Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bulletin: Moonlit Romance reported to be closing

The word is that epublisher Moonlit Romance (sweet to sensual categories) will be closing, along with the associated press 'By Grace'---both are imprints of Unique Enterprises.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Things that make you go: hmmm.--veinglory

It is sometimes hard to know how long an ebook is before you buy it. Some publishers offer word counts, some categories with word count ranges, some just undefined categories. So when working out how much book I am going to get for my buck I often have a look over at Fictionwise where word counts are provided.

But when you look at word counts sometimes it doesn't help the cover price make sense. For example if you look at some of the Dark Castle Lord releases from 2007, arranged by book length, you get a distinct lack of pattern. So be aware, a higher price will not always be a larger book. It pays to check.

Enchanted Castle by Kate Hofman, 67849 words, $4.50
The Saxon Bride by C.H. Admirand, 64701 words, $6.50
A Scot's Honor by C.H. Admirand, 50332 words, $4.50
Castle in Spain by Kate Hofman, 49378 words, $6.50
Naked Visions S B D by Veronica Towers, 47948 words, $6.50
Only in Her Dreams by Veronica Towers, 46522 words, $6.50
Lord Draco: T W K by Raquel Taylor, 37894 words, $2.50
Bedeviling Dulcie by S.J. Ronayne, 30436 words, $6.50
My Love, Forever by Kate Hofman, 65761 words, $4.50

Cacoethes fees?

There is a report at Absolute Write that Cacoethes Publishing charges fees, specifically: "Be careful of the NET sales. I got hit with paypal fees, set up fees and marketing fees." Can anyone confirm (by email or PM at the forum where my username is 'veinglory'.)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Data Update--veinglory

I have been collecting ebook sales data for almost 2 years now. In that time average first month sales have increased from 81 copies to 222. Average first year sales have increased from 320 to 444. Sales from books on sale for a year or more have increased from 564 to 707. There is a lot of negative press surrounding epublishing, but this data suggest that sales are increasing steadily.

I have also updated the publisher specific data which continue to show Ellora's Cave in the lead, followed by Loose Id, Amber Quill, Samhain and Liquid Silver Books.

Overall the data set (currently covering 190 book and 17 publishers) remains very patching and lot of the records I have are about to time out because the book is no longer on sale, or the record has not been updated in the last year. So if you are an author please consider adding to the data set or updating the data you have previously sent. I would particularly like to have enough data to relist Wild Rose and Freya's Bower--and to add any other important presses.

Data may be sent to veinglory [at] gmail.com including book title, publisher, and sales to the end of as many of these periods as apply 1) first month, 2) first year and 3) total to date. data is used only to calculate average data as shown.

A Comment on the New Hermes Advertisement : An Indian Winter

Our hazel-eyed, stubble-chinned hero is languishing in the snow--wearing a cable-knit turtleneck made (I kid you not) out of cashmere. Why does he lie here, what is the cause of his pained and pensive look?

Is it, perchance, because his groin is burning? Who, oh who does he look to with such hope? Who will douse this overly-literally fire in his loins?

With it be the lady of questionable judgement who is attempting to scale an mountain wearing goatskin high-heeled boots and a pleated skirt?

Or will it be the comely yak with the brunette tresses and the incarnadine handbag?

Why should any man be asked to make such a difficult choice? Introducing the latest in cutting edge erotic romance ebooks. A new tale of MFY, 'An Indian Winter'--brought to you by the author of 'Kinky is the Whole Chicken: Were-Fowl in Bondage' and 'I Was Teenage Lampshade: How to Seduce a Furniture-phile'. Look for it at an online distributor near you!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Few Recent Happenings--veinglory

Graphics, not 'Graphic'
I like Diana Lawrence's idea of providing comic style excerpts as teasers for her book. I do, however, think they fail a little in the execution and would not describe them as a "Graphic Excerpt".

And why do they give ebooks a capital B every time?
Springer has released their report on the use of academic ebooks. Ebooks the End User Perspective (pdf). The information is interesting but the bureaucratic jargon gave me a headache, e.g.: "Most users were aware of eBooks and had accessed them at least once. Respondents also overwhelmingly said that eBooks are useful and that they would like to incorporate eBooks into their information experience more frequently."

I'd actually find it more interesting if he offered to treat me like a 'man'

Unless you are a in a celibate order, of course....
A post at the Wild Rose Press blog responses to the apparently frequent question about the difference between inspy and sweet romance. I am used to the conflation of gay and erotic romance but it never even occurred to me that there would be confusion between not having sex and believing in God....

File Under 'News to Me'
"Since epublishers expect their authors to assume responsibility for marketing and promoting their own books, this is an area with very specific challenges." From the blog of BooksWeLove which combines some good advice with at least four statements I would consider factually incorrect. Oh and their list of "reputable, well-established eBook publishers" referenced in this blog post (posted today) includes New Concepts. But more importantly they also give ebooks the big B--seriously, is there a reason for that?

p.s. on closer examination the Esquire e-ink cover is even less impressive.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Tale of Tails--veinglory

Epublishing is predominantly a 'long tail' industry which sells a relatively small volume of diverse niche products (rather than a relatively large volume of mainstream products).

Therefore you may be surprised to find Anita Elberse of the Harvard Business Review writing confidently that this is not occurring. ("It was a compelling idea: In the digitized world, there’s more money to be made in niche offerings than in blockbusters. The data tell a different story.") Perhaps both long tail pundit Chris Anderson and the current author are simply looking at the wrong industries, obsessed with music and DVDs.

In the area of romance ebooks the long tail is alive and well for publishers--albeit something for a mixed blessing for writer who have to be canny to make money in the tail.

If sales are not going to be massive per unit, one either works for rather lessthan minimum wage, or controls the cost:benefit ratio very aggressively. For example, by writing optimal lengths, choosing the top epublishers and minimising all other other of pocket expenses that do not pay for themselves.

New epress: Cherry Lane Press

Apologies for a terse message as I am in a meeting on my iPhone -- and I still have trouble with this touchscreen. But you know how this goes: http://www.cherrylanepress.com.

Opening, in a questionable choice, on April 1st. I also wonder about branding with cherries when this is one of Torquere's commonly used symbols? Other than a very quick look on a very small screen I have no information about this start-up.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Immortals: the Crossing--Contest Winner!

A message from Joy Nash:

Hey, everyone, thanks for all the chuckles with the captions. Emily asked me to pick and it was really hard! Keeshe's caption had me laughing out loud. I've heard the rumors about men and those long cruises...


Book Trailer--veinglory

Okay, I'll 'fess up. I don't much like book trailers. The ones with just pictures and text bore me. The ones with live action rarely impress me. Twang twang goes the public domain music as pictures of pouting models zoom in and out like manic cue cards.

Take this one. I like the idea. Some of the scenes are clever. But the excerpt is clunky ("as they call it?") and the technique of the spanking is half-hearted at best. Rather than luring me to buy the book it makes me wonder how much the author really "gets" spanking. I mean, it's not bad--but it isn't exactly good either.

Have you seen any book trailers (not your own) that actually made you decide to buy a book, or at least made you more interested in it? Or hell, were just enjoyable to watch. Please throw me a link or two.

p.s. when I searched for the top rated youtubes for romance+book the first three results were for Deborah Macgillivray books. Go figure.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Real Romance--veinglory

One thing I know I would like to see is more romance books about a couple being together and staying together, not just 'getting' together. Whenever I read real romance stories I am reminded that falling in love is not all that difficult, making a commitment is exciting but in the book of love it is only the cover. Here are some real romances in the media lately about couples who overcome wars, the law and just the human capacity toe mess things up and stayed together long term.

"I got him a pearl tie tack that was in a little velvet box," she says. "It looked like a ring box, so I made the flip comment that it was an engagement ring. He put his hand in his pocket, his hand was shaking, and he gave me a ring." True Romance: Air Force captain became the wind beneath wife's wings

"They met in 1945 when Den was posted to Berlin with the British Army. They spent two weeks together before Den was moved to Jamaica, and they kept in touch by letter for two years. When Inge, now aged 81, left Berlin for England, she had to say goodbye to her mother, who was coping with the disappearance of her father – it was believed he had been taken prisoner by the Russians, and was never seen again." 60th wedding anniversary of romance born in wake of war

"What she didn't know was that there, a 17-year-old stable boy, who everybody called "Bugs," would be all too willing to help. "I held on to him for dear life," Teenie recalled. "I was frightened." Apparently, she never let go." A Stable Romance

"I loved everything about her," Tommy says. "She's smart and kind and fun to be with. I never tired of being with her. We just enjoyed so much being together, and we still do." True Romance: Golf helped tee up couple's relationship

""I was fighting back the tears," said Nichols, who played Uhura on the Star Trek series. "But they came oozing out anyway. I'm so happy that they're both able to legally proclaim their commitment to one another after spending the past 21 years together." In May, Takei announced his plans to wed after California's Supreme Court allowed gay marriage under the state's constitution." Star Trek's George Takei Gets Married

p.s. to avoid becoming boring I am reaffirming my DNB (do not blog) list and adding to it. DNB: 1)RWA, 2)RR.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Revisiting Romance Definitions--veinglory

It had escaped my attention that the EPPIES now define "contemporary romance" as "one central, monogamous, romantic relationship between a man and woman". Yee gods and little fishes, this one is back. More info here.

I truly understand that EPIC will get their ass bitten either way -- that goes with the territory in membership organisations. GLBT writers range pretty widely and those basically writing a fetish and those writing about pretty much their own lives sharing what is ostensibly the same theme/genre/box-with-a-bow-on-top. But I think that definition alone should give pause to anyone after the RWA fiasco.

Remember folks, get out there and volunteer to judge regardless. Not just the EPPIES but any contest. Its one of those ways to give back and we all ought to do that from time to time.

p.s. the latest twitter from ravenousromance: "In 5 yrs, only bestsellers will be printed.Authors and pubs will make a lot more $, and bookstores will die. Distribution is a commodity."

Sunday, September 21, 2008

First thoughts on the Cybook Gen3 -- Jules

This is mirrored from my own blog -- there's 2000 words of it and I don't know how to do a cut tag in blogger, so you'll find the whole thing on either my WordPress blog or my LiveJournal.

I bought a second-hand Cybook Gen3 ebook reader from my writing partner last month, and I've been using it long enough now to have some initial thoughts about it. This isn't a proper review, as I haven’t been exploring all its features. What I *have* been doing with it is simply reading some of the books she’d loaded on it, mostly on the bus to and from work.

And the obvious question is - do I regret spending one hundred pounds on this thing? After all, I could buy quite a few paperbacks for that money. To which the answer is "no", and for a specific reason I'll get to at the end of this post. And it's not one of the obvious reasons, like saving shelf space or being able to carry a hundred books with me at all times, although I can see the advantages there.

Would I buy one at full market price? (Currently 269 pounds if shipped to the UK.) Probably not, but mostly because the wee beastie is physically fragile, and I fully expect that I'll manage to break it within a year or two given my current usage of it. I can see why other people would pay that for it, and why I might in other circumstances.

( read more about the pros and cons in the full post at my book blog )

And the killer app for me? I can read it on the bus without feeling car-sick.

If I try to read a dead tree book on the bus, I start feeling sick after a few minutes. I can read if I'm careful, but it requires a certain amount of thought and stopping as soon as I feel in the least bit queasy. I took the Cybook with me on the bus the first week I had it, mostly because otherwise I’d have to wait until the following weekend to have time to play with it - and was still reading at journey's end. By the end of the week, it was clear that this was not a one-off. In the month since, I've found that if the bus is *really* bumpy I need to put the Cybook down for a minute or two, but I can usually read it without problems. I don't know why there’s a difference (my guess is that it’s at least partly to do with the Cybook being completely rigid), but since I spend around an hour a day on the bus at the moment, something that lets me read during that hour is *well* worth the hundred pounds I paid for it. While I'm doing that commute, you will have to prise my Cybook from my cold dead hands...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Book Giveaway Contest -- Immortals: the Crossing

Today we have a contest to win a copy of IMMORTALS: THE CROSSING by Joy Nash, due to be released by Dorchester Love Spell on September 30, 2008.

USA Today Bestselling Author Joy Nash returns with another installment in Dorchester Publishing's Nationally Bestselling multi-author series, IMMORTALS.

Demigod Manannán mac Lir (Mac) is on the trail of Artemis Black, a stunningly dangerous woman who's inexplicably able to intertwine life magic with death magic. For the safety of his people, he should destroy the desperate witch—once he learns her darkest secrets.

Readers of paranormal romance and urban fantasy will enjoy this adventure filled with black magic, nasty demons, hot immortals, dark humor, steamy sex, and a heart-thumping descent into a modern version of Dante's Hell. Available September 30. 2008.

To win a copy of Immortals: the Crossing I thought we would have a caption contest. The picture does not relate to the book, it is simply one I have had hanging around on my hard drive. I know there is some kind of joke to be made, but just can't come up with it. You have 24-hours to provide a suitable caption. The best caption, posted as a comment, will win a book :)

Complete IMMORTALS Booklist:

#1 Immortals: The Calling by Jennifer Ashley (5/07)
#2 Immortals: The Darkening by Robin T. Popp (6/07)
#3 Immortals: The Awakening by Joy Nash (8/07)
#4 Immortals: The Gathering by Jennifer Ashley (9/07)
#5 Immortals: The Redeeming by Jennifer Ashley (9/08)
#6 Immortals: The Crossing by Joy Nash (10/08)
#7 Immortals: The Haunting by Joy Nash (11/08)
#8 Immortals: The Reckoning (anthology) by Ashley, Nash, Popp (3/09)


Anne Douglas is working on a new look for the blog. This is an early draft just to show the direction we were thinking of taking it:

p.s. does anyone know how to upload a banner using blogger (template) and not have the html code show as the blog's title?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Marketing a Print Book--James D. Macdonald

Reprinted with permission from a forum post written by James D. Macdonald.

Okay, let's talk about marketing campaigns.

First, the number one reason anyone buys a novel is they've read and enjoyed another book by the same author.

The number two reason anyone buys a novel is that it was recommended by a trusted friend.

All the other reasons vanish down into the single-digit percentages. (The reasons people buy non-fiction are different ... and not important right now.)

The marketing that you're thinking of -- newspaper and radio ads, for example -- that the A-list authors get serve one purpose: "You know that book you were going to buy the minute it came out? It's out!" That only works because of reason one above: The public has read and enjoyed previous books by the same author. You could get the same print ads that a Rowling or a Grisham get ... without getting the same results. Because there aren't enough people waiting for your next book. If you're a first-time author there's no one waiting for your next book.

Smaller stuff -- end cap placement, for example -- gets spread out pretty well among all the house's authors. The bigger houses have more money to spend on that.

Trusted friends ... you know who they are. (That's one reason you want Oprah to recommend your book; she's the trusted friend to millions.) That's also where reviewers come in. That's why publishers send out hundreds of ARCs (Advance Reading Copies) to reviewers, and not just for their A-listers ... for everyone.

Here's what all publishers do for all their authors, first-time no-names and everyone else:

1) ARCs to reviewers
2) Ads in trade mags (you won't see those unless you're running a bookstore)
3) Listed in the publisher's catalog, which is sent to every bookstore and library in the country
4) Touted by paid salespersons who visit bookstores and chain buyers. There will be a publicist assigned to your book. That publicist will be handling many other books, but he or she has contacts that you just don't have.

You, as an author, can't do any of those things. Those, however, are the things that actually sell books.

Having the book on the shelf is the important part, and the publisher will be moving the heavens to get a couple of copies of their entire line on every bookstore shelf in America. That's for the early-adopters, the people who will pick up books that look "interesting," and (it is to be hoped) recommend them to their friends (see above, reason two why anyone buys a novel). It's also for the folks who want to buy your book for whatever reason (they read another of your books, for example). The publisher wants your book to be on the shelf when that person walks in the door, because if it isn't, the odds are low that they'll seek it out. They'll buy another book instead.

Another thing that all publishers do is put an attractive cover on your book. Book covers are meant to be point-of-sale ads for the book. The publisher may well have paid as much to the cover artist as they did to you.

You could hire your own publicist. Sure. But rather than that, blowing your entire advance to make back pennies on the dollar, you'd be better advised to spend your advance on groceries while you're writing your next book. Because each of your books is the best possible publicity for all the others. Write another novel. You're an excellent, professional author, right? Do what writers do. Write. The short story you sell to a major magazine is better publicity than anything you could buy.

If merely running external marketing campaigns was all that it took to make any book a best-seller, publishers would run them on every book. Who wouldn't want every book to be a best seller?

The idea that publishers don't market and promote their products effectively is a strange one, and it's retold by people who aren't your friends. Publishers want to sell all their books, including yours, because that's how they make their money.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

New Site--veinglory

"Free Romance Fiction.com is open to submissions from published romance authors. We want to help you reach more fans and gain new readers. We are doing this by providing free romance fiction that your readers can only find here at Free Romance Fiction.com. Our grand opening is October 1, 2008." [freeromancefiction.com]

The Author Pillory--veinglory

While in principle I think a book should stand on its own, this view seems to be increasingly going out the window. And maybe it is all to inevitable as it becomes more possible to know things about authors that once would never have been shared, or even discoverable.

* Authors talk about branding themself rather than the half dozen publishers they write for.

* Random house added a conduct clause to there contract of children's books manuscripts.

* The RedRoom display site requires authors use their real names: "Red Room is a community of real writers and readers, like you. You are or want to be a writer in real life, so showcase that real life on Red Room by using your full real name and photo."

* Authors seen to have acted egregiously face calls for boycotts and nasty reviews--such as Sandee McCann who was recently revealed to have deserted six children to move to London and marry a man she reportedly met over the internet. (Published by Whiskey Creek, Mystic Moon, Lulu and Publish America and so perhaps not the bestselling author the media seems to imagine...)

And I must admit to being put off by writer vents such as Anne Rice's famous Amazon rant, the 'clickies' campaigns and Annie Proulx's latest jab back at Brokeback fandom after receiving letters offering 'fixed' versions of her obviously deliberately tragic short story: "Brokeback Mountain has had little effect on my writing life, but is the source of constant irritation in my private life."

The more an author enters public areas, on or offline, the more inevitable it becomes that public and private will meet. And whether it is considered right or wrong--Pavlovian associations with mean our feelings about an authors actions may effect our inclination to buy their books.

But each author needs to consider the costs and benefits of what they reveal, and realise the limitation of what they can conceal should a nosey fan really decide to pry. But at the same time engaging with public can be enriching for the author and the readers--entertaining, informative and exciting. There is just a need to for authors to remember that anything that can be known, will potential become public knowledge--and for readers to realise that access to an author persona online is not the same thing as making a one-to-one friend.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cherchez le Journalism?--veinglory

Spice is being rolled out by Mills & Boon in the UK. So I guess this suggests it is considered a success in the US and will likely be with us for some time to come.

The media reaction was to reprint press releases pretty much word for word (see here, here, etc) as if they had written them--sometime going to the trouble of throwing in a smart-ass title, the word "pornography" or 'hardcore", a few of their favorite derogatory adjectives, or a picture of something considered vaguely titilating but not shocking (see right). I notice some pretty large blocks of text recurring with attribution... I guess it isn't plagiarim to use a press release but it does look rather more like cutting and pasting than journalism as I idealistically imagine it.

Here is a selection of the innanities thrown in to embroider the press release, in the place of actual research or informed commentary:

"It's official: romance is dead."
...and erotica killed it?

"Mills and Boon - famous for its gentle romance tales of lantern-jawed heroes and fleeing beauties" -- Ha ha.

"...feminine ladies kissing manly men on faraway islands" Yeah, okay

"bosses and secretaries, sailors, soldiers and policemen, mysterious dark strangers and pliable females melting at the touch of their lips" -- Have mercy. No, seriously. Stop.

As one online commenter said: "Absolute tosh". They don't seem to be trying very hard as journos, and by the look of this they wouldn't make it far as romance writers either.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


[Some more of the 10 questions data, guesting at The Macaronis]

What ever happened to the Seiko Paper Watch?--veinglory

Do any of you remember the much touted e-ink/Seiko watch that was meant to be released some time in January, 2006. I had forgotten all about it until the whole Esquire cover waste-of-tech came out.

I remember thinking that an e-ink watch was something I would buy. Epaper does everything a watch needs to do and the thinness of the paper would allow for ultra nifty design. The e-paper could be carefully protected for designer models, or used to make a more disposable uber-Swatch sort of design. I love bracelet watches and eink/bracelet design would be so sleek.

Not to mention the possibilities of having hackable epaper wrapped around your wrist. The idea that something not much bigger than a hospital ID bracelet could stream live text didn't seem all that impossible back in 2005--if not for 2005 then certainly within a few short years....

But this thought felt a little like deja vu--like I had thought it several times before. Instead of actually releasing a working watch it seems we are teased with prototype after prototype, symptomatic of the fact that epaper companies are better at looking cutting edge than they are at bringing a product to market that actually does what they claim it will do rather than something trivial and pointless.





But lo and behold, an production-ready e-ink watch is finally out. And what does it look like?


Well, it looks like a rather thick and clunky watch. but you can change the display from black on white to white on black. It is 13mm thick and doesn't have anywhere near as many features as a normal digital watch.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Simplistic but valid answers to rhetorical questions--veinglory

Questions taken from the titles of news articles and blogs in the last month:

Q: Do Ebooks, Legal or Not, Make You Buy Real Books?
A: Ebooks are real books.

Q: Books vs. eBooks: Which Are Greener?
A: The green-ness of print books is basically fixed. Ebooks can be far greener or far less green depending on what the user does.

Q: AudioBooks vs. eBooks: What's Your Druthers?
A: These are not substitutable goods, thus you may as well ask for a preference between Coca Cola and Tuesday.

Q: Did you miss me?
A: No.

Q: So you want to write a bestseller?
Q: So you think I believe you have any helpful advice about how to do it?

Q: What’s the story with ... Mills & Boon?
A: Romance.
Q: Just for once how about leaving out the adjective 'trashy'?

[bin from Western Wastepaper Baskets]

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I need ideas...--veinglory

On September 21st ERECblog is taking part in Joy Nash's 50 days, 50 blogs give-away. So on that day we will have a contest to give away a copy of Immortals: The Crossing--sixth book in Dorchester’s USA Today Bestselling series Immortals. I am open to suggestions, perhaps a caption contest? Does anyone have a good picture to use?

In other new penguin has decided to take the LibraryThing/Shelfari idea and cross it with the match.com dating site. "Could a shared passion for Joyce, Dostoevsky or the Brontës be the foundation for a lifetime of love? ... That's what the people at Penguin UK are banking on. In conjunction with internet dating colossus match.com, the publishing company has just launched a new dating website aimed at book-lovers." [Irish Times] [PenguinDating.co.uk] Although when I checked several pictures and links on the page were broken....

And, file under 'one more reason to choose a pen name carefully' or perhaps 'gee, thanks': "Susan Johnson is an Australian novelist, based in London and often mistaken for an American author of erotic romance books who shares the same name. Here the comparisons end because our Susan Ruth Johnson writes quality stories about social and personal subjects." The comparisons start to end at "quality"? And sex and love, as we all know are neither social nor personal. I suspect I would opt for this Susan Johnson who gets a link and cover spot from us for the gratuitous media diss.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Loving Venus -- Loving Mars: new FF and FFM blog

Liquid Silver Books submission guidelines have been revised.

Random House has an interesting new clause in contracts for childrens books, I wonder what they think it would cover?: "If you act or behave in a way which damages your reputation as a person suitable to work with or be associated with children, and consequently the market for or value of the work is seriously diminished, and we may (at our option) take any of the following actions: Delay publication / Renegotiate advance / Terminate the agreement."

Bravehost has undeleted Mrs Giggles blog and it has returned.

more cat pictures

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Esquire's E-Ink Cover--veinglory

Esquire has hit the stands, and fortunately someone who go one of the few e-Ink covers has shared it (see below). I am even more underwhelmed than I expected. I suppose this might be impressive to people who still think digital watches are kind of neat, but it strikes me a pointless gimmick that dumps unrecyclable materials into our landfills. Now if it had blinked a few time and then shown a story, that might have primed a lot of people for e-reading. But Esquire seems focused--like an old dancing Dad--on looking hip and cool. Oh, and on pleasing their advertisers. Rather than 'the new century' this is just a new twist on hologram or three-D covers that were mildly entertaining for a few seconds, and never seen again.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Alas poor chest hair...--veinglory

Well it looks like I remain in a minority in preferring the model leave on all of his natural chest-beard--with any kind of chest hair preference coming in at a meager 12%, while bare preferences are at 42%. the balance being made up by those who swing both ways or won't consider enjoying mantitty of any flavor....

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Love and wealth...--veinglory

Love Begets Wealth:

"It is my word, whoever reads this romance novel, will not be able to keep it down"

For me this moment was upon seeing: "Sketch 3 - Humble Obeisance", but hey--I never was one for alpha men.

Out of curiosity I did a search. As one might expect with a $29 ebook there were quite a few press releases but not any readers review that I could find outside of the authors own site, or those written (it seems) by the author (giving himself a modest 9/10 here and a 10/10 and 'genius' here)

It is my humble impression that when marketing a romance ebook, familiarity with the genre, a competitive price and thorough editing begets sales, and thus wealth. But hey, forum spamming and non-fluent English was enough to get him a plug here--maybe it will create a sale to a real reader? (Do be sure to read the excerpts on the website first...)


For those of you who have been waiting (and waiting) for the submission guidelines they now seem to be posted online. I quote them here in full:

"Email queries and submissions should be one page. Each should include the author's name, mailing address, phone number and email address, as well as a brief description of the work, followed by the author's estimation of where the work fits into our publishing program. The author should also include a brief summation of his or her writing credentials, if applicable. Please submit one query for each piece of work you wish us to review."

They also have FAQs listed including:

"What rights will you buy?
World rights in all formats. We will work to sell your subsidiary rights to a traditional print publisher on your behalf, as well as in translation throughout the world. We will pay you a percentage of any subsidiary-rights sale."

Also note:

"Every book must be a "dirty" romance..."


Sunday, September 07, 2008

How do you read ebooks?--veinglory

Back in the day I had a rocket e-book reader. It was kind of like trying to read a book that had been written in HB pencil, on a brick. I chastised myself for wasting money at a time when I really didn't have very much to throw around. I think I still have the charger here somewhere although I eventually threw the rocketbook away.

More recently I bought a Sony ebook reader--which proved to be even more expensive and even more useless. The reading experience was somewhat better, more like it was written in 4B pencil on a cement block, and for a while I was satisfied. But I cannot get the battery to hold a charge. And being on a plane with no books is irritating, but being on a plane with an ebook reader that won't start up is infuriating.

Through all of this I did most of my actual ebook reading on my old workhorse Toshiba laptop. I drag this thing all over the country. It has been dropped on runways, had coffee spilled over it and on one memorable occasion been trodden on by a full grown boar (an actual pig, no metaphor here--fortunately he let me have it back). But as much as I love the thing it is damned heavy and after ot runs for an hour or two you could fry and egg on it.

So I am going to have one more go at finding a good ebook reading device... that will double as a travel laptop. The ASUS EEE PC 4G, it has a 7 inch screen, runs Windows XP and has various other gizmos I haven't had before (webcam etc). Here's hoping for better luck with this device.

What are the rest of you reading your ebooks on, at home and when travelling?

Friday, September 05, 2008

Smile When You Say that, Pilgrim--veinglory

The insult is in the intent. Which is why the Duke uttered that famous line. You can use pretty much an cuss word you want to describe a friend, if you smile as you say it. The same word said in earnest is likely to have an entirely different effect.

But some words get more of a benefit of the doubt than others. It seems that 'erotica', for example, is fine with most of use now. Some still prefer 'erotic [insert genre here]' but on the whole, we're good. Although 14% Are still not having it, smile or no.

Pornography however is more likely to be assumed to be an insult (57% of respondents). But a growing proportion went for some version of 'it depends'. So if the customer is using pornography as a neutral genre word they would pretty much be okay with it.

The times, they are a-changing. Shall we try this again in a year or two and see if it has shifted and in which direction?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Page Not Found--veinglory

A few of my favorite blogger-hosted posts are suddenly turning up 'Page not Found'. Like this one that was entitled 'NCP Authors and Artists'.

Excerpts from Madris De Pasture's yahoogroup rants can still be found on other blogs, but how long this is the case might depends on how craven other blog-hosts prove to be.

Edited to Add: For more information see: Told to Delete.

Blogger's position is "If we did not do so, we would be subject to a claim of copyright infringement, regardless of its merits...". Meaning "if you threaten us we will fold."

Author photos?--veinglory

The author photo, hmmm. Do you have one? Because I have been thinking of using one but the more I look at other author's photos the more I think it might be a mistake. Most of them are, in my opinion, terrible. They fall into a number of major categories.

A lot of romance authors seem to go for the "Mummified by Avon" look. That is hair that is three or four shades, all of them unknown to nature. Add to this matt apricot skin, lips and blush like a drag act, teeth too perfect to believe and an outfit last used as a costume for the climatic who shot J.R. scene. In the background is what we are meant to assume is one's stately home.

Men seem to go for the "I Take Myself Too Seriously" photo. That is the one with the dramatic lighting, serious expression and stare into the middle distance. Oh and always in grey scale, because in grey scale nobody can tell that you are bald.

Some authors seem to cut costs and go with the "Who, Me?" picture. This comes in two main forms, either them holding a camera up to the bathroom mirror, or them turned towards some other person whose shoulder can still be seen in the cropped version. The overall impression is that the author not only doesn't have a stately home, they don't have a friend who would take their picture or enough of an ego to have a picture be all about lil' ol' them.

Perhaps one of the least offensive versions is the "Shiny, Happy Author" picture in which a young, over-saturated author grins maniacally in front of a white background. If the author is attractive this can work fine, but still looks more like an advertisement for minty gum than an author photo.

There are a few other versions along the lines of "I'm Kooky!!1!", "I Live in a Fantasy World", "Me So Sexy", "If I Can See a Single Wrinkle in this Picture I Will KeeeeLL You (a.k.a. The Soft Focus Mystery Author)" and "Portrait of an Artiste (beret optional)."

But frankly, I have yet to see an author photo I liked, so maybe it is just me.... Do authors really need a photo? If so, what should a good one look like?

See also:
Can you believe this picture

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Ravenous Romance press release here.

GUEST POST: Evolution of a Cover: Fangs and Fur by Michelle Houston

Like many authors, when I sent out my cover art request for FANGS AND FUR I was worried about how it would all turn out. I have seen some fantastic e-book covers, and I have seen some that frankly I would be ashamed to have.

I’ve really lucked out with both Whiskey Creek Press Torrid and Phaze in that my covers have been at least close to what I had in mind, and have been something I have been happy to have my “name” associated with. Part of the problem is that there is only so much that can be done with splicing images together to create a concept, and I understand. I also know that many cover artists don’t or won’t take the time to work with the author to add that additional element to their book – which I don’t understand.

Some I know think that with e-books a cover isn’t as important as in a brick and mortar store. I disagree. When someone is looking at e-books we have only the first few lines of the blurb and the cover to hook them with. Print books can be picked up, skimmed, and so on. For us, we have an excerpt, often chosen for us by the publisher, to try and seduce a reader. That’s it.

So I always very hesitant when I see the email waiting on me -- cover art for _______ book.

When I received the cover for FANGS AND FUR it was so very close to what I had in mind. It had a sexy couple, and a pair of wolf eyes glowing from the bottom of the image. But something was missing.

Ms. Heaston was wonderful; she asked if there was anything I would change about it. I sent back an email asking if we could incorporate more of the shifters into the cover. There isn’t just a wolf shifter, there is also a tiger and a fox. And as much as I liked the idea of the font adding the ‘fang’ feel to the cover, I hated the font. I also wanted some claw marks somewhere, to help with the feel of it all.

She, bless her, got EXCITED! (It could have gone the other way entirely, which is what I was afraid would happen) It was wonderful. Her energy about it all, the way she talked about having an idea come to her that was perfect was highly thrilling.

When I got the cover back the second time it was almost, not quite but almost, perfect. Rather than a black strip along the bottom of the sexy couple image there was tiger fur. And the claw marks were spot on.

The only issue I had was that in trying to bring in a vampire image, she put a small set of human eyes at the top in the first claw mark, and they were kind of creepy looking. The wolf eyes were still at the bottom of the cover, and I suggested moving them up where the vampire eyes were.

She was more than willing to do so and then I got the cover back. I was shocked, and so very excited myself. It was FANGS AND FUR. It accented the book that I loved writing, giving it an additional depth.

For more information about FANGS AND FUR visit: michellehouston.com or

If you are an author and would like to contribute a 'behind the cover' post about the cover art of a recent release please email Emily at veinglory [at] gmail.com

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

You Can Leave Your Hat On: the once and future pinup--veinglory

There are a lot of sub-genres that don't so much come or go, as adapt for a new generation. Romance is one, erotic genre fiction... and the pinup. The idea of the pinup is to be sexual in a way that is non-threatening for the audience. Something you could literally 'pin up'. Now in some circles that is the artistic equivalent of a gynecological exam--but in most environments it is a little more artfully posed or coyly covered up.

Hanging in my office this year (and by the way where the hell do most of this year go? September already!) is 'Bad Rap's EXPOSED calendar. Whatever might be threatening by the amount of skin should is rendered pretty broadly acceptable by the puppy dogs and charity angle. What I liked about this calendar is not just that the models looked happy (many pin ups seem to exuded a sort of miserable poutiness) but that it included an interesting range of people. Pin ups in general lean female, white, young, blonde etc etc. Very dull.

And for those who think the pin up is all terribly retro, well it is still clearly alive and well in magazines and on billboards pretty much everywhere. Unless of course I am just reading sexuality in this Agent Provocateur advertisement that is not intended? (*cough* riiight). The pinup is, if anything, even more ubiquitous now and pinned up in even more public places. What would be sexual harassment on an office noticeboard, is now run of the mill on the side of bus stop or subway wall.

The pinup genre still, of course, includes crude, misogynistic and just plain 'ewww' material. And decisions about what is the right time or place for a sexually posed human figure are not always fool-proof. But one very welcome development has been the realisation of advertisers and other purveyors of all things Pavlovian that what is good for the goose, well....

And while we are on, tangentially, the subject of advertisements--here is a favorite of mine: