Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I C Reception

IC Romance is, IMHO, made of WTF. They want ghost writers to produce entire romance books as work for hire for an undisclosed "nominal" fee. It is implied that these are contracted by publishers. I cannot see how this arrangement would be to the benefit if any writer or any respectable publisher.

I suppose if the fee is truly nominal the work could be sold to a small or vanity press and the royalties would eventually net ICR a profit? But basically I don't get it. If anyone knows more, please tell? Failing that, a saying involving a bargepole comes to mind.

Absolute Write thread

Monday, June 29, 2009

GUEST POST: 5 (Okay, Six) Keys to Happiness for E-Published Authors--Holly Schmidt

Angela Cameron suggested an interesting post would be about “author etiquette.” While it’s not specifically different for e-published authors than it is for print-published ones, with the explosion of e-books there are more people than ever facing first-time authorship. Hmm, I thought, that could be interesting…

With all the social media swirl over snarkfests like #queryfail, I thought it was time to present authors with some (I hope) actionable advice that actually could help their publishing careers. So, this post addresses what I believe to be the characteristics that separate the wheat from the chaff—after the manuscript is sold.

You’ve signed your contract. You’re giddy. You’re a genius! Yes, you are. But the work is just beginning now that you’ve sold your manuscript, and there are a few key characteristics that happy, successful authors all share. In my many years of acquiring, editing, and selling books, here is the wisdom I’ve distilled about authors with happy, long-term careers vs. the unhappy, disappointed ones:

1) EXPECTATIONS. I’ve always felt that part of my job is to manage an author’s expectations while encouraging enthusiasm and excitement. Did you write a good book? Hell, yes. Is it the next Lovely Bones? Probably not. Not because it doesn’t deserve to be, of course, but because lightning only strikes maybe once or twice a publishing season, and it already struck Stephenie Meyer three times this season. Being a working writer is just that: WORK. Hard work, relentless work, thankless work, much of the time. Live for the small moments of glory: when a friend tells you she saw your book on Amazon. When you get a great review. When you get your first fan mail. Work hard enough, and they become more frequent. If you’ve been previously published in print, recognize that the e-book world is very different in terms of what it expects of its authors in the way of promotion, but it can also be much more creative and flexible.

2) GRATITUDE. Be grateful you have talent, that someone recognized it, and that you get to fulfill a dream. Most people don’t get that chance. At Ravenous, we reject 90% of our submissions. And we’ve been in business seven months. So what does that tell you about how lucky you are to have a publishing contract? E-publishing has opened up a lot of opportunity for new writers, and though you might have preferred to sell your first book to Random House (like our author Jamaica Layne did, before she started writing for Ravenous), it’s still a major achievement to have a publisher accept your manuscript. Be grateful to have the opportunity, despite the fact that it is much, much less glamorous than you’ve been led to believe, for much less money, and probably a lot more work.

3) MANNERS. Haven’t heard from your editor in a few days? Send her a polite note or leave a polite voicemail. Unhappy with your publicist? Again, send a polite note or a polite voicemail. Got a bad review? Ignore it: publishing wisdom holds that most reviews (good and bad) say far more about the reviewer than they do about the book. Treat assistants and interns with the highest respect and consideration; someday, they will be your editors. Never scream. Never accuse. And never, ever, air your dirty laundry in a public forum. Professionalism is the key to successful authorship, as it is to most other serious endeavors.

4) PERSISTENCE. Just because you have to be polite doesn’t mean you have to be a doormat. Be a squeaky wheel. Follow up on your submissions. Follow up on your media requests, your review copies, your trade show giveaways, and your press releases. If you’re persistent and lovely instead of angry and demanding, your publisher will welcome your calls and emails, and will be more likely to move your requests to the top of the pile.

5) PERSPECTIVE. Understand that nothing lasts forever. Not good things, not bad things. I had an author once whose first book sold half a million copies. She bought a new house, quit her job, and relaxed into a life of leisure. Six months later, the trend she was riding collapsed, and I’m not sure she ever saw another royalty check. I had another author who struggled with her first two books, which were not flops exactly, but didn’t pay the rent, either. She stuck with it, and her third book sold 100,000 copies and was translated into a dozen foreign languages. Everything is cyclical. Fifteen years ago, gardening books were hot. Six or seven years ago, gardening was pronounced dead by the book trade, and craft books were hot. Today, gardening books are up 40% and craft books are tanking. The e-book world will also have its cycles as it matures. There is an element of serendipity to this business we chose, and we must have the fortitude to ride the waves without succumbing to either hubris or crises of self-doubt.

6) MORE PERSPECTIVE. It’s your baby. It’s your life’s work. It’s been your dream since you were seven, it’s who you were meant to be. I understand. But if it doesn’t work, you are still who you are, your family, friends and dog (and maybe your editor, if you’ve followed rules #2 and #3) still love you, and that’s what really matters. This is a fickle, cold-hearted business for all its surface collegiality, and it won’t keep you warm at night. Be proud you took a risk many aren’t brave enough to take, and you learned from it.

And if you’re wildly successful, always remember point #5: it could have gone the other way. Humility is in order. So blurb everyone who asks, give a funny, self-deprecating keynote speech at the next national writers’ conference, and count your blessings.

Holly Schmidt is the president of Literary Partners Group, Inc. which ownsand operates Ravenous Romance at www.ravenousromance.com. She is also thepresident of nonfiction book packaging company Hollan Publishing, Inc. Hollyhas 15 years of experience in trade book publishing and is the mother of two young sons, who like to read almost as much as their mom does.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Some Epub Updates

Rogue Phoenix Press charges fees for POD publishing: "In this case, the author will agree to purchase from pawprintspod.com, 20 copies of the book (at wholesale price) plus shipping costs ... The author agrees to pay the pawprintspod.com fee and the formatting fee ...."

Dark Castle Lords seem to be trying to rebrand themselves as "DCL Publications".

Ebook earning figures: a few of the specific reports look a little, um, unlikely. But the overall patterns fit well with the EREC data.

The "spellcheck me please" award of the week (yes, I know, pot:kettle) goes to the Affaire de Coeur newsletter: "Please subsmit a sample review of any book ... If you would like to put xomelthing in our newsletter, let us know".

Writing and day jobs (I relate).

Loose Id in the Washington Post: The Wizardess of Id: Romance and Sex and Werewolves, Oh My!

New Market: Devine Destinies

Canada-based all-genre imprint seeking romance:

"We accept submissions in all the sub-genres, including romance, as long as it isn't formula and preferably contains paranormal elements, and any and all combinations thereof." [Website]

"Devine Destinies is the mainstream imprint of eXtasy Books, a publishing company specializing in 'out of the box' reading." [Myspace]

Friday, June 26, 2009

New Market: Quartet

New romance epublisher.

"Quartet Press announces it is open for submissions. Quartet was founded on shared goal of the principles to create a high-quality, community-centric, and reader- and author-friendly digital publishing house. First titles will be available in Fall 2009."


See also:
Linn Leaves Taunton to Head Quartet Press

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

EREC Guest Posts (I love them)

I would love to receive guest post of any length or angle on the following topics. Please send any guest posts to veinglory at gmail.com along with your byline or short bio and link to be included at the bottom of the guest post. I will also be happy to post a 125 pixel square ad on the blog sidebar for one month (I can resize the picture for you). I am more than happy to run more than one guest post on a topic if you have a different perspective to share.

Suggested topics:
* Things to consider in deciding whether to join RWA (EPIC, Writers Guild etc).
* Niche versus fetish (re: inter-racial, M/M or any other relevant sub-genre).
* How are ebook editors paid; how should ebook editors be paid?
* Being a 'good writer': a.k.a. What can writers to do help their editor/publisher.
* When good epublishers go bad--warning signs writers should be aware of.
* Conventions worth going to (a specific example, or an overview).
* Readers, please suggest your own topics.

I am open to all lengths and formats but if you are the type of writer that prefers guidelines here are some suggestions:
* Length of around 500 words, can be broken into several parts if you like to write longer.
* Include the post in the email and attach any pictures; include the url of any links. If formatting is important please include it as html if possible.
* Please do be opinionated, but focus this opinion on facts or practices, or base it in specific personal experiences whenever possible--or state it as a personal opinion not a universal fact (i.e. try to avoid having the blog sues for defamation).
* Write with an audience of authors in mind (c.f. readers, the general public).
* You bio can be between one line and 100 words with up to two pictures and up to three links. (Or anything that isn't totally excessive so there is more bio than their is guest post).

How to submit:
You can just send the guest post, if it falls under these topics I am almost certain to run it. If I feel proofreading corrections are needed I will ask for you approval before posting--but honestly if you have seen what I post you know I am not too picky on this basis. If you prefer to query first or get some general conversation/feedback before sending the post that is also fine.

Rights details for those who appreciate them:
EREC asks for non-exclusive perpetual digital rights unless otherwise specified. That means I post the guest material but you can also use the same material in any other way you like and I will leave the post up indefinitely unless you ask me to take it down (which you can do at any time).

Monday, June 22, 2009

New Market: sweet romance audio, Always Keepers Press

"I am looking for 2 very different types of proposals.

1. I need short stories, of 5,000 words or less. These are freebie stories for our website. You will receive compensation, and if you wish, after the story has been on the site for one month, you can sign on to keep the story—for sale—on the site.

2. I am looking for cozy mysteries and sweet or inspirational romances. If you can’t read it aloud in church, I’m not interested. Sweet refers only to the language and sexual content. Other than that it can be a comedy or drama or anything in between. Word count is not an issue."


The nature of romance

I recently started using a new definition of "romance' (as in, genre romance). A few people seem to think it is a pretty good definition so I had better credit who I stole it from.

Jade Lee, at the Historical Novel Society convention said, to the best of my memory (I don't promise this is word-for-word): "I adore a love story and how love makes them better people ... you show how his love makes her better and the reverse."

Typically romance's key features are seen as a focus on a love story, and a 'happily ever after'. But I think this is just as importance, romance stories are about how love can help us to become better people.

RWA vs. Epublishing (round 4): aka I [heart] Angela James

More to come, but I am at work right now.....

Link: A Call To Action

See also:
Angela James On RWA & ePublishing

Friday, June 19, 2009

Mixed Links and Pictures

* Dear Ellora’s Cave, Where is my royalty check?
* Safe sex [picture, possibly not work safe]
* REVIEW: The Claiming by Trinity Blacio [heated conversation at DearAuthor]
* Puppy Cam [live streaming video]
* Gay Merit Badges

See also:
Ellora’s Cave: Warning Signs!

RWA versus Epublishing: Round 3 (ding!)

RWA President Pershing Responds

I particularly enjoyed:

"Here is the actual story: Out of 400 workshop proposals this year, only two focused on digital publishing; one was deemed by the Workshop Committee to not be of the caliber needed, the other was by Deidre’s publisher, Samhain, which is not on the list of RWA Eligible Publishers ... RWA policy prohibits a non-Eligible publisher from offering a workshop."

Meaning, 'because we discriminate against the epublishing business model by not counted non-advance paying presses as "eligible" it is not discriminatory to prevent them from participating in the convention.' Ah, the logic, it is... conspicuous by its absence.

"This is upside-down logic. E-published authors are only one segment of RWA’s 10,000-member population. What of the huge majority that constitutes the rest of the membership? I stand by my original assertion that by governing in the interest of all its members and not the few, RWA is doing its fiduciary duty."

Meaning: discriminating against minorities is not only okay, it is admirable. And it also stops those pesky minorities from swamping the organisation and becoming a genuinely problematic majority (see also: attempting to define romance at straight-only and banning boobies from book covers--erotic m/m ebook writers aren't so much in the back of the bus as clinging to the fender and being dragged along the blacktop).

"About my June column: I wrote it in the spirit of offering information on how the board makes decisions, not ammunition in a war of words ... The board will be discussing all of this at the board table in July, by the way, and members are, as always, invited to drop in and observe the meeting."

Meaning: I talk, you listen. You do not talk. I know what is good for you. (a.k.a. the published author's burden).

"Lastly, there are PAN members who have been print-published recently or for years, who like their “advance-paying/lower royalty rate” choice, who look at the business model of “no advance/high royalty rate,” and have trouble understanding why anyone would gamble that way with a book that took so much time and effort."

Perhaps they should put more effort into developing that understanding. I made the average amount US authors earn ($10,000) last year, writing what I calculate to be an average of less than 100 publishable words per day. What is hard to understand about that?

"RWA issues a challenge to Ellora’s Cave and Samhain: Pay your authors a minimum $1000 advance against royalties ... RWA is not trying to stem the tide; it is advocating for fair treatment for its members."

As authors some of us have issued a challenge to the RWA, to accept that $1000 on the front end and $1000 dollars from royalties is the same $1000. This reply is frankly patronising not only to the author being addressed, but to these publishers and all authors who believe a dollar is a dollar. It assumes we are wrong and Pershing is unassailably and infallibly right and advance dollars are worth more than royalty dollars.

"Time alone will tell, and, in time, RWA will make any changes necessary to further the professional interests of its members."

Fair as defined by the executive, not the members or potential members. Fair only if you are completely certain that Mama Pershing knows best. But if the message is that authors not receiving a $1000+ advance are wrong, wrong, wrong, unethical and a little bit stupid--I can only suggest not spending those inferior dollars we are all earning on RWA membership.

Or as April Morelock commented: "Well Diane, I guess you told us where we fit in the the scheme of things at RWA."

See also:
Part 1

Ongoing Link-a-rama:
June 21
* RWA and the print vs e publisher question (sorta)

Edited to Add: Word is next up on ESPAN will be Angela James. Looking forward to it :)

Edited to Add: RWA Change yahoogroup

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

National Writers Union

Have any of you (who are based in the U.S.) joined the National Writing Union? Looking ever their actions I find a lot of causes I support including:

* Protesting Simon & Schusters rights grab in redefining "out of print".
* Opposing the requirement to register copyright to sue for statutory damages when copyright is infringed.
* Opposing the "orphaned works" bill (one of the few writers groups that did).
* Supporting single payer health insurance which would increase coverage of freelance writers.

They also offer grievance assistance, publisher warnings and contract advice as well as a lot of educational resources for members in good standing. The fees are in line with standard union dues at $120 if you earning up to $5000 from writing, and $195 if you earn up to $15,000.

I often hear writers on panels talk about investing proportion of your earnings in publicity and marketing, but what about union membership. I have been a member of my student unions, and unions at every job that had one--even a minimum wage cleaning job. But I have never joined a writers union, perhaps it is time I did?

bulletin: Twitter suspended

I went to Twitter today and received the message that my account had been suspended due to "strange activity". Huh. I'm looking into it.

Hmm. Now it is back. I'm confused.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

RWA and Epublishing

RWA and epublishing, second verse, same as the first--but with big name NY authors. Will it make a difference? Somehow I doubt it. But it is at worth starting a link list; please let me know if there are others I should add. Apparently an RWA presidential response is pending.

* From The President [Diane Pershing/Romance Writers Report] June

* WTF Wednesday–RWA vs. Epublishers, Take One Millionty [Jackie Barbosa] 3 June

* A Small Press Education [Jody Wallace] 4 June

* Career Paths, There Are More Than One (Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb) [Lauren Dane] 5 June

* How Many Readers Have Bought an ePublished Book [DearAuthor] 10 June

* Maybe RWA isn't Right For Me [Kristin Painter] 11 June

* The Digital Age and RWA: A Call for Change [Deidre Knight/ESPAN blog] 15 June
* RWA, epublishing and money (bring your torch and pitchforks!) [Charlene Teglia] 15 June
* Why Can’t We All Just Get Along? [Zoe Winters] 15 June
* Deidre Knight On RWA & ePublishing [Teddypig] 15 June
* Ebook Publishing a Bad Career Choice? 15 June
* RWA and Digital Press [Mandy M Roth] 15 June
* Money Money Money Money [Lauren Dane] 15 June
* Deirdre Knight on RWA’s latest e-publishing position [Sela Carson] 15 June

* Heads up, y’all [Sela Carson] 16 June
* Calling for a change, Deidre Knight Speaks Out [M G Braden] 16 June
* My Hobby [K B Alan] 16 June
* The Old Guard [Crista Mchugh] 16 June

See also: Part 2

Cerridwen on ARe

Some of you may remember the presumably aborted attempts made by to set up Ellora's Cave as a distributor of books from other epublishers.

And Ellora's Cave has long been in/famous for doing things their own way, including not using external distributors.

Which makes it all the more interesting that sister-imprint Cerridwen books have quietly become available on All Romance Ebooks.

Pirate Watch: Mediafire

Mediafire provide no guidance about how to lodge a DCMA request. So I sent my form email to abuse@mediafire.com. I'll let you know how it goes.

Edited to add: a courteous response and the file removed within a few hours.

Pirate Watch: 4 Shared

Unlike Astatalk, 4 Shared makes it very easy to report copyright infringement. There is no series of statements to type out, or overly specific requirements. The is a pop-up window in their 'Contact Us' area with a check box and some simple fields to fill out. (The down side of which is that you have to fill out the form separately, in my case for 7 books). The only question that remains is whether they respond to them with any real alacrity.

Edited to add: after only about an hour they have already responded courteously and removed the first link. So I would agree with those of you who took the time to comment, these guys are a legit file-sharing site.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


I an just back from the Historical Novel Society convention, but left my notes on someone else's car--so more about that later. In short the highlights for me were chocolate chip cookies, Jade Lee (just in general), the author/editor/bookseller etc turn out, an almost complete absence of cliquishness (everyone was mondo friendly), and many informative sessions. If you have sent me data and not heard back please give me another week or so as I have a backlog and totally blew off this weekend having fun at the con. The prize book has gone out to an anonymous random;y selected contributor.

In the mean time, am I the only one who can't get the Ellora's Cave website to work? I am wondering if they are wandering into the smoke zone with several rumours of treating authors in a manner not exactly consistent with their contracts. In other unsubstantiated and reckless statements of personal opinion I would like to say: Holly Lisle's emailing list=TMI. Ravenous Romance=so where is this data showing ground breaking start up sales figures? Wild Rose Press=no data from this press in a while. Is there a reason for this? Does it relate to being bottom of the rankings when data is provided or has this changed? And why (oh why) are hardly any American historical fiction writers writing about American history and most of them write only about the civil war?

See also:
News of the S...L....O.......W from Ellora's Cave

Monday, June 08, 2009

NEWS: Mundania acquired Hard Shell

Those of you who have been around for a while will know that Hard Shell Word Factory was a pioneer of ebook publishing/retailing founded in the mid-90s. Hard Shell had gone decidedly quiet over the last few years and I was beginning to wonder if they would make a successful transition into the brave new work of epublishing that they had helped to create.

Now it seems that Mundania Press (parent company of Phaze) has acquired Hard Shell Word Factory. I will admit to personally having some mixed feelings about this. But this seems to be a period of industry consolidation. I hope that Hard Shell will remain as an imprint and continue the kind of business practice standards set by founder Teri Lea Chandler and long time owner Mary Z. Wolf. However one also hopes that their cover art might improve a little....

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Chicago printers Row Book fest

While it was a pleasant enough day out and attendance was high, the Printers Row Book Fest mainly just a large used book sale. Relatively few publishers attended, and most of them were very small presses. While I was there (during the middle of the first day, Saturday) there was no apparent involvement of "big name" authors. I saw some poetry readings from children from the Chicago area (some of whom, dare I say, could be helped to enunciate a little more clearly), and a discussion lead by the author of a book about comics who had some interesting points to make.

I would suggest that some of the authors staffing booths need to strike a better balance between enthusiasm and rank desperation. Nobody wants an author to a) verbally assault them with a barrage of unwanted information while flinging bookmarks at their face, or b) or to lean back in there chair with glum and vaguely hostile detachment as if having given up any hope of selling the book. In contrast I would point out the guy at The Echelon Press table who opened conversations by asking what people liked to read, and steering them casually to books they might like. I just hope industry involvement in this event with rebound when the economy does.

PRESS RELEASE: Romance Readers Marketing Survey Seeks Respondents

"Readers have the opportunity to answer twenty questions related to their book buying habits and earn coupons from participating publishers. Questions aren’t limited to any particular type or heat level of romance, and they aren’t geared toward any specific publisher, business model, or publishing format. The Romance Reader Survey is simply a way for readers to tell publishers what they think, and earn coupons in the process. To take the survey, please visit http://www.pinkpetalbooks.com/index.php?/News/romance-reader-survey.html. Once the survey is completed, readers will receive an email containing coupon codes from interested publishers. The survey will be available through June 30."

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Pirate Watch: Astatalk

One of the questions when it comes to illegal file sharing sites is 'is it worth complaining?' I don't bother berating sites that have no interest in complying with the law. With that in mind I am going to record when I send DMCA complaints and what responses, if any, I receive. The following is a request send to Astatalk.com, following their guidelines. (I find it ironic that Astatalk has copies of almost all of my published work with the conspicuous exception of one novella that I make available for sharing).

Edited to add: so far they are rather condescending in correspondence. And I quote (in part):

"Emily, If you are an author then I suppose you are a good reader ;) so please be so kind to read instructions how to post a proper complaint and attach all the necessary information."

"please find it on the page from where you send this message. be just a little bit attentive"


Provide evidence of the authorized person to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

I am the author writing as Emily Veinglory and can be contacted via this email address (veinglory@gmail.com) which is identified as Emily Veinglory's email address by my publishers' on their websites.

Provide sufficient contact information so that we may contact you. You must also include a valid email address.

You may contact me at veinglory@gmail.com or [home phone number] a/h

You must identify in sufficient detail the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed and including at least one EXACT page link under which the material appears on Astatalk.

Any and all works by "Emily Veinglory" other than "Journey's End". Specifically: [links to 22 files]

I have a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.

I swear under the penalty of perjury that the information in the notification is accurate,and that I am the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

Edited to add: June 16. Almost two weeks later I recieve a reponse "Look through our dmca cases and noticed this one unclosed by mods.Looks like they removed the links now". The probelm being that four of the pirate links are, in fact, still active as far as I can tell. I have sent a follow up and note that 18 of the links have, at this point, been removed--although the abstracts and cover art remain.

Edited to add: removal of 22 links was accomplished, but it took 13 days and 8 emails.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Google ebooks

Yes, Google may finally be getting into the ebook market after years of breathless speculation. No, I don't think it will be a huge success.

"Mr. Turvey said that with books, Google planned to sell readers online access to digital versions of various titles. When offline, Mr. Turvey said, readers would still be able to access their electronic books in cached versions on their browsers."

A.k.a. no downloading of the ebook as a file. No reading the ebooks on planes where internet access is cut off. No reading your ebook on any device without an internet connection.

I know that according to the EULA of an ebook you don't technically own the ebook file, but at least most schemes still allow you to have it in your possession.