Saturday, July 23, 2016

A Tour of the Newbies

As usual there are new romance publishers opening all the time.  Here is a thumbnail guide to my impressions about some of 2016's new arrivals.

City Owl Press: "City Owl Press is a cutting edge indie publishing company, bringing the world of romance and speculative fiction to discerning readers."  A well-presented start up, but with a less than clear attitude to erotic content. Probably a matter of" wait and see.

Fifth Ink Publishing"Though Fifth Ink Publishing is an indie publishing company dedicated to our authors and their success as well as bringing our readers quality and entertaining reads in print and digital formats worldwide." Their use of publishing terminology is a tad dodgy. Five imprints and four books so far, three of which are poetry.  Offer "self-publishing services".  Pass.

Ink Monster: "We’re Publishers of New Adult Romance Books in the genres of Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Paranormal and Urban Fantasy."  Looks more like a self-publishing team than a publisher seeking submissions. Which is a bit of a pity as they are the most promising one of the bunch.

Paper Lion Press: "I want edgy stuff. I want stuff that pushes boundaries, that calls privilege into question, that makes my skin crawl a bit when I read it." Not seeking fiction as such, but a quirky list of non-fiction that includes erotic memoirs and queer romance. Nothing in particular to recommend them yet, but they are carving out an interesting sort of niche.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Torquere Talk

Those of us not living under rocks have noticed how Torquere Press's reputation took a sharp nose-dive late last year.  The press's golden goose, Sean Michael, received a late and rather bouncy check-. Last month this lead to current owner Kristi Boulware-Talbot having a very bad daySean Michael and Jodi Payne have cut ties with Torquere and others are likely to follow.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

It's not everyday I find myself siding with the RWA

But in the case of "Rosy Press Vs Romance Writers Of America" I do. Not so much on the matter of their dismissive tone in relation to romance comics, but on the matter of substance. Specifically RWA does not admit publishers that recoup all of their costs before paying any royalties. And Rosy Press defines net as "the total amount of money generated from sales of the Magazine and Book minus any fees or costs directly associated with formatting, editing, printing, distributing, and storing the publication, including Talent’s page rate and any attorney’s fees Publisher may incur."

This is not especially unusual in comics.  But it is still wrong.  There is no innate connection between how common a practice is and whether it is predatory to authors. Academic journals in some fields charge authors a page rate to publish. Market behemoth Harlequin has always paid a well-obfuscated and very  low royalty rate. It is not at all unusual for literary journals to charge reading fees. But all of these practices unfairly exploit authors as a source of financial gain.

Call me a zealot if you like, but for me--when it comes to commercial publishing--Yog's Law is absolute.  Author and publisher embark on a journey hand-in-hand, each risking the time and effort they have put on the line, and each sharing--according to some equitable ratio--any profits that are made.  When the publisher takes all profit until they are made whole this is indeed "predatory publishing"--and instead of asking RWA to accept it, the world of comicbook publishing should damn well stop accepting it too.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The End of ERP Sales Data

Hi all, 

It's been a while since I received much in the way of sales data reports.  I have decided to stop collecting sales data and shut down the sales report pages.  Any previously collected, anonymized, data in my files will be deleted.

I will now concentrate on fixing up, developing, and improving the list of erotic romance publishers (which is currently a bit of a mess) Any suggestions, corrections or additional information for this page can be submitted any time to veinglory at -- subject heading ERP.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

It's the Same Samhain

I realize this is not going to be my most popular post, but I have a slightly different perspective on Samhain's recent trouble.  Specifically, the problem is not that Samhain publishing has changed, but that the world has changed around it.

Samhain in it's heyday, and now, is pretty much synonymous with Chrissy Brashear. Chrissy Brashear, like many entrepreneurs is a idiosyncratic and rather pugnatious person.  She has a particular dogmatic style and a general tendency to give zero fucks about other people's opinions.

This style worked well for people when she was playing David to Ellora's Cave as Goliath.  Her quirks were charming when the money was rolling in. And if it led to some ambiguity of expression, and some delayed reports and messed up payments, ain't nobody complaining so long as they are getting paid in the end. And we sure were getting paid.

But no entrepreneur is on top forever.  The winds of change have blown through the crowded halls of Erotic Romancelandia.  In this new climate, the ambiguity of Samhain's official communications is a little harder to deal with: is Samhain's closing or not (apparently: not, but a lot of authors got messed up during the hokey pokey).  Is Chrissy Brashear's unwillingness to admit she ever said they were closing quirky or crazy? Is her humorous tone in official communications suitable when discussing the serious matter author's incomes and futures?

Maybe, maybe not.  But for Samhain authors, this is the horse we rode in on.  She may have trotted us right into the quicksand, she may or may not be able to trot us back out.  And I certainly don't blame anyone who decides to grab a passing branch and try to climb to more solid ground. It's a publisher, not a cult, and any author would probably be well advised to get out while the getting's good.

But in this case, as with any other publisher, what we saw is what we got.  The Brashear brand was working through the good times, but now--not so much. And this is where it got us.  Maybe not all that terribly rosy right now, but our bank accounts much better off for having taken the ride.

The authors annoyed by recent developments at Samhain are 100% justified, but also should not, perhaps, (if they were paying attention to Samhain's management style right from the beginning) be 100% surprised.

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Ongoing Story of Eternal Damnation

I have previously commented on the checkered history of Eternal Press and Damnation Books. Eternal opened in 2007, Damnation opened in 2009, and was acquired Eternal in 2010. Venerable fantasy magazine "Realms of Fantasy" joined the group in 2010 and went under in 2011.

In 2015 the entire kit and caboodle was acquired by Alan Leddon, who was also in charge of Spero Press. In the same year all three were positioned, along with four other imprints, under the umbrella of Caliburn Press. In 2016 Leddon posted a GoFundMe page to open a "Spiritual Bookstore" and raised $30 of his $25,000 goal. In the description Leddon represents himself as essentially living in poverty. This does not seem to prevent him from snapping up struggling publishing companies like hot cakes.

Complaints about the various heads of this publishing hydra have built up over the years, including accounts of unapproved editing, crazy kills fees, and non-payment of employees and authors. While their website solicits refugees from Samhain's trouble, some of their own authors and staff can be seen fleeing out the back door. Author Nannette Laree Hernandez sued Leddon and for diverted and unpaid royalties and falsified statements. The action was dismissed without prejudice earlier this year.

TL;DR  -- not with a bargepole

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Azure Reading Books

Not an ER publisher, but still providing your comedy moment of the day.  Vanity publisher (fee-charging, amount not specified on webpage) Azure Reading Books finds an author has released a Kindle version of their book, possibly in breach of contract. 

So, being a serious publishing endeavor its clear what they should do, right?  Contact the author, clear up and misunderstandings, and possibly go their separate ways if it can't be worked out.  Or possibly go on the Amazon Kindle forums and ask random strangers if you should throw a lawyer at them.