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

Friday Midday Links: Authors as the new imprint

Samhain freebies:

Pack Challenge is a very fun book and while I thought that Holiday Bound was a bit too short for the story, it’s a worthy freebie.

  • 11/1/2010 11/14/2010 The Matchmakers Jennifer Colgan
  • 11/15/2010 11/28/2010 Pack Challenge Shelly Laurenston
  • 11/15/2010 12/15/2010 Snowy Night Seduction Arianna Hart
  • 11/15/2010 12/15/2010 My Christmas Wish Ember Case
  • 11/15/2010 12/15/2010 Holiday Bound Beth Kery
  • 11/15/2010 12/15/2010 The Dickens with Love Josh Lanyon


Janet Evanovich is looking for co authors. She had success with Charlotte Hughes and is looking to add three or four more writers to her stable.   Her daughter, Alex, is the person in charge of the co author program and there is another editor that reports to Alex.      I read in one report she was looking for thriller writers but I don’t really see Evanovich as a thriller writer or having a thriller reading audience.


James Frey is a now book packager, amongst other things in publishing.   I thought this was a fascinating look at book packaging and ghost writing and how authors are becoming epicenters of publishing in ways that may not have been true 15 years ago.   To sign on with Frey, authors get $500 and promise of a 30-49% revenue share down the road.

For Mr. Frey’s new venture, Full Fathom Five, the author oversees lesser-known writers as they develop fictional ideas into books that he then markets to publishers and film studios. Its first offering, “I Am Number Four,” is a young-adult science-fiction thriller about an alien who comes to Earth as an Ohio teenager. It was published in August and hit the best-seller list. Michael Bay brought the project to DreamWorks Studios, where partners Stacey Snider and Steven Spielberg acquired the film rights after reading the book, with Mr. Bay as producer.


I still maintain to this day that the Cameron Dean series published by Random House was the result of a book packager and I believe all three stories were written by different people.   Isn’t it odd that despite the bestseller status of those books that no other book has ever been published under the CD name?   And yes, I am still bitter I read that entire series.


The $99 eink reader is here, but it’s the wifi version.   Best Buy is offering the wifi nook at $99 which is $50 off the $149 price.


GalleyCat reports that 45,00 kids are participating in the NaNoWriMo challenge which is a writing challenge design to encourage people to write a novel.   I think this is just an awesome idea to involve kids.


In sad news, Megan McKinney pled guilt to an elaborate case of Katrina fraud. I loved McKinney’s books particularly Lions and Lace.

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. Heather
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 12:45:36

    I adored McKinney’s A Man to Slay Dragons and remembering being shocked and saddened when I learned about the insurance fraud several years ago. Sad to know it happened again.

  2. Janet P.
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 13:08:18

    Woo Hoo – here’s to hoping Evanovich finds somebody other than her daughter to write Plum for her!

    I’m not a huge fan of these co-author things but I guess James Patterson pretty much proves it is the way to go for the big names. If the guy “co-authored” the phone book it’d be at the top of the NYT list for 3 weeks.

  3. John
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 13:09:59

    James Frey is full of crap. I’ve heard I Am Number Four was cardboard and devoid of personality – which sounds about right considering how he runs this ‘book mill’ setup of his. He sells out to the point where readers will easily see that the characters are no longer characters.

    I’ll be surprised if any of the books coming out of this deal are commercially successful the way he wants them to be.

  4. Tweets that mention Friday Midday Links: Authors as the new imprint | Dear Author --
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 13:13:15

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kiersten Hallie Krum, dearauthor. dearauthor said: NewPost: Friday Midday Links: Authors as the new imprint […]

  5. Samantha
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 13:17:22

    Re: The Cameron Dean trilogy… I’m still bitter myself and it’s been years since I had the misfortune to read it. It’s also why I am very leery with getting involved in a UF series as a whole.

  6. De
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 13:17:49

    I was going to say has wifi only nooks for $99 too, but then I looked and theirs are refubs. They’ve got free shipping on it though. And the next one up is $120 I think.

  7. Danielle D
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 13:29:41

    I guess I won’t be reading Megan McKinney anymore — how sad. I really enjoyed her books.

  8. Janine
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 13:59:38


    I adored McKinney's A Man to Slay Dragons and remembering being shocked and saddened when I learned about the insurance fraud several years ago. Sad to know it happened again.

    A Man to Slay Dragons is an amazing book — one of my favorite romantic suspense books ever. I reread it a few years ago and loved it even more than I did the first time.

    It’s such a shame the author has committed fraud because it makes it harder to encourage others to read that book. I think it is easy to put the authors who write our most favorite books on a kind of pedestal but this kind of happening jars me out of that tendency.

  9. becca
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 14:18:25

    I just bought A Man to Slay Dragons – used from Amazon – because I don’t want to give this woman any of my money, but it sounds like the kind of romantic suspense that I love. (the review compares her to Nora Roberts … is that reasonable? because I love Nora’s romantic suspense novels)

  10. Mikaela
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 14:19:18

    Kudos to Samhain for the freebies, but
    I wish that Samhain started to offer the freebies through My bookstore and more, as well as Amazon. Yes, I know. I can sign up and download them to my PC. Except that they wouldn’t be free, thanks to Amazon’s whispernet fee.

  11. Eva_Baby
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 14:43:46

    Anything Shelly Laurenston writes is a winner. Her Pack/Pride and Dragon series written under G.A. Aiken are all excellent. And funny.

  12. MaryK
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 15:03:03

    Your Cameron Dean post was quite a cautionary tale. I still remind myself of the poor ipaq whenever I come across a romantic-looking UF series. Your experience was not in vain. :)

    I’m holding off on the Moning books in case the last one doesn’t turn out well. I hope DA will have a don’t bother/it’s awesome post when it comes out.

  13. Lynnd
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 15:21:43

    @Mikaela: I agree.

  14. Ceilidh
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 15:50:29

    I did a blog post on the James Frey crapola – there’s something so greedy and soulless about churning out derivative shells of stories solely for movies rights and to make money. Not only is he a liar, he’s a hack!

  15. Christine M.
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 15:59:29

    What’s with Cameron Dean exactly? The name doesn’t ring a bell, but I didn’t get into UF until a couple of years ago so…

  16. Janine
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 16:12:45


    I just bought A Man to Slay Dragons – used from Amazon – because I don't want to give this woman any of my money, but it sounds like the kind of romantic suspense that I love. (the review compares her to Nora Roberts … is that reasonable? because I love Nora's romantic suspense novels)

    I would say it does bear some resemblance to Nora Roberts’ romantic suspense but it’s got some differences too. One of the customer reviews of AMTSD on Amazon is mine. It’s written under my “LFL” moniker and is right at the top, if that helps.

  17. DianeV
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 16:15:53

    I third the still bitter about Cameron Dean. I can’t tell you how many people I stopped from buying the books when I saw them looking at them at Borders and Waldenbooks (in fact the associates at Waldenbooks made a point of warning people who were buying the books that they weren’t going to be happy the way the series ended after I told them that they killed off the hero.)

    @MaryK — I returned Moning’s 3rd Fever book for a refund after it ended with the gang rape of the heroine. Heard the 4th book ended poorly too so I’m glad that I gave up on the series.

  18. MaryK
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 16:47:01

    @DianeV: Bummer!

    @Christine M.: Do a search for Cameron Dean on this site and read the post about Jane breaking her ipaq.

  19. Heather
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 17:11:17


    It’s still on my keeper shelf (and there are very few that have lasted that long) but I’ve been almost afraid to re-read. Glad to hear it holds up. :) Maybe I’ll grab it again one of these days.

  20. Christine M.
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 17:40:04

    @MaryK: Thanks for the heads up, i’ll dig the archives :)

  21. Kaetrin
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 17:41:33

    Are the Samhain freebies only from Amazon on the Kindle?

  22. Maili
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 18:49:16

    I loved some of Meagan McKinney’s books (such as Lions and Lace, Till Dawn Tames the Night (probably the only pirate I liked) and A Man to Slay Dragon). I was saddened when I found out a while ago at Amazon forums that some of her tenants found her a horrid person and that she was a bit of a fiddler. This latest development isn’t a surprise, sadly.


    I did a blog post on the James Frey crapola – there's something so greedy and soulless about churning out derivative shells of stories solely for movies rights and to make money. Not only is he a liar, he's a hack!

    I have zero interest in Frey himself (he bores me), but you’re not the only one who makes this kind of comments, so I’m grabbing a chance to ask!

    Is writing or selling ideas for money truly greedy and soulless? I mean, quite a few romance authors went in with a sole intention of making money. Many view writing as a job and they will keep writing as long as it generates money, and they quit the moment it doesn’t any more.

    Is it not, at the end of the day, about entertaining readers (and in Frey’s case, film viewers)? Sweet Valley series, for instance, entertained quite a few teens.

    Sorry for asking these questions (open to all!), but I have always wondered. :D

  23. Ann
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 19:17:43

    @Kaetrin: Barnes and Noble also has it in their “Nookbooks” section. I just downloaded it. I wasn’t sure where to look so I just did a search for the author (Colgan, this week, I believe). Never read this author before. Looking forward to next week’s book.

  24. becca
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 20:27:43

    MaryK@17 – I looked up the article in the archives, and am reading through the comments – and have to remind myself that it’s a 2007 entry, or I’d get mad and want to comment on it…

    but it’s solidifying why I don’t read urban fantasy: not only am I not guaranteed an HEA, but I feel like I’m practically guaranteed that there won’t be one. I read very little S/F/F anymore for that reason, but have gone back to romances, romantic suspense, and mysteries. I require at the least an optimistic ending.

  25. John
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 22:11:28


    I think the key with Frey is that even though he’s writing to entertain and get money, he’s doing it for the wrong reasons. For instance, he changes things around a LOT for Hollywood, where writers will change things for Alloy or whatever to make their books more entertaining. He’s ruthless and annoying, short changes the authors he works with, and the work comes out cardboard and completely unemotional, where series like the Pretty Little Liars have more appeal and interest because they were developed in a better environment.

    People don’t like the idea of writing just for money because it makes writing seem like a chore. Also…people can tell when you yourself are not interested in what you are doing, which is why people that right just for the money are a little easier to spot.

  26. sao
    Nov 13, 2010 @ 00:27:39


    I don’t think that it is greedy and soulless to write for money, but the books can certainly be so.

    I do find it greedy and soulless to sell your name a la Evanovich to churn out more books than you can write. I thought her collaborations with Hughes did not have the Evanovich fizz that I like. They were kind of like cheap champagne the morning after.

    If someone other than Evanovich is writing the Plum series, that would partly explain why they have gone flat. If it turns out that I spent my money on an Evanovich not actually written by her, I don’t think I’ll ever spend a penny on her books again, regardless if careful examination of some fine print might have warned me.

  27. Edie
    Nov 13, 2010 @ 02:56:27

    I have less problem with what Frey is doing, than the Patterson thing. To me that is building your base with your writing then exploiting the fark out of them.
    grr hiss

    Someone asked why Samhain doesn’t have the freebies on their site, and want to echo that!!
    Though they do have one free one this week on site:

  28. Isobel Carr
    Nov 13, 2010 @ 09:48:42

    The co-author/brand thing has been done for ages over in the Science Fiction/Fantasy section. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t. And as others have mentioned, Patterson has taken this concept pretty much as far as one can. I can’t even bring myself to call him an author or writer. He’s an editor/imprint.

    Kind of reminds me of my godfather’s loony editor back in the 80s: “I want samurais in 16th century Europe. Can you give me that?” (I was there for that phone call, and I’ll never forget the look on his face as the call progressed) And yes, my godfather could and did come up with a way to get samurais from Japan to Europe, LOL!

  29. Jane
    Nov 13, 2010 @ 14:21:44

    @becca It was a frustrating experience for me, for sure!

  30. Ceilidh
    Nov 14, 2010 @ 13:57:52

    @Maili: Hey, I’d totally forgotten I’d commented here so apologies for my late reply.

    My problem with Frey is that this entire venture of his, beyond being incredibly exploitative of young writers looking for a break (check out Maureen Johnson’s post on the subject), is that he churns out stuff solely to make ridiculous amounts of money. It’s not about actually entertaining teenagers or writing something thought provoking, interesting or exciting as so many YA writers strive to do. He seems to think that teenagers are idiots who will read anything he churns out just because there’s quickly going to be some movie with explosions andstuff in it coming out soon. Besides, I don’t give money to noted lying hacks.

    Since he’s already been mentioned, I also hate James Patterson for doing a similar schtick. He’s not a writer; he’s a businessman.

  31. DS
    Nov 15, 2010 @ 07:33:39

    Frey is getting flayed on Scalzi’s blog– The Man in the Flay Flannel Suit

    Apparently Frey’s contract, which is up for review, is far different from the average packager’s contract including a binding arbitration clause with a firm in LA, no right to audit or receive the information that the payment is base on and a full indemnification clause that may just be badly written, but requires the signor to indemnify even if Frey commits the offense.

  32. DS
    Nov 15, 2010 @ 07:35:10

    Well, I know I was going to get “flay” and “Frey” mixed up. It’s The Man in the FREY Fannel Suit.

  33. Jane
    Nov 15, 2010 @ 09:26:31

    @DS I admit to being very conflicted about this whole subject. On the one hand, is what Frey doing really wrong? I mean, is it wrong to make want to make money? It’s not like he is forcing these adults to write for him and in some cases, it may turn out well in terms of monetary gain.

    Making someone revise the book to make it more entertaining doesn’t seem to be “wrong” to me either.

    On the other hand, the contract is really unequal and if Frey is going around trawling for writers at colleges and writing conferences, there does seem to be something unsavory about that as well. However, Frey isn’t requiring a buy in by authors and I’m unsure whether this “work for hire” situation is really that different than other work for hire situations I just don’t know enough about the whole packaging industry to form an opinion about it.

  34. DS
    Nov 15, 2010 @ 19:01:03

    @Jane: There seems to be a lot of different ways to be a packager. Roberta Gellis spoke with fondness of the packager she worked with in some of her late 70’s/early 80’s: Lyle Kenyon Engel. I just pulled out a 1977 printing of the Sword and the Swan. On the copyright page Engel has a producer and shares the copyright. I don’t know what has happened to the copyright since. She was paid royalties and got name credit.

    Here’s an obit from when he died in 1985. He was the producer of The Kent Family Chronicles, the Wagon West series, and the Australians.

    You might be amused by the awe with which it is written the John Jakes was paid a million dollars in royalties by Engel. Given that before the Kent Family Chronicles, Mr. Jakes was best known for a series of slim sword and sorcery books about Brak the Barbarian (Conan knockoff)I can see where this would be impressive.

    This doesn’t look like what Frey is doing though.

    I do know I wouldn’t sign that contract.

  35. DS
    Nov 15, 2010 @ 19:02:09

    Ok, I’m missing the edit feature. Engels had a producer credit line is what I meant to write.

%d bloggers like this: