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

Thursday News and Deals: Growing Number of Academics Unhappy with Elsevier


Brenda Novak’s auction will take place from May 1st through the 31st. They are looking for donated prizes. I’m thinking of donating a 100 page critique but honestly I don’t know whether that would be something someone would want. I can’t offer an ad as I’m sold out for the year. What do you think?


Melissa Foster and Amy Edelman for itemize a number of reasons why self published authors aren’t getting respect. The reasons are commonsense and include the lack of editing and quantity over quality.

A scarier issue is that some independent authors simply believe that their work does not need to be edited. Writers are often too close to their work to make the critical structural and grammatical changes that might make the story more succinct. Let us simply say here that every writer benefits from a good editor.


Music firms are going to be offering licensing for websites. This will allow ordinary folks to add well known music tracks to their videos or advertisements:

Examples of the customers they hope to attract include couples wishing to add music to their wedding video before uploading it to the internet, film festival entrants, small businesses making web adverts, school clubs and smartphone app developers.

Online licensing is a bonanza for music firms. Vevo made $150 million last year putting up web videos and paid out $100 million to artists.


Stick a fork in Dorchester? That’s the question swirling around the internets now that it’s last known editor has been laid off. According to Brian Keene, Chris Keeslar has been let go.

Dear Publishing Colleague:

As of January 31st, 2012, I am no longer employed by Dorchester Publishing or collecting mail from this address. I have left a list of outstanding issues and will be available to management if questions arise, and I know that my colleagues are aware of each issue’s importance.

You can see a list of contacts Chris Keeslar provides to the publishing colleagues at Brian Keene’s site.


Remember how Kiera Cass plotted “quietly” on twitter to down vote a negative review on Twitter? The bad review, the bad behavior, and the resulting brouhaha affected her not at all. CW has ordered a pilot of her book which is apparently Hunger Games meets the Bachelor (this book should be panned on the idea alone).


Barnes & Noble is not stocking any print versions of Amazon published books. No way, no how, even those distributed by Houghton Mifflin. But, as Nate the Digital Reader points out, is BN going to pull all the Harry Potter books when Pottermore is launched and the only place you can buy the digital versions of Harry Potter is through Pottermore? After all, to not do so would be to violate B&N’s own policy that it created to punish Amazon. B&N’s policy is that books that are exclusive to Amazon shouldn’t be allowed into B&N’s stores. It’s the reason that B&N gave when it pulled the DC Comic books and it is the reason B&N is giving now to avoid stocking Amazon books.


Amazon’s Q4 results are disappointing to Wall Street. It’s stock is tumbling because while the revenue stream is growing, the margin is not. Remember that Apple had a record quarter of revenue and a high margin (44%+). Wired writer, Tim Carmody, notes that Amazon’s game is the long ball.

Amazon has strategically placed a very long bet on growth in revenue and sales at the expense of profits. The Kindle Fire is a perfect example. Amazon makes relatively little in revenue and virtually no profit on the sales of individual devices. Millions of Kindle Fires, however, become millions of tiny retail outlets for everything Amazon sells, from digital books and movies to decidedly analog clothing and hardware. The company trades profit today for revenue tomorrow — with even more revenue and even higher profits arriving in the years to come. That’s the yardstick the company judges itself by.


One of the reasons publishers are having a hard time competing with Amazon is Amazon’s direct to consumer relationship which eliminates some costs and provides Amazon with a hoard of data. The reason for this is because publishers don’t view readers as their customers and making that transition is difficult. Oh, John Scalzi might want to argue otherwise, but I don’t think that you can state it more clearly than the Authors Guild did yesterday:

For book publishers, the relevant market isn’t readers (direct sales are few), but booksellers, and Amazon has firm control of bookselling’s online future as it works to undermine bookselling’s remaining brick-and-mortar infrastructure.

The entire blog post is worth reading if only to understand the mind set of the most powerful author lobbying group in the business. There are about a half a dozen things wrong in the post but learning what others think about the business can help one understand the decisions that are made.


A number of academics (1900 so far) have pledged to do no more work for Elsevier Publishing.  The boycott was suggested by a mathematician of the University of Cambridge.  The reason is threefold: 1) high priced access to scholarly works; 2) bundling of unwanted journals with high priced, coveted journal; and 3) support for the Research Works Act.

Hal Abelson, a professor of computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an open-publishing advocate, signed the pledge and wrote that “With the moves of these megapublishers, we [are] seeing the beginning of monopoly control of the scholarly record.” Benjamin R. Seyfarth, an associate professor in the School of Computing at the University of Southern Mississippi, wrote that “nearly all university research is funded by the public and should be available for free.”

Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education



  • Something Secret This Way Comes by Sierra Dean * $0.00 * A | BN | K | S
  • Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S (YA)
  • Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham by John Stauffer * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • The Playboy by Carly Phillips * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S * The Bachelor, first in the series, is also on sale *
  • Greatest Love on Earth by Mary Ellen Dennis * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S * A circus book*
  • Jane by April Lindner * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S (YA)
  • Knit Together by Debbie Macomber * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • This Is Not a Game: A Novel by Walter Jon Williams * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Death, Taxes and a French Manicure by Diane Kelly * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Hedgewitch Queen by Lillith Saintcrow * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S (reviewed here)
  • Bandit King by Lillith Saintcrow * $4.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • The Sherlockian by Graham Moore * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Lord Lightning by Jenny Brown * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Infinity: Chronicles of Nick by Sherrilyn Kenyon * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • A Fountain Filled with Blood by Julia Spencer Fleming * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S * (this is the 2nd in the series. The first and second are now $2.99) *
  • Anastasia’s Secret by Susanne Dunlap * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Blood Song by Cat Adams * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Child Bride by Suzanne Forster * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S * The book description is LOL you guys “As Annie lies unconscious, Chase can’t deny his swiftly mounting desire, watching her pillowy breasts undulate in rhythm with her shortened breaths. “
  • Lily by Patricia Gaffney * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S (Reviewed favorably here)


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. Jia
    Feb 02, 2012 @ 10:21:47

  2. Tory Michaels
    Feb 02, 2012 @ 10:38:33

    I think you should donate the critique. It’s a fabulous cause and I’m sure people would love to be critted by you.

  3. Nadia Lee
    Feb 02, 2012 @ 11:14:56

    The Dorchester Community Blog is officially closed

  4. Ros
    Feb 02, 2012 @ 11:48:31

    That Author’s Guild piece had me hitting my head against the wall and laughing in despair throughout.

    I think a critique is a good idea, but I wonder if you might be able to come up with something more unique. Lots of authors/editors will offer critiques.

  5. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 02, 2012 @ 11:50:39

    RE: Brenda Novak… have you thought about offering an interview sort of thing?

  6. Ruthie
    Feb 02, 2012 @ 12:35:40

    RE: Novak — or a spotlight for a self-published or just-getting-started author who might want the free publicity on your site? (Though maybe you don’t want to offer a spot to some random person…)

  7. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 02, 2012 @ 12:57:36

    @Ruthie: none of the stuff on Brenda Novak’s auction is free… you bid and the more popular the site, like DA, the higher the bid is going to go. Stuff gets up pretty high there, pretty fast.

  8. Naomi
    Feb 02, 2012 @ 13:03:51

    I wonder if Keira Cass and her agent already knew about the pilot deal when they were quietly plotting on Twitter? Is this manufactured controversy?

  9. joanne
    Feb 02, 2012 @ 13:19:37

    I’d like to add to the Melissa Foster and Amy Edelman comments by suggesting that all authors can benefit from good editing that is NOT DONE by their mom or their BFF.

    I always love the wonderful spirit of the Brenda Novak auctions. Jane I suggest you open up the bidding to readers and editors and publishers alike by auctioning the first chapter of your were-rodent romance.

  10. Bren
    Feb 02, 2012 @ 13:43:49

    What about donating a book review by one of your reviewers on your site and simultaneous post to Goodreads/Amazon? Great exposure for self-pubbed or debut authors, I would think.

  11. DS
    Feb 02, 2012 @ 15:25:14

    Considering the first item today, I think you should off a tear the book apart and throw the bits at the wall F review. No doubt that would generate a lot of sales.

  12. Mikaela
    Feb 02, 2012 @ 17:13:05

    Just FYI, all three books in Cat Adams Song Series show up for 2.99 on Kobo :).

  13. Author on Vacation
    Feb 02, 2012 @ 17:25:32

    A scarier issue is that some independent authors simply believe that their work does not need to be edited. Writers are often too close to their work to make the critical structural and grammatical changes that might make the story more succinct. Let us simply say here that every writer benefits from a good editor.

    A good, thorough editor and a solid, honest critique partner are pure gold.

    I think the saddest, most disappointing reading experiences I’ve ever had are “almost-good-books” where the storytelling is there, but the technical quality is not.

    IMHO, the primary responsibility for this falls upon authors. No one will ever care more about a manuscript’s quality than its creator. Authors owe themselves and their audiences the best quality possible. A manuscript should already be polished within an inch of its life before it ever reaches an editor.

  14. Unbiased Observer
    Feb 02, 2012 @ 18:00:44

    If you had a heavy hand in editing the Agony/Ecstasy anthology (meaning you worked with the authors to rewrite scenes etc.) then I’m guessing people would be willing to forward some coin for your critique.

    But if your role didn’t expand beyond choosing the stories then it would be like a young basketball player asking a sports reporter how he can get more arc on his shot. He’s better off asking a seasoned coach.

    On the third hand, people might be eager to hear your advice given your history as a reviewer. So I guess it comes down to what you feel comfortable doing.

  15. Sherry Thomas
    Feb 02, 2012 @ 18:45:13

    Do you have a F-review to auction off? Those can be career makers.

  16. Dani Alexander
    Feb 02, 2012 @ 20:11:04

    I think the article on self-publishing also missed an opportunity to point out that another problem of self-publishing is websites that don’t review them. I understand the inclination. I realize that there have been some very badly behaved self-published authors, but is refusing to review them the right step? (not pointing fingers at DA, since they do review SP’s books, btw).

    What’s needed is a muck pile diver: a website which does nothing but review self-published books on editing etc. That’s the gatekeeper. Or at least the lock to the gate.

  17. Helen
    Feb 02, 2012 @ 20:14:36

    Darn! Lily is showing a price of 8. 19 for nook.

  18. Angela Quarles
    Feb 02, 2012 @ 22:30:18

    I think you should do the critique! I know others will do it too, but you’re YOU and there will be people who will want your opinion, not just anyone’s. When I read reviews here and on SBTB I often have wished there was a way to have one of you Beta read mine before it gets published, so I’d bid on it….

  19. SAO
    Feb 02, 2012 @ 22:31:45

    I continue to be amazed at publishers. If bookstores die — not an impossibility as they are ailing — publishers need to find a new way to connect books with readers. They aren’t doing it.

    When I was in line at the going-out-of-business sale in Portland, I asked someone where the nearest good bookstore would be when Borders was gone. The answer was a laugh and the comment that there was a bookstore in Freeport (30 min away), but “I don’t know if you’d call it good,” and then either Bangor or Augusta (about an hour).

    I concluded the vast majority of my book purchases would be made browsing on-line, not in a store.

    But it sounds like the publishers will realize bookstores have disappeared for the rest of the country when the last few in New York close. And, you know, while horses and buggies disappeared everywhere, I bet you can still get a ride around Central Park in one.

  20. MaryK
    Feb 02, 2012 @ 23:54:46

    @SAO: Really. One of the things the Authors Guild article blamed on Amazon was the limited amount of sales other brick and mortar bookstores picked up after Borders closed. As if there’s a bookstore on every corner and when one closes, readers would just naturally skip on over to the one on the next street. Where do these people live that they have so many in person book shopping choices? They even cited the number of available stores as if the fact that they exist somewhere makes them viable alternatives for Borders customers.

  21. Rebecca
    Feb 03, 2012 @ 01:20:10

    Mary K – I’d imagine in cities or major suburban areas. I live in Connecticut and within 45 min of me there probably used to be around, I don’t know, maybe 4 Borders and 3 or 4 Barnes & Noble stores? Plus a couple of Waldenbooks. All that’s left is the B&Ns now, sadly, but the closest one is around 10 minutes from here. I usually order from B& though because I sadly, rarely have time these days to go there. But I still want physical bookstores to survive. I can’t imagine never being able to take my future children to a bookstore. Going to bookstores was such a wonderful experience for me as a child. It’s sad to me how many fewer there are now.

  22. MaryK
    Feb 03, 2012 @ 09:34:50

    @Rebecca: Wow, there’s one 30 miles to the east of me, and two 20 miles to the west (3 if you count the one in the part of town with the crazy traffic). I can easily make impulse stops at the western ones on my way home from work, but it’s too far for a weekend visit unless I have to be in town for something else. They’re still a bit of a novelty to me; when I was a kid there was only Waldenbooks in the mall, and we had no money for it.

    You know, that has a real impact on pricing for me or how much I’m willing to pay at least. When I was a kid, it was the library or nothing. Now, eight dollars, even if I can afford it, seems like a lot to me. Apparently, my mind hasn’t quite made the transition from eight-can’t-afford (or however much the price was then) to eight-can-afford.

  23. Tessa Dare
    Feb 03, 2012 @ 10:18:10

    Thanks for the reminder on the Novak auction! My suggestion is to leverage your powers of aggregation. Maybe raffle off a special First Page Saturday, Extreme Edition on which a guaranteed list of reviewers, authors, editors, agents, etc will comment? Like 20 mini critiques at once–plus comments from anyone else who cares to participate. Just a thought.

  24. reader
    Feb 03, 2012 @ 11:25:46

    I would bid on every blessed suggestion in this post. Maybe you should do them all!

  25. MaryK
    Feb 03, 2012 @ 13:26:24

    re: Brenda Novak’s auction – Offer a beta read? Along the lines of here’s what I’d tell readers if I were reviewing this for DA.

  26. Stumbling Over Chaos :: In which linkity happens yet again
    Feb 03, 2012 @ 19:25:12

    […] Publishing news from Dear Author. […]

  27. B
    Feb 04, 2012 @ 05:30:09

    […] RT | DA 1 | DA 2 | […]

  28. Gwen Hayes
    Feb 04, 2012 @ 10:53:59

    Again, I may be oversimplifying the issue again, but if the Big 6 are worried about Amazon becoming the publishing monolith of the future and putting them all out of business, why don’t they simply pull out of Amazon altogether? Couldn’t they pool their resources and distribute via their own conglomerate site? They could keep costs down by not having to pay 3rd party distribution and Amazon would have nothing to sell but their own lines.

  29. DS
    Feb 04, 2012 @ 11:20:27

    @MaryK: Price of gas is also an issue. I don’t make impulse visits to nearby cities where there are bookstores the way I used to since the price of gas has doubled.

  30. Jackie Barbosa
    Feb 04, 2012 @ 17:40:12

    Is the “r” in Kiera Cass’s name in the tags (it shows up as Kiera Crass) a typo or a commentary? Either way, it’s awesome.

  31. Tuesday News & Deals: Harry Potter Digital Goes to the Library; Major Corps Reverse Directions; More Paypal News
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 11:11:55

    […] works even if the works were, in part, publicly funded Many noted scholars did not like this and began to boycott, stating that they would refuse to publish with an Elsevier arm. Under pressure, Elsevier reversed […]

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