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

Friday News: Write someone else’s romance novel for $450; DBW 2013;...


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. Nadia Lee
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 05:19:49

    That person also wants people to come up with a solid plot & characters for 30k romance and 15-20k romance novella, etc. For something like $150 or less.

  2. Deb Nam-Krane
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 05:25:57

    I am not going to be submitting anything, but I too would love to see something about how to drag more functionality out of Blogger. Pretty please!

  3. Ren
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 05:27:57

    Publishers want to know how to harness this.

    Publishers should focus less on how to manipulate consumers and focus more on publishing books that don’t read like the worst of the First Pages DA puts up on Saturdays.

    In a good month, I might find fifteen blurbs that don’t sound like books I’ve already read 600 times; in the same good month, maybe one of those fifteen will have a sample that doesn’t make me itch to red-pen the shit out of it (if there’s a sample at all, and there is NO chance I will ever buy a book I can’t try first).

    I like to read. I have money to spend. I even have a preference for paper, so I’m a publisher’s wet dream. But there are months they can’t offer a single product I want to buy, and there’s nothing they can blame other than the shoddy quality of the books.

  4. DB Cooper
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 06:28:41

    I’m going to agree with Ren on this one. I think most of us cynics realize “publishes want to know how to harness this” means the wallet is coming out for those who can follow a “few new rules.”

    Not that I’m saying you’ll go this way, @jane, but I really like DA the way it is! Please keep your opinion (and those of the other reviewers) …well, strictly your opinion!

  5. Ros
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 07:07:12

    I’d pay anyone $450 to write the first draft of my romance novel. I’ll even come up with the plot and characters for them. And then I’ll edit the hell out of it to make it brilliant. Any takers?

  6. Lorenda Christensen
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 07:14:12

    Do you think I could sell this oDesk poster a copy of the half-finished romance/mystery manuscript under my bed for half price? It was my first attempt at writing.

  7. Lynnd
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 07:43:50

    @Ren: Agree completely with your comments. I bought one new mainstream published book in January by one of my favourite authors (Michelle West’s, Battle). I also purchased Sarah Mayberry’s latest.. Nothing else published by the mainstream publishers in January even remotely interested me. At this point, I have more books on my TBR than I can possibly read in the next two years and a number of books that are due for a reread, so if a publisher wants me to open up my wallet for something other than my favourite authors, they need to start publishing quality stories that are interesting – this is particularly the case for the romance genre at this point. All I ask the blogger and reviewers is to not fall into the grips of the publishing industry marketting machine.

    As for impulse buying digitally – I think that the state of my TBR is a good reflection of the fact that over the past couple of years I have bought more books on impulse than I ever did before I started reading digitally. Before digital, I would have to actually go to a bookstore, take the time to browse around IF I saw something that interested me, I would then consider the number of books sitting on my bookshelves, floor, tables etc. and decide if I really, really needed that book at that moment – more often than not, I put the book back on the shelf and came back later if it still I was still interested. I would love to know who is compiling this data and where they are getting it from because it certainly isn’t reflected in the reality of the people that I know.

  8. LeeF
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 08:01:43

    Focus, people! The important story was the one about wearing jeans for 28 days in a row without washing……?????

  9. Caro
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 08:21:48

    @Lynnd – As for impulse buying digitally – I think that the state of my TBR is a good reflection of the fact that over the past couple of years I have bought more books on impulse than I ever did before I started reading digitally. Yup, I’ve found that true as well. Physical book buying had slowed way down because the TBR pile was a tangible thing — and was taking up way too much space. Digital is quick, easy, and it doesn’t creep in on my floor space.

    My weakness is samples, though. I have no budget and want to treat myself, I start randomly seeing what books look entertaining and download a sample. I’ve found several new-to-me authors who’ve I’ve reached the end of their sample and am “I MUST BUY THIS BOOK NOW!” Most of those have been indie or self-published, not mainstream

    @Lorenda Christensen ::snerk:: I was thinking the same thing. But you really have to wonder who this person is, especially since they’ve been a member of that site since 2009.

  10. helen
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 08:22:54

    Not buying on impulse???? ALL my buys are impulse buys. Of course, I don’t buy from Amazon though. I buy from BN. I find interesting sounding reads in all sorts of places, however, almost none of them are traditionally published. I have 800 unread books on my nook. About what I can read in a year and I buy more practically every week. If traditional publishers want my purchases they need to offer something I want to buy at a price that is reasonable!

  11. Jane
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 08:27:38

    I think what they mean by impulse buy is that you are at the retailer for purpose A and you buy book B. The Bowker stats are saying (and I don’t mean to imply that they are accurate, but just trying to interpret this) that most of the people that go to Amazon arrive there with a title in mind and then purchase that book and no others.

  12. SAO
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 08:28:09

    Maybe if publishers didn’t jump on bandwagons and try to produce yet another 50 shades-type book, we book buyers wouldn’t feel like we’ve read it before.

  13. Lynnd
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 08:47:29

    @Jane: Thanks for the clarification Jane. If your interpretion is correct, then their starting point for the inquiry is the problem. In order for me to by on impulse in a bookstore, I would actually have to take time to go to that bookstore. Prior to digital (after the little bookstores which were close to my work or residence closed), I got to a bookstore once every couple of months (maybe) I can see where they are coming from with respect to online ordering of physical books, but it certainly doesn’t apply to my buying of digital books, particularly if I see something that interests me at a good price.

    @LeeF – LOL, I just don’t even want to think about that jeans story – ewww.

  14. Las
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 08:51:32

    @Jane: That tracks with the way I buy books online. I don’t browse for books on Amazon or B&N, I go there to buy specific titles after reading about them on twitter, blogs, and goodreads.

  15. Shiloh Walker
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 09:25:16

    The jeans thing is kind of skeevy to me. I’m thinking of certain areas that don’t need added…um…products near them. I hope they kept the material of and around the crotch au naturale. O.O

    Also my response to the $450 idea…. um… hahahahahahahahahaha! Somebody wants a decent writer for hire, then be serious and pay better.

  16. Laurie
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 09:36:25

    I was at a B&N store last night with money in my wallet to spend on newish books. Looking for Alaska by John Green and Rhiannan Frater’s “As the World Dies” series. I scoured the store and couldn’t find any of them. I then checked their in-store computer and it said I could only buy the Frater books online (grrrrr) and that I could find the John Green book in the teen stacks. So I looked again. Nope, not there. I had to then track down a human employee willing to help me find the book. It was located on a display in the middle of the store. What a hassle. I had wasted so much time at that point that I was late for my book meeting and only bought the one book for my kid. And they wonder why people shop online?

    I don’t know what is more disturbing the jeans or the fact that publishers want to “harness” bloggers and reviewers. What does this even mean? More paid shill reviews?

  17. Chicklet
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 09:42:04

    That book-writing proposal is such bullshit. At that “salary,” you might as well write fanfiction for free.

  18. Lexie
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 09:44:17

    Honestly I was going to submit something for BEA Bloggers, but as I can’t make it to the conference (woo work) I didn’t think it would be a good idea in case it was selected.

  19. Karenmc
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 09:58:56

    @Ren: Publishers trying to figure out how to harness new sources of influence: Fellas, just provide something the consumer wants and stop wasting energy trying to game the system.

  20. wikkidsexycool
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 10:50:26

    The $450 offer is scary low, since this “client” has hired before per their history. Sort of like the chap who outsourced his job for $50,000 to a Chinese firm while he made $250,000 annually for surfing the internet and goofing off all day at work. Can you image how many more outsourcing of things can be done while the outsourcer claims it as their own work? It boggles the mind.

  21. cleo
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 11:53:58

    @Jane: I agree with your interpretation. I think that’s sort of true for me – I know I’ve bought a few books on impulse from ARe – books that I didn’t know about or plan to buy but caught my eye on the home page. But not nearly as many as I planned to buy. And I don’t think I’ve ever bought an ebook impulsively through BN, except for their daily deals. So, in that way, buying ebooks online means that I don’t buy on impulse.

    On the other hand, I buy way, way, way more books now that I have a Nook than I ever did before. And many (too many?) of them are impulsive purchases – in that I just feel like buying a book, so I do, without premeditation. It’s not good for my wallet or impulse control, but I should think retailers would LIKE that I have a voracious ebook habit to feed.

  22. MaryK
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 11:59:30

    @Lynnd: I agree they’re comparing the wrong things. I might go to Amazon with a title in mind but the trip to Amazon itself is an impulse brought on by a review. I have to plan to go to bookstores and it doesn’t happen often. Amazon is just a click away – that’s where I impulse buy.

  23. Ros
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 14:07:08

    The thing about buying ebooks is that if I have an impulse to get a new book at 11pm when I’m already in my pyjamas, I can do and be reading it within seconds. In the old days, I wouldn’t have been able to act on that impulse and by the time I could get to a bookshop, I’d be feeling less impulsive and more aware of my bank balance.

  24. txvoodoo
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 15:36:28

    @ren – You took the words out of my mouth. That’s exactly what I would have said.

    I’d just go further and say we shouldn’t limit it publishers, but everyone who’d like us to buy their products.

  25. Caro
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 17:47:48

    @ros — Yup. I find the impulse especially strong when I finish a book and I want the next one in the series now. Since the B&N near me has closed and the only indies in my immediate area are either primarily used books or religious, if I want to go to a bookstore, it’s now an expedition which won’t happen before the weekedn, by which point the impulse has vanished. Even if I’m buying a print book, I’m buying them online these days because they’ll get here before I could get to the store and see if a copy is available there.

  26. Harper Kingsley
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 19:00:32

    @Ros: Haha, I’m really tempted by your offer ^_^;

    It makes me sad that someone could be so strapped for cash that they might really take up that oDesk deal :(

    And that jeans thing just seems kind of gross to me. To wear a pair for that long without washing them, but to have them rubbing lotion all over your legs at the same time? That’s rank.

  27. Wahoo Suze
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 20:35:23


    I’m assuming they mean that you don’t wash the jeans, not yourself. However, I am further assuming that, to get the most benefit from contact with the magical jeans, that you go commando. So, yeah. Ew. I’d rather have cellulite.

  28. Wahoo Suze
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 20:43:16

    It’s much easier to impulse buy e-books than paper. When I used to binge on paper books, I’d get an armful, start dropping books all over the store as I moved around, and then have to do a triage to decide which ones I *had* to have, and which ones I only kinda sorta wanted to read and could therefore put back on the shelf (or leave in a big pile in a discreet corner for the staff to re-shelf properly). With digital, I just keep adding to the cart. Nothing falls out, my arms don’t get tired, my feet don’t start aching, and I just keep shopping until I can’t remember what’s in the cart anymore. And then I buy them. (And then the computer tells me I already have half of them in my library and I just forgot about them because my memory has gone for shit.)

  29. LisaCharlotte
    Jan 18, 2013 @ 21:21:50

    I don’t remember the last time I was in an actual bookstore. There is a BN right down the street. I never go there. I used to spend 4 hours at a time in BN back in the day. I’ve been buying primarily from amazon since 2000. Now that I have a kindle I’ve even stopped buying used. I resisted a kindle forever but now that storage is no issue with digital I am culling my paper TBR (unread!) just to get them out of my space.

  30. SonomaLass
    Jan 19, 2013 @ 01:15:05

    The browsing/impulse thing interests me. It’s true that I rarely browse at Amazon; their “if you like this” algorithm almost never tells me anything new. But the ease of buying digital means that I buy a lot more books impulsively, based on a review, a friend’s opinion, or just an intriguing mention on Twitter.

    I am not interested in being harnessed.

  31. MikiS
    Jan 19, 2013 @ 01:27:27

    I read the term “harness” more as a way to take advantage of it, rather than stifle it. How many people here have said they impulse-shopped because of a blog post. So to “harness” that potential, B&N would want to convince the blogger to put a link to B&N on their site (and no link to Amazon, of course).

    Or, they could create a blogger page on their site (doesn’t Amazon already do that to some degree?) and then hope that people will visit there for reviews and recommendations. (I suspect most of us would assume they were not honest reviews, though, unless the blogger had the freedom to post negative reviews as well as positive).

  32. Cindy
    Jan 19, 2013 @ 10:10:48

    I agree with @SAO When everything the publishers are putting out is the same stuff I shy away. For example, I’d be in a bookstore and be like “Oh that looks intriguing…oh it’s vampire…” and back on the shelf it went. Now with Smashwords and Amazon, I can do a keyword search for the stories I’m interested in…steampunk, Medieval, historical western, non-vampire fantasy…and have a whole world opened up to me and nearly everything I buy is impulse because I didn’t know about it. Now don’t get me wrong, I read Regency (particularly if there is some sort of intrigue or if it’s going to be funny) but why does nearly every historical have to be Regency? Because it’s what sells? Of course it is if it’s the only thing being offered. Thank goodness for Harlequin Historical who does at least dabble a bit in different time periods.

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