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Ellora’s Cave Exploring Possible e-Tailer Service

I read on Emily Veinglory’s blog today that there was a rumor that Ellora’s Cave is offering to serve as a distributor/etailer for other ePublishers. According to Patty Marks, CEO of Ellora’s Cave:

This is a potential business venture being considered by Jasmine- Jade Enterprises. When there are details to announce, we’ll do so. The hosting of other publishers’ titles would be non-exclusive – those publishers would continue to sell their books through their own website and any other channels they want (such as All Romance eBooks or Fictionwise, for example).

This is mostly a win for EC. It takes advantage of its existing readership and the brand it’s built up since 2001. It gets a royalty of 40%.   At that rate it’s possible that this royalty, since it’s pure profit, is more than what EC makes from selling one of its own books.

Possible downsides for EC is that there are some epublishers with poor editing and/or poor covers. There is some danger of EC’s own brand being diluted by the product of other epublishers. In weighing the difference, though, it seems like it’s a good risk for EC.

For readers, this can be a good thing because there is a more centralized location for purchasing ebooks as long as readers remember that these are not EC books but books from other publishers (which can be both a plus and a minus for readers). EC allows for payment via Paypal which I like.

As an EC author, however, now you are competing not only against your fellow EC authors but also with other authors. I’ve heard that EC authors are unhappy about this. EC ebooks are not sold through any other online merchant such as Fictionwise, BooksonBoard, All Romance eBooks or even Kindle. I would gather that part of the reason you sign on to EC is to get an exclusive shot at its broad and established readership.   Now other publishers are going to get to sell their wares from an EC branded site but the EC authors books aren’t exposed to readerships at say Fictionwise or All Romance eBooks.

I’m not sure if EC is going to open/launch a new bookstore front or sell the books straight from the EC site itself. Those details were not forthcoming nor is there any date I was given as to when readers could expect to see other publishers books on EC’s site. Ultimately, the question is whether EC is positioning itself to be a major etailer of erotic romance and romance books to compete with All Romance eBooks, Fictionwise.com and BooksonBoard and if so, what that means for the epublishing industry. Vertical integration is a smart business choice and I can hardly fault EC for going that route.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

124 Comments

  1. Emmy
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 00:42:40

    Well, it’s a good deal for an author starting out with a shit epub. How will EC go about screening epubs, or will it take on anyone willing to give up 40% of their royalties? And does that 40% come out of the publisher’s cut or the author’s?

    I can well imagine that EC authors will be unhappy, because if EC makes more money off their competitor’s books, so guess where all the promo is going towards?

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  2. Emmy
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 00:50:04

    dang it….meant to ETA that my sympathy gets less for EC authors when they write stuff like this:

    I worked very hard to get into this sandbox, I don’t like the idea of sharing it with people who couldn’t make it in on their own merit but had to buy their way in via a small-time epub

    Elitist much?

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  3. kirsten saell
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 00:52:29

    I don’t know whether any of the more successful epubs will participate in something like this, either. Yeah, you get a bit more distribution, but you’re also putting money in your competitor’s pocket. There are all kinds of long term repercussions that will need to be considered.

    And I wonder how many books from those small, unproven epubs will survive the vetting process and make it onto the site. The books that stand to benefit the most from this are the very ones EC will likely reject.

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  4. kirsten saell
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 00:59:27

    Yes, Emmy, it is elitist, but that doesn’t make it completely untrue. EC has been the top erotic romance epub from the word go. It’s hard to get in–it can take a year just to hear back on a submission–and I’m sure they reject more books than any other epub.

    I chose not to sub to them because I didn’t have the patience for that. It would feel weird to me to benefit from their higher status having not paid my dues, especially if that meant their own authors’ sales might suffer for it.

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  5. Emmy
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 02:22:19

    It would feel weird to me to benefit from their higher status having not paid my dues, especially if that meant their own authors' sales might suffer for it.

    And how far does this weird feeling extend? If you needed the money, would you refuse to allow EC to sell your book on the off chance that an EC author might lose a sale? I can tell you that my concern for that would end where my bills begin. You can’t reasonably expect people to feel guilty about doing something perfectly legal to make a buck.

    It’s kind of like refusing to go to Harvard because you’re poor and don’t have a trust fund. F*ck that. If you can get in, go for it.

    The people who sweated and stressed over those year waits to get their book sold by EC have to be kicking themselves in the ass after reading about this though.

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  6. Anion
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 04:04:09

    Dammit, I had a whole long reply and my computer messed up.

    Basically, I was just saying I’m not a cheerleader and I’m not thrilled about this either but I don’t think it’s that huge a deal. The other pubs won’t be on the front (new release) page, they won’t be listed in Coming Soon. And honestly, most of my backlist sales seem to come from people reading one of my books or seeing a review and deciding to try more; I notice a big jump in backlist sales when I have a new release, and then it falls back to its regular level. I don’t think having clearly-marked other publishers’ books mixed in with the genre list is going to have that negative an impact, especially when you consider it might increase traffic considerably and encourage people who haven’t bought from EC in the past to try some EC titles.

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  7. Alessia Brio
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 04:58:25

    On the whole, I think any venture that increases the sale of ebooks is good for the entire industry. I can understand the sentiment purportedly expressed by an EC author, but as far as I know, EC never promised its authors that their erotic supremacist sandbox would never be tainted with the potentially inferior words of lower races… erm, authors. It’s business. And, I don’t see a downside for corporate EC here.

    From what I’ve seen of the venture (still VERY nascent stages), EC will retain the ability to “just say no” to any title. So, a small, unproven (or “shit”) epub isn’t guaranteed a place in the sandbox, much less a bucket and pail to shovel the sand sausages.

    To assume that an author who hasn’t been published by EC is unable to pass muster is not only insulting, it’s just plain ludicrous. So, from my vantage, the “there goes the neighborhood” attitude is quite petty.

    I hope the venture is a success. When epublishers are successful, we all win.

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  8. veinglory
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 05:13:52

    I do think it blurs quite a few lines. We have agent/publisher rep, publisher/distributor, author/owner etc etc. I suppose just a continuation of that trend but if, as they say, the will sell the books intermingled from their own site I do think is confuses the branding, roles etc. It is not exactly what the author signed up for, regardless of which publisher (i.e. I would think the same if the deal came from any epress). At this point I am assuming distribution would be direct from the EC site, their letter quoting hits and sales figures suggests as much.

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  9. Teddypig
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 07:22:03

    You are right again!

    Ellora’s Cave does not bother to sell or promote it’s eBooks on Fictionwise, BooksonBoard, All Romance eBooks or even Kindle or Sony or iPhone. Ellora’s Cave has spent almost no effort following the ePub trends of distribution on these new platforms.

    Now they want to use the one leverage their authors held on to which was exclusive Ellora’s Cave sales from their web site and provide that to other ePubs some of which are promoting their authors on these new platforms.

    I do think those authors who have stuck by them while watching Samhain and Loose Id authors getting highly visible sales on Amazon and Fictionwise are getting a raw deal.

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  10. Jody W.
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 08:22:44

    How much % of royalties to other etailers like Fictionwise charge? 40%? I should know that, but I made the mistake of watching the debate last night and now the only percent point in my head is 95%.

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  11. LE
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 08:25:43

    Clearly EC will be the winner in every scenario here. Any ePub that signs the agreement risks being seen as “desperate” for sales when in fact they could be doing well on their own, and any ePub that refuses to sign risks putting off authors who may believe they are being denied what could be great exposure for their books.

    One thing to consider, too, is that a spot on EC’s site may not guarantee riches. We can agree not all ePubs are created equally, but assuredly no two ePubs are alike. Many of the EC books I have read carry specific themes: BDSM with male Doms, and frequent sex from the first chapter. Will a femme Domme novel from another pub sell well with a market that visits this website for the opposite type of story, just because it is on the EC site?

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  12. Anion
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 08:34:17

    EC doesn’t sell its books on Fictionwide because EC’s authors have repeatedly asked them not to. They’re willing. We are not. They ask us, and we say no. This has happened several times in the last few years.

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  13. Lynne Connolly
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 09:02:00

    I can’t see EC wanting to dilute its brand by selling the books of other publishers alongside their own. I would imagine they would give other publishers pages of their own, which won’t be on the front page, but will be linked there.
    I write for all three of the major epubs – Samhain, Loose-Id and Ellora’s Cave, and their approaches, and the way my books are branded are very different at all three publishers. However, there are some similarities in approach. For instance, all three strive to move with the times. They don’t assume that what worked last year will work this year, and they all keep up with general market trends, as well as the ones in their specific sectors. The independents have to step up now the major publishers and distributors are getting more interested in the ebook market, and the top epublishers are all taking this into account.
    For me, it would be great to see all my books under one umbrella, but at the moment the only place that happens is at Fantastic Fiction and on my website. However, I can’t see my Samhain books listed on my Ellora’s Cave page, any more than I can see it done the other way around.

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  14. Shannon Stacey
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 09:12:01

    EC doesn't sell its books on Fictionwide because EC's authors have repeatedly asked them not to. They're willing. We are not. They ask us, and we say no. This has happened several times in the last few years.

    But for some, they wanted to be on Fictionwise, but weren’t willing to accept the contract addendum that was a condition. Apparently a majority must have said no.

    What I’m wondering is, if there is a separate storefront, would our EC books be subject to the same cut to the storefront as the books of other publishers?

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  15. Katrina Strauss
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 09:18:06

    and any ePub that refuses to sign risks putting off authors who may believe they are being denied what could be great exposure for their books.

    There are authors at smaller houses who will indeed feel that way. There are also authors at smaller houses who think this smells fishy and want nothing to do with it. I see too many assumptions that other houses and non-EC authors will jump at the chance to “Ooh oooh oohh, have our books listed at EC!!!” Yet I personally know two small press owners who both told EC “No thanks”, while a third owner is seriously weighing the pros and cons before signing to anything. Not everyone is blinded by the glitz, and some of us have reservations/questions/concerns about this new development.

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  16. Raelene
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 09:18:17

    Dang, now I’m going to have to break my business rule about not posting on blogs. But in the interests of handing out facts to replace speculation…

    Thanks to Anion for the inciteful post. And to Alessia for an entertaining one!

    Yes, this venture is still in early discussion stages.

    Yes, if we go forward with it, our contract specifies what genres we will not carry, what plot elements cannot be in any book on our site – like no incest, pedophilia, etc. For example, we don’t care how popular incest/twincest claims to be with a niche market, EC does not carry incest “romances” – not from our own authors, not from another publisher. We could refuse to carry any book based on content, cover, or quality (books do have to look like they’ve been edited and proofed) — we can indeed “just say no”.

    Snort, no one actually thinks that a percentage of sales price of a product is “pure profit”, do they? Hello, get a clue about the cost of running a business. If we go this route, we pay our business agent, we pay all the staff and costs for getting those other books onto our website and maintaining the website, etc, etc. We would hope to make a small profit from the venture. So why are we considering it? Because we see two other benefits for our sales and authors, and to the publishers who may choose to participate in this. Increased traffic to our site benefits all the books on that site. And for EC authors who might have books at another publisher who participates, their readers would find that author’s books at one source, making them likely to buy more of them regardless of which company published the ebook.

    As pointed out, EC authors have loudly, clearly and continually stated that they do not want us to place their books through Fictionwise. (Our Cerridwen Press and TLC books are available at All Romance eBooks.) EC authors would take a major hit in royalties from sales – and possibly get no additional sales, just “cheaper” sales. Based on Fictionwise’s published statistics, EC sells almost twice as many books direct from our own website as Fictionwise sells in total for all the publishers it carries.

    Raelene Gorlinsky, Publisher, ECPI

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  17. kirsten saell
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 10:29:35

    And how far does this weird feeling extend? If you needed the money, would you refuse to allow EC to sell your book on the off chance that an EC author might lose a sale?

    Thing is, I don’t know that there would be any benefit for a Samhain author–sales are pretty good where I am, and I’d have to sell more than twice as many through EC (royalty of 30% of the 60% EC would leave us) as I do through MBaM.

    And, I don't see a downside for corporate EC here.

    I don’t either. But as in any venture, there’s usually a downside for someone…

    Ellora's Cave does not bother to sell or promote it's eBooks on Fictionwise, BooksonBoard, All Romance eBooks or even Kindle or Sony or iPhone. Ellora's Cave has spent almost no effort following the ePub trends of distribution on these new platforms.

    Understandable–they don’t want to fork over 50% of the cover price to a third party etailer. But they’ll happily take 40% from someone else. Any epub who takes them up on this offer needs to think long and hard about the long term: how will putting 40% of their money in a competitor’s pocket effect them and the industry one, two, five years down the line. That, I think, is the part that worries me the most. EC is already the big dog. I don’t know that everyone in the neighborhood needs to be feeding them.

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  18. Xaviera France
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 10:35:16

    I find some of the comments found on other blogs highly insulting. For authors’ books that are published with smaller publishers to be called mutt, is the highest insult ever, and this by EC authors. What makes them think they’re cream of the crop? I’ve read some pretty awful books by EC authors, books that to me were utter trash, and badly written. And then to pick on editing of smaller publishers’ books? Some of EC’s books could do with some major rewrites. And let me tell you, there are some awesome authors out there in left and right field.

    As for EC’s decision to go this route, I think it’s a smart business move. Since the New York biggies are getting in on the e publishing act, it’s EC banding together with smaller e publishing houses against the NY conglomerates. From what I’ve heard, either party has the option to terminate at any time, so it’s not a huge risk for anyone concerned.

    It’s also more exposure for many authors. And EC’s authors may be in arms about EC’s decision to forge ahead with this and have to share their precious throne with the servants, but they seem to forget that by having other houses listed on the EC site, the readers that buy at those houses might just go and check out EC. So, to me the ball rolls both ways. It could mean more sales for EC authors as well.
    Once my books come out, I hope they’ll be acceptable for the EC site. The more exposure one’s writing gets, the better for the author, for everyone.

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  19. kirsten saell
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 10:36:40

    But for some, they wanted to be on Fictionwise, but weren't willing to accept the contract addendum that was a condition. Apparently a majority must have said no.

    Is that like when they try to put through a crucial health care bill here, but tack raises for all the politicians onto it, and then whine when it doesn’t pass?

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  20. Shannon Stacey
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 10:43:56

    Is that like when they try to put through a crucial health care bill here, but tack raises for all the politicians onto it, and then whine when it doesn't pass?

    That made me laugh, but I don’t think it was quite so Washingtonesque. To me it seemed more of a “this is the only way this makes sense for us as a company, do you want to do this?” sort of thing.

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  21. veinglory
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 10:56:17

    Lynne the offer being extended specifically says the books from EC and outside *will* be intermingled by genre. Indentified and searchable by publisher, but explicitly not listed separately.

    see: http://www.erecsite.com/2008/10/elloras-cave-distributor-pt-ii.html

    FWIW my kudos to those epresses seriously considering the offer who are soliciting author input before making a determination. You can’t please all of the people all of the time but trasperancy counts for a lot. I assume some presses ruled it out of consideration for various procedural reasons.

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  22. Lynne Connolly
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 11:29:42

    There is actually no offer being made at the moment. It’s just being considered by EC management but they decided to make a statement because it was leaked elsewhere. It could amount to nothing.

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  23. Katrina Strauss
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 11:37:54

    There is actually no offer being made at the moment. It's just being considered by EC management but they decided to make a statement because it was leaked elsewhere. It could amount to nothing.

    Again, I personally know three owners who have been approached. Granted that’s only three, but they’ve indeed received an “offer”. I’ve been biting my tongue on this for a while, wondering when it would hit the blogs. Personally I’m surprised it wasn’t “leaked” sooner.

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  24. Xaviera France
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 11:44:30

    I know of 7 who have received the offer.

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  25. B. Gardner
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 12:24:13

    As an EC author, I can see some merit in having let’s say my Amber Quill titles now available at the EC site. This might open up my other stories to a whole new audience who may shop exclusively at EC and hence could bring me a lot of potential profit.

    I can’t see how advertising non-EC authors on the site would benefit EC, though. It also seems like a huge amount of work on ECs part. Even if they’re just adding covers and links to existing author pages it sounds like a monumental undertaking. There must be a huge up side for them to even consider it.

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  26. kirsten saell
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 12:33:31

    Even if they're just adding covers and links to existing author pages it sounds like a monumental undertaking. There must be a huge up side for them to even consider it.

    Um, 40% of receipts sounds like a pretty big upside. They would be possibly making more profit on those books than the epubs that publish them, without any of the art and editing costs.

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  27. veinglory
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 13:00:08

    the offer is out there in black and white– I have seen it–authors at other presses have seen it at least in outline. Apparently ECAuthors have not?

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  28. veinglory
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 13:03:38

    p.s. I can also see the benefit to EC of 40 percent of the price without any production costs, just betting and cataloguing– it must be more profitable to e- tail than to manufacture?

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  29. Belinda
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 15:38:40

    What I find amazing is the elitist attitude from several EC authors, who are so worried any below-par books (anything NOT EC) or below-par authors “who haven’t earned their dues”—get real!—would tarnish their “supposed” magnificence. They probably shouldn’t worry so much…From what I understand, based on statements made by several publishers who have been approached, including two of mine, is that THEY don’t want THEIR companies to be associated in any way, shape, or form with EC or its products. Yes, there are other pubs out there who have gone a long way in gaining their own good reputations (regardless of what some EC authors believe) and are doing just fine and dandy on their own without EC’s “help,” AND without giving EC a share of the profits. Were this another example of “All Romance EBooks,” started by the folks at Linden Bay Publishing, if I’m not mistaken, it might have been another story, since as in that case, there’s a distinct and unique storefront involved. But EC’s approach of opening up a store under THEIR name is something altogether different, since the EC name (reputation) is involved. And despite opinions to the contrary, not everyone in the universe thinks the EC reputation is stellar and, therefore, does not want to be associated with them or the types of books (or quality of books) they publish.

    Personally, I wouldn’t want my work on their website, and I also wouldn’t want any of the profits from my book sales going to help finance the owner’s “get my husband out of prison for murder” legal fund.

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  30. JulieLeto
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 18:45:37

    Just a question…but what would have happened had the Pocket authors said some of these things when EC got a distribution deal with Simon & Schuster? Wonder how THEY would have felt…

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  31. kirsten saell
    Oct 08, 2008 @ 19:32:17

    Just a question…but what would have happened had the Pocket authors said some of these things when EC got a distribution deal with Simon & Schuster? Wonder how THEY would have felt…

    Pretty crappy and annoyed, I’m guessing. But I think we’re losing sight of the larger issues here, those being:

    1) What’s good for Ellora’s Cave corporate is not necessarily good for their authors.

    2) What might seem good in the short term for smaller epubs and their authors could have some serious negative repercussions in the future.

    Everyone went kind of bonzo over the Amazon/Booksurge attempted POD monopoly. Many were uncomfortable with the thought of a huge etailer trying to become the only print publishing option for small presses. Now we have the biggest erotic romance epublisher offering to act as etailer for other epubs’ books. Just because they aren’t strong-arming anyone doesn’t mean they don’t have their eyes on a similar corporate goal. And it doesn’t mean they’re evil or anything–more power to them if they can pull it off.

    But smaller presses need to really consider whether opting in is going to be a good thing in the long term. They may have more to lose than to gain.

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  32. Vivienne Westlake
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 00:53:29

    I do think that there is an advantage (as mentioned above) to having a full back list available for EC authors who might have books published at two or three different epubs. It just makes it more convenient for the author and the reader/buyer. And, it helps both publishers in the long run.

    As for non EC authors, that’s a different story. It’s hard to say whether this will ultimately increase sales and profits or not (I suppose it depends on whether their royalty rates at the original publisher are going to change).

    Like many of you, I hope that in the end it will be clear to the visitor who is the publisher for the book. It’s important for the author, but also the reader. I want to know what I’m getting when I buy a book. What I buy from Loose Id, for example, is different than what I buy at EC or Samhain.

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  33. Ann Anymouse
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 01:15:20

    And here it comes…

    We were told that doubling and tripling the number of weekly releases wouldn’t adversely affect individual-title sales. It did adversely affect most individual-title sales. Now we’re being told that we’ll all get a boost from increased traffic to the site. But what good is new traffic if each driver has hundreds more destinations to choose from? How is that going to benefit EC authors? The answer: about as much as the clogged release schedule has.

    I in no way harbor an elitist attitude about writing for Ellora’s Cave. If I did, I wouldn’t have books out with other publishers. I’m just sick and tired of watching my sales plummet due to management self-interest. There seems to be no friggin end to it!

    So please excuse those of us who can’t sit back and calmly analyze this from a corporate perspective. After all, our seats aren’t cushioned by millions of dollars. And they’re getting thinner by the month.

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  34. Anion
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 04:06:56

    Yes, for the record, not all EC authors think of authors for other houses as dirt under our feet–I think it’s an extremely small portion of the whole, if those commenters are actually EC authors (I have no reason to suppose they are or are not). At ALL. I think if you look back at least at some of my comments, you’ll see I speak very highly of quite a few other presses and their authors. Don’t judge all of us and assume we’re all angry at the idea of having our Golden Words intermingled with the riff-raff, please. Even if we’re not thrilled about this idea, it’s not necessarily because we think the other houses put out crap or anything like that.

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  35. kyra
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 04:14:48

    “some epublishers with poor editing and/or poor covers” ha ha, is this for real?

    Jaid Black herself wrote a line in “Breeding Ground” about someone telling someone else to “rule her people with a wrinkled hand”

    People who live in glass houses………………

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  36. Juliana Stone
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 09:34:46

    My only commment is that I recently refused an EC contract because it was very unfriendly towards authors, and they weren’t willing to change several key issues….Now I know that I made the right decision.

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  37. kirsten saell
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 10:20:37

    Even if we're not thrilled about this idea, it's not necessarily because we think the other houses put out crap or anything like that.

    Well, the question of quality aside (since I think Samhain can stand up to EC in that regard any day of the week), it’s a lot harder as a new author to get picked up by EC. They may not be more choosy, but they do have more rigid house standards when it comes to content, and it can take more than a year to hear back on a sub. They also have a pretty grabby contract, if what I hear is correct. That’s a lot to ask an author to put up with from an epub, but many were willing to do it because of the higher sales and exposure that comes with being pubbed by EC.

    Now authors who didn’t have to deal with the “must have sex by chapter three” mandate, the options clause from hell and the year-long wait are getting those benefits. That’s got to rankle a bit.

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  38. Anion
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 11:26:16

    Now authors who didn't have to deal with the “must have sex by chapter three” mandate, the options clause from hell and the year-long wait are getting those benefits. That's got to rankle a bit.

    No, it certainly does NOT have to rankle a bit. Why are you automatically assuming it does, for all of us, based on one or two comments from one or two authors? I could just as easily say “It’s got to rankle Samhain authors that they only recently got a major NY distro deal, when EC’s been dealing with Pocket for such a long time” or “It’s got to rankle LSB authors that their house doesn’t have a distro deal at all”. I don’t believe that, not one bit. Why are you so willing to ascribe negative emotions and pettiness to EC authors? Not just willing, but insistent?

    I have never once been told “must have sex by chapter three”, not am I aware of a single EC author, by name, who has. I’ve heard lots of “A girl I know” stories, but that’s it. The only editorial comment I ever got based on the amount of sex in one of my books was that as it stood the book was mild, and if I wanted to add some more sex it would probably increase sales, but the decision was entirely mine to make.

    I emailed Contracts and asked them to remove my option clause. They did, within a single business day. I don’t know personally a single EC author who still has an option clause. How is that “the option clause from hell”?

    I didn’t wait a year, either. I wrote a quickie. It got accepted. From that moment I submitted to my own editor and waited a couple of months. It’s not like that’s a new sneaky strategy; I’ve seen it recommended, and have recommended it myself, dozens of times. And for every person I know of who waited a year, I know of someone else who had a much shorter wait because something about their book just grabbed their editor.

    You want to hate EC without having actually written for them? Fine. But I am not EC. I’m a writer just like you. I don’t run the business. I have zero input on how the business is run. Don’t tell me what does and does not “rankle” me, when I’ve tried to make a point of saying that not all of us think authors for other pubs are a bunch of crap artists. I had the silly impression that some of those smaller- or other-house authors might see that and feel bad; that they might think “Wow, those EC authors are a bunch of jerks” or “Wow, I was proud of my accomplishment, and everyone else seems to think epublishing is some sort of also-ran industry, and now there’s other epublished authors telling me I have no talent based on my publisher and not my actual work, and damned if that doesn’t make me feel really stepped on and lousy”; and simply wanted to say that we don’t all feel that way. That chances are the majority of us do not feel that way.

    I am FOR epublishing. I want to see more options out there. I want to see epublished authors get the respect they deserve. I want to see more houses do well and have great sales. I don’t care how they get it, frankly; if having those books on the EC site with mine means the industry becomes stronger and more readers are exposed to more good books, I think that’s a good thing (Note: That’s not me endorsing the idea, it’s simply a statement of feeling regarding epublishing and its success). If that means that more authors get to make more money because they wrote a great book, I think that’s a good thing. If it means epublishing as an industry grows and gains respect because it’s easier for readers to find the kinds of books they like, again, I think that’s a good thing.

    What I do NOT think is that I’m any freaking better than someone who writes for Samhain or LSB or Amber Quill or Loose-Id or Wild Rose or Amira or Exstasy or Champagne or those poor authors getting ass-fucked over at New Concepts, just because I’m published by EC.

    And being told, when I say that, that in fact I actually do feel that way, that I’ve got to be pissed off about them being treated like they’re as good as me when I must think they’re not–in effect being called a liar, in other words… THAT rankles me.

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  39. Anion
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 11:37:38

    Dammit! I was literally a second late on clicking the “edit” button.

    I wanted to clarify this a tad:

    I had the silly impression that some of those smaller- or other-house authors might see that and feel bad

    It’s not that I think they’d feel bad because some superspecial oh-so-genius EC author is the one calling them mutts, like the opinion of an EC author is oh-so-valuable to them. I just think in general that sort of comment makes people feel bad. I know it bugs me when I hear authors from other houses saying all EC books are garbage (which they do say, and which I never dispute because they have a right to their opinions even if I disagree. How many of us can say every book their houses publish is excellent and wonderful? That there isn’t a single book put out by their house that they feel isn’t as well written as they’d like, doesn’t have an annoying character or a joke that isn’t funny or a sentence that’s wonky or a character who feels shallow or a sex scene they find tasteless? Not many, I would think.) It wasn’t ego that lead me to say it, is what I’m trying to clarify.

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  40. Jane
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 12:24:22

    I have to confess I’m still befuddled as to why EC authors wouldn’t want to be exposed to more distribution venues even if it means at a substantially smaller rate. Maybe there is less to be gained, but wider distribution seems to equal more sales.

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  41. Juliana Stone
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 12:34:57

    Anion, I’m glad you were able to get your options clause removed entirely. I wish they would have done the same for me, but they just tried to reword it differently and because I’ve just sold to a NY pub house I couldn’t sign with any form of an option on my contract. bummer really, cause I was looking forward to writing for them, and the editor that had contacted me seemed really pumped too…but, they were very rigid ( this is fresh…like two weeks ago), wanted rights to my work for a lifetime as well….I personally know of several authors who don’t write for them anymore because of how picky their contracts have become…but then, they’ve also sold to publishing houses as well and have another outlet for their craft.

    I wish you continued success with EC and to any other writer out there, no matter what epub or house you write for….seems to me, we need to be supporting each other

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  42. kirsten saell
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 12:48:08

    I have to confess I'm still befuddled as to why EC authors wouldn't want to be exposed to more distribution venues even if it means at a substantially smaller rate. Maybe there is less to be gained, but wider distribution seems to equal more sales.

    Are you talking about why they don’t want to be listed at Fictionwise? I might think twice if Samhain had the average first month sales that EC supposedly has. There’s a huge difference between the 40% of cover price that I get from MBaM sales, and the 30% of 50% that I get from sales at Fictionwise or ARe.

    I think if EC authors continue to see average per-title sales decrease, they’ll be more open to third party sales. Up to just a little while ago, I can see why the cons might have outweighed the pros.

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  43. Teddypig
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 13:07:20

    EC doesn't sell its books on Fictionwide because EC's authors have repeatedly asked them not to.

    But I am not EC. I'm a writer just like you. I don't run the business. I have zero input on how the business is run.

    Your right Jane. Plus all the conflicting points of view by different writers. Some feel they are involved in how Ellora’s Cave runs their business and others feel they have no say in how Ellora’s Cave runs their business.

    I always wondered how Ellora’s Cave did not participate in the standard distribution avenues for eBooks we see Samhain or Loose Id use like Ingrams or Amazon Kindle store or even Fictionwise and yet their sales are supposed to be excellent.

    But then I remember they do have major draws like the back catalogs of authors like a Sarah McCarty or a Lora Leigh.

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  44. kirsten saell
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 13:10:00

    Why are you so willing to ascribe negative emotions and pettiness to EC authors? Not just willing, but insistent?

    You want to hate EC without having actually written for them? Fine. But I am not EC. I'm a writer just like you. I don't run the business. I have zero input on how the business is run. Don't tell me what does and does not “rankle” me,

    I’m not ascribing negative emotions to them. I’m just saying that if some are upset, it might be for good reason, not the snotty, superior, “other pubs’ books are mutts” reasons that many seem to be objecting to.

    And I don’t hate EC. I just believe that when the executive level of any business makes a decision that might impact negatively on their employees, those employees have a right to speak up and say they’re annoyed. And no, a business can’t run based only on the wishes of its employees, but one that disregards those wishes entirely can find itself in a bad place.

    that they might think “Wow, those EC authors are a bunch of jerks” or “Wow, I was proud of my accomplishment, and everyone else seems to think epublishing is some sort of also-ran industry, and now there's other epublished authors telling me I have no talent based on my publisher and not my actual work, and damned if that doesn't make me feel really stepped on and lousy”

    Agreed. But that doesn’t mean those EC authors don’t have reason to be concerned–maybe not over the whole mutt thing, but over their company doing something that may benefit the executive at the expense of authors.

    if having those books on the EC site with mine means the industry becomes stronger and more readers are exposed to more good books, I think that's a good thing

    Well, the problem is, I can see it will be good for the PTB at EC. But the benefits to EC authors, other publishers, and the industry as a whole are more murky.

    What I do NOT think is that I'm any freaking better… just because I'm published by EC.

    Maybe I wasn’t being clear enough, and if I wasn’t, I apologize. What I was trying to say is that it’s possible for some EC authors to feel put out by this for reasons other than egotism. No matter who you write for, you make certain compromises (even if it’s just the long wait time on first sub, or competing with more releases per week) based on which publisher you choose and the benefits you feel you’re going to get from them. To see others given the opportunity to reap those benefits without having to make the compromises might get some people’s backs up. That doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with feeling better than anyone.

    in effect being called a liar, in other words

    *sigh* All right, let me amend. “That’s got to rankle some authors.”

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  45. Anion
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 14:28:32

    Teddy, being asked–as a whole–whether we want our books on Fictionwise is very different from having input on how the business is run. The company you work for may on occasion, say, offer you a choice of two different plans for health insurance and say they’ll go with the majority; that doesn’t mean you have input on how the business is run.

    I guess I should have said “With the exception of twice being asked (along with my fellow authors) if we want our books on Fictionwise, I have zero input on how the business is run.” Is that better?

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  46. Anion
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 14:32:46

    Okay, Kirsten. You just said:

    Maybe I wasn't being clear enough, and if I wasn't, I apologize. What I was trying to say is that it's possible for some EC authors to feel put out by this for reasons other than egotism.

    How exactly is that different from what I originally said, which you quoted and posted to dispute?

    To refresh your memory, I said:

    Even if we're not thrilled about this idea, it's not necessarily because we think the other houses put out crap or anything like that.

    So…you were posting in support of this statement? If that’s the case clearly I’m the one who should apologize. It certainly looked like a disagreement to me.

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  47. kirsten saell
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 14:59:37

    So…you were posting in support of this statement?

    I was, mostly. I was kind of elaborating on it by trying (and obviously failing) to convey that some of those who come off as egotistical could actually be more concerned with concrete things like the impact on their sales, than they are with their books rubbing elbows with “inferior” ones. They’re pissed and some of what they say is going to be kind of kneejerk–like you thinking I was calling you a liar when I never intended to do that.

    To be honest, elitism and feeling you’ve earned something aren’t necessarily the same thing. What I’m trying to say is that some EC authors feel like they’ve earned the right to be there, and they’ve given up some things other houses offer, like distribution through third party retailers, for the opportunities EC gives them that other pubs can’t or won’t. That doesn’t necessarily mean they think other publishers’ books are less awesome than theirs.

    I think those disgruntled EC authors would feel differently if other publisher’s books were sold through a separate storefront, or even on separate pages within the site. Or if EC began by offering to sell other publishers’ books by EC authors on their site. If that was the case, EC authors would be hard pressed to NOT see some benefit in it for them.

    And I also feel that going on and on about “so and so called my book a mutt” distracts us from more important issues, like: will this be good for EC authors? Will this be good, long term, for other publishers? Will this be good for the industry as whole? Will this be good for anyone other than the executive at EC?

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  48. K. Z. Snow
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 17:48:37

    And I also feel that going on and on about “so and so called my book a mutt” distracts us from more important issues, like: will this be good for EC authors? Will this be good, long term, for other publishers? Will this be good for the industry as whole? Will this be good for anyone other than the executive at EC?

    Exactly, Kirsten. Thank you for that injection of reason. (Excuse me if this seems inappropriate, but I’ve been chuckling over all the mutt-generated umbrage and indignation. Yikes. I can just about see the feathers flying off all y’all’s boas. Good thing most authors aren’t reviewed by Mrs. Giggles, eh? ;-) Hell, own your mutts! I happen to love mine, and many of them are skulking around Ellora’s Cave!)

    Re. Fictionwise in relation to the bigger e-pubs: Seems to me the most sensible approach to utilizing this resource is to send FW older titles with flagging sales. The increased exposure could stimulate new and broader interest in the authors. Newly released books and those that consistently sell well on-site — for example, the ones by writers with NY print contracts — will obviously yield a bigger financial return if they’re purchased directly from the publisher.

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  49. kirsten saell
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 18:21:06

    Re. Fictionwise in relation to the bigger e-pubs: Seems to me the most sensible approach to utilizing this resource is to send FW older titles with flagging sales.

    But for some, they wanted to be on Fictionwise, but weren't willing to accept the contract addendum that was a condition. Apparently a majority must have said no.

    Thinking of the latter in relation to the former, it makes me wonder what “the majority” has to do with anything. There’s nothing stopping EC from putting some author’s books up on Fictionwise, and keeping other exclusive to EC. Well, other than the fact that they don’t want to hand over 50% of the cover price…

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  50. Ann Bruce
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 19:29:54

    Now authors who didn't have to deal with the “must have sex by chapter three” mandate, the options clause from hell and the year-long wait are getting those benefits.

    Looking through my contracts…nope, no “must have sex by chapter three,” no “options clause from hell,” and no “year-long wait.” Heck, I don’t even have the rights-of-first-refusal clause.

    Just exactly where are you getting your information, Kirsten?

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  51. kirsten saell
    Oct 09, 2008 @ 23:43:09

    Just exactly where are you getting your information, Kirsten?

    *sigh*

    You’ve been writing for them for a while, I’m guessing. I’ve heard from a few people that there’s a right of first refusal clause in the boilerplate now, and at least one person on this thread has said EC wasn’t willing to remove it when asked. It likely isn’t on your contract because you started writing for them before they introduced it.

    And when I say year-long wait, that’s to hear back on a submission, and I’m talking for first-time subs from newbs, not from veterans. And no, not on every sub, but on enough that I wouldn’t count on a quick turnaround. I’ve heard some NY pubs can take a year or more to get back to you, and I know that isn’t going to be the case on every sub, either. BUT, if I were subbing to them, I’d be wise to plan for the worst, so all my surprises could be pleasant ones.

    And a longer wait time doesn’t mean a publisher is no good (often just the opposite), just that it’s likely gonna take longer to get in than some are willing to wait.

    And no, I’m guessing there isn’t a clause in the contract that there be sex by chapter 3. I was being flip, you’ll have to forgive me. But EC doesn’t publish anything but erotic romance. Erotic romance is, by definition going to have lots of sex, often early in the story. That’s not a bad thing, either (heck, I have sex in the first chapter in a lot of my books), but it does mean that they won’t accept a lot of submissions that would find a happy home at other publishers.

    I honestly didn’t think that saying they’re picky and demanding in the books they accept would be construed as a criticism. Really the only blanket negative of those three things is that options clause.

    What I was trying to say is that it’s harder to get published by EC than by many other epublishers, and that EC authors have a right to be annoyed when the benefits EC provides to its authors get offered to those they feel haven’t earned the right to them. I don’t think all EC authors feel this way. But I do think an author who feels put out by this deal isn’t necessarily being snooty or elitist.

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  52. Juliana Stone
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 08:04:21

    Ann, I was offered a contract less than a month ago…I had subbed to EC at the end of February, and was thrilled when they offered…however, I was not thrilled when I recieved the contract. I know several other authors that write for EC and have done so for a long time and they’ve not had these issues….as you obviously don’t…however, as I understand it, their contracts have changed in the last 18 months or so, and they have a first refusal clause…it’s there….I wanted it removed, but they wouldn’t…they tried to reword it, but I was not going to sign a contract with any type of clause like that. They also wouldn’t budge on the rights clause…I thought I was being more than generous in asking for a max of 10 years, but they refused and said they wanted lifetime rights…..so, even though I would have loved to write for EC….their contract wasn’t for me.

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  53. Teddypig
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 08:26:18

    Sounds like there is conflicting points of view on these issues because the older crowd at Ellora’s Cave gets the contracts they want and treated the way they want while the new kids get treated with a vastly different set of rules. Good thing to know.

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  54. Ann Bruce
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 08:27:50

    Juliana — According to your web site (which uses really annoying Flash, btw), you have a release coming from EC.

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  55. Ann Bruce
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 08:34:15

    And no, I'm guessing there isn't a clause in the contract that there be sex by chapter 3. I was being flip, you'll have to forgive me.

    Kirsten, I fully understand you’re being flip. However, I have to counter that my editor has never told me that I must edit my stories to have sex earlier in the story or more often.

    ETA: She might make suggestions to help sell more copies, but it’s up to me whether or not to follow her advice.

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  56. Juliana Stone
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 09:50:03

    Ann

    yeah, I’m waiting for my web guy to remove this…I only refused their contract last week…after weeks of going back and forth…so it will be taken off….sorry you find the flash annoying! I quite like it!
    And Teddypig…you’re right….I know several authors who have written for them for years and are treated very well, make a very good living and have no problems…however, their contracts are way different then the one I got. I also know of several authors who don’t write for them anymore because of many different factors…I think it all comes down to knowing what exactly it is you’re signing…

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  57. Teddypig
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 10:05:47

    Juliana you are not the first author to make statements like this about Ellora’s Cave and their contracts. Nor are you the first to be argued with over your actual experience with them by someone who comes in saying they “know” how things work.

    So basically it does finally start to look like there is an “inner circle” of authors who flat out get “special treatment” and “special considerations” at Ellora’s Cave.

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  58. kirsten saell
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 10:23:51

    Kirsten, I fully understand you're being flip. However, I have to counter that my editor has never told me that I must edit my stories to have sex earlier in the story or more often.

    And again, you’ve been writing for them since, what? 2005? Newbs maybe might not be allowed the creative freedom that veterans are, and it may well be that these are differences in editors’ personalities, too. I’m only going by what I’ve been told by a few authors regarding the amount of sex, the type of sex, and how early it shows up in the story. And no, I don’t feel like I can reveal names.

    But again, I’m not necessarily saying that this is a horrible thing–just that the compromises authors are willing to make when choosing one pub over another are dependent on the benefits they receive in return. And authors who have made those compromises have a right to be cheesed when the company decides to give those benefits to those who haven’t made the compromises. They have a right to be worried about their sales. That doesn’t mean they’re snooty and elitist.

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  59. Fae
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 11:15:24

    I’m new with Ellora’s Cave, I only have one novella out with them and only since May of this year. So be assured I’m hardly inner circle or elite anything lol. But I have two new novels coming from EC and several others on submission and have *never* been asked to put more sex in a book. I’ve never seen anything in the house style information saying anything about sex by a certain chapter. In fact, one of my upcoming releases with them, the characters don’t have sex for the first time until chapter SIX! :) I can’t speak to whether the options clause is easy to get out of or not, as I haven’t tried to negotiate out of it. I’m perfectly happy to let EC take a look at a new MS. There’s nothing in the contract saying I have to sign any offer they make. Just that they get to look at it first. What’s wrong with that?

    I don’t think EC is perfect, no business is, but I think they do get villainized a lot for things people misunderstand and based on what they ‘heard’. I’m just saying maybe what you hear isn’t fact. I’m not an old-school EC author, I’m a total newb and I can verify what’s been said here regarding the refuting of the rumors that EC requires sex by a certain page and treats newbies like inferiors. It’s not true.

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  60. Teddypig
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 11:33:27

    Simple Fae. EC has leveraged you.

    So this first refusal clause in this contract, on only one book mind you, limits your ability legally as an author to pursue other deals by putting EC into your business on other books.

    It is not that Ellora’s Cave is perfect but it does seem they are erratic and selective in who receives what type of treatment.

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  61. Fae
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 11:48:39

    What I don’t understand, Teddy, is the seemingly over-zealous concern about what amounts to a very minor limitation. Yes, if an author did not want their next book published by EC, they would still have to offer it to them. BUT, and here’s where my confusion sets in, that author still has the option of refusing any offer EC might make and then taking that work elsewhere, no longer bound to EC for anything further. Is a couple of months waiting to hear back on a manuscript really a big deal when publishing in general moves at such a glacial pace anyway?

    Turnaround for inside submissions is nowhere near as long as slush pile submissions, I don’t really see where a couple of months is going to make a huge difference in the scheme of things for an author who wanted out (which is not me, btw lol, I’m perfectly happy to submit and have published any future work EC wants of mine currently)

    This is, of course, operating under some people’s assumption that said clause is non-negotiable, of which I have seen no evidence.

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  62. Teddypig
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 12:04:36

    Fae,

    All I said is it legally gets them involved with your business as a writer. Whatever is a priority to you defines how limiting that or any other clause is.

    I do not think plain talking about these aspects of a companies business is declaring them to be a villain. It is the simply the facts of the contract.

    If for some authors signing over lifetime agreements and first refusal rights are negatives, which for most sensible people they are, then these are facts that new authors need to know about a companies practices.

    No amount of swooping in saying “nah nah I don’t get the same contract.” negates a new author when she states what was in her contract with Ellora’s Cave and what they would negotiate with her about.

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  63. Fae
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 12:09:37

    I apologize, I wasn’t intending to negate anyone. I was simply stating my experience, as others have theirs both positive and negative. My experience, while obviously different from some, is still valid and I think it’s unfair to equate it to ‘swooping in’. I was just offering another bit of data to add to the lot, make of it what you will. :) Bowing out now, I have edits to work on for my next two EC novels.

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  64. veinglory
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 12:31:19

    I think it depends entirely on the author bothin how severe the limitations are and how inconvenient. If you had a manuscript Random House wanted but EC decided to exercise their option, that would be something of a downer I should think. I also note some authors get these clauses struck, some get them modified and some get ‘like it or lump it’. It makes me wonder what the differences is that leads to each response?

    I dont think I personally villify EC, and if any of their authors do it probably reflects their experiences. I recommend EC to authors they will suit, I often mention their role as founding this industry and that they are still as sales volume leader. But their contract is now stricter than industry norms and I do find it odd that they approached other presses with a firm offer–but represented the notion as a rough idea or rumor to their authors–only after it was mentioned on a blog. A lot of presses are putting a lot of staff time and legal expenses into evaluating this offer as a going concern, and if it is a fleeting idea that hardly seems fair?

    It was the concreteness and importance of the offer letters (and of EC as a business) that caused me to go public with the concept–although not reproducing any of their actual correspondence which is not something I would typically do. Now that what I said is being suggested as inaccurate I wonder if reporting the key excerpts from the offer letters (largely the same for various presses) is in fact warranted.

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  65. Teddypig
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 12:56:36

    Seems like their own authors are not getting transparency in any of this.

    If it is a solid business offer and in their own authors best interest then Ellora’s Cave should have nothing to hide. Go Emily!

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  66. Ann Bruce
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 13:18:24

    Juliana — My apologies for the Flash comment. It was annoying for me because it took long to load and I couldn’t adjust the font type or size for better readibility. However, if it makes you happy, that’s all that counts, isn’t it?

    Ann (a former web designer but still a follower of Jakob Nielsen)

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  67. Ann Bruce
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 13:20:47

    But again, I'm not necessarily saying that this is a horrible thing-just that the compromises authors are willing to make when choosing one pub over another are dependent on the benefits they receive in return.

    Kirsten — Actually, my first EC release was in Dec 2007, not 2005, so I can be considered an EC newbie. I had a release with Cerridwen Press in 2005, after which I went on a two-year writing hiatus.

    And thank you for assuming since I have books published with EC, I, therefore, must have compromised myself and my writing. Of course, I did NOT write my stories, review several publishers’ guidelines, decide they would fit in at EC, and submit there. Obviously, I don’t write hot stories because I like reading and writing them; I write them because I just want to be published with EC.

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  68. Anion
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 13:21:32

    If you had a manuscript Random House wanted but EC decided to exercise their option, that would be something of a downer I should think.

    If you had a manuscript that Random House wanted, EC would have the opportunity to make an offer for the manuscript and if their offer beat Random House’s, the writer in question would have to accept it. If EC did not beat (or meet) Random House’s offer (in every way, not just money), the author would be free to turn down EC and go with Random House. If no other house was involved, and the author under option submitted their book and EC accepted it, the author in question would still be free to turn EC down. EC doesn’t do multi-book deals (to my knowledge); they contract one at a time. When I sold my first novel to them, I only agreed to let them publish that novel. I agreed to let them look at others, but not to sell those others to them.

    An option clause is not in itself a publishing contract. Emily, I’m frankly stunned that you’re behaving as though it is. Every house I’m with (save EC, in my own contract) has an option clause. My NY contracts have option clauses. Option clauses EXIST. They’re not some crazy evil thing EC came up with all on their own.

    I’m really displeased with being put in a position where I sound like EC’s very own publicist. They’re not perfect, of course they’re not. Some people have had bad or negative experiences with them, of course they have. They have policies I don’t agree with, of course they do–it’s disappointing to me that they wouldn’t remove Juliana’s option clause, for example.

    But I don’t know a single epublisher where every author is happy and feels they’ve been well-treated or doesn’t have a single complaint, and I know authors for all the major ones (the Big Five, as it were) and most of the minor ones. (Actually, no. I don’t know a single unhappy LSB author, now that I think of it. The others? Yes, several.) I don’t know a single publisher anywhere who treats its authors as if they have a controlling interest, and runs every policy or business decision past them before doing anything.

    But the idea that EC is in essence foul and evil for doing what every other publisher I’m aware of does (like having option clauses, or not discussing every thought or idea or whatever with all of its authors as a whole) is simply…weird. I don’t understand it.

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  69. Teddypig
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 13:24:32

    Fae,

    I have also signed contracts and reviewed clauses in them for just these types of issues and I am no expert. In fact signing any contract scares the hell out of me

    My one piece of free advice is get on Google and look up what those clauses you have already signed mean to you. Or even better find an experienced attorney. This is your business and it is very important you understand how they will effect you in the future.

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  70. Ann Bruce
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 13:25:32

    So basically it does finally start to look like there is an “inner circle” of authors who flat out get “special treatment” and “special considerations” at Ellora's Cave.

    Teddy — I don’t think I’m considered inner anything at EC.

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  71. Ann Bruce
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 13:33:31

    I don't know a single publisher anywhere who treats its authors as if they have a controlling interest, and runs every policy or business decision past them before doing anything.

    But e-publishing isn’t a business! It’s one big happy family where everyone–even those who aren’t shareholders–must agree! The people who actually own the company should know better than to try and increase their bottom line.

    /end sarcasm

    Frankly, expecting EC to go public with their business plans is like expecting Apple to release future product concepts before they’re ready to launch.

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  72. Fae
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 13:37:08

    Thank you, Teddy. I do have an attorney who looks over all my contracts. I’m glad to say I don’t need Google to explain it to me. :)

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  73. kirsten saell
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 13:49:42

    And thank you for assuming since I have books published with EC, I, therefore, must have compromised myself and my writing.

    Oh for god’s sake!

    We all make compromises, depending on what company we publish with. No exposure through third party retailers with EC could be viewed as a compromise–one an author might be willing to make for a publisher that can promise them the kind of sales EC can. A bigger slush pile is another compromise–again, one an author might be willing to put up with to be published with the big guys. You make compromises when you move to NY, too–longer waits between contract and release, less input on covers, etc, etc.

    I get the impression some folks are just determined to feel insulted.

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  74. kirsten saell
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 13:58:10

    I don't know a single publisher anywhere who treats its authors as if they have a controlling interest, and runs every policy or business decision past them before doing anything.

    No. But again, it’s one thing for MBaM to sell other publishers’ books, because they have distribution for their own authors through third party retailers. It seems very unfair to have every other house on the block hawking their wares all over the place–including EC–while EC’s own authors are limited to vending theirs only from their own window…

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  75. Ann Bruce
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 13:59:48

    I get the impression some folks are just determined to feel insulted.

    No, I didn’t wade into this discussion until I read your posts and word choice. As a writer, you should be aware there are negative connotations with the word compromise and not all EC writers feel like they sold out just to publish with them.

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  76. Teddypig
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 14:07:04

    Let’s review…

    Ann Bruce Looking through my contracts…nope, no “must have sex by chapter three,” no “options clause from hell,” and no “year-long wait.” Heck, I don't even have the rights-of-first-refusal clause. Just exactly where are you getting your information, Kirsten?

    Juliana Stone they have a first refusal clause…it's there….I wanted it removed, but they wouldn't…they tried to reword it, but I was not going to sign a contract with any type of clause like that. They also wouldn't budge on the rights clause…I thought I was being more than generous in asking for a max of 10 years, but they refused and said they wanted lifetime rights

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  77. kirsten saell
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 14:07:42

    No, I didn't wade into this discussion until I read your posts and word choice. As a writer, you should be aware there are negative connotations with the word compromise and not all EC writers feel like they sold out just to publish with them.

    We’re not going to get into this again, are we? I thought it was decided a while ago that being nice and falling over ourselves to not offend others stifles open discussion and debate. Since then, I admit, I’ve been less careful with my words.

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  78. kirsten saell
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 14:12:59

    They also wouldn't budge on the rights clause…I thought I was being more than generous in asking for a max of 10 years, but they refused and said they wanted lifetime rights

    That’s the one that would worry me. So twenty years down the road you make it big at Tor, and they want to publish your backlist in an omnibus. But EC still owns the rights to those books, and now Tor has to negotiate for the subrights? Ten years is more than enough. I don’t know whether I would give Tor more than that–I certainly wouldn’t hand it over to an epub, no matter who they were.

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  79. Ann Bruce
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 14:52:42

    We're not going to get into this again, are we? I thought it was decided a while ago that being nice and falling over ourselves to not offend others stifles open discussion and debate. Since then, I admit, I've been less careful with my words.

    Kirsten, I don’t except you to trip over yourself to be nice. I can deal with bluntness (I’m that way myself most times), but overgeneralizations like the one you made and continue to make are insulting. There’s a difference between debating and just making insults.

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  80. Ann Bruce
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 14:57:07

    Teddypig — I readily admit I didn’t read the comments after Kirsten’s until after I responded to her. However, like Anion pointed out, a first-refusal clause doesn’t mean the author has to accept EC’s offer. As for the lifetime rights, I believe there is a break clause pertaining to it.

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  81. veinglory
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 14:59:29

    I was under the impression that an option clause does mean just that. EC specifies first refusal under the same contract–you would have to accept those conditions if they did not, in fact ‘refuse’.

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  82. veinglory
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 15:03:57

    I also did not say anything was foul. But EC contract differ from other erotic romance epublisher contracts (the only type of contract i am familair with, and–I think–the appropriate comparison group). And if the option (boilerplate) no longer specifies anything in the genre *under the same contract terms* I would be happy to know that. Because as it read last time I say it is did indeed mean they had first refusal under the same contract, not that you could submit simultaneously and go with the better offer. If I am wrong I share the misunderstanding with several EC authors (who are changing both what they write and where they submit it in response to this misunderstanding) and a FAQ from EC on the issue might be wise.

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  83. Anon
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 15:14:07

    Emily, that’s incorrect. My contracts are boilerplate, meaning I have not negotiated any changes to the one EC sent me, and specifically states that if an agreement cannot be reached within a specified (very short) time period, the author is free to take the work elsewhere. All the clause gives EC is the right to look at and offer a deal for an MS first. Nothing else. I cannot for the life of me find the problem in that.

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  84. Teddypig
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 15:16:43

    Ann,

    I honestly cannot imagine why anyone would sign a lifetime clause when every other top epub that I have heard about asks for far far less. That includes both print and ebook rights.

    So yes, Ellora’s Cave is way out there in thinking to even have this in a contract boilerplate and yes, that and the fact that authors who have dealt with this are reporting they will not budge on it is disturbing. How they think they will not have to constantly negotiate that clause is beyond me.

    It is good information to know. They have steadily fallen on my list of ePubs I would tell people to submit to, despite their reported good sales.

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  85. veinglory
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 15:35:58

    Me again. I see the boilerplate now does say that the author must consider ECs offer first but must refuse it. So the current boilerplate is indeed different from the previous one I had on file from a few years ago.

    So I was indeed incorrect in characterisng the current contract. this is a very commendable modification to the contract, so kudos to EC.

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  86. Anion
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 15:38:26

    I honestly cannot imagine why anyone would sign a lifetime clause when every other top epub that I have heard about asks for far far less. That includes both print and ebook rights.

    So yes, Ellora's Cave is way out there in thinking to even have this in a contract boilerplate and yes, that and the fact that authors who have dealt with this are reporting they will not budge on it is disturbing. How they think they will not have to constantly negotiate that clause is beyond me.

    Teddy, are you talking about the option clause here or the term of grant of rights?

    As has been pointed out, there is an exit clause, which is fairly reasonable. After a set (short) period of time, if sales drop below a certain level, the rights can be requested back. I’m not defending the length of term here, I don’t like it either, but it’s not like there’s no way out of it at all, ever.

    And you know, I don’t have to accept the contract. For some the term is a sticking point. For others we’re not that bothered. I’m sorry you think it should bother me, and that it should be a major problem for me, but it isn’t. I don’t love it but I accept it. Frankly, given the genres and lengths I write, my chances of selling second or reprint rights on those stories are pretty small anyway. Please give me credit for at least being capable of weighing my options and making my own decisions about my career, regardless of whether or not you feel they are the right choices for your career.

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  87. veinglory
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 15:40:57

    My previous post should read: “but *may* refuse it”.

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  88. kirsten saell
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 15:43:14

    There's a difference between debating and just making insults.

    True, and if anywhere in my comments I said “Ann Bruce compromised her artistic integrity so she could publish with EC,” or “EC are evil and should be avoided”, I’d appreciate it if you pointed out where.

    Like Teddy, I get a sick sensation of impending doom when I sign a contract of any kind, and if that contract had clauses that would be in effect in perpetuity, well, that would freak me right the eff out. But just because I feel it’s unfair for a publisher that doesn’t pay substantial advances to ask for one, that doesn’t mean I think they’re an abomination, or anything. It just means I would advise anyone to think twice and then twice again before signing.

    I made compromises when I chose the publisher I’m with–I know I won’t get the kind of sales an EC author could expect, for example–but I weighed the pros and cons and decided they were the best fit for the books I wanted to write. I don’t see how acknowledging that other writers might make similar compromises depending on what they want from their careers is an insult to anyone.

    I also said that if EC is going to make a business decision that could hurt their authors, those authors have a right to be upset. And no, that doesn’t mean those authors should have a say in how EC runs its business, but it does mean new authors will have one more thing to consider when choosing a publisher–and veteran authors will have one more thing to consider when deciding whether to continue working with EC.

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  89. Teddypig
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 15:55:32

    Anion, the last time I checked these clauses are not industry standards the way you are framing them.

    for doing what every other publisher I'm aware of does

    Not “EVERYONE” uses them nor are they in any other contracts I have seen from other top ePubs. So I have to disagree.

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  90. Ann Bruce
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 15:59:59

    Kirsten, just because you feel you made a compromise by going with your publisher, do not assume that other authors made compromises by going with their publishers. You assume that as an EC author, I compromised by upping the hotness factor in my books to be published with them. And if you can’t understand why I find this assumption insulting, there’s nothing left for me to say.

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  91. Fae
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 16:11:30

    I don’t think Kirsten meant *every* EC author had changed their novel to fit EC’s standards. I can see where you’re coming from, but I really don’t think that she meant ‘compromise’ as a negative term. I took it more to mean how one compromises with their husband or wife. I didn’t take it to mean compromise as in undermine or make less than before.

    I would point out, Kirsten, that no EC clause is effective into perpetuity, as has been pointed out repeatedly (and mostly ignored lol) in this thread. I find it interesting that a few anecdotal “I heard about a writer who…” and one actual person saying something makes it fact, but a bunch of other people saying “Well, no, that’s not how it worked for me,” isn’t believed. Does anyone truly believe we’re here lying? I certainly don’t think the woman who said her contract negotiation was refused was lying, I’m sure that’s how it happened for her. It did not happen that way for many, many others, however. Why are those experiences discounted so quickly and it brought back over and over to “EC claims all of your future books you ever write!” and “EC will have rights to your books no matter what even a hundred years from now!”?

    It’s just baffling and very inaccurate.

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  92. kirsten saell
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 16:42:02

    You assume that as an EC author, I compromised by upping the hotness factor in my books to be published with them.

    When did I say that? I said that some authors may have had to write hotter than they would have liked to be accepted by EC. I didn’t say every author did, or even that any author had. I certainly didn’t say you did.

    And no, Fae is right: the way I’m applying it here, compromise is not a negative term. It’s a value-neutral term. I’d love to be able to make higher royalties, get blammo print distribution worldwide, choose my release dates and the level of editorial input I get for my books. I know I’m not gonna get all that. So I decide what I’m willing to compromise on.

    If you find a publisher that offers a smaller royalty percentage than most, but allows you total creative autonomy, you might well compromise that 5% for the freedom to write as much f/f/f/f/f/t menage as you want. Compromise just means you give up some pros or accept some cons in exchange for the things that are more important to you.

    “I heard about a writer who…” and one actual person saying something makes it fact, but a bunch of other people saying “Well, no, that's not how it worked for me,” isn't believed….Why are those experiences discounted so quickly and it brought back over and over to “EC claims all of your future books you ever write!” and “EC will have rights to your books no matter what even a hundred years from now!”?

    I’m not disbelieving you, Fae, and I’m glad you’re happy with EC. And thanks for not taking as an insult what I never intended as such.

    But this isn’t “I heard about a writer who…” It’s “I heard directly from a writer who…” The options clause isn’t impossible to get around–you can always write stuff you know they don’t want–like f/f, for example. But I wouldn’t be willing to sign one with an epublisher. Seeing the antics of NCP, I wouldn’t be willing sign anything that said my business relationship with any epublisher had to continue indefinitely. I would prefer to have a contract that expired naturally, or that I could apply to terminate without engaging a lawyer.

    People have called Samhain’s contract “grabby” as well, because they ask for rights they in all likelihood have no intention of expoiting. But they’re entitled to ask for those rights, and it’s for me to decide what I’m willing to sign away, and what I’m not.

    But what I’m willing to give them and what I’m not is often largely a matter of compromise, as well, based on what I believe I’ll get in return. To be insulted at the notion that we all compromise–trade-off, bargain, give a little for what we get–when we sign a contract is just silly, and negates the whole idea of contract negotiation.

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  93. Teddypig
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 16:48:57

    People have called Samhain's contract “grabby” as well, because they ask for rights they in all likelihood have no intention of expoiting. But they're entitled to ask for those rights, and it's for me to decide what I'm willing to sign away, and what I'm not.

    Samhain provides a reasonably defined end date in that contract at least much like Loose Id does.

    This lifetime thing is geared formula-wise for the ePublisher to decide when that end date happens and then you have to request it.

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  94. Ann Bruce
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 16:52:17

    Kirsten — Please reread your comments. You didn’t include the word some. Had you done so, I wouldn’t have taken exception with your comments.

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  95. Ann Bruce
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 16:55:49

    Does anyone truly believe we're here lying? I certainly don't think the woman who said her contract negotiation was refused was lying, I'm sure that's how it happened for her. It did not happen that way for many, many others, however. Why are those experiences discounted so quickly and it brought back over and over to “EC claims all of your future books you ever write!” and “EC will have rights to your books no matter what even a hundred years from now!”?

    Fae, unfortunately, I get the impression some believe authors who sign with EC have been brainwashed. And, frankly, negative news is always sensational.

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  96. kirsten saell
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 17:13:40

    Kirsten -’ Please reread your comments. You didn't include the word some. Had you done so, I wouldn't have taken exception with your comments.

    Um….

    That's a lot to ask an author to put up with from an epub, but many were willing to do it because of the higher sales and exposure that comes with being pubbed by EC.

    I'm just saying that if some are upset, it might be for good reason, not the snotty, superior, “other pubs' books are mutts” reasons that many seem to be objecting to.

    Maybe I wasn't being clear enough, and if I wasn't, I apologize. What I was trying to say is that it's possible for some EC authors to feel put out by this for reasons other than egotism.

    *sigh* All right, let me amend. “That's got to rankle some authors.”

    What I'm trying to say is that some EC authors feel like they've earned the right to be there, and they've given up some things other houses offer, like distribution through third party retailers, for the opportunities

    Newbs maybe might not be allowed the creative freedom that veterans are, and it may well be that these are differences in editors' personalities, too. I'm only going by what I've been told by a few authors

    And no, not on every sub, but on enough that I wouldn't count on a quick turnaround.

    I don't think all EC authors feel this way. But I do think an author who feels put out by this deal isn't necessarily being snooty or elitist.

    I don't see how acknowledging that other writers might make similar compromises depending on what they want from their careers is an insult to anyone.

    I said that some authors may have had to write hotter than they would have liked to be accepted by EC. I didn't say every author did, or even that any author had. I certainly didn't say you did.

    Clearly, no incidences of the word “some” in there, nor any “might”s, “maybe”s, or “few”s.

    *sigh*

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  97. Ann Bruce
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 17:24:29

    My apologies for not being specific enough, but I will once again quote you as I did in comment 67:

    But again, I'm not necessarily saying that this is a horrible thing-just that the compromises authors are willing to make when choosing one pub over another are dependent on the benefits they receive in return.

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  98. Teddypig
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 17:30:26

    I get the impression some believe authors who sign with EC have been brainwashed.

    No, I get the distinct impression that not everyone is getting the same “deal” at Ellora’s Cave and is not being told that fact.

    I have talked to Emily often and I feel she is honest in her wanting to keep authors informed of what is happening. It is not as if there have not been example after example of ePubs failing to the horror of the authors that worked for them or mistreating their authors.

    That is not negative sensationalism that is fact.

    I think one thing she told me is pertinent here, authors should shop around and try out other ePubs. It is obviously not a one size fits all industry.

    Unfortunately it looks as if some ePubs out are attempting to curtail that option contractually.

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  99. Ann Bruce
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 17:31:16

    And you made that statement after going on about EC’s sex requirement that you hear from other authors.

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  100. kirsten saell
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 17:33:11

    But again, I'm not necessarily saying that this is a horrible thing-just that the compromises authors are willing to make when choosing one pub over another are dependent on the benefits they receive in return.

    Uh huh.

    Consider a “some” retroactively added. Forgive my reluctance to modify and qualify all my comments to the point of incomprehensibility. I do, however, wonder why you’re taking such a broad generality so personally.

    I said “the compromises authors are willing to make”. If you, personally, are not willing to make any, I don’t think there’s anything in the above quote to negate that.

    Again, I feel like you’re determined to feel insulted. If that’s the case, I’m feeling more and more willing to say something that would actually oblige you.

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  101. kirsten saell
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 17:34:49

    And you made that statement after going on about EC's sex requirement that you hear from other authors.

    Again, this is information I have from authors who have had this happen. Just because you have not experienced it doesn’t mean they’re liars, either, does it?

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  102. Befuddled Anon
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 17:34:50

    What was this post about again? *scrolls up to original post* Oh yeah, EC acting as distributor for smaller houses.

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  103. Ann Bruce
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 17:38:29

    Unfortunately it looks as if some ePubs out are attempting to curtail that option contractually.

    I feel like a parrot here.

    A first-refusal clause does not mean an author must contract the new work with EC, and there is a break clause in the length of rights.

    However, if the thought of simply refusing an offer or asking for rights back on a work makes you hyperventilate, then, yeah, maybe you should sub elsewhere.

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  104. Ann Bruce
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 17:43:01

    Kirsten, I’m not calling them liars. I took exception to you saying a bunch of stuff about sex requirements, THEN GOING ON TO SAY “the compromise authors are willing to make…”

    EC publishes erotic romance. Of course there’s sex and plenty of it! I interpreted your second paragraph to mean that authors who write these types of stories are compromising themselves because they would only do so to be published with EC. You don’t leave room for authors who would write these stories because they WANT to and enjoy doing so.

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  105. kirsten saell
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 17:53:46

    EC publishes erotic romance. Of course there's sex and plenty of it! I interpreted your second paragraph to mean that authors who write these types of stories are compromising themselves because they would only do so to be published with EC.

    Um, if you’d read any of the books I have published with Samhain, you’d realize how that possible interpretation of my words would have been the very last thing to occur to me. Hell, there’s sex on the first page of my second book, as well as liberal use of all three four-letter words that start with “c”. And that wasn’t part of any compromise–it’s exactly the way I want it, despite the fact that Samhain publishes sweet and sensual romance as well as erotic.

    I am sorry if I offended you–please believe it was entirely unintentional. But honestly, as an author, my first concern in situations like this is with authors and how they are treated by companies and by the industry as a whole. I don’t think it’s out of line to discuss what some publishers ask authors to give up in return for the opportunities they offer.

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  106. Teddypig
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 17:54:32

    Ann Bruce Looking through my contracts…nope, no “must have sex by chapter three,” no “options clause from hell,” and no “year-long wait.” Heck, I don't even have the rights-of-first-refusal clause. Just exactly where are you getting your information, Kirsten?

    Ann, you don’t sign contracts like that from Ellora’s Cave either as you just told us.

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  107. Ann Bruce
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 18:03:23

    Teddypig, I have the “lifetime” rights in the contracts for my current book, but there is a break clause. As for the first-refusal, I don’t have it in any of my contracts, but I have seen the current wording and I don’t see why some people are so up in arms about it.

    ETA because I left out a word.

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  108. Ann Bruce
    Oct 10, 2008 @ 18:07:51

    Kirsten, apology accepted. Since I think you’re a Canuck, have a happy turkey weekend.

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  109. Anion
    Oct 11, 2008 @ 03:42:26

    Not “EVERYONE” uses them nor are they in any other contracts I have seen from other top ePubs. So I have to disagree.

    And again, Teddy, are you talking about the length of term or the option clause? I’m very confused by your statements about both of those clauses here, to be honest. If I didn’t know better I’d think you thought the option clause was in place for a lifetime as well, and not just for one more submission–you hand in the book, they offer, you say no, you’re done (as Emily has confirmed above). No further works of yours are under option. It’s totally different from the term of rights granted for the book you signed the contract for.

    I haven’t seen contracts from any of the others, but I find the idea that EC is the only epublisher with an option clause to be frankly astounding. I can assure you, Teddy, option clauses are standard in NY publishing; read some agent blogs, you’ll see them discussing option clauses, and discussing them as something they see every day, not something totally unusual.

    It’s not hard to turn down an offer, ffs. If a man you disliked asked you to marry him, would you feel obligated to accept just because he asked you? Just say no. When your sales drop below a certain level or a certain length of time has passed, just send an email asking about getting your rights back. It’s very simple. It may not be ideal for everyone, but it’s not like you need to send any certified letters to anyone or appear in court or anything. You just send a damn email. And it’s not like this whole time they’re keeping your work in print you’re not still getting paid. You are. No, I don’t think lifetime rights is a great thing but it’s not theft either.

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  110. Teddypig
    Oct 11, 2008 @ 04:22:31

    Um sorry Anion, again apples and oranges. Ellora’s Cave is in no way shape or form a New York Publishing house.

    They are an ePublisher and those clauses might be appropriate for someone giving you money up front for that book deal but they are in no way standard for the eBook industry.

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  111. Anion
    Oct 11, 2008 @ 05:09:32

    Okay, well, again. I’m not aware of any epublishers who don’t have an option clause at all in their contracts. Both of the ehouses I wrote for before EC had them, as well. My point was that the option clause wasn’t something EC came up with on its own and it’s in no way bizarre or unheard of for a publisher to include one in their contracts. I don’t see how it’s appropriate for an advance-paying house to ask to look at your next work first but not appropriate for an epublisher to do so.

    Either way, NY house or not, an option clause is not an iron-clad contract. You do not have to accept the offer on the next work.

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  112. Teddypig
    Oct 11, 2008 @ 05:19:48

    I don't see how it's appropriate for an advance-paying house to ask to look at your next work first but not appropriate for an epublisher to do so.

    As I have said before… Whatever is a priority to you defines how limiting that or any other clause is.

    Most ePublishers will also negotiate on a clause like that or remove it if it is even in their boilerplate contract. If first refusal rights and those lifetime clauses do not bother you then sign away.

    Personally I value my time and effort and don’t want Ellora’s Cave involved in my business that much. Nor do I want to ever be in an unmanageable position where I have no “clearly defined” end dates on my contracts.

    But that is just non-koolaid drinking, self loving me.

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  113. Anion
    Oct 11, 2008 @ 05:34:28

    Most ePublishers will also negotiate on a clause like that or remove it if it is even in their boilerplate contract.

    And you have heard from several EC authors who were able to negotiate the option clause. Yes, apparently some were not. I don’t understand it myself, and it distresses me to hear it.

    Just like it distresses me to hear of other epublishers who limit their authors to one or two releases a year; for me that is a much more serious issue, but I don’t behave as though the authors who accept that are deserving of contempt.

    But that is just non-koolaid drinking, self loving me.

    Right, as opposed to koolaid-drinking, self-hating me. You know, I have not once in this entire conversation implied that you are an idiot, or brainwashed, or anything of that nature. You, on the other hand, have repeatedly done so to me and the other EC authors posting here. Nice.

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  114. Teddypig
    Oct 11, 2008 @ 05:42:40

    Right, as opposed to koolaid-drinking, self-hating me. You know, I have not once in this entire conversation implied that you are an idiot, or brainwashed, or anything of that nature. You, on the other hand, have repeatedly done so to me and the other EC authors posting here. Nice.

    I don’t know you and my comment had nothing to do with you. I was giving my personal opinion of the matter being discussed.

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  115. Teddypig
    Oct 11, 2008 @ 06:23:27

    Please give me credit for at least being capable of weighing my options and making my own decisions about my career, regardless of whether or not you feel they are the right choices for your career.

    Anion,

    I personally am impressed with people like Juliana Stone who are willing to walk away from even a top ePub when contract negotiations of clauses that they find unacceptable fall through and provide that information publicly as an example.

    I was talking about this whole matter strictly from my knowledge of contracts from other top ePubs and my personal reaction and decisions on such things.

    Not about what decisions you have made for yourself. Those are yours to make, based on your situation which I have no knowledge of, and not my place to judge. So I apologize for offending you.

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  116. Anon
    Oct 11, 2008 @ 10:12:00

    “Nor do I want to ever be in an unmanageable position where I have no “clearly defined” end dates on my contracts.”

    My god, Teddy, now you’re just blatantly ignoring information because you want EC to be the big bad wolf. You and others have been told that there ARE ‘clearly defined’ end dates to both the lifetime rights clause and the option clause. The lifetime rights clause says EXACTLY what circumstances qualify the book to be considered out of print and allows the author to ask for rights back with, as Anion said, a simple email. And it’s not a crazy list of circumstances either. You can’t ask for it back for a year and a half after it releases. It has to be under a certain number of sales per month. And then all you have to do is send them an email and the book is yours to do with what you will.

    And that kool-aid drinking remark was just low. You go ahead and be impressed with people who turn down a contract because they didn’t like a clause. But it’s less impressive for people to sign a contract that is perfectly sane in its clauses? We’re brainwashed and stupid, because we actually READ the damn contract and realized that those clauses everyone freaks the hell out about aren’t what the naysayers said they were? If they didn’t like the clause because they thought they’d never get their rights back, then they didn’t read the thing and certainly didn’t have a lawyer explain it to them. If they didn’t sign because they thought EC would get grabby and lay claim to every book they wrote from then on, they again didn’t read the damn contract properly. That’s THEM being stupid, imo. Because one should always understand the contract one is signing (or not signing in this case).

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  117. Teddypig
    Oct 11, 2008 @ 10:32:54

    Because one should always understand the contract one is signing

    I think I actually did mention that.

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  118. Juliana Stone
    Oct 11, 2008 @ 10:48:16

    I wasn’t going to comment….basically because I’m horrified at how base and just plain nasty this conversation has become. I certainly don’t like being called stupid because I refused a contract…there were mitgataing circumstance that I had to take into consideration, and yeah, I had an agent and a lawyer look over the contract. I know what I was signing, just as I’m sure every author at EC does…I think it comes down to personal choice in what you’re comfortable signing…and that’s it period. I understand you are all very passionate about your work, and where you publish etc. I just don’t like the pettiness and name calling and low blows that I’ve seen here.
    I wish everyone well with whatever you’re working on, with whatever publisher you’re working with…but I for one am going to avoid forums like this from now on. It’s very negative and I think authors need to support each other and not tear each other down…or at least to RESPECTUFLLY agree to disagree.
    Thanks for the eyeopener

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  119. Anon
    Oct 11, 2008 @ 11:31:10

    No need to be offended, because I clearly stated that IF an author didn’t sign because they thought they’d never get their rights back, or IF they didn’t sign because they thought EC would have rights to every book they ever wrote, THEN they were stupid. I stand by that, because it’s very clear per the contract that neither of those things are true. You claim you did have a lawyer explain the contract to you, so I’m assuming you DID know neither of those things were true, hence I was not talking about YOU when making my statement.

    And while you don’t like being called stupid, which no one did by the way, we don’t like being equated to koolaid drinking (if anyone doesn’t get the reference google Jonestown and see why it’s so very insulting), brainwashed fools, which we were.

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  120. Teddypig
    Oct 11, 2008 @ 11:45:13

    Anon,

    I think you are very much aware I was talking in reference to the matter of signing contracts using loosely defined terms like “lifetime” which I would equate to ME drinking that Koolaid.

    I like those standard 5 or 7 year contract terms I have seen. They make more sense for me.

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  121. Anonymous
    Oct 11, 2008 @ 12:49:20

    I haven’t had time to read all the responses, but I just wanted to address the misconception that EC’s sales are always higher than other ebpubs’. I’m published with both EC and another well-known epublisher (multiple books at both). My sales at the other epublisher are higher across the board, and I believe it’s mostly because of the boost from second-party vendors. If you took the second-party sales away, my sales at the other ebpub would be similar or equal to my EC sales.

    I’m not putting down either publisher, the quality of the writers, the editors or the products they release, but I think some of the changes made by EC in the past few years *have* had a huge negative impact on sales. So much so that if an author bases her submissions choices on potential income alone, EC certainly shouldn’t be placed far and above other epublishers like it used to be.

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  122. Teddypig
    Oct 11, 2008 @ 13:48:52

    Lets review….

    Juliana Stone they have a first refusal clause…it's there….I wanted it removed, but they wouldn't…they tried to reword it, but I was not going to sign a contract with any type of clause like that. They also wouldn't budge on the rights clause…I thought I was being more than generous in asking for a max of 10 years, but they refused and said they wanted lifetime rights

    Juliana Stone I had an agent and a lawyer look over the contract. I know what I was signing

    Anon I clearly stated that IF an author didn't sign because they thought they'd never get their rights back, or IF they didn't sign because they thought EC would have rights to every book they ever wrote, THEN they were stupid. I stand by that, because it's very clear per the contract that neither of those things are true. You claim you did have a lawyer explain the contract to you, so I'm assuming you DID know neither of those things were true, hence I was not talking about YOU when making my statement.

    Seems they did advise her to not sign the Ellora’s Cave contract without negotiation on those specific clauses because they interfered with her New York Publisher’s contract.

    At least that is my understanding. Your mileage may very.

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  123. Charlee Compo
    Oct 11, 2008 @ 16:04:25

    I have over thirty books with EC and over thirty with another publisher. I make just as much with that other publisher as I do with EC. I agree it has to do with secondary sales. Being at Fictionwise is a big help. At one point, I had thirteen books in the top twenty positions of dark fantasy at FW for two weeks straight (printed out those pages from FW and framed them!). I made a lot of money even with the FW percentages.

    Each of my books have been released in print at that other pub but only seven of my EC/CP books have been put into print…and those weren’t even the ones that have sold the best electronically. I make good money with the other publisher’s print books and that pub doesn’t have contracts with Amazon or ANY brick and mortar stores. Sales are strictly from the publisher’s website.

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  124. Torquere Press: The Case Of The Poison Pen Names | The Naughty Bits
    Oct 17, 2008 @ 09:54:09

    [...] Owners with a “my way or the highway” attitude in contract dealings or otherwise. [...]

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