Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Friday Links

Top 5 Best Movies About Writers

Books, plays and movies about writers are often painfully self-indulgent, but I thought I would share a few that I think are worth watching. Please add your own :)

#5) I Capture the Castle (2003)
This is just one of those charming, picturesque movies that is enjoyable in a low-key way. A blocked novelist moves with his daughter to a crumbling, rural castle. The two rather unconsciously Bohemian daughters compete for the interest of their handsome landlord. This is a coming or age story, a romance, a period piece and just a very enjoyable, very British, movie that is all about personal choices and morality--without being at all judgemental or cloying.

#4) Total Eclipse (1995)
Based upon the relationship between Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud (nineteenth century French poets), this movie is just eye candy. Especially if gay sex and poetic angst and a young Leonardo DiCaprio tickle your fancy. Even if you are not into the M/M aspects this is a great movie about a man with waning powers falling under the spell of a young but completely destructive genius--kind of a romance-tragedy.

#3) Gothic (1986)
This movie covers a few days Byron, Shelly, Mary Shelly, Clair Clairmont and Dr Polidori spent together on a country estate. An interlude that saw the genesis of both Frankenstein and The Vampyre. Mary Shelley (then Godwin) has told conflicting accounts of exactly what happened at this interlude of complex relationships, inspired ghost stories and lurid dreams--and this movie embellishes the know facts to an over-blown extent. This movie has very over-the-top styling and you have to just 'go with it' to really enjoy its gothic kitsch eighties charm.

#2) Deathtrap (1982)
This is a rather static thriller that revolves around a couple of plot twists that make it hard to say anything with out spoiler-ating it. Featuring Christopher Reeve at his most gorgeous, and Michael Caine as a burned out playwright. This really is a writers movie in an almost stilted and self-conscious way--but it is so clever I loved it anyway. The movie opens with Caine character watching critics eviscerate his latest play, and anticipating the visit of a student who has written a inspired debut thriller. His wife begins to suspect that he is planning to murder the student and steal the play... but is he?

#1) The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)
So, some people seem to think paranormal romance is a new invention. I beg to differ. The Ghost and Mrs Muir is about a widow who moves to a remote cottage, to find it is haunted by a hot-tempered sea-captain who does not want to share his abode. Out of this initial hostility they develop a very sharp-tongued but ultimately rather touching romantic friendship. When her funds run low the ghost comes up with the idea of having Mrs Muir write and publish his memoirs. The scenes in the publishers office are great fun. The romance is more sentimental than sexy with a downbeat ending, but this movie has been a favorite of mine for decades. Based on a 1945 novel that I have long been meaning to read, if only I could find a copy.

RWA starts to cave in?

From their Hot Sheet:

"Dear Members,
RWA’s strategic plan, as amended in March 2009, identifies the need to incorporate a uniform, objective application method to be used for conference space allocation. Many of you are aware that RWA’s Board of Directors and staff participated in a special-issue board meeting in Houston this past weekend. The agenda encompassed the findings and recommendations of a task force that was charged with reviewing the publisher evaluation system and recommending changes to RWA’s policy. Taking into account emerging trends in publishing that may offer opportunities to writers, the task force recommended that RWA adopt methods used by other trade shows and conventions and to shift its method of evaluating publishers as a whole to evaluating publishers by divisions, imprints, or lines.

Under this revised method, RWA will extend invitations to a wide pool of publishers. Invitees may only represent their non-subsidy/non-vanity publishing programs (imprints, divisions, or lines) at RWA’s conference. Space for spotlights, workshops, and booksignings will be allocated to lines, imprints, or divisions that best meet the requirements for “Qualifying Markets.” This new process of evaluation will likely increase opportunities for small presses and e-presses that previously have been excluded.

The potentially broader array of publishing companies present at RWA’s national conference in no way signals a change in our mission or core values. RWA has no intent to tell publishers how to conduct their business, but as a professional writers’ association, RWA stands firmly against any attempts to directly solicit RWA members to pursue vanity/subsidy publishing or other author-financed forms of publication. Members can be assured that publishers and agents allowed to participate at our national conference will have met this criterion.

Michelle Monkou
RWA President"

Translation: Oh, Harly-booboo--I just can't stay mad at you (?)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Audiolark and Wild Rose, up a tree... (and other stuff)

Apparently there is an arrangement whereby Audiolark will make audiobook versions of book published by Wild Rose and Changeling. [via RomanceDivas forum]

You can now get a case for your Macbook to make it look like, well, a "BookBook."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

How to report EREC data

The sales estimates listed on are based in author self-report. Authors are encouraged to send queries or sales figures to veinglory AT All data is stored and reported on a strictly confidential basis. Data is reported as an arithmetic mean based on at least 5 books by at least 3 different authors--data more than one year old is deleted. If you would like to contribute your sales data please provide the following information, or as much of it as you can, for each title.

1) Name of publisher: _____________
2) Is the book erotic romance?: Y/N
3) How many copies sold in the first month?: __
4) How many copies sold in total to date?: __
5) Has your book been on sale for one year or longer?: Y/N
6) How many copies sold in the first year?: __

Here are some more detail that might clear up any questions you have. If not, please ask your questions by comment or by email.

What counts as "erotic romance".
I leave it up to the writer to decide this, no objective definition of 'erotic romance' is provided.

Do the sales have to be for an exact month?
No. please provide the numbers as they appear on your first royalty report, even if this only covers part of a month. If you are provided with royalty figures on a quarterly basis, please provide data for the first quarter.

What if I only know my 'sales to date'?
If you do not know first year or month please just answer 4) and 5). Partial data is accepted.

Do I report only ebook sales?
Please report sales in all formats, but count sales from the date of the first release even if this is for the ebook version only.

How do I report sales from third party sites?
Report the sales based on the royalty report they appear upon rather than the date the sale was made.

Will you use my name?
No. When you report data I will give you a random three letter code. When you send updates you should provide this code so I can match the data to your books.

What if my book or publisher is not erotic romance, is not digital?
My focus is on erotic romance ebooks. However I will take data from any book and will report aggregate data when I have at least 5 books. I am particularly interested in data relating to erotic romance mass market paperbacks.

Best and Worst Mantitty Award Nominations

I was watching the usual evisceration of celebrity fashion at the Golden Globes, and this idea came to me. Everyone know one of the main genres of erotic romance ebook cover art is the "mantitty" cover. For those who have been living under a rock, this is a book cover showing a shirtless man, often one with rather significant muscle development.

I would like to invite you to submit nominations for the title of Best Mantitty Cover, and Worst Mantitty Cover. These can be your own books, books you have read or just covers you have seen online. The top nominees will be put forward for a popular vote. Please make nominations by comment or email to veinglory at to a copy of the cover art appreciated.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

Romance in the Fruit and Veg Aisle

I don't think it is just my book cover obsessed mind, I think something is going in the world of packaging. I mean, look at Mr. Landgarten here with his guyliner, emo haircut, unbuttoned shirt, and suggestive (and rather impractical) method for holding his huge pumpkin. This is not a pumpkin farmer, its a manga character moonlighting as a model pretending to be a farmer.

And who is he looking at so suggestively? Maybe it has something to do with how the Sun-Maid raisin girl seems to have suddenly vaulted over puberty into age-of-consent territory. Not that she looks like a grape picker, more like a poser girl with some freckles air-brushed on.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


X-cite opens ebook imprint

X-cite books has started "ex-cite", an ebook imprint.

Call for Submissions for e-xcite (Xcite eBooks imprint)
"Due to the ongoing success of the Xcite range we are developing our e-xcite ebook range to be sold via our own site, iTunes, Kindle and other third party retailers. This will enable us to expand our list to meet online demand and to explore new sub-genres of erotica other than those we can through print publishing. It will also enable us to pay you royalties linked directly to sales."


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Eternal goes to Damnation

It has been reported at Absolutewrite that Kim Richards , co-founder of Damnation Books, has acquired Eternal Press. This would make her the third owner of Eternal Press since it opened in late 2007.

Friday, January 15, 2010

From Craigslist

"Nationally known internet publisher seeks INCREDIBLY GORGEOUS actress (we decide this, not you) for tv/internet commercial. Looks should be on par with Miss America contestants. This is NOT negotiable. Role is for female character who causes “love at first sight” reaction in male character.

Potential for exposure is huge, but depends on the ad’s ability to generate revenue for the underlying product. If ad is profitable, it will run globally, and in perpetuity (since it will pay to run). Current plan is for at least one television run, regardless of profitability (for actor credits). Internet version of commercial is likely to go “viral.”"

But what kind of virus?


Thursday, January 14, 2010


Sunday, January 10, 2010

NEW MARKET [?]: Merpoint

Opened this month--open to submissions in several genres including romance.

"Whether you are an aspiring or established writer, Merpoint wants to be your publishing partner."

Red flag?

"Merpoint Publishing is dedicated to finding and retaining talented authors. We provide a full range of services include editing, formatting, copyrighting, ISBN assignment, cover art, marketing, and more. There are no up front costs for our services… Merpoint is a true non-subsidy publisher, we benefit only through the successful sales of our authors works."

Yeah, I'm confused. Why phrase things in vanity press venacular if you are not a vanity press?

Saturday, January 09, 2010

number-crunching -- Jules

Just putting my December royalty figures into the spread sheet -- the statement arrived just before Christmas but this is the first chance I've had to do more than glance at it. Time to throw out a few numbers that might be of interest.

My best-selling book is still Dolphin Dreams, which has now reached 2151 copies sold since it went on sale. Yes, very much small press numbers, but not bad going for a small press book. For the curious, around a thousand of those came from direct sales from the publisher's website before it went made available through the distributors, and about 3/4 of the total number since release is from direct sales. For distributor sales, Fictionwise has around double the numbers going through All Romance eBooks.

Second best is the first Lord and Master book, which has sold 1829 copies. Again, around 3/4 through the publisher website, but this time three times as many from Fictionwise as from ARe.

That's the general pattern on my books -- major share is through Loose Id, with the largest chunk of distributor sales coming through Fictionwise, but a significant fraction of distributor sales through ARe, and a tiny trickle through others. (My ebook titles aren't on Amazon, so I have nothing to report one way or the other there.) That's one author, through one publisher; other authors report different experiences.

The second Lord and Master book has now sold 1020 copies, almost as many as the first book had after the same number of months on release. That's pretty pleasing for a sequel, as it suggests that a lot of people liked the first one.

Promises To Keep is the oldest of my titles which are still in print at Loose Id, having been released for Halloween 2004. Yes, more than five years ago, not long after Loose Id opened. It still sells half a dozen copies a month -- not a great deal of money, but rather gratifying nevertheless that people are still interested in buying an old backlist title.

A couple of points to note here: a) my books typically sell 500-1500 copies in the initial 2 year contract, b) that's a two year contract taking only the rights the publisher has a reasonable chance of using, not a life-of-copyright contract grabbing all rights, c) I get a detailed monthly royalty statement, on time, that breaks down exactly which titles sold through which venues, and how much money I got for each venue and title. Now, obviously I'd like to be in mass market paperback and looking at numbers with another zero or two on the end -- but even in the small press market, there are good and bad publishers. Anyone with a zero fewer on the end of their sales numbers should be asking themselves if there are better options. Ditto if your publisher claims that it's too difficult to provide detailed royalty statements so that you know what they owe you. As for life-of-copyright, that's not automatically bad, but they had better be offering something worthwhile in return.

But... even someone who can sell ebooks consistently at that level can have the occasional "sink without trace" title. I've got one that barely scraped past 200 after two years. I have an idea as to why, but no hard evidence. There are no guarantees in this game, just ways to improve the odds in your favour.

Back to work on the accounts. One of the joys of wandering from country to country is that one ends up having to file tax returns in more than one of them, and they have different rules. Blech...

{Note: all numbers in this assume me not cocking up entering the data into 1-2-3...)

[Mirrored from my personal blog.]

Thursday, January 07, 2010


My main reaction to seeing the finalists for Hello Magazine's "most attractive man" was bemusement. Did they deliberately choose the most unattractive photographs possible of these guys? The only one that seems to be a professionally taken picture is Sean Bean's (in his 'Sharpe' costume, methinks).

Monday, January 04, 2010


File under: No Shit, Sherlock.
Digital piracy hits the e-book industry

No Mantitty please, we're sci fi Geeks
Book Covers That Are Ashamed To Be Science Fiction

"...but it's pretty clear that much of their business strategy is being made up as they go along"
Borders, Kobo to partner on eBook store; eReader in the works

For Anyone with a spare $1000....
Apple tablet announcement due on Jan. 27

Random House Pulls a Simon & Schuster
War is declared in the world of ebooks (ebook rights grab).

Saturday, January 02, 2010

MARKET Storm Moon Press

On first impression the website is attractive and well-designed. Here are a few thoughts I have about the contents:

"Storm Moon Press is an independent, small press that specializes in romance and erotica of alternative lifestyles, including but not limited to, male/male, female/female, ménage à trois, polyamory, and BDSM in all genres."

Alternative lifestyles? : /

"Submissions for our first anthology, Cast the Cards, are now being accepted. Cast the Cards is a short story anthology where all stories included are based on the themes of individual Major Arcana cards from the Tarot with romantic and erotic tones."

A tarot card theme, how many of these do we need...?

"We offer a $1,000 advance, though it is not paid in one lump sum. 25% is issued upon signing of the contract, 50% is issued upon publication, and the remaining 25% is issued once the initial 75% of the advance has earned out through sales."

This suggests rather optimistic sales expectations?

"Royalties on print books sold will be 25% on the net earned, and royalties on e-books sold will be 40% on the net earned."

Note: net

"Storm Moon Press will also register the copyright; this will not be a cost authors incur. Copyright remains with the author."

This is nice to see and very unusual for epublishers.

It does not seem to be explicit on the website but the owner and founder of Storm Moon Press seems to be S. L./Saundra Armstrong, who does not appear to have publishing experience outside of self-publishing.

MARKET: Verb Noire

An epublisher in all genres, including romance, seeking stories about POC/GLBT protagonists. Run by people without obvious industry experience who also have full time jobs and are asking for financial donations.


Bulletin: Romancing the Blog on Hiatus

First Pickled Cupid vanishes without a trace, now Romancing the Blog is taking a break.... with a possible return, only under "new management".

: /

[Via KS]

Ellora's Cave Protects Their Bottom Line

Currently if you Google "Ellora's Cave" the top link is a Google Adsense paid link to All Romance ebooks. But here's the catch--from now on if you buy the book there it will probably cost you double.
You see, Ellora's Cave is taking a new approach to third party sales. They will not be taking a smaller cut, they be doing what self-publishers like Lulu do--doubling the price.

Consider the difference between the on site and off site cover prices for their new releases (shown below). Will EC they win and distributors will eat the difference. Or will customers who prefer to buy through multi-publisher vendors pay more... or stop buying EC books?

Tiger Eye (Kit Tunstall) EC: $4.45, off site: $8.90
Taking Shape previous (Tielle St.Clare) EC: $5.20, off site $10.40
Erotic Exposure (Paige Tyler) EC: $2.49, off site: $4.98.

Only time will tell, but I will be keeping an eye out to see how these books are priced when they hit ARe and Amazon. I would be more likely to believe that customers would all go to the EC site to get the books at the cheapest price, if the PTB hadn't changed the domain name to "", making it that much harder to even work out that it is the homepage for EC..