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Thursday Midday Links: Open Letter to Loretta Chase

Captives of the Night Yost Cover

Dear Ms. Chase:

I don’t have your email address but I had to write you to comment on a note a fan made on your behalf on the Smart Bitches site.  You see, your book Captives of the Night(kind of a sequel to the Lord of Scoundrels) caught the attention of Sarah Wendell.  But not in a good way.  Your cover is poorly designed and it made Sarah wonder if it is was, well, self published.  A reader emailed you to make sure that this was a book sold legitimately. Your response was thus:

BUT, I’m happy to report that the Kindle version of Captives is the first release in the process of an ongoing digitization of my back list—and yes, I’ve authorized it, and I get compensated.  NYLA is my agent.  Yes, sorry about the cover art, but they had to find public domain material, and I didn’t want to drag the process out by micromanaging the design.

I love your books. Love them. I think you are a shining star in the romance genre. I think your books are thoughtful and that you care about your readers and that your care and thought show in the quality of your work.  But this is the problem of publishing with your agent who apparently knows jack all about self publishing.  Nancy Yost is, by all accounts, an awesome agent, but she isn’t doing you any favors putting out a cover like this.  You do not have to use public domain material.  You see you can purchase stock art featuring ladies in historical dress.  You can hire someone to design your cover.  Yes, you do not want to micromanage the design but neither do you have to go with stock art that makes people wonder about the legitimacy of your publication.

P.S.  Someone just emailed me to tell me that the book is not available on any other digital bookstore like nook, Kobo (international readers), Smashwords, or All Romance eBooks.  If that is true, then I’m doubly sad.

*****

Barry Eisler has made an about face from self publishing and has decided to sign with Amazon’s new mystery/thriller imprint for the publication of his next Rain novel.   Eisler brokered the deal himself (and authors, I wouldn’t suggest this at home because Barry is a lawyer who practiced several years in Silicon Valley as an IP lawyer) and received an advance commensurate with what he was offered from St. Martin’s Press which Barry himself said was $500,000 for two books.  The royalties for print are comparable and the digital royalties are much higher.  Eisler said that the face he has creative control as well as the speed to market encouraged him to make the deal.  With Konrath and Eisler going to Amazon for publishing, is self publishing no longer the best thing out there per these two authors?

I had previously presumed that advances weren’t part of the Amazon publishing scheme but I was wrong.  WRONG.  But the way I see it, Amazon is paying an advance, not just for the book, but for marketing services because Eisler and Konrath speak at a lot of conferences and have large writerly followings and Eisler and Konrath are essentially spreading the gospel of Amazon.  That’s probably worth quite a lot to Amazon.

Speaking of Amazon and publishing, Sarah has an excellent piece on Amazon Montlake over at her blog.

******

I saw a tweet that the president of the ABA (American Bookseller Association) said that they were going to experiment with the hardcover + DRM free ebook in the fall.  I don’t see this as anything as a niche (meaning only a few books will garner this type of interest at a premium price) or as a way to preserve print.  But it fits with the publisher goal of trying to present DRM free as a premium feature and preserving print for as long as possible.  Short sighted, in my opinion, but consistent.

Google says consumers love bundling.  (Not sure which consumers Google is talking about) The impediment to bundles? Publishers not allowing discounts.

Google hopes to offer physical/digital book bundles, but publishers are standing in the way. “We’d love to get there. Consumers love bundling,” Dougall said. “But it’s up to the publishing industry to be more open-minded” about allowing discounts on bundles.

******

Bloomsbury has announced a new digital division designed to bring readers digital backlist titles.

Bloomsbury Reader, which will be run by digital media director Stephanie Duncan, is similar to Ed Victor’s Bedford Square Books,which he announced earlier this month. Bloomsbury Reader will publish books currently unavailable in print where all English language rights have reverted to the author or their estate and there is no edition currently in print. The books will be sold as e-books or print on demand titles at “affordable prices and to the highest quality specifications”

******

British women are pirating books at a higher rate than any other demographic in Britain. I suspect that a lot of this has to do with territorial restrictions.  We need to get rid of those.

According to the firm’s annual Digital Entertainment Survey, one in eight women over age 35 who owns an e-reader admits to having downloaded an illegal version of an e-book. That compares to just one in 20 women in the same age group who admits to having pirated music.

******

Paid Content has a few snippets from the BISG study about readers. (I’m trying to get this through interlibrary loan. Wish me luck).

-“Power buyers” represent about 18 percent of the total people buying e-books today, but they buy 61 percent of all e-books purchased.

-The most influential factors leading to an e-book purchase are free samples and low prices.

 

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

74 Comments

  1. Mike Cane
    May 26, 2011 @ 10:39:19

    Glad you mentioned the Eisler thing. Thought I was going mad from the news. Nope, he about-faced.

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  2. Nadia Lee
    May 26, 2011 @ 10:39:26

    Nancy Yost is, by all accounts, an awesome agent, but she isn’t doing you any favors putting out a cover like this. You do not have to use public domain material. You see you can purchase stock art featuring ladies in historical dress. You can hire someone to design your cover. Yes, you do not want to micromanage the design but neither do you have to go with stock art that makes people wonder about the legitimacy of your publication.

    THIS!

    How much is Chase’s agent getting for this?

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  3. HelenB
    May 26, 2011 @ 10:47:30

    I am a British reader and I have been so tempted by the pirate copies of ebooks. I have managed to resist so far because I want my prefered authors to profit from a sale so they keep writing but geographical restrictions drive me up the wall and then I have seen some where in blogland that the f***** stupid publishers are thinking of introducing MORE of the damn things, they must have their heads firmly up their arses.

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  4. Ilona Andrews
    May 26, 2011 @ 10:58:08

    :looks at the cover: Oh boy. Okay:.

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  5. Moriah Jovan
    May 26, 2011 @ 10:58:32

    Re Loretta Chase’s cover and her agent’s involvement with it, as reported:

    I am appalled.

    There is no excuse for this from supposed publishing professionals. None.

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  6. Son
    May 26, 2011 @ 11:05:29

    British women can’t get many books at the same time as Americans (if ever) but it’s far worse here in Australia. I get about 99% of my books from The Book Depository. Amazon will sell me a couple of crappy old category romances on Kindle, and occasionally a couple of books in the middle of a series (I can, for example, buy some of the newer Black Dagger Brotherhood books, but not the first six).

    So many small press authors are only on Kindle, and they’re territory-restricted (as in only for the good ole US of A). I’m so bloody sick and tired of having a book recommended to me, and then discovering it is literally impossible for me to buy it.

    With some books NEVER being released in our countries, and ebook sellers refusing to sell to anyone outside of North America, they’re practically forcing us to pirate books. I have a hard time feeling sorry for people who are losing money. I never pirate books, but I can hardly be angry at those non-Americans who do.

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  7. SAO
    May 26, 2011 @ 11:10:06

    I think it was Loretta Chase where there were typos in the first page. The book was riddled with them, either odd concatenations of two separate words (as in twoseparate) or one word broken into two (sepa rate). I got it from the e-library, so I didn’t complain, but had I bought the book, I’d have expected my money back.

    It certainly killed any interest in paying for her e-books, which are the only way I can read them, as I live overseas.

    As to bundling,I have no interest in owning a book in both digital and print. I think I’d be inclined to keep one and give the other away. Sure, I’d pay more for the bundle if someone’s birthday was coming up, but not if I didn’t have a recipient for the second book.

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  8. Jill Myles
    May 26, 2011 @ 11:22:55

    @Son:

    I know Kindle has a lot of territory restrictions – even though you can opt to sell your books ‘worldwide’, the only three markets that I know of are USA, Germany, and UK. Which is strange, but whatever.

    Can Australians buy from All Romance Ebooks/Omnilit and Smashwords? I know a lot of self-publishers put their books up on those sites so international readers can access them, but I don’t know if those are limited to only certain countries.

    Just curious!

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  9. Carolyn Jewel
    May 26, 2011 @ 11:43:46

    @JillMyles

    The Kindle territory restrictions are set by the publisher NOT Amazon. If a publisher opts for world-wide availability, the book is available everywhere, though the user, I believe, has to use the Amazon US site and pay in US dollars as opposed to Pounds or Euros. You can see those downloads in the Kindle vendor reports, as they have a reduced royalty rate.

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  10. library addict
    May 26, 2011 @ 11:45:16

    You’d think the agents-turned-publishers would take some time to research the needs of the market instead of just slapping a subpar cover on a book and uploading it only to Amazon for Kindle users. Yes they have the largest market share here in the US, but there are those of us who do not own Kindles and/or do not live in the US.

    Good luck on getting the BISG study via interlibrary loan.

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  11. Gretchen Galway
    May 26, 2011 @ 11:48:06

    @Nadia Lee: My fear is that her agent (or NYLA?) is getting 50% net forever, which is the new fun trend out there. It’s the don’t-worry-about-it fee. Which is a real shame.

    I want her to read all of Dean W Smith and Kris Rusch’s blog posts on this, but it looks too late for her not to agree to this kind of deal.

    I bought the above book just a few days ago. It doesn’t even have a table of contents. It’s a pitiful formatting job. I could do better in thirty minutes. And for this some agency is getting a percentage of each sale, perhaps forever, when doing it flat-fee would have cost her $1000 tops (including a great cover).

    Arrrrgh! I looooove her so much I want her to get rich writing books. Sigh. At least I get to read a book of hers I didn’t have yet.

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  12. Estara
    May 26, 2011 @ 11:52:28

    @Jill Myles: Well this German can buy any of the books at ARe. I don’t have to manipulate my address either, although I do pay with Paypal so does that make a difference?
    Same with Smashwords.

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  13. Mireya
    May 26, 2011 @ 11:54:38

    Um, frankly, even if it could be considered micromanagement, if it was a book of mine, there is no way in hell I’d allow it to be epublished with such type of cover. Then the issue of poor conversion and formatting. Really? Loretta Chase or not, I think that’s pretty bad, and it does reflect poorly on the author, even if she’s an “established” name. JMO of course. Restricting the book to a certain format is another thing that, even though doesn’t truly affect me as I have alternatives (I can read Kindle books using my Blackberry if I don’t want to read it using my PC) I think it is pretty crappy. I prefer my ebooks in epub format, and my readers read epub, but not Kindle (I refuse to buy a Kindle on principle, though I do Amazon for other things) so frankly, I don’t think I’d be buying her ebooks as long as they are pretty much restricted to one format.

    I am not surprised about the rate of piracy overseas. Geographic restrictions baffle me on many levels, and to be brutally honest, I’d likely resort to piracy if I could not get my hands on my reading material of choice. I’d be a hipocrit if I’d say otherwise. I just can’t imagine having to deal with those kinds of limitations. I don’t read as much as I used to, but I go over 1-2 books PER WEEK. That translates to an average of 8 books a month. I’d go nutty, I think, libraries or not.

    As to bundles, personally, it depends on what they are “bundling”. This, to me, is like music albums: chances are I’ll only like and/or want one song out of the 10 in the whole album. I don’t think I’d be participating in that sort of deal. Actually, I’ve only bought a couple of bundles (they were Lucy Monroe titles if I remember correctly). It worked okay, but of course, I didn’t like everything I got. Of course I am one among many, so that doesn’t mean a thing in the big scheme of things. :D

    What are “power buyers”?

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  14. Kerry Allen
    May 26, 2011 @ 11:56:38

    @Jill Myles: Smashwords has no geographic restrictions or DRM.

    Categorization leaves something to be desired, though (frex, everything tagged as “romance” lumped together with no subcategories), and I’ve noticed when randomly browsing, I’ll get page after page of the same books, while books I know I should be seeing never show up.

    I don’t know what the actual purchasing experience is like because navigating the front end is too frustrating.

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  15. Jo O
    May 26, 2011 @ 12:16:15

    Helen B
    “I am a British reader and I have been so tempted by the pirate copies of ebooks. I have managed to resist so far because I want my prefered authors to profit from a sale so they keep writing but geographical restrictions drive me up the wall..”

    This, exactly this. I have even gone to pirate sites a few times but so far haven’t downloaded anything but if it gets to the point where I can’t get a reasonably priced paper copy of a US book, then I think I possibly will pirate.

    I bought a reader when it was still possible to buy from US sites and when prices were lower than print. I hardly get to add anything to it now – Baen and Harlequin being the wonderful exceptions.

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  16. Lynne Connolly
    May 26, 2011 @ 12:30:59

    Captives of the Night is one of my favourite Chase books, and I agree with what everyone else is saying. That cover is awful. I self pubbed a short story earlier this year, and while it was definitely a learning process, the cover art is better. I just bought an image from fotolia, I think it was, and superimposed my title and name, I asked one of my cover artists where the best sites were. Easy as that, and it wasn’t expensive, either.
    It’s wrong that such a fabulous book has that cover, just wrong. That image is unmistakeably Edwardian and it doesn’t reflect the book one bit. I am even crosser because I’ve just finished reading Chase’s upcoming release for review and it’s fabulous. She deserves better.

    British geographical restrictions. I can’t tell you how frustrating that is. I have a Nook Color and I’ve rooted it, because I can’t buy books from the B and N website, anyway. That’s why the new Nook isn’t a viable alternative for the Kindle, btw. You can’t buy it or the books outside the US.
    I get friends to buy the books I can’t and email them to me, otherwise I’d go mad trying to get them. Maybe we need a “pal” setup so more people can get these books. I can also go to Netgalley, since I’m a reviewer, but I don’t get books that I have no intention of reviewing.

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  17. OctopusGallery
    May 26, 2011 @ 12:33:24

    I suppose that cover image is better than the CGI covers of certain e-presses I could name, but my god, the layout! The font! Did my CFO who writes his budget documents in Comic Sans advise on this?

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  18. Jill Myles
    May 26, 2011 @ 12:35:34

    @Carolyn Jewel:

    Okay, this was not something I knew. So if I lived in say, Norway, I could buy Kindle books on the US website as long as I paid in US dollars and the book was set as worldwide restrictions? I wasn’t aware that was possible. Thank you!

    @Estara: That’s good to hear – I keep directing people to Smashwords or All Romance but I wasn’t sure if that was correct or not. Good to know. :)

    @Kerry Allen: I agree – Smashwords is a hideous shopping experience. I buy there at the absolute last resort (and I suspect this is true for a lot of people, judging by my sales there). I’ve recently started to use All Romance and Omnilit – I was initially put off by their website, but the categorization is leagues better than Smashwords.

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  19. Jill Myles
    May 26, 2011 @ 12:39:18

    @Lynne Connolly:

    Speaking of covers, I’ve even heard of people buying a stock photo and putting it into PowerPoint and manipulating it from there. Which is not altogether a bad idea, if you don’t want to learn Photoshop or Gimp.

    I’d also like to toss out that there are public domain photos on wikimedia and I think there’s a stock photography website out there that is free of charge? Granted, the photos aren’t as nice but if you REALLY REALLY don’t want to spend the $10 it will take for a nice photo, there are options.

    I guess it could be worse. It could be Poser. Yeah, I said it.

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  20. Has
    May 26, 2011 @ 12:39:33

    Ouch on that cover – I wouldn’t pick that up because I wouldn’t be sure that was a legit book.

    *Sigh* I am so not surprised about British women pirating books. I HATE Geo restrictions with a deep and abiding loathing and feel very frustrated about not getting the books or choices due to this. I wont pirate but I wished publishers/agents and authors can do more to try to sort this issue especially for books which don’t have a UK/European publisher – I can never understand why those books are restricted and its definitely a lost sale.

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  21. Hannah
    May 26, 2011 @ 13:05:59

    I agree that I’ve seen a lot better covers on self-pubbed books, republished backlist or otherwise. To me the cover is a non-issue though. The formatting of the book would be an issue, of course. I just purchased an ebook where the margins vary from paragraph to paragraph for no consistent reason (Spring Blossom by Jill Metcalf, and you can read the sample in the Kindle store to see what I mean). I’ve just reported the margin issue on the Kindle product page in hopes that they’ll fix it.

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  22. lisabookworm
    May 26, 2011 @ 13:24:30

    After hearing about self-published authors who are signing on with amazon publishing after saying no to Big 6 publishers, I wonder how Amanda Hocking is feeling about the deal she made with St. Martin’s Press?

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  23. Anthea Lawson
    May 26, 2011 @ 14:02:34

    Thank you for pointing out that Loretta Chase could do much better in the cover-art department. MUCH better, for a very reasonable fee. Kim Killion at Hot Damn designs makes incredibly top-notch covers, and I believe she currently charges $125 – a steal for the fabulous work she does. Just sayin’

    Amazon moving into publishing makes me go hmmm… plenty of interesting things going on in the world of books these days. (grabbing the popcorn)

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  24. Sofia Harper
    May 26, 2011 @ 14:03:45

    Before commenting on the cover I wanted to see it on a computer. (Was seeing it on my phone.) Yeah, it is pretty bad. The blase attitude of Chase is even worse. I understand jumping on something while it’s hot. Right now self-publishing your backlist is hawt, but I think authors are doing themselves a disservice by treating it as if it’s a trend.

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  25. Lynn S.
    May 26, 2011 @ 14:45:06

    Shame about Chase’s decision on the cover art. The price is great but I don’t see her gaining many new readers with that cover. I’ve seen a few too many scrapbook inspired covers but this one looks like it was assembled with Microsoft Picture It. Captives of the Night is a ridiculously good book and deserves better than this. If we’re going to have someone reclining on the cover, at least make it the überhot Ishmal.

    I have a bad feeling that one of these days someone is going to get the fantastic idea to add some animation and we’ll have the hero winking back at us from the cover or some blood dripping from the neck of our vampire-smitten heroine.

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  26. joanne
    May 26, 2011 @ 14:49:47

    I’ll be the dissenting voter on the Chase cover. I’m certainly not going to argue historical accuracy but Leila, the heroine, was described as always doing her own hair which was always coming down. That makes me think she wasn’t fashionably tressed. She was also lush in body – and she was an artist so the background seems to fit.

    Dunno, it doesn’t bother me nearly as much as the paper copy I have with the hero on the cover sporting a 50′s flattop hairdo and a waxed chest. Still one of my favorite Chase books.

    If Ms Chase writes it then it’s a favorite book.

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  27. Geert
    May 26, 2011 @ 15:06:55

    @Lynne Connolly
    You can buy B&N books outside the US from the B&N website.
    1. Register your B&N account with an US shipping and billing address. You can use any valid US address, just Google something. The billing address is not verified at your credit card company, so you can use a non-US credit card without a problem.
    2. Install a VPN like Hotspot Shield (free) or alwaysVPN ($8.50) on your PC to get an US IP-address.

    To buy ebooks first start the VPN. When the VPN is active buy your books. You only need the VPN to buy books. Books that are bought can be downloaded anywhere in the world. So you can use the Wifi connection to download the books to your Nook Color.

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  28. Lynne Connolly
    May 26, 2011 @ 15:41:59

    Thank you, Geert, very useful workaround! It galls me that I have to do it, but it’s great to know that if I can’t get it from Amazon UK, I have an alternative! I rooted my NC, didn’t replace the software, so that’s doable.

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  29. Carin
    May 26, 2011 @ 16:25:37

    I haven’t seen the ebook version of Captives of the Night. The cover certainly screams “I did this myself!” A cover like this makes me wonder if the pages match the cover – poorly formatted. If you don’t care enough to do a nice cover, then how much time did you take to make sure it is easy to read?

    I just finished an ebook by a different author and was trying to write a review for a friend. It was hard. The formatting was poor, which kept pulling me out of the story. I especially struggled with coversations, which weren’t separated with new lines for each new speaker. They just ran together. Frustrating, because I think it was a good story, but I couldn’t recommend that anyone else spend money on a copy like that.

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  30. Julia
    May 26, 2011 @ 17:05:56

    It’s very concerning to see an author of Loretta Chase’s quality putting out books with cover art like this. Despite Chase’s reassurance that the book is not self-published and all that, it just leaves me uneasy. I tend to steer clear of cheap and cheesy covers (never judge a book by it’s cover, yeah right). This is no different. Very disappointing.

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  31. Julia
    May 26, 2011 @ 17:06:39

    It’s very concerning to see an author of Loretta Chase’s quality putting out books with cover art like this. Despite Chase’s reassurance that the book is not self-published and all that, it just leaves me uneasy. I tend to steer clear of cheap and cheesy covers (never judge a book by its cover, yeah right). This is no different. Very disappointing.

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  32. Kaetrin
    May 26, 2011 @ 17:32:34

    Disappointing that the Chase book is only available on the Kindle. It isn’t a nice cover, but that wouldn’t stop me buying it if it was available as an epub.

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  33. Kaetrin
    May 26, 2011 @ 17:35:04

    Disappointing that the Chase book is only available on the Kindle. It isn’t a nice cover, but that wouldn’t stop me buying it if it was available as an epub – but then again, I’m already a fan.

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  34. infinitieh
    May 26, 2011 @ 17:37:14

    I’ve often wondered how important a cover is to an ebook. After all, the cover doesn’t show up on my Kindle unless I look for it and it’s in black and white anyway. On a paper book, the artwork is clear and in color and the finish is touchable, be it satin or embossed. None of that matters for an ebook cover. Of course, this is why my keepers are in paper.

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  35. Anthea Lawson
    May 26, 2011 @ 17:47:16

    @infinitieh The cover doesn’t matter once you’ve purchased the book – but many people browse around at Amazon, and for that purpose, having a good-looking cover is important. It’s your advertisement for what’s inside, and hopefully it entices readers to buy. Because people DO judge a book by its cover…

    With the Chase book, it’s not the picture so much, but the layout (square, which is not book-standard) and the 3 different font treatments that tend to signal ‘amateur work.’

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  36. Ridley
    May 26, 2011 @ 18:17:34

    The font she used for the author name is charmingly reminiscent of Angelfire websites circa 1997. I can just imagine the twinkling.

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  37. becca
    May 26, 2011 @ 18:35:56

    The cover matters because a lot of ereaders either show the cover and title on the home screen, or just show the cover (which is one reason why I don’t like “shelves” – too often it’s hard to read the title of the book when you’re just shown a cover thumbnail.)

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  38. Sunita
    May 26, 2011 @ 18:50:10

    @Ridley: Oh good grief, you’re right. I knew it looked familiar!

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  39. Ridley
    May 26, 2011 @ 19:02:34

    @Sunita: Are you also now imagining the animated “Under Construction” gif? Because I am.

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  40. Maria Zannini
    May 26, 2011 @ 19:04:34

    I could almost forgive the art, but not the fonts. This book deserved better.

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  41. Moriah Jovan
    May 26, 2011 @ 19:14:18

    @Maria Zannini:

    Here’s the thing: It’s not too late. She’s got control. She can take it down, have the art re-done, and put it back up again.

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  42. eggs
    May 26, 2011 @ 19:28:57

    The cover image is irrelevant to me because I buy and read on my iphone, so I never see it, except as a teeny thumbnail pic.

    As for the geo restrictions, I agree with Son that the most irritating thing is series availability. When, say, books 2, 4 & 5 of a series with a single publisher are available to Australians, but books 1, 3 & 6 are not – it makes no sense. I could understand it if there had been a publisher change, or if only the first or last 3 books were available, indicating a new contract with the same publisher. But the utter randomness of availability indicates that they are just fucking with consumers for fun.

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  43. LP King
    May 26, 2011 @ 19:30:32

    The following study would lend credence to your comment about territorial restrictions and pirated ebooks in the UK:

    http://piracy.ssrc.org/about-the-report/

    While the report studied emerging economies, some of its conclusions would appear to apply to the situation described in the Telegraph article.

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  44. Kelly Bishop
    May 26, 2011 @ 19:37:17

    I really love Loretta Chase’s stories but that cover… Ugh.

    As a comparison, Barbara Samuel is self-publishing several of her backlist titles on Amazon and Smashwords, including The Black Angel, Lucien’s Fall and Night of Fire.

    Those covers look soooo much better. The guy on The Black Angel reminds me of Liam Neeson. Rowr.(Fans herself vigorously.)

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  45. Jackie Barbosa
    May 26, 2011 @ 23:38:29

    I couldn’t even read all the comments. All I have to say to Loretta Chase and Nancy Yost is HOT DAMN DESIGNS. I paid $65 for the cover of THE REIVER (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004JN0GAI). If between them, Ms. Chase and Ms. Yost can’t afford to hire the services of a decent graphic designer, there is a lot more wrong with the world of publishing than I thought.

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  46. Stumbling Over Chaos :: Lead on, linkity, lead on
    May 27, 2011 @ 02:03:17

    [...] and publishing news/links from Dear Author, Smart Bitches, and [...]

  47. Rosario
    May 27, 2011 @ 02:30:12

    …one in eight women over age 35 who owns an e-reader admits to having downloaded an illegal version of an e-book. That compares to just one in 20 women in the same age group who admits to having pirated music.

    They’re not really comparing like with like, though, are they? As a group, women who own an e-reader could probably be assumed to have a different ease with technology than the general population. So to compare the proportion of them who have downloaded pirated books with the proportion of the general population (which will include people who haven’t got an mp3 player -yes, there are some left!) who have downloaded pirated music, is just meaningless.

    RE the Loretta Chase cover: I don’t care. I really don’t. I place no value on the book as an object, it’s all about the story inside it for me. I wouldn’t care if publishers started putting out books in plain white covers, as long as they passed on the cost savings to the readers.

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  48. Suzannah
    May 27, 2011 @ 03:33:14

    On the piracy story, I don’t believe it’s mostly geo-restrictions that are making people steal ebooks. There are just a lot of scummy people out there who also steal clothes and groceries. Why not ebooks? After all, we are constantly told (funnily enough by millionaire tech gurus) that “content wants to be free”. But even the geo-restrictions argument is bogus. I live in the UK, and it is certainly irritating when ebooks available in the US or other places aren’t available here. Time and again I have looked up ebooks referred to on this site and found I can’t get them. But it would never occur to me to STEAL them. I looked up the UK amazon site this morning, and they say they have 650,000 books available for the Kindle, so I’d read one of those instead. The world isn’t going to end if a book isn’t made available to everybody everywhere at the instant they decide they want it. The me-me-me sense of entitlement that so many people have these days is mind-boggling.

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  49. cate
    May 27, 2011 @ 03:53:09

    One of the reasons that I still haven’t coughed up for an ebook reader is the geographical restrictions placed on the publicaton of books. I’m yet another Brit who buys a stonking number of US authors – and I’d rather use eBay or the Book Depository to actually get my hands on my authors of choice as soon as they are available,rather than put up with the frustrations of trying to download from them only to find them unavailable in this country…Case in point, Elizabeth Hoyt’s The Ice Princess…. still unavailable on kindle in the UK. And although Nalini Singh’s Kiss of Snow will be available on Kindle from 2nd June, it will not be available from Amazon in book form until mid August .
    I cannot see what geographical restrictions have to do with good economic practice, as the only result of them that I can tell, is to drive the reader(of ebooks) to pirate sites, which certainly does not benefit the publisher OR more importantly the author.

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  50. SAO
    May 27, 2011 @ 04:58:58

    Suzannah–
    I live in overseas. The expats from English speaking countries have no problem with access to English language books. We go home, we have established Amazon accounts, US credit cards.

    The Russians don’t. Their access to English language legal books in print or e-format is poor. They want to read to improve their language. Borrowing and used books sales provide a huge percentage of their access. They feel that reading a pirate book that no one was willing to sell to them in any format is not theft. The author and publisher did not lose a sale.

    I’m not endorsing this view, merely presenting it. There are a huge number of people all over the world, hungry for English language books. You can find them in all sorts of odd-ball places, like back-woods Romania or Afghanistan.

    E-book piracy has opened a huge market that no one seems to be willing to meet commercially. Meeting it would mean dealing with the many different customs in different countries.

    For example, Russians don’t trust the internet with their credit card numbers. Russian internet stores are thriving, but have a different means of collecting payment. Most of the e-readers don’t do Cyrillic and Russians with e-readers will not buy one that doesn’t allow them to read in their native language as well as in English.

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  51. Danielle D
    May 27, 2011 @ 05:43:00

    I’m a big fan of Lorreta Chase but I’m a little disappointed also that her ebook is only available for the Kindle.

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  52. FiaQ
    May 27, 2011 @ 06:50:20

    @Rosario:

    They’re not really comparing like with like, though, are they? As a group, women who own an e-reader could probably be assumed to have a different ease with technology than the general population.

    I also think it’s important to remember that some – no matter where they are – found pirated copies by accident.

    Type in author’s name and a book title in a search engine like Google, click Search. Bam! Links to pirate sites in legit search results. When I say legit, I’m talking about Google, Yahoo, MSN, DuckGo, Bing, Altavista, etc.

    I would not be surprised if some honestly thought this was an acceptable practice, especially if this kind of legit search results cropped up frequently during their search for books or authors.

    Search engine companies are in between a rock and a hard place. Manipulate search results to keep pirate sites off could be an act of online censorship. There are ways of manipulating without having that, but it’s a tough line to walk on.

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  53. FiaQ
    May 27, 2011 @ 07:00:52

    British women are pirating books at a higher rate than any other demographic in Britain.

    That’s not what the report says. “[..] one in eight women over age 35 who owns an e-reader admits to having downloaded an illegal version of an e-book.”

    and

    “Across all ages and both genders, some 29% of e-reader owners admitted that they pirate books. And for tablet owners, that number is even higher – 36%.”

    You should know that there’s a difference between pirate and download. Not any better, but still.

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  54. The Agent as Publisher - Ugly Cover Contest Winner | The Passive Voice
    May 27, 2011 @ 08:43:22

    [...] to a lovely discussion of this whole mess at Dear Author Tweet/Email/Share This Post Related Posts:No Related Posts Found [...]

  55. Karen
    May 27, 2011 @ 09:20:45

    I haven’t read all of the comments, so my apologies if someone else has already said this, but I read the Chase ebook under discussion (don’t care about covers, myself) and there were definite mistakes with the transfer–not as bad as they could have been (and this isn’t terribly unusual in my experience), but I do hope for more. A single read-through by anyone (even casually) would’ve caught the mismash of the poor hero’s name as well as some other errors.

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  56. Meljean
    May 27, 2011 @ 09:22:32

    @FiaQ:

    I would not be surprised if some honestly thought this was an acceptable practice, especially if this kind of legit search results cropped up frequently during their search for books or authors.

    A few months ago, my sister mentioned that she’d been able to get the Hunger Games trilogy for free through some marketplace app on her Droid phone, along with a ton of other books. I couldn’t remember any mention of the books being given away for free as promo, so I looked into it — and yep, all pirated copies. But she had no idea, because she searched through a legit app, and to her it was just like the free copies that you see given away all the time as promo for a series or a retailer

    ETA Sorry for crazy edit — the editing box is adding the type in backward.

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  57. Jane A
    May 27, 2011 @ 09:31:42

    What’s with the issuance of Chase’s book as kindle only? What about the many many people out there with epub readers? I also understand that Connie Brockway is going to be publishing her next book through Amazon only. Hello? Yet more reasons to drive readers to piracy.

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  58. Moriah Jovan
    May 27, 2011 @ 10:01:57

    I have, more than a few times, seen indie authors say, “Kindle is the only place you need to be.” Frankly, I find that attitude condescending and short-sighted. But hey, I try to be as available as possble, so why do I care? I don’t until discussions like these pop up. Ex-pats, ppl who want to learn English… *sigh*

    That said, my books are geo-restriction-free and DRM-free and relatively low-priced, and I still see my books on pirate sites. I try to pretend piracy doesn’t exist bc it would drive me insane if I thought about it.

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  59. Jackie Barbosa
    May 27, 2011 @ 10:03:49

    I got sidetracked by Loretta Chase’s horrible artwork and didn’t read the bit about Eisler’s deal with Amazon until this morning. The fact that there is an advance involved in these Amazon imprint deals did not surprise me at all; I was pretty sure there was from the get-go because it simply didn’t make sense for authors who were already selling well in digital to go with an Amazon deal without money up-front.

    I’ll admit that I’m a little disappointed in these authors, though, who were such champions of self-publishing’s freedoms and general awesomeness. Mostly, I think I am irked by their willingness to force their readers who buy digital books to buy them only from Amazon. These imprints with their Kindle exclusivity clauses seem to me like just another rail in Amazon’s strategy to become the only source for digital books, and that kind of monopoly power is obviously bad for everyone–authors, publishers, and readers.

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  60. Brian
    May 27, 2011 @ 10:16:25

    These imprints with their Kindle exclusivity clauses seem to me like just another rail in Amazon’s strategy to become the only source for digital books, and that kind of monopoly power is obviously bad for everyone–authors, publishers, and readers.

    The head of Montlake (Amazon’s romance label) has said they’re looking at making the ebooks available elsewhere as well..

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  61. Jackie Barbosa
    May 27, 2011 @ 10:20:09

    @Brian:

    The head of Montlake (Amazon’s romance label) has said they’re looking at making the ebooks available elsewhere as well.

    If that happens, it would be a pleasant surprise. But of course, if the author self-published, he/she wouldn’t be dependent on Amazon to make the ebooks available on other retailers’ sites/in other formats.

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  62. Jane
    May 27, 2011 @ 10:31:20

    Over at the Kindle Boards, Eisler had this to say: (among other things)

    In exchange, I’ve given up certain digital retail channels because the Amazon deal is exclusive to Kindle platform devices. And Amazon will sell paper versions through its retail stores and through wholesale channels to other retailers. If any of this sounds like a legacy deal to anyone here, you’ve been talking to legacy publishers I’ve never heard of.

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  63. Courtney Milan
    May 27, 2011 @ 11:43:09

    @Brian: The head of Montlake (Amazon’s romance label) has said they’re looking at making the ebooks available elsewhere as well.

    What I saw Smart Bitch Sarah report was this:

    Right now the digital distribution is for Kindle only, but she says they are talking about what other options could be considered for readers who use other readers.

    Making books available for other readers doesn’t mean making books available somewhere other than Amazon. There have been rumors about Amazon starting to sell epubs for a while now–and it would totally fit in their business model to try to steal customers from B&N/kobo by offering a compatible format to nook readers.

    But I don’t see any indication that Amazon is sending its books to B&N or All About Romance any time soon.

    Maybe that’s too much lawyerly parsing on my part, but I just don’t see it.

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  64. Moriah Jovan
    May 27, 2011 @ 13:28:24

    @Courtney Milan:

    I agree.

    Amazon wants to lock up the market on ebooks, especially with their lending program. That much is clear. However, as long as there are outlets like B&N and AllRomanceeBooks and Smashwords that are popular amongst readers, an author should, IMO, make an effort to have his books there, too. (iBooks is anemic; I personally think it’s irrelevant.)

    And as long as the Kindle device itself is in such limited distribution, it won’t matter much anyway.

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  65. Jackie Barbosa
    May 27, 2011 @ 13:39:33

    @Moriah Jovan:

    And as long as the Kindle device itself is in such limited distribution, it won’t matter much anyway.

    From the estimates I’ve seen, Amazon holds something in the neighborhood of 65% of the ebook market right now. Even allowing for the fact that a fair percentage of those buyers are reading using the Kindle app on a computer or iThing instead of an actual Kindle, that’s hardly a “limited distribution,” IMO. The fact that Amazon is alredy so dominant in the digital book market is yet one more reason I dislike the exclusivity agreements (whether they offer other formats in future or not), because it’s an attempt to take an even larger share of the overall market than they already have. I feel like authors and publishers are already too dependent on Amazon for sales. We don’t need that dependence to increase.

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  66. Moriah Jovan
    May 27, 2011 @ 13:46:19

    @Jackie Barbosa:

    65% of which ebook market? US? UK? Germany? Oceania? China? Japan?

    Mrs. Giggles posts all the time about her difficulties in getting ebooks that she has to read on her computer. People in other countries who have devices do NOT have a Kindle. People in other countries can’t buy many ebooks from Amazon unless they have a US address and US credit card.

    So the fact is that we’re looking at the US and thinking of it as the world.

    A good portion of my readership (that I know of) is overseas: Germany, Australia, etc., and I have them because they wanted easy access, no geo restrictions, and variable formats with no DRM. I gave them that. I wouldn’t have been able to get those readers through Amazon nor would I still.

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  67. Jackie Barbosa
    May 27, 2011 @ 14:29:29

    @Moriah Jovan: You’re right, and I don’t know what other options there are for people outside of the US, but I do know that as long as the publisher doesn’t specify any geographic restrictions,on a book, you can buy from Amazon US pretty much anywhere in the world. Realistically, though, since my books are available only in English and based on the sales I can see, Amazon is far and away the dominant player in my sales at the moment (although it wasn’t so until recently). I’d be surprised to discover Amazon represented less than 75% of my sales at this point in time (due in large part to my self-published short story’s sales and the fact that my Cobblestone Press backlist is now available there).

    The thing is, I don’t think it’s good for Amazon to have 65% of even JUST the US market. That’s too much power for one entity to have in any market, and since I live/work/buy books primrily in the US, I think it’s perfectly reasonable for me to object to Amazon’s attempts to monopolize the mrket, even if it’s “only” the US market (and I don’t even believe that it’s ONLY the US market that they dominate and hope to dominate further)..

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  68. Brian
    May 27, 2011 @ 16:40:18

    @Courtney Milan: My bad, I guess I inferred from what she said they might be sold elsewhere like their pbook are. Although if they offer something compatible with the nook/Kobo/Sony, etc. it still solves a lot of what some readers have been complaining about.

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  69. L.K. Rigel (likari)
    May 28, 2011 @ 16:00:05

    Just an incidental factoid: You can send Amazon gifted books to any email address. So if I pay for a Kindle book here in the US and use the gift button to send it to someone in the UK, not only do I pay the US price, but I don’t pay the VAT either, and the receiver just clicks the gc and the book gets sent to their Kindle.

    So if you have a buddy in the US you can work with, you can get books that way.

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  70. Jane
    May 28, 2011 @ 16:06:08

    @L.K. Rigel – this doesn’t work if the book is geographically restricted though. Tried to buy Iron Duke for a UK friend a while back and she wasn’t allowed to download it

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  71. Brandon Wood
    May 29, 2011 @ 18:24:55

    I might not judge a book by its cover, but that cover is pushing it. I don’t make the best e-book covers myself, but some of mine look a heck of a lot better than that, and more importantly, I’m not charging anyone to make those covers. I know that I’m not a cover-making guru, so I’m not trying to scam people into letting me make them covers. The crazy part is that some people are doing that, and writers are falling for it. Sad.

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  72. Richard A. McCullough
    May 31, 2011 @ 22:40:03

    I’d shoot anyone that offered me a cover like that. And I sure as hell wouldn’t pay them a percentage of the royalties.

    And just for the record. Given the money they figure to make off you they could pay a legitimate cover designer to make a decent cover.

    Agents are blood sucking vampires. And the new crop of “book packagers” are even worse.

    Anyone that singes with one of those vultures deserves what they get.

    Write on…

    Richard McCullough

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  73. Richard A. McCullough
    May 31, 2011 @ 22:42:32

    @Jill Myles: Smashwords is awesome and no it’s not restricted.

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  74. Cover » Prosaschleuder
    Jul 01, 2011 @ 19:53:07

    [...] sind nicht unzufrieden. Ein bißchen besser als Einladungen zu Kirchenfesten sind sie schon. Es könnte schlimmer sein. Wen’s interessiert: Hergestellt mit Photoshop. Und zwar mit PS6, erschienen anno 2000. Wir [...]

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