amazon publishing

Amazon Publishing; Penny Marshall Book; Madonna as BoyScout; Ryan Seacrest Break Up

The following article about Amazon Publishing and Penny Marshall’s book, My Mother was Nuts, dates back to 2011, but I wanted to do a follow up post since Marshall’s book deal was announced to see where Marshall’s book is and how it’s been doing. I haven’t seen much around, and I haven’t read the book myself. But I’m thinking of buying the kindle version this week. I have a heavy fiction schedule until this summer and I like reading books like this for pleasure.

Ms. Marshall’s memoir will be published as both a hardcover and an e-book in the fall of 2012. Terms were not disclosed, but an industry executive with knowledge of the auction said that Amazon paid $850,000 for world English-language rights. The executive said that was around $100,000 more than the next-highest bid, and that the price included an “Amazon premium” on account of the acquisition’s being a kind of trial balloon.

Despite being part of a bookselling powerhouse, the new imprint has a disadvantage when it comes to bookstore distribution for physical books, which still make up most of the market. Many independent booksellers, as well as bookstore chain and archrival Barnes & Noble, are considered unlikely to carry any Amazon titles.

It was huge news when it happened. I don’t have any facts to back me up, but I would be curious to see if they still consider Amazon at a “disadvantage” with regard to distribution, brick and mortar bookstores, and print books. Even though a lot has balanced out now with e-books since then, a lot of those “independent booksellers” and chains haven’t been reporting great sales, some have gone under, and I’m not sure if anyone cares whether or not they carry Amazon titles. The fact remains if I want the book, as a consumer, I don’t have to go to them. I can go to Amazon…for print or digital.

This is what other industry “veterans” had to say at the time:

 Other industry veterans pointed out that if Amazon overpaid for a less-than-stellar project, it would only make the new publishing imprint just like every other literary house in New York.

“They’re going to come to understand our business, and it’s going to be painful,” said one longtime publishing executive.

This is what I saw this morning on Amazon for Penny Marshall’s book ranking:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store) .zg_hrsr { margin: 0; padding: 0; list-style-type: none; } .zg_hrsr_item { margin: 0 0 0 20px; } .zg_hrsr_rank { display: inline-block; width: 50px; text-align: right; }

Evidently, the book is still number one in three different categories. I don’t know how long it’s been there, or how well the book has done compared to other celeb bios pubbed by other large publishers. But when a book reaches this point, everyone involved with that book did something right.

Madonna as Boy Scout

The GLAAD awards were held last night and Madonna not only showed up in a quasi boy scout uniform, but she also made her feelings known about how she feels about the boy scout’s stand with regard to gays.

Dressed in an oversized Boy Scout uniform, Madonna took the organization to task for its policy that bans gay people from joining. “I wanted to be a Boy Scout, but they wouldn’t let me join,” she said during a 10-minute speech. “I think that’s f–ked up. I know how to build a fire. I can pitch a tent … most importantly, I know how to scout for boys.”

You can read more here. She also dives into a few other issues that frustrate her. I’m not sure this is the kind of thing that always helps the quest, especially for those gay people who aren’t as outrageous as Madonna and don’t particularly care for Madonna’s style. But at least she’s saying something and she gets points for that with me. What we need are a few more to speak up, in different ways.

Ryan Seacrest Break Up

Stop rolling your eyes. I know what you’re thinking while you’re reading this post. I’m just putting down the facts now. This is what I’ve read so far about the Seacrest and Hough break up. And no, I wasn’t born yesterday (smile).

Entertainment mogul Ryan Seacrest and his dancer-actress girlfriend Julianne Hough have reportedly ended their relationship.

I like Seacrest. I don’t know who Hough is, nor do I care. I’m sure she cares nothing about me. We’ll both live happy lives in spite of this.

The pair reportedly dated for more than two years. Seacrest gushed about Hough two months ago to TV-host Chelsea Handler, calling his then-girlfriend “phenomenal” and “the best part of each day.”

The source claimed their busy work schedules were challenging and that they’ve decided to live apart, People magazine reported.

There are a few comments from Hough, which you can read here.

What more can be said? As I stated above, I like Seacrest no matter who he’s dating…or not dating. But I do think it’s time he found a wholesome nice girl to settle down with (big smile).

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?