Saturday, July 30, 2011

Re: Vanilla Heart (publisher)

Ryan Callaway reports [in part]:

"Onto the major issue, the contract I signed which I still have to this day, stated that I would be paid and given royalty statements quarterly. And that was it. No other conditions or clauses. My novel was published back in June of 2008 and I have yet to receive a single royalty statement or payment."

Wednesday, July 27, 2011



I recently discovered a site called "Klout" which claims to be a 'new standard in influence' (or something like that). After sulking for a while because my Kloutscore sucked, I began poking around.

So basically Klout is a platform to try and leverage Facebook, Linked In and Twitter into a sort of influence selling marketplace (or a marketplace selling things to people with influence... or a little of both). Sort of a meta-social network with extra monetization clearly in the wings.

But I am less worried about what Klout is doing, than what I can do with it. I think it is kind of useful in that it reminds me not just to have social networking pages, but to use them. It is amazing how sticking a number on something motivates me to want to have a higher number, no matter how murky or arbitrary the underlying algorithm might be....

Monday, July 25, 2011

I Has a Sad


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Dorchester's Email to their Authors


Dear Author, Agent or Publishing Colleague:
It’s been a crazy but productive year for Dorchester Publishing, like it has been for the entire publishing industry. After the cessation of our mass market paperback program last August, there were a number of other major changes to occur, including the naming of new CEO Robert Anthony, the appointment of a new accounting staff (Loretta Folk, controller, and Brian Chinn, royalties accountant) and serious strides into both trade paperback and electronic publishing. In case you haven’t been watching with baited breath, we would like to take a moment to bring you up to date on factors or developments that may directly affect you, your titles, and earnings both past and future.
Our top priority remains bringing royalty payments up to date. The lifeblood of any publisher is its authors, so our focus is first on those writers still active in our publishing programs—though we are confident that slowly but surely we will make good on all debts caused by our former administrative difficulties. We are again sending out accurate statements as a matter of course. As stability returns, Dorchester can refocus on its original purpose: discovering and growing new talent in all forms of genre fiction.
Our dynamic Trade publishing program began in January through the distribution arm of Ingram Publisher Services. The program contains titles culled both from our back list and original content, and it will take advantage of advanced technology to provide much more accurately targeted distributions. Early 2011 boasted several successful new releases, including Leanna Renee Hieber’s Perilous Prophecy of Guard and Goddess, the third book in her critically acclaimed Strangely Beautiful series, and The Bonaparte Secret, the newest Lang Reilly thriller by Gregg Loomis. Readers were wowed by movie tie-in editions for The Woman, a spine-tingler by Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee that took bookstores and Sundance by storm, and House of the Rising Sun by upstart Chuck Hustmyre is set to win him readers for life. Yet to come is The Unforgiven, the first of New York Times Bestselling Author Joy Nash’s Watchers series, and offerings from Gord Rollo, John Everson, and L. J. McDonald. Sorceress, Interrupted, the continuation of A. J. Menden’s super hero series (Elite Hands of Justice) was highly anticipated, and S. Craig Zahler’s brilliant new Western, A Congregation of Jackals, has already been tapped for several national awards. Working with Ingram, we have produced around 50 books in trade format, and another 60-70 should be available by year’s end. The program is only growing.
At the same time as we increase our trade presence, we continue to work on making our authors’ backlists available to their entire readership, including those readers caught up in this year’s fantastic electronic publishing boom. Renee Yewdaev, Dorchester’s head of production, is converting backlist to e-book format in a systematic fashion that assures both speed and quality, and which allows titles to retain recognizable branding established in their original print format. After redeploying several persons in-house to focus on this conversion push, we anticipate having several hundred additional titles in e-book format by the end of the year.
After the changeover from LibreDigital to a partnership with Ingram’s Lightning Source books, our electronic distribution channels have smoothed out. We continue to aggressively market through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Baker & Taylor, Indigo (Canada), Borders, Sony, and a number of other well recognized e-book vendors, and we are pleased to announce that we have just signed direct agreements with Apple and Google to further expand the number of platforms and consumers our product can reach.
Our website,, has been redesigned and now sells both trade and e-book titles.
Dorchester is confident in our new programs, and we recognize that the publishing landscape is changing. For that reason, a project was embarked upon to update royalties to new industry standards. An amendment was created for all interested authors with existing contracts. In addition to firming up some other, the amendment will:
a) Raise any lower rate on trade royalties to 7 1/2% of cover price
b) Raise the royalties on e-books to 25-35% of net sales
c) Increase the frequency of royalty reports and payments to every 6 months.
Any author who has not received an amendment should contact either their literary agent and/or Samantha Hazell at Specific questions can be directed to Dorchester’s editorial director, Christopher Keeslar, or to Tim DeYoung, VP, Sales & Marketing.
2011 has seen a number of ups and downs, but the future seems brighter every day. This will be a decade where authors are more powerful than ever before, especially those authors who have the resources and connections to take advantage of the industry’s new opportunities. We look forward to partnering with those authors. And while rebuilding is a slow process, we plan to shine in genre fiction for many years to come. We eagerly anticipate your thoughts and feedback."

[via e-reads]

Friday, July 22, 2011

Harlequin Begins Dumping Backlist onto the Ebook Market

According to a NetGalley announcement:

"On July 15, Harlequin released over 2,500 titles as ebooks for the first time."

This will include 1990s titles from Presents, Silhouette Desire, Intrigue, Temptation and Love and Laughter.

This all-at-once backlist dumping approach seems only slightly more sophisticated than the approach taken by the estate of  Catherine Cookson, about the same as the approach taken by Barbara Cartland's son, and nowhere near as adept as Random House's reinvention of Loveswept.

It seems that the further away the powers-that-be are (chronologically and/or genetically) from the worker bee that actually created novels, the more likely they are to dump them on the market cheap like the literary equivalent of the European butter mountain 

IMHO it is the difference between respecting the digital marketplace and moving sublimely and instantaneously from ignoring it to exploiting it  with rampant disregard to the real wants/needs of the readership or, indeed, the writership.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

When something sounds too good to be true....

This afternoon an author caused quite a stir by reporting that she got an agent (Jodi Reamer) and sold her manuscript to a major press (Harper Teen) within a matter of hours, less than a day.

The story was repeated many places including the AbsoluteWrite forums, GoodReads (where it received a skeptical reception) and as a comment to Nathan Bransford's blog.

However the blog post reporting this wonderful news has now vanished and a retraction has been posted. The only thing not clear is who was trying to fool who here.

If someone did send her a hoax email as a joke they deserve a very horrible fate.

[July 22 update]: Publishers Lunch reports that: 'Writers House has learned that a series of fake emails claiming to be from WH agent Jodi Reamer have been circulating to self-published authors this week. "These emails, which contain a number of false statements, have not in fact come from Jodi Reamer and should thus be disregarded." One easy "tell": they advise that any e-mail from a non-Writers House address "expressing interest in representation is counterfeit."'

See also:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Harly Trying

Harlequin is going from paying 6% of cover to 15% of (undefined) net. They say this is better, but it looks a little like six of one or half a dozen of the other to me. And with the big H digitizing the whole back list, is volume going to make up for the low royalty, or is the market well and truly saturated?

See also:
@Lee Goldberg

Spice, past its sell buy date?

It seems Harlequin is discontinuing Spice (?) at least for novel length works.  IMHO the problem with Spice is quality (patchy at best), emphasis (rather... odd, IMHO) and heat levels (often surprisingly luke warm or based on a skeezy premise) than the idea of the line.

Despite a promising initial concept I don't know that they ever "pushed the envelope beyond the run-of-the-mill erotic." They seemed to focus on rather weird historicals, and fantasy-but-not-paranormals, as well as anthologies with odd cartoony covers. I am not sure if the were trying to find a niche outside the norm for erotic romance and distinct from Blaze, or just didn't really grasp what modern erotic romance is....

I suppose Spice was notable for publishing an M/M story, albeit in an anthology, under the Harlequin imprint--at least.

Counterpoint Fanfic Contest--My 2c

I don't know about you, but I think an epublisher running a contest for fanfiction based one of their books is a little... ballsy.  And I don't think I mean that in a good way. Especially when there are the following stipulations:

"No purchase is necessary to enter the contest." -- You have to buy the book you are doing the fanic for, right? Or are they making that free? I went to look at how much "Counterpoint" by Rachel Haimowitz cost... and couldn't find it.  I navigated to "available titles" and clicked on the author's name and found only a short story with a different title listed. Color me confused.

"No more than three submissions by any single person...Stories must be at least 2,000 words to be considered for prizes ... No original characters." This strikes me as... optimistic.  Just how many spontaneously written fan stories are they seriously expecting to receive, such that a quick drabble or mash up is considered 'not good enough' for the chance to win a $20 book voucher? Oh, and to enter you have to register for their forum too.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Wisdom from Flying Pen Press

Via Twitter, David Rodansky Of Flying Pen Press advises authors (and I am quoting exactly): "Whne rating your books, yes, give it 5/5*s, but expalin your reason you think it's so good. Readers like honest analysis."

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

If I was going to start an M/F-only Christian publisher....

...I would not name it Dancing with Bear Publishing FFS.

Defining erotic romance

Personally I don't see erotic romance as being anything more than books that tick the necessary genre boxes for both romance and erotica [i.e. true love, hot sex, happy ending].  But, whatever. Different people have different definitions and it doesn't generally cause any problems.

I did run across a definition I really have an issue with [via Lucy V Morgan]: "Romance and erotica are different genres (sexual content aside, romance promises a relationship arc and a happy ending; erotica doesn't. They've blended a bit for erotic romance, which is romance with some rather loose morals)."

Because, yeah, having sex always means losing morals.  More sex, less morals: perfect negative correlation. Riiiiight. (Yes, I get this might be meant in a glib, sex-positive, loose-morals-is-good way.  But still.)

Really, EC. Really?!

"EC is thrilled to announce that the incomparable & highly prolific Laurann Dohner has signed a 75-book deal with us"

Seventy-five book deal = very confident or just a little bit desperate?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Do androids dream of Victoria's Secret?

As much as I love the idea of any sci fi romance market, I have trouble reconciling the statement:* "We do not publish adult oriented stories" with... most of the rest of the website.

Unless you think Nipple-tastic Space Babes would make a great early reader title?

*Note, this site has auto-playing sound.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Ellora's Cave blogs about What Guys Think Women Want to Read, whilst announcing a new line "Ellora's cave for men" (which must be, despite their protestations, be what women thing guys want to read?) (a.k.a. what women think women don't want to read?) (Remember when EC thought women didn't want to read about gay men?)

Saturday, July 09, 2011


Iain/Emma Blair

Recently romance author Emma Blair passed away at the age of 69. Until 1998 few people knew that Emma was in fact Iain, whose female pen name was entirely his publisher's decision. Iain Blair was also an actor, playwright and author of thrillers before embarking on his career in romance. "Emma" was the author of 29 romance novels, many of them best sellers.

Author known as Emma Blair dies at 69

Friday, July 08, 2011

Carina Sales?

So, the second royalty reports from Carina have, by now, hit the authors in-boxes. I have not received many official reports, but the grapevine indicates that they may not have lived up to expectations? I suspect they would still compare favorably to the average epublisher (maybe somewhere around where Samhain is at the top of the pack? Maybe not?) but some authors may still be dealing with the morning after the hype before....

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Ravenous Shadows

Ravenous Romance's parent company is opening a horror epublisher.

Dear Linen Press... Pull the Other One

Linen Press is trying to get cute about [NB: broken link] their decision to charge a $5 submission fee to authors. [Edited to add this blog post has now been deleted]

"...reading submissions is a hugely time-consuming process and takes up perhaps a quarter of my work time ... [blah blah blah] ...  "A charge of £5 seems fair enough."

BZZZZZT! Wrong. If you can't make enough money to pay for your time and efforts from selecting, developing and selling books, well... Publishing: you ain't doing it right.

You are the one that decided on the brilliant business strategy of running at a loss. Why the hell should authors be the ones to--quite literally--pay for it?

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

MARKET: Pink Phoenix

Pink Phoenix Publishing  recently opened its doors to submissions (genres: romance and erotica). Gay/lesbian apparently being a subset of the latter category only.

"Sharon Nelson decided to create Pink Phoenix Publishing after publishing her own book and discovering how much she enjoyed the publishing and promotion process."

Because, that's all there is to it.  Right?

I will assume that with a royalty rate of 50% (gross? net?) they are an epublisher.

This outfit seems to have formerly been Pink Phoenix Press (website, as of now, still up) but this earlier incarnation also involved Sue Owen.

The debut book is not credited to PPP on Amazon and might have some issues.  Two of the four reviewers note issues with poor editing. Publication of this book seems to be powered by Smashwords and Lulu.