Friday, October 31, 2008

Sweets to the Sweet--veinglory

I have been resisting increasing the scope of EREC. But I have recently been thinking that it would not be too difficult to include non-erotic romance ebooks from the publishers listed here, and other similar epublishers.

I could use some opinions on a key point. That is:

1) Should all books from a publisher be counted together, that is I would simply add the relatively small number of non-erotic romance publishers to the PLIST or to a separate "sweet-P" list, but count all books from the same press in together producing a single sales-figure score.

Or, 2) should non-erotic romance books be counted separately--so if a press does both the books in each category would be kept separate and it would have two sales figure, one for hot and one for not-hot releases.

Frankly it would be considerably easier to keep all the books from a publisher together and it would be easier to reach the 5 book threshold for reporting sales figures. However it must be admitted that erotic fiction is likely to sell better, and so summed figures would probably under-esitimate the performance of presses that cover both sub-genres. But then again, many books are a little hard to designate erotic or not but are in the steamy but not-explicit middle ground and would be hard to put one way or the other.

In any case, I need some input. And if any of you have ebooks sales data for non-erotic stories 20,000 words and over--I will start collecting it now and figure out exactly how to handle it once I get some responses here. (First month and total sales, first year sales if you have it to veinglory [at]

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bulletin: Closings....--veinglory

Bygrace Publishing plans to close in December, 2008. Closing had already been announced, but this establishes an early date).

Blog Network 'Blogrush' is closing effective immediately: "After careful consideration, we have decided to shutdown the BlogRush service. If you have the widget code on your blog you will need to remove it."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Women and Ebooks--veinglory

In the wake of Oprah endorsing Kindle Lee at Squawking Tech writes about Kindle and women--quoted in part below:

"Why Women May Be Key To Driving Adoption"

Um, because we are half the human race, and the majority of readers?

"It’s a pretty interesting move since Oprah’s audience isn’t full of typical technology early adopters."

Interesting assumption. Is it because they are women? Because they are either on time off or home-makers? Because they like talk shows? Is there some data here or is this fact considered self-evident? Because the hot ebook market is romance and I suspect that early-adopter readership would overlaps fairly heavily with Oprah-philes.

"While her endorsement is unlikely to make the Kindle a mainstream hit overnight, it may be a sign that women are a critical demographic for the device."

Y'think. Because who knew that women in their middle years were important consumer except for... well, everyone trying to sell something. I used to conduct surveys for a mainstream radio station that was trying to attract the listeners that every single one of their advertisers most wanted, that being women in their 20s-40s.

"For women, however, the Kindle’s cost/benefit ratio is far more favorable. To begin with, a purse is a much more convenient place to carry a Kindle than a pocket or even a briefcase."

Because very woman has a purse, it gets issued at birth along with your vagina--for fear that otherwise a girl might grown up keeping her cell phone and loose change in there instead. I get it now, females may drive Kindle sales because we like to put things in bags. (p.s. briefcase? How Mad Men)

"My girlfriend usually carries everything from a book and an iPhone, to a pair of shoes, in her purse. Fitting a 10 ounce Kindle in wouldn’t take much extra effort."

Isn't it fortunate that his girlfriend happens to be the archetypal female so that one anecdote about her can represent the motivations of an entire gender. A paragon of statistical normality who not only has a purse but one large enough to store spare items of footwear, and possibly a clue-bat (which any respectable iPhone-owning female who be using on him about now).

"Still, women aren’t immune to the Kindle’s high price (which is $50 off under Oprah’s special). However, if Amazon can bring the price of the Kindle down over time, women may be key to driving long-term adoption."

Translation: 1) Women notice how much stuff costs (um, yeah). 2) If you want to make a lot of money you might want some female customers (no shit). How is it that in the modern era the female consumers can still be considered an anomaly whose relevance to marketing a product requires explanation with reference to our obvious ignorance of all things technological and love of accessories (a.k.a. I love the Kindle, but will it go with my belt?).

Monday, October 27, 2008


From PRLog: "Beginning December 2008, Lyrical [Press] is set to launch an aggressive print campaign, with ads featured in many popular magazines such as Romantic Times BOOKReviews, Doorways, Penny Blood and TAPS, owned by The Atlantic Paranormal Society of the Sc-Fi channel's show Ghost Hunters."

From "Mills and Boon is embracing the e-book revolution with the conversion of 200 of its books to e-book format... "We're looking at the types of series that sell really well ... We're adding the [erotic] Spice series to our site as well as the [supernatural] Nocturne series coming soon." ... we're not sure what to expect."

From the Ontarion: "Critical thinking and tolerance are the tools of intellectual freedom, and with intellectual freedom comes personal responsibility. They are bedfellows. Think of them as friends (with benefits)." (This is more an essay than news, but I recommend checking it out for a pithy but clever defense of erotica as a part of the community of ideas.)

Affaire de Coeur vs. Lee Goldberg, Update--veinglory

On July 21, 2008, or there-abouts, author Lee Goldberg deleted a review of one of his books by an Affaire de Coeur reviewer. The basis for this was the association (now severed?) with LightSword Publishing, who had been extensively and positively featured in the magazine. And because "advertisers get positive reviews and articles written about them depending on the amount of page space they purchase." Mr. Goldberg covers Romantic Times' assertion that bought reviews are not rated any higher than free ones but concludes "Whether that's true or not, the practice is highly unethical and creates an unacceptable conflict of interest. It's shameful. Advertising should never have any influence over editorial content. That's a basic tenet of ethical journalism." Making it clear that it is the buying of reviews at all that he objects to--even if the favorability of the review is unaffected.

I had previously commented on the open policy the magazine to allow advertisers to provide content for the magazine (apparently to be printed 'as is' based on some of the articles I have read) and in order to have cover art shown with reviews and appear on the cover. And to guarantee reviews for books by advertising publishers or authors. There is nothing to suggest that purchasing advertising effects the rating of a book. On might argue that if AdC doesn't run negative reviews any review is "positive" review. However, a quick scan of the latest issue shows reviews that lean positive (average rating=4.1/5) but certainly do cover the full scale with some of the lower scores relating to books by advertising publishers. (p.s. I am pretty confused about the AdC review that got 5.5/5 stars. Typo?) I would consider Mr. Goldberg's initial statement correct only if the word "positive" was removed--but the post in full establishes that whether the bought review is positive or not is not the key aspect of his objection.

I could quibble about the exact correctness of several of Mr. Goldberg's statements but in blogging and comment he made the main thrust of his objection quite clear. And when Ms Snead wrote: "It came out that there are some magazines and web site where authors have to pay for reviews ... We have never done that." Um. Well, Mr. Goldberg clarified in his comment: "What I said is that AdC will review books and publish editorial content in exchange for the purchase of an advertisement. In other words, reviews can be bought." Of the two statements the latter is more correct (with reference to AdC's own advertising pdf brochure): "To compliment your ad and review we also offer interviews and articles. If you would like to have an interview let us know 3 months in advance so it can appear in the same issue as your review and ad" (emphasis added).

Why am I bringing this all up again. Well, because the good folks at Affaire de Coeur, have and I do not think it an apt last word. In the most recent issue of Affaire de Coeur, Louise Snead (Editor in Cheif) called all authors and publishers who had ever been reviewed by the magazine "cowardly" and "disinterested in the truth" for not stepping forward to declare "Goldberg's opinions were false". In a full page rant Ms Snead characterised Mr. Goldbergs words as (let me count the ways): unverified hearsay, untrue, slanderous, lies, false, unfounded, unresearched, and careless. She persists with making a straw man out of Mr. Goldberg's complaint by focusing on the money-for-stars aspect that is not true, and also not the point. Whereas in her own words the accusation that "we sold reviews vis a vis ads", if I am parsing that right, is factually correct.

Ms. Snead seem not to realise that the palpable lack of support for her position has less to do with widespread inability to comprehends basic facts or simpering cowardice, and more to do with the fact that her position is not strong. Paying for ads does get you reviews with the magazine. No amount of pointing to sites who do worse, or accusations of slander, will obscure that. She might have spent a little of her page space in outlining and defending the practise, rather than reprinting large sections from her blog--with a side order of editorial spleen and torschlusspanik. Because if the magazine is to have this kind of 'you are with me or you are a yellow-bellied moron' tone I may not be the only one not renewing. (And given the use of my own name in some of the blog comments I must say that spreading hearsay of dubious accuracy is apparently sometimes considered good for the AdC goose even when it is slander for the Goldberg gander.)

For me, Karmyn, first comment on the same post, sums the whole thing up: "Goldberg can be a total douche about some things, but he seems to be right about this. Books should be reviewed on their own merits, not on how much money somebody paid for advertising with the reviewers."

p.s. The magazine has a quarter page advertising their blog--in which they have not replaced the default 'about' page. Meanwhile they continue to have this blog with one different post. Will the real AdC blog please stand up?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Adsense/New market?--veinglory

I have noticed a few more adsense spots from Siren (Erotic Romance from SIREN/Buy Best Selling Erotic Romance/Indulge Yourself, Feel the Heat) and Ravenous (FREE Erotic Short Story/Hot romance, award-winning writers/Win an iTouch at Ravenous Romance!) and even what I assume to be very small presses like Club Lighthouse ("Lifeguard" a new e book/download an exciting, sexy, erotic/sensitive love story).

And speaking of Club Lighthouse, in what seems to be something of a trend they are hosting books from another publisher, named as Erotic Excursions (their homepage here). The seem like an interesting epublisher, but more on the erotica side than erotic romance, so probably won't list them. However I would consider a separate list for erotica epublishers if their is interest--including collection of sales figure data. Let me know if you think this would be useful. I would note that Erotic Excursions are, in turn, looking to e-tail for other presses. Hmmm.

Not to mention Wicked Castle (Romance E-Books/See why our romance ebooks/have dazzled since 1998). I would note that sporadic reports of low or missed payment continue for this publisher, which is listed as 'not recommended' at ERECsite (under the general company name of ABCD webmasters, also known as Bethany's Group). However I could use some direct confirmation.

p.s. I am not entirely sure I understand what 'Siren Bookstrand' is. Could someone explain? I guess that as Siren is a publisher and Bookstrand is an e-tailer, this is just a publisher-specific storefront such as fictionwise and others also provide? (e.g. the EPIC fictionwise store)

Ebook deals

DearAuthor reports that the code OPRAHWINFREY will get you $50 off a kind, bringing the price down to $309 (see details on Oprah's site) "After today," The New York Times declares, "it will be a lot harder to argue that the Kindle is just a niche device for tech nerds."

The Sony Reader is down to $299 with free shipping. You can also opt for a special edition with free romance ebooks by Debbie Macomber , a decorative skin and, um, knitting patterns (once again I get the message I am not the "typical" romance reader). Although if you want a touch screen and built in reading light you still need to come up with $399.

p.s. how are the altered romance contest entries coming?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Adsense for ER E-Publishers--veinglory

There was mention on DearAuthor of Noble House using AdSense, which they certainly are. (A little heavy on the initial capitals, perhaps?).

"Hot Erotic Romance Ebooks
From Today's Most Talented Authors
Download Yours Today"

I would note, however, that they are not the only one. The following is for Ellora's Cave. They are a little less specific about the ebook angle (but then they do offer trade paperbacks) and a little more specific about sub genres.

"Erotic Romance Novels
Fulfill your hottest fantasies
All genres - chick lit to vampires"

And another from our friends at Loose Id. I am not sure about that tag line for cold selling, but what would I know?

"The Hottest Romance
Put a leash on boredom Buy erotic
romance e-books from Loose Id!"

I hadn't noticed the Ellora's Cave or Loose Id ads until recently. I wonder if they idea came from the Noble Romances ads which certainly have been ubiquitous, but probably not cost effective?

I am also am not sure that the wording of these ads, essentially tag lines for e-publishers, are terribly snappy. But I guess they do the most important thing in marketing--that is they say what products is for sale. I guess the AdSense format doesn't give much room to manoeuvre?

If you add the three texts together, and retain any word that appears in at least two out of three, you get the very pithy and to the point message:

"Your hot erotic romance ebooks"

And I think the point of general audience advertising is that we do need more people to be aware of erotic romance ebooks. We want more people who are even able to speak of "their" erotic romance ebooks--rather than having all 60 erotic romance epublishers continue to pit fight for the same small pool of existing readers.

Noble Romance is taking something of a financial gamble, but good on them. Ellora's Cave and Loose Id have shown a willingness to reach out to a wider readership in the past (such as advertising in gay and women's magazines). It is something of a shot in the dark (I imagine) but this kind of strategy is needed to grow the erotic romance ebooks readership as a whole, which will benefit all of us.

Friday, October 24, 2008

New Market: Queered Fiction

Planning releases in ebook and paperback. Currently only seeking short stories for their "Queer Wolf" anthology. Planned opening some time next year. The usual cautions and caveats apply.

Found via Dusk/ERWF

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Romance Research Round-Up: Happily Ever After--veinglory

I like to read the peer-reviewed research and thought I might share a few of the more interesting recent papers. The following is the first paper I have found that specifically mentions an erotic romance epublisher: Ellora's Cave.

"In contemporary culture the erotic popular romance novel serves the function once filled by the fairy tale. Fairy tales have been interpreted as encapsulating collective fantasies ... women see these novels as escapist fantasies. If we reposition the conflict in romance novels from the quest of a love that conquers all to a struggle for power through knowledge of the other, it becomes possible to read these novels also as fantasies of female empowerment."
[Lee, Linda. (2008) Guilty pleasures: reading romance novels as reworked fairy tales. Marvels & Tales: Journal of Fairy Tales Studies, 22, 52-66]

To any other audience, comparing romance to fairy tales might be considered an insult. However Ms. Lee is writing for a journal devoted to the fairy tale not as a children's story but as important narratives that "invoke a fictional fantasy realm and express a collective fantasy...."--often addressing very adult concerns and anxieties. She outlines the history of romance up to (but not past) Ellora's Cave's romantica and shows the clear similarities between fable and romance, including romances novels clearly based on 'Beauty and the Beast' and other clasics. She gently chides fairy tale scholars for neglecting the modern romance and limiting themselves to high literary re-imaginings of traditional tales.

p.s. I liked her point that many masculine genres have predictable plot elements (e.g. detective stories) but don't get hit with the "formulaic" stick. I mean, why do we have to find out who the murderer is at the end, that is so predictable.

Brits Get Pounded (and then some)--veinglory

Ebook Reader prices in the UK, What Gives?

I was watching the clip below, in which librarians from the British Library try out various ebook readers. The comments are, on the whole, extremely predictable. But what caught my ear was the prices!

The Sony reader at 199 GB pounds, The Cybook at 269 and the Iliad at 389. Compared to a currency conversion of the US price, these readers are retailing for an extra 7% for the Sony and Iliad and a whopping 19% for the Cybook. And of course the Kindle is not availble at all via although I notice they do sell power cords and other accessories for the US model.

Bearing in mind that most of the manufacturers are based closer to the UK than the US (Netherlands, France) what accounts for the difference? Taxes? Economy of scale?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fresh Linky Goodness--veinglory

Review: of 'The Jewel of Medina': "Is it worth risking your life for the sake of a bodice ripper?" [Time] (Um, yeah. Prejudice is a terrible thang)

Interview: “God wants us to be madly in love with our husbands,” wrote the anonymous women behind the site ["Christian Nymphos"]. “He wants us to keep that fire burning in our marriage beds.” [Telegraph] (Anonymously)

Preview: Trailers for Dark Castle Lord's movie debut. [Youtube] (no comment)

Free-view: free downloads from Midnight Moon Cafe.

...and Mrs Giggles: "if you have a story about a girl spending the weekend in some cottage having sex with five men, that's erotica. Pretending that she has "intense love" for all five men and have them marry her in a ceremony by the last page in order to make all that sex stuff "respectable" won't cut it." [blog] (hear, hear: except I work equally hard to establish that I think erotic romance, and erotica in general, is porn.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

On Working for Chickenfeed--veinglory

working for chicken feed
It is one of those tired old debates: should writers work for low pay? In fact it normally starts of as an assertion, writers should not work for low pay--doing so means they have now respect for their craft, their colleagues, or indeed themselves. And the responses can be equally emphatic. This is, indeed, an issue that can make me act like a shrill asshat as members of one yahoogroup have recently seen (the less said about that the better, at least from my POV).

However, given some time to think and make those thoughts orderly, this is what I have to say. When people do thing, they have reasons. You may not share those reasons, you may not respect those reasons, but reasons will exist. And showing respect for ones colleagues may in fact include allowing that we don't all have to agree in issues like this.

#1: Non-Pecuniary Gain
If a writer is accepting a small rate of pay it may be because they are receiving other benefits. For example they may go with a lower paying publisher because they are more approachable, more responsive or provide some other less tangibel benefit. Not everyone is aiming for the top with all of their energy--so ease of process can be a consideration if writing is a sideline. Further to that, a good many of us would be writing whether it made money or not. So any money more than none is a bonus (versus anything less than pro-rates being an insult). Writing may be done for fun, for profit or for any intermediate combination of the two. Ultimately a writer who is in it primarily for the money is going to have to offer something the amateur can't or won't, in order to command a professional wage (i.e. don't blame the monkeys if you can't successfully demand more than peanuts).

#2: Taking What they can Get
Any writer might want a high wage, but if the best they can get is a low one a lot of them are going to take it. In the global market place we are competing with people who require only supplemental income, or are logging on from nations where a US dollar goes a very long way. If an author has a manuscript and they have shopped it around the upper tier for as long as they are temperamentally equipped to, they will take it down a notch. The work has already gone into the book, so the choice becomes taking what you can get or getting nothing and this book potentially never being read. Some people to shelve the book and try to write a better one, but others sell the book at the best market they can and then still go on to try and write a better one.

#3: Cluelessness
This is the only reason I really have a problem with. Especially in royalty-based markets a writer may effectively accept a very low rate of pay because they have no idea how many copies of the book their publisher will be able to sell. I may not share or respect a lot of writer's reasons for consciously choosing to be paid peanuts, but it is ultimately their life and their choice. But wandering into epublishing on the assumption you are going to make out like JK Rowling just isn't a good idea. And that is what this site is about.

Ultimately if a writer wants to work for high pay they need to find high paying markets and give them what they want. A gourmet chef is not competing with a steak house, a hot dog vendor or a church bake sale--and the more people writing, and reading, at every level, the better.

p.s. still looking for sales data, especially for Wild Rose Press and Ellora's Cave.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


On Piers Anthony eXcessica is quoted: “We're a partnership publisher who works on a load-sharing/balancing principle to keep our costs negligible.”

I went to check out the submission guidelines and found: "we are a partnership rather than a standard publisher (who have editors and cover artists on staff) we require that you have your own manuscript edited and provide your own cover art ... With eXcessica there are no contracts, and no need for them. There’s just a simple agreement giving eXcessica non-exclusive right to publish your work, and we keep nothing. That’s right, we take no percentage of your sale. All sales are yours."


"to be clear, don’t worry! If needed, we do offer resources for editing and cover art production at no monetary cost to you."

So, I am assuming eXcessica is a co-op ("collaborative") where the founding members are covering overheads. However I find the offer of "resources" anything but clarifying. If a business is a publisher it provides these services as part of its contribution, if it is a co-op it does not provide these things as the author is self-publishing and so responsible for creating a retail-ready product. Anything in between, frankly, gets very confusing.

I will be tagging epublishers on the list that do not provide full service, coding (C) where the author provides their own editing/art etc and ($) where they are required to pay a fee for some services such as cover art/advertising etc. I am considering listing these companies separately from full-service epublishers with no fees, but could use some feedback on this issue.

As ever, sales data would be appreciated.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

EREC Happenings

Altered Romance Contest

The Altered Romance contest is going ahead. For details see this post. Entries must be submitted to me by email by 12pm (GMT) on November 1st. Winner and runner-up received $20 by paypal :)

Open Call and New Release Notice Area

Those of you not on feeds might notice a new area in the right column for open calls. Publishers, feel free to send a short notice about open anthologies, new imprints, contests and the like. Keep it brief and provide a link. Open Call notices will remain up for one month, or as space allows.

I am also considering an area for new releases (title, author, tag line and link only) if there is interest. Send open call and new release notices to veinglory at with a clear subject line (e.g. open call notice for EREC, new release notice for EREC) to avoid being mistaken for spam.

Cliterature: Women, Sexuality and Books

I am trying my hand at paid blogging. Not all that well paid as $1 a day and $1 per 500 unique hits ($50 payment threshold)--but worth a go I thought. The blog is Cliterature and the site is, if anyone else wants to try it. Although possibly you know of sites that offer a better deal?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fresh Links & Pictures--veinglory

Internet use is making us stupider... and smarter.

Note: some new comments on the Dark Castle Lords post from February (where does the time go?)

Questionable Halloween Costume --unless you are intending to go to a very interesting party in which case I would have positioned the spots differently.

At YahooAnswers: Open Question, Sleeping Clue (a.k.a. worst. market. ever.)

TeddyPig on Torquere Press

The I Love You mouse. Every time you rub its scoll button it lights up and says 'I love you'. Disturbing, much?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bulletin: Lyrical Hiring

"Lyrical Press is expanding our editing department. We're currently seeking four to six full-time copy editors. Rate of pay is 8% of cover price for digital sales and 5% of cover price for print. Interested parties, please direct all queries to Stephanie McGrath at employment[at] You will be sent a .pdf with complete information about the position and instructions on how to apply."

[Contest] Altered Romance

[Entry edited to update rules]

Inspired by a link from a few days ago I would like to proposed an Altered Romance Contest.

All you need to do is photocopy or scan a random page from a romance book of your choice. You then selectively remove as many words as you like to create your own piece.

You can just cross out the words with a marker or get a little more creative. In fact so long as you start with a page from a romance book, and end up with an artwork, anything goes!

The prize for the top two entries would be $20 by paypal (one chosen by vote, and one by me). Please email entries to veinglory at

Just as an example here is my alter of a page from Beloved Enemy by Jane Feather. It didn't start out quite so homoerotic, go figure.

[click picture to enlarge]

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

No Slash Please, We're British--veinglory

It is easy to forget that for the great majority of people M/M is imply not on the radar. The Metro article today explain what M/M is and that some women like it is basic yawn-tastic. But the comments on these things are always a bit of a social barometer. It looks like the UK (at least those that hit this page so far) is current running:

For (2):
* "Phwoarrrr"
* "Why does this merit discussion as though it were an 'alternative' sexuality"

Against (2):
* "who find this above topic interesting to watch on t.v must have some serious phycological problems"
* "Urgh! You wouldn't get me watching any of that!"

Even More Against (2):
* "Why would I enjoy watching people having sex?"
* "I am offended by porn"

Against the Against (2):
* "Shut up"
* "If you find the article so offensive, why did you bother going onto this page..."

Against the Against the Against (1):
* "My statement was merely a personal preference"

And My Favorite (1):
* "I am a gay male but hate gay porn and find hetero porn a massive turn on."

So, fess up--much Chi Chi La Rue on your DVD shelf. Raging Stallions? Any good recommendations of more smoochy, less grunty/slappy gay skin flicks?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Somewhat Random Stuff, Vaguely Related to Writing--veinglory

Poetry--Cat haiku

Art--Altered books: making poems by selectively obliterating the pages of novels

Contest--Better Sex Erotic Fiction Contest: cash prizes, doesn't seem to have any fee or gotcha clauses that I can see.

Celebrity--"There’s definitely a homo-erotic thing about G.I. Joe, though. You know there was some shagging going on behind the cartoon." [Kris Roe, from pop band the Ataris]

Market--Oysters & Chocolate, only $5-10 but takes all sorts, even poetry.

Something Old--Madre DePasture rants.

Something New--Japanese cellphone novelist gets book deal:

Um, okay--This is what Bernard Cornwell says of his romance books. Praising with faint damn, much? ... "My wife and I co-wrote some books years ago until she got fed up with the process, and they were published under the name Susannah Kells - A Crowning Mercy, Fallen Angels and Coat of Arms (Aristocrats in the US). The first two are being republished this year and next by HarperCollins in the UK (where the cover will say the books are by Bernard Cornwell and Susannah Kells). The first one ain't bad."

And finally--The map of human sexuality

Monday, October 13, 2008

Crystal Dreams Publishing [print focused]

I notice that Crystal Dream's has an open anthology call with a deadline of December 2008,offering $25 per short story.

I would note that the first in this planned series 'In Your Face Erotica' was due out in July 2008, but now lists a publication date of March 2009.

I have largely ignored this publisher because of this train wreck thread at Absolute Write. Also Crystal Dreams does not present itself as an e-publisher--but I am not sure exactly how this will play out over time. They seem to be drifting e-wards after being acquired by Multi-Media Publications.

Anyway, as nothing new seems to be happening I thought it worth mentioning that Crystal Dreams is, um, probably not worth mentioning. If something is happening and I missed it, please drop me a line.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Bulletin: correction

Edited to add, this is already old news and the post has been corrected.

For those following Lee Goldberg's blog. One recent entry reads in part

1) Quoting from this site

"Averages are based on at least 5 in print books by at least 3 different authors.
[updated September 28, 2008]
Ellora's Cave--1206 copies (24 books)
Loose Id--765 copies (49 books)
Amber Quill--832 copies (9 books)

2) Mr Goldberg's interpretation

"If I'm reading these figures correctly (I suck at math), then the average Ellora's Cave author in this sample is selling a mere 50 books a year, an Amber Quill author 92."

3) My correction, pending moderation on Mr. Goldberg's blog:

The figures are, as stated and quoted, averages. Specifically arithmetic means. The average Ellora's Cave author in this sample is selling 796 books in the first year, an Amber Quill author 684. If they have been out for any period of time over one year (all books in the sample out one year or more) the average sales are 1206 and 832 copies per title)

Thanks to those who gave me a heads up. I know these figures are sometimes read incorrectly and would welcome suggestion as to how to make them easier to understand.

See also: Tina Anderson's blog.

Blog-Back -- veinglory

Comments on Ellora's cave and e-tailing. A surprisingly muted response if you ask me. If you know of any other blog reactions please post a comment and link. Is it a lack of interest or is this considered a confidential matter?

"By now most of the epublished world has heard EC (Ellora’s Cave) is looking into selling books by other companies on their site. I don’t see how this helps the already struggling authors whose royalties have been in the toilet for over a year." [Marianne LaCroix, Oct 9 2007]

"This is mostly a win for EC. It takes advantage of its existing readership and the brand it’s built up since 2001. It gets a royalty of 40%. At that rate it’s possible that this royalty, since it’s pure profit, is more than what EC makes from selling one of its own books." [DearAuthor, Oct 7 2008]

"The goss is that Ellora's Cave has begun to approach other smaller epublishers with an offer to distribute vetted books through a joint storefront in return for 40% of receipts." [Here, Oct 6 2008]

At this point an idea that went out to presses as a firm proposal but was discussed on the EC author loop as a "rumor" appears to be up in the air. No presses are coming forwards as definitely signing on and some are definitely not--suggesting that if it does proceed it will not offer the kind of near comprehensive cover provided by existing distributors? But the cross-availability of those exclusive EC books could make up a lot of the difference.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Please don't use these.

Wicked Women of Color seems to be following Wild Rose in acronyming itself as WWC. As seen in a Craigslist call for a Wicked Holiday line with an eyebrow-raising royalty rate of 65%.

Lauren Dane blogs about option clauses in contracts.

"transparent screen" pictures

As Karen Scott has noticed, New Concepts are looking for staff. In case anyone feels like jumping aboard a sinking ship. The positions open include "Author Liaison". They just don't seem to be able to keep that position filled. I wonder why? Remuneration seems to be unspecified.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Encore Romance--veinglory

It has long seemed to me that one thing epublishers could do is reprint romance. I mean, I hesitate to mention it because imagine just how many books that is. Do we need all that competition? But romance tastes do move on so it is not like there wouldn't need to be new books to meet new tastes and interests.

So anyway, Encore Romance: it seems to be new and it seems to be for reprint (apparently of print books only, no erotica). Apparently it opened on April 14th. The website could use some work to get it to display properly at 1280 wide. The editor in chief is Dawn Carrington (a.k.a Harlequin author Doreen Roberts).

"Because we are a publisher specializing in reprints only, we do not accept new authors or queries for new works. All submissions must have been previously published by a publisher with at least twenty-five books in paperback or hardcover format now or at the time your book was originally published. We are looking for any type of high-quality romance except erotica and/or any work which includes extremely graphic language. Previously published category romances and series romances have a place here as well as fantasy, paranormal, futuristic, suspense, comedy, and more. Any submission must be a romance and not just contain romantic elements."

Maybe someone will do this for erotic romance and previously published ebooks? I mean, the sales potential is likely lower but the production costs would generally be negligible (new cover art, general bureaucracy?).

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Ellora's Cave, distributor? Pt. II

As it seems that several presses and a good number of authors have heard about Ellora's Cave's plans it seems reasonable to discuss this a little further. The basic deal being offered, fairly widely, seems to be:

* Nonexclusive distribution

* EC and distributed books intermingled but identified and searchable by press

* Charge of 40% of receipts but no fees unless additional services such as formatting are required

* Erotica and Romance only

* The arrangement is being proposed by way of the agent Ethan Ellenberg

* It seems that the majority of epublishers in the genre are receiving this invitation to participate

* It is not clear whether any presses have opted in at this point.

Oh No, Promo!: The Nameless God [free ebook giveaway]

It has been a while since I did this, about a year I guess. But occasionally I have to break out into a little self promotion. In this case for my release of a few months ago, The Nameless God.

I think Loose Id shows me a little forbearance as one of their regulars, as I know they are not overly fond of high fantasy, let alone high fantasy with a hero who becomes paraplegic. But what can I say; it was a story I wanted to write and I know my editor Raven will always do her best synchronise my output with Loose Id's needs. The sequel with be even more... um, interesting as it is shaping up as a May/December F/m.

Things I learn writing this book:
* If asked to add a bit more sex, I add a bit more sex. I don't see this as the big issue some authors seem to. After all, this is an erotic romance publisher and I write at the lite end of the genre.
* If you don't love the draft cover, say so. I got a second one that I do love.
* I really do need to work more on my endings. Even taking into account that it is an ongoing story.
* I need to write some of these sequels I keep planning on writing--rather than keep starting more new projects.

From the reviews:
* "The Nameless God is one of the best fantasy stories I’ve read in a long time ... Everything about The Nameless God, including the characters, the setting, the conflict, and the love scenes, is well-written. ... I am happy to Joyfully Recommend The Nameless God" [Joyfully Reviewed]
* "In the end, the book and its characters fascinate me. The quiet desolation that permeates from start to finish creates an irresistible atmosphere, sucking me into the story’s events and the characters’ lives with frightening ease." [Uniquely Pleasurable]
* "The plot of this story really caught my attention. The idea of an unremarkable and humble man who is thrust by fate into a situation he never wanted nor even imagined is very appealing to me." [Romance Junkies]
* "Fisk reminds me a bit of the old saints of Christian's history, men like S. Francesco or S. Antonio, born in wealth but who chose to be poorer among the poor; the only difference is that Fisk is already poor, but he chooses not to improve his status thanks to the vision's gift." [Elisa Rolle]

But don't take their word for it, buy a copy of The Nameless God today! Or perhaps tomorrow, because I will randomly choose one comment on this post and send you a complimentary copy. (If you would like a copy of the book please add your email address to your comment so I can send it without delay). If you want to double your chances you could also comment at my personal blog.

Okay, back to your regularly scheduled industry gossip.

edited to add, blurb:

Fisk is a lowly swineherd and not too unhappy with his lot, until a nameless god picks Fisk to receive his visions. Then he's deemed cursed and cast out of his job, onto the open road with winter coming, and no way to keep himself alive. Levin, a gorgeous Protector Knight, says Fisk is a prophet and vows to look after him, in every way. Including the needs of his body.

As passion grows between them darkness closes in all around. The gods are at war, a falling star threatens to destroy the town but its rulers will not listen to Fisk's warning, and the visions are threatening Fisk's health. Through it all the one thing he can rely on is Levin's strength and his love, but when the Protector's Order itself comes under attack, where will Levin's loyalty lie?

Monday, October 06, 2008

Bulletin: Ellora's Cave, distributor?

The goss is that Ellora's Cave has begun to approach other smaller epublishers with an offer to distribute vetted books through a joint storefront in return for 40% of receipts. [<--edited for accuracy]

Bulletin: Cacoethes

This cannot by any means be considered hard information, but the latter part of the Cacoethes thread at Absolute Write suggests that there are some concerns about how much longer this press will be with us.

RIP The Kidnapped Works Bill--veinglory

If you have not been following the passage of the orphaned works bill I would suggest looking it over. This bill would have effected not just works created in the US, but any and all works illegally used within the US. It is opposed by a roll call of creative groups and association and celebrated only by Software and Information Industry Association, Register of Copyrights, College Art Association and Public Knowledge. The following is written from my amateur perspective re: the US legal system, please let me know if I have misinterpreted what is going on.

Essentially at this point any person using a creative work must be able to show either that they created it, or that the right to use it has been given to them by way of signed (or electronically signed) agreement (e.g. a contract). Under this proposed bill the user need only show that they made a "reasonably diligent" effort to discover the original creator--and if the creator contacts them and they withdraw the work they are immune from paying damages (currently they could be liable for damages of up to $150,000). It takes very little imagination to see this as being useful to pirates who could make even more extensive use of their policy of 'it is easier to ask for forgiveness than to gain permission'. In fact, under this bill it would be a lot easier.

As it happens I am very sympathetic to museums and archives needing to assert some kind of ownership over their archived material, but I think a bill tailored to that specific purpose would be far more appropriate than declaring open season on all creative works that stray into the US or onto the internet somehow. It has been my reading of the bill that although most of the discussion has centred on visual arts, written works are equally affected.

I am weak in understanding the bill passing process in the US, but the proposed act seems to have passed the senate and been passed to the House Judiciary Committee. However it is stalled from passing into law as it will not make it through this year's congress . However I rather assume it will reappear before Congress at some later point. Should that occur I hope to see writers adding their collective voices to the opposition, potentially including EPIC and other associations formally joining the anti-bill efforts. Currently the only writers group officially opposing the bill is the National Writers Union--which I feel is something of an embarrassing situation.

The Bill

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Publisher Google rank

Epublishers make use of print and of online distributors. But almost all of them also depend heavily on their own website as a source of sales and so they need an effective and popular website. As Google Rank is determined by in-coming links it is possible to get a high rank by being popular with customers who link and recommend, by behaving badly enough to be widely discussed, or by attracting pretty much any kind of attention that causes people to link to the site. So the meaning of a high Google rank needs further interpretation.

Google ranks range from 0 to ten. Ellora's Cave leads the field with a healthy page rank of 5. It seems pretty typical for a publisher to have a rank of 4 (e.g. Allure, Amber Quill, Aspen Mountain, Loose Id, Liquid Silver etc) Some are starting to look a more mediocre at 3 (Asylett, Black Velvet Seductions, Cacoethes, Carnal Desires, Changeling, Cobblestone, Crescent Moon, Dark Castle Lords, Dark Roast Press, Diabolic, Excessia, L&L Dreamspell and many others)

However lower ranks are not good news no matter how you look at it. The best it might mean is that the press is very new, or has recently changed their url. Some presses on the PLIST don't seem to be doing so well in this area such as Alinar, Romance Divine, Tantalising Tales, Wicked Women of Color which have a rank of 2. Some others also at 2 might do better when they have been open longer (e.g. Shadowfire)

The upshot for authors is that you can show support for your publisher by including them in your blog roll, signature line and other linking opportunities. Also when researching a new press you should probably check their google rank (e.g. by using a tool like PR checker) as part of your research into their overall viability as an outlet for your work. If you want to link to a publisher without helping raise their PR you can use a no follow link.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

New Press or Imprint?

Announcement quoted in full:


Sunflower Publications is now accepting short stories no less than 5,000 words and up to 8,000 words. These stories will NOT have ISBN numbers because of their length. These will go on sale with a price ranging between $1.49 - $1.99.

We are looking for wickedly wild characters, and plots need to be hot enough to singe. If you can offer the aforementioned, we at Sunflower Publications want to see what you've got.

Submissions Address: sunflower.submissions at

We are looking to publish: BDSM, Fantasy, Fetish Love Stories, Horror, Humor, Interracial/Multicultural, Gay-Male/Male stories, Paranormal, and Suspense.

While the stories we are looking for are to be highly erotic, we require romantic elements to the book, relationships and endings should always feature a happily ever after, at least for the ending of the story.

Submission package: We want to see your submissions via e-mail ONLY, your manuscript is to be attached as an rtf file, also enclose a short cover letter including a paragraph about yourself and tell us your publishing history. We will also look for a short "blurb," synopsis of no more than 300 words. Tell us which genre you're
targeting this book for and if it's a single title or a series.

Because we are an email only publisher we will also make royalty payments via an internet source, i.e., Paypal. Authors please forward your Paypal information.

Unpublished authors please query finished manuscripts between 5 and 8K (actual word count) only.

Formatting: Book Antiqua 12 point, 1 inch margins, double spaced.

Royalties: 50% of gross paid monthly (minus Paypal fee) – you will receive your first payment within 30 days of publication. Expect to hear back from us about your submission within 60 days.

Please note: WE DO NOT ACCEPT THE FOLLOWING: Child pornography, necrophilia, bestiality, scat, or snuff.

We publish Novellas only, ranging from 5,000 to 8,000 words total length -- NO colossal sagas, please! (Series and Serials welcome) We do accept sweet Contemporary Romances, but we would like to see sensual romances.

Because we are an "E-Publisher" does not mean "No Editing". Please give us your best or nothing at all.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Grading Your Promo Items with the Three A’s--Mary Caelsto

Before I purchase a promo item for myself, I like to grade it. Just like in school, you want your promo items to get straight A’s, and there are three criteria by which I grade promo items.

Affordability. Appeal. Attraction.

Basically, these three things break down into their respective questions. Can I afford it? Does it catch a reader’s eye? Will it attract them to my sites and books?

There aren’t quick and easy answers to these questions, and in fact, these questions actually produce more questions. But that’s okay. The more questions you ask about your promotional items BEFORE you buy them, mean less missed opportunity and wasted money. So let’s start there, with the bottom line.

Asking yourself if you can afford a promotional item is only half of the equation. Sure, we all have a budget and we have to stick to it. But something can be cheap, and still not “affordable” in the sense that it isn’t giving you the most bang for your buck. For example, you can print off strips of paper with your name and url on them and wrap them around a bag of mini chocolate bars. I bet the investment for something like that would be under $10, so it’s definitely affordable. But, readers are going to rip off that strip of paper, eat the candy, and throw the wrapper—and your name and website address—away. I bet ten minutes later if you asked who had provided the candy, very few would be able to answer. So while such a promotional effort may be inexpensive and affordable to the author, in the end, it may have been a waste of time and money because it didn’t generate any website visits or sales.

The good news is that affordability goes hand in hand with the other A’s. So if you find something within your budget that meets your other criteria, then there’s a good chance it’s a winner.

Appeal simply means if someone sees your item, will she, or he, pick it up and look at it. In the example above, candy has good appeal. I mean, who doesn’t want free chocolate? The appeal level of homemade bookmarks, for example, versus professionally designed and printed ones is significantly less. So is the cost.

A good way to determine appeal would be to make a list of the things you pick up for promotion. Add to the list the things that you would like to receive. Then, you can start researching costs. If you have an item from an author and you like it, ask the author where she, or he, purchased the item. If you belong to a romance or marketing group, ask the members what kinds of promotional items make the biggest hit.

And no matter what promotional item you want it to attract visitors to your site and buyers to your book. This is where the chocolate bar example fails. One use, a moment’s pleasure, and it is gone. Anything that lasts beyond one use, whether it’s a bookmark, business card, pen, or lip balm, is going to give you more chances to attract that reader then something that is a throw-away item. Sure, having your name imprinted on condom wrappers might be fun for an erotic romance author, but in the heat of the moment, the wrapper is going to be torn and discarded. There’s a good chance your name won’t be seen at all.

However attraction can be a double-edged sword. A stuffed animal can be adorable and entice people to pick it up, but if it just sits on a shelf, it may not be the best promo item to choose. A candy dish filled with candy can receive a high grade on the attraction scale. But, if the reader can take your label off of it and use it without your information, then it’s just another candy bar in disguise.

Finding the right balance between affordability, attraction, and appeal doesn’t have to be difficult. Sure, it may take some thought and planning. In the end, you’ll have something that you can use effectively to promote your name and hopefully win some sales.

About the Author
Mary started Jupiter Gardens Promotions, a division of Jupiter Gardens, LLC because she wanted promotional items without paying a high price. When she discovered her hidden talents for making bath and body products, she decided to share them with others. After all, bath and body products receive three A’s. They’re affordable. They appeal to consumers. And, the more times someone uses the item, the more times he, or she, will see your name. If the consumer can attach your name (in their mind) with a lovely scent and product, all the better! Visit the JG Promotions store at or visit the JG Promotions website using the address above to see all the product offerings from Jupiter Gardens Promotions…nurturing your inner worlds by taking the worry out of promotional items.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


Plastic Logic's ebook prototype seems more like an e-magazine than an ebook. It is very thin, but large and with a touch screen. I won't be getting excited until they have a production model price under $100.

Resplendence Publishing is offering 15% off their books throughout October if you use the correct code for the day. And Fictionwise is having a 25% off sale on a range of indy publishers' multi-format books.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a good plain language article covering the main implication of copyright of material on a blog, including creative commons licenses, fair use and what to include in a take-down notice.

The Romance Erotica Connection awards are open for nominations throughout October.

Steven Harper Piziks makes some good points about epublishing being still a rather underwhelming phenomenon outside of erotic romance. However I cannot agree with the idea that the problem is solved by e-readers (I and many others actually have ereaders and still prefer computer reading, I think e-ink sucks) or that the answer is to give e-readers away free (although it certainly works for Apple who price iPods with no profit margin).

p.s. if you have a happening to announce please email me with the subject line 'happenings' and include all pertinent details, a link and the approximate date you would like a notice posted. Notices will be posted if relevant as time and space permits. You may also let me know about new releases so long as it is one month in advance including only the title, author and a link to the exact publisher page for that book (e.g. Tell me about November releases between now and October 25th). But note that I may not post about all new releases and I may well make comments about blurbs, price, cover art and how your mother dresses you.