Writer's Watch

Friday, January 05, 2007

Settle the Debate-

For years I've seen posts where authors argued that sex sold the books. Writers outside of the erotic romance field stomped their feet, angry over the numbers of erotic/erotic romance books sold. We posted questions and here are your answers.

Does sex sell?
Only one person thought sex doesn't sell books.

Has a publisher asked you to add sex or heat up the sex scenes?
60% said yes
30% said no with one being asked to tone it down
10% said sort of

Do you believe sex sells your books?
All but one said yes. It should be noted than none of these authors considered their work pornographic. Each said the sex added but the plot remained the driving force.

So what have we learned? 1-Sex does sell. I don't believe this means women are all hiding in closets masturbating to erotica novels. I think women have finally taken charge of their sex lives and personal fantasies.

2-Sex alone doesn't seem to do it. The women surveyed believed that their plots brought readers. Some believed that the sex was so integral to the plot that the two couldn't be separated and behind the door sex would stifle the flow of the work. That I don't know.

Here are a couple of wonderful quotes
"Absolutely sex sells. But so does a good story. I believe I have both and in the end, I don't think its the sex you remember so much as it is the characters. In erotica I believe its essential for the sex and plot to be intricately tied together."

"Today's women know that sex happens and many resent the door being closed in a novel. That said, all sex scenes aren't the same and some are highly sensuous and never use one of the "dirty" words. "

"I think sex sells books where the expectation is sex (that is, books labeled spicy, hot, erotic, etc.). But sex isn't necessary so much as sexual tension. Lack of sexual tension--even in an inspirational romance--is the kiss of death IMO."

"Women love vampires, were creatures. Erotic novels are known to blow the doors of convention down and let women fantasize about bondage, submission, and things they might never want to practice in reality. It all depends on what a woman is looking for. Overall, I think they want romance. Titillating sex is the icing on the cake. I think publishers are pushing the sex aspect."

"You can't argue with the numbers. Wild and kinky sex, even followed with bad reviews, sell. The touching story with rave reviews will never do as well."

"The sex has to be an unmistakable part of the plot, not just thrown in."

Thank you to everyone who participated in our survey.

OMG-Author Update
I'll call this author Jim.

Jim is upset because we posted something negative about Titan/ Venus. Jim has had no problems with Venus. She does say that if there were problems with communication, then it was because of ongoing health problems with the main person at Venus.

I wish no one harm. However if you were an employer who had an employee unable to work but 2 days a week, there would be problems. You would either hire others to help or fire the person who was unable to work. You don't make other people pay for their inability to do their job. Frequent excuses, those don't add up to good business.Sorry Jim.And to the others who are upset with our posts, we are only here to let newbies see how the publishing business works. This is reality boys and girls.

We have also been informed that Midnight Showcase has paid royalties. Thanks Jim. We love you hun.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

An update-Titan/Venus Press

You might have seen this publisher mentioned in an earlier post. We spoke about their unresponsive nature and lack of professionalism. This press won't even respond to Piers Anthony. Check out HiPiers.com. Click on the Publish section then V. Scroll to the Venus listing. Yes, all authors are ignored equally. What a pub!

Update-We've been informed that their main person is stepping down. Perhaps she finally realized this was a business and not a fun hobby.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Writer's Watch -- Snarkwatch dateline December 20, 2006. Word is Midnight Showcase is behind at least 60 days in paying royalities. Apparently no one bothered to tell them that the first rule of business is pay the employees -- that would be the authors -- first. Okay, so the contract says they are independent contractors...fine...do they not know that the authors they are not paying are going to tell other authors? Pay the royalties...and get over yourselves.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Bring on the next victim or should I say victimizer. Let's talk about Linden Bay Romance. Rumor has it that they never love the one they're with for long. It's all about the new story, not sticking with authors who work their butts off for them. As with other epublishers, we have reports of requests to add sex. It seems to be the new trend with many publishers. The internet was built for sex and they feel that to be competitive, sex it up baby. I find this a bit insulting. I don't read books to find new fantasies to diddle over. I actually read for a plot. Surely, I am not one of a dying breed.

Like any good pimp, this publisher demands sex, lesser word counts, and more from their authors. Don't deliver and they're off to find a fresh young thing that will.

Of course this is only rumors and does not reflect the views of everyone on the blog. We must cover our legal a$$.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Our Turkeys!!!!

It was hard. We had a tie. Our winners for bad covers are Changeling Press and Exstasy. Give yourselves a pat on the back. Never before has even Poser been brought so low. Congratulations.

For edits that make you tremble we also had a tie. Give a big hand for Mardi Gras and Triskelion. There were lots of nominees. Ellora's cave had a couple and so did Chippewa but only the first two were voted into the winning position.

Of course these are the results and are in no way the opinion of our blog. That should fix those legal buggers.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Small Publishers and Lack of Professionalism

So far the biggest complain we see is the general lack of professionalism with these small publishers. The main contact person for Venus Press/Titan is often too busy to read her email. Many times authors try desperately to reach someone in charge, posting to their boards hoping someone will email them back when the privately sent emails go ignored. A week or so later a post appears about yet another family emergency, school trips, or other personal oopsy. Authors have told us that this is an ongoing problem (more than 2 years) and what led to the combination of the Venus and Titan lines. It looks like a bored housewife that thought it would be fun to run a publishing company. We checked further into this and the owner isn't even the one running the show. It's a woman with too many family obligations and too little business training.

Capri Publishing was brought to our attention by a self published gent. It seems this is a print only pub that suffers from the same lack of business sense. Rumor has it that emails go ignored for a month or more. Edits are not received, cover art dropped, and publication dates ignored. The owner and one woman show of this enterprise told her authors that she is depressed and has just gone through a divorce. Hey babe, we've all been depressed. It hurts, it sucks. If you can't run a business hire people that can or stop stringing along your authors. Take a hiatus. Whatever but for heavens sake start acting with some responsibility.

Whiskey Creek Press was brought to our attention. A year and a half ago, an author had serious trouble with edits. No biggie. This author worked through the total goof up by this publisher. This publisher also charges their authors a print fee. That's right boys and girls, this is a pub that does not invest in their authors. Ebook is free but to hold a book in your hand they request $90 paid up front to a small press that has NO REAL DISTRIBUTION. To add insult to injury, they required our lady to buy copies of her book to get them listed on Amazon. She had to pay full price for the book but would only receive royalties on their sale. WTF!!!!!! It was supposed to be to increase coverage. They weren't really counting on Amazon sales.

After getting this email I spoke with a few of their authors. WOW. Poor sales. Late edits. Most of their editors concentrate on the erotic side. (Ahh yes, I've heard that story before.) They are trying to work on a better arrangement with Amazon. Watch out for those personal issues with editors.

Mundania Press is trying to clean up their act. Originally their site promised to review manuscripts in 90-120 days. During this time most authors waited 8-9 MONTHS to hear back from this company. Wow. They would defend themselves saying other significant publishers have similar turn arounds. I checked this out with authors. Harlequin responds in 4-8 weeks. TOR (depending on the division) responds in 2-8 months. Kensington approximately 4 months. NAL 6 months. DownTown (Random House) responds in a week. Avon responds in a month to queries. Only Dorchester has the same time frame as Mundania. In their defense Mundania has started a query form to cut down on this wait. Thank you. How long did it take you to figure that out?

Samhain Publishing. Oh the power of the acquisitions editor. Samhain looks like a classy operation. Yes they appear to have a preference for romantic erotica and those nakey covers women cream for. The only negative we've heard is the treatment of those rejected. The ego of the editor finds it necessary to get the author's names wrong, genre wrong, and some times the title of the book wrong in the rejection letter. (5 complaints for this) One editor went so far as to tell the author how to write. We saw the email. They listed what sort of alpha hero hunk women were buying. Ponder that a moment.

RockWay Press. This is another one woman operation. Do not enter this lady's contest. She tries to claim ownership of your work. I've received 10 emails of complaint against this woman. She loves to threaten people, blame her problems on conspiracies, and take author's rights. When she doesn't like an author, she has no trouble in sending out mass emails cursing them and letting the world know she is upset. Poor baby. She also claims not to be a POD. FYI-POD is print on demand not vanity publishing. She uses a print on demand publisher. HELLO!!

Renebooks.com. Only two authors have come forward. Apparently this place does no edits with the author or art approval. One author just searched and found the book had been published. Never knew the release date. I have heard positives from the dirty side. Yes they love the nookie books too.

Treble Heart-This company is another one woman show. It has several imprints. We've heard that often submissions go ignored. Even if you're an author you're lucky to hear from this woman if you have a problem.

Wings Press-Not quite as small. Many complaints unfounded. What we did notice was that they tended to misfile paperwork. They also use PawPrints and charge fees to those who want a book in print. No Amazon. No distribution. Just a few people that thought making books would be fun. One correction, they finally made it back on Fictionwise.

Don't even get me started on the massive screw ups with Forbidden and LoveStruck. Thos have been mentioned before.

***Word to the wise. If you're going to start a business, run it like a business. This isn't a hobby to the writers. This is their lives, their babies. They don't have time to worry if their publisher is going off the deep end today or busy with school field trips. They need an editor who can edit and edit on time. No one wants to work all night on edits because their editor got behind, had their own book to edit, or had file trouble they forgot to mention. Edits should not arrive the day before release. Yes, I'm looking at you Mardi Gras Publishing. (3 complaints on that one)

Get it together people. An acceptance should be a good thing to a writer, not crap load of trouble.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Additional Update to the Pubsnark News.....apparently Forbidden Publications is running a close second to Lovesuck books....yes, this reporter has heard that Forbidden continously moves release dates because they haven't gotten an editor or cover artist for their books! And, when the poor author requests a release, they refuse.

Publishers, publishers.....is this really the reputation you want? That you lasso authors into your snarky little companies and then trap them there forever? Wouldn't you rather have an author say "I was with them, it didn't work, but they might be a good fit for you?"

Really, who would submit to Lovesuck after what that one poor author has gone through? Certainly not the poor author dealing with Forbidden.


Dateline October 24, 2006 -- The latest in Pubsnark News.

It seems Lovestruck publishing has "struck" again. This time they offered an author a release on both her print and ebook contracts....for a fee which includes the costs of editing. Author knows the editor....editor wasn't paid a fee....editor is on royalties. Why would a publisher lie like that? Doesn't Lovestruck have any idea how small the author community is and that they talk?

Tsk tsk....really, release the contracts....it's not worth it to keep on being....snarky.