Sunday, August 30, 2009

Open Calls (F/F)

Anthology: And Then It Shifted: Women Open Up About Leaving Men for Women (Seal Press)--December 1, 2009. Payment: $50+ [link].

Anthology: RUMPLEDSILKSHEETS: Lesbian Fairy Tales Erotic Romance Anthology (Ravenous Romance)--October 15, 2009. Payment: $10+royalties [link]

Anthology: Lesbian Lust: Red Hot Erotica (Cleis Press)--October 15, 2009. Payment: $50 [link]

To have your call for submissions listed please email it, preferably in the format above, to

Ellora's Cave WTF, literally

In the fine tradition of Britney Spears, Ellora's Cave is asking their readers about their favorite sexual positions. But they take it a little further in then attempting to take credit for those top rated nookie maneuvers. The new Ellora's Cave contest requires entrants to answer these questions:

"Prying minds want to know: Have EC books taught you new positions or bedroom games? Given you a new lease on your love life—with yourself or your lover? Taught him or her how to please you better? Given you permission to go for more O’s? Tell us all about it. We’re dying for details…"

The entries on Youtube have to be modestly titled: How Ellora’s Cave Improved My Sex Life: Your Name and are used as content by and the grand prize is a $100 Ellora's Cave gift voucher (Edited to add, this is the twitter prize only, the main prizes are a considerable more generous pair of netbooks). As efforts to harness the power of social networking go, you could not call this subtle.

See also:
The most important question of the day

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Torn Veil Books

torn veil books logo
Having previously had a bit of a go at the uber-restrictive guidelines of Christian romance imprint Steeple Hill I find Torn Veil Books something of a contrast. They are a start up Christian romance press seeking sub-genres excluding erotic romance but including Supernatural, Time Travel, Vampire, Westerns, Werewolf/Shapeshifter and Zombie (?!). Pity about the call for submissions going out before they even have a real website, lack of named founders or staff, and the 12-15% royalty on ebooks.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


* Orgasmatron 3000 (Um, call it a writing prompt....)
* Volunteer lawyer for the Arts (useful for embattled authors?)
* Evidence vs. Hearsay (an author responds to criticism)
* 2010 RT Book Reviews Conference Gets Serious About eBooks (insert raised eyebrow here)

* The Wild Rose Press is closing the YA Climbing Rose line.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Here's a Quizz

Who wrote the book shown to the right?

Here's a clue, it's not Dan Brown.


As the second link below notes, the cover is only for a special promotional copy, but I still think the author should get top billing.

See also:
* Book publishers exploit stars
* Storm in a symbol over Brown/Kernick Deadline

Year Plus Data

The EREC data is based on books that are on sale, or were on sale during the last 365days. Thus as books drop from the set, earn more, and enter the set--the mean sales figure changes. These changes across time are shown on the "tracker"graphs.

The figure below relates to the average number of copies sold by a book that has been on sale for one year or more. Notice anything interesting? (You can click on the figure to enlarge it).

And yes, many of those lines don't go all the way to the end. I need a minimum of five books by three different authors to report a publisher-specific figure. And it seems like authors from some presses have stopped reporting?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Smoke: Lyrical press

I have received a few concerned emails, along the same lines highlighted in a recent blog post about Lyrical Press. Specifically that on at least one occasion the following clause in the contract has been activated, essentially depriving the author of control of their own manuscript unless they pay a substantial kill fee:

"...the Publisher may have the revision done and charge the cost of such revision against royalties due, or that may become due, the Author, and may display in the revised work, and in advertising, the name of the person, or persons, who revised the work."

See also:
Lyrical Press (Absolute Write)
Reader Beware: Lyrical Press Inc.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Kudos to Writer Beware

I would like to take a moment to give a shout out to Writer Beware. It's goal is to provide "Warnings About Literary Fraud and the Schemes, Scams, and Pitfalls That Target Writers". With the backing of Science Fiction Writers of America and more recently Mystery Writers of America they are able to provide a more assertive response to the true scammers who exploit and oppress writers in all genres.

As a result they need to make a very serious investment of time and money into defending themselves against frivolous and manipulative law suits. Most recently they successfully defended themselves against a particularly pernicious lawsuit by Robert Fletcher. Prominent watchdog sites often fight law suits over extended period during which they are not able to speak publicly about what is going on. This must be frustrating and very stressful, not to mention expensive.

It is very easy to blog from the sidelines like I do, but sites that collect documentation and make firm, high profile statements are at the leading edge of fighting the good fight--they really do hit the bad guys where it hurts and refuse to back down to bullying. I would encourage Writer Beware to have a mechanism for accepting donations from non-members. In the meantime While I would suggest supporting Writer Beware where you can, such as by linking to or "Stumbling" (or otherwise networking) their websites.

Writer Beware
Writer Beware blog
Thumbs Down Agency List
"Two Thumbs Down" Publishers List

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Putting Your Breast Foot Forward

There is really nothing to stop book covers from being as explicit as is physically possible. Erotic romance paperback tend to limit themselves to suggestive silhouette or sliver of breast, back or thigh. These covers are, after all, in the public eye and so genitalia and the female nipple are pretty much verbotten.

Ebooks are on a more informal system. They may go as far as both butt cheeks or a breast in profile ir covered by a hand, seashell or a few locks of flaxen photoshopped hair. But a stroll though All Romance Ebooks new Omnilit store (not so omni, so far) does suggest that more covers are now going the full breast-and-nipple.

How far away is the full frontal? And does it matter? RWA's attempt to impose cover standards was unnecessarily prudish. But a website with no age restriction is in many ways subject to general public acceptance (or at least they want a lot of customers). So how far, for a general ebook site, would be too far? (Or would any kind of limitation be pointless, patronising and draconian?)

p.s. the transformation is complete. Erotica is listed only as a subset of romance.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Stats: the tracker

The "tracker" is the graph that shows how well the average erotic romance ebook is selling--and how this changes across time. (The data relates to books that are currently available for sale or were on sale during the previous 365 days.)

When I first started collecting data in 2007, average first month sales were 81 copies, sales in the first year averaged 320 copies and I didn't have enough books in the data set to measure sales for books out for more than a year.

At the current time the data set includes 240 books. Average first month sales are 227 copies, average sales in the first year are 422 copies, and books out for more than a year have sold an average of 691 copies.

MARKET (SWEET): Dark Angel Publications

Second verse, same as the first...

Dark Angel Publications
Opening in October, 2009.
Owner: (?) (I note the only books they have on sale already are by Sherry Mauro, former Publish America author. Also one of her books lists Dark Angel publications as a co-author).

"DAP is an online electronic ebook & print publisher and bookseller. We provide readers with easy access to the highest quality of literature in every romance subgenera ... To authors we offer “free” publishing services." Note: "print" = Lulu.

"We are a new type of online print and epublisher... One that wants to give readers and writers an outlet to explore a new kind of romance...charming, passionate, sweete, softer, yet darker types of romance fiction ... No Erotica! Sorry! Sorry we need our own romantic style."

"Author receives 20% after fees..."

Also home to DAP Writing Services, proofreading at $2 a page.

Oh, and for those who thought this sort of crap was a thing of the past:-- "Dark Angel Publications publishes Romance; not erotica, or gay or lesbian storylines ..."


Sunday, August 16, 2009

GUEST POST: Will edit for peanuts…just for squirrels? -- Vincent Diamond

Quote: “I'm just wondering here, after reading some discussions on poor editing quality in some (note that I say some, not all) e-publishers, I wonder whether the problem here is the lack of good incentives that stop many good editors, copyeditors, and proofreaders from working with them. Most e-publishers don't offer fixed wage, most offer instead things like a share of the royalties of the book they edited (which won't be much if the books don't sell well) or free copies of the books they worked on (um... yay, how exciting) ... Perhaps the generally low level of incentives offered give rise to shoddy editing and proofreading? That's my guess anyway. I mean, if you offer peanuts for wages, what kind of job applicants will you get?” [From Mrs. Giggles ]

My sense is that for many e-publisher editors and proofreaders, this is a part-time, kinda fun/hobby thing to do as a way to read new books. For them, this kind of wage is workable. Ergo, peanuts and squirrels.

For those of us for whom this job is a living, however, we can't afford to work for "free" e-books. My mortgage company doesn't accept e-books for payment, and neither does my health insurance company, my utilities, or any other creditors. I need to be paid in dollars. Not peanuts, and I am not a squirrel.

I'm not enthused about publishers who pay a percentage of royalty for editorial work. To my mind, editing is a cost of doing business just like a phone line, cover art, and web site hosting. Since editors have limited impact on a book's sales, it doesn't seem fair to me to expect an editor to do the work upfront and then *hope* the book sells well enough to provide a reasonable wage. I know of a couple Really Big Names in e-book and print publishing that work this way; I just don't think it's fair.

There are also Really Big Names in e-book publishing that pay a base wage and, even better, a base wage plus bonus for books that sell beyond a certain point. This is a nice way to reward a contractor that doesn't bite into bottom line costs. For e-books especially, once you've hit X number of sales and hit the break-even point, why not share the wealth a bit with your staffers? It acknowledges contributions, engenders loyalty, and encourages continued hard work.

Editing requires time, effort, energy, and, often, extensive back-and-forthing with authors. Proofreading requires a similar commitment. Isn't it fair and right to compensate staffers with a reasonable wage instead of royalties on sales, something over which editors have virtually no control? Authors do, of course, impact sales, but the entire structure of author compensation has always been based on royalties. (Or an advance against royalties if you're really lucky.)

The bottom line for me is: I do this as a job. I take it seriously and do good work. Why should I put in hours and hours of work and take any risk at all on whether a title sells or doesn't once it's published? Editing is a standard cost of business in the publishing world; I'm sure you'd be hard-pressed to find editors at any of the New York houses working on commission or royalties.

I'd love to have discussion from authors, editors, proofreaders, and publishers on the topic. Maybe I'm missing part of the picture here, and someone can show me.

Full disclosure: I proofread and edit for several print and e-book publishers, all of whom pay by word count or flat fee.

Vincent Diamond’s most recent story sales include Best Gay Erotica 2009 and the Gay City Health Project Volume 2, and recently edited Animal Attraction 2 for Torquere Press. Having been accurately described as relating better to animals than to people, horses, tigers, and other big cats often populate Diamond's stories as a metaphor for passion, innocence and unbridled egotism. Eh, not really; Diamond just thinks they're beautiful. More info is available at

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cacoethes, downward spiral.

Cacoethes Publishing House is pretty much a mess these days, the website is still experiencing "technical difficulties" months after re-opening, communication with authors is poor or non-existent, and now there are reports that customers are not receiving their purchases. However their Better Business Bureau report is still hovering at C- rather than F, due to there only being one author and one customer complaint, both considered resolved. So if you have had problems with Cacoethes, please do you due diligence and lodge a simple online complaint.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Quoted for Truth

[Women are] idealising Edward to the point where real men can't compete anymore. [Dr Lisa Bode, ABC News]

I know! Women, poor naive, foolish, weak-minded creatures that we are, are destroying any chance of happiness with a real man now that they've been exposed to fictional characters! Next, there will be an article about how men have unrealistic expectations about women after reading Penthouse letters. [Marta Acosta, Vampire Wire]

Monday, August 10, 2009

New Market: Breathless Press

"We are looking for manuscripts that fall into (but are not limited to one) either: romance or erotic (or any subgenre of the two). We also accept m/m stories."

"Justyn Perry strives for excellence and demands nothing but. With his expertise in graphic design and publishing, he desires to increase the standard of e-publishing to a new level."

Submissions open September 1st.


Special Data Request: Drollerie Press

I would like to add selected non-erotic romance publishers to a new page at, starting with Drollerie Press. I would like to invite authors at Drollerie to send first quarter, total, and where available first year sales numbers (number sold, not royalties earned) to veinglory at Author names are not recorded. Data is posted as an average of at least 5 books but at least 3 different authors.

Sunday, August 09, 2009


Mystery Writers Backs Writer Beware Program
Drollerie thread at Absolute Write (mention of sales volume)
Genius Strategies for Defanging Web’s Harshest Critics

Romance and Erotic Novels Drive Ebook Sales
Jia Pingwa's banned novel returns after 17 years
Sony Drops E-Book Prices, Introduces New Readers
Apple Rejects Dictionary, EBook Apps on Profanity, Piracy Grounds
Literary Links: Sexy Library Edition
Print or E-Book?

Some Words on Spam

It seems that many companies think that, under the CAN-SPAM act, it is perfectly fine and legal to get your email from your website by hand, so long as they do not use an automated harvester. So one way to reduce your spam might be to post a statement that prohibits copying your address by any method for the purpose of sending advertising e-mail.

If you do received spam that is deceptive or breaches that act, you can forward it to Breaches include not giving a street address, not offering an 'opt out' or having a deceptive subject header. If they use a public email service provider such as gmail you can also forward the spam to abuse@[provider name].com

If you are feeling particularly annoyed you can also report the spam to Spam Cop, and support the development of a 'do not email' list similar to the current 'do not call' and 'do not mail' registries to opt out of commercial messages by phone or snail mail.

Monday, August 03, 2009

What Else Could Ebooks Be? (a.k.a. Emily Witters On)

Ebooks are just books, right? It's just a format.
But sometimes I wonder why ebooks do not take greater advantage of their freedom from the costs of conventional printing.
Ebooks could be experimentally formatted, illustrated, animated. They could have soundtracks, photographs, backgrounds, handwritten letters and whispering voices. Because with an ebook all of these things could potentially be done without increasing the cost of reproduction of delivery.
And then I suppose I remember, books don't need gimmicks. They don't even benefit from them. The written word may travel swifter now and over longer distances with greater resilience.
But a book is still at its best when it is just a book. A package full of words, strung together, to tell a story.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Recent Epublishing Links

Why Writers Should Consider ePublishing
"Admittedly, the eReader audience is just now developing, which is exactly why now is a good time to get established with an ePublisher. It’s a time of wild experimentation and figuring out what works."
(And this is a good thing?)

How To choose an ePublisher
"Choose a publisher in the genre you write in. If you write romance books, you may want to submit your work to an ePublisher that specializes in romance."
(Gee, thanks. I would never have thought of that).

My Happy Place
"The real world full of bad cover art and bad editing and fly by night ePublishers out to rip off new writers and crank out as much shit and improbable promises as possible before they head out for the next gullible target. Yeah, that real world."
(This is why Teddypig needs a happy place. I wonder where I can get one?)

EPIC’s 11th Annual e-Book Competition Opens
" award that could has grown from 15 categories to 35 and has become something of a household name in the industry."
(And yet it is still completely unknown to the average ebook reader...)