.99 e-books

Last of Back Listed Books on Amazon; Noble Romance Closing Down

Last of Back Listed Books on Amazon; Noble Romance Closing Down

I just received e-mails about this last group of back listed books on Amazon. It’s taken all summer, since loveyoudivine.com closed up in June, to get them all re-released as .99 e-books. There were various issues in re-releasing books, as opposed to releasing originals, as an indie publisher. Verification had to be provided multiple times to prove I hold the rights because the books had already been listed for sale by the publisher. Covers had to be stripped of logos so there were no traces of the publisher. And even though the books were already edited and copy edited by a publisher, in some cases I had to go back and triple check everything just in case there were formatting issues.

I also wanted to change the covers of all the books completely, but decided against that because I didn’t want to confuse anyone who might have already read the books. People remember covers. It happened to me with a Fannie Flagg book once. I bought one of her novels without realizing that it was the same book but with an updated cover. No one mentioned that in the book description. But it’s Fannie Flagg, I love her work, and I kept the book anyway on my digital shelf.

Here is the last list, I think/hope, for now.

Doughy Joey Link

You Missed a Spot Big Guy Link

Whatever, Dude Link

Pumpkin Ravioli Boy Link

I also have in-depth descriptions and posts for all of these books, and more, here on the blog. So if you want to do a search, scroll to the top left corner and type in the title of the book. I try to tag well so I don’t get confused when I want to go back and link to something I’ve written.

As a side note, for authors who have ever wondered about what might happen if their small publisher shutters and closes, this is it. I could have shopped all these books to other publishers, but other publishers typically prefer original works. I honestly wouldn’t completely trust a publisher who was too eager to get too many back listed books. They would seem too desperate to me…unless those back listed books were from the likes of Stephen King. And, I also didn’t want to get stuck in the same situation in case other publishers closed up. So I decided to release the books on my own, where I know they will remain as long as I’m around. For those who think self-publishing is beneath them, you might want to reconsider next time you see a small e-publisher going out of business. It’s not something I ever thought would happen to me, at least not right now. But I think we’ll continue to see this happening now that more authors are self-pubbing and pricing lower, and also because there’s so much more competition. Business is business.

I’ve been told that Noble Romance is going out of business, recently. I have no connection to them, but I’ve been reading about them for a while and I wish their authors well and I hope they all find new homes for their books. If you check out this link you can read more about it. If you check out this link you can see that Noble Romance hasn’t even posted a closing notice on their web site, and the submission page is still up there for new authors who know nothing about them closing.

As a businessperson all my life, I think that’s very telling of how they ran their business. Loveyoudivine.com at least put up this notice as soon as possible so readers and authors knew what was happening. LYD put up with a lot of snark over the years from various reviewers who thought they were superior, however, LYD was run by good, decent businesspeople from the beginning and I have not one complaint to share about them. They also paid me monthly, always on time, and I’ll miss that monthly check in the mail.

But what is really scary to me is that everything I’ve read about Noble Romance says they are not going out of business because of lack of funds. They claim they are going out of business because they just want to get out of the publishing business. Really? Well, isn’t that nice for readers and authors. You get bored and close up shop. As a businessperson I also know that any profitable business can be sold, even e-presses. I’ve done it before with my own businesses. Instead of going out of business, I gave someone else the opportunity to buy and run my business so customers and employees didn’t have to suffer. I wanted to get out of the businesses (tanning salons), I didn’t have a lack of funds, but I also didn’t think it was fair to just shut my doors and walk away. But then I also had records from the day Tony and I started the business that it wasn’t a losing battle. We had profits that we could prove in writing, through credit card transactions and tax records. It took almost two years to find the right buyer. I cared about my business and my customers.

Once again, I wish all the Noble authors well in searching for new homes for their books. It’s not something I thought I would ever be doing, but I can’t say that it was completely negative either. Now my readers can buy these same books for .99 as opposed to the 2.99 – 4.99 the publisher was asking. And when it turns out good for the reader, that’s important.

Russia Defends Gay Hate Law; Free Excerpt Doughy Joey

Russia Defends Gay Hate Law

In the latest development from Russia with regard to the anti-gay law that has sparked outcries from many parts of the world, a letter was sent from Russia stating that there would be no discrimination, according to the rules of the Olympic Charter. However, a good deal is still unclear, and Russia stands by its anti-gay law.

The letter still leaves open the question of what would happen to Olympic athletes or fans if they made statements or gestures that could be considered propaganda.

Couldn’t a simple rainbow pin be considered propaganda?

The law has provoked harsh international criticism ahead of the Feb. 7-23 Winter Olympics in the Russian resort of Sochi. Some activists have called for a boycott of the games, though President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron have ruled that out.

As I’ve said before, if this were any other minority in the world I have a feeling we would be boycotting and most would be agreeing with the boycott. But because it’s LGBT oriented and the shame and stigma associated with being LGBT is still there, we don’t receive that kind of treatment or respect. Not even from our leaders who claim to support us.

You can read the piece in full, here.

Free Excerpt Doughy Joey

Most of the back listed books I’ve been re-releasing this summer have been fairly simple from an editorial POV. All were professionally edited at the time of the original release. But with Doughy Joey I’d never received an arc from the publisher and all I had was the original file in raw form. So I’ve been editing all day, and I figured I would put up an excerpt here for the weekend. It’s not available yet, but will be next week as a .99 e-book. I did have to self-censor a little for blogging reasons, however, the uncensored version will be be released in full.

Joel Roman did not eat carbohydrates. On the day of his thirty-fifth birthday he announced to all his friends he was starting one of those all protein diets so he could become ripped, as he’d read in the fitness magazines. This was five years earlier and he hadn’t touched a single starch or sugar since then (well, you couldn’t really count the occasional piece of chocolate).

So was it any wonder one of his oldest friends in town, Gerry, was shocked to see him enter the new soft pretzel shop on a Saturday afternoon in mid-January. “Soft Philly Pretzels”, said the shiny green and gold sign on the small, two lane highway, “We Bake’m Better”. Though this wasn’t actually in the city of Philadelphia; more like the far northern suburbs where city people took day trips to visit expensive candle shops and admire the leaves in autumn.

“I knew this would happen one day,” Gerry said. His cheeks bulged, vigorously chewing a soft pretzel on his way back to the car. “You’d finally go off that protein diet and eat ten pounds of mashed potatoes and four dozen soft pretzels in one sitting.” His round face still flared red from the cold wind and there were feathery wisps of salt and pepper hair sticking out beneath a navy knitted cap. His weighty body was zipped and snapped right up to the bottom of his double chin in a puffy red ski jacket with a faint white goose feather sticking out from the shoulder.

Joel smiled and slipped his hands into the side pockets of his smooth black leather (always a short jacket so other guys could check out his butt in tight jeans; it had never happened, but Joel liked to imagine a guy would one day walk up from behind and slither a firm hand down his pants). Though Gerry sounded as though he were joking around, he’d always been slightly jealous that Joel looked more like thirty than forty. “I’m here for the hot sausage,” Joel said. “Someone told me they have these hot sausages wrapped in pretzel dough that are fantastic. I figured it would be simple enough to pull the wrapping off and just eat the sausage.”

“Ah, well, I don’t think the dough of one small sausage wrap…”

Gerry was about to say he didn’t think a little soft pretzel wrapping would cause Joel to gain any weight because he was so trim and fit already, but he didn’t get a chance to finish because of a loud crash toward the back of the store. This was one of those completely open bakeries, where the ovens and freezers and wooden work stations are exposed. You couldn’t miss that the young guy who was working had just dropped a full tray of frozen pretzel dough onto the red tiled floor.

There was a lot of white noise; fans and ovens and freezer motors all running at the same time. “Are you okay?” Joel shouted to the guy.

“Oh, yeah,” he said, “I’ll be with you in a minute; I’m the owner…I can’t get fired.” He bent down, giving his gray sweat pants a jerk at each knee, to pick up the doughy mess as though this was a perfectly normal occurrence, but his bright red cheeks suggested chagrin. At a glance he couldn’t have been more than eighteen or nineteen years old.

“I’ve gotta run,” Gerry said. There was a small white piece of wet pretzel stuck to the bottom of his bulbous chin. “Now don’t you go crazy and eat too many pretzels. Haha.”

“I promise,” Joel said, as awkward Gerry guffawed and loped toward the exit door. It occurred to Joel that although they both were the same age, Gerry looked more like fifty than forty (too many soft pretzels, no doubt).

But the baking pretzels did smell so good on a brisk winter day: doughy and floury and fresh. The ones already arranged on the warming counter were covered with specks of white salt; next to them rows of small plastic containers filled with melted cheddar, soft butter, and several cream cheese mixtures were dwarfed by a quart sized yellow mustard dispenser filled to the rim (in Philadelphia yellow mustard was the topping of choice). All of a sudden Joel was starved. If he could have made a quick exit out the door he would have driven down the road to the Gourmet Just Food and bought a small salad instead. But the guy behind the counter had already seen him; he had to buy something.

You could tell this guy was new at running a business. He should have just left the mess and taken care of Joel. It would have served him a good lesson if Joel had actually walked out. But when he took a closer look, while the young guy swept loose flour into a dust bin, it occurred to Joel there was something quite attractive about this young man. He wasn’t tall, no more than five eight in running shoes. Though his body was thin, and you could see from the outline of the white t-shirt he wore he wasn’t a body builder, he had that natural, messy type of sex appeal. His dark brown hair was longish and wavy…parted in the middle; all one length and cropped bluntly at the middle of his neck. Dark shocks kept falling in front of his face when he bent over. When he spread his legs and squatted to pick up the aluminum tray the fabric of loose gray sweat pants stretched.

He rinsed his hands and then jogged back to the counter to wait on Joel. “Sorry you had to wait. What can I get you?”

His eyes appeared hazel: small and dreary without much light. And his features were thin with that turned down look of a turtle face. But there was something about the entire package that caused Joel’s heart to beat a little faster.

“Ah, I think I’ll try one of those hot sausage wraps, and maybe a dozen pretzels,” Joel said. Oh well, he couldn’t just order one tiny little sausage wrap like that. How would it have looked? The poor young thing didn’t have tons of people knocking down the front door for hot pretzels, after all.

“Coming right up,” said the pretzel guy. His voice flowed forth like the hum and buzz from an old transistor radio; deep and low, yet soft and pleasant, too. He wore no underwear. The outline of his junk kept protruding through the gray sweat pants.

While he awkwardly shoved a dozen salted pretzels into a brown paper bag his expression remained blank, as though he wasn’t quite sure whether or not he liked running this new business of his. The poor guy worked fast; his arms flailing bags and pretzels and napkins, as though there were fifty people standing behind Joel, when in fact no one had entered the shop the entire time Joel had been there. There was a thick glass warming shelf next to the cash register. When he reached inside for a hot sausage wrap, Joel noticed his thick, strong fingers. They were meaty and firm just like the hot sausage he placed into a foil wrapper.

About .99 E-book Pricing…

When I decided to price “Chase of a Lifetime” at .99, I didn’t do it without thinking hard about it first. I took a lot of things into consideration before I did it, from the value of e-books to what might happen if readers assume my books will always be .99. Frankly, this is one of those times when I would prefer to have a publisher make these decisions for me.

I felt the same way about “Jonah Sweet of Delancey Street,” when I first released that on Amazon. Was I devaluing my hard work, and was I devaluing e-books in general? I had to take into consideration that I paid a copyeditor and a cover artist, which I’d never had to do before with a publisher. But, on the other hand, I don’t have and agent and I’m not giving a percentage on the back end to anyone but Amazon.

I took the pragmatic approach, the same approach I’ve taken with other businesses I’ve owned in the past that did well. Right now e-books are still in the minority and a lot of people don’t know what they are all about. I do believe this will continue to change, and more people will be reading e-books until that’s the only kind of book that will be available. But right now that’s not the case. E-books are still something new and to price them the same way I would price a print book could be a complete turn off to readers. I’ve learned from my comment thread about book pirates that readers in Eastern Europe consider e-books nothing more than test books to check out, to see if they want the print book or not. There’s still a long way to go with e-books, and I know it and I never ignore it.

I also know how my readers buy e-books. They don’t just buy one e-book, spend a month reading it, and then go back a month later for another e-book. My readers buy anywhere from five to ten e-books a week, they read them all in one week, and then they go back and buy more the next week. And that adds up in cost. My own e-book budget last month was over two hundred dollars. I appreciated the deals I got with the books that weren’t over-priced. I also passed on a few that were over-priced. In fact, there’s on e-book, a BDSM anthology, I’ve been wanting for months and it’s still priced far more than I would ever pay for an e-book anthology.

Right now, as I write this post, I’m in the middle of making a decision about the sequel to “Chase of a Lifetime,” titled, “Chase of a Dream.” I still can’t go into details about it yet, but it involves pricing and how I’m going to go about releasing this title. I can say this: I will be releasing it as a .99 e-book for now. But as far as how I’m going to go about releasing it, due to the unusual nature of what I’m about to do with this book, is still up in the air. My main concern is to NOT confuse my readers. Whatever I do decide on doing will be centered on that one single objective.

I’m not the only one who has questioned how to price e-books, and whether or not .99 is too cheap for an e-book. In this post, over at “A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing,” Joe Konrath talks about it, too. So far, I have no complaints about the way I’ve priced my self-published books. And, for the record, I have no complaints about the way my publisher, Ravenousromance.com, has priced “An Officer and His Gentleman” at .99. For a short time, “Pretty Man” was .99 and it did well. So price IS important.

Will my .99 books remain at that price forever? I can’t say for now. I wish I could, but it’s not possible at this point. I’m still learning as I go, and to make a promise like that would be unfair to readers. I can say this, all the books I release under my own press, “Ryan Field Press,” will be consistent in price. In other words, I don’t want my books on Amazon to be priced differently from those in Smashwords or Allromanceebooks…or anywhere.

A Very Humble Venture: "Chase of a Lifetime," a M/M Western Romance


When Amazon launched the Kindle e-reader, it seems as if that was the day publishing changed forever. History was made that day and nothing has been the same since then. A lot of us were in digital publishing before that, but we weren’t being taken very seriously. I think I recall e-book sales were less than 1% of the overall market. I could go back and link to old publishing blog posts that laughed at e-publishers.

In l999, I went to a dinner party where one of the guests worked in the art department for Random House. I’ll never forget the conversation we had during cocktails. He started talking about these “devices” that were being developed, where people could store their entire libraries and manage as many books as they want. He also said the publishing industry knew about the technology in l999 and no one was doing anything about it.

I started submitting my fiction to e-publishers around 2005. I remembered the conversation I had with that art director and I saw a future in digital publishing. And though it’s still not clear where anything in publishing will go, I don’t see digital publishing disappearing. Especially not when you look at the way younger generations have embraced technology.

I’ve enjoyed working with all the e-publishers that have published my novels and short stories. A few I started with in 2005 (Tassels and Tales) aren’t around anymore. They had the right concept; just not the right business plan. But I hope to continue submitting my fiction to the same digital publishers I’ve been working with. My experiences have been positive and I’ve been thankful for the opportunities they’ve given me as an author.

But I’ve also been curious about self-publishing with Amazon for a long time. I’ve posted about it enough that I’m not even going to link to the posts right now. You can do a search if you’re interested. The main appeal for me, as an author who has always worked with publishers, is finding out what it’s like to have complete control over what I’m publishing. My background, aside from twenty years of publishing fiction, is in business. Other than a few jobs in publishing where I worked as an editor, I’ve never actually worked for anyone. I opened my small businesses because they allowed me the freedom to write part time. They were both successful and I loved every minute of running a business. I’m still in business to a certain extent because I’m a landlord. And trust me, that’s not easy.

As an author I’m also a business person. And my latest little venture is going to be publishing a full length, 60,000 word novel, on Amazon. The title is “Chase of a Lifetime,” and it’s m/m erotic romance. It’s also a very humble venture. I’m not expecting to be the next Joe Konrath and I’m not expecting to blow anyone out of the water, so to speak. I’ll be thankful for however many copies of this book I sell and I’ll be here to answer any questions readers have. One thing I learned after years of owning my own businesses was how to relate to the public…to consumers. In all those years of owning a gallery I only had one client return a statue. She thought it was bronze; it was resin. I gave her the money back and sold the statue to someone who really fell in love with it a few weeks later.

I don’t want this post to wind up too long. And I will continue to post about the self-publishing process, for me, and what I’ve been doing. As I said, the main reason why I’m doing this is to get the control I’ve wanted all my life. Publishers are all different. Some let authors have a lot of freedom, and then others control every single aspect, from concept right down to the title and cover of the book. That collaboration is nice sometimes, but I’ve also learned that publishers who like to control the most aren’t always right and it’s the author who suffers in the end. The genre also suffers to a certain extent. I love the m/m romance genre and I’ve loved watching it grow and evolve. I even love the controversy that m/m romance sparks sometimes. It’s the kind of passion I never thought I’d see in my lifetime. Sereiously! People are arguing over a book with gay male characters? I never started writing lgbt because it was a trend. It’s because I’m gay and it’s what I know best. But in order for the m/m genre to continue to grow, authors have to be trusted and some publishers need to step back and let them do what they do best.

The second reason I’m doing this is because I want to price the book on my own this time. “Chase of a Lifetime” will be released as a .99 e-book. It is an original and has never been published anywhere before. I won’t be handing out free copies. As a business person giving away anything for free is counterproductive to the overall goal of being in business. But I do think .99 for a full length novel is a fair price.

Right now, I’m in the final stages of launching “Chase of a Lifetime.” I hired a cover artist and copy editor. I suck at cover art and I wanted a copy editor to back up my own extensive edits. And I’ve always believed that copy editors are the most important people in publishing. There’s this concept out there that a lot of self-published books aren’t up to certain standards and they lack quality. All I can say is that I’ve never worked so hard and edited so much in my life. This is a small, humble venture for me, but I also want it to be as perfect as I can get it. Just ask Tony, my partner, what life had been like since I started this. I have driven the poor man crazy.(smile)

I’ll post more soon. I’m hoping to have the cover art ready either this week or next. And if anyone has any questions about publishing on Amazon, feel free to ask.

Here’s the blurb for COAL (still subject to change):

When Jim Darling graduates from Princeton and goes back home to Texas, he dreads everything ahead of him. He’s almost twenty-one years old, still in the closet, and has never been with a man. Though his father wants him to go to law school so he can join him in his law firm, it’s the last thing Jim wants to do.

On Jim’s first night home, during his college graduation party at his mom and dad’s ranch, he runs into his best friend’s dad, Len Mayfield, a rugged, handsome investment banker in his late thirties who rides horses and wears a cowboy hat when he’s not working as an investment banker. Len’s life isn’t much different from Jim’s. He’s been in the closet forever, he’s trapped in a marriage of convenience with a wife who cheats, and he’s resigned to his circumstances.

That is until Len runs into the grown up version of Jim Darling at the graduation party. What happens after that blossoms into something neither of them ever expected. A long seduction leads to fantastic love-making. There’s enough passion, heartache, and frustration to challenge their fragile relationship in more ways than one.

Will Jim Darling find a way to come clean with his mom and dad so he can find the happiness he’s always wanted? And will Len Mayfield find the courage to finally come out of the closet and walk away from a life that has never made him happy?

Pirates, Demonoid, Astatalk, and the .99 e-book…

This isn’t a post about e-book pirating in the traditional sense. I’m not going to complain or grouse about it. About a year ago I posted something about pirating and I received a lot of comments and e-mails about why people pirate. In many ways, I was enlightened and I’ve been thanking the people who commented ever since.

I still don’t pirate anything myself. And I won’t because it’s against the law. Even though I do agree on some points, like the fact that the expensive agency model e-books are way overpriced. I even agree that many e-book cover descriptions aren’t very good. And don’t get me started on product descriptions about e-books on large retail web sites. I bought one myself last month that was supposed to be an erotic romance and the only thing about it that was erotic was the word erotic in the book description. So I understand how readers can get frustrated. Sometimes it’s dismal. And I can only hope I’m putting out information about my own books that let readers know what they are buying. I’m even open to questions in e-mails if you’re not sure about one of my books. I do it all the time.

But I am curious about how e-book pirates feel about all the .99 e-books that are being released nowadays. If you’re an author and you have e-books out it’s become such a huge trend to have a .99 e-book it’s almost embarrassing if you don’t have at least one.

So, from an objective POV, how is the .99 e-book thing working out for you? Are e-book pirates more motivated to spend .99 on a full length novel than they are to pirate it for free? There’s not much you can get for .99 anymore in the US. You can’t even get a scratch off lottery ticket for less than one dollar anywhere. I know I’ve been reading .99 e-books and it’s cut my reading budget more than I expected it would. And most of those .99 e-books I’ve read are very good.

Any and all thoughts are welcome. Feel free to post anonymously now or next year. If you still think .99 is too much to spend for an e-book, post your thoughts. I really am curious from an objective stand point.

Check Out A Few of My .99 E-books

I feel a little like Second Hand Rose…but as a reader, I’m a huge fan of .99 e-books. I’m always checking out the “Cheap Reads” section on Kobo, and I usually buy two or three books while I’m there.

And a few of my e-books are now on sale over at Amazon for .99. These two aren’t even that old as far as releases go. They were published less than three years ago. I don’t have any control over the way my publishers price e-books. But when I see a good deal, I’ll pass it on to readers.

Here are the links:

Pretty Man (As a side note…the two main characters in this book are also ongoing characters in the Virgin Billionaire series.)

And Officer and his Gentleman