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Friday Midday Links: Leah Hultenschmidt, Don D’Auria Let Go by Dorchester;...

Last night, a Dorchester author, Brian Keene, blogged that Leah Hultenschmidt and Don D’Auria had been let go from Dorchester.   Leah Hultenschmidt was the executive editor over romance and Don was the editor who created the Leisure horror lines and oversaw the Western and Thriller lines.   Chris Keeslar is the only editor who remains.   This news was confirmed to me earlier this morning and Publishers Weekly got in touch with president John Prebich who also confirmed the departures. Prebich says that Dorchester will still be publishing new books into 2011 and a number of “new partnerships” will be announced next week.

I don’t see how Dorchester remains afloat with one editor.   Brian Keene says to his fellow authors:

What's my advice to my fellow Leisure authors? Run. Get the fuck out and don't look back.

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A Wall Street Journal article opines that the next step in the digital book revolution will be ads in books.   This sparked a twitter debate under the hashtag #adsinbooks.   Some people pointed out that ads in books have been done in the past, particularly with entries in the back of the book or in the middle of the books.   I don’t know why Harlequin discontinued the ads in the middle of their books, but they have.

I’ve expressed my concerns about ads in books here and my distaste for product placement here. Also, as an update for the product placement piece, apparently the epilogues have been wildly success for Julia Quinn because it was reported in Publishers Marketplace that Quinn sold a collection of extended epilogues for the Bridgerton books along with a reunion story to Avon for $100K-$250K.

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Apple and Google have taken seats on the IDPF board and some suggest that this might signal the end of ePub as a default format.   Apple is a strong proponent of html5 and there hasn’t been a decent app in the Appstore that allows for use with Adobe DRM.

ePub is really just a container for a number of xml files so conversion to html5 wouldn’t be difficult.   HOWEVER, that is only if you know how to strip the DRM.   Wouldn’t it be great if someone imposes their will on the industry and enforces just one DRM?

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Out Magazine featured Alex Beecroft and Erastes, two of the top gay romance fiction writers in a piece exploring the female fascination with gay romance.   The two started writing slash fiction (which is fan fiction that mashes up two male characters – usually – like Harry Potter and Draco).   Both authors confess that inside they are really just a gay man and the author of the article questions whether m/m doesn’t obliterate the woman entirely.

While I know organic sexual preferences are neither elective nor politically motivated, I couldn't help but feel, as a heterosexual female, that there was something self-assassinating and a little bit politically disturbing about the M/M fiction I read. Femininity, in this genre, is a culture that is so completely conquered as to be utterly vanquished.

She concludes, however, that “love abhors all limitations, and gender is among the least of these.”

Thought provoking, no?   As is Jill Sorenson’s article on Sexuality and Same-Sex Romance at Read, React, Review.    Jill is an author who writes categories and mass market romantic suspenses. She also reviews lesbian romances here at Dear Author.   Jill says:

…I thought of a puzzling scene I'd just read in a lesbian romance.   One of the heroines wore masculine clothing and lived as a man.   She used a strap-on during sex and reacted with arousal when her lover caressed it.   I didn't understand what could possibly be pleasurable about donning a fake penis or having it touched.   But now I get it.

Sexuality is more complicated than liking men vs. liking women.   It's also about which sexual parts we identify with, and they may or may not match our biological parts.

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One expert suggests that publishers need to engage in dynamic pricing and raise the price of much wanted books to take advantage of high demand.   I think this is what Hachette did with the Twilight books.   For the longest time, the digital price of the Twilight books remained quite high, in excess of the paperback.   Now, with the fever for Twilight dying down, Hachette has brought the price of the Twilight digital books in line with the price of the Twilight paperback books. If publishers implemented this on the digital side, it would mean more of the books you want to buy might be more expensive, but it also means that authors you might not want to take a chance on might be priced more attractively.

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Someone from the New Yorker crashed a Kobo Reader party and came away with the news that the Kobo is likely to be $99 before Christmas time.   Given that the Kindle 3 is $139 and the nook with wifi is $149, a $149 Kobo with bluetooth only doesn’t really make sense.

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If you own a nook, you may want to hold off updating the software?   Shannon Stacey was cursing her nook yesterday and today there is an article on Teleread that the new nook software app may be causing problems.

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. Michelle
    Aug 20, 2010 @ 12:26:18

    Wow on the Bridgerton extended epilogues and reunion story. That probably shouldn’t be the bit that struck me the most, but it is.

    ReplyReply

  2. Joy
    Aug 20, 2010 @ 12:52:47

    I also have had problems with the new iPhone “nook” app. I went back to using the B&N e-reader app for the books already downloaded to it.

    ReplyReply

  3. Anonymous
    Aug 20, 2010 @ 13:38:26

    Jane: Kristin Nelson on her blog today reported that Dorchester also let their digital director go last week, which is just not consistent with their publicly stated goals on going forward with e-publishing.

    It’s hard to imagine that Dorchester is doing anything other than decommissioning at this point.

    If I were a Dorchester employee the only reason that I would stay on would be to make photocopies of my resume.

    ReplyReply

  4. Suzanne Rossi
    Aug 20, 2010 @ 13:52:52

    Dorchester=Bankruptcy. I don’t seen how they can keep up the facade of solvency much longer. Their doors are closing. It’s a shame and I feel for all those authors who write for them or have recently signed contracts.

    ReplyReply

  5. library addict
    Aug 20, 2010 @ 13:59:59

    One format and one DRM would be okay.

    One formant and no DRM would be better.

    Ads in books will be awful. Yes they used to be in paper books, and still are at the end of some, but they are so much easier to ignore in paper format.

    I am glad Jane’s prediction of the $99 ereader by Christmas looks set to come true. Hope there’s more than one to choose from because that’s probably the price where I will finally make the leap to owning one.

    ReplyReply

  6. Ridley
    Aug 20, 2010 @ 14:31:18

    Do we have a dead pool going yet?

    ReplyReply

  7. Karenmc
    Aug 20, 2010 @ 15:11:38

    New Nook app: one more reason to stay with my ipod Touch and have all the different reader apps available. I was going to download the Nook app last night until I read the scorching reviews in the App Store. I received BN gift cards for my birthday, and I’m thinking I should use them to buy paperbacks, not ebooks.

    As for Dorchester, none of it sounds good.

    ReplyReply

  8. Lindsey
    Aug 20, 2010 @ 16:14:51

    @Ridley I’d bet on the Dorchester filing for bankruptcy early next year. I imagine they’ll try to keep a lid on an official announcement until Christmas at least, but after that, all bets are off.

    ReplyReply

  9. gwen hayes
    Aug 20, 2010 @ 22:59:59

    I can tell you one of the reasons the second epilogues are selling–not all the bookstores are very at marketing them as second epilogues.

    I bought four at BN before I figured it out. Case in point–if you were not looking specifically for a 2nd epilogue, would you notice from this product description that it wasn’t the book?

    http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Romancing-Mister-Bridgerton/Julia-Quinn/e/9780061537011/?itm=1

    ReplyReply

  10. KristieJ
    Aug 21, 2010 @ 09:15:26

    I’ve been reading with a great deal of sadness about the slow decline of Dorchester. I’ve always appreciated their willingness to put out books that are outside the norm of the standard romance genres. Many have been hard to find in Canada over the years and I’m glad that I’m in the romance community online to hear about them and thus being able to purchase them online.
    And while I don’t know who Don D'Auria is, I’ve met and communicated by email Leah. She really is a very delightful person who loves the romance genre. If you look in the front pages of many a romance published by Dorchester, she is frequently acknowledged by the author. I hope another publisher has the smarts to snap her up.
    All in all this is sad for everyone, Leah and Don and probably many of the other staff at Dorchester, all the authors who have been affected by this and the readers who have been looking for and finding some very fine books published by Dorchester

    ReplyReply

  11. Jill Sorenson
    Aug 21, 2010 @ 10:28:12

    Interesting article at Out.

    Very sad news about Dorchester. My heart goes out to Leah H. and the authors, Elisabeth Naughton in particular. I’ve heard such great things about her books.

    ReplyReply

  12. brooksse
    Aug 21, 2010 @ 11:00:06

    @gwen hayes: At least the cover image shows it’s the 2nd epilogue. I purchased one of her 2nd epilogues because the blurb & cover image were identical to the full length book. It was on sale for $0.99, so I was pretty sure it was the 2nd epilogue. But at that price, it was worth a chance to see which ebook downloaded. My online bookshelf still has the wrong cover image.

    ReplyReply

  13. Sunita
    Aug 21, 2010 @ 11:23:06

    The more I thought about that Out article, the more it infuriated me. I had to keep reminding myself that it’s Cintra effing Wilson. Has she *ever* written anything that shows respect, understanding, or empathy for her subjects? She probably considers those to be bourgeois characteristics.

    Out has apparently already changed the headline and apologized for calling two non-straight authors straight in the headline. I doubt they’ll apologize for the overall tone of the piece, though. It managed to insult straight women authors and reader while at the same time erasing all non-straight authors and readers. Quite an accomplishment.

    I went to the B&N site for the epilogue. Not only can you not tell it’s an epilogue, the reader review on the page appears to refer to the book.

    ReplyReply

  14. brooksse
    Aug 21, 2010 @ 11:37:55

    I feel sorry for the Dorchester authors, it’s sad but I’m really not surprised by this latest bit of news.

    According to their FAQ page, they “won't be acquiring new material for the next few months.” Between that and current authors not renewing their contracts or trying to get their rights back, I’d be surprised if their need for editorial staff doesn’t drop in the coming months.

    ReplyReply

  15. Julia Quinn
    Aug 21, 2010 @ 17:00:13

    @gwen hayes:

    Gwen, I’m aware of this. It’s a huge PITA, and I hate it. It’s not that the online bookstores are trying to be deceptive; they’ve just never had anything like this before and don’t really know what they’re doing when they catalog the books.

    I have been trying very hard to get these changed at various outlets, with some (but not complete) success.

    Also, FWIW, the deal that was reported in Publishers’ Lunch was actually part of the original contract made several years back. The print option was always in there. And while everyone is very happy with how the 2nd epilogues did in digital (they were HarperCollins’s first originial ebooks), we always knew they would sell better in mass market.

    JQ

    ReplyReply

  16. Writers Year in Review 2010, writing publishing news, books | How To Write Shop
    Dec 27, 2010 @ 06:04:55

    [...] it is going digital. Authors report not receiving payments for many months preceding this, layoffs at the house and an online battle follow. PubRants  Smart Bitches At least one author opts for self-publishing [...]

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