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

Friday Midday Links: Crowdsourcing a Digital Bundle

DA Industry NewsI almost spelled Friday with two “ds”. It is just that kind of morning. I’m cleaning out my inbox and I see I have failed to post a number of relevant stories.

First we have an Australian article about the lack of digitized Australian books. (Thanks Sarah Mayberry). Australia lags behind the US by about 12 months in terms of ebook adoption. At the posting of the article (March 24, 2010), five of the big six refused to talk about their digital publishing plans for Australia. About two weeks later, Random House has announced:

Most of the titles Random House Australia distributes are already available as ePub ebooks via international ebook resellers such as Overdrive and Gardners. A wide range of specifically Australian titles will be available through these same channels within weeks. RHA is also working with a number of local retailers in Australia to provide them with titles as and when they are ready to start selling ebooks

Hopefully this will mean greater selection and lower price for Aussies.

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Samhain’s Giveaways for April are as follows, free to nook and Kindle owners.

4/1/2010 – 4/14/2010, One Night in Boston by Allie Boniface
4/15/2010 – 4/28/2010, Regina in the Sun: Children of the Goddess Book 1 by R. G. Alexander

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Sony eBookstore had a few Elizabeth Peters books for $1.99. I have no idea how long that sale will last. Sony sells epub version. You’ll need to strip the epub to get it on your iPhone or Kindle. I won’t link to it, but you can google for inept scripts. You’ll need python and pycrypto.

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You can listen to the entirety of RWA President Michelle Monkou’s Q&A on blogtalkradio here. I will provide summary notes on the interview this weekend for those hearing impaired or who don’t want to listen to the interview. Much time was devoted to talking up the RITA and GoldenHearts which gave the impression that was the raison d’être for the RWA. When asked what RWA was doing in regards to raising the profile of RITA books within the stores (i.e., sending out stickers to be placed on stock and the like), Monkou wasn’t sure what they did beyond sending out posters of the winners and press releases.

When asked about the Agency (aka Apple Model) and whether RWA would be providing guidance for royalty rates, Monkou replied that RWA would not be touching the issue of price, that they are not a union, and that they only provide information from which authors make their own decisions. Cathy Maxwell, who was the host of the show, told listeners to go read Stephanie Fry’s journal account of Digital Book World. Given that there was no talk about the Apple Model of pricing at DBW, I’m not certain how that is very helpful.

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Harlequin wants to do another set of blogger bundles for release in July and beyond. I asked, and Harlequin agreed, that it would be fun to crowdsource a bundle. This is how we will do it. I will have a space here on Dear Author for you to recommend and then rate a suggestion. Each recommendation will have to be accompanied by a brief reason why you recommend it and it must be from 1998 and later (first printing or reissue). We’ll have more details next week. I think this will be fun.

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The following is a sort of press release and I am just reposting it in its entirety because I am too lazy to retype it.

Authors Invite Readers to May 1 Women's Fiction Day Fun Fest

Have tea with your best friends, learn how to mix exotic cocktails, play Bingo Jane Austen style, meet 400 authors at a three-hour book fair and learn how to use the new e-readers. That's what's in store for those who sign up for Women's Fiction Day, May 1, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 350 H. High St., in Columbus, Ohio.

New York Times bestselling authors Sabrina Jeffries and Sherryl Woods, new foodie fiction author Louisa Edwards and literary agent/author Deidre Knight are the celebrities who will entertain during the 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. event the first Saturday in May.

Women's Fiction Day is a new feature of the RT Book Reviews Booklovers Convention, which will bring more than 1,500 readers, authors, editors, agents, booksellers, librarians and romance cover models to Columbus for five days of book-related events. Those who wish to attend Women's Fiction Day only may register by calling Convention Coordinator Jo Carol Jones at (281) 471-1077. The fee is $95. There is no extra charge for those who register for the full convention for $485 on www.RTConvention.com.

For more information regarding Women's Fiction Day, go to www.rtconvention.com or contact Stephanie Bond, [email protected]

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

16 Comments

  1. Ridley
    Apr 09, 2010 @ 11:53:00

    So, if I were an aspiring writer, and maybe I am, why would I join RWA if they won’t touch pricing/royalties and rolled over pretty easily on vanity presses? What exactly do they do? A yearly convention and award ceremony that honors seemingly random books and has entire categories just for Harlequins?

    If it’s for the community of writers, isn’t that free online?

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  2. Kim inHawaii
    Apr 09, 2010 @ 12:37:37

    Ridley asked, “Why would I join RWA if they won't touch pricing/royalties and rolled over pretty easily on vanity presses? ”

    I joined RWA in 2007 so I could attend meetings hosted by the Washington Romance Writers. Since then, I have moved to Hawaii and joined a smaller chapter, RWA Aloha. Both chapters warmly welcomed me. Both chapters offer a Yahoo group for members' to solicit assistance from each other. Both chapters have published and non-published members who are treated equally and respectfully. For me, RWA:

    - keeps me informed about the publishing industry
    - provides me with the tools to write (and communicate) more effectively
    - inspires me to pursue personal dreams (even those outside writing)
    - enables me to network with other women outside the military

    RWA also offers an instant “sisterhood” – a bonus for military spouses who find the frequent moves challenging to making new friends and building a career.

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  3. Kalen Hughes
    Apr 09, 2010 @ 12:38:50

    @Ridley:

    So, if I were an aspiring writer, and maybe I am, why would I join RWA . . . What exactly do they do . . . If it's for the community of writers, isn't that free online?

    I'm not sure why this is always such a hot topic, but it is. If you see nothing of value, by all means, don't join. I certainly can't promise you that you'll get something you consider worth the price of admission out of joining. I consider it worth the price and have even paid for starter memberships for a couple of friends because I think it's that important. Why? Mostly it's not about what the National level offers*, it's about what the local and special interest chapters offer.

    I adore my local chapter. I've made great friends, wonderful contacts, learned tons about the biz, and continue to get amazing mentoring and advice there. There is no free, online community that offers me what I get there.

    I couldn't live without my special interest chapters, such as The Beau Monde (Regency centric) and PASIC (for published authors). These groups help keep me informed about all the stuff I feel I need to know, everything from historical tid-bits and facts, industry gossip, to info on where to have great bookmarks printed (and who to avoid!). There is no free, online community that offers me what I get here either.

    * I do enjoy conference though, and I owe my first contract to having finaled in the Golden Heart, so yeah, I did get my money's worth no matter how you slice it.

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  4. Anion
    Apr 09, 2010 @ 13:35:13

    Much time was devoted to talking up the RITA and GoldenHearts which gave the impression that was the raison d'être for the RWA.

    Isn’t it?

    ReplyReply

  5. Amy
    Apr 09, 2010 @ 14:20:40

    Re the freebie One Night in Boston by Allie Boniface: I read it last night and I don’t recommend it (unless you have so much time on your hands and you have nothing else in your TBR pile). Well, to be honest, I read 75% of it in detail last night and skimmed the last quarter. The gimmic is that everything happens in a 24 hour period. I kept waiting for it to get better but it didn’t. I was kind of upset at the end about having wasted my time reading it.

    Too much of the story was just so darn frustrating for me. First, the entire reason for the so-called heartbreaking breakup was so dumb in this day and age — even 10 years ago as set in the story — and I guessed it right off the bat with the first reference to the breakup. Next, I dislike all the back and forth time frames (with the main characters thinking about the past scenes in their lives). I must admit I’m generally not a big fan of this device and thought it made the story too choppy here. Also, the female character’s thoughts/actions 10+ years ago showed she was an immature young woman, and I just didn’t believe that she was any more mature by the end of the story.

    Moreover, the whole reunion and happily ever after was unbelievable. I expected the two characters to get back together during the 24-hour period, as this is billed as a romance. Still, after roughly 12+ hours of running into each other again (after a 10-year absence caused by a big lie back during college), and having spent maybe an hour of actual face/talk time, the guy makes a huge decision about moving and proposes, and the woman accepts?! Finally, a lot of the story was just boring — lots of tell and little action. It was one of those stories where I constantly wanted to bang my head against the wall like that BBS smilie.

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  6. DS
    Apr 09, 2010 @ 15:30:05

    I would be very happy if more Australian ebooks were available to people in the US. I’ve enjoyed quite a few crime stories by Australian writers would like to get the rest of Jennifer Rowe’s books for sure.

    And for that matter, while I’m wishing, will someone put Murder Call on DVD?

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  7. Shannon Stacey
    Apr 09, 2010 @ 16:06:20

    I had a short list going in anticipation of your post about Harlequin/Silhouettes we’d like to see reissued digitally, but now I’d better go check the publication dates. And craft semi-compelling reasons.

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  8. Sandra
    Apr 09, 2010 @ 17:24:41

    Sony eBookstore had a few Elizabeth Peters books for $1.99.

    The same two books are also available at B&N. Probably because the latest Peabody (A River in the Sky) has just been released. It, however, is $12.99 in ebook. And the hardback’s only $15.20 with member pricing? HC’s not pushing the HB at all, are they?

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  9. NatalieT
    Apr 09, 2010 @ 19:48:22

    Australian prices for books are quite expensive in comparison to US/UK prices – I paid $22 for Jennifer Estep’s Spider’s Bite this week. Hence, I buy my books from the UK.

    I would imagine a lot of people who are tech-savvy enough to have an ereader in Australia would be buying their books from overseas sites anyway, rather than pay the ridiculous prices on Australian websites.

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  10. Anthea Lawson
    Apr 09, 2010 @ 20:21:36

    RE: RWA National and the GH/RITAs

    No, these awards are not the reason RWA exists. They are awards that are peer-selected and important to varying degrees among various people. The Golden Heart in particular (as Kalen noted above) can be very helpful to authors working to launch their career.

    As far as using the RITA nomination to ‘sell’ books… well, no. The organization does nothing. Last year, Kimberly Killion designed beautiful “RITA Finalist” stickers and asked at the National level if she could make them up to put on her nominated book. They did not give her approval to do so, for whatever reason. They do send you a little flag to put on your signing table though! (Wait wait, let me curb my excitement.) Too bad they didn’t get those to the finaling authors until AFTER the Bookfair at Nationals…

    Still, it’s a big deal to be nominated, and many quality books get recognized, no matter the perceived flaws in the system.

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  11. sao
    Apr 10, 2010 @ 02:33:48

    Why should there be any geographical restrictions at all? Why not let us buy whatever we want, where ever we want? Why should I be stuck with limited e-choices just because I don’t live in the US?

    I understand why I’m limited for physical books, they’re expensive to ship and the market for English books in non-English speaking countries isn’t great, but why e-books?

    Why? Why? Why?

    It makes me so angry.

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  12. Bronte
    Apr 10, 2010 @ 07:04:04

    Thanks for the australian info. It is appalling the price and the lack of selection available. It would be great to see Melina Machetta’s books available soon after release in digital format (not 4 or 5 years later). At the moment she is about the only author I buy actual physical copies of the book.

    I have taken to manufacturing an address in the US in order to buy ebooks and you know what? The author and publisher still manage to get their money and I still manage to get a book. Hopefully in a little while ebooks will be more readily available and I wont need to fabricate addresses.

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  13. Kalen Hughes
    Apr 10, 2010 @ 09:08:20

    @sao:

    It’s about the way the industry works (which may be changing *fingers crossed). When I sell a book, I have various rights that can be sold. For example, my first two I sold only N. American rights, meaning that I could still sell rights to other markets around the globe, even markets that read in English. Thus the eBook is also supposed to be limited to the “territory” of the sale.

    So, when my books showed up in AU and NZ, they were “grey market” goods, which is a whole nother strange and complicated issue in international trade.

    And yeah, I saw LORD SIN on the shelf in NZ for $35! I was so gobsmacked I took a picture. I’ll grant you that the exchange rate at the time was about US.70 to NZ 1, so that was really “only” US$24.50, which is still horrifying when the book only cost $3.99 in the US.

    But then limes were $3 each when I was there and a 6-pack of Corona was $29 . . .

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  14. Lynn
    Apr 10, 2010 @ 09:51:34

    @Kalen Hughes: I didn’t realize UK pricing was so ridiculously high. Of course ebook pricing is going up here in the US on ebooks due to the agency crap. Maybe we’re playing catch up with the UK.

    Wouldn’t it be in an author’s best interest to sell the book initially in as many countries as possible? I know next to nothing about international trade, so you’ll have to excuse the ignorance.

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  15. FD
    Apr 10, 2010 @ 10:26:39

    Ebooks in the UK are subject to VAT, which is part of the reason they’re more expensive. Deeply tiresome because paper books are zero rated. If it was just the vat, I’d suck it up, but for reasons that I personally don’t understand, even after you allow for VAT, ebooks and books in general are generally priced £2-3 higher than the price in dollars. If you convert the currency it’s even worse.
    Drives me crazy.

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  16. Anthea Lawson
    Apr 10, 2010 @ 11:05:41

    @Lynn:

    Yes, it’s in the author’s best interest to sell as many rights as possible. However, there are many reasons that doesn’t happen, including a lot of publishers taking the “world rights” to a book and then never selling the other foreign rights off, or having an agent with little or no foreign sales contacts, or just plain having a book that isn’t appealing to other markets, for whatever reason. It’s usually out of the author’s hands (as is a surprising amount of what goes on in publishing.)

    ReplyReply

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