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Tuesday Midday Links: Self publishing stock rises and so does...

Yesterday was a study in opposites.   Barry Eisler, a hardcover author of the John Rain series, broke the news that he had turned down a $500,000 offer for two books from St. Martin’s Press and is going to self publish his next Rain book.   Eisler is good friends with Joe Konrath and has been increasingly frustrated with the efforts of his publisher on his behalf.   He moved from Random House and had apparently been in negotiations with St. Martin’s Press for three months before deciding to walk away from the deal.   

Amanda Hocking, self publishing star who reportedly sold nearly a half million copies of her 9 books in one month, is on the verge of closing a deal with one of the Big 6 publishers for an advance in the 7 figures.   

Barry isn’t the first author I would have predicted to self publish.   In fact, I thought it might be someone like Janet Evanovich who has turned her books into a mini industry.   It is possible that Evanovich, like Stephen King, has a co publishing deal with SMP so that going it alone makes no sense.   Self publishing is an entrepreneurial endeavor that will result in new but up and coming authors being bought up by larger corporations and existing authors breaking out and starting their own businesses.   It’s a very interesting time.

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More opposites exist in these two bingo cards, one produced by John Scalzi in support of traditional publishing and another produced by Shmuel510, a professional copy editor, in support of readers and digital reading.   Both are fairly biased, but each has its own truths.

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Author Jessica Verday was told by her publisher her contribution to a YA anthology to be published by Running Press would be changed because the story contained an m/m romance between two gay teens.   

I’ve received a lot of questions and comments about why I’m no longer a part of the WICKED PRETTY THINGS anthology (US: Running Press, UK: Constable & Robinson) and I’ve debated the best way to explain why I pulled out of this anthology. The simple reason? I was told that the story I’d wrote, which features Wesley (a boy) and Cameron (a boy), who were both in love with each other, would have to be published as a male/female story because a male/male story would not be acceptable to the publishers.

I find this shocking given that Running Press had dabbled in publishing mainstream m/m romances.   What would be the point of excluding an m/m romance for teens?   Does the publisher believe that teens don’t know about homosexuality?   or that they aren’t accepting of it?   

Update: Since I wrote this up, apparently the editor of this anthology has spoken up and said to not blame the publishers. Instead, she made the decision to have the story changed/pulled because …. a story about homosexuality somehow is too something for the collection?   

Oh dear. Might as well give you my two cents. Not that it really matters but… Don’t take it out on the publishers, the decision was mine totally. These teen anthologies I do are light on the sex and light on the language. I assumed they’d be light on alternative sexuality, as well. Turns out I was wrong! Just after I had the kerfuffle with jessica, I was told that the publishers would have loved the story to appear in the book! Oh dear. My rashness will be the death of me. It’s a great story. Hope jessica publishes it online. (By the way: if you want to see a you tube video of me wrestling a gay man in Glasgow, and losing, please let me know).

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Amazon killed the Lendle site.   Lendle was a site that allowed Kindle users to share their books through the lending features. This lending feature is not “turned on” by any of the big 6 publishers except, ironically, Macmillan.   Amazon has shut Lendle down by refusing Lendle’s access to Amazon’s API which makes it impossible for Lendle to automatically populate the site based on Amazon’s product identifiers.   Lendle could still continue but it would require a ton of manual input.   

My guess is that Amazon is trying to convince the major publishers to participate in the lending program and this is one way Amazon can say “see we aren’t allowing these lending clubs and it will only be used within a circle of readers similar to a print book club.”

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Amazon has opened its Android App store. Interestingly there is a Kobo App within the Amazon Android store.    I think this means I will have to jailbreak the nook to see exactly how these apps look.   Apple suing Amazon for use of the trademarked term App Store.

Other publishing lawsuits include Microsoft’s suit against Android interfaces including Barnes and Noble’s nook interface. I don’t foresee the suit against BN lasting long and suspect that BN will agree to pay licensing fees to Microsoft rather than fight it.

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HarperCollins is experimenting with paid author events.   Last month, there was a fairly pricey event held with Susan Elizabeth Phillips (I think the price was $75). In April, 75 readers paying $10 will get to have tea with Eloisa James and Julia Quinn at the Panama Hotel Tea House. This is a promotional event run through BookPerk, a company owned by HarperCollins.   

I know that we’ve talked about how authors aren’t like musicians and can’t make money off public appearances, but will that be changing in the future?



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

38 Comments

  1. jennifer armintrout
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 12:10:43

    What a gross “apology”. LOL I WRESTLED WITH A GAY GUY ONCE LOL I AM TOTALLY NOT A HOMOPHOBE I HAVE VIDEO PROOF BECAUSE I LET THEIR KIND TOUCH ME.

    No one cares, homophobe, go sit in the corner.

    ReplyReply

  2. Christine Rimmer
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 12:20:22

    I do love living in interesting times. And as another author was heard to mutter, “May I have Barry’s trad book deal if he doesn’t want it?”

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  3. emmytie
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 12:22:49

    I think that first BINGO card is supposed to be sarcastic. Not actually in support of traditional publishing.

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  4. Gennita Low
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 12:40:33

    Wow, Barry is a brave man!

    ReplyReply

  5. Jill Myles
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 13:10:00

    Yeah, I have to echo the sentiment of “What does wrestling a gay man have to do with anything at all?”

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  6. Christine M.
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 13:16:00

    I really hope these Bingo cards were made with tongue-in-cheek because WOW.

    Also, what does ‘light on alternative sexuality’ mean? ‘Straight only’ plzkthxbai? Are that editor’s anthologies light on anything else aside sex, language and alternative sexuality? Like light on plot, or character depth? FAIL.

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  7. Courtney Milan
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 13:20:34

    Replace “alternate sexuality” with “black people” in Telep’s explanation, and ask yourself if that makes any cognitive sense as anything other than a blatant statement of discrimination.

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  8. RT
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 13:21:54

    I’d pay money to see certain authors. I’d pay a lot of money to see Victoria Dahl or Barry Eisler. Even more if I get to be alone with Eisler and he’ll read “Wicked West” to me :)

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  9. Janine
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 13:22:05

    @emmytie: I believe both Bingo cards are supposed to present hackneyed arguments.

    Agree Barry Eisler has guts! I may have to pick up one of his books.

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  10. Wahoo Suze
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 13:22:10

    Is the author going to see any of that money, or is to going to help defray the publisher’s costs of putting the event on? I’m guessing the latter.

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  11. Kim in Hawaii
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 13:35:39

    I’d pay $10 (if not more) to have tea with Julia Quinn and Eloisa James. Both are best selling authors, interesting women, and appreciate their fans.

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  12. Julia Quinn
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 13:40:59

    Hi Jane–

    The $10 is just to cover the cost of the event. We thought it would be more fun than a traditional booksigning.

    In a lot of ways, it’s like writers’ conventions. You pay a fee, have access to workshops, and get fed while an author talks. In this case, you pay a LOT less, don’t have workshops (although you could certainly ask a writing-related question to me), and you get tea and cookies.

    I don’t foresee this turning into anything like the children’s book market; most kids’ writers actually earn the majority of their income from school visits. It’s a totally different business model.

    JQ

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  13. Las
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 13:47:21

    I first thought that I would totally pay to see certain authors, but then I remembered that I don’t bother attending free events of authors I like, so…

    Seriously, I see nothing wrong with authors making money from appearances. Why not, if people are willing to pay?

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  14. Las
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 13:50:32

    @Julia Quinn: Wow, I had no idea about children’s book authors! That’s really interesting. Why do you think that is? Do publishers just pay them that much less?

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  15. Jane
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 14:00:30

    I didn’t think $10 would give much, if anything to the author. Was thinking more of the $75 entry fee, however. These meet/greet with the authors appear to be new for HC. I remember reading one sponsored by Book Perk in LA wherein the cost of admission was a review of the book. It was a general fiction book, I think.

    Also, I wouldn’t think that this sort of thing could replace advance/royalties but it could be an addendum and/or supplement.

    Someone told me recently that in the “new economy” (whatever that is) what we gave away for free, we would be selling and what we are selling, we would be giving that away for free (it was referencing lawyers so something far and away different than authors).

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  16. Christine M.
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 14:23:11

    @Jane: **Tongue in cheek** But what have lawyers ever given away for free anyway?

    (Disclaimer : My uncle did law school although he hasn’t practiced as a lawyer in decades. I guess I could always wrestle with him and film us doing so in Ottawa if any lawyers is offended by my comment. *G*)

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  17. Lynne Connolly
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 14:25:40

    Tell you what – my friend Annie Burrows and I meet for a chat and a cup of tea sometimes. Could we charge for that, or at least get the tea and cakes paid for by somebody else?
    To me it boggles the mind.
    We do have things like “Catherine Cookson country” and “James Herriott country” where you can go on bus tours, so it’s been around for a while, but I can’t see public appearances being a big part of storytelling unless we go back to sitting around a fire, breathlessly telling stories of derring-do.
    Now there’s a thought…

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  18. Chicklet
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 14:34:41

    Yes, the bingo cards are collections of common arguments made by the adherents of one side or the other; the idea is that you can read a forum about digital publishing and check off squares when you see the statements pop up. I first saw them in fandom circles, but now Entertainment Weekly has one for Hawaii Five-0 (“Steve takes off his shirt” or “Whee, a helicopter ride!”).

    Also, the editor of the Wicked Pretty Things anthology is a homophobic asshat; I’m tempted to tip off After Elton or Towleroad and watch her email inbox catch on fire.

    Oh, and the paid author events really just remind me of fan conventions where attendees pay extra money to get autographs from or pictures with actors. It’s a widely accepted practice in SF and comic-book circles; it will be interesting to see if it spreads to authors.

    And comment-editing is back, yay!

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  19. Evangeline Holland
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 14:58:55

    @Courtney Milan: Please don’t do that. Just comment on the bigotry and leave it there–no “substituting” of other people is needed.

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  20. Jess B.
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 15:34:21

    @Courtney Milan: Thank you! All I could think was sex =/= sexuality. Obviously I don’t know how graphic (I really hate using that word to describe sex, but I couldn’t think of anything better) Verday’s story is, so I can’t make any specific statements about this case, but all this says is that a boy kissing another boy is somehow less than a boy kissing a girl. I admit that the former might not appeal to everyone, but guess what? The same applies for the latter.

    And the best thing about anthologies? You don’t have to read/enjoy all the stories within.

    ReplyReply

  21. Jeannie Lin
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 15:36:10

    I attended one of the BookPerk events with Susan Elizabeth Philips and talked to her and the coordinator about it. They were trying out more personalized events with readers. I doubt the intent was to make any money at all. In fact, I’m not sure how much marketing sense it makes, but perhaps that’s why I cherish the experience even more. The setting was very intimate with most of the attendants being die-hard fans of SEP with a couple of new faces brought in by friends. About 15 people in all. We had a sit down dinner, cocktails, appetizers AND received a signed copy of her new book. I can’t imagine the publisher profiting at all after booking the venue or ever planning to profit.

    The more traditional talk and book signing that SEP had at the library the next day was a much bigger draw and probably a better use of SEP’s promotional time, but the BookPerk event was just an awfully cool thing for super fans. A nice experience.

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  22. Jia
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 15:44:57

    @Jill Myles: Don’t you get it? She knows a gay man! Well enough to wrestle him! And there’s proof! So she’s totally not bigoted. Not at all.

    What a terrible apology.

    ReplyReply

  23. CK
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 15:45:07

    Although I don’t agree that the m/m story should have been pulled from the anthology and I do believe that the editors’ explanation was full of wtfery, it is possible, tilting your head sideways and squinting really hard, to understand the ‘light on alternative sexuality’ comment. My first thought was a m/m story in an anthology marketed as YA won’t fly because I can hear the outcry from some parent in Timbuktu, USA, that their innocent little flower was reading about – the horror! – two boys kissing. (Nevermind that the little flower has probably been reading Ellora’s Cave and fan-fiction for years.)

    ‘Think of the Children’ and ‘Protect the Children’ come to mind when the charges rise of the ‘liberal media’ and the LGBT ‘mafia’ pushing their ‘agenda’ on the innocent minds of the impressionable youth. That the increasing moral decay of this country will lead us all to hell in a rainbow hand-basket. So rally together and boycott XYZ and ‘OMG! The sky is falling’.

    I hope that my overuse of quotations there shows that I don’t agree with that. I personally don’t believe it to be true and I don’t think it’s fair. But as a parent, I am always astounded by other parents thinking its fine for Johnny and Janie to see someone be decapitated but it is the end of the world as we know it, if they see Kurt and Blaine kissing.

    So part of me can sympathize with the editor if I ignore the rest of the wtfery comment.

    As for authors making money/charging for appearances, I’m all for it. I’ve paid to watch Kevin Smith talk (hilarious, btw) so I would totally pay for a podcast or a moderated chat with my favorite authors. I would certainly pay to have tea with Eloisa or Julia :) I’m actually surprised that more authors don’t do that.

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  24. LoriK
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 15:58:39

    @Gennita Low:

    Wow, Barry is a brave man!

    I guess once you’ve worked for the CIA other businesses just aren’t that scary :)

    Eisler wouldn’t have by my guess for going self-published either. I wish him all the best with the venture.

    I’m not a nice enough person to wish the best for the editor of that anthology though. That was a classic non-apology apology and those are worthy of nothing but contempt, especially when they come with a nice helping of “but some of my best friends are gay” homophobia. Fie on her.

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  25. leig
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 16:26:05

    Good luck to Barry.

    It’s crazy lawsuit month. Bummer on Amazon stopping the Lendle feature. I hadn’t gotten around to using it yet with my Kindle. I have used the LendMe with my Nook and wasn’t thrilled with it.

    Nice job on the website relaunch.

    I looked at your page, Comparison Table of Ereader Devices to research some Sony ereader stuff. You’ve listed 19 ereaders, and 17 of them very comprehensively. The two exceptions being the Nook/Nookcolor and the majority of their formats.

    Missing PDFs for both Nook and Nookcolor. Graphics, music, audiobooks, video, social networking for Nookcolor and the Microsoft Office suite for doc, docx. Excel, powerpoint, html, txt..et al.

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  26. hapax
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 16:55:01

    I dearly hope that Barry Eisler has made some sort of deal with the major book distributors (Baker & Taylor, Ingram, etc.), because otherwise libraries are going to have a tough time getting the new “Rain” book on the shelf.

    I *might* go to the effort of keeping tabs on a Nora Roberts or John Grisham if they went this route, to make sure I got their latest books in a timely manner.

    But no matter how much I might love a particular midlist author, I don’t have the time to track a thousand little independent publishing houses for new releases, prepare individual purchase orders, etc. :-(

    I know that libraries aren’t the bulk of fiction sales. But they do represent how most readers find new-to-them authors.

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  27. Isobel Carr
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 17:00:29

    So, if the publisher was all about including the m/m YA story, was the author invited back (with a groveling apology)?

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  28. Isobel Carr
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 17:13:48

    I know that libraries aren't the bulk of fiction sales. But they do represent how most readers find new-to-them authors.

    Out of my giant circle of friends and family, almost all of whom are voracious readers, I only know one person who gets fiction from the library, and that's only because he takes his kids every Saturday to listen to story time and pick out new books.

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  29. DS
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 17:15:39

    These are indeed interesting times. Looks like a USDC Judge has just rejected the Author’s Guild/Google settlement. A link to the decision and some commentary is available here: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110322/13030513590/court-rejects-google-book-scanning-settlement-with-authors-guild.shtml

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  30. Christine Rimmer
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 17:46:49

    @DS I always hated the opt-out idea in the whole Google publishing deal. I’m with the judge’s decision in the sense that an author shouldn’t have to opt out to keep his writing out of the Google program. Authors should have the option to opt in instead. That way if you don’t want to be involved as an author, you can just do nothing–as you can with all other legit publishing programs.

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  31. Kaetrin
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 17:57:28

    I’ve only been to one author event – we don’t get that many here in Adelaide, South Australia. I paid $20 to go and see Diana Gabaldon last year just after Echo in the Bone was launched. I don’t think the author made any money – I suspect it was just enough to cover the costs of the drinks and nibbles etc. I didn’t mind paying around that price for an author I really wanted to hear. She spoke for about 1/2 an hour, did a book signing and allowed photos for everyone who wanted one, there were drinks and nibbles – good value all in all. I’d happily pay $10 for tea with JQ! (Any plans on coming to Adelaide?)

    I’m not sure about paying $75 though unless there was singing and dancing!

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  32. DS
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 18:10:13

    If an author is easily found an opt in would have been best. But I do care passionately that certain orphaned works need to be preserved and made available to the reading public. There’s a host of books where the author is MIA, dead and the heirs don’t care to exploit the literary rights or don’t know how, or possibly incompetent to act for him or herself. Those are the books I want someone to care about enough to preserve and make available.

    To get back on topic though– I really think that some authors don’t exploit their popularity. I remember the Nora Roberts bobbleheads– and I can’t believe that Ms. Roberts’ fans wouldn’t line up around the block to buy Eve and Roarke action figures.

    While this sort of thing is often thought of as promotion items I can’t see why the item shouldn’t be desirable and worth paying for in and of itself. Or have I spent too much time of eBay looking at Ooak Barbies? I don’t like Twilight at all but even I have an Edward Cullen doll — who I firmly swear stalks my other toys when I am not around.

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  33. Christine Rimmer
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 20:43:20

    @DS–good point re orphaned works.

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  34. Ridley
    Mar 22, 2011 @ 22:07:23

    Man, using the term “alternative sexuality” is up there with “Some of my best friends are ____.”

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  35. Janine
    Mar 23, 2011 @ 00:34:17

    The long discussion between Barry Eisler and Joe Konrath in which Eisler explains the reasoning behind his decision is fascinating and very much worth reading.

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  36. SAO
    Mar 23, 2011 @ 02:47:36

    Books aren’t like movies or music because to read the stone age era version does not require stone age equipment. Print books can co-exist with ebooks far better than MP3s, CDs, Cassettes, 8 track, and vinyl can co-exist.

    Therefore, while one can expect that the growth of ebooks may reduce the variety of print books available, but it will not kill the market.

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  37. Estara
    Mar 24, 2011 @ 16:11:46

    I liked Moriah Jovan’s bingo card response to Scalzi better (probably because of the highlighting-in-colour-bit ^^), she also put it up earlier,

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  38. Motivation Monday | Solelyfictional
    Mar 28, 2011 @ 04:30:07

    [...] Meanwhile, a Young Adult anthology, Wicked Pretty Things, has caused an uproar after the editor asked an autho… (after the bingo cards). Anger was initially directed at the publisher, but the editor, Trisha Telep, admitted they were her own prejudices and she’d assumed the publisher shared them. Don't take it out on the publishers, the decision was mine totally. These teen anthologies I do are light on the sex and light on the language. I assumed they'd be light on alternative sexuality, as well. Turns out I was wrong! Just after I had the kerfuffle with jessica, I was told that the publishers would have loved the story to appear in the book! Oh dear. My rashness will be the death of me. [...]

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