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

Friday End of the Day Links: GetGlue Is Pretty Cool

I had a product demonstration of GetGlue today with Ami Grecko.   I had learned of GetGlue before but I really didn’t understand how it worked.   After all, do I really need another social networking service?   At the end of the thirty minutes, I was convinced that this wasn’t just another social networking service and I could really see value in it, enough so that I am going to try it out. One of the things I really liked was that it gathered all the media products: TV shows, movies, DVDs, and books, in one place. Another thing I liked was that, if you downloaded the browser add on, you could have get glue follow you around the web. If I was at Amazon, looking at a book, the GetGlue add on would show me how my GetGlue friends have rated the product. I’ve arranged for Ami to come back after DABWAHA and give an interview about the product. It’s free.   That’s the first, most important, thing, right?

Disclaimer: I have no financial interest in this product whatsoever. Ami did sit next to me at Tools of Change during a lunch but the lunch was part of the TOC conference package. I don’t think that counts, does it?

Further Disclaimer: I did get invited to guest blog at The New Sleekness, Ami’s publishing blog. I blogged today about reader fickleness.

Usually I don’t post these, in part because there is so much to post, but today’s Harlequin Friday Freebie is Anne Stuart’s first category, Tangled Lies. Yes, it is free. It is free if you buy two other books.   Sorry for not reading the promo carefully.   Another free book is Half Past Dead by Zoe Archer and Bianca D’Arc from Sony.   Mireya notes that you have to call customer service to get a refund for the free book.   Further updated: this promo is available only to US readers. Non US Readers have to pay $10.08. Thanks Christine M.   Again, free has strings I guess.

Continuing on with the “free” concept, John Hilton III and David Wiley have released the results of a study they did on free digital books and the affect on print sales. Hilton and Wiley used bookscan to track the variances of sales pre and post promotional freebie. Most of the time sales increased, although not all of the time. I wonder if the decrease in sales, however, was the result of lack of availability in the bookstore. It’s hard to measure. Hilton and Wiley suggest caution for publishers using their study as the basis of a promotional strategy and urge that more studies be performed.

In our own survey, 92.70% have downloaded a free book with 70.44% making a purchased based on that free read.

Here’s a really delightful news piece on romance genre that is based on the Yale class being taught by Lauren Willig and Andrea DaRif. I really liked this paragraph but the whole article is worth a read:

Others rebut feminist critiques of romance novels by saying that such criticism is, at best, beside the point. Even if you believe that the books perpetuate harmful stereotypes, romance is hardly be the only genre to systematically denigrate women. "In many genres-‘horror or spy fiction, for example," said Willig, "Women are treated horribly by men, whereas in romance novels at least the women are the heroines." The pervasive nature of sexism in media means that to expect romance novels to be paragons of gender equality is to hold them to a much higher standard than any other form of popular entertainment.

Author Rob Thurman is desperate to get on the NY Times Bestseller list and to be reviewed on Amazon. To ensure the former happens, Thurman gave specific instructions to her readers on how to make this happen which includes ONLY buying from physical retail stores and ONLY buying the release date. As far as I know, print sales on Amazon does count toward the NYTimes list and only a select few bookstores around the US are considered NY Times reporting stores. She suggests that you aren’t a troo fan if you don’t and even proceeds to tell readers to cancel their orders if they don’t comply with her demands.

She’s impatient with those who don’t understand:

One more time people:now..cough..FRAKKING LISTEN. I’ve said it 1000 times in the past 2 wks, ONLINE sales DON’T COUNT. Don’t help me at all

To ensure the latter happens, Thurman offered free books and other goodies in exchange for reviews at Amazon. When one reader took offense to this, Thurman responded with these comments.

R. Thurman says:
How do you think I even get *60* reviews? NYT #1 sellers get hundreds of Amazon reviews because they have about a hundred thousand readers more than I do. I have young fans who aren’t inclined to take time to leave a review, I many have fans who buy the book the first day from a bookstore and it doesn’t cross their mind to leave a review at a place where they didn’t buy it. So if you have any suggestions to catch attention other than giving away prizes to leave reviews (of *your* choice, good or bad), well, goddamned, I’d love to hear it.


R. Thurman says:
How about this, JP? Get off your butt and try selling books when your publisher does not contribute a penny to do it. Try to get people to leave reviews who don’t buy off Amazon (as most of my fans don’t…they hit the bookstore first week.) And try to read a little more closely…if you wanted a signed copy of a book you did hate, I *would* think you had problems, but if you still wanted it, I’d give it. I didn’t read the Amazon reviews of people I chose at random to receive the books. And a long time fan of mine left me a scathing review (I just found out) ripping the book to shreds. Do I know if I gave her a signed copy? No idea. Oh, and I make less than 50 cents per book before taxes. I make less than the person working the McDonald’s drive thru–part time. So how about you cut me some slack? Writing these days is 10% writing and 90% promotion, and while I hate that, I have to do it. When you’re willing to support me and save me from this ‘bribe’ ridden life, give me a call.

We’ve reviewed Thurman positively here. Jia tells me she is a great author. Obviously people are loving her books. But browbeating readers doesn’t seem like a good marketing scheme in the long run.

In true irony, though, Thurman has been outed as a fan fiction author who wrote ghostbusters fan fiction under her real name: Robyn Thurman but has been known to decry the fan ficcers who write slash about her main characters.

The tech blogs have news about Microsoft’s Courier which looks about as lust worthy as the iPad. The rumor is that the Courier is due to be released in late 2010. Pre orders for the iPad begin on March 12 and April 3.

Craig Mod takes a look at books and design suggesting that some books are form agnostic and some are form definite. The iPad (and I presume devices like it) are allowing for form definite books that eink readers and small smartphones have not.

We’re going to see new forms of storytelling emerge from this canvas. This is an opportunity to redefine modes of conversation between reader and content. And that’s one hell of an opportunity if making content is your thing.

(Via Christine Rimmer)

Ace Books is partnering with UBISoft to produce a novel based on the video game, Assassin’s Creed. I assume that this novel will be ghost written. I’ve never read novelizations based on TV series or movies but I know the Star Trek novel series is pretty popular, right?

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. Jia
    Mar 05, 2010 @ 19:10:58

    And now you know why I refuse to read the blogs of authors I like! There are some things I just really don’t want to know.

    Unfortunately, that’s not a failsafe method either since there is always Fandom Wank. Which brings us to Advice to Authors #542: Don’t do anything that lands you onto Fandom Wank. This is not a goal to which one should aspire.

  2. Sandy James
    Mar 05, 2010 @ 19:21:13

    I am absolutely stunned by Rob Thurman’s approach to promotion. While being on the NY Times BS list is an admirable goal, I cannot in any way condone that approach to getting there.

    I write my books for people to read, and I appreciate each and every time someone takes a moment out of their day to post a review or rate my stories. I return every fan mail, GoodReads post, etc… to let readers know I appreciate them. I write thank you messages to reviewers and contest judges when I can reach them.

    Whatever happened to good manners and expressing appreciation for someone’s support? (shakes head…)

    And I’m sorry, but I have to disagree that “Writing these days is 10% writing and 90% promotion…” Yes, promo is important. But you can promo ’til the end of time and it will do no good if your writing isn’t sterling.

  3. Heather Massey
    Mar 05, 2010 @ 19:51:48

    Here’s a sweet trailer for Assassin’s Creed:

    And media tie-in novels are very popular, yes. Quite the brisk business.

  4. DS
    Mar 05, 2010 @ 20:06:49

    Most of the time sales increased, although not all of the time. I wonder if the decrease in sales, however, was the result of lack of availability in the bookstore. It's hard to measure.

    You might put some of the response to the TOR books down to frustration. I, along with several people I know, were annoyed to find that subsequent books in a series were not available on line for any price. It cut down on the amount of time I might have talked about the author’s books.

    I also should admit that I downloaded all of the books but decided to wait and see if the other books in the series would show up on the Kindle before I started the series. Then I forgot about them.

    ETA to say I meant in ebook form. I could have bought any of them on Amazon in hardcopy.

  5. Ivy
    Mar 05, 2010 @ 20:08:56

    Those comments and attitude are just rude. It certainly doesn’t encourage me as a potential reader. I do have 1 on my pile…

  6. Darlynne
    Mar 05, 2010 @ 20:11:23

    Hilton and Wiley used bookscan to track the variances of sales pre and post promotional freebie. Most of the time sales increased, although not all of the time.

    Maybe I’m missing the point, but if a book is bad, free isn’t going to help and might explain a dip in sales figures.

    I’m sorry to hear about Rob Thurman’s … I don’t even know what word to use. I love her books and am saddened that getting on the best seller list has taken on such enormous significance for her. And here I was, so excited to buy the ebook version of her latest. Does it count that I bought all the other titles in paper on the publication date? Probably not.

  7. Mireya
    Mar 05, 2010 @ 20:22:00

    I got the so called “free” book from Sony. I have been charged $10 for it. Now to dig out their customer service phone number and make a screenie of the page. *sigh*

    On a side note, what a class act that author is…

  8. Moriah Jovan
    Mar 05, 2010 @ 20:27:08


    And part of my irritation was that a number of those freebies were #2 of a series. I don’t know who thought that was a good idea.

  9. Mireya
    Mar 05, 2010 @ 20:46:07

    P.S. I got a hold of a customer service rep in Sony Reader store. The book says $0 on the website, but when you complete the transaction, they charge you. The customer service rep gave me the choice between a refund or a credit to my Sony account. Just a head’s up to those getting it. Sorry if this is a duplicate post.

    Oh, and Jane, I hatez you … I had to get that Getglue thingie … I still refuse to go on Twitter though :P

  10. katiebabs
    Mar 05, 2010 @ 20:46:42

    Thurman made more than a few people angry with her pleas. This blogger doesn’t name Thurman, but from her post you get a good idea it is about her:

  11. Preeti
    Mar 05, 2010 @ 21:03:10

    Jesus. I totally misunderstood the Harlequin freebie. I thought a) that it was an ebook and b) you could download it with no strings. No and no. Oh well. I already have a copy of the original TANGLED LIES.

  12. Christine M.
    Mar 05, 2010 @ 21:14:33

    Too bad for Thurman. She’ll be my second library-only author, which doesn’t happen too often. But, eh, if my cash doesn’t count/isn’t worth it (what can I say? I’m Canadian. I should buy TWO copies since I’m not American and still my purchase wouldn’t count but she’d be less displeased).

  13. Christine M.
    Mar 05, 2010 @ 21:17:21

    Half Past Dead is free ONLY for US accounts. Canadian addresses/accounts have to pay $10.08 for the D’Arc/Archer book. Beware!

  14. madscientistnz
    Mar 05, 2010 @ 21:43:48

    After reading her blog, it sounds to me like Thurman is desperate for her Cal Leandros series to be renewed. Doesn’t excuse her behaviour, but makes it understandable.

    I hope the series is renewed, I think it’s awesome and I’m always keen to see just how hard she can make it for the boys, and how they’ll get out of the situations she puts them in.

  15. Jane
    Mar 05, 2010 @ 22:03:16

    @madscientistnz I doubt the series is on the verge of being cancelled. Getting on the extended list of the NYT makes you attractive, as an author. I suspect that she is worried about getting the same level of contract offer as the past. She references “negotiations” in the original blog post.

  16. Suze
    Mar 06, 2010 @ 00:36:39

    Oh, man. I wish I hadn’t read that about Rob Thurman. I really enjoy her. (Although that last Leandros book, from the brother’s viewpoint, didn’t enthrall me.) Trick of the Light did.

    Rats. Why can’t my favourite authors just stay anonymous, if they can’t be all classy?

  17. Estara
    Mar 06, 2010 @ 03:07:37

    John Scalzi used the numbers of that survey for his particular part of the giveaway and had quite different speculations and conclusions to draw:
    EBooks, Free, The Value Thereof

    Re: Authors behaving badly. It depends on what the faux-pas is, for me. I have large problems with some of the author statements that happened during racefail 09 and they have put me off them for good.

    I used to read Robin McKinley’s blog, which can be quite fun, but she had some – to-my-mind – very odd prejudices (not talking about race in this case) showing up, so I stopped that. I’ll still be buying her books, as those don’t seem to include the prejudices.

    Some author blogs are a total enhancement to the book experience, because they are fascinating in blog and in book: Sherwood Smith leads the way for me there – blogging about aspects of writing, book themes, music, movies – culture in general, Elizabeth Wein (not very regularly), Michelle Sagara West when she has the time, Sarah Rees Brennan, Judith Tarr (mostly about her horse farm).

    Ilona Andrews and Meljean Brook’s blogs can be a hoot, especially the Odd Shots page they’re both a part of.

    Scalzi is an acquired taste, I haven’t even read that free download of his yet ^^, but his post voice is always interesting and thought-provoking, when he does an in-depth post on something.

    re: GetGlue – I’m somewhat paranoid about software that offers to profile my likes and dislikes in entertainment so completely. It’s already enough of a help or a curse that Amazon (and similar shops) can give me recommendations by analysing what I bought and looked at there. I don’t want to be the completely see-through consumer for any one software.

    Which means I also buy at several ebook stores.

    So I’ll keep on spreading myself carefully within LJ or on blogs like this and get my recommendations out or in this way ^^.

  18. Christine Rimmer
    Mar 06, 2010 @ 08:27:46

    The Thurman thing. Sad. It’s just too easy to get tone deaf. I always try to keep in mind that I do spend my day mostly with my imaginary friends. It gets really easy to start thinking other people don’t exist, except in a made up world which I control.

    I did enjoy the Mod article. The whole formless vs. definite content thing. When I started writing with an eye to publish, it was about whether to use a computer or a typewriter–or to write it all out by hand as authors had been doing from the start of writing. There was much argument that you couldn’t adapt the writing process away from the actual movement of a hand releasing ink across paper. That didn’t last very long.

  19. Ridley
    Mar 06, 2010 @ 10:12:06

    GetGlue seems like a security nightmare. I’d want to know more about how it works.

  20. Ridley
    Mar 06, 2010 @ 10:28:33

    @Christine Rimmer:

    Well, there may be some truth to that. As I’ve mentioned, I’m disabled, and I can no longer write much more than my (all but illegible) signature with a pen and paper.

    With that has gone my ability to write anything at length. All through undergrad and grad school I would always organize my thoughts with a pen and notebook, then go on to the computer to start typing.

    It’s been a year or two since I stopped being able to hand write, and I still haven’t adapted. I can’t write more than 250-500 words without totally losing direction, when I could easily type up 20 page term papers in a day or two before. I’m not yet 30, grew up with computers, learned to type on AIM and pretty much live online, yet writing on paper was necessary for me to think.

    I really don’t see paper and writing becoming obsolete. At least not until the replacement mimics the action very, very closely.

  21. Christine Rimmer
    Mar 06, 2010 @ 11:24:05

    Ridley, your situation is a definite challenge. And yeah, I know the pen and paper process is still the thing for some. I believe both Danielle Steele and Susan Wiggs still plan the book and then write it out in longhand first–though I’m not certain on that.

    I truly believe you will adapt in time and be as fast as you ever were. Maybe faster. Human brain: totally amazing. I used to think I couldn’t write a book without seeing it on actual paper. Sorry, those trees just had to die! Now, I write my synopsis, the manuscript, and do the final edit sent me via email attachment after the copyedit, all on the computer–without ever printing anything on paper. Only the line edit stage is on paper, as my editor likes paper, has always worked with it and “sees” what’s not working better on a literal, physical paper page. I’d have even the line edit stage via attachment and use a copyedit feature to correct, if given the choice. I just do everything faster now than I used to. Also, better. I can concentrate on story structure more now, on what aspects of the story I haven’t properly grounded in who the characters are–on what really makes a book a book when you’re talking about popular fiction than I could when shuffling papers around.

    Not putting down your process, I swear. I know sometimes some ways of doing things just work better for some. I respect that. And since the need is there, I’m sure some brilliant programmer will come up with a more organic way to organize your thoughts a screen, something very like writing by hand–if they haven’t already.

    Very interesting subject!

  22. Christine Rimmer
    Mar 06, 2010 @ 11:28:02

    Argh. I meant “organize your thoughts on a screen.” The edit function here never likes me when I get long-winded. It flips back up to the beginning of the edit screen before I can make a correction.

  23. Elizabeth
    Mar 06, 2010 @ 22:35:26

    I signed right up. But I have not figured out how to find my favorite music: classical, modern choral, and the like. (What like?)

  24. Nonny
    Mar 07, 2010 @ 05:45:16

    Apparently Rob Thurman is also deleting commentary she considers negative. I posted and politely mentioned that my husband and I are fans of her work and have been purchasing every book since Cal #1, usually within the first week of publication (as we understand NYT lists and like to help out authors we enjoy). Due to her attitude in her posts surrounding the release of the newest book, we’ll be either getting the books from the library or buying used from now on. In our cases, this promotion backfired.

    Considering her statements and response to the reader who was having surgery — I’m really not surprised my comment was deleted.

    Entitlement, isn’t it lovely?

  25. Sandy James
    Mar 07, 2010 @ 07:37:25


    Entitlement, isn't it lovely?

    That’s the attitude I will never understand! In a market where there are so many great writers, to believe that you are entitled to anything is absurd. If I had the chance, I’d send a personal thank you note to each and every person who buys one of my books because I’m that grateful they would choose to spend some of their precious free time reading my work. I’m seriously stumped as to why Rob Thurman — and any other authors who assume they are “owed” something by their fans — would ever think or feel that way!!

  26. jmc
    Mar 07, 2010 @ 09:38:15

    I’d already bought Roadkill, though not in a format that will count for NYTBS — an ebook! From Amazon! I should be ashamed of myself! — before I was pointed to her LJ. If I’d read them before, I wouldn’t have bought the book at all.

    FWIW, the book was good, but I feel like the larger story arc is going someplace I’m not interested in following. So this episode of Authors Behaving Badly just makes it easier to set the series aside.

  27. DS
    Mar 07, 2010 @ 11:28:06

    For me, her name came out of nowhere when I read the review on this site. It prompted me to buy Madhouse— an early Kindle purchase and the third in the series.

    I thought it a bit overwrought and too splatterpunk for my taste. But I was interested enough to look for the first two in ebook form. However, they were not available in early 2008. So I put the series on the back burner and never bought another one.

    Now I know a lot more about her than I want to know. Ghostbuster’s fan fiction? Really?

  28. RStewie
    Mar 08, 2010 @ 09:24:04

    The Ghostbusters fan fic is hilarious to me…and I can’t stop wondering if it’s slash fic or just regular? I’m all LOLZ about it, either way. I won’t be reading her.

    I’m all aflutter about the Courier, though. I’ll be picking up one of those, for sure. I might have to upgrade my mini-purses to handle it…but then again, maybe I’ll just chuck the checkbook instead. I’m all plastic, all the time, anyway.

    I’m going to forgo the GetGlue…the security issues it represents are troubling to me and I would need to know more about it. Also, more than one person uses my laptop, all on my login, and I’m not really interested in them being bombarded (or knowing, really) the specifics of my taste in web-surfing. Not that I’m pr0ning it out, but still…some privacy, please.

  29. Jia
    Mar 08, 2010 @ 09:36:59

    @RStewie: It’s slash.

  30. Authors behaving badly : Inky Fresh Press
    Mar 09, 2010 @ 20:08:23

    […] she more demanded than requested, thereby outraging the fans. She further alienated readers and generated snickering in the wings when she sniped at an Amazon reviewer for suggesting that reviews begotten in bribery […]

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