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Is the Marriage Between Epublishing and NY a Good One?

Last week there was a big announcement from Samhain that it would be partnering with Kensington to bring a new Samhain imprint to the Kensington line. Ellora’s Cave also provided information about its increased output with Simon & Schuster for the year 2008, including a roll out of single titles to accompany the already popular anthologies.

Many authors were tremendously excited. Fellow blogger and writer, Dionne Galace, sent an all cap SQUEE through the email once the news was announced. However, a thoughtful question was raised by author Jordan Summers as to whether ebook authors can be hurt by NY publication of their books. Summers has an exciting (to me although I’ve not yet read it, but the concept sounds very interesting) series debuting from Tor in Fall 2008. Summers posited that print release of her early titles might not be such a great thing because there were books from her early days that she’d rather not see in mass distribution unless she had an opportunity to rewrite them.

Summers is not the only author to feel this way.

  • Jennifer Crusie maligns Sizzle more than any reader has. I thought it was fine. Not her best work, but certainly not terrible.
  • May speculated about how Nora Roberts feels about her first book, Irish Thorobred, still being in print. A hilarious recap of the plot is done by Missy, Meljean Brook’s inner child at Sybil’s blog: Part 1 and Part 2. Suffice to say the book is about Irish, Horses, and Poteen Factory.
  • Anne Frasier debated on her blog whether releasing her old category romance novels would hurt the reputation she was building as a gritty fiction writer. Her out of print titles haven’t been re-released and part of that may be due to a decision on her part and part may be due to the fact that Moxie Press, who inquired about reprinting them, folded.
    Personally, I loved some of Frasier’s older novels.
  • Iris Johansen pretends she never wrote romances and when given the opportunity to rewrite the The Wind Dancer trilogy, she edited out the romance. Note to Ms. Johansen, you wrote Wild Silver for Loveswept, a bodice ripper complete with the Fiesty heroine and the ALPHA male hero. Just sayin.

Summers also brought up another important point that I, the reader, had never thought of and that is market glut: too many books by the same writer. I don’t know if that is really a problem these days. It seems that readers are anxious to read more of the same, if they like it. The Random House stable of authors who have received the back-to-back promotional push like Tracy Warren, Keri Arthur, and Lara Adrian, all became USA Today Bestselling authors. If I really like a book by a particular author, I’ll go back and buy that author’s backlist. I did that with Jo Goodman. After I read the Compass Club books, I had to go and find all the others. If she had had four more coming out in the next four months, I would have been gleeful.

After reading Summers post, I recognized that there were two negatives for me as a reader in this epublishing to NY deal. It mostly stems from subsidiary sales rather than new ebook + print initiatives.

First, the idea that a bad book could impair future sales is probably realistic. I know that sometimes I am a one and done reader. There are plenty of authors that I won’t try again unless someone calls me on the phone and harangues me into reading it. Or emails me. Because if a reader spends 4 hours or more with someone’s writing and throws the book down in disgust, it’s doubtful the reader will give that author another minute of her time. It’s too precious and there are plenty of other books/authors to read. Readers aren’t likely to look at the copyright date and recognize that it is an old book.

Second, and this is the most frustrating, is when print books are released under a different title/name/cover (and sometimes even copyright) but have been previously published, either in print or ebook format. This appears deceptive to the reader. This was the case for the anthology, Mysteria. Three of the four stories were recycled/revised versions of the material in Bewitched, Bothered & BeVampyred. My blood pressure still rises when I re-read Susan Grant’s defense of the recycling of stories. She stated that the stories in Bewitched, Bothered & BeVampyred amounted to nothing more than teasers. Readers love paying for teasers. Actually, readers don’t and they tend to hold these things against the author – not the publisher or the bookseller.

It would be of great help to readers if, in the ebook to NY print transition, the authors were allowed an opportunity to rewrite AND that any reprint (even if it includes more plot and more sex and more characters) is clearly marked.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and 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


  1. erastes
    Jun 10, 2007 @ 02:24:22

    I’m sure that the print publishers wouldn’t flood the market the way the epubs do – and hopefully, if it means that some of the badly edited ebooks get a decent rewrite, and the dreadful covers are improved, it could be a good thing,

  2. Alessia Brio
    Jun 10, 2007 @ 03:55:01

    Well, what we’re talking about with Samhain is the difference between ebook-to-print and ebook-to-NY-print. So, even without the arrangement with Kensington, those ebooks are going to print. That renders most of the above discussion about this marriage moot. (Oh, sure — the issues re rewrites and covers and editing and “reprints” are still valid issues, just far broader ones.) The difference here, as I see it, is simply MUCH wider distribution. Samhain gets insulated from wicked returns that often hammer POD publishers, and Kensington gets a huge influx of quality work to distribute. Certainly sounds like a win-win to me.

  3. Tara Marie
    Jun 10, 2007 @ 04:09:15

    I’m coming at it from a different perspective, reader. I’m looking forward to these publishing marriages. Not a huge fan of ebooks, I know I need a decent reader :) so I’m more likely to pick these books up when they go into print, but I’m not willing to pay $12-$17 for an author I’ve never read. Of course, I’m assuming Kensington and S&S will eventually be releasing them in mmpb.

    I don’t really see the concern, authors that “make it” have their earlier works republished all the time. I don’t think having Irish Thoroubred republished every couple of years hurts NR career, she may not like the quality of her writing, but it’s not going keep fans from buying new releases.

    Maybe I’m being a little insensitive with author concerns, but as a reader this really works for me.


    PS Iris Johansen needs to get over her “I was a romance writer” anxiety. I have a bunch of her contemporaries and historicals on my keeper shelves. When I need an IJ fix I read those, not her new suspense books.

  4. Karen Scott
    Jun 10, 2007 @ 04:59:08

    I can’t think why any publisher would want to release a book, knowing that there were errors in it. Letting an author re-write some of their earlier stuff, before going to print strikes me as being good business sense methinks.

    Like Tara, I see the marriage between Epubs and NY houses as a positive step, after all, it’s an opportunity to reach a new and much bigger audience, i.e, those people who don’t have a computer, as well those people who aren’t interested in e-books, period.

    As for Iris Johansen, anybody who’d deny the very thing that gave them the platform to further their career in the first place, needs a good kick up the arse.

  5. Angie
    Jun 10, 2007 @ 06:07:21

    Well, what we're talking about with Samhain is the difference between ebook-to-print and ebook-to-NY-print. So, even without the arrangement with Kensington, those ebooks are going to print. That renders most of the above discussion about this marriage moot. (Oh, sure -‘ the issues re rewrites and covers and editing and “reprintsâ€? are still valid issues, just far broader ones.) The difference here, as I see it, is simply MUCH wider distribution. Samhain gets insulated from wicked returns that often hammer POD publishers, and Kensington gets a huge influx of quality work to distribute. Certainly sounds like a win-win to me.


  6. Susan Grant
    Jun 10, 2007 @ 08:08:55

    I’m not out on the web much anymore, especially when on deadline, but I get those “google alerts” now and sometimes it leads me to blogs. I normally never comment, but I felt sad to see you mention that I make your blood pressure rise. I am sorry you feel that way. I never tried to deceive anyone. I was asked to and agreed to help a very good cause by contributing a short chapter to a charity antho. I did a good thing, I took time out of my life to help others, and I have to say I am saddened and sickened to see my actions and those of the other BBB authors constantly questioned. BBB got out to about 1000 readers I think. I then had the chance to reach 85,000 readers!!! with a little idea I thought was good and deserved to be read widely. What I wrote for BBB was 18 typewritten pages. What I wrote for Mysteria was 135 type-written pages!!! If I can’t call BBB version a “teaser” fine, but come on, they were two different animals. 18 pp versus 135! Overwhelmingly those who bought both books felt as we did, that here are some authors who didn’t have to but took time to help people they didn’t know, and only a few continuously beat a dead horse accusing us of somehow ripping off readers. No matter how many times I read this argument, I’ll never buy it.

    I cherish the readers of my books, and never set out to deceive anyone. (In fact, I even posted on my website and on Amazon that the stories were related!) Anyone who’s interacted with me knows how much I value my readers–and how I hate to enter debates online. I posted here only for the chance to defend my name and intentions–and to say enough is enough already! I’m sick of seeing me and the generous authors who contributed to BBB and Mysteria raked over the coals for doing a good deed!!! Too many people don’t do anything for anyone. Don’t bash and make assumptions over the relatively few who did care enough to help someone.

    **I just learned that “Mortal in Mysteria” was nominated in the novella category for a PRISM Award, which recognizes the best in paranormal romance each year. I’m so glad it could reach readers who then thought it worthy enough to honor in such a way. Thank you!

  7. Mrs Giggles
    Jun 10, 2007 @ 09:46:00

    I have read both BBB and Mysteria (haven’t had the time to review Mysteria yet at the time of writing – too many book reviews on the backlog and too little time, et cetera) but I can vouch for Ms Grant here. The “recycled” stories are vastly expanded. Speaking for myself, I was a little taken aback when I realized upon reading Mysteria that I have read most of these stories before, but they were considerably beefed-up version of those BBB tales so I can’t say I feel too cheated.

    And if Ms Grant’s numbers are right and BBB sold 1,000 as opposed to the much larger sales of Mysteria, I don’t think readers being ripped off is much of an issue given that so few readers read BBB in the first place.

  8. Sybil
    Jun 10, 2007 @ 11:08:16

    I can't think why any publisher would want to release a book, knowing that there were errors in it. Letting an author re-write some of their earlier stuff, before going to print strikes me as being good business sense methinks.

    I think it could be a time thing and a money thing. Does the publisher have to pay the author more for the edits? And does the author have time?

    SEP has been making noise about redoing Glitter Baby but hasn’t had the time to do it. Last I heard she was going to be working on it this year. I have a few issues with it because the wait has allowed the book’s price to sky rocket in used sales. And what edits will she do? Will they improve the story? Will they change it? Is that a good thing or not?

    Nicole Jordan has been reworking her books as they get reissued. They reflect more of todays PC ‘all the way, all the time’. Is that good? Is it still the same book? I admit I would rather the hero didn’t cheat than did but should the author change a book to meet current market appeal? Or if they are doing it to make the book what they first wanted but for whatever reason couldn’t at the time – does that make it ok?

    The book is the authors baby. Their tale to tell. But once it is released into the world should they get a ‘do over’?

    You can’t bury your past books. Of course an authors first books will be different than their 20th. I would hope they are always improving and changing but if you say today what you wrote 5 years ago is bad – don’t buy it. Will you say in 5 years what you write then is great don’t buy that crap written in 2007? To me the author is saying do yourself a favor don’t buy my books.

    As for people like Iris Johansen I solve that by not buying anything she writes. Am I missing some great romance from 10 years ago, maybe but I am sure I will find something else to read. And if I want to read a book that is suspense there are more authors out there than her. She doesn’t need my money anymore than I need her books. Problem solved for both of us.

  9. Angela
    Jun 10, 2007 @ 11:18:08

    My concern? E-books have only taken off in the erotic romance category, while non-erotic sub-genres have languished. The Samhain deal doesn’t exactly make me do the snoopy dance because I don’t, in particularly, seek erotica/erotic romance. I’d be happier and feel as though the genre can be somewhat saved with this deal if Samhain had made a reputation of publishing books in all romance categories that NY didn’t feel were “marketable” for them (namely historicals). If this were the case, it would mean that an author who doesn’t write your typical Regency Historical, or an author who is writing that straight ST contemporary readers have claimed to miss, would get a chance to reach mainstream audiences they wouldn’t being solely e-pubbed.

    And even then, if Samhain had a reputation for excellent all-around romance/women’s fiction, would Kensington be able to say “nope” if an author on the roster wrote something out of the “box”?

  10. Kristie(J)
    Jun 10, 2007 @ 11:34:49

    There’s much to think about in this post but this in particular caught my attention

    Anne Frasier debated on her blog whether releasing her old category romance novels would hurt the reputation she was building as a gritty fiction writer. Her out of print titles haven't been re-released and part of that may be due to a decision on her part and part may be due to the fact that Moxie Press, who inquired about reprinting them, folded.
    Personally, I loved some of Frasier's older novels.

    I don’t think it should hurt Ms. Frasier’s newer books. She’s now writing under a different name than her romance and unless you are kind of “in the know” you might never realize they were the same author is her old romance were repubed under Theresa Weir. They (her Theresa Weir) books are wonderful and I’m constantly looking for the few I still don’t have. I would love to see them rereleased!

  11. Patrice Michelle
    Jun 10, 2007 @ 11:53:06

    I agree you can’t bury your old books, but ask any author and I’ll bet they’ll tell you…when looking at a past book, even if it was just written last year, they’ll find things they could’ve done to improve the story…either in plot, characterization or just a better turn of a phrase. When you’re writing a book…you’re just too close to it to see things that could be done better. But after writing books inbetween, your perspective is fresh when you go back to that older book and yep you do find things you wish you could edit/change, etc. Writing is always an evolving endeavor, and at least for me personally, I know I’ve grown as a writer since that first book and even a book from a year ago. I hope to always continue to learn and improve on my craft for the rest of my writing career.

  12. Charlene Teglia
    Jun 10, 2007 @ 11:59:22

    Well, whether it’s good or bad, the genie’s out of the bottle! The change has happened. I think the NY/epub marriage (great description!) was inevitable and makes a lot of sense from a business perspective.

    Lots of interesting points raised here. Is it good to revise a book before re-releasing it? Probably, if only from a craft perspective. Even if it’s not updated to reflect changed values, etc., the chances are the author’s gotten better and would like to revise the work to the level he/she is capable of now as opposed to then.

    Then there’s the very real factor that any book a reader picks up by an author is potentially the first and/or last. If somebody reads a book written many years and much progress as a writer earlier, it doesn’t matter how much better the author’s work is today. That work is the first and possibly last impression the reader has to judge by. I know that I read a re-release by an author I love that was very early work…and it did not compare favorably to her current work. If I’d read that book first, would I have read and bought her current books? Maybe not. So yes, I can understand why an author might not be universally thrilled to have old work re-released without the opportunity to revise first.

    Angela, the Samhain/Kensington imprint is not erotic romance only. Samhain publishes all genres of fiction (and even some nonfiction).

  13. DS
    Jun 10, 2007 @ 12:14:43

    Sandra Brown was someone else who wasn’t all that happy to have her earlier Loveswepts and silhouettes resurrected. I remember some readers seemed to be unhappy because they thought she was being snobby about her romances in the cover copy she provided.

  14. Roslyn
    Jun 10, 2007 @ 12:31:04

    I’ve been listening to my husband weep, wail and gnash his teeth similarly about George Lucas re-doing the Star Wars movies. I can actually understand this both from the fan POV, as well as the author’s. I think we have to understand that once the written word is out there, its out there and there’s not a whole helluva lot we can do about it. I would imagine that without deadlines most authors would revise their books to the point of obsession. I think its the nature of creative people to see flaws that most readers would not. However, your product, as created 20 years ago might well still have a substantial fan base. What does it say about those fans if you feel the need to totally recreate it?

    Where would we be if writers (and for that matter directors) had always had this power of revision? Would many of our favorite and classic books/movies even be recognizable today? Remember what King did to The Shining? Whose vision is better? Does anyone really know? Does it even matter?

    Much as many would hate to admit it, romance novels areour history. They give us a snapshot of the mores and folkways of the times in which they were written. I’ve been reading them long enough (30+ years) to have seen all the various trends in them. I would hate to see them all ‘updated’ to reflect popular mindsets and views. The bodice-rippers were what they were. As were the sweet doctor/nurse stories, the rampaging sheikh stories, and whatever else the flavor of the moment was. And that’s okay. Some authors I’ve read long enough to see them evolve and grow (or in some cases devolve, but that’s another post). This is true in all genres. You change as a person, and your writing changes with you. We’re not static, but if you change what you’ve written in the past, how will we know that?

    I have SEP’s ‘Glitter Baby.’ Is it her best? No, of course not, but you can certainly see the kernels of talent that eventually grew into a fabulous author. None of us sprang from our parents head full-fledged primo writers. Its a process that takes time, but if no one sees that process how would they know? Would that not have a chilling effect on future authors?

  15. Jordan Summers
    Jun 10, 2007 @ 13:28:46

    I can understand what Iris Johansen means when she says that she’s worried about ruining her ‘new’ image. She’s worked hard to build her suspense books. That said, I don’t think pretending that you didn’t write romance is the way to go. I also don’t think releasing old books hurt established authors as much as someone who is up and coming.

    I am not worried about ruining my image. Hell, I have no image. *g* Like I said on my blog, I’m not ashamed of any of my books. Do I think that they suck? No. Would I love a chance to clean them up? Absolutely.

    What I do worry about is a reader buying one of my older books (if they get better distribution), and then assuming that’s what ALL my books are like. (ie Jordan Summers writes light, semi-humorous contemporary fantasy that has a few typos. *ggg*) I worry about them picking up the new book from Tor (which has someone getting attacked and eaten in the first scene and only has two love scenes) and being upset because it isn’t an erotic romance and doesn’t read like one. Or worse, them picking up my older work first and based on their dislike of it, never picking up anything by me again.

    In a world where a majority of readers only give an author one chance to win them, the coupling of epubs with N.Y. pubs is a major concern for ‘unestablished’ writers, who are currently writing for different publishers. Keep in mind, just because old work is released by a N.Y. pub doesn’t make you one of their authors. (ie I write for Tor, Harlequin and EC. Pocket is a great company, but I wouldn’t be considered one of their authors if EC sold them my Atlantean’s Quest series as is.)

  16. Ann Aguirre
    Jun 10, 2007 @ 13:48:59

    This is only tangentially related, but since someone mentioned her:

    I tried to read Iris Johansen’s Eve Duncan series because I used to love her romances. The Delaneys anyone? I actually found her staccato dialogue-heavy style didn’t translate well to longer novels. I managed to read until Eve hooked up with Joe, and then I completely lost interest.

  17. Angela
    Jun 10, 2007 @ 15:34:56

    Angela, the Samhain/Kensington imprint is not erotic romance only. Samhain publishes all genres of fiction (and even some nonfiction).

    I am aware of this, but aren’t the best-sellers erotic romance releases? I went to the website a few days ago and there are only a few straight historical authors. Until I visited the website, from what I’ve gleaned from the talk of reviewers, I assumed Samhain was an erotic romance e-publisher. As I reiterated before, the beneficiaries of e-publishing have traditionally been erotic romance and rarely any straight (meaning no suspense or erotic content) romance authors seem to have broken out the way erotic romance authors have. Is Samhain now going to earnestly solicit non-erotic titles? Are they going to be a new venue for publishing through NY channels? What about “multicultural” titles–how are they going to deal with those?

    I’m just asking these questions because I want to know whether Samhain is establishing themselves, through this deal with Kensington, as a new publishing house/imprint into and of itself (in the same vein as Zane’s Strebor Books imprint with S&S)?

  18. Charlene Teglia
    Jun 10, 2007 @ 16:57:02

    Angela, I’m just an author there, so I can’t answer all your questions, but from the beginning Samhain has acquired all genres. Lilith Saintcrow’s fantasy novel at Samhain isn’t erotic. Lucy Monroe’s inspirational romances soon to release at Samhain aren’t erotic. The historical series Kitty Mackenzie is winning awards in the UK. There’s multicultural in Samhain’s backlist. Angie has stated that the new imprint will be the same kinds of books they’ve always done, so I don’t really expect that to change.

  19. Angie
    Jun 10, 2007 @ 17:33:39

    Until I visited the website, from what I've gleaned from the talk of reviewers, I assumed Samhain was an erotic romance e-publisher.

    I think this is because most review sites seem to focus on erotic romance. Sadly, we don’t have any power over what the review sites choose to place their emphasis on. We make all of our books available to them for review and actively seek review sites that will take the non-erotic and especially non-romance books, but those are very difficult to find in the online community and those that aren’t online sometimes require a print copy, so sometimes reviews have to wait until the book goes to print.

    Is Samhain now going to earnestly solicit non-erotic titles?

    We’ve always earnestly acquired all genres. I think I can safely say that when you read interviews with me, you don’t see me asking for erotic romance. I’m asking for sci-fi, for multiculturals, for inspirationals, and westerns, etc.

    What about “multicultural� titles-how are they going to deal with those?

    Exactly the same way we always have. Just like every other book.

  20. Teddy Pig
    Jun 10, 2007 @ 20:31:02

    I love when authors revamp their books for reprint. If I liked the old one warts and all then it’s an investment to purchase it that way, like picking up a hardcover first edition. If I like what they did to revamp the story then it’s a big win for them.

    Many many books that are consider classics Tolkien or CS Lewis were expanded and re-written reprinted updated again and again by their authors and some even by others.

    To think that once a book is written it remains stagnant is to ignore what has always gone on in publishing.

  21. Shelly @ Bewitched
    Jun 10, 2007 @ 21:37:22

    I can see where this would be a double edged sword. But I would also hope that readers would be smart about it. I always take into account the fact that I might not like all the author’s earlier works but that wouldn’t have an effect on my buying. I’m more likely to drop you if I love you and then read a book after that one that seems to be a step back in writing skill.

    But when I love an author, I want everything off their back list, so we have 2 scenarios A) I stalk eBay, and my local UBS stores looking for all the back list or I can B) Buy them brand new when they are re-issued and the author gets their cut. Just MHO.

  22. Jane
    Jun 11, 2007 @ 06:34:18

    Shelly – How can readers be smart about it? St. Martin’s Press bought several of Cheyenne McCray’s EC novels/novellas from EC (8 or 11). Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that she wouldn’t be allowed to rewrite them (which she is), and SMP released them, one every other month. These are older books. Maybe they aren’t as polished but they appear to be “new” books. A reader, unless, she haunts McCray’s blog might never have known that these were “early” works or “learner” books.

    That’s the point I was trying to make in the Susan Grant example. Readers don’t know that it is a charity anthology or that purchasing one book is really a charitable donation and to get a bigger, fuller story, you have to buy a second anthology. There’s no mark on the inside cover to let you know that this was previously published in “e”.

    As the “e” market grows bigger, I see this as an increasing problem. Readers should have the choice whether to purchase a rewritten novel or not. Some readers, TP e.g., might like it. Other may not. I don’t necessarily blame the authors but a book is inextricably connected to the author. like it or not. To the reader, the buck stops with the author. For reprints not clearly marked, to early novels being put forth as “new” books, etc.

  23. Roslyn
    Jun 11, 2007 @ 07:43:53

    I’m still trying to understand why this is any different from the reprint-phenomenon that’s plagued the genre forever. Most of my faves have had their books repubbed ad nauseum. Having been burned by reprints in the past I always look at the publication page. I don’t know about the ebook to pub thing, but presumably there’d be something that to indicate that it was published before in ebook form.

  24. Jane
    Jun 11, 2007 @ 07:49:07

    Roslyn – there is not. That’s the big problem. When an author rewrites some of the content, I think that it is then considered a “new” story. Not a reprint or reissue. I don’t know what the laws are governing the “reprint/reissue” thing. Whether publishers do this as a courtesy; whether it is part truth in labeling, I just don’t know.

    On the Mysteria/Bewitched, Bewhatever, there was no mention on the copyright page of its previous print history. Here is the link to the graphic.

    The Mysteria book is not the only ebook to print that this has happened to but I can’t, off the top of my head, recall the others.

    As I said in the initial post last year, “I don't think these authors don't intentionally want to mislead the reader about the freshness of their content” but it happens. and it can lead to unhappy readers.

  25. Sarah McCarty
    Jun 11, 2007 @ 08:08:21

    Late coming in but with an opinion. Natch. *G*

    I think for readers, the advantage is clear, and I imagine publishers will be as clear as they are with print books when it’s a reprint. (IOW, check the copyright and or the blurb)

    For authors, the deal will be as good as their understanding of industry contract norms, thier understanding of the print distributon process, their understanding of the original deal, and their ability to negotiate a contract (the life blood of an author’s career) , because these marriages do open a can of worms in that they add another layer of contracts to the process.

    For example, when a house sets up a subsidiary sale, but then wants a new contract rather than just selling the rights under the subsidiary clause already in the contract, an author should immediately see a red flag. Not that there is necessarily something wrong, but there must be a reason and that reason should be investigated, determined and evaluated. The reason could be because the house doesn’t want to pay the standard 50 percent subsidiary royalty because that percentages works out to be higher than the percentage they’re suggesting in the new contract per print book. There is also the possibility the house is looking out for the author and because the deal would work out to be less than the standard print percentage the author would get, the house decides to sacrifice their bottom line so the author does not lose out. Iow, the house decides to protect the author to their own detriment. It’s a possibility and shouldn’t be ruled out. It also should not automatically be assumed.

    The catch is the author won’t know which situation they’re looking at unless they have the foresight ask to see the pertintent clauses of the deal the Epub house has with the NY pub. It will be on the author to avoid assumption and be proactive in making sure they are actually getting a good deal and not being misled through assumption or false assurances. Everything in the publishing world is controlled by contracts which means everything is in writing. Which means authors should see everything in writing before they make decisions.

    None of which makes a bit of difference to the reader. Nor should it. Readers should just get to enjoy the product without all the background noise, but authors don’t have that luxury. Authors have to understand what’s good for the house is not always good for the author, that all opportunities are not worth the cost, and the devil is in the details. And the details in these marriages are not just in their contracts but in the contracts between their pub and the NY house. And that means more legalese, more research, more negotiating-things many authors wish they could just ignore as they are more comfortable creating than running the business side of their careers, but which if overlooked could seriously hurt them financially and/or restrict them in the future.

    So are these marriages good? For the readers yes. For the houses, probably. For the author, it completely depends.

  26. Angie
    Jun 11, 2007 @ 08:41:52

    I don't know about the ebook to pub thing, but presumably there'd be something that to indicate that it was published before in ebook form.

    A book going from ebook to print isn’t considered a reprint (since it’s never been in print before). Traditionally, from an epublisher, the book gets an ebook release first and then goes to print several months later.

  27. Shelly@Bewitched
    Jun 11, 2007 @ 09:08:55

    Good point Jane. I’m an author stalker so when I read something that really hits home for me, I look them up and I get the necessary info. Also, I’m always looking at the copyright page as well, but I guess if they don’t have to indicate that the story is previously published (in whatever format) then it would be tricky to someone who just picks up and reads anything.

  28. Roslyn
    Jun 11, 2007 @ 12:18:37

    Interesting. I wonder if this is another one of those cases where the legalities haven’t caught up with the technology yet. It seems disingenuous, if not downright deceptive to not mention that a book was previously available in electronic form. I assume that its required in reprint and can’t imagine why it wouldn’t be required in electronic reprints? That’s damned strange.

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