Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

I’m Exhausted and Need Your Help

exhausted.jpgSomeone once asked (I think it was Laura Florand) whether I ever feel like quitting blogging and I do. Particularly on Saturday nights when I am supposed to be blogging about ebooks and ebook technology. I feel like there isn’t anything new to say. DRM is bad. New York needs to do a better job getting their books digitized. There is no perfect ebook reader.

I suppose I could talk about the iPhone which comes out in one month but there really isn’t anything out there that isn’t just totally speculative except for maybe the pictures that some Apple employee took with the iPhone’s camera. (The pictures look alot better than the grainy horrible ones taken with my Motorola Q).

Usually when I feel creatively tapped out on Sundays, I review an ebookstore. Let me tell you, they all have flaws. LOL. I was chatting with Nicole from BlogHappy on Friday. She came to town and I was fortunate to meet her cute self and her equally adorable husband. We chatted about how horrible the New York Publisher’s websites were for ebooks. Even Harper Collins, who does probably the best job putting out digital content second to Harlequin, has a very difficult to navigate website. Note to HC: Can you please NOT put up a listing for each different format of your digitized book? And what is with the Google ads?

I do have a couple blog topics that I plan to address in the future: the democratization of reviews; and the elimination of NY publishing dominance but frankly I lack the brain power to generate any meaningful content of those issues. I’m still debating whether I need to redo the video review which I’ve already redone once to make the font more readable. Then I realized the stupid song cut out at the last third of the video. Alas, not enough energy to change it.

I am throwing myself at your mercy. Is there some topic that is burning and you would love for it to be discussed here? I’m off to buy myself a new dress. Clearly some retail therapy is in order.

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

40 Comments

  1. TeddyPig
    May 06, 2007 @ 05:31:20

    Geek idea pig to the rescue! Stand back!

    Audio romance books online in digital format. Where? iTunes? Acceptance by TPTB?

    Adoption by the eBook publishers yet? Where are they?

    ReplyReply

  2. kardis
    May 06, 2007 @ 06:06:45

    I’m not gonna ve very helpful right now, but I saw that dress recently and I think you made an awesome choice!

    ReplyReply

  3. kardis
    May 06, 2007 @ 06:07:14

    *be* wow, I need coffee to kick in!

    ReplyReply

  4. Jaci Burton
    May 06, 2007 @ 06:54:48

    Don’t look to me for the brain cell…I don’t have it. But I love the dress. Now I want to go shopping, and it’s all your fault.

    ReplyReply

  5. Ann Wesley Hardin
    May 06, 2007 @ 07:13:03

    One of the readers I spoke to at RT is a long distance trucker and she would definitely love to get her hands on audio romance books. So Teddy tapped into something there. Why not investigate that for us? I’d do it myself, but since you need a topic, go for it! (besides, I’m waaaay too lazy ;)

    ReplyReply

  6. Bev(BB)
    May 06, 2007 @ 07:49:26

    Audio books, yes. My daughter would love those. Then she might stop bugging me for the Ebookwise. ;p

    ReplyReply

  7. Michelle
    May 06, 2007 @ 08:45:47

    Sorry you are having a rough time. Love the kitten picture. Here are some topics just off the top of my head:

    Does interaction between authors and readers on websites/blogs help or hurt. Is there a backlash? Is there a risk of authors trying to please their more vocal fans? Do authors risk alienating fans or future fans when they weigh in on other authors or trash other authors. (This came up at least to me when a couple of low to midlist authors were pretty nasty about a very popular author on a message board)

    Do you think paranormal is here to stay, or will the wheel turn back to the historical/regency?

    A lot of readers bemoan the “political correctedness” of recent novels and aren’t that thrilled with the kickass heroines. Is there really a demand for the TSTL/dimwit fragile heroine? Or does this somehow tie in to some women’s fantasies of wanting to be completely taken care of, swept off her feet? Is this even tied in to the current debates of the forced seduction/rape fantasy where no doesn’t always mean no?

    Discussing reviews which is more powerful a glowing good review or a review that trashes a book. Do bad/trashing a novel reviews inspire more publicity-do more readers go and seek out the book to see if it is as bad as the review claimed?

    Enough of me rambling. Hope you feel better soon.

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  8. Collette
    May 06, 2007 @ 09:16:22

    Very cute dress. (Not gonna be of help with any ideas though–sorry!) Have you seen the Boden catalog? www dot boden dot com. If you like that dress, there’s some stuff on Boden that I think you’ll also like.

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  9. Sarah Frantz
    May 06, 2007 @ 09:31:27

    I’d like to add to Michelle’s question about TSTL heroines with another option–is it actually all about the hero instead? Is it not the kick-ass heroines people don’t like, but the too-PC heroes who aren’t all alpha and domineering? My obsession, of course, but I think a valid alternative to Michelle’s speculations.

    I’ll think on other topic options.

    ReplyReply

  10. raine
    May 06, 2007 @ 09:41:52

    Hmmm…there’s something I thought about tackling, but sure you’d do a better job of it…

    Do publishers sometimes give their readers less credit for perception and intelligence than they should?

    I’ve wondered about that occasionally. With the surge in erotica, for example, it was as if some of them just latched onto the fact that readers wanted it hot–and totally ignored the notion that readers might also want a plot to go with it.
    Or the brainstorm of a certain publisher, as noted on Karen’s blog, to eliminate most commas in a manuscript, thus making it a faster, simpler read? Not giving the reader much credit, are they?
    That’s scary stuff.

    Love the kitten…

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  11. Rashenbo
    May 06, 2007 @ 09:42:31

    I’m not sure that I have any burning questions on the ebook industry or what’s going on with them. I know that I don’t have an ebook reader and the only two ebooks I’ve bought…. I’ve just bought them as pdfs and read them on my computer. I do enjoy visiting your blog though… and I’d miss it!

    With that said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a week or so off to recharge and just collect your thoughts.

    ReplyReply

  12. Charlene
    May 06, 2007 @ 09:56:16

    Seriously? I’d love to see an interview with Denise Little, particularly her thoughts on the future of publishing and epublishing. There’s a summary in the most recent NINK newsletter on the conference recap about the future of publishing and her remarks about technology fixing current publishing problems really stood out at me.

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  13. Charlene
    May 06, 2007 @ 10:06:25

    Weighing in with my thoughts: Sarah, it’s my opinion that the kick-ass heroine doesn’t go over well when she isn’t balanced by an equally strong hero. Just like when the uber-alpha hero is paired with a dishrag, the story has no balance. I just finished Night Lost which puts a kick-ass heroine with a very well-matched hero and it worked so, so well.

    Michelle, I think it’d be a big mistake to change what you do based on a vocal minority, but on the whole I think the online interaction is a good thing. I pay attention to trends and topics. I pay attention to what people are saying. I notice what books everybody is talking about, and what they have in common. I listen more than I talk (or would that be, lurk more than I post?) but I see the interaction as valuable.

    ReplyReply

  14. bam
    May 06, 2007 @ 10:46:14

    that dress is delish, darling. luuuuucky!

    ReplyReply

  15. Christine Rimmer
    May 06, 2007 @ 11:09:41

    Love the kitten. Love the dress. I really like all of Michelle’s suggestions.

    ReplyReply

  16. Michelle
    May 06, 2007 @ 11:15:43

    Good question about the hero aspect. When reading do you want the alpha hero even if he would be an ass to live with versus the beta hero. Also which do you hold to a higher standard the hero or the heroine? Personally I can take more mistakes from the hero, but if the heroine is a dimwit I won’t enjoy the book even if the hero is wonderful. So I guess I am saying a “bad” heroine can ruin a book for me but I give more leeway for a “bad” hero-I know how sexist.

    ReplyReply

  17. Michelle
    May 06, 2007 @ 11:16:49

    Thanks, Christine.

    ReplyReply

  18. Robin
    May 06, 2007 @ 11:43:32

    adorable dress

    Have you considered doing a once monthly column instead? I absolutely have no idea how you keep the pace up here, Jane. You have tons and tons of content and IMO you could slow all of it down a little and still have a rockingly busy blog.

    ReplyReply

  19. Laura Florand
    May 06, 2007 @ 11:58:08

    I love the kitten! And the dress. And guiltily hope I didn’t help create the fatigue by suggesting it! :)

    I have no ideas. But I am truly impressed by the way you and Jayne (with some help from Janine and others!) have run such a professional blog this past year and turned it into such an authority in its field. That never ceases to amaze me. I think it’s because I’m so impressed that I keep wondering, “And you never get tired?”

    ReplyReply

  20. Laura Florand
    May 06, 2007 @ 11:59:36

    Also what Robin said.

    ReplyReply

  21. Laura Florand
    May 06, 2007 @ 12:02:13

    Also Michelle. Those would make great op/ed pieces and draw LOTS of comments, I am sure.

    ReplyReply

  22. stephanie feagan
    May 06, 2007 @ 12:10:41

    I’ve got it! Let’s chew the fat about politics. Yes, yes, let’s get down and dirty about how women’s rights seem to be taking a giant leap backward, courtesy of the Supreme Court and select state legislatures. Or let’s talk about homophobia in America and how it’s alive and well. Hmm, we could discuss Iraq and how we feel about the Middle East.

    No?

    All righty then – how about you write a post about why some books seem to rise above the pack, that maybe it’s because they touch nerves? Not necessaruly bad, painful nerves – but those that reach our soul, make us feel something beyond a mere pleasant sensation? To me, the books I remember are those that reached somewhere inside of me and yanked, hard, and stayed with me weeks after I read them.

    I want more books like that.

    I have to agree with Robin, however – you are a powerhouse, a whirling dervish, an amazingly prolific blogger. It’s no wonder you’re tired. Speaking for myself, I so appreciate your efforts. This has become one of my favorite places to visit on the Internet. Thank you! :)

    ReplyReply

  23. Emma
    May 06, 2007 @ 12:30:17

    Forget blogging, can we talk about that dress? It’s extraordinarily gorgeous.

    ReplyReply

  24. Jane
    May 06, 2007 @ 12:47:03

    Actually, my real malaise is related to ebook tech topics so I am thinking that if I run out of creative ideas on this topic we might just add in more ebook reviews on sunday. I’m still opinionated enough to come up with topics on Tuesday but I love these ideas that people have put forth.

    As for said dress. It’s silk and so I am not buying it. I am trying to reduce my dry cleaning bill. Why couldn’t it be cotton? It would be lovely in cotton.

    ReplyReply

  25. Angie
    May 06, 2007 @ 12:51:27

    I have a few ideas but if I give them to you, I’ll have nothing for my RTB columns and then I’d have to resign from blogging there (again). Wasn’t that a helpful reply?

    ReplyReply

  26. stephanie feagan
    May 06, 2007 @ 12:54:39

    Ditto, Emma – awesome dress. And who doesn’t love Anthropologie? But whoo damn, they can be pricey.

    But maybe that’s just me talking with two daughters still on the payroll. Do kids ever actually go out on their own and become independent???

    ReplyReply

  27. Emily
    May 06, 2007 @ 13:07:41

    Some thoughts/ideas:

    -ebook pricing by epubs and NY presses
    -self-published romance ebooks
    -cover art on ebook and difference requirements than for print
    -author farming/high output and the effects on quality
    -niche e-markets, spanking Femdom etc?

    ReplyReply

  28. kate r
    May 06, 2007 @ 14:52:15

    is that kitty from cuteness overload?

    I’ve been thinking of ways to do PR (yeah, the whole RT craziness got me started and so did the smartbitches) I’m currently doing a “flog the blog” and a book contest. I would love to get information like. . .um . . .what people like to win in contests, because whoooee am I sick of giving away gift certificates–they’re dull.

    Nalini Singh did the viral blogging best, but what else can writers do that will be cooler? Oh and do people take the time to look at those little videos? They drive me crazy, even the best of them.

    There are a couple of authors doing virtual book tours, but meh, there must be some way of doing online/real world that hasn’t been done and doesn’t feel spam-mish

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  29. Janine
    May 06, 2007 @ 15:17:29

    [quote comment="27843"]Ditto, Emma – awesome dress. And who doesn’t love Anthropologie? But whoo damn, they can be pricey.

    But maybe that’s just me talking with two daughters still on the payroll. Do kids ever actually go out on their own and become independent???[/quote]

    No, no, not just you. I get the Anthropologie catalog but it’s been years since my last purchase. I drool over the clothing, and then balk at the prices.

    ReplyReply

  30. Shiloh Walker
    May 06, 2007 @ 16:45:59

    is it actually all about the hero instead?

    This is an interesting topic idea. Sometimes, I think yeah, it is all about the hero…I do my best to make the heroine that we can relate to, try to keep her from doing the TSTL and then all I hear about is the hero.

    But on the flipside…if I didn’t worry about the heroine, then I’d end up having people not satisfied because she was flat or just TSTL. ;o)

    Curious, though, why there’s rarely commentary (in general) about the heroine unless readers just hated her.

    ReplyReply

  31. Devon
    May 06, 2007 @ 17:04:02

    I was thinking about something with comparing ebook pubs’ pricing, looking the different lengths and prices, because I am finding it interesting. I was interested in two novels by Ciar Cullen. One was 5.50 at Samhain, the other 6.99 at Loose-Id, and that pretty much made my decision for me. What influences pricing decisions?

    Or how about looking at the different programs used by folks who haven’t yet invested in an e reader ? PDF vs. MS Reader etc. Which one is most popular and why?

    Is it all about the hero is a question I think about a lot, especially when comparing the heroines in paranormal romance to the ones in urban fantasy.

    ReplyReply

  32. DS
    May 06, 2007 @ 17:54:09

    I actually found an eBook reader that I like– it is an old tablet PC I already had. WebDT 375. Only has 64 MB of memory but has a CF slot. Runs Windows CE 4.2 so it’ pretty much useless for anything else any more. Has a touchscreen. I was taking it places to play Freecell while still looking like I was doing something serious instead of being bored out of my mind.

    I bought some ebooks recently from BAEN Books– All books I had before but they were bundled and I thought I could travel with them for when I run out of audio books. (Oh, audible.com and Harlequin have partnered but the only content I’ve bought has been a rather good mystery set in late 19th cent and some urban fantasy stuff that was published by Luna.)

    Then I found that Mobipocket had reader software that would work on my tablet. It has a color screen and about the side of a trade paperback. It’s a bit heavy and clunky for someone who is used to an ipod but I don’t have to worry about the light and I can adjust font size with the mobipocket reader.

    If I can figure out how to use the Mobipocket creator I am thinking about putting some of my files on CF also so I don’t have to carry around 40 lbs of dead trees

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  33. Jane
    May 06, 2007 @ 18:44:56

    Oh, and as for the kitty – here is one of my greatest blogging secrets – Google Image. I typed in exhausted and this is one of the first pictures that showed up. It certainly belongs on cuteoverload.

    DS – I do like the Mobipocket software – on the desktop, at least. It’s got a nice cataloguing feature that allows you to rate the books, mark which ones you’ve read, etc. I think any ebook software in the future should have something like that. Sony’s failure to come up with some type of catalogueing (sp?) really frustrates me. If the Amazon reader isn’t so terribly fugly, I might jump ship because I am sure that will run the Mobipocket software which is infinitely superior to the Sony software. Hmm. Maybe I’ll write on that in the future.

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  34. Karen Scott
    May 06, 2007 @ 19:40:43

    How about getting an interview with Tina Engler, AKA Jaid Black? Or Raelene Gorlinski at EC?

    I thought about e-mailing Jaid, but she might not be speaking to me right now, which is a shame cuz I like her a lot.

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  35. Sarah Frantz
    May 06, 2007 @ 19:52:07

    Maybe blogging about “classic” romances? Like, do a review of Pride and Prejudice or Jane Eyre or Gone with the Wind (NOT a romance, IMHO–Pam Regis agrees!). Give them the same treatment you give just published books. I think that would be fun. But it’s hardly less work for you.

    I also want to commend you for a fabulous blog! I’m so impressed with how much quality writing you manage to post. As a sometime blogger on Teach Me Tonight, I know how difficult it is and I think you’re brilliant.

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  36. Tara Marie
    May 07, 2007 @ 03:44:44

    Well, since I’m still marginally clueless when it comes to ebooks and technology (thanks to you I’m not longer completely clueless–LOL) I would suggest a post about the general upkeep of readers. I only say this because mine completely died when I allowed the batteries to die–even though it was turned off. Lost everything that was in it, but then I’d read everything that was in it, so it wasn’t the end of the world.

    And as to other topics, please avoid politics and religion :D

    And of course Gone With The Wind isn’t a romance–it doesn’t have a HEA ending.

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  37. kate r again
    May 07, 2007 @ 06:09:50

    I’d love an interview with an editor/author/anyone who’s been around, about the sub-genres that have come and gone (and come again) and how long trends last now, versus a few years ago. I’d really like to hear from the person at H/S who follows these things because you KNOW there must be someone who does that almost full time. Or there should be.

    Anyway, I’m convinced that styles in stories come and go much more quickly in this intertube age. Take chick lit romcom–Whoosh—that trend came and went fast. (Except for vampires. THey’ve hung around a lot longer than I expected.)

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  38. LinM
    May 07, 2007 @ 06:35:54

    I a suggestion that is similar to Tara Marie’s – what about a column on keeping up with the latest releases of ebook software. I was inspired by your reply to DS:

    DS – I do like the Mobipocket software – on the desktop, at least. It's got a nice cataloguing feature that allows you to rate the books, mark which ones you've read, etc.

    I was settling for the Mobipocket software that I downloaded 6 months ago (I’m limited because of the age of my hardware and my OS) but your comment inspired me – I wanted better cataloging features. After some headbanging, I have beta versions of the Mobibook generator and reader that work on my ancient laptop/newer palm AND give me better management of the library and better presentation of full page graphics on the small screen. WooHoo.

    I guess I should try uBook lite again. The last 2 times, I have seen nothing but the palm orange reset screen but who knows.

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  39. Miki
    May 12, 2007 @ 10:29:00

    You might want to consider a look at the UMPC as an expensive but feature-rich replacement for a dedicated eBook reader. (They’re really like oversized PDAs, but with a full version of Windows on board).

    You can check these sites:
    UMPC site
    UMPC blog site
    Microsoft’s propaganda page about UMPCs :wink:

    P.S. I’m not affiliated with any of these sites or manufacturers – I’m just a bit of a gadget geek and I’ve been drooling over them for a couple of years (but not willing – yet – to spend the money!)

    ReplyReply

  40. Jules Jones
    Feb 05, 2009 @ 07:03:44

    Looks as if we’ve got spammers, plural — comments 40 and 41 as I type are spambots looking for Googlejuice for the urls linked in their bylines.

    ReplyReply

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