Sunday, January 31, 2016

Yes, We Shall Have a Facebook Page

I know I am very late to the party here, but our Erotic Romance Publishers Facebook page has arrived.  I am coming up with ideas for things to do on the new page. 

One thing definitely on the cards is new release announcements for any books published in the previous 30 days. Please add them as a visitor post ad I shall aggregate them onto the new page weekly 

Other than that... I am open to suggestions.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Big Sky Press = Big Copyright Issue

As pointed out by aliceshortcake on Absolutewrite, Big Sky Press seems to have a very weak grasp of the idea of copyright.  Compare for example this (rather cheesy) shot of Jude Law with this book cover:

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Will Amazon start publically flagging poor quality ebooks?

There has been a lot of debate about this post which suggests Amazon is going to publically flag ebooks with technical errors and maybe even delist them starting on February 3rd.

Here is an email multiple authors report receiving from Amazon:

"Our shared goal is to provide the best digital reading experience for customers on Kindle. When customers contact us with quality issues in a book you published, we validate the issues and send them immediately to you to fix.
Starting February 3, 2016 we will begin showing customers a warning message on the Kindle store detail pages of books that contain several validated quality issues. We will remove this message for a book as soon as we receive the fixed file from you and verify the corrections -- typically within 2 business days.
We understand that even with the best quality controls, defects sometimes make it through. That's why we've limited this messaging to books with several issues. Books with more serious quality issues will continue to be suppressed from sale."
 As I read this, the process continues to be activated only by customer complaints.  So the only new step is that books under-going this process will be marked with a public warning about potential quality problems.  Annoying, but IMHO not a huge deal.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

WTF South Carolina?

Okay, now I am pretty open about being a socialist pro-gun control pro-right-to-choose bleeding heart nouveau hippy.  But I live in America and I understand the deep traditions of personal freedom and the role of the private citizen as a check against tyranny. I am cool with the fact that people have different points of view about this stuff.  That said....

In South Carolina you do not have to register guns (a.k.a. yay, second ammendment!), but if this bill passes you will have to register if you want to practice any kind of journalism (a.k.a. fuck the first ammendment!).  This is  bonkers. Not to mention, unconsititutional.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Bizarro Kindlerotica + Real Person Slash = Protest Porn

I have posted before about how the bizarro edge of erotica, especially evident on Kindle, has expanded the genre well-beyond topics that the author or reader would seriously consider sexy.

If you combine this freedom from what would previous have been considering the central tenant of erotica, will the practice of writing erotica (including gay erotica) about real people.... you end up with protest porn.

Colin Meloy: musicisentropy via / CC BY-SA
And in yet a further development while "real person slash" is often about musicians (especially boy bands) this example is actually written by one.

Specifically the Decemberist lead singer Colin Meloy is writing erotic unfan-fiction about the militia members occupying an Oregon wildlife center.  An idea that has now taken off under #bundyeroticfanfic

Thursday, January 07, 2016

If a new, talented erotic romance author asked you which epublisher to write for, what would you say?

I am not a very active writer, and so I have limited direct knowledge.  But based on everything I see online and the emails I receive, it is hard to be enthusiastic about any e-publishers right now.  Even those that were steady earners over may years seem to be going through rocky times and providing dwindling returns for the author's effort.

The erotic romance industry is maturing and the demands of the readership are changing.  Back in the day (insert sound of nostalgic violin music here) the M/M readership (for examples) was growing rapidly and the authors supplying it could still be counted without running short of fingers and toes. It still felt a little like the fanfic frontier where readers where just happy to get something in the flavor they craved. But over time this readership has become more fragmented and more demanding.

Now erotic romance and adjacent subgenres cater to easily hundreds of discernable types and tropes of writing. The readership is very large, but also very well supplied by professional grade authors, many of them maintaining an impressive level of  productivity.  I went from being the new girl at the EPPIES watching (with some surprise) as grey-haired pros limped up to accept the awards inn he new erotica categories, to being someone who is increasing a semi-historical player in the industry --  watching to see where it will go next--knowing that I will probably not go there with it. (Released from my previous financial imperatives I am thinking of moving more into pure high fantasy ad just seeing how it goes--or maybe popular nonfiction).

I wonder how many erotic romance e-publishers are essentially in the same boat.  To start a small press any time over the last 20 years you had to be a strong-minded person with a clear vision.  But maybe that sometimes comes with a resistance to change? Some people were considerably less surprised about the closing of Amber Quill than I.  They mentioned a tendency to keep publishing the same stuff, a bullish attitude to requested changes in their contract, and a general "my road or the high road" outlook. Kudos to AQ for see the writing on the wall and wrapping things up in a relatively tidy way, but maybe their drift from relevance offers clues as to what the e-publishers of the future will need to accomplish to survive and thrive.

I am not now, and have never been, a publishing professional.  But from the authors side I see a future where publishers will have to actively locate underserved niches, recruit authors, and move their editorial interests constantly to keep profit in focus.  And this does not mean just acquiring what editors think is hot (Steampunk FFS, it cool and everything but it will never be super-profitable) but some kind of empirical, analytical method for reading the evolving market.

I also see that there will always be super-hot authors who will bring in the lion's share of the profits.  And as much as I, like most authors, resent back-alley favoritism, these authors will need to be given special consideration.  After all, they have other options: going to another publisher or self-publishing for example.  And the answer is not to lock them in with non-compete clauses and long term contracts, it is to sweeten the deal as an acknowledgement of the extra value they bring to a publisher and to the rest of the author stable under the same brand.

There is no particular publisher I would actively recommend right now, although there is always a long list I would actively discourage any new author from submitting to.  When I finish my next erotic romance novella, I honestly have no idea where I will submit it, but I suspect it will be somewhere I have never submitted before--maybe even my first book self-published title that is not a reprint. My old strategies are not paying off the way they used to, and that means it is time to try new things.  Even the old soldiers like Loose Id and Samhain look stagnant and shaky, respectively, and merit more of a wait-and-see attitude these days.  They need to try new things too, and trying new things always brings with it  risk of failure. But the earlier it is done the more resources they will have to plow through into pastures greener. Of the two Samhain shows more evidence of being willing to try new things, take risks, and make unpopular choices--but they also seem to be retrenching, so who knows.

 If you still have an "I HEART Publisher" to share, please do. Be it a long-timer you still submit to and see steady returns, or a new kid on the block who is off to a roaring start.  The erotic romance market, print and digital, is strong--and I am confident that as it develops and matures there will be recipes for success.  But what remains to be seen is who, in the coming years, is going to discover them.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Author Scams Reviewers Pretending to be from Penguin Random House

An author going by the name Christine Catlin a.k.a. Corinne Rosanna Catlin has and publishing under the name Silvestri Books has plumbed new depths in dishonesty.  Essentially she solicited reviews by presenting herself as an employee of Penguin Random House.  She then provided review copies of her own book as well as Penguin ARCs apparently bought secondhand to support her ruse that her book "Spectaccolo" was slated for publication by Penguin Random House.

Authors, especially indie authors, sometimes think outside the box to try and get some attention to their work. This can lead to innovated marketing ideas but also pretty dishonest stuff like fake awards and planting your book on bookstore shelves without permission.  No matter what you might think about that kind of "disonesty lite", outright scamming individual private citizens who review books crosses oh so many lines.

Since being detected in her scam Catlin has pulled her head in (taking down her website and Facebook page), and is probably about to be visited by Penguin Random House Lawyers wearing their stompy books. Seriously, even overlooking the rampant dishonesty of such a scheme this was never going to work out in the long term because: the internet.  Which is also why it is never going to be forgotten.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

Amber Quill Closing

Amber Quill has reportedly informed their authors that the press will be closing. They have long been a solid publisher of high quality genre and erotic romance fiction. This does make me wonder how many professional-level e-publishers will be left after a few more years, as the market becomes ever more crowded and correspondingly less profitable.