Friday, July 31, 2015

Gemstone Romance backer Graeme Reynolds believes in the author blacklist

The idea that authors can get blacklisted for sharing their thoughts online is generally treated as a myth.  But it does serve a useful purpose in that you sometimes find small presses, usually start ups, who do believe in it.  And these are publishers to avoid.

Case in point, Gemstone Romance

A poster by the name of Anne noted that "Horrified Press" was not looking particularly promising as "newish startup without publishing/editing experience".  And that they seemed to be associated with another startup, Gemstone Romance.

Graeme Reynolds replied with more information about Horrified press and "Gemstone Romance is a separate entity, which I am funding and am applying the Horrific Tales business model to, but is being run by Charlotte Courtney. I am simply providing financial, technical and business support to the venture. It will use a different editorial team..."

He then added: "Also, a word of advice to Anne, who wrote this post. Probably not the best move to make when trying to get business from a publisher. Consider yourself off the shortlist for Gemstone Romance. Best of luck in whatever you do next."

Which both seriously undermines his claim of total editorial independence between Horrified and Gemstone, and is some grade-A unprofessional passive aggressive bullshit. Time will tell if he decides to try and backfill that hole or just keeps digging.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

...Of The Moon

The  Wild Webby West that is Amazon Kindle has brought us bigfoot erotica, dinosaur erotica, and even Clippy (the Microsoft Office animated assistant) erotica. 

But I still found myself just mildly scandalized by the trilogy-closing effort by Catherine De Vore.  Can anyone beat this (so to speak) for a seriously out there kindlerotica cover?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New Market (sort of): Canelo

UK-based epublisher Canelo is looking for stories with "mass appeal" in several genres including romance. The founding partners are Iain Millar, Michael Bhaskar and Nick Barreto. They claim a royalty rate of 50-60 percent which I assume to mean percent of cover price. (Submissions via agent).

Comments on articles about Canelo seem to be about 1/2 skepticism about that royalty rate being sustainable, and about half other epublishers saying they have been offering rates that good for years and it is totally no big deal. (See here and here).

Canelo talk big about being the future of publishing, the next generation of digital publishing, blah blah blah.  It is a little hard to see what they are doing that is so distinctive so far other than being British men with nice hair.

NPR top 100 romance novels

Have I been living under a rock?

The NPR top 100 list for romance includes three erotic romance titles, two of them from Ellora's Cave, and none of them familiar to me. They seem to be neither old classics nor recent red-hot sellers.

Nature of Desire -- Natural Law by Joey W. Hill (Ellora's Cave, 2008)
Liberating Lacey by Anne Calhoun (Ellora's Cave, 2015)
The Lady's Tutor by Robin Schone (Kensington, 2000)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Sugar and Spice Press: Closed (?)

I am told that Sugar and Spice Press (2010-2011) is closed and has been for some time, although their website and Facebook page are still up (but extremely out of date). Confirmation would be appreciated.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The John Havel Thing

World of Kindle eBooks
[July 20] John Havel tries to prove some really rather nebulous point by plagiarizing a romance novel and uploading it to kindle, and then posts about it on Hustle in a crass and insulting way. He concludes that because he managed to rip off Anna Cleary, Kindle is bad an you shouldn't buy self-published books.

Reactions to John Havel’s article in The Hustle[July 22]
Various people, including the author of the book, indicate this was a dumbass move.  Because, well, it was.  Seriously what was the point here?

Dear John, pull your head in.  Kindle is sometimes a bit lax in their screening but you actually committed a crime. Grow the fuck up and take down the post where you joke and boast about it whilst also being casually racist and very condescending to the romance genre.

Dear Hustle, what next?  Perhaps a laddish tale of stealing cars because security systems suck?  A little light sharking, just for fun?  Or maybe hire some bloggers who know that ignorance of the law is, as has always been the case, not an excuse. Although this may be one case of plagiarism where I actually believe the guy really is that stupid.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Old is the New New

I will admit to being a bit baffled by the latest campaign to promote traditional newspapers.  "Smart is the New Sexy". Mostly because this is not the 1980s and this particular campaign is about 35-years shy of being hipster ironic.

When I saw it my thoughts, in order, were:

1) Sexy is the new sexy.  Sexy was the old sexy.  Sexy will always be sexy unless you somehow think there is anything wrong with just plain sexy, meaning it needs to be replaced with something else.

2) I like newspapers.  I read newspapers.  I read the New York Times in an airport just yesterday.  But this is nothing that makes words in the average newspaper smarter than words in a magazine or on a website.  In fact on the previous flight I picked up two competing Chicago papers and at least three of the front page stories were word-for-word, picture-for-picture identical.  Freelancers may be smart, but newspapers are starting to look pretty damn idiotic.

3) Lets pair our product with a girl in stiletto heels so it becomes insta-sexy.  Um. Yeah.  Is that the nest advertising companies can come up with these days? Then there is the ad copy. Holy fricking jalapeno Christ.  Try this: "When you want to find out what they're talking about in Washington, D.C., or find the best deal on that pair of shoes you've been longing for, your newspaper has you covered."  This translates as: we desperately want readers in the female 25-45 demographic and we think they like shoes.

5) Then there is the main blurb: "The "Smart is the new sexy" industry promotion ads reinforce the value of newspaper media to existing and prospective consumers. The ads speak to the timeless merits of newspaper journalism, newspapers as vehicles for savvy shoppers, and the community insights and information that newspapers provide. Collectively, they reinforce the enduring draw of our medium among print audiences while engaging those consumers who come to newspapers through their many digital formats. All advertising materials are still available to newspapers that wish to run them in print or online. Interested newspapers may download print and digital files for each ad using the image buttons on the right rail."   This translates as: You think the Newspaper Association of America is naff, and you're probably right.