Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Links'n'Quotes: the doom and shame edition

Why the Comments Are Off
"But the Internet has a dark side as well and no, I’m not talking about porn. The web allows people to speak to each other in relative anonymity and that is both a plus and a minus."
[Porn isn't even dark gray. It's more of a taupe, shading towards mauve. Something with an 'au' in it anyway.]

Richard Heller: The unwritten rules for rejecting new authors
" Above all, the markets for e-books are still undeveloped. They enjoy no dedicated physical space, they have few specialist reviews or listings, and online authors have no physical product to offer to shops or plant on their hapless friends. Worst of all, most of their online competitors are free."
[They can't hear you scream, but can read you whine.]

Mills & Boon boom sparked by young fans in rush to download romances
"Digital Mills & Boon sales have risen by 57 per cent at Tesco in the five months since the Sony Reader went on sale. The supermarket's own customer research shows that younger fans - aged 30 to 42 - prefer to use electronic readers than buy the books. Almost a third of this group - 31 per cent - said they prefer not to be seen putting the books into their shopping baskets because of their association with an older readership."
[I would kind of like to see te raw survey data. in my experience the company's own "market research" often turns out to be something made up by an intern.]

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Hearts on Fire Books?

One of my chores today was to update the PLIST and add Chances Press and Hearts on Fire Books.

The thing is, the Hearts on Fire website is down and I am having trouble working out if they are still a going concern. Does anyone know?

Edited to add: This interview suggests that they have recently closed. If nothing else this illustrates why I don't always add presses to the PLIST straight away.

Edited again to add: So Hearts on Fire has become Solstice?

See also:

New Epublisher "MuseitUp"

Publisher: Lea Schizas

"I'll be open and honest that we are a new publishing house with dreams and aspirations to offer our authors a place where they can help one another with promotions besides the marketing we will do for them. It's hard in this business to get a good start but we aim to do just that."

That is honest, but the odds are rather steep for a new, multi-genre epublisher.

"No, we accept submissions from new and seasoned writers from Canada and the United States."

This is the first epublisher I recall seeing that limits the nationalities than can submit to them. Is it because they are unaware epublishing authors are of other nationalities, or they actively wish to exclude them? Because I think non-US epublishers like Total E-bound manage to have distinctive brands whilst still publishing "foreign" author.

"Submissions are now open for erotica along with mainstream romance noted above."

I find it faintly depressing that erotica is increasingly see only as a subgenre of romance.

p.s. why is the tag line aimed at authors, not readers?

Friday, March 26, 2010


Discovering the Key to Every Romance Novel: The Heroine
[I knew I was doing something wrong]
"Unisex names are trendy now. But if you name your heroine Jamie or Sam (short for Samantha), be aware of one challenge in her future: back-cover copy. For a reader, flipping a book over and reading about the perfect romance between Jamie and Jake or Sam and Rafe can be a little jarring."
[Is "a little jarring" a euphemism for gay panic?]

Razor Wire Pubic Hair (Paperback)
[My nomination for weirdest title]
"One of the main characters "The Sister" is a nymphomaniac who is covered from head to toe in vaginas. Celsia is an Amazon warrior with pubic hair made of razor wire. The main character is a genetically engineered hermaphrodite sex toy named Celsia 2 who longs to be loved by his/her owner. Oh, but wait, there's more ... there's sex starved zombies, hordes of marauding rapists, twat frogs, a hoota beasts that is basically just a big hairy vagina with legs, and still another giant talking and apparently quite wise vagina built into the wall of the mansion in which many of these creatures reside."
[Yes, I did order a copy.]

Smell of Books: an aerosol ebook enhancer
"If you’ve been hesitant to jump on the e-book bandwagon, you’re not alone. Book lovers everywhere have resisted digital books because they still don’t compare to the experience of reading a good old fashioned paper book. But all of that is changing thanks to Smell of Books™, a revolutionary new aerosol e-book enhancer."
[This and a zip-lock bag solve the two most common complaints about ebooks...]

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New Ellora's Cave Lines: Gen-Edge and Branded


Audience: 18- to 25-year-old modern women who would enjoy reading sexually explicit erotic romance stories about heroines with whom they can identify.

Length: Any of our length categories (so 10K to about 125K)

Tone and Style: The books will have a strong narrative voice. Dialogue and narrative will be very reflective of the target audience's world.

Heroines: Must be in the 18-25 range, with behavior and attitude to match. The heroine should reflect the lifestyles and values of today's modern young woman. These will not be like our existing stories that happen to have a heroine in that age range—the style will be very different.

Hero: The hero doesn't have to fit into the same age range. He may indeed be of age similar to the heroine, part of her peer group. But we would also accept stories of young women involved with older men.

Character Traits: Heroines are more sexually aggressive and less worried about what people think of them. Sexual fluidity (manifesting in various ways—metrosexual men, bisexual heroes/heroines, acceptance of GLBT culture, lesbian flirtation) is more common, almost expected.

Younger characters tend to be politically aware, socially liberal, and accepting of differences. Their job is probably just a job, not a major commitment or the most important thing in their life. Career paths aren't part of their life plans yet. Self-employment and entrepreneurship may be their goals.

Technology is a big part of their lives—cell phones, laptops, everything online.

The language should be current and characters will have very casual speech patterns, often sarcastic.

In addition to being open to submissions from existing EC authors, we will be looking to recruit new, young authors to write for this line, who have an authentic voice for this age range.


Audience: This line is for women of any age who would, or perhaps already do, enjoy EC Romantica™, but who may feel guilty about that enjoyment because of a conflict with their personal belief that sex should not occur before or outside of marriage.

Length: Any of our length categories (so 10K to about 125K)

Setting: The culture must involve a legal and binding public commitment ceremony between the two people that includes the intent of permanence ("'til death do us part") and monogamy.

Sexual Content: These are indeed erotic—but the actual sex does not occur until after marriage. The stories should be the same graphic level of sexual description and sexual language as EC's existing lines. The only difference from other lines is that the relationship must be monogamous and heterosexual, and penetrative sex cannot occur until after marriage. Before marriage, there should be a strong focus on the buildup of sexual tension; heavy petting, even leading to orgasm, is fine. The stories can include most of our other sexual elements, such as bdsm, anal, kink, toys—after marriage, anything goes!

It could be the heroine, hero, or both who have a personal belief in no sex before marriage. The character's personal belief may be based on various factors, might include because it is a part of their religion with which they agree. But these are not religious stories; the character motivations or actions don't focus on religion. The decision to wait for sex is a personal choice of the characters and should in no way imply a judgment that other people are wrong or "bad" for making different choices.

The characters do not have to be virgins, although it is fine if one or both are. But it also works if there were prior marriages, previous sexual experience, even previous sexual promiscuity. That could, in fact, play into the woman's or man's decision now to wait on the sex until after a legal commitment.

[via Romance Divas]

See also:
Accepting Submission for Two New Lines at Ellora's Cave!

Spring Cleaning

You may notice that I am freshening things up a bit. The blog was using pure html and I am moving it to Blogger Layout, which should make things a bit easier to update.

The good news is that if there is anything you would like to see on this blog, now is a good time to let me know and I might change it.

The bad news is that I accidentally deleted the links to blogs by authors of erotica and/or romance. So if you would like you link added back, please drop me a name and url as a comment. Thanks.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


BDSM Books, erotic domination (mainly Maledom) ebooks with an apparent specialty in ponygirls. If you are not comfortable with these themes I suggest staying away from this site which includes photographic cover art and explicit excerpts.

"We take a licence to exploit your work on your behalf and deduct our fees - this works out as exactly the same as paying you royalties, but suits our accounting system better."


"How many books do we sell? About 3000 a month."

That is very transparent, but not very impressive IMHO.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

These and other questions....

If the press release says "Stories from the Golden Age by author L. Ron Hubbard, including genres such as science fiction, adventure, mystery, fantasy, western, and romance", why does the website not actually list even a single romance title? Is somebody keyword spamming?

Why is violence okay, female nudity merely distasteful but the sight of a penis so damn shocking? Example: Yes To Dismember, No To His Member (Which is also just a good blog for anyone who has worked in a customer service capacity).

What, pray tell is a "Native American Enthusiast"? And am I, by extrapolation, a pan-national homosexual enthusiast? (Not, of course, that there's anything wrong with that...)

Would you take promotional advice from an outfit called "MEOW/SQUISH"?Specifically would you take the advice: "We have one philosophy. GIVE YOUR BOOKS AWAY FREE! With the ever-increasing rise in book piracy on the internet, e-books are not a viable means to generate revenue. Instead, I hold to the philosophy that e-books are best used as a method of book advertisement." Apparently the best defense against pirates is a quick surrender. (BTW do not Google "meow squish", take my word on this.)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

What Not to Do

1) If your laptop is starting to behave a little strangely do not delay, buy a new one.
2) If you decide, instead, to back up crucial files on the malfunctioning computer do not buy a Verbatim portable hard drive.
3) If you do buy a Verbatim portable hard drive to do not compress the files when you archive them.
4) If you do compress the files do not use the pre-installed 'plug and play' Nero backup software.
5) If you do compress the files using the pre-installed 'plug and play' Nero backup software and find you cannot restore the files do not call Verbatim technical support, which is neither technical nor supportive--and is an out-of-state toll call.
6) If you do call Verbatim technical support do not expect them to help you with problems relating to the Nero software, which they consider a completely unaffiliated product that they just happen to pre-load on all of their devices, but that should in no way be interpreted as an endorsement or agreement to provide support. However they will helpfully tell you that Nero software does not work on Windows 7, the first 3 service packs of XP, when the wind blows from the east, during the Ides of March or on any day ending in a "y". At which point you should not, by any means, call the Nero technical support line which costs $1.29 a minute.
7) No, even I am not that stupid.
8) I Googled the problem and some guy on the Internet said slightly changing the file name can, for no real obvious reason, make the Nero restore process start working. And it did.

Final score:
Verbatim: 0
Nero: 0
Me: -6
Google: 10
Some guy on the Internet: 100

However, you might be pleased to know that I do seem to have recovered the EREC database.

Monday, March 15, 2010


For context, see here

Sunday, March 14, 2010

What is going on with Eternal?

It is clear that at least one author is not happy with Eternal Press, specifically their use of a "kill fee" that an author has to pay of withdrawing their manuscript after it has been accepted. Piers Anthony sounds a cautionary note possibly based on reports by the same author. The contract specifies an oddly specific kill fee of $152.80 -- and correspondence I have seen shows a willingness to insist on this fee even when they services it is mean to compensate the publisher for do not seem to have been provided.
There is evidence of more widespread discontent in discussion threads at Absolute Write and where complaints are made about a refusal to provide free author's copies and extremely low sales--sometimes bordering on non-existent. Also raised in these threads are several different reports that Eternal Press certainly responds quickly to submissions, but perhaps indiscriminately. (I would encourage Eternal authors to submit sales figure to EREC.)
This raises the potential that they are the epublishing equivalent of an author mill. Print based author mills are publishers that sell their books predominantly to their own authors. In epublishing the same term tend to refer to epublishers that acquire a lot of content and make their money by selling a relatively small number of copies of each title, but acquiring a large number of titles. To some extent, most epublishers do benefit from this phenomena, but when per-title sales sink to single or double figures that takes it rather too far.
Also Eternal blurs this line somewhat in a recent email reported saying, in part: "As you can see below on the chart You are really screwing yourself and all the staff out of royalties by buying Print copies of your books direct from Amazon. Sad to say but I have several authors who this quarter lost out on quite a bit of money by going this route, as did all the staff who is also paid a royalty based on EPs net income.Thus I humbly ask that you please purchase any print copies direct from us. I have lowered the minimum order to 5 books so that those with higher priced titles can afford to order from us. I only limit it because we simply do not have the time to place one by one orders and shipping costs for one book would end up leaving you with no profit at all. The more you order the less the cost of shipping. As you can see below the cost of shipping for an order of 10 books still leaves you with a nice profit per book."
Thus, deliberately or not, Eternal does seem--in my opinion--to be moving in the direction of being an author mill, if they are not already there.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Name that book?

Via ERW Forum:

"I have been looking for a particular book for ages. I saw it on a publishers website but didn't buy it then i forgot the website. I can't remember the title or author's name except I think it had 'star' or 'stars' in the title and the authors name was like Catherine or Caroline or something. The book was a sort of sci-fi romance that was part of a two book series, I think. It was about two space pilots who crash land on a planet ruled by women. One man, the hero of the first book, ends up in the possession/harem of a good and loving woman while the other male ends up in the harem of a cruel woman. I think the second book in the series is about the second man's life on this new planet. I really really would like to find this book again! Please help! THanks."

Any ideas?

The lady doth protest (too much?)

As I will be at a promotional event by Jodi Picoult tonight I decided to look up her website. I am not a reader of her books and am going long largely out of idle curiosity. I find the left bar of her website expressing an opinion I actually agree with, but are the capital letters really necessary?

"Wondering why House Rules isn’t available for kindle/e-books?
Due to a conflict in business practices with Amazon, my publisher - Simon and Schuster - recently made a policy decision to delay e-books by many bestselling authors for 6 months, including me. I AM 100% OPPOSED TO THIS POLICY. I think it punishes some of the best readers and fans, who want a book and want it fast. However, I cannot change the publisher’s policy, no matter how much I rant about it. This was a retroactive decision made to a book they already own by contract. PLEASE don’t blame me for this decision - believe me, if it was up to me, you’d have a Kindle version. It has nothing to do with me not wanting the book sold as an e-book, or me feeling that e-book readers aren’t important. I’m just as upset about this as you are."

Book Cover Design

[via Boing Boing]

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Is it time to add smoke to EC?

Our current "avoid" publishers are--
*ABCD webmasters a.k.a. Wicked Castle, Spanking Corner, Romantic Spankings etc
*Dark Castle Lords a.k.a. DCL Publications
*LA Media
*New Concepts Publishing
*Renaissance Ebooks

Our current "smoke" publishers are--
*Red Rose Publishing

I think it may be time to add Ellora's Cave to the "smoke" list whilst they also, ironically enough, remain on our top five list (based only on sales data) which is as follows--
*Ellora's Cave
*Loose Id
*Liquid Silver

If you have any suggestion about these list--be it to support, oppose or ammend--please let me know by comment or email (veinglory at

See also:
Is Elloras Cave Having Financial Problems? Again?

Saturday, March 06, 2010

The Naughty List

1) Ellora's Cave--it seems they didn't bother to show up in court for the case of Christina M Brashear versus Ellora's Cave Publishing Brashear--a choice that is likely to prove expensive.

2) LiveJournal--Elisa Rolle reports that--for a period of approximately a month--outgoing links from her Livejournal account to Amazon, using her associates referrer code, were redirected to credit a different account. One rather self-evident explanation would be that the referral fees were credited to LiveJournal. The issue has still not been resolved.

Oh, and on the 'not naughty enough' list, is Wikipedia for deleting their page on fetish artist "Carlo".

See also:
Ellora's Cave - what on earth?

Friday, March 05, 2010

RWA and HQ both suck, but on different necks

So this is the final decision of Romance Writers of America when it comes to the Harlequin/Authorhouse vanity imprint Dell Arte:

"Qualifying Markets ... have attested that [they] will not refer RWA members to subsidy/vanity or author-financed publishing programs." (Emphasis added)

So rather than taking an ethical position the negotiations seem to have gone roughly like this....

HQ: Hi RWA, sorry you are annoyed, but we really need to screw naive authors out of money to pad out bottom line.

RWA: We can't have you screwing over the authors, we nee them to send us their money--not you.

HQ: How about this. We promise not to screw over authors that have sent you money, but any others are fair game.

RWA: That's peachy.

See also:
RWA Sells Out Writers
via AbWrite

Friday Link Roundup

--JA Konrath Kindle Sales: 30k Ebooks In 11 Months
--Can epublishing save a trouble industry? (Japan)
--Don't resist e-books, Carr warns (Australia)
--Con: eBooks? (a.k.a. the sky is falling!)

--Pink is the natural color of love (Pinoy/Filipino MM book)
--All grist to the Mills & Boon (Australia)
--Cleavage and codpieces: A naughty book report

--Is homophobia associated with homosexual arousal?
--Secret Sexual Fantasies

--Getting a fiction book published
--Erotica review Blogs
--Filing of the serial numbers

Monday, March 01, 2010

TWRP Learns How to Say No

Somehow I missed that The Wild Rose Press lists homosexuality (and bondage) along with other nastiness (you know how I love that).  Author Rick R. Reed and a few others however, did notice.

The guidelines did say
No depraved or illegal acts
No bestiality
No degradation of women (rape)
No sadism or masochism
No bondage (Except within appropriate lines-see specific guidelines below.)
No pedophilia (no sex involving underage characters)
Although we do accept stories containing explicit sex, it must occur between consenting adults.
*No homosexuality (our romances celebrate heterosexual monogamous relationships)
*There are numerous publishers that specialize in this specific type of relationship; we feel we aren't qualified at this time to review submissions of this nature. This is not in any way meant to imply that we have any issues with a person's sexual preference.

Um, yeah. No implications there.

However it seems that between Rick's post on February 27th and today this was changed to:
-We publish stories between a man and a woman - (we do not, at this time, take submissions with homosexual romance).
-Hero and Heroine should not be already married to one another except in certain circumstances such as marriage of convenience.
-Heroine and Hero can not be married to other people when they begin their relationship (no adultry).
-Must include the hero and heroine's pov. No third pov's except in very specific circumstances (ie: villian's in Crimson Rose, etc.) We will review a manuscript written only in first person but its not our preference.
-Although we do accept stories containing explicit sex in most of our lines, it must occur between consenting adults.

Which does indeed make the same point in a non-derogatory manner. Thank you.