Month: February 2011

My Own Personal Thoughts On Self-Publishing

Though I’ve never self-published anything myself, I’ve been watching other authors do this for a while now. I’ve even read and posted about a few self-published books in the past two years, trying to help support and promote the authors because I loved the books. I meet these authors everywhere, from social networks to personal blogs, and if I like what I read in the cover copy, I’ll usually buy the books and check them out.

Ten years ago I would never have recommended self-publishing to anyone. It was expensive and you had to worry about everything from hiring an editor to distribution. But the world was different back then and digital publishing was something print publishers, editors, and literary agents laughed at. Actually, a friend of mine who is a literary agent told me three years ago that digital books were only a half a per cent of the market and they’d never be anything more than that. This was right about the time I started submitting little things to e-publishers. I had a feeling digital books and e-readers would become more popular and I’m glad I didn’t take his advice that time. He’s usually right about everything. But this time, along with most of the publishing industry (who are now scratching and clawing to get those digital rights), he was sooo wrong.

With the advent of digital books, self-publishing has become a viable option for authors who aren’t willing to submit to the requirements of publishers. And now I’m lumping all publishers together this time, including print and e-publishers. Because e-publishers are now reaching the point of saturation as far as author submissions go. I’m hearing more and more that excellent authors are being rejected by e-publishers simply because the e-publishers have too many submissions already and they can’t take on any new authors.

So, many of these authors are getting into self-publishing their work and they are seeing good results. In some cases, better results than with publishers. Where this will all lead I haven’t a clue. But I do know that if the opportunities for self-publishing had been around when I was first starting out twenty years ago I would have taken advantage of them just out of curiosity.

Nice Review For TOUCHDOWNS

I was adding friend requests to my account tonight and noticed this review for TOUCHDOWNS and I wanted to share. The review has been taken verbatim from goodreads and can be viewed there as well. And when I was searching for the link, I saw the same review on amazon too.

As a side note, I’d like to add that my story in this book is actually a lost chapter from THE VIRGIN BILLIONAIRE SERIES, about Cory Rhodes and what his life is like away from Luis, Jase, and Cider Mill Farm. I wrote it in a day, and enjoyed building upon Cory’s character.

I love anthologies – there is always something for everyone and it’s a great way to sample new authors without buying into a full-length novel. This anthology has the kind of variety that I enjoy – humor, emotion, varied settings, and lots of yummy sex.

Hall of Famer by Bradley Church is a sexy and ultimately sweet look back over a long love.

The Mascot and Captain by Garland is a hilariously hot scene between the title’s namesakes.

The Absence of Shame by Ryan Field combines his trademark erotic prose with a story of friendship turning into something more.

Giving him Fitz by Suleikah Snyder is an unexpected, laugh-out-loud caper between a pro player and his image consultant.

Reunion Game by Rebecca Leigh makes sure that his reunion is worth putting up with bad punch in the school gymnasium.

Halftime Entertainment by Kyell Gold is an erotic race against the clock for two players who take teamwork to a whole new level.

After Party by Ellis Carrington combines humor and hot sex in a tale of new beginnings after the game is over.My only complaint is that the novellas were too short – I didn’t want to leave these characters!

The Thing About Publishers, Lending E-books, and Libraries…

Is that the publishers aren’t paying attention to the voracious habits of people who read e-books. A craze that continues to grow almost daily. It seems they are still treating e-books like print books, and even worse, treating people who read e-books like people who read print books.

I’ve learned a lot from the comment threads on my blog posts about why people pirate e-books. In this particular post, people have opened up and shared more than I ever thought they would. I’ve always been a huge supporter of libraries and I often buy used books. I even bought my Kobo because I can borrow e-books at the library with it. And, I don’t just read library books and used books. I buy new books often.

HarperCollins did something interesting with a loan cap on e-books. You can read more about it here, where the details are explained far better than I ever could. Read the comments, too. This one is particularly interesting. “This will hurt the publishers but they don’t know it yet. They will lose sales by cutting us out. Readers don’t buy all the books they read, but they have always bought enough to pay the bills. We buy books, too. If nobody can share a book, nobody cares. That’s not piracy, that’s “social networking” before it got trademarked.”

All I can say is that as an author I’ve always supported the public library system. As a reader, I have my own print copy of THE HOTEL AT THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET circulating between two different friends as I write this post. And if publishers continue to make it harder and harder for libraries and readers, no one’s going to wind up happy…especially not the authors. And I can tell you right now I’ve had my own share of grievances with print publishers regarding back listed e-books I’ve been in. I’m just glad I signed non-exclusives with these publishers at the time, never thinking my work with them would wind up in digital print and I wouldn’t be receiving royalties. And now I’m not too thrilled about the restrictions they are putting on libraries.

A Different Brand of Therapy For Homophobia…

I pilfered this from a facebook status update and thought it was worth posting. Whether or not you think it will work is beside the point. It’s more about the vivid images it creates that fascinates me.

Revolutionary New Homophobia Immersion Therapy Involves Lowering Patient Into Tank Of Gays

BOSTON—During a widely publicized press conference at the Boston University School of Medicine Friday, researchers announced a breakthrough new technique that cures homophobia by immersing patients in a large glass tank overflowing with gays. “Rather than avoid one’s fear of homosexual men, we believe it’s crucial to face it head on,” behavioral psychologist Dr. Dolph Kleineman told reporters, explaining how homophobic subjects are hooked up to a harness and lowered into a room containing bare-chested men dancing suggestively to the latest club hits, kissing, and feeding one another strawberries. “So far the treatment has been successful, with early test subjects being able to go out into the real world and see a gay couple hold hands without making a bigoted remark.” When asked if there was a risk of subjects getting stuck in the tank of writhing men, Kleineman said the gays would be so oiled up that patients would have no trouble slipping in and out.

March 4 Release: JOLLY ROGER – A Different Kind of Pirate Story

Previous posts about pirates here have been about book pirates. This time I’m writing about old time pirates who sailed the high seas. Jolly Roger is a short story, with, I hope, a great deal of tongue in cheek humor. And while it’s not exactly a typical romance, there is a happy ending and there is hope for a future relationship between the two main characters.

Did I mention this is a short story e-book? If I didn’t, I’ll mention it again so no one gets confused and slams me on amazon because they thought they were getting a full length novel. It happens, and I always feel bad (not badly…you do that with your hands) for the ill-informed.

But I should warn all you historical types (you know who you are, AB). If you’re looking for a history lesson in an erotic romance, this isn’t the book for you. While I did check out certain historical facts, I’ve also embellished, because, let’s face it, too much history tends to induce yawning and this is supposed to be fun. If you’re not, however, a historical type and you’re looking for something with a racy plot and some kinky pirates, you might be in luck.

Here’s the info from the publisher’s web site:

The Untold Story of Jolly Roger, a Pirate Who Either Left Them Guessing or Begging for More…

From the origin of his name to the ways he spent his free time, Jolly Roger had always been able to fool them all, including the best historians. And though there were indeed rumors about Jolly’s favorite way to pass the time, only the strongest and the best men ever knew for sure whether or not those decadent rumors were true. Captain Hargrove was one of those men. On a warm night on an exotic island, Hargrove discovered what all the rumors were about, when Jolly Roger dropped his pants and pulled off his shirt. As Jolly’s handsome young crew members stood watching, Hargrove found something he’d needed for a very long time, something the women in his life had never been able to offer. Left with no defenses and no way to turn back, his only choice was to grab Jolly by the back of the head, yank him to the ground, and plunge into the most memorable night of his life, with his fists braced for battle, his chest heaving, and his pants around his ankles.

I’m Thinking About Doing This…

I just received an alumni e-mail (below) from the university where I received my BA in English, Fairleigh Dickinson – Florham/Madison campus, in Madison NJ. And I’m seriously thinking about doing it. Unlike high school, I loved college. I could have remained there forever if I didn’t have to go out an join the rest of the world.

If I decide on doing it, I’d prefer to do it in my home, where it’s more casual and we can talk. Oddly enough, though I’d talk about publishing and writing, I’d probably spend more time talking about the businesses I’ve owned and sold.

You have a wealth of experiences and advice to offer. Our students want to spend time with you.Dinners for 12 Strangers is a new tradition at FDU – one that connects students and alumni.

During select dates in April, alumni local to our New Jersey campuses will host students in their homes, at restaurants and diners for an evening of good food and conversation.Won’t you consider being one of our alumni hosts?

This is a wonderful and meaningful way to stay connected to the University and meet some great young people. Our students are eager to meet our alumni and we hope that you are eager to meet them.Click here to register as a dinner host and view video of University Trustee Donna DelPrete Marki, BS’82, who shares her impressions of the dinner she hosted last year.

Spend some time in the company of students. Share your life stories. Learn from one another. You’ll never forget it.

Richard P. ReissSenior Vice PresidentUniversity Advancement

Not A Cool Thing To Do On Facebook…

This is a short and sweet post. And, I am not directing this to anyone in particular. When I harp about facebook and other social networks it usually comes from a discussion I’ve had with at least three or more other authors about social networking. And though we don’t always agree on everything, we did all agree on this one particular facebook rule.

If someone you don’t know well clicks “unfriend” and dismisses you, and you happen to notice they are missing from your friend list, do not contact them and ask why. And when I say “don’t know well,” I’m talking about facebook friends you’ve never met in person, aren’t related to, and probably never will meet in person.

First, it’s just not a cool thing to send someone you don’t know personally a personal message asking about why they unfriended you. It’s confrontational and defeats the purpose of facebook. If someone unfriends you they obviously have their reasons and you have to respect them. I’ve had people unfriend me on facebook and unfollow me on twitter and I figured it was none of my business and I let it go. And I’m sure there are more I haven’t bothered to notice. (Who really has that kind of time?)

I’ve also unfriended people on my facebook page, mainly for one reason in particular: they got into politics. My own personal rule is facebook is a place for social networking, not political networking (if you don’t agree with me, feel free to unfriend me). I don’t always unfriend; sometimes I just hide them from my feed. Not all political posts on facebook are offensive. Some are smart, well thought out, and you can learn something from them…whether you agree with them or not. I don’t mind those posts. But the ranters and zealots, on either end of the spectrum, turn me off.

And if someone doesn’t like what you’re doing or posting, they have every right to delete you from their list of friends. Of course you have every right to contact them and ask why, especially if it’s your next door neighbor, best friend for twenty years, or your Aunt Sally. But it’s not a cool thing to do if you’ve never met the person. Seriously.

Book Reviews and Ratings…

I wish I could say I’m one of those writers who stalk the Internet reading my reviews and checking out my ratings. I’m not talking about reviews on review sites. I’m talking about reader reviews and ratings. I think if I wrote mainstream literary fiction I’d be more apt to check them out regularly. But because of the nature of my books, I never see a direct correlation between book sales and the amount of ratings and reviews the books receive. So I stopped checking ratings and reviews a long time ago. And this was way back when I was only writing for print publishers.

In other words, and I’m now speaking in broad terms, the overall sales figures of male/male erotic romance indicate people are buying erotic gay romances but only a small fraction are commenting or leaving reviews about them in a public forum. And, I’d like to add, the small fraction who do rate and review these erotic romances almost always use a fake name and identity. Nothing wrong with that. I wish I could do it sometimes. However, the concept is simply too Internet cliche for me and I’d rather not be part of the large Internet problem of “too much anonymity” everywhere. I wrote a post about this, here, when I was shopping for new granite countertops last September. It has nothing to do with books, but everything to do with anonymous online reviews.

I think there’s a reason for the lack of ratings and reviews. Most people prefer to use their real names when rating or reviewing a book anywhere. I know if you check the reviews I’ve written on amazon or goodreads you’ll see that I stand behind my own name and not a pen name. And those who prefer to use their real names would rather read erotic male/male romance in private. And with the advent of e-reading devices, racy book covers can be camouflaged completely.

So if you’re an author of male/male romance or erotic romance and you’re not seeing as many reviews and ratings for you books as you’d like to see, this might be the reason. I know authors who have sales to back them up, but the amount of ratings don’t match up to the sales. I could be wrong on this. There’s no way to prove or disprove it. But take a look at the number of ratings for a mid list mainstream literary novel and compare it to a best selling male/male erotic romance novel and most of the time there will be a huge difference.