Month: May 2011

Self-Publishing: Another Well Known Romance Author Going Rogue

I just read an interesting blog post where another fairly well known romance author is going to start self-publishing her own books. She walked away from a nice book deal, with a well known romance publisher, to do her own thing.

Of course I’m a little cynical when it comes to these blog posts. There are too many little things not mentioned in the post and I start thinking twice. On the surface it seems like an explanation as to why the author is going rogue. But I’m one of those who read between the lines all the time, and I have a funny feeling the post was more about promoting the new self-published book than it was about letting readers know the true reasons why the author decided to self-publish. I could be wrong. Maybe the author I’m talking about is branching out on her own because of the reasons she posted. But I’d be willing to bet there’s more to the story.

And even if there isn’t, I do have to admit I admire published authors who decide to self-publish. Especially authors with good book deals from large publishers who have already established a fan base…even if they are full of shit most of the time (smile). There have been times I’ve thought about doing it myself. But I have just as many reasons for not going the self-published route as some authors have for going the self-published route. One reason is quality of life. I love my publishers and depend on the collaboration. If I had to do it alone, I’d never stop working and I’m already working six and seven days a week writing. I need to know Holly at ravenous romance likes the title, or hates the title. I need to know Claudia at Loveyoudivine thinks something will work…or won’t work. I don’t do crit groups and I need the publisher’s input all the time.

There are so many things changing in publishing these days no one can predict the future and no one can say who is right and who is wrong. But it should be interesting to see how it all turns out in the end. I do know one thing for certain…and this is because I’ve been around long enough to see how things repeat themselves over and over again…not everyone will be Barry Eisler or Amanda Hocking. It doesn’t work that way, in life or in publishing, and I’d hate to see a lot of good authors leave viable publishers with dreams of becoming Barry Eisler or Amanda Hocking.

When Buying E-books, Triple Check All Product Information…

I saw a comment last night on a social network where a reader was disappointed because she’d purchased an e-book and thought it was longer than it actually was. The first six pages were empty, then came more filler pages, and then finally eleven more pages of information about other books in the series. In other words, by the time she got to the actual book she realized the book itself was only seventy-five percent of the entire digital product she bought.

Even though I post all product details here on the blog for each book of mine, some readers have left nasty amazon reviews for my books because they bought an e-book that was actually a short story thinking they were getting a full length novel.

I’ve even purchased e-books myself and I’ve been disappointed in the product details…the details either weren’t good enough or I was led to believe I was getting something else.

And you can’t tell anymore just by looking at the prices. I have full length digital novels out that are priced at .99, and I have short stories priced at 2.00. I have no control over book pricing. The publisher does this and I have no say in the matter. No author who is published with any publisher has a say in how his or her books are priced. That’s just a fact of life.

I’ve learned that in order to avoid any disappointment when I’m buying an e-book is to triple check product details on other web sites where they sell e-books. Some are better than others…the bigger sites seem to be the worst. But I usually wind up with all the product information I need. It’s out there; you just have to look for it.

I know publishers don’t do this on purpose. One of the problems in e-publishing is that most publishers don’t have a clue about merchandising and retail. When I owned my two businesses, I learned the public needs as much information as possible…and never assume anything when dealing with the general public. But from what I’ve seen most publishers fall short in this department. They know how to put out some great books, but don’t know how to deal with the buying public. They also take a lot for granted, with regard to the way people shop online. I not a tech geek and never have been. I couldn’t care less about DRM or file sizes or KB. When I see “146 KB” I think WTF? And then I wonder who the geeks are who are putting this information out there.
I don’t want to know about technical crap either. I just want to know how many words to book contains, what it’s about, and how much it is. Period.

So the only alternative for readers is to check out all the options before making a purchase. I can’t actually say there’s one site that does every thing perfect. But each individual site seems to cover something another site missed.

I’m also going to be adding my own product details, in the form of a list, from now on when a book is released. The product details I think would be important if I were buying an e-book for pleasure. And if anyone has any questions about anything, I always encourage them to e-mail me. You can also e-mail the publisher, too. I doubt you’ll get any responses from large publishers, but small e-publishers will respond to almost everything.

Why I Won’t Do Ads On This Blog Right Now…

I’ve been approached by a few people about placing ads here on the blog. I’ve thought about it seriously. It’s not that I’m against ads on blogs. But I rarely ever pay attention to them. For that matter, I don’t pay attention to ads on facebook either. I find them intrusive and I automatically drift in the opposite direction of ads like this. And instead of leaving me with a subconscious desire to purchase the product being advertised, I wind up with a conscious desire to avoid places where there are too many ads. Most are extremely cheesy looking.

I’m also unsure about the money these ads generate. It looks like nickle and diming to me. I could be wrong. I haven’t done it. Maybe they do make money. But speaking as someone who has owned an operated two good businesses and bought and sold my fair share of high end real estate I don’t like wasting my time…or taking the risk of annoying my regular blog readers for nickles and dimes. Since I started the blog…not for profit at all…I’ve also started generating thousands of hits a week to my own surprise. And I take each and every blog reader as seriously as I take the readers who buy my books.

Being that I don’t often review books here on the blog, it wouldn’t be a conflict of interest if I started doing ads. I will comment on books I love once in a while, but my taste is so eclectic I rarely zoom in on any one particular genre. And, this will never be a review blog.

A lot of the ads I’ve been approached about have been geared toward the adult entertainment industry. I have no problem with this. I write a lot of erotica and I don’t judge anyone. But this blog is, and always has been, pg rated. And even that’s stretching it…it’s more like g-rated as far as blog posts go. If I were to have ads here promoting something in the adult entertainment industry I’d have to do that Google Content Warning Page. And they annoy the hell out of me.

So I don’t see myself agreeing to doing any ads here on this blog, at least for the time being. I may change my mind in the future. But right now things are going to stay the same. And if anyone does want to comment about their experiences when it comes to ads on blogs, I’d love to hear all thoughts. I don’t have any experience with these ads and I’m basing my decision not to have ads on pure instinct, with regard to what I like or don’t like when I’m reading other blogs.

Unpublished Excerpt: The Virgin Billionaire and the Evil Twin

Earlier this week, I pubbed and excerpt from The Virgin Billionaire and the Evil Twin from an excerpt that’s already been released. And now here’s one that hasn’t been released anywhere else but here.

Chapter Five

When the phone rang, Luis thought it was Jase calling from Alaska. He was just getting out of the bathtub and there were still suds on his body from the bubble bath he’d used. He rarely took bubble baths because he never had enough time to indulge himself. But with Jase and Hunter in Alaska visiting Jase’s family, Luis had decided to pamper himself a little that night. He’d been hoping a nice hot bath would calm his nerves a little, too. His stomach had been turning since his twin brother, Eddie, who now referred to himself as Gage Weston, stormed out of the house earlier that afternoon, leaving them with unfinished business once again.

Luis reached for the phone he’d placed on the marble vanity in the bathroom in case Jase called and said hello. He grabbed a thick white towel with his other hand and started patting a mound of bubbles between his smooth, wet legs. He was hoping it would be Jase and they could have phone sex. He felt sexy standing there naked with bubbles dripping down his body.

But it was a bad connection and Luis had to ask twice, “Who is this?”

“I said, it’s your brother, asshole.”

“Eddie,” Luis said. “Is that you? Where are you? We have a bad connection and I can hardly hear you.” He wiped a few bubbles on his ass and set the towel on the marble vanity. The minute he knew it was his twin brother, he’d stopped feeling sexy.

“I need to see you tonight,” Gage said. Though the connection was terrible, Luis picked up a hint of panic in his brother’s voice.

“I just stepped out of the bath tub,” Luis said. “I’m dripping in bubbles and I was just going to go to bed. Can’t this wait until tomorrow?” The last thing Luis wanted that night was another bad scene with his brother.

“It can’t wait,” Gage said. “I need you to come to my apartment. Be there by midnight.”

“Are you in some kind of trouble?” Luis asked.

“I don’t want to get into it on the phone,” Gage said. “Just be at my door by midnight.” Then Gage rattled off his Brooklyn address and said he’d be waiting for him inside the grocery store.

“I can’t come to Brooklyn at this hour,” Luis said. “I never go to neighborhoods like that at this hour.” He knew he was being vicious with that comment. If it had been anyone else calling, Luis wouldn’t have thought twice about going to Brooklyn. He had good friends in Brooklyn; he loved Brooklyn. But he wanted to hurt Gage’s feelings and he wasn’t even sure why. They’d been this way with each other all their lives, constantly competing, always trying to hurt each other. Now that Luis knew his twin brother couldn’t even begin to compete with him financially, Luis took advantage of the opportunity to make him feel like a failure.

“What’s the matter, Mrs. Virgin Billionaire?” Gage asked. “Are you too good to come to Brooklyn? Are you too important to socialize with peasants like me?”

"Indie" Author…or Self-Published Author?

Early this morning before I started working on a new series, I checked out a few bloggers I like to follow on a daily basis and found an interesting post. The title of the post suggested I was going to be reading about “Indie” authors. I’ve been published by small presses myself many times. I love “Indie” publishers and “Indie” authors and look forward to reading anything about them.

The blog post I’m talking about was a guest post on a publishing blog I frequent often. The regular author of the blog wrote a short introduction paragraph and I decided to skip it and move right into the guest blogger’s post to save time.

But I’d say about a quarter of the way into the guest post I stopped reading because things weren’t making sense. The author was talking about editing costs, cover artist costs, and a list of other expenses I didn’t expect to find in a blog post about “Indie” authors.

Then I started to wonder if I’d missed a few changes…whether or not it’s become common practice for “Indie” publishers to now charge authors fees. I’ve always been a little fanatical about this. The way publishing has always worked is that the publisher pays the author, with either an advance, a flat fee, or royalties. I’ve never paid a publisher a single cent to have any of my work published. I’ve never paid a literary agent a reading fee. For me, paying a publisher or paying a literary agent is an automatic red flag. And I stay far away from those types because I don’t think they are ethical.

I’ve been around for almost twenty years and I’ve seen a lot. I know for a fact there’s one small press out there that charges authors editing fees, and there have been literary agents charging reading fees since the beginning of time.

But as I continued to read this blog post something wasn’t right. The author of the post continued referring to herself as an “Indie” author, only it sounded more like she was talking about her experience as a self-published author.

So I went back and checked the blog owner’s introduction, which I should have done in the first place. And sure enough, the blog owner introduced the guest blogger as a self-published author, not an “Indie” author. And the post was about self-publishing, not small presses.

I’ve always been a staunch supporter of self-published authors. I admire them and I’ve supported a few right here on my blog. But as far as I’ve always known…and like I said I’ve been around for a long time…”Indie” publishers are considered small presses. And the distinction has always been crystal clear.

At first I thought maybe the guest blogger was so new she was using a term she shouldn’t have been using. But then I read the comment thread and found that I wasn’t the only one confused, especially with the title of the post. Others thought it was misleading, too. I found this on wiki. But the biggest surprise of all was that for every comment that said the guest blogger was misleading the readers, there was another comment defending the use of “Indie” when referring to a self-published author.

So I learned something knew today. Evidently, “Indie” is now being used to refer to self-published authors as well as small presses.

I’m not commenting with my opinion at all. I don’t think it makes a huge difference in the grand scheme for anyone. It might even catch on and become common practice. But I will say this. If I ever decide to self-publish anything (and I’ve thought about self-publishing very seriously in the past year), I’m going to proudly call myself a self-published author, not an “Indie” author. If I’m going to spend my hard earned money publishing my own book, I want full credit as a proud self-published author and I don’t want anyone thinking I was published by a small press. I also don’t want to mislead anyone either.