Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Not Just Ebooks! (We Want Your P-book Data).

The EREC data set in currently inclusive of books released primarily as ebooks. Now, I should be clear here. My intent is that authors report all sales, ebooks and POD if they sell in that format. So our figures do already include paperbacks to this extent.

And I think the level of awareness authors have these days is so much higher than a few years ago. And the economy is giving some timely lessons in ignoring risks, trusting companies, and assuming everything with be fine. But I digress.

I think what is still missing is a sense of proportion. That is, seeing the sales figures of large press erotic romance imprints. I am very interested in receiving some data relating to imprints such as Harlequin Blaze, Avon Red, Berkley Heat etc.

The data I am after, in case any of you have forgotten, is total books sold at first report (e.g. first quarter), after one year (if available), total to date and to end of contract (if available). Of course offset print runs are not reported as frequently and specifically, but close enough is good enough.

My idea would be to mass all of these books together to begin with to represent mainstream publishing sales, and separate by publisher as possible. If you have any questions, or data to share (anonymously) please email veinglory[at]gmail.com.

Monday, March 30, 2009

31 Days to Build a Better Blog

I have generally found Problogger* to be a good source of blogging information. Like many busy people I more often read about improving my blog, than actually doing anything about it. My personal blog is in a pretty dire state of neglect. With that in mind I have signed up for 31 Days to Build a Better Blog at Problogger in April.

If anyone would like to join me, please do. There is no cost and no required participation level. You will get one email a day in April with suggestions for making you blog more effective. If there is enough interest (say 10 or more people reply here saying they have signed up) I will comment on the tips with an attempt to spin them more for writing blogs--and perhaps try to replace tips not to suitable for writers with an alternative suggestion.

With that in mind if any of you guys is a master blogger or involved in blogging services for writers, I would be extra interested in guest posts about blogging in April--either you own ideas or responses to the Problogger material.

* Please note that I have no affliliation with Problogger and have not been in contact with them.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


L-Book, Roxanne Jones proprietor, is an epublisher of lesbian fiction including erotic and romance. They are seeking new and out-of-print books; they contract electronic rights only.

Biological romance

I recently read: READ ROMANCE OR PERISH: A BIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE ON ROMANCE NOVELS (Romance Writers of America Librarians' Day Keynote Address July 29th, 2008 )

I have a few thoughts. One is that you cannot speak for a science without speaking as a scientist--that is by referencing in some way evidence collected using the scientific method. Biology in the absence of evidence devolves into "just so" stories that provide an explanation for anything you want or that flatters your in-group, but it tends to be the explanation you want not the one that is parsimonious.

The following is purely my opinion as a person who also holds a PhD in the biological (and behavioral) sciences. But I am writing purely in the manner of a blogger because there aren't any first sources identified here to uderly the claims made (so I can't check them).

The first substantial point made: "Genre Fiction is the only truly effective means we have of exercising imaginations ... And creativity is 100% dependent on imagination. You cannot figure out a better way to do something without being able to imagine that better way"

Flattering to story tellers, but egotistical much? So there is no effective exercise of imagine in making movies, plays, paintings or choreographing dance, in day-dreaming, raising children, cooking or growing a garden, in conducting scientific research, running a business or planning your own life journey? Okey dokey. It must be true if a scientist said so. If you defined genre fiction very broadly as "the ability to conceive of things that are not literally true" (e.g. lying) you might be able to convince me of that but as a self-evident assumption I ain't buying it.

"US, now the primary home of Genre Fiction, reads 10 - 100 times more Genre Fiction than any other society."

Blink. The average American reads ten or more times more genre fiction that the average Canadian, Australian, Brit etc? Sorry, I don't buy that. In terms of publishing, perhaps, but consumption?

"And the US is globally recognized as the most entrepreneurially successful, most innovative and effectively creative, society on the planet."

Did the crowd, at this point, begin chanting USA, USA, USA? America is a large, massively successful first world nation with many wonderful qualities. But I would hope this would include a sufficient dose of humility to realise other countries are pretty pleased with their own finer qualities, and with good reason.

"And what if a woman comes in, with two toddlers hanging on her skirts, worn to the bone - and wanting reassurance that all she's going through is worthwhile, is valued, is to be lauded - you'd hand her a cherry red capsule because that's what romance delivers."

Um, I guess my two bookshelves full of romance are a prescription error. Either that or someone neglected to issue me my two toddlers, husband... and skirt. In fact I haver always felt that the great majority of romance (with the some sub-genre and individual exceptions) stops well short of showing a motherhood period or even presumposing that there will be one--implying that motherhood is anything but sexy and romantic? Or it may just be that those aren't the romance I tend to buy. It is, after all, a large and diverse genre. (p.s. last time I checked Americans--and indeed most cultures--were pretty pro-motherhood in other ways?)

"While no one would question the value of either the Pill or feminism, together they posed a potent biological threat if too many women followed the strict feminist path and gave up having children altogether. Biologically, societies would be doomed."


Blink. Blink.


"7 western nations - Italy, France, Germany, Netherlands, UK, Australia and the US - chosen purely because I know what went on in those countries. Six of these countries decided to sit back and let Nature take its course ... in Italy, France, Germany, Netherlands, the UK and Australia, publishers bowed to pressure from the intellectual elites and suppressed romance."

Um. Yes, the great romance suppression. Wait. What great romance suppression? What pressure? From whom? Try as I might I cannot recall the day the office of Mills & Boon burned to the ground and all their staff fled to America disguised as German rocket scientists. And as far as disdaining the bodice ripper? It seems to me that occurs in the US as much as anywhere (as indeed, does modern feminism).

"I can explain how it was done, but the essential thing to know was that it was done. In every country bar the US, romance novels were - not banned, not eradicated, not outlawed - but their availability was deliberately held down and a massive taboo was attached to reading them. And I do mean massive. Even if women wanted romance novels, they couldn't find them, and even if they found one, they - as a group - felt inhibited from reading them.

The only country that truly left the entire biological system alone was the US."

I can explain how it was not done. But that being the null hypothesis and as such one is genuinely not required to.

"Current birthrates are: Italy 1.3 and steadily sinking. Religion doesn't work on birthrates. Germany 1.4, Netherlands 1.6, UK 1.6, Australia 1.7 ... In 2006, your birthrate reached 2.1 again, and isn't expected to fall."

Theory number one, women won't have children unless they have access to romance books, and only American women have access to romance books. (i.e. Fabio made me do it).

Theory number two, child birth rates are related to religion, income, maternity leave provisions, over-population concerns and a great many factors including ease of access to privacy and to birth control--the "whoops" factor. (i.e. it's damn complicated and no single factor explanation is remotely plausible even where it is empirically supported.

"How did you recover so easily from 1.7 to 2.1 when no one else can even shift their rate upward?"

Perhaps it was because a good many were working very hard to do the opposite? America is one of the few countries to regularly push the need to constantly grown population and economy. Others are pursuing leveling off or even shrinking the native-born population base leading to a stable population after immigrants and refugees are counted in.

"But then came the Pill and feminism, and women heard the feminist's message - but most of them thought, well, yes, but that's not how I feel. I want love, marriage and the whole nine yards - so they reached for reaffirmation. It wasn't Kathleen Woodiwiss writing the Flame and the Flower that sparked the modern growth of romance - it was women wanting to hear the message that book contained."

(Brain jumps out ear and flops on the floor)

"The US sales of romance novels directly parallel the US improving birthrate."

(Brain gives up and stops flopping) Do I really need to fisk this. I am going to assume most of you know that correlation does not imply causality.

"Australia, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands and Italy, facing the same threats, also did nothing, but specifically removed romance novels from the equation. These societies are facing social extinction. France replaced romance novels with government propaganda and assistance. It might survive, but by the skin of its teeth and only at great financial cost. Propaganda is never as effective as reaffirmation."

(Brain crawls out of the room, gasping)

"As the guardians of genre fiction in your communities, I hope you take back with you a strengthened belief in the social and biological importance of keeping a wide range of genre fiction, and of romance in particular, on your shelves.

Not only will it improve mental health and enhance your communities' creativity, but it will also insure that your country continues as a biologically stable nation ... It's read romance or perish."

Won't somebody please think of the children! This truly is moral panic at its purist. I am, at this point, speechless.

See also:
Research Roundup

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Quizno's Ad

I am not one to get caught up in moral panic about how pervasive sex is in society. But this Quizno's advertisement befuddles me. How exactly is an ad where a guy appears to be a sexual submissive to a sandwich toasting machine really meant to make me want to eat a "footlong". The whole thing sounds like someone in advertising has been fantasising about HAL from 2001: a Space Odyssey.

The ad copy is rendered even more odd by the existence of two versions. The one above is the evening version, the daytime one replaces "I'm not doing that again, I burn" with a line about rubbing the machine down with a shammy (retaining the machines reply of "we both enjoyed that") and replaces "say it sexy" to "say it with passion". The whole thing is, IMHO, a serious dose of WTF.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Press Release: Retaliatory lawsuit against Writer Beware staff dismissed

A Massachusetts Superior Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Ann Crispin and Victoria Strauss, the principal operators of the Writer Beware website, filed by a purported literary agent ... The suit, initiated by Robert Fletcher and his company, the Literary Agency Group, alleged defamation, loss of business and emotional distress while making claims Fletcher had lost $25,000 per month due to warnings about his business practices posted by Crispin and Strauss. The suit was dismissed with prejudice March 18 by the Massachusetts Superior Court due to Fletcher's failure to respond to discovery or otherwise prosecute the lawsuit.

[full press release here]

Does Publishing Need to "Man Up"?

A recent editorial was tongue in check about 'remasculinising' literacy.

"It doesn't help, of course, that so many books are clad in covers which are bright pink or otherwise offensively girly. I don't want to read them on the bus, so I can only imagine that men must be even more discouraged."

Not just men as it happens. I think this might conflate being female-ized with being feminised. Particularly in the realm of romance there does tend to be a lot of pink-sparkli-rainbow-ness. Of course in erotic romance there is a lot of bulbous male and female titty which can also be difficult on the bus....

"It might require little more than a television series (and book tie-in) starring a handsome, profanity-spewing librarian to make men realise that it only takes a few page turns to distinguish themselves from the rest of those Slow Worms."

Apparently this writer missed the "Librarian" movies? Maybe we don't need butch up books so much as encourage ment to be more comfortable with themselves--so that a pink cover doesn't frighten them half to death. And maybe I need to get over being embarrassed by bare flesh on a cover.

I shall take a lesson sexual self-confident from Flight of the Conchords forthwith:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Filedby Author Website

New Site Hosts 1.8 Million Author Web Pages: "Filedby.com host Web pages that provides a brief biography and a list of works for all American and Canadian authors".

If you are an author you may be there (I am), and able to claim and develop your page. They claim to list any author who has "published a book in the U.S. or Canada and [has] a valid ISBN" -- but I don't see any ebooks, ISBN or not.

See also:
Filed By - Authors Connecting With Readers

2009 RITA and Golden Heart Finalists

The full list can be found here. Congratulations to all. Is anyone following closely enough to know if any erotic romance made the final cut?

See also:
RITA and Golden Heart Nominations - She Was Robbed Thread
The 2009 Ritas
Dear RWA Members: Don’t Be a Hater of the Hot

This is gonna hurt--veinglory

A fanfic writer has issued a press release for their sequel to Stephanie Meyer's Twilight books.

"Written by Gothic webmistress and author LadySybilla, Russet Noon is an unofficial continuation to the last book in the Twilight series, Breaking Dawn. Russet Noon is told from Jacob Black's perspective and it explores the questions left unanswered at the end of the last installment in the Twilight Saga."

See also:
Russet Wank
What It's Like to Be Delusional
Russet Noon: The Unauthorized Sequel to Breaking Dawn is on Ebay
Lady Sybilla Apologizes to Stephenie Meyer for Writing Russet Noon

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Top 5 Romance Websites for Writers?

Reading the 'top 50 romance blogs' blog posts linked below got me thinking. For you romance writers out there, which websites do you find the most informative and helpful to you? This would include blogs, websites, forums, chatrooms and any other type of internet site--and exclude EREC. Please let me know your personal top 5 and I will add the most frequently mentioned to a ROMANCE WRITING SITES webroll.


Top 50 Romance Novel Blogs to Watch in 2009 (Love, Romance, Passion)Top 50 Romance Blogs, part 2 (Love, Romance, Passion)
Rebecca Fox Will Not Just Be Quiet, Please: An Interview On Blogging as Bloodsport for Women (Sexerati)
Why social DRM makes sense: Wise words from book maven Mike Shatzkin (Teleread)
The M/M Romance Challenge - Sign Up (I [Heart]Paperbacks)
TKA's Book In a Nutshell Competition (The Knight Agency blog)
"Every book on our top 10 list right now, except 2, is m/m" (Ravenous Romance twitter)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Review: Google Blogger for Dummies--veinglory

A few years ago I started to blog on Blogspot (a.k.a. Google Blogger) and now I have eight different blogs across Blogger and Wordpress. So when I saw review copies of Google Blogger For Dummies were available I was quick to ask for one. As it happens I think the years of working it out for myself with template and layout, on blogspot, on my own host, domain mapping etc etc meant the book was more reassuring than informative.

I agreed with pretty much everything in this book and wish I had a book like this to learn from rather than trial and error. And there are a few sections I will be reading over again more closely like the one on monetising and using social networks--there are two areas where I am still a beginner.

However if you are still working out how to get the best benefit our of a blog this book is certain one of the better "Dummies" books I have read. And it would be very handy to someone starting out so they don't have to go through those days of frustration working out just how to get what you want with blogger. Because, Lord knows, blogger help forums are no use whatsoever. And for those more quirky issues (like how blogspot occasions refused to ftp files unless you fiddle with the url) there is always Google itself and the support of your fellow bloggers ;)

Lyrical Contracts--veinglory

In February of last year the Author Crusader blog noted that: "Lyrical Press has not been opened yet and already two authors have jumped ship. Though one author refuse to comment (and I assumed the other would not comment either *sigh*) this Diva will assume it was contract issues." Similar suggestions are made at the Absolute Write forums where Victoria Strauss writes: "I've seen a recent Lyrical Press contract, and it's problematic, in my opinion."

Friday, March 20, 2009

Themes: Inter-racial

I thought it might be interesting to invite some discussion about some of the most popular erotic romance themes--and to try and collect together some useful links.

Theme: Interracial/multicultural

Publishers actively seeking: Ellora's Cave, Loose Id, Cobblestone Press, Red Rose Publishing, Samhain, Shadowfire Press, Interracial Ebooks

Authors: Barbara Sheridan, Alisha Rai.

Book suggestions:
Glutton for Pleasure by Alisha Rai (Samhain)
Shaking Off the Dust by Rhianna Samuels (Samhain)
Try a Little Tenderness by Roslyn Hardy (Loose Id)

So if you know of more publishers specifically seeking IR, blogs, authors or any other resources, please let me know and I will add them here.

I would also be interested in guest blogs from authors and readers of IR.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Fresh Links--veinglory

* A Reader's Guide to Author Websites (Book Binge)
* Hachette: From Boom to Bust (Kash's Book Corner)
* Tweetdeck: an easy way to keep up with twitter.
* The Romentics writing team, Scott Pomfret and Scott Whittier, are releasing their latest novel via Palari Publishing.
* DABWAHA (Dear Author Bitchery Writing Award for Hellagood Authors)
* Romance novel themes (Romantic Times Bookclub, 2002)
* Random romance novel title generator
* Books-A-Million Results Fall (Publishers Weekly)
* "Muerte por algodón de dulce" (romance blog storm metaphor?)
* Book Sculptures by Brian Dettmer
* Ravenous Romance, first print rights sale: "WOMEN OF THE BITE by Cecilia Tan, to be published this fall by Alyson Books!" [via twitter]


The Absolute Write forums are glitching again, but the peeps in charge are aware and working on it. Edited to add: it's back :)See also:
Absolute Write Refugee Camp

Harlequin is offering a raft of free kindle editions.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Good News, Bad News

The good news for Wild Rose Press is that they are clearly get a lot of visitors. The bad news is that they have exceeded their bandwidth so their site is down. Edited to add: now fixed and working again. That was quick!

Monday, March 16, 2009


Bye Bye Sci Fi
The US TV Sci Fi channel will soon be known as the Sy Fy channel (buying out the previous use of the name by SyFy Portal, now Airlock Alpha) because with the slogan "imagine greater". The implication seems to be they want to leave behind their geeky fans and go onto greater things. A phrase involving 'gift horse' and 'mouth' comes to mind. Also if the idea is to escape a generic term and develop a stylish brand, why use the most boring font, style and slogan imaginable? "Brand evolution reflective of a broader range of imagine-based entertainment -- creates ownable and extendable brand name for the future". (Zzzzzzzz). [News and picture from Linda Mooney]

Old Concepts
Meanwhile New Concepts seems to be running a little short on authors (gee, I wonder why?). But it looks like they are pursuing a "work for hire" model? "New Concepts Publishing is looking for staff writers to develop company properties. Writers must be willing to work from guidelines and be able to produce an acceptable finished product within a given time frame. Applicants should apply with a sample of their writing." They are also listing an average earn out, over the three year contract, of $450 (c.f. Brenda Haitt's "Show Me the Money": $650).

See also:
Rumour Has It…

Friday, March 13, 2009

Interim Results: Best Sales, Most Happy--veinglory

Average Short Term Sales: 239 copies in the first month or quarter.
Top results: Ellora's Cave (776), Samhain (287), Loose Id (218).

Average Long Term Sales: 701 copies per book available for one year of longer.
Top results: Ellora's Cave (1136), Samhain (815), Loose Id (783).

Average Author Satisfaction rating: 67%
Top results: Liquid Silver Books (100%), Loose Id (91%), Ellora's Cave & Torquere (81%).

Current Comment on... Epublishing--veinglory

Sling Words: Published Vs. Well Published
"What's the difference between the two? Money."

Midlist Writer: Read An E-book Week
"In the submission guidelines, they tell you right up front that sales will be low and that you should try to get a mainstream publisher first. I have never seen an epublisher do this. Bravo for the honesty and good advice!"

The Galaxy Express: 10 Ways To Do An End Run Around Literary Agents
"And with the rise of ebooks, getting a book into print isn’t the Holy Grail it used to be."

Book Thingo: ARRC09 Round-up (Part 4)
"...someone said that ebook covers can often be better than Harlequin covers. I’d have to disagree."

ERWA: Erotic Lure Newsletter, March 2009
"... the new epublisher Dreamspinner Press is inviting M/M romance submissions." (New? In epub land isn't over 2 years old positively ancient?)


I am not that bothered by acronyms that I don't know, but in the case of SXSW going to the website does one precious little good. Is the message that if you don't know what it is, you are by definition to uncool to be allowed to know (in this case "South by Southwest" an Texas arts festival).

At would point do acronyms stop being time savers for insiders and start being passwords and shibboleths that function more as fences than as gates? At what point can you reasonably expect people to "get" EC, SP and TWRP? Does every potential reader of MM, BDSM or PWP have the faintest idea what any of these mean?

Does this letter salad in our online dialect indicate the existence of a community or a culture? And if so is it a culture that embraces the entire readership or only the section that lurks and engages, or spends a lot of time at urbandictionary? Do we become to used to talking to our author peers, and like the reverse of the scientist pontificating polysylabbically to the uncomprehending masses, forget how to express ourselves to normal readers?

Because typing things out in full may make a less pithy posts, but perhaps one that will make sense to a hell of a lot more people?

[Picture credit: Shibboleth at the Tate Modern]

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I have tentatively entered the twitterverse. My main goal is environmental scanning in the area of erotica/romance/epublishing (a.k.a. "finding stuff out"). Any recommendations about who to follow (people with a high content to twaddle ration) would be appreciated. :)

Ellora's Cave Delayed Payment--veinglory

Re Karen Scott's post "Financial Problems At Elloras Cave?": I have heard similar reports, but also mixed reports with some payments clearly getting through, and suggestions the problems were being addressed. It is not clear to me yet whether this is a technical glitch or indications of something more serious (or a bit of both).

See also:
Ellora’s Cave: Money Issues?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

EPPIE Winners--veinglory

The EPPIE winners are posted. As a contribution to the format, if any EPPIE winner in an erotic or romance genre wishes to submit an ebook to me at veinglory [at] gmail .com I will post a review and link to their book from this blog within two weeks of receipt.


Sunday, March 08, 2009

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Celebrity Shadows

I remember there being some confusion about Ravenous Romance's celebrity line: "This category addresses every woman's fantasy of a night with a famous celebrity, rock star or athlete. The identities of the celebrities must be thinly veiled and fictionalized, but with recognizable tip-offs." I took a look at Ravenous's offerings with this in the back of my mind. Twilight's Edge is pretty much instantly recognisable, to me anyway. The first paragraph reads:

"On September 13, 1977, the sun set for good on "Twilight’s Edge," Daytime TV’s first gothic soap opera populated by creatures of the night. The serial, which centered on the strange goings-on of the cursed Hindenwood Family at their remote country estate, was plagued with anemic ratings from the start. But "TE" got an instant audience transfusion in ’72 with the addition of Byron Hindenwood, a charismatic vampire portrayed by the late, great heartthrob Rex Flanigan."

So the show Dark Shadows was the first day time gothic TV show that actually ran until 1971, the family was Collins (at Collinswood) but the series become noticeably innovative with the introduction of the vampire Barnabas (played by Jonathin Frid) one year into its run. Also as in the books fictional series, Dark Shadows has cult status is in the process of being revived with long time DS fan Johhny Depp as Barnabus. It is also a series with derivative novels (authorized?) such as Dark Shadows: Angelique's Descent (1998) and Dark Shadows: The Salem Branch (2006)

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Forbidden Publishing closing--veinglory

It is reported that Forbidden Publishing will be closing on March 30th. [via the RomanceDivas forum]

See also:
Breaking News - Forbidden Publications is closing
Cheers To Rene!!!!

Barnes and Noble Acquires Fictionwise: bulletin--veinglory

Fictionwise acquired by Barnes and Noble for $15.7 million in cash: "I spoke with Scott Pendergrast of Fictionwise at 7:20 a.m. EST this morning and he told me that all the Fictionwise sites—Fictionwise, eReader and eBookwise—will continue as they currently exist. Fictionwise will still be managed by its current team as an independent entity under Barnes and Noble."

See also:
Dear Author

Monday, March 02, 2009

Cacoethes Publishing website bulletin--veinglory

Cacoethes' website is down with the message: "This Account Has Been Suspended -- Please contact the billing/support department as soon as possible." Authors have apparently been informed that a new and improved site will be up tomorrow, but the lack of prior notice and suspension message is not a good look....

Sunday, March 01, 2009

White Rose

The Wild Rose Press is moving its White Rose books over to a White Rose Publishing imprint that is strongly branded as Christian fiction. I am somewhat confused as I was under the impression that White Rose books were distinguished by a lack of sexual content rather than the presence of religious content, let alone limited to Trinitarian Christianity and so excluding Christadelphians, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons and Unitarians

The motivation for a fully separate imprint seems to be that "some Christian readers and authors were reluctant to visit The Wild Rose Press catalogue site because of some of the non-Christian covers that sometimes appear on the front page as new titles the non-Christian lines..." I find it rather interesting that the writers and readers of erotic romance seem to be seen as "non-Christian", or am I reading into this too much? The White Rose books are certainly seen Christian because they are written, read and edited by Christians. But statistically speaking, it seems likely that the majority of the people involved in the other lines are in fact Christian as well, in the inclusive sense of the word.