posts. I will visit and list them at the top of this post.

Would you submit to an un-named 'epublisher' off craiglist?--veinglory

And I quote:

"A new website is seeking romance novels! The concept is simple: we post half the book in serial form (one chapter or so a week). If consumers like it, they can buy the rest of the book. You get cash upfront, plus a % of the sale, and more importantly a chance to build up the audience/hits for you as a writer.

We are seeking NON X-rated, but steamy romance stories where each chapter ends with some 'cliff hanger' or enticement to get the reader to want to come back next week for the next chapter. The story could be anything, as long as it is romantic, sexy, and a page-burner read!

Thank you!

Compensation: $200 for the manuscript if accepted. Plus 5% of all sales of the balance of the book. (Example, if 25,000 people love your book, and pay $20 for the 2nd half, you'd get 5% or $25,000.) "

So: $200 plus [cough] 25,000 sales x [cough] $20 =$25,000. Let's just pretend we find that plausible. A standard epublisher deal of 35% of $8 would be $70,000 (skipping the advance).

Formatting Manuscripts for E-Publishing (Part 2)

Here is the second half of my first e-publishing topic. Yesterday's post left off with general manuscript formatting, now here are some other guidelines that have to do with your manuscript. There is some overlap with topics that will be posted later, like Submitting to a Publisher, etc.

Feel free to ask questions in the comments and check my blog next Wednesday if you want a link to a downloadable PDF of this topic.


You should create a header at the top of your manuscript to make sure the person reading your manuscript has some important information about it right at hand. These may be stripped by an e-publisher during the final formatting but serve an important purpose in the meantime.

Title and Author Name
The title of this manuscript and your name should always appear in the header. My preference is to have them in the upper left. I also recommend using a format like:

Title of Book / Maura Anderson

This serves the purpose of the reader being able to instantly associate what they are reading with the manuscript and author it comes from. No having to scroll to a cover page or rely on the filename for that information.

It also means that if it someone happens to print it out, that important information remains with every page of the printout.

Page Number
The page numbers should also appear in the header. My preference is the upper right. This is more useful for those recipients that want to print the manuscript but it doesn’t hurt.

--Cover Page
I always recommend that the first page in your document be a cover page. This page will give anyone you submit the manuscript to an instant way to have your contact information, an idea of what the story is and how long and even a short blurb at their disposal at all times. Because it’s part of the document, it travels with it so there is no need to hunt through emails to find the submission mail if they want to contact you.

Contact Information
Put all your contact information in the upper left corner of the cover page. I include different phone numbers, email, snail mail and my real name as well as my pseudonym. I recommend something like this:

Maura RealName
w/a Maura Anderson
1234 Main Street
SmallTown, USA 98765
realmsoftheraven @
(123) 456-7890 – home
(123) 456-7890 – work
(123) 456-7890 - cell

About 1/3 of the way down the cover page, center the title of your manuscript and state your pseudonym again. I recommend:

Tort & Retort
Maura Anderson

I started including this on the advice of another author and I’ve actually found it to be quite useful. Because e-publishers often send submissions to remote editors to review, the cover email doesn’t always follow them. Plus, if your story is contracted, you have a small blurb ready for the editor to look at and it may be the one they use on the house’s website.

Try to keep the blurb about 250 words which is a fairly typical short blurb length in e-publishing. Align it flush left and place it about 2/3 of the way down the page. I recommend something similar to:

Ambitious and driven patent law attorney, Gayle Osborne, has a secret. Her power suits and take-no-prisoners attitude hide a passionate nature whose only outlet is reading and reviewing erotic romance. If anyone finds out that she is “Miss Retort,” the snarky and opinionated blogger from the Hits & Misses review blog, she’ll lose everything—her reputation, her clients, her job and, worst of all, her gorgeous mentor and boss, Tyler Monroe.

Almost at the bottom of the page and flush left, clearly state the genre of your manuscript. Do not use one of the comparisons that are so popular (aka “Harry Potter meets Sex and the City”). Instead state the genre you would expect it to appear under for sale. I recommend something like:

Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance

Word Count
Right below the genre, list the actual word count for your story. This should be excluding the cover page and should be the real word count as shown by your word processing software. I recommend something like:

Words: 18,236 (actual)

The notation of “(actual)” tells the recipients that you are using that and not one of the formula derived counts of print publishing.

When you send your manuscript as an electronic file, it’s important that the recipients can tell what it is and what it pertains to at all times. In part, this is because of the number of viruses spread via attachments but it is also more professional.

File Name
Give your manuscript’s file a descriptive, meaningful name. Avoid spaces in the filename because some systems still do not handle that well. Include both the name of the manuscript and your pseudonym. I recommend something similar to:


If your manuscript is contracted, your e-publishing house may have a naming standard they will want to use. This is only so it can be found and identified through the submissions process.

File Format
Because of differences in software as well as the ability for viruses or malware to be spread (even unintentionally) through more sophisticated file types, I recommend all files be saved and submitted as Rich Text Files (.RTF). Be sure you double-check this on the e-publisher’s website, however, because incorrect filetypes being submitted will usually result in them simply being deleted with no warning and no notice.

Send Via
This is a place where you have to check the e-publisher’s website. Some e-publishers want you to send submissions as mail attachments. Some want you to send them via a web form.

What to Send
This varies widely by the e-publisher and you really have to check. Some want only partials of your manuscript. Some want a synopsis as well. Some want the full. Follow their instructions for the best chance of a favorable outcome.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Formatting Manuscripts for E-Publishing (Part 1)

Emily has graciously allowed me to write a series of posts on E-Publishing and the intricacies an author needs to know. My plan is to write a post every two weeks until I'm out of topics. Today's topic turned out to be so long that I'm going to spread it over two days so I don't flood your screen :)

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in comments. I'll also provide Emily with a PDF of the whole topic or you'll be able to download it from my website after next week.

When writers learn how to format manuscripts, they typically learn the standards for traditional print publishing and those are not always the accepted or preferred standards for e-publishing. This is due, in part, to the fact that the actual production processes are different for traditional print publishing and e-publishing.

Traditional print publishing often involved editors writing on the paper manuscript page, a typesetting stage where the manuscript was typeset into book format, etc. Some of this is now more computerized but e-publishing is a very streamlined and automated process. Anything that throws off that process can tend to be problematic so it’s best to start out with as consistent a manuscript as possible and know some of the pitfalls, as well as how to avoid them.

The formatting guidelines I’m giving you are generic and relatively standard but, before you submit to any particular publisher, be sure to read that publisher’s own submissions guidelines. Any specific instructions they give should trump these generic rules and should be followed instead.

Remember that these are only formatting instructions, NOT writing or grammar instructions.

Overall Formatting

Use a one inch margin all around the page as your standard margin width.

Paragraph Indents
Indent each paragraph by ½ inch (.5). Be sure to do this with your word processor’s automatically indent paragraph functionality. Unlike in hard copy, using a tab to indent in an electronic document puts in a hidden character. This can throw off later formatting.

Line Spacing
I recommend 1.5 line spacing. This leaves a half line free between rows of text. In print publishing, this is often set to be double-spaced because handwritten changes or notes were being made on the page and space needed to be allotted for that to take place.

Lines Per Page
Many people writing for traditional print publishers set their manuscripts to be exactly 25 lines per page in order to both be able to use a formula to determine manuscript length and because some print publishers request it. Do NOT do this for e-publishing submissions. This will really create problems in the formatting process since your submission file will eventually become the finished product. Let the line spacing determine how many lines are on each page.

I recommend Times New Roman in 12pt. This is a nice, standard font and it is easily read on the screen because it’s a serif font. Do not vary from this font within the work unless your publisher indicates you should. This is because your file is often used (after edits) to create a final formatted document. Changes in font size and style can be problematic and lead to real ugliness.

This is also a nearly universally available font. I’ve seen instructions for submitting to print publishers that recommend fonts that are not pre-installed with most systems but must be downloaded separately. Unlike in print publishing, where you send printed pages, the recipient of your electronic submission needs to be able to read your work. If you use a non-standard font that they do not happen to have, their computer system will try to translate it into a similar or default font. ‘Close’ often is not very close.

Unlike print publishing, you need to actually use italics when you want italics. This is another by-product of the e-publishing manuscript going directly from edited file to formatted final file. There’s no need for a typesetter to be able to differentiate italics from regular type on a printed page, so do not use underlining to indicate italics.

Hard Returns
No hard returns mid-sentence or mid-paragraph. These will throw off the automatic formatting for publication and weird breaks will appear in places they do not belong.

Chapter Breaks
Always use a hard page break at the end of one chapter and before beginning another, then start the next chapter on the first line of the new page with whatever format of chapter indicator you’re using. Do not skip a third of the way down the page to start a new chapter as is often advised in preparing print manuscripts.

Space Between Sentences
Use a single space between the ending punctuation of one sentence and the starting character of a new sentence within a paragraph. This has pretty much become the default standard in the e-publishing world.

Trailing Spaces
Don’t include a space before you use a hard return to go to a new paragraph. It’s superfluous and will sometimes throw off formatting.

Use an actual ellipsis, not three periods. While it’s not a big deal in print manuscripts, it makes a difference in e-publishing manuscripts. Formatting will treat an ellipsis as a single character but the three periods may get separated or mishandled because they are treated as if they are three separate characters.

Em Dashes
Use a real em-dash instead of a hyphen or two hyphens in a row. Again, two separate characters could be separated or mishandled but the single em-dash character will be treated correctly.

(to be continued tomorrow)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Epublishers are not like a box of chocolates--veinglory

They are like an egg.

Come on, give this metaphor a chance--work with me. This morning at work I found an Easter basket on my desk. Still not sure who it is from. It included a toy rabbit, some chocolate and this egg which came with two Alice in Wonderland type instructions. 1) Do not consume, 2) place in water.

Now when I do this it is possible a tiny Godzilla will jump out and trash my apartment like its the Tokyo sky line. Not very plausible? Well, it could be a cunning murder plan and the egg is full of Lithium which when put in water will blow me and my apartment into little pieces. That is possible but still not very likely.

So it's going to be some kind of gradually expanding novelty shape, right? Further to that given the shape and size of the egg, and it being Easter, I'm going to guess a chicken. Although biologically inappropriate it might also be a rabbit or a lamb, but I'm going of chicken. I guess I'll find out in a day or two.

So I guess the point is that all eggs can produce anything from noxious goo to iguanas and you never really can tell for sure. But there are ways to make a pretty good educated guess.

....and I'm going to be pretty embarrassed if it isn't a chicken.

Oh, the New Concepts Publishing thing is still going on but I haven't seen much in the way of new information. If you want to keep up with that I suggest Karen (her main blog has fallen over again), Ellen Ashe, Mrs. G., Bitch Envy and Dear Author.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

To all bloggers: Positive Saturday--veinglory

There seems to be a lot of negativity around, especially re: epublishers and small press in general. I would like to invite everyone to post on their blog this Saturday, and post about something they like or love about small or e- publishing. It can be anything so long as it is POSITIVE! I will come back on Saturday and promise to visit and comment on anyone who takes part and drops a link here. Please link to the specific 'Positive Saturday' post to make it easy to find

The proof of the promo--veinglory

Further the the question of what kind of promotions works well, I would like to suggest an experiment.

I am looking for authors with two back list books that sell a steady and similar amount. The idea is to pick one of those and promo the hell out of it during the month of May. Do your absolute minimum of promotion on the other (i.e. don't deliberately ignore it or remove it from your website or anything, but no active promotion). Keep some record of what promo you do.

At the end of June I will ask you to share your results. Note: I do not want to know your actual sale levels. Just calculate your average monthly sales for each book based on Dec-Jan (5 months). The tell me how many extra sales you saw for May.

For example, if the average for the promo book was 20 and in May you sold 25 your result would be +5. If the average for the control (non-promoted book) was 20 and in May you sold 15 your result would by -5.

I can do this and will focus on blog promo and maybe some banner ads. Who else thinks they could join in? Use any kind of book and any kind of promo you want. I would suggest either choosing a particular 1 or 2 types of promo or taking a 'blitz' approach and doing everything you can think of. But please keep a record.

Monday, March 17, 2008


Things can seem obvious, without necessarily being true. Places will sell advertising, so you might assume advertising there would be effective, right? And site reviews books, so they must have readers who look at those reviews and whose purchasing choices are influenced by them, right? In many cases, I suspect, not so much.

I think the following from Romancing the Blog might be an example, the blogger opens their post by saying:

"I think you would be hard pressed to find a romance reader who doesn’t have at least one promo item from an author."

Comments follow:

"I do like the promo items, but they are not necessary."

and then:

"I don’t buy books based on promo items..."

"I don’t have any promo items, nor does anyone I know offline. I don’t want ‘em..."

A swerve back to:

"I love receiving promo goodies"

But then:

"I don’t really like promo items like pens or bookmarks"

"I don’t have a single promo item from any author."

"When I was *just* a reader (aka, before I joined RWA) I had no idea author promo stuff existed."

"I don’t buy books based on author promo materials."

"You know, give me a good blurb and I’m there. That’s all I need, all I want."

"Before I was published, I didn’t have promo items from authors - I was missing out! Now that I’m pubbed, I like creating new things..."

"I don’t pick up–or toss if I somehow end up with them–bookmarks and pens. I have nice bookmarks that I’ve selected over the years; I’m picky about my pens. As promo, they don’t work for me. Ditto cover flats"

I am beginning to form the impression that swag is a ritual that has more to do with being an author (and doing what small press authors are apparently meant to do) or just being part of the churning online or convention-based romance community, than being effective promotion. I have picked some swag up at cons or received it from author friends. I don't recall ever buying the book after getting it. Do we really think these things work, hope they do, or just doing them for fun and need to stop pretending otherwise?

Rumor has it....--veinglory

...that James Lightsey, Author Liaison: New Concepts Publishing has exited that position to be replaced by someone by the name of Gina.

...that Shadowrose has gone silent, with some authors receiving little or no response to emails. I understand at least one of the primary people behind Shadowrose is understandably out of the picture for health reasons. However other staff or some other representative might like to try at least bulk-emailing the authors to update them and indicate when you think things will be back to business-as-usual.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Q & A re: Alinar--veinglory

For the record here is the sum total of what I posted about Alinar:

Alinar Publishing<--its name

"So, who is Alinar Publishing and what do you do?
Alinar Publishing is a group of independent authors who have got together to sell their work on the internet and aims to provide a place where visitors can find great reads. Alinar Publishing LLP is a non profit-making publishing co-operative and services to our authors are free."<--a quote

By invitation only with the author covering some costs of production and distribution. Authors include: Eve Asbury, Gayle Eden, Angelique Emerson, Lily Graison, Felicity Heaton, F E Heaton, Jane Hill, Jude Johnson, Kallysten, Nia Little, Alexandra Marell and Candy Nicks<--accurate as far as I am aware.

I also added this comment:

I think co-ops are an interesting idea. My feelings is they should be open about their nature--which this one is. I would also think they might be wise to invest in an independent editor able not only to proofread but suggest a work is not good enough.<--hardly pit bull attack material, I think

I received this anonymous comment (excerpted below with my responses attached). It make me wonder whether any change of tack is required. For example a more rapid and summary deletion of any posts containing personal insults to moderate the tone, but not I must add the content, of anonymous comments.

I am comfortable with reasonably robiust debate but think some comments go a little far into name-calling. I am also, however, either working or traveling for fairy extended periods each week and so might require some assistance to carry out any really effective moderation of 'real time' comments and I would hope to avoid holding comments for moderation as it really disrupts the conversational quality good comment-threads have. I believe allowing anonymous comments is important to permit people to speak freely. I also want to keep the tone honest and analytical but civil (and okay, sometimes a bit funny).

"Give an idiot a keyboard to hide behind, and they suddenly grow a backbone the size of their ego. They transform into an expert on everyone and everything, so much so that they do not even need any proof to support their statements. Why? Because they know there are people out their even more idiotic than them, who will believe anything they read as the gospel."

Give a person a blog and they will humbly proffer their opinions so that any potential audience can make of it what they will.

"I try to avoid blogs not controlled by someone I know and trust to be responsible, which is most likely why I'd never even heard of this little slander-fest corner of the world here."

If it was may intent to do anyone harm (which it is not) I must note this would be the inaugural festival of libel, not slander. Beers $5 each, form an orderly queue please, no glass bottles allowed in the arena but tomatoes are okay.

"However, at the urging of a friend, I read this particular blog entry, and felt compelled to respond... mostly out of disgust at the thought there are people who give this place any shred of credibility.

I have been a fan of Gayle Eden's since before most had ever heard of her, and in turn have been a long-standing customer of Alinar Publishing. The innuendo and outright lies published in this blog are downright appalling, and ooze of nothing more than pettiness and jealousy.

I have never heard of Eden Gayle. Feel free to point out specific factual statements that are in error and I will correct them. If there was any innuendo it might be on the side of the one inferring not the one putatively implying.

"Although I have never once received a book I was dissatisfied with, the open communication and customer service at Alinar is second to none. I have purchased books from well-known high-end publishing houses that were edited by so-called "professionals" which looked like they were edited by my four-year-old. If anyone has gotten a book from Alinar they were dissatisfied with due to editing and made no attempt to contact them about it, you really have no right to go around bashing them. Errors will happen in any business as long as their are humans. Customer service is what separates the good from the bad."

So why does this principal not applied to a blog. I don't recall receiving any direct contact questioning the objective quality (e.g. accuracy) of my post and allowing me to correct it. However as it happens I think many things separate the good from the bad, including making fewer mistakes in the first place, especially when providing a product on a professional basis. As it happens Alinar's representative responded with an open invitation for people to converse with her. She was probably not thrilled with the comments but her response to me and the blog readers was highly professional and not emotional or disproportionate. I didn't manage to talk her into sending a review copy of my choice so that I might comment directly on quality issues--but not everyone gives away free books to any weird blogger who asks for one, so perhaps that is beside the point.

"And while I don't know why anyone using two different pen names to separate different styles of books they write is even questioned as being dishonest, Ms. Eden and the other authors are very open, both at Alinar, and on their individual websites, about who they are. Anyone who has a problem with this method of authorship and claims ignorance or a feeling of being misled is just looking for something to complain about, because they obviously made no attempt whatsoever to find out anything about the author(s) in question."

Readers are generally not investigative in their approach to purchasing, but wish to take things at face value. Like the writer and editor who have different names being different people. This seems a reasonable and sincere complaint from a reader to me. Not exactly a matter of national security, but if a reader bought the book I think they also purchased the right to discuss any aspect of the product with anyone they want to.

"Whoever runs this blog, and a couple of people who have posted on it, should really consider hanging up their blogger hobby until they grow up and attain some semblance of personal responsibility. Messing with people's careers and livelihood because you have no life and nothing better to do than get your jollies off slandering and making uninformed ignorant comments is juvenile, and clearly shows you lack any of the moral fiber or responsibility to contribute and participate in public discussion."

I confess freely to being juvenile, but I deny having the ability to mess with anyone's livelihood. I also invite anyone to read my post on Alinar and find anything with that apparent intent. I would hasten to correct anything unreasonable or inaccurate. But what I did is look at their website and say what I thought. It seems to me that I am best placed to accurately report the content of my own thoughts. Even if my impression proved to be in error, they were what they were.

All I can suggest is that the issue of what is acceptable in comments should be raised. But I doubt I would see being critical or negative about a company's actual practises and their products on sale would ever be a problem here. I might concede that increased civility in the comments to blog posts would be a worthy goal for all parties to pursue.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

On the road again--veinglory

I often see writers saying how they must have this or that to write, music, absolute quiet, ergonomic seating, scented candles. Psychologically I can see the point. Making association between sensory cues and writing can help you instantly get into the right frame of mind and emotional state. As soon as you are seated with all your thingamebobs Pavlovian conditioning should ensure that the creative mood will hit.

That said, there is also something to be said for being able to write anywhere that you have access to a keyboard or a pen. Here I am on the road again trying to slip a few words here or there at airports and hotel rooms. I am in a hotel with a view of the car park and a loud refrigerator conversing with an even louder heating system. And I am now cutting short my blogging time to try and get some progress on my latest and languishing book. But let me ask: do you have any rituals for your writing time? Do they seem to help?

I will also throw the floor open to ask you all what you think I should be blogging about when I get home and have more time to do some research and write something a bit more in depth. New presses? Co-ops? The PODding of ebooks and how different presses approach it? Anything you have been wondering about?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Working with Good E-Publishers--Pepper

Right below this post, Emily has a list of Teddy's recommended e-publishers, as well as the recommended e-publishers based on sales. I am very lucky, because I began my career with Liquid Silver, and then branched out to work with Amber Quill, and Samhain. I have several books with each publisher, solo as well as with Vivien. So, in light of the anger and dismay over New Concepts, I thought I'd explain what it's like to work with a good and competent e-publisher.

First, the submission process. Amber Quill is a little different because they do not have open submissions. They're by invite only, except during their annual Amber Heat contest. That's how I got there. But, even though the process with them is a little different, there are still some things to take into consideration.

When I emailed to ask questions prior to submission, all three publishers responded promptly and with an appropriate answer. After I submitted my manuscript, I received confirmation from all three that it was, indeed, received, and told roughly when to expect an answer. They were prompt, helpful, and pleasant.

After acceptance, I was assigned to an editor. In the case of LSB, the acquisitions editor introduced me to my editor. In the case of Samhain, I received an acceptance letter from the editor I was to work with "permanently" (it's in quotes because she later left and I was assigned to a different editor). In the case of AQP, I received an email from the editor with the edits already attached. In all three cases, a dialogue between myself and the editor was highly encouraged, and I didn't feel shy or awkward about contacting them with questions, problems, or suggestions.

The editing process is always harrowing, but never because I had a "bad" editor. And bad editors are out there. In one instance, I had an editor that I had a major personality conflict with. When I kept feeling like I was hitting a brick wall, to the detriment of the book, I sent a politely worded email up the food-chain, and the problem was worked out. You should always be able to talk to your editors without fear of reprisal or being "black-listed." Remember, the editors and publishers are not doing you a favor by accepting your book, and you should never have to kow-tow to them. Be polite, of course. Be professional. Don't work for a publisher where you have to be afraid of what you say.

The editing process varies with each of our publishers. Samhain is far more labor intensive than AQP for various reasons, for example. Every publisher has their own process, and if you're unsure of how that process works, do ask questions.

Once you get to this step, editing isn't the only thing you have to worry about. All the e-publishers I've worked with have an art information form. Don't be obnoxious about the cover art--it's never going to be exactly how you imagined it, though there are certain artists who get pretty damned close. (Here, I must give a shout out to April Martinez and Anne Caine.) You also have to start considering what you're going to do for promo.

Your publisher should be a part of promotion. This is their money, too, after all! If your publisher leaves it all up to you and doesn't even bother sending out review copies, this is a problem. A big, stinking problem. If your publisher doesn't tell you when your release date is so you can make plans, that's also a big stinking problem. If you don't get your artwork until 2 days before the book is released, that's another big, stinking problem. Your publisher should never, ever hinder your promotion. If your publisher does, find a new publisher.

This is getting really long, so I'll do part 2 next week--everything that happens after the release and sustaining a relationship for the long-term. If I left something out, please feel free to add it in the comments. :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Your 'thing'--veinglory

As readers we all have things we like. Feel like sharing yours? Any you have real trouble finding?

For me it is MM with guys 50 and over. That's right, I'm into the silver foxes. Why is MM erotic romance topping out at 49? I mean look at these guys!

Good men are like fine wine. They just get better. I am curious can you match the ages? (53, 54, 54, 58, 67, 70)

A General News and Rumors Post--veinglory

There is a report at Absolute Write that the Erotic Challenge and the Submissive Challenge websites are not paying in a timely manner (if at all). Their stated terms are: "Payment is $25 per accepted Challenge, paid the month it is put live on the site."

It is rumored that Publishers Weekly will be writing a story on how Romance Writers of America accepts (or doesn't accept) people into PAN and whether all has been fair and above board. As far as I knew the definitions, like them or not, were overt and empirical?

Can't get enough erotic romance gossip from the blog? Try our Erotic Romance Writers forum! Well actually the forum pre-dates this site, but it is part of the ER-empire now and a good way to catch up with other authors. :)

I am sitting down to write my new column for the Romance Writers of New Zealand newsletter (Heart to Heart). It is called 'Digital Romance'. Any ideas what members of a national romance writers (one that leans more to print publishing) might like to know about the romance e-book world?

I would also like to remind people about the happy-omoter. When you next send on your sales figures update you could also add a simple yes or no for each publisher. That being the answer to the question of whether you are basically satified with your experiences with that publisher. Oh and now is a good time ti send in those updates, I'll be revising the PLIST page soon.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Errol Flynn--veinglory

I notice a lot of you favor Errol Flynn as Robin Hood. I wonder if you sense a kindred spirit. This from the blurb of "Showdown" by (the) Errol Flynn (1946).

"Shamus O'Thames, a tall, shy Irishman, is a very conventional young man whose fate it is to lead a most unconventional existence. He is seeking his fortune in the barbarous South Sea Islands, with a plan of life which includes no women.

Cleo, a vivacious, strikingly beautiful actress who is oddly at home in the wilderness, shows herself familiar with the ways of gracious living. Yest her spirit is as untamed as that of the South Sea savage. Ill-mannered arrogant, wilful, Cleo is well-versed in playing a fast-and-loose game with a man's emotions.

Ganice, an entrancing lovely young nun who lives in a mission in a remote outpost of civilisation, has a gentle smile and beautiful gray eyes which betray her fear that Shamus and her own emotions may make her break her vows."

I haven't read it yet... but doesn't it rather sound like our Errol wrote an erotic (or at least exotic) romance?

EPPIE winners--veinglory

Edited to add a question: Would you be more likely to buy a book based on an EPPIE win? Have you ever bought a book after looking it up following the EPPIE announcements?

Category A - Action/Adventure: Murder By Proxy by Robert L. Hecker—Hard Shell Word Factory

Category B - Children/YA: Grizzelda Gorilla by K. D. Huxman—Dragonfly Publishing/Imprint – Kittycat Books

Category C - Contemporary Romance (TIE): Perfectly Good Nanny by Paty Jager—The Wild Rose Press & Thin Ice by Liana Laverentz—The Wild Rose Press

Category D – Erotica: Woman of the Mountain by Angela Caperton—eXtasy Books

Category E - Erotic Romance Contemp/Suspense/Mystery (TIE): Too Good To Be True by Marie Nicole Ryan—Samhain Publishing & Craving Candy by N. J. Walters—Ellora’s Cave

Category F - Erotic Romance Historical Fiction: Let Me Love You by Mary Wine—Samhain Publishing

Category G - Erotic Romance Fantasy/Paranormal: Rated X-mas: Spiritual Noelle by Jet Mykles—Loose Id

Category H - Erotic Romance Science Fiction/Futuristic: Hara's Legacy by Bianca D'Arc—Samhain Publishing

Category I – Fantasy: North Star by Pier Giorgio Pacifici—Calderwood Books

Category J - Fantasy/Paranormal Romance: Rapture by Renee Field—Ellora’s Cave/Imprint - Cerridwen Press

Category K – GLBT: The Lost Temple of Karttikeya by Laura Baumbach—Loose Id

Category L- Historical and Western: Black Crossing by C. K. Crigger—Amber Quill Press

Category M - Historical Romance: By The Sword by Alison Stuart—Wings ePress

Category N – Horror: Labyrinth by L. B. Milano—Mundania Press LLC

Category O - Inspirational Fiction: Meagan's Chance by L. C. Monroe—Samhain Publishing

Category P – Mystery: Underdead by Liz Jasper—Ellora’s Cave/Imprint - Cerridwen Press

Category Q - Nonfiction: General/Category R - Nonfiction: Self Help (combined): Complete Guide to Writing Science Fiction: Volume 1 by Michele Acker, Jeanne Allen, Piers Anthony, Milena Benini, Orson Scott Card, Carol Hightshoe, Ian Irvine, Dave A. Law, Wil Mccarthy, Michael Mcrae, Tina Morgan, Bob Nailor, Darin Park, Kim Richards, Simon Rose, Bud Sparhawk—Dragon Moon Press

Category S – Poetry: The Swing by C. S. Fuqua—Uncial Press

Category T - Romantic Suspense: Bed of Lies by Pam Champagne—Samhain Publishing

Category U - Science Fiction: Twisted Tales II: Time on Our Hands Volume 1 by J. Richard Jacobs—Double Dragon Publishing

Category V - Science Fiction/Futuristic Romance: A Noble Sacrifice by Ciara Gold—Champagne Books

Category W - Single Title/Mainstream: Tales from the Treasure Trove, Volume III: A Jewels of the Quill Anthology by Christine DeSmet, Liz Hunter, Nancy Pirri, Jane Toombs, Cassie Walder, Karen Wiesner, C.J. Winters—Whiskey Creek Press

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Um, Robin Hood--veinglory

Do you know an anthology I would like to see? Erotic romance takes on Robin Hood. Robin Hood is a totally hot character. I know I am drifting a little from the usual kind of thing I do on this blog but I am curious. Which Robin Hood do you think is best?

a) Jonas Armstrong

b) Kevin Costner

c) Errol Flynn

d) Michael Praed

e) Douglas Fairbanks

f) Patrick Bergin

g) The Fox

h) Wishbone

i) other (do tell)

Although, to be utterly honest I am more of a Will Scarlet fan myself (bookverse that is, he never gets good casting).

Friday, March 07, 2008

How about a *new* idea?--veinglory

So, I was wondering how many erotic romance epublisher have a tarot project because they seem to be everywhere. Lets see:

* eXtasy Books' Tarot Series
* Ellora's Cave Torrid Tarot
* Tease Tarot Series
* Cobblestone Press's Vampire Oracle (a.k.a. Tarot)
* Tarot Card Anthology series (part 1-3) from Whiskey Creek Press

And that's just a quick Google. I am pretty sure there are a few more out there? Please do let me know of any I have missed.

Now what do I have against the tarot? Nothing. I like the tarot. I have several decks, have studied the meaning of the cards under many traditions and for one brief period supplemented my meagre undergraduate income by reading tarot in the back room of a family restaurant. I drew my own tarot, the picture up shown up in the corner of this post is from my hermit card. But a few brief glimpses of excerpts suggest to me that in many cases neither the writer nor editor know the tarot very well at all. I mean beyond just looking at the card and going with whatever they see there.

In either case, there must be some other themes out there? Anyone want to float some ideas for those fresh new e-publishers short on inspiration?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Not-So-Living Doll--veinglory

In the Black Lace story Dark Designs one of the heroes has a realistic sex doll. Ever since reading about this it has kind of been in my mind. because the story was written in a way that made the whole idea cute and kind of sexy (yes, the doll did appear in on sex scene but it isn't major element in the plot). So just for the sake of research (of course) I thought I would have a look.

I started off at which advertises, for a start, "provides stress-free companionship". Companionship?! And if you want to cheat on a budget you can buy her 'extra faces', and um, the shemale kit. Too much information? The girls look spookily real, but the male one, Charlie, freaks me out. They really need to work on the face on that one. Standard male dolls are $7000.

From there it just got creepier with a girl doll made to look like a real glamor model (no males). Then at Mechadoll a picture of the 'girls' hanging on storage hooks (no males). I retreated into the pretty Japanese versions which don't freak me out as much (still no males).

Then I left the world of semi-realistic silicon for the inflatable men. Pure comic releif. The main thing I learned? Kudos to Madelynne Ellis for writing a book that made realistic sex dolls seem cute and cool. Because the websites that sell them really don't give off that vibe at all. I suspect that if I had a spare $7000 I might think of something better to do with it. At least until they do something about Charlie's face.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


It's easy to be jaded about great new revolutionary e-publishing ideas. Because, well, most of them are stupid. But do me a favor and spend a few minutes meditating about kittens and rainbows and then look at this and answer the following:

Bookhabit is basically:
a) a kitten on the freeway
b) a freeway in search of kittens
c) awww, you never gave the rainbow and kittens thing a chance
d) it really could work
e) who cares?

The site's text is a soup of reasonable ideas and red flags. But basically you self-publish an ebook with them on a fixed price scale. People can leave ratings and comments. So far it looks a little lite on sales.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

NEW PRESS: Blade--veinglory


"Blade Publishing Ltd. is now accepting submissions for all genres."

Genres list on the nav bar include: GENRE: action adventure, contemporary, fantasy/sci fi, gay/lesbian, historical, inspirational, mainstream, menage, mystery/suspense, non-fiction, paranormal, urban fantasy, & ROMANCE: contemporary, fantasy, gay/lesbian, historical, inspirational, interracial, paranormal, comedy, sci-fi, suspense, timetravel, western.

As to why that particular collection of genres, I couldn't guess. I assume they are suggesting which sort of books they are expecting to see submitted, in the absence of submission guidelines on that front? Mostly romance. But menage as a category of genre but not romance, western as a category of romance but not genre?

As for the following quote, e-publishing sure has changed. The small press world. Offset print small presses used to average about six title, per year.

"While it is important for the author to help market him/herself, we feel that by publishing too many books each week we are taking away from our ability to market each one of our authors and their books as best we can so we may only publish six books the entire month."

The website looks nice but they have opened with no book and a forum with two posts (when I checked) and two of the main tabs leading to empty pages. It seems to me that the presses that hit the ground running and rose to the top tended to open with books, reader-ready.

That said, it is run by named people who are easy to check out. Best of luck to everyone at Blade.

p.s. Karen Scott notes a striking resemblance between their webpage and Samhain's.

Welcome to the Panopticon, little author -- Jules

Or, "Post in haste, repent at leisure." One of the most useful pieces of advice I was ever given about the online world was back when I was a wee newbie; I was told not to post in anger. Write it if I must, but then leave it. For at least ten minutes, preferably overnight. Come back and look at it when calmed down, and ask myself, "Do I really want to send that?"

This was in the days before Google, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and Alta Vista ruled the search engines. And when a search engine company called Deja News was causing consternation by archiving and indexing the casual conversation on a system called USENET, making it possible to retrieve and read posts that had been made years earlier in the expectation that what was said was ephemeral, the online equivalent of spoken words, gone once the conversation was over. There had always been small specialist archives, but Deja News made it possible for someone to call up the entirety of a person's posting history, see what they said on any subject, and to whom they said it. Casual, semi-private conversation was no longer either casual or semi-private.

Why does this matter? Because the net has a funny effect on people. It dehumanises the social transaction, makes it easy to forget that those are real people on the other end of the wire. Or it simply insulates people from the consequences of their actions. And thus it becomes easy to say things that you'd never say to someone's face, or that you'd never say in front of a camera recording your words for posterity. Things you might find embarrassing to have quoted back to you at a later date.

People have long memories, and it's neither nice nor wise to insult them unnecessarily. But machines have longer memories still, and back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, we were starting to understand what that meant. What goes on the net, stays on the net. You cannot take back your words once they've been said. They remain frozen in time, on some storage medium somewhere, and you can never, ever be quite sure that they won't return to haunt you. With datestamps and IP addresses to prove that yes, it was you who said them.

You can take down the webpage or blog post you wrote when you were drunk and angry, but Google cache will continue to show it to the world for a few hours or days or weeks. And may well have it in permanent archives. You can ask them to remove it, and they will, eventually. In the meantime, people will have been making screen shots. If you comment on someone else's blog, you're just going to have to hope that it's one that allows you to delete your own posts, and that it's not set to email copies of comments to the blog owner.

You can try to keep things private. Locked LiveJournal posts? Well, there was that episode when someone offered a useful service that just happened to ask people to login using their LJ password. And a couple of months later, the owners had enormous fun publicly posting the contents of locked posts they'd gained access to because a friend of the poster had subscribed to this service. Private bulletin boards get hacked. Oh, and that private mailing list may be exposed when some virus scoops up the contents of someone's hard drive, and starts emailing it to random addresses. I've been on the receiving end of such virus-forwarded emails, and it took a formal complaint to the infectee's ISP to get them to clean up their computer. Private tantrums are much, much better than public, but you can't assume that they'll stay private.

None of this means that you must be a saint at all times, never saying anything controversial or nasty, not even in passive-aggressive fashion or in a private forum. After all, I'm not known for my shy and retiring nature online. You'll go nuts, and you'll be boring. And people will forgive a lot, if you make an honest apology for something you regret in the cold light of morning. But own your words. Because they will surely own you, come the day you feel a need to deny them.

Welcome to the Panopticon, little author. Where there are a million cameras watching you, each and every one of them recording you for posterity. Try not to show your knickers in public too often.

[No, this isn't aimed at anyone in particular. I've been meaning to write something along these lines for months, wrote the first draft over a month ago, and have been sitting on it ever since, waiting for the opportunity to post it on a quiet day when nobody was going to take it personally. I think this roughly translates as "when hell freezes over", so it's going up today.]

Sunday, March 02, 2008

NEWSFLASH: Liquid Silver Books--veinglory

LSB's website had some trouble yesterday. For more info see here.

EREC as Advocate--veinglory

I sometimes read comments about how--as the main writer at this blog--I should discuss this and not that, should support all e-publishers that manage to stay open, aren't qualified to complain, seem to have malicious motives or to listen to authors that do. I think it might be useful to explain what EREC is.

EREC is an advocate for writers of erotica and romance e-books

I aim, always to be fair and to take rational, evidence-based position. I try to be supportive of e-publishing where this is appropriate. But most of all I want to encourage writers to seek out information and data to allow them to make the best possible publishing choices--to submit to e-publishers only when this is appropriate and to approach the e-publisher most likely to be able to fulfill their writing and publishing goals.

As such this blog will discuss any issues of interest to erotica and romance e-book writers, I will be analytical and even critical when it comes to e-publishers, I will be inquisitive and raise topics for discussion before all the facts are in, I will discuss writing and publishing without being the world's best writer or any kind of publisher myself, I will allow anonymous comments and assume you know how to take anything said with a degree of skepticism and make up your own mind. I will be overt about my motives. My motives are to uncover information that will help erotica and romance e-book writers be more successful. That is all. I have no other reason for posting to this blog.

EREC will also advocate for e-publishing and e-publishers when these companies and formats ultimately fulfill the needs of writers and readers.

In the next few weeks I will be getting back in touch with EREC members to look at ways to encourage more participation. So if you would like to take part in EREC or have some ideas about how to pursue these goals, now would be a good time to get in touch. I would, for example, be open to having a regular slot for a blogger who is a publisher, editor, artist, self-publusher or fills any other kind of role in the industry. Just drop me a line at veinglory at

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Yog's Law--veinglory

James D MacDonald coined Yog's Law: Money Flows Toward the Writer. The point of the law mainly being to help novice writers avoid scammers that charge money to publish a book.

In the traditional publishing model, books go from the writer to the reader and money goes from the reader to the writer. The publisher basically facilitiates the transaction. On either side of the publisher the agent and the distributor might play further intermediate roles. The driving force of the supply chain is the desire of the readers for the book. Traditional publishing is a pull economy. It only works when this desirefor the book is present or evokable in a readership.

Now there are a number of 'push' situations where the author steps in from the terminus of the chain and partially or entirely takes over the role of publisher. This happens whenever the author financially supports any activity that drives the book towards the reader. That certainly includes any part other than writer in producing the print-ready manuscript, putting the manuscript into print or distribution.

Now, my opinion is that there is nothing wrong with being a traditional 'pull' author, or being an 'push' author-slash-publisher of some kind, be it co-op, subsidy or any other bill- or fee-paying scenario. I would, however, maintain that the difference between the two is not trivial and the distinction should not be blurred.

There are two reasons for this. One is that 'pull' supply chains are more effortless. If there is no reader demand they tend not to work at all--if there is they tend to possess certain privileges that extend beyond not putting your hand in your pocket. The degree to which this is true depends somewhat on format, as small, e-format presses reqire very little 'pull' to get going but also generate proportionately modest amounts of cash in most cases. The thing is that adding any 'push' to the supply chain reduces the amount of 'pull' required for a viable chain. In the case of a small e-publisher it requires very little 'push' to remove the need for there to be any 'pull' at all. Thus the ebook writer asked to pay a fee should immediately wonder whether this press accesses any significant readership at all, and seek out evidence of sales figures. The absence of fees is the only native evidence of the existence of a readership at all, and that applies only to publishers that have been open long enough for the lack of 'pull' to have lead to the collapse of the publisher. [edited to add: I hope I made myself clear here but have received at least one email that suggests otherwise.]

The second matter is that some authors are good at writing, but they suck at any publishing-type role and should avoid taking it on. That would include me, in case you were wondering. That is why I write about self-publishing only from the point of view of a reader.

In terms of EREC, I am debating over the issue of fee-charging presses. What exactly consititutes a fee? Are there any areas where paying money to a publisher be it compulsary, voluntary (solicited or upon request), or necessary to secure a certain benefit or option, is okay? Should charging a fee add a simple $! to the listing, or drop a press straight into the smoke or even not recommended category? Any input appreciated.