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REVIEW: Ebook Weekly: Venus Press Review

CONTEST! Venus Press is offering DearAuthor readers a chance to win three gift certificates worth $5.00. You just need to post below one of the three books Jane bought in trying out Venus Press. Hint: One is from the Confessions line, one from the Paranormal line, and one from the Contemporary line. The first three posters to guess one of the books will get the $5.00 gift certificate.

Venus Press opened its doors in 2004. It publishes erotic stories in a six categories:

  • Confessions (2,000 to 5,000 words)
  • Aphrodisiacs (5,000 to 9,750 words),
  • Short stories (around 10,000-18,000 words),
  • Novellas (around 19,000-30,000 words),
  • Category length novels (around 31,000-45,000 words),
  • Novel length works (46,000 to 80,00 words).

There is a Yahoo Group Newsletter. The link to the newsletter on the "News" page does not work, but I was able to find the Yahoo Group logo. The store offers a generous monthly contest (one winner gets 6 free books!).

There is a link to an author information page which has links to individual author pages. Those author pages give the covers of each book (nice touch). Clicking on the cover leads you to the book itself. Some authors have one sentence excerpts from reviews. Strangely, those same reviews do not show up under the books.

There is a sale section which identifies a number of books that are 20% off. They have a buyer’s club wherein you prepay for a month in the amount of $35 initially and $25 thereafter. In return, you get $5.00 gift certificate.

Some books are available in print and can be purchased on EBay or Mail Order. There is a customer service page which answers a few questions and provides a contact email.

  • Navigation-by Author, title, series, genre and line. There is no bestseller list. There is a search function that is powered by Freefind which is a search engine that I don’t like very much because the sponsor ads at the time confuse me. I often think I have been taken outside of the website.
  • Excerpts-Short to very short excerpts.
  • Reviews-No reviews
  • Series-Notes which books are part of a series
  • Word Count – Ranges with cutesy names (Confessions 2K – 5K, Aphrodisias, 5K – 9K, etc. Word counts were hard to find and not very intuitively placed. It’s in the “submission” section of the bookstore. I don’t know that a reader will often be looking there. Some of the books had links to the word count key but not many.
  • Wishlist- I did not find a place to store information about books I might be interested in buying later.
  • Bookshelf-No library or place to redownload. The bookstore sends you a dl link that will expire after a certain time. But there is no notice of this anywhere except on the Customer Service page. This should be posted somewhere prominently on the site or even in the email sent to you.
  • Payment-Credit cards and paypal.
  • Downloads-Once you have completed your purchase, you wait for a link.
  • Confirmation-A confirmation email includes the dl link.
  • Formats: PDF, MObi, LIT, HTML
  • Irks- Prices are high again. In the submissions area, it says “We are also open for multicultural stories as well, but they will be placed within the above genres as well as the “Ebony Side” line.” What about other ethnicities? Do they go in the Ebony Side as well? And what exactly is an Ebony Side? Does that refer to one half of the relationship? If the relationship is all black or yellow or green or wolfie, is it still multi-cultural? Is it the left side, the right side, underside, the Upside? What does Venus Press know that we don’t???
    Other big irks are that you don’t know that your download link will expire unless you read the Customer Service page and there is no opportunity to redownload; and you have to re-enter your personal information each time you buy.
  • Overall, I would give the store a C because of a) hidden word counts; b) no chance to redownload and c) the weird line called “ebony side” where all multicultural romances sit.

Author and VP of Marketing, JJ Massa, took the time to answer our questions about Venus Press

1. What is your niche in the publishing market? Our niche, shared by other, popular publishers, is simply providing high quality, entertaining stories in many popular genres, from erotica to sweet romance, available to readers eager for them. Venus Press attempts to meet all of the readers' needs by making books accessible in as many formats as possible at an affordable price.

2. What makes an ebook publisher successful? Consistency and quality are the things that ensure success, and not just for the reader. A publisher has to offer those same things to authors as well. When authors feel comfortable and valued by both readers and their publisher, good books are the result.

3. Where do you see your publishing house in 5 years? In five years, Venus Press hopes to offer even more of the type of reading popular in today's market. Erotica, the cornerstone of Venus Press', is a growing genre that includes paranormal, contemporary, mà©nage, male/male, BDSM and more. That will always be available here, as well as Inspirational and Children's stories, even poetry, through our non-erotic arm, Titan Press. So, in five years, we intend to have even more of what the readers are looking for, and will provide them in electronic, print, possibly even audio formats if the demand is there.

4. How responsive are you to reader demands in determining content? Venus Press is very responsive to reader demands. Although each author is encouraged to write as they choose, allowing their unique voice and story ideas to flow, readers are often asked what they'd like more of, what books most appeal to them. In response to their requests, various new lines are formed, such as our Bad Girls Do It Better line and Sexy Confessions to Venus, just to name a couple.

5. Why should a reader be buying from you? A reader should buy from Venus Press because they like the stories we publish and are comfortable with the prices we charge. At Venus Press, we do all we can to answer customer questions and problems as quickly as possible. We're all avid readers and we know how important it is to have the book you've chosen, and have it as quickly as you can get it. That's why we offer various payment options and formats. Reader convenience and satisfaction is important to all of us.

6. Are there any things about your site you’d like to be sure get featured
in the Dearauthor post
?

Yes, Jane, there are. Thanks so much for this opportunity. Venus Press has been known from the start for the Sons of Zeus and Olympian line, which features sexy male models on every cover. Other lines have been developed that readers are really enjoying and I'd like to name them all right here.

All Hallows Eve: Spooky tales revolving around that special time of year– and watch for more this October!

Sweet Ambrosia: Sweet Romances–when you want a great story with a sweet romantic approach.

Aphrodisiacs: Short erotic stories reasonably priced.

Bad Girls Do It Better, mentioned above. These books are all about women who are not afraid to take charge!

Ebony Side: A special line for those looking for multicultural sensual romance, erotic romance and erotic fiction!
Golden Apples: Anthologies Mystical Signs: These sexy stories are all based on the astrological signs. Some are contemporary, some are not, but they're all hot, hot, hot.

Sexy Confessions to Venus: Hot, steamy, and straight to the point confessions for $1.49

Under the Cover Lovers: Steamy stories about unknown or unrequited love.

And much more at our sister site, Titan Press, where some of our most talented authors explore the less steamy side of story telling. Here you can find kids' books, poetry collections, light romance, suspense, even horror, by many talented authors who have plenty to share.

Comments closed for this post

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

22 Comments

  1. Karen Scott
    Jul 02, 2006 @ 06:54:18

    Ever since the debacle last year when Jeya Jensen went public with some of the stuff that was happening at VP, I’ve been reluctant to buy books from there, and actually there’s at least one author there whose work I would buy. Another reason why I never favoured them even before that scandal, was the fact that they have books that are only 15 pages long, yet charge $4 for them. I think that’s freaking scandalous.

    I remember being excited at the thought of a new e-publisher, but after buying ebooks off them that were poorly edited, never mind the actual content, I decided that my money was better spent elsewhere.

    So, no, at the risk of pissing off some of the authors there, I’m not a VP fan.

  2. Jayne
    Jul 02, 2006 @ 07:14:16

    Jane did I miss any information about being able to set up an account so that you don’t have to re-enter your cc/email information with each purchase? Is that part of the buyer’s club?

    After reading this review, I have to say that my biggest irk is not being able to redownload what you’ve already purchased. When I bought “The Adventures of Alianore Audley” from Bewrite, it had one of those “three dl by a certain date and that’s it” set ups as well. I loathe those!

  3. Jayne
    Jul 02, 2006 @ 07:25:31

    Karen, you must dish the dirt.

  4. Karen Scott
    Jul 02, 2006 @ 07:40:38

    Jayne, I blogged about it at the time:

    http://karenscottworld.blogspot.com/2005/07/tut-tut-venus-press-what-have-you-been.html

    It made for interesting reading, plus the comments by some of the authors at the time were illuminating.

  5. Keishon
    Jul 02, 2006 @ 08:52:33

    My biggest complaint is the pricing for those “novellas”. I don’t care how good they are, quality is just as important as quantity. Meanwhile, I have bought Bonnie Dee’s ebooks from there and she was the only one and the last one. I was wondering why her ebooks and she has many there, were considered only novellas. I’m like: Where are the longer stories? Go to Fictionwise and you can get her longer novel, Seasons of Love.

    However, VP isn’t the only one charging high prices for those “shorts”.

    Another complait is the the expiration date of your downloads. If I pay for them, why can ‘t we keep them? And another complaint is the lack of account set up where you don’t have to input your information each and every time? Do you know how daunting this is? It’s annoying. It would be great if we can have a bestseller list, coming soon list with DATES. A download library. I don’t like links sent, I’d like to be directed to the page after puchase.

    You guys are providing other ebooks readers great information about these publishers. Keep up the great work, ladies. You’ve become an invaluable resource of information.

  6. Jane
    Jul 02, 2006 @ 08:56:56

    Jayne and Keishon – You are so right. I forgot about the inability to save your personal information. That is onerous.

    KarenS – I have been under a rock because I had no idea about the scandal to which you refer. I admit that Jayne and I are neophytes in the blogosphere.

  7. Jayne
    Jul 02, 2006 @ 09:22:39

    Dayum, Karen. That’s some shit. Thanks for the link.

  8. AngieW
    Jul 02, 2006 @ 19:20:44

    Another complait is the the expiration date of your downloads. If I pay for them, why can ‘t we keep them?

    Can you clarify what you mean about expiration date of your downloads?

  9. Keishon
    Jul 02, 2006 @ 19:59:09

    Ah, I see the confusion. Sorry. I’m merely repeating what Jayne mentioned but in a bad way. What I meant to say is that once you’ve download a book, you are either a) not given another chance to download the same book or b) you are given an expiration date. Meaning that after than expiration date, you are not allowed to download the book ever again. My question pertaining this is: why must there be restrictions of how many times we may download the same book? I love Fictionwise as My Bookshelf is there to stay. God forbid is something happens to my computer or my PDA, I still have my previous downloads.

  10. Jane
    Jul 02, 2006 @ 20:44:19

    This is especially problematic in the digital world. Perfect example is the issues I have with Adobe. I bought several (30?) ebooks at Barnes and Noble in pdf format. Since that time, I have undergone about 4 computers. I don’t know which “passport” I used when I first purchased the books and therefore those books that I have downloaded cannot be read. If I could go back and redownload with my newly activated computer (which is what Adobe recommends), all would be fine. But because my BN account is obliterated, those are 30 lost books – over $150 worth. Its sad. :(

  11. Jay
    Jul 02, 2006 @ 21:06:13

    1) I’ve said this in the past, but since no one has mentioned it, I’ll say it again. Venus press has lost their damn minds with their buyer’s club. Spend $25 in 1 (one!) transaction each month just to get back a $5 gift certificate? Who are they kidding? That’s highway robbery when Borders does it and its highway robbery here. At least at Borders they let you accumulate the total throughout the month.

    2) I, like Jane, have an issue with all the multicultural romances being labeled as “The Ebony Side.” Last I checked filipinos werent considered ‘ebony.’ Nor were a whole host of other peoples of color. Yet according to Venus Press, you apparently must fantasize about white people or black people. Either, or. Make your choice.

  12. AngieW
    Jul 02, 2006 @ 21:16:05

    Thanks Keishon, I understand what you’re saying now.

    Jay, now I’m going to ask you to clarify, lol. I guess the sun this weekend fried my brain. What do you mean by this: Yet according to Venus Press, you apparently must fantasize about white people or black people. Either, or. Make your choice. I’m not really familiar with VP so I don’t quite get what you’re saying.

  13. Jane
    Jul 02, 2006 @ 22:34:20

    Angie – She’s referring to the Ebony Side description:

    In the submissions area, it says “We are also open for multicultural stories as well, but they will be placed within the above genres as well as the “Ebony Side" line."

  14. J.J. Massa
    Jul 03, 2006 @ 09:50:12

    HI. I won’t address every complaint. I am first and foremost an author, I write my books, edit and turn them in. I’ve treated VP well and have been treated well in return. I’ll try to clear up what I can or bring to Administration things that should be looked at and considered from this post.

    I won’t address Karen’s “Jeya Jenson” post excet to say we all know that she’s (Jeya) has complained in the same fashion over and over to the point that she’s had to change her author name so that readers won’t feel cheated because of her continuous re-release of the same books with various publishers.

    As for having a customer number, everone who buys from VP has one and that does prevent having to give new info each time. The book link expiration is something I will talk to Admin about. Venus Press is looking into adding a bookshelf similar to what Fictionwise offers. More on that soon. As for the bestseller list, that is featured on the newsletter every Wednesday and is sent to many popular reader yahoogroups each week. The Ebony Side was in response to reader requests that books containing African Americans should have thier own heading. I personally have people of various races in almost every one of my books. Only one of them is listed as Ebony Side again at reader request. We want our readers happy, but we all recognize that people are people no matter their skin tone and cultural bias.

    No matter how hard any publisher tries, unfortunately there will be some people who are unhappy. Feel to address complaints to [email protected]

  15. J.J. Massa
    Jul 03, 2006 @ 11:42:09

    Thinking about it, I apologize to Jeya. She’s a sweetie and I sure understand how it feels to be treated wrong by a publisher. I’ve read many of her books and find her quite talented. I wish her much success and empathize that she’s had to go through some of the things she has. I was out of line to say anything at all about that. :(

  16. kate r
    Jul 04, 2006 @ 20:47:01

    Yes, I know her but I’m still going to push her contest. If you want a fantastic prize, check out Jessica Trapp’s (at her home page which I think is http://www.jessicatrapp.com)
    Five hundred dollars is a pretty good award–even if half of it is a donation.

  17. Tilly Greene
    Jul 07, 2006 @ 13:26:54

    Hiya Ladies!

    I am so glad you visited Venus Press! Yes, I am one of their authors and very happy with everything. I thought very hard about where to submit my work, visited Piers Anthony’s publisher updates and have never second guessed myself since. I am not someone who falls for a nice facade, it is my understanding that just because someone shouts and draws attention to themselves does not make them anymore right than the next person.

    Enough of that…I loved writing a short for the Confessions line, what a challenge and they are such fun to read! As a reader, I enjoy the variety of lines available…I always recommend it in your ebook monthly challenge but I’ll say it here as well, JJ Massa writes beautifully, and her wolves are delicious!

    I must be an odd egg, I download my ebooks once, slap my hands together and consider it done.

    Oh, and one last niggle for me, and this goes to all publishing houses, the multicultural tag. Personally, I’m not that keen on it. My heroine in Double Punch is half Sweedish and half Butanese, raised by an American – how would you label her? Nope, I’m not in to breaking anyone down by race because many just do not fit in a pretty little box.

    Loving these weekly ebook posts ladies, learning loads!

    Tilly

  18. Jenny
    Jul 09, 2006 @ 13:26:09

    Here are my guesses:
    “Country Party” Jess Michaels
    “Neptune’s Lair” Dorothy McFalls
    “A Cowboy For Sara” B A Tortuga

  19. Julie
    Jul 09, 2006 @ 20:32:11

    [quote comment="1901"]I won’t address Karen’s “Jeya Jenson” post excet to say we all know that she’s (Jeya) has complained in the same fashion over and over to the point that she’s had to change her author name so that readers won’t feel cheated because of her continuous re-release of the same books with various publishers.–[/quote]

    Even though I saw an apology, I am still stunned by this. Jeya sold to NY and was asked to use a different name because that name was similar to another author signed to the pub already.

    I do think any conclusion made without the full story is unfair, especially when it comes off nasty. It was in poor taste those comments were made.

  20. J.J. Massa
    Jul 09, 2006 @ 20:38:10

    Honestly, I couldn’t belive me, either, I was out of line. I wrote to Jeya and apologized. She was gracious enough to forgive me.

    I apologize to anyone who reads that. It was just stupid of me to say that. No excuses.

  21. Jeya Jenson
    Jul 09, 2006 @ 21:35:28

    I have just found out about this little posting and am appalled. JJ Massa was not involved in what went on between myself and and the publisher of Venus Press. She therefore has no right to comment. Anyone wanting to know the story needs to ask me, not hear it second hand from other sources. Coming back to the VP fiasco, it is behind me and I have chosen to delete it from my own blog. As for my change in author names, I was asked by the editor of Kensington Books to make the switch, as she felt it was too close to another author they had under contract. I was not forced to change, but chose to. As for who I sell old material to or how many times I choose to market it, that is my business and mine alone. I do not force publishers to buy my work.
    I do not wish to revisit this matter or be bothered with it again.

    Signed,

    Jeya Jenson, now writing as Devyn Quinn and being paid a hell of a lot of advance money to do so.

  22. J.J. Massa
    Jul 09, 2006 @ 22:13:39

    Jeya, I am ashamed, as I’ve said. I had no right to say what I did. I have apologized to you repeatedly both privately and publicly. That’s really all I can do. I was out of line to say anything and I truly am sorry for my lapse. There is nothing more that I can do. I beg the pardon of all readers for my thoughtless comments.

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