Thursday, September 30, 2010

RT: new name/same deal

As part of the general acronymisation that is pervading romance, it seems Romantic Times is now officially called just "RT".  This ambiguised name reflects the fact that RT Book Review has, for some time now, covered not only romance but most other genres such as urban fantasy, mystery, young adult and even erotica.  I listened to a podcast where this was explained as allowing them to still review books in other genres written by 'their' romance authors.  Gay fiction in general and gay romance or erotica in particular remains very thin on the ground. Does anyone know what their policy on that is these days?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Rebel ePublishers (all genre)

"Rebel e Publishers is an independent publishing company incorporated in South Africa on the fourth of July 2008 ... The founding members, Caroline Addenbrooke, Joan De La Haye and Jayne Southern, identified what they believed was an opportunity in the publishing world."
Nice to see actual names
"We don't accept any pornography, works promoting hatred of any kind, violence or profanity not pertinent to the story line. In other words if we find it offensive we will not accept it. We're also not looking for fan fiction or erotica."

I love it when submission guidelines basically state: 'Don't send us stuff we will hate.  Good luck working out what that is.'  I mean to do they really mean don't send any fiction containing any violence.  Or just no violence not 'pertinent to the plot'.  Who would write a story with violence unrelated to the plot anyway? Like some guy just leaps through the window, punches a minor character in the face and runs away, all for no reason?

"If you don't know anyone who can help you with the editing, have a look at our About Us page. You are more than welcome to contact one of our editors or have a look further down this page at our Advice section."

Does this mean editing is at the author's expense?

"The Author is hereby mandated to secure copyright to the Work in the same name of the Author,"

"Secure" copyright?  Why? By what method and in what country?

Authors are paid 50% of net.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Oregan Laws Unconstitutional

Oregon legislation was recently enacted that criminalised displaying on the internet “sexually explicit material” or a “visual representation or explicit verbal description or narrative account of sexual conduct” that might be seen by children. The Federal court struck down this law as it "criminalizes fiction no more tawdry than a romance novel."

Is that what they call: praising with faint damn?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

True Vows and Reality Romance

I really don't know what I think about this.  The core of most romance fiction is fantasy.  So does it really make sense to have a series of romance novels based on true stories.  Because that is the concept behind "True Vows" a romance line from the publishers of the "Chicken Soup for..." books.

What little I have seen of the couples the stories are based on (example here)... well, I don't like them all that much. The feel more like glib, privileged self-promoters than the chance subjects of heart warming life-experiences. Also the contrast between the book covers and real people is jarring.

So I am left thinking, what is real here, what is not? Life... romanticised, or Frey-style exaggerated? "When fantasy meets reality anything can happen.  Believe it.  It’s true" the copy says,  But it's a novel, so part of it... um, are made up.  I just can't get that to make sense or feel appealing. Do I have to turn in my Gen-X card?  I care what is true and what is not, and I want to know which is which. Sorry.

When I tried to learn more about the couples on the publisher website I got the dreaded 404 error. Personally I think this line is made of WTF and will crash and burn, but perhaps I am just not much of a romantic.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mojocastle Revamp

Mojocastle's press release concedes that this press has suffered "numerous setbacks due to various issues", and announces their new look website.

Personally I kind of liked their previous, more gender-neutral, web design with the dark purple background.  The new design is very... pink. However it is certainly a new look and might help signal new and better things in their future. 

The currently featured book covers, however... Um.  Snapshot complete with on-camera flash? Whatever this is?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bookish Halloween Costumes

For a child
  • The Good: Hedwig from Harry Potter. A little white owl costume. Seriously, how cute is that?
  • The Bad: Dorothy.  Sure it's cute but isn't it kind of like saying you want you child to get sucked up by a tornado?
  • The Cat-Like: Cat in the Hat classic.

  • The Good: .Cheshire Cat, I like how this teen girl costume isn't basically just a bikini with wings attached.
  • The Bad: It looks like the cheekiest rip off costume is an Edward-from-Twilight wig.  But if it doesn't make the model look like Edward, I don't see how it would help anyone else.
  • The Bemusing: Sexy Hester.  Yep.  Sexy pilgrim.  Because the Scarlet letter taught us about those pilgrims and their crazy sexiness.  This costume is made of WTF because it doesn't include, um, the scarlet letter in the Scarlet Letter costume.

  • The Good: No one has an Edgar Allen Poe costume? Seriously? All you would need is a white shirt, black suit, eye kohl, a wild wig and a fake raven. So, okay, how about Gandalf?

  • The Bad: For a grown up man, never never never Peter Pan.  but for a woman? Maybe.

  • and the Slutty: Sexy librarian. No that isn't a book character per se, but close enough.
So, does anyone have halloween costume plans?  Please share!


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Etopia Press

Etopia press is gather manusripts for their opening next year.  Despite a genre-wide range they seem to be aquiring a lot of titles, mainly paranormal, romance and associated genres.  However, as of right now, their website seems to be down.

See also:

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Links--Barnes & Noble Edition

B&N is coming up to their annual meeting on the 28th of September where B&N's nominees for their board will be challenged by millionaire Ron Burkle who owns almost 19% of the company's shares and apparently has his eyes on a take-over.  The CEO has taken this opportunity to make plans for the US's biggest bookseller clear (with a big emphasis on ebooks) and he seems to have successfully rallied support for his slate--although nothing can be taken for granted until the vote.
  • Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) Downgraded by Merrill Lynch: ...from a “neutral” rating to an “underperform” rating
  • Barnes & Noble Predicts Big Books for Fall: Romance will see growth in the paranormal arena with major titles from Christine Feehan with Dark Peril and Sherilyn Kenyon with No Mercy. Debbie Macomber will have a special holiday title, Call Me Mrs. Miracle ... For Teens, paranormal romance and fantasy and adventure continue to dominate the trends...
  • Book Battleground: Embroiled in a proxy fight with dissident shareholders, Barnes & Noble's chief executive, William J. Lynch, Jr., today issued a letter to investors making his case for the company's long-term strategy
  • Second firm backs Barnes & Noble against Burkle: Egan-Jones Proxy Services has recommended that Barnes & Noble Inc shareholders support the bookseller in its proxy battle
  • CEO Aims for E-Market: Establish B&N as a Top Retailer of Content in the Exploding Digital Market -- Barnes & Noble was the first company to launch an eReading device, the "Rocketbook" in early 2000... we've gone from zero share to capturing over 20% of the digital trade book market -- a higher share than the 18% we possess of the physical book market
  • ‘NOOKstudy’ Software May Not Compute For Some: Barnes and Noble-based university bookstores began offering NOOKstudy textbooks on its real-life as well as digital bookshelves 

Market? Ebooks for Pleasure/Ebooks LLC


All genres.

First line of text on the website: "eBooks for Pleasure is dedicated to selling new eBooks to as international a public as possible."

They don't seem to edit; they do provide cover art.

"....we will pay you a gross 50% royalty on each purchase"

I'm not really sure what that means.

I think overall this is more like a vendor than a publisher, but I doubt they are a vendor with many customers.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Dating, By the Book

It looks like someone got the idea of mashing up a dating site like eHarmony with a readers' site like Goodreads to produce a dating site where they match people based on their reading preferences.  Namely: Alikewise.  This is kind of like the idea from the eighties of adding a clock to a pen to make a pen that's really hard to write with and a clock you can never find when you need it. Genius.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bulletin: Rainbow Ebooks

AllRomanceEbooks started the trend of genre specific ebookstores.  The next step seems to have been taken by LGBT ebookstore Rainbow Ebooks.  But it would be nice if they had a "about" section saying exactly what genres they do carry.

EREC interview with Lori Perkins, Editorial Director of

Ravenous Romance launched with the stated ambitions of being a game changing epublisher. Do you think this has really been born out? My best estimate suggests that sales for Ravenous books are roughly average for an erotic romance epublisher. Dalyn Miller predicted 'aggressive sales in the multiple thousands of copies per title' and the discussed time range was 'within two years'. Is this being born out for the statistically average RR single author novella+ title? Because the average figure across other typical publishers would be more like 800 copies in this time period.

Yes, we believe Ravenous Romance has been a game changer, but not in all of the ways we anticipated. One of the most exciting things we feel we’ve done is create alternative distribution methods for our books. We’re the only romance publisher (print included) to have ever been on Home Shopping Network, which in essence was an advertisement for the romance industry. And, yes, we sold thousands of copies of those books in minutes.

We are the only epublisher that I know of that has a monthly imprint with a print publisher. Red Wheel Weiser is publishing two Ravenous Romance trade paperback titles every month, which, of course, will be available in bookstores worldwide. One of those titles is an M/M erotic romance, so we’ve broken that barrier for the industry as well.

We’re also the only epublisher I know of that has launched 150 books as standalone iPhone apps.

As far as individual ebook title sales are concerned, our sales are on a par with other epublishers’, but are growing quickly. And like all publishers, we’ve had real clunkers that have sold fewer than 100 copies, and we’ve had some best-sellers that have sold between 3000 and 7000 copies.

I also believe we were one of the first epublishers to offer an advance for EVERY book we publish.

We are in this business for the long haul, and we are working very hard to build our authors’ careers in every way we can, including creating new ways to market and distribute their books.

What has happened to the book-a-day feature (and 'this week's books' section)? I assume this was initially intended to be a new book each day (and only books released in the last week)?

When we started the company, we thought we could do a new book a day, but we found that goal was a bit ambitious for a young company. At the present time, we are publishing approximately 10 new titles per month, but we expect to double that next year. Eventually, we will be publishing a new book every day. We highlight a book a day to drive backlist sales, and it works.

It seems there have been a lot of problems with the website and in some cases the email notices over recent months? What was the cause of this and has it be resolved now?

Our site was hacked, and it has been restored. We have put additional safeguards in place to prevent future outages, and hired a new web development team. You can expect some exciting new changes to the website in the coming months, but that’s all I can say for now.

Is it the case that the earnings from one book may be held until the advance on a previous book have earned out? What general range of advances are being paid--is is still generally one dollar per standard manuscript page?

Like all publishing contracts, including print, multiple book deals are basketed. Certainly, terms can be negotiated, which is why even epub authors should read their contracts carefully, and perhaps get agents. Our standard advances are $200 for a novel and $10 for a short story.

Have there been any delays in reporting or paying royalties to any authors? And if so what caused this to occur and has it now been resolved? Does this relate the responsibilities on the author and/or editors in relation to requesting and passing on information?

Some of the editors of anthologies took longer than they should have to send out royalty statements to the individual authors, but that has been straightened out. Payments have never been late. We have had a couple of authors who don’t understand their contracts who have complained, but their complaints are not legitimate.

Is any consideration being given to reducing te $100 payment threshold or using a different model to pay for lower earning work such as a short story in an anthology?

Print publishers all have a $50 or $100 minimum royalty payment requirement, we are no different. Once the anthology has earned out its advance, the ebook must then earn an excess of $100 to pay out royalties. This is clearly stated in our contract. We may consider changing this in the future, but for now it stands.

Could you please share some of your success stories in selling subsidiary rights? Roughly how may deals of this sort have been made?

I am so pleased with the sale to St. Martin’s Press of the zombie romance anthology, HUNGRY FOR YOUR LOVE. It will release in a few days, and there will be readings throughout the country. There’s a full-page ad in this month’s Marvel comics for the anthology.

We’ve also sold six reprints to Alyson publishing, the oldest gay print publisher in the country.

All this is in addition to the Home Shopping Network deal and the imprint at Red Wheel Weiser.

In 2008 I asked: 'Are agents other than Lori Perkin's submitting their client's work to Ravenous Romance?' Dalyn Miller answered this in the affirmative but without specifics. Would it be possible to know which agents have done this?

Our very first novel, EXPOSING NICOLE, was sold to us by the Harvey Klinger Agency. Other agents continue to send us their clients’ work.

As you know, I believe every writer should have an agent, especially as the epub industry evolves.

How would you respond to suggestions on other blogs that Ravenous Romance material that is labeled as "romance" may not meet the genre requirements, or the suggestions that some title may not be written to the highest standards?

All our books have a happy ending, or a happy-for-now ending, and the love story is at the center of each book. I think that qualifies as “romance,” doesn’t it?

As far as quality and standards go, some would say the fact that we were able to publish a protégée of John Updike (with a quote from him), speaks volumes about the quality of our writing. We have a number of NY Times best-selling and award-winning authors writing for us. Most of our books get 4 and 5 star reviews from the romance and erotic romance review sites, so obviously we’re doing something right. We were nominated for a LAMBDA and an RT Award in our first year of publishing. All our books also come with a money-back guarantee, so if someone doesn’t like it, they can get their money back. Taste is subjective. To each her own.

What you haven’t asked us is what IS working; so let me share that with you. Our readers LOVE M/M romance, followed by paranormal and kinky. So, here’s a call for M/M, paranormal kink. Get writing.

We also do at least 12 anthologies in-house a year—they’re a great place to break in. We’ve developed many of our novelists from their short stories. We list the call for stories on our blog,

We’ve also just paired up with to do a breakthrough sex toys anthology where the authors will be paid in the sex toys they write about, and their stories will be featured in our ebook and on that website. We’re trying to give our authors creative and fun outlets for their talent.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Publisher Warning Blogs

Are we entering a new era of blog devoted specifically to gather up the warnings related to a specific publisher?  There is Eternal Press Warning.  There was also a but whoever started it seems to have changed their mind.

Interesting because the Better Business Bureau has Damnation/Eternal listed as a "vanity press" this allows authors to make complaints as a "consumer".  Something this is not normally possible with publishers.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

MARKET: Who Dares Wins Publishing

Who Dares Wins Publishing

Multiple genres including romance.

"Who Dares Wins Publishing was created to give authors a platform to publish their backlist through NY Times Best-Seller Bob Mayer’s already established brand with Who Dares Wins: The Green Beret Way to Conquer Fear and Succeed and his extensive backlist."

"Who Dares Wins Publishing wants to create a team of authors who work together to promote their own books and each other’s books."

So this seems to be a higher profile version of ye ol' author co-op idea.  The web site is a bit of a ye ol' mess with stray code from pasting text out of MSWord and some peculiar formatting.

Apparently this epublsiher was co-created by Bob Mayer and Jennifer Holbrook-Talty, but her name sure doesn't appear very often on the site....


Monday, September 06, 2010

MARKET: Hellfire (erotica)

We already have a "Damnation" so I support it is natural that there is also a Hellfire Publishing (Website, Facebook). They plan to launch on December 31st, 2010--it looks to me like their focus is on horror.

"We are seeking the very best writer's of Horror, Sci-fi, Fantasy and Erotica. New authors are welcome and encouraged!" ... "Romance elements are acceptable as long as they are not the front burner story." ... "Same sex erotica is welcome."

My advice on their website would be 1) fix it, 2) nix the hit counter, that is so last century, and three, get off freewebs.

"Hellfire publishing does print on Demand for most titles over 60,000 words, anthologies, and series novels."

Hellfire publishing practises Random capitalisation.

"•Eugene Binkley— President ... •Dawn Binkley— Editor"

Nice to see names. But I do wonder what role is filled by "Keira Kroft who started Hellfire's Facebook event page?

"Our contract is for three years. It requires full rights (digital and print) and is negotiable. We pay royalties of 40% of the cover price and 35% of the cover price on single-author E-books sold through third-party vendors."

Pretty good terms.

Silence of the Moths

I was wandering around Borders when I saw this and did a bit of a double take.

Okay, let's take a closer look. This is some kind of love story with an unsuitable guy.  But doesn't the cover look rather familiar?

Or is that just me? No, I don't think that's just me.

Year Plus data

Year Plus data relates to ebooks that have been on sale for one year or longer. The current trend seem to be Ellora's Cave holding pretty stable, Samhain sales are still heading upwards.  Loose Id also keeps drifting upward.

That means that, based on current EREC data the top selling erotic romance epublisher is Samhain, followed by Ellora's Cave, Liquid Silver, Loose Id and Cobblestone.

I am pretty short on data for any press that does not appear on this graph.  Please link of me next time you are updating your sales records.

Saturday, September 04, 2010


  • Craigslist has dropped their adult (i.e. freelance prostitution) section under strong presure from the attorneys general of 17 US states.  [link]
  • The German Communist Party distributed free novelties to students to celebrate the new school year--accidentally including pens that project naught images. [link]
  • Salon loves their stereotypes: "I couldn't peer in that tiny window onto someone's interior world, or delight in the juxtaposition that a book choice sometimes presents -- when you notice a stuffy, 90-something grandma buried in a trashy romance novel" contains both 'romance iscrap' and 'old people don't have love and/or sex interests.  Oy. [link]
  • Wallmart gets in trouble for doing what chain books store have been doing for years, racial shelving (separate but equal argument continues). [link]

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Red Rose Publishing

  • [Sept 1] Author Kat Holmes reports, amongst other things: "I sent her an official notice via certified mail that I wanted the rights to all my work returned to me. I also discovered and included in the letter that she had released book 2 in my series called Heart Of The Queen without a contract."
  • [Sept 2] Dear Author reports that Red Rose Publishing owner wendi sent of an emial that read in part: "Right now I am so upset I am requesting that NO ONE get in touch with me unless it is an emergency or you are dying, because I am a little pissed off to put it mildly and until my colorful language and being pissed off passes, let me have a few to myself, that is if NO ONE MINDS, otherwise too bad so sad as I am taking it!" (responses at Monica Jackson, Writer Beware, Courtney Milan)
  • [Sept 7] Red Rose's Better Business Bureau rating is F based on their failure to respond at all to a complaint.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Erotica Epublisher: Freaky Fountain

Freaky Fountain (Catherine Leary, Robin Wolfe)

"We want the darkest, edgiest, most outrageous stuff you can come up with. Hardcore BDSM? Love it. Strange and unusual paraphilias? Bring it. Weird fetishes? Hell yes! Water sports, scat, necrophilia, rape fantasy, tentacle sex—it’s all welcome here."

"We want you to be a fan. Of erotica, that is. We take erotica very seriously. So should you."


"Royalties for anthologies are 25% of net, shared equally among all authors in the anthology and the cover artist ... Royalties for novels are 15% of net."

Which, in my opinion, is about half of what it should be, and that would be based on gross/cover.