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Thursday Midday Links: Dorchester Dis-invited from RWA

An author reported that Dorchester (registration required) was disinvited to the RWA Conference and would not be allowed to hold editor appointments, spotlights or workshops at the 2010 Conference taking place in two weeks. The reason for this is that Dorchester has not met contractual obligations to some authors and would not be able to fulfill the contractual obligations prior to the conference taking place.   Update to add:   Both Leah Hultenschmidt and Chris Keeslar will still be attending RWA in Florida.

Agents and authors have verified to RWA that Dorchester is past due in fulfilling contractual obligations to some of their authors at this time. Dorchester has confirmed and while making every effort to fulfill their financial obligations to their authors, those obligations will not be met before the conference.

Dorchester has been the subject of unpleasant rumors for a couple of years now at Absolute Write Forum. Signs of its financial illness surfaced when Dorchester sold the frontlist and backlist of its biggest names to Avon.

To be sure, Dorchester is an important part of the romance publishing fabric. It has brought us genre breaking authors like CL Wilson and Marjorie Liu. It published the first Christine Feehan book. Dorchester tried innovative lines like Shomi. Dorchester has a great stable of editors including executive editor Leah Hultenschmidt who is as passionate about romance books as you would find anywhere. Leah is also just an all around great person who I have had the pleasure of meeting a couple of times. Obviously, the financial woes aren’t editorial but management. I think that we would feel the loss of Dorchester in the romance community keenly. Let’s hope that the publishing house can right its ship.

*****

Speaking of publishing and money, there were multiple reports yesterday that Janet Evanovich is shopping her next four books around, having fulfilled her contract with St. Martin’s Press. Evanovich reportedly wants $50 million for four books and SMP is balking. Evanovich’s last contract for her Plum books was around $10 million per book but her last contract was also negotiated by Robert Gottleib at Trident. Since then Evanovich’s son has taken over the agenting duties.

I can’t help but wonder if leaking this news is a misstep. Advances are being ratcheted down all over the place and leaking the news of the exact amount that Evanovich is looking for can be dangerous for a new house. If the new house picks her up and their top flight authors aren’t making $12.5 million per book, I would imagine that the new house would have to pacify those other top flight authors.

Further, the books are worth more to SMP because SMP has the backlist. With the movie coming out starring Katherine Heigl, interest will be renewed in the first book, not the 18th book.

******

AnnMarie writes about Christian Domestic Discipline romance novels which is a trope I hadn’t even known existed in romance fiction.

Nope. CDD romances don't actually describe sex. The spanking isn't erotic. It's painful.

CDD romances teach lessons.

Lessons like don't speed. Speeding is dangerous. It can result in an accident that may harm you or others. If you do speed, you will be spanked. Hard. Hard enough to require antibiotic ointment. I am not kidding you. ANTIBIOTIC OINTMENT.

AnnMarie points out that the CDD lifestyle is fine if both the husband and wife are into that. Who are we to judge the personal kinks between consenting adults. The problem, AnnMarie notes, is that the books themselves are pure propaganda, promoting the CDD lifestyle in a not very romantic way.

*****
Remember the PW report on Agency pricing where publishers were all “yay, control!” and “yay, more competitors in the marketplace”? Well, Diesel eBooks would challenge that and does in an interview with Kat Meyer at Tools of Change.

ToC: Where do you currently stand in terms of access to Big 5 titles?

KLA: We are currently selling HarperCollins and Penguin. Penguin was the first go back up on the site on May 10th (Day 40) and HarperCollins on May 13th (Day 43).

Oh, readers, I’m shaking my head here too.

*****

Ned and I drove to Colorado last week for RomCon and it’s a 10 hour drive. Ned is an alpha male when it comes to driving and so I wasn’t allowed to touch the wheel during the entire trip there and back. (I actually don’t mind this as I hate to drive. I even hate pumping my own gas so Ned usually fills it up. Honey, my tank is low. Just FYI). So I slept. The tot watched hours of video on the iPad and Ned drove. And drove. And drove. On the way back he wanted me to download an Audible book or two. No problem.

I downloaded the books. Then I went to sync his iPhone with my iTunes and apparently you can’t sync with two computers because the one computer erases the sync with the other computer. Well, I didn’t want to lose any of Ned’s stuff on his phone and so I researched how I could possibly get these Audible files onto Ned’s iPhone. I searched cracking them (and never came up with a good solution). I searched file browsing for the iPhone. Then I realized I could add them to my new Kindle. Score! So I download the Audible Manager (and btw, we are on the road and the internet was very slow). I install all the correct software and then attach my Kindle. Except for some reason the Audible books won’t copy over to the Kindle. Argh!

I give up. When I get home I find out that Audible has released an iPhone app and it is awesome. You can download your Audible files directly to your iPhone via the app. And the App is free. Yes, I told this whole three paragraph story just to share with you the news that the Audible app for iPhone is now released.

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

41 Comments

  1. Tweets that mention Thursday Midday Links: Dorchester Dis-invited from RWA | Dear Author -- Topsy.com
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 09:08:09

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Nadia Lee and Marguerite Butler, dearauthor. dearauthor said: New post: Thursday Midday Links: Dorchester Dis-invited from RWA http://bit.ly/at9klH [...]

  2. Lori
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 09:13:13

    I have to laugh with you over the iPhone sync thing (you were laughing, right? Heh). It’s frustrating as hell, and Apple offers no way around it. So if you decide to buy a new computer? No way to get all the songs over to the new one (unless every last one is already on your phone). Even iTunes “Share” doesn’t work for this. Grrr.

    But, it’s absolutely great to know that Audible has an app. I’m much more likely to buy an audio book now.

  3. Angela James
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 09:21:53

    You were the very first person I thought of when I saw the Audible app on Monday because I knew you could have used it!

  4. Catherine
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 09:22:23

    On a purely personal level, I’m so disappointed that Janet Evanovich is trying to expand her series even more. I want resolution to the irritating love-triangle and I get the strong impression that won’t happen until the series ends. So, I’d like some closure now.

  5. Andrew Shaffer
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 09:31:41

    I would say something like “Shomi the money”, but that just wouldn’t be right. Hope there’s a happy ending to this story.

  6. gwen hayes
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 09:31:48

    Audible has a beta app for Droid now too. Watching the discussion group on Google– I’m opting to wait.

    It seems the file sizes are ginormous. I’m happier converting the aa files to mp3 and sideloading for now. It’s not a perfect system, but it works.

  7. Janet P.
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 09:47:08

    Oh Heck. 12.5million for 300 pages of monkeys and fart jokes. NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT!!!

    If somebody actually pays that I think there’ll be scores of struggling authors banging their heads up against the wall thinking “Why not me? Why not me?”

  8. Jane
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 10:12:28

    @Lori I was laughing inside, deep in place I could not yet recognize until I downloaded the Audible app later.

  9. Sidney Ayers
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 10:17:09

    That’s part of the reason I avoided reading the Stephanie Plum books. Too many books in a series. I personally feel a series should not exceed more than 5 books (Says me now. But money does speak volumes, too.)

  10. Robin
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 10:18:01

    Can someone explain to me the difference between a CDD lifestyle, and a CDV (Christian Domestic Violence) lifestyle? Like do both partners get spanked or is it only the female? Because if it’s only the female, then I’m not prepared to believe in any kind of informed consent on the part of the battered spanked spouse.

  11. Wendy
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 10:22:29

    I think that we would feel the loss of Dorchester in the romance community keenly.

    Uh yeah. Yeah we would. It’s easy to forget now, what with the glut – but Dorchester used to be it for paranormal or sci-fi romances. I rely on them for westerns and their Hard Case Crime line. I hope they can right the ship, because no Dorchester would make me very, very sad – and it’s all about me dontcha know….

  12. Randi
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 10:26:27

    Maybe Evonovich should self-pub. She’s got a HUGE following, is well known enough to do it, and she would probably make what she’s hoping to make.

    On that note though- it’s not the love triangle that is so bothersome to me, it’s Stephanie’s lack of character arc. It’s been 15 books and she’s still the same person she was in book 1. She hasn’t grown as a character and THAT is what is bothersome to me. I just finished 15 and decided I was done.

    Addtly, I might add that the Plum books and the Spellmen Files (which I love love love) have the same problem for me, which is, while we’re in the protaganist’s head, there’s no emotion there. I am still, as a reader, emotionally distanced from the character; and that makes me disinterested in the long term.

  13. library addict
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 10:51:46

    I enjoyed the Shomi line and wish it had lasted longer. Here’s hoping Dorchester works things out.

    I gave up on the Plum series a long time ago. It’s one of the main reasons I avoid books/series with love triangles now. Not sure if I will see the movie or not. $50 million is a lot of money. Not sure any author is worth that for 4 books. If they sell that well, great. Make money from the actual sales.

  14. gwen hayes
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 11:07:10

    I also gave up on the Plum series a long time ago…but here is something to think about…Katherine Heigl makes about 13 million per movie.

  15. gwen hayes
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 11:12:24

    ….sorry browser issue….

    My point is really not a point. Just something to consider. When I saw what Evanovich was asking, my gut reaction was “that seems greedyish”. But then, wow, why is it okay for the actress to make so much, but not the creator?

  16. TKF
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 11:31:00

    @Randi:

    On that note though- it's not the love triangle that is so bothersome to me, it's Stephanie's lack of character arc.

    Evonovich has stated in interviews that she has no intention of allowing Plum to grow and change. Apparently she thinks that readers don't want her to, that we want to keep her just as she is.

    I gave up a long time ago (after the bizarre paranormal Christmas novella they charged a small fortune for). Got sick of the Joe/Ranger melodrama and that fact that the dumb girl just never learns ANYTHING.

  17. Heather Massey
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 11:38:26

    It's easy to forget now, what with the glut – but Dorchester used to be it for paranormal or sci-fi romances

    Um, there’s a glut of sci-fi romances? News to me, LOL! I only wish it were so.

    Seriously, though, I hope Dorchester can resolve their challenges, and I’ll continue to seek out their SFR titles.

  18. TKF
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 11:41:11

    CDD doesn’t sound like “kink” to me. It sounds like Promise Keepers finding a way to justify domestic violence (and make the women agree that it’s their fault and they deserve to be beaten). *shudder*

  19. Randi
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 12:07:16

    @TKF

    Evonovich has stated in interviews that she has no intention of allowing Plum to grow and change. Apparently she thinks that readers don't want her to, that we want to keep her just as she is.

    Are you freaking kidding me!!!??? If I had known that, I wouldn’t have invested all that time and money into the series. That really really pisses me off. I’ve been duped and now I am mad. Unbelievable.

  20. Randi
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 12:12:17

    Re: The Dorchester problem, Night Shade Books is in the same water with the SFWA. Is this a trend?

    http://www.sfwa.org/2010/07/a-note-to-sfwa-members-regarding-night-shade-books/

  21. pooks
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 12:12:58

    @Randi: Tell me, is she still afraid of guns and bullets? Somewhere along in book seven or eight I stopped reading because really, couldn’t she show even an iota of growth and find some new way to be incompetent?

  22. pooks
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 12:14:56

    @gwen hayes: That movie will make FAR more than any one novel of Evanovich’s ever earned, if it’s a hit. It’s proportional, more or less.

  23. Randi
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 12:18:54

    @pooks: yes. And now it makes sense if TKF is right about no character growth. She is still the same Stephanie from book 1, only she’s had sex with Ranger and Morelli. That’s really the only difference.

  24. TKF
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 13:01:08

    @Randi: Sadly, I am not kidding. I can’t get to SB from work, but that’s where I saw it discussed (I think it was in an inteview on one of the audio books?).

    That said, I’m still a huge fan girl for the first six or so.

  25. Chicklet
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 14:02:54

    It’s so Mean Girl of me, but I kind of want Evanovich to fall flat on her ass. I punked out after #12 because Stephanie never even attempted to become a better bounty hunter, and she was treating both Morelli and Ranger like crap.

    And even back then it seemed like Evanovich’s heart wasn’t really in the books — I think it was about 275 pages, with tons of white space, and maybe even 14-point type — so I’m kind of surprised she’s trying to continue writing it. The end of her SMP contract would be the perfect opportunity for her to write something she loves. She must have built a big addition on her house or something. :-)

  26. Wendy
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 15:05:13

    @Heather Massey: Yeah, I totally didn’t word that very well did I? I didn’t want to ignore the fact that Dorchester does sci-fi romance and I also wanted to keep “sci-fi” separate from “paranormal” (cuz uh, they’re not the same) and instead I just made a muck of it all the way around.

    But yeah, definitely not a glut of sci-fi romance by any stretch of the imagination….

  27. Janine
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 15:40:24

    @Jane:

    Your road trip story was thoroughly entertaining. I can really relate on the hating to drive front. Tell Ned he’s a trooper, driving ten hours straight.

  28. Heather Massey
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 18:50:10

    @Wendy Oh, no problem…I totally knew what you meant. I had to chuckle because I was thinking how pitiful I’d be if SFR was suddenly this huge trend and I had *no* idea…! :P

    But yes, totally agree it’s important to acknowledge the risks Dorchester took for paranormal and sci-fi romance.

  29. BH
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 21:25:12

    @TKF:

    CDD doesn't sound like “kink” to me. It sounds like Promise Keepers finding a way to justify domestic violence (and make the women agree that it's their fault and they deserve to be beaten). *shudder*

    That's exactly what it was! I accidentally bought a CDD book. I was mislead by Tags and the book description. It bad beyond words. It was tagged Erotic, Romance, and Spanking. They got Spanking right, and that was all. It was also marked as a Regency romance with a description that sounded like it might be a okay read by a new author. It was 150 pages of abuse. It was not romance, definitely not erotic, or close to BDSM. It was domestic violence with historical wallpaper. There were possibly four kisses in the book and nothing sexual. Ass blistering spankings over nothing until the women were convinced they needed it and were loved for it.

    I thought at the time it sounded like some type of how to keep your woman down manual, but just couldn’t put my finger on it.

    Blushing Books was the publisher, but I can't remember the author now. Both should be spanked soundly and sent to their corners. I’m embarrassed to say I wasted a few hours on that.

    Thanks Jane. That clears up that wreck of a book. Now I know what it was, and I’m still shaking my head.

  30. Zoe Archer
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 22:28:34

    @Wendy:

    But yeah, definitely not a glut of sci-fi romance by any stretch of the imagination….

    I think most of the sci-fi romance is being published by e-pubs, especially erotic romance. But I love sci-fi romance, and it would be really great if we could see more of it by both e-pubs and in print. I mean, who didn’t love watching Princess Leia kickin’ ass and gettin’ frisky with Han Solo?

  31. sao
    Jul 16, 2010 @ 00:49:57

    I wish Evanovich would write something else. I, too, got sick of the Plum books. Stephanie’s personal life ran out of juice at book 5 or 6 and so did the dynamic. Stick her in the bedroom with Ranger and I yawn, she’s been there so many times with no action, no conflict, no nothing. The conflict is gone.

    What’s interesting is that obviously, the industry seems to think there’s a bigger market for the extension of a tired series than something new from an author who’s great, when on form.

  32. Annmarie
    Jul 16, 2010 @ 02:11:12

    @BH That’s basically what happened to me. I bought a series of contemporaries. I was curious. They were described as spanking Christian romances.

    I thought ‘Woah! Since when did Christian romances get so spicy?’

    I learned there is no spice. No sex. Just ass whupping.

    I was so disturbed I researched the topic & found these books portray an actual lifestyle called CDD.

    @TKF I don’t know who the Promise Keepers are but if they are linked to the Focus on the Family people, yes..I did read somewhere the CDD movement was advocated by them. I don’t know if that info is true, however. I didn’t pursue that thread.

    @Robin Did you follow the link on my blog to the CDD store? It answers that question.

    @Jane Thanks for mention! I’d love for you to do a RomFail with one of the publishers DD books.

  33. Carole
    Jul 16, 2010 @ 04:16:16

    That’s okay, Jane. Enjoyed the three paragraph story. :)

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  35. TKF
    Jul 16, 2010 @ 11:27:04

    Promise Keepers are “Christian” (yes, I must use quotes) men who take a vow to “lead” their families and reclaim their role as husbands and fathers (just threw up a little in my mouth).

    My uncle is one, and the whole family has basically stopped speaking to him. He told my grandmother I was “of the devil” because I went to college! That was the last straw for her. He may be her only son . . . but I’m her favorite grand kid. I trump him (to quote The Little Princess).

  36. Annmarie
    Jul 16, 2010 @ 11:30:03

    @TKF I don’t understand that way of thinking. I especially don’t understand how someone who has those beliefs can think of themselves as Christians.

  37. KarLynP
    Jul 16, 2010 @ 12:21:53

    I too LOVE the iPhone app for Audible. I only wish it allowed me to shop for new books and use my credits, but I am sure that will come soon. For now its a library manager, and its fantastic.

    Jane – BTW, Audible allows up to five devices so you could have downloaded the audiobooks to Ned’s iTunes. To play them on his iPhone, you would have to look under the ‘advanced’ tab on his iTunes player and select ‘authorize Audible account’. Download the book(s) to his iTunes first. Then authorize your account by entering your Audible user name and password, and presto – Ned’s device is authorized for all of your audiobooks. Over the years I maxed out on my five limit, so last year I had Audible erase and reset my alotment so I can start over. I just got new iPhones, so I just went through this process of authorizing new devices a few weeks ago. When the device is plugged into iTunes, select the tab for books so you can control which books you want added than select sync.(you may only want one or two, not your entire library!) It’s real easy.

  38. Jane
    Jul 16, 2010 @ 20:46:12

    @KarLynP Right but iTunes has this weird thing about syncing only with one Library. So I sync with a laptop but Ned syncs on the iMac. If we try to sync Ned’s phone with my iTunes on the laptop, it tells us we are going to erase his entire library to sync with a new library.

  39. JessicaP
    Jul 18, 2010 @ 19:22:53

    Re: Evanovich. If you look at the old author photos v. the new, I’m pretty darn sure she’s had plastic surgery, and that’s not cheap. I can only hope she’s not taken the Cher road on that one. She’s moved, so I assume there’s a new house, etc. I gave up on Stephanie I don’t know how many books ago, but I doubt I made it to the double digits. Same story, same characters, boring, repetitive, no growth, don’t care. I can’t imagine $50 million for four more of the same old same old. Yawn.

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