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

Tuesday Midday Links: Rumble in the jungle

A reader emailed me this morning to apprise me of a feud which erupted between Laurell K Hamilton fans and PC Cast fans taking place primarily on the two facebook profiles of the authors. Apparently in Awakened, a YA book by PC Cast, one character makes a dig Anita Blake and Laurell K Hamilton:

Im pissed! Just finished P.C Casts Awakeing house of night series one that i liked untill this book on pg 203 when they not only diss Anita but also diss Miss Hamillton. "whos anita blake?" stevie rae askes "vampire killer chick written by a human chick who has a Totally Tragic fashion sense" Pissed me OFf

and LKH responded with:

Thanks everyone who told me that I get slammed in the P. C. Cast book. I would never have known since I don’t read them. Apparently, they do read me, so thanks for that. The duo who are P. C. Cast are quite mainstream in their fashion sense. Not surprised they don’t like mine. I would never, ever criticize another writ…er in my own books, let alone their personal appearance. When did being nice go out of fashion?

Fans of LKH went over to the PC Cast facebook page and started hurling insults, enough so that LKH felt compelled to post this:

Thanks to everyone who defended my honor with the slightly snarky mention of me in the P. C. Cast book, but guys, my point was – be nice. In your zeal to defend me, some of you have been mean & said far worse things to, & about the duo that writes as P.C.Cast. Please, don’t. No one else’s bad behavior gives you the ri…ght to behave badly, too. You can disagree, but mean makes everyone stop listening to your point.

I think this is the first author kerfluffle of 2011. LKH is no angel. She’s slung quite a bit of crap on her own blog at other writers.   She opens herself up to criticism of a personal kind by inserting herself and her sexual experiences into her books.   She is encouraging her readers to defend her. That said, do you think PC Cast went over the line by insulting LKH personally in the book? Or is this all in good fun?

***

The Kindle for iPhone App was upgraded yesterday to allow sideloading of ebooks (mobi worked for me) via the iTunes program (detailed here) or by simply emailing yourself the file and using the “Open in” feature. Kindle has also released an App for Windows Mobile.

***

A literary agent from a prestigious agenting firm has opened her own self publishing, author services house. Leila Dewji, age 27, left Sheil Land Associates (who represents authors like Diane Setterfield), to form Acorn Independent Press Ltd. with her brother.   From the description, it sounds more like a vanity or subsidiary publishing firm rather than a self publishing firm.   Or what Thomas Nelson and Harlequin offer through Author House.

Acorn Independent Press Ltd. offers premium self-publishing services for authors who want to launch in a big way; with fantastic editorial, design and production services as well as sales and marketing services to get books reviewed and stocked. Acorn produce beautiful books and e-books which they put in to international wholesale and distribution channels to reach readers all over the world.

This follows Curtis Brown Agency launching a writing school.   I suspect we will see more and more agents offering publishing services.   Publishing organizations will continue to struggle with defining the term “published author.”

***

The Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) has announced its selection for the 2011 Reading List.

The Reading List annually recognizes the best books in eight genres: adrenaline (including suspense, thriller and adventure), fantasy, historical fiction, horror, mystery, romance, science fiction and women's fiction. This year's list includes novels that will please die-hard fans as well as introduce new readers to the pleasures of genre fiction.

For romance:

Romance

"A Matter of Class" by Mary Balogh, Vanguard Press (9781593155544)

A lady is ruined. A merchant's son is trapped. Class differences loom large in this charming and playful take on the arranged marriage. Balogh's Regency gem, where nothing is quite as it seems, is filled with affection and wit.

Read-Alikes:

"Faro's Daughter" by Georgette Heyer

"In for a Penny" by Rose Lerner

"The Viscount Who Loved Me" by Julia Quinn

Short List:

"Barely a Lady" by Eileen Dreyer, Hachette (Forever) (9780446542081)

"The Forbidden Rose" by Joanna Bourne, Berkley (9780425235614

"The Iron Duke" by Meljean Brook, Berkley (9780425236673)

"Something About You" by Julie James, Berkley Sensation (9780425233382)

According to YoungLibrarian, the short list are the runners up and the “read alikes” is a list of books that are similar to the winning book.

***

A teen blogger writes about her interest in an upcoming new line from St. Martin’s Press that is targeted at older teens and actual young adults.   (YA line is targeted to 12 years and older or 9th grade and up).

I’m sixteen, in case you’re wondering.

That doesn’t stop me from wanting to read about characters older than 18. I’d sure as heck love to go into the Young Adult section and pick up a book about a college freshman adjusting to their new life of freedom, stumbling around a huge campus, fighting with their roomate, and groaning about cafeteria food and being a poor student. I’d sure as heck love to read a book about a protagonist that sets off on an adventure after they graduate from high school, or who’s just taken up training as a cop or joined the army or taken a job you can’t do while still in school. I’d love it to bits if anyone wrote a book about a college junior’s experience as a study abroad student.

St. Martin’s new line is called “New Adult” and is described thusly:

“…[n]ew, cutting edge fiction with protagonists who are slightly older than YA and can appeal to an adult audience. Since twenty-somethings are devouring YA, St. Martin's Press is seeking fiction similar to YA that can be published and marketed as adult-’a sort of an "older YA" or "new adult."

***

Publishers Weekly reports that publishers saw huge increases in ebooks sales over the holidays.

imon & Schuster reported a 150% jump in e-book sales for this holiday over the same period last year. Random House reported an impressive 300% leap, and Kensington said its e-book sales for this holiday season climbed a whopping 400% over 2009. Here is a compilation of publishers’ top five bestselling e-books (in descending order) for December 25 and 26.

The top selling title for Kensington was His Conquest by Diana Cosby.   At $3.79, I’m going to have to buy it myself.

***

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

35 Comments

  1. Jia
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 11:11:44

    What ever happened to SMP’s New Adult line anyway? There was a bunch of buzz a couple years back but… nothing since. Is it still in the works?

  2. tori aka ggs_closet
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 11:18:15

    LKH is a professional victim but Cast should have known better.

  3. TKF
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 11:25:40

    So vanity publishing has been rebranded as “premium self-publishing services”. *rolls eyes*

  4. Summed it Up
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 11:31:46

    Cast was kinder than most people I know when it comes to LKH . . . wannabe goth princess stuck in 1982 pretty much sums up how her characters dress (and how she dresses from the pics I’ve seen of her). And don’t get me started on the ridiculous bondage clothing and the endless descriptions of finding the right underwear to go under the gothy-princess clothes. I quote Willow: Bored now.

  5. Julia Broadbooks
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 11:41:22

    The young blogger has a great point. My elder daughter is 17 and finding it challenging to find books. She likes paranormal with a bit of romance to it, but finds herself feeling a bit old for some of the YA series she used to enjoy. On the other hand, some of the PR in the adult section is a bit eye opening. She got a Rebecca York book because she loved the excerpt, but I think she set it aside half finished.

    I think the few series she’s found that fit her taste and yet don’t feel so removed from her own life are cherished and reread.

  6. Tweets that mention Tuesday Midday Links: Rumble in the jungle | Dear Author -- Topsy.com
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 11:45:08

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by rissatoo and Natasha. Natasha said: Really PC Cast, tacky tacky tacky but LKH ain't no angel either. http://bit.ly/gt2PVl [...]

  7. Natasha R
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 12:00:37

    Am I the only one who thought the fashion sense comment was directed at Anita Blake and not LKH? At least that’s how my brain interpreted that sentence. I had to read the rest of the post to figure out why people were outraged :)

  8. Tracy
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 12:10:28

    re the LKH/PC Cast thing–I don’t really read either author, but…I read it as being a throw-away comment from a book character “criticizing” Anita Blake and LKH. In which case, and forgive me if I’m wrong, it doesn’t necessarily reflect the author/s opinion. A good writer is capable of writing characters who s/he personally disagrees with, for the sake of the story–and not always as the villain of the piece.

  9. Bonnie Dee
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 12:15:39

    I think when you achieve a certain level of fame you become public property to an extent and have to let jokes at your expense roll off you. A person’s fans should too. Look at the way Twilight has become the butt of jokes to the extent that an opening scene in a recent Supernatural episode lampooned Twilight-esque characters. Of course, there’s a difference between joking about the book and joking about the author but really, in the end isn’t any mention at all the sincerest form of flattery?

  10. ka
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 12:33:21

    Thanks for the morning news and the good news about Diana Cosby. I’ve interviewed her a few times for my blog. She is charming, gracious, and dedicated to researching her time period. I know you you will enjoy her medieval series.

  11. Annabel
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 12:59:26

    My husband was just moaning the other day that he didn’t get in on ground floor of the self-publishing-service-industry avalanche that is coming.

  12. Chicklet
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 13:01:53

    The LKH-Cast “feud” makes me think of the item I read this morning that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are considering boycotting the Oscars ceremony this year because they’re ticked about Oscars co-host Anne Hathaway’s impression of Katie on SNL a few months ago. In both cases, my reaction is “Oh, grow the f*** up, already.”

  13. May
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 13:32:56

    The dividing line between self published and vanity publishing seems to be getting more and more indistinct.
    I am not a writer and will never be one, but if I wanted to self publish successfully wouldn’t it make sense to get my manuscript edited by a professional and then to get help on the cover and the publicity. If I pay for these seperately and then self publish I am “self published” and still respected, but if I pay one company to do it all for me, I’m vanity published and sneered at. Or is this too simple an explanation?
    Against my own argument, I do still have a knee jerk bad reaction to vanity published authors. I am beginning to think it is the subject of the book that makes the difference.

  14. MaryK
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 13:48:42

    Sarah Hoyt’s Darkship Thieves made the short list on RUSA’s SF list. I think it’s a SFR (SFRomance).

  15. Lisa
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 14:33:23

    Bonnie– my first reaction was that personal jabs at the author was going too far but I read your comment about a mention being the sincerest form of flattery and you changed my mind. I think that’s a good point. At the point in career LKH is at, she herself, is well known, not just her books.

  16. Diana Cosby
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 14:41:15

    @ka:
    KA, thank you so much for your kind words about me as the MacGruder brothers series. I love, love, love the Scottish medieval era.

    I always throughly enjoy appearing on your blogs, besides being a super sweet person, I always have a blast. Take care and may your New Year be the best yet!
    *Hugs*
    Diana Cosby, International Best-Selling Author
    http://www.dianacosby.com

  17. DS
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 14:54:57

    Considering that LKH has whole communities dedicated to making fun of her and/or her books, I’m not sure why she even bothered letting loose the hounds in the first place.

    However, Cast will probably pick up a few readers over this.

  18. TKF
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 15:45:23

    If I pay for these seperately and then self publish I am “self published” and still respected, but if I pay one company to do it all for me, I'm vanity published and sneered at. Or is this too simple an explanation?

    I think there is still a stigma attached to “self publishing” of any kind if the author has not been previously professionally published (with NY or a reputable ePub). This may change, or it may not. *shrug* It’s going to depend on the ability of the new gatekeepers’ (readers and reviewers) ability to find and promote good self-published books and warn people off the dross.

  19. Cally Beck
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 15:53:15

    Highly amused by the Blake/Cast thing — by this point, the Anita Blake books are pretty mainstream and a lot of people know about them and the nonsense she spews and the way she looks.

    My point is, they’re pop culture. Pop culture shows up in books. Deal. If you don’t like how pop culture perceives you don’t act like a loon in public.

  20. Good Grief
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 18:25:59

    I’m less concerned with the LKH/Cast dust-up than I am with the condition of the writing skills of the person who posted the original Facebook message. This is apparently a person who reads. Isn’t there a link anymore between being able to read and being able to write at least semi-coherently?

  21. Niveau
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 18:37:55

    No, I don’t think the Casts went over the line with that LKH reference. That being said, I read the first few books in their series and was extremely uncomfortable with the number of references to real people in them – way too many – and by the fact that the people who were name-dropped were made into vampires. (They’ll list a popular real-life celebrities as “great vampire actors,” for example, which would be fine once or twice, but that’s what happens with every single positive pop culture reference.)

  22. Heather Massey
    Jan 11, 2011 @ 19:06:50

    @MaryK Yes, DARKSHIP THIEVES is definitely SFR. Pretty sweet news. Thanks for the heads up.

  23. Mary
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 02:24:25

    Very excited to read about the “New Adult” line. (Though like someone else, had heard about it a while ago, too.) We have a series that will launch in May that will easily move into 18+ year old main characters. I think this is very unexplored territory.

  24. SAO
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 07:31:25

    I wonder what “put into international wholesale and distribution channels all over the world” means. For e-books, it’s easy to put a book up as one of how many billions Amazon carries. That hardly guarantees much in the way of sales.

    For physical books, bookstores have to make choices. So, what does Acorn have that will convince a bookstore to choose them? Unless they agree to reject the dross that has an author with money and the desire to see his/her book published.

  25. Janet P.
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 07:42:54

    I guess my first reaction is that when LKH is the person in the crowd sounding like the responsible grown-up, you know you have an entertaining fuss on your hands.

    I don’t read that series Cast’s books but I heard that the daughter was brought in to bring a realistic voice to the characters of that age group. The LKH/Anita snarking sounds to me like something a bunch of young woman would actually be doing so I really don’t have a problem with it. In fact, it is kind of a nod to LKH of just culturally relevant her book is in modern cultural references.

  26. DS
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 08:33:36

    I had no idea what Vanguard Press was (the Balogh book) so I looked it up. I’m still not sure what it is although I recognize some of the names on their authors list. Is it a small press or a specialty subdivision of a larger publisher.

  27. Brandi
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 09:03:14

    If I were LKH I’d be more upset by them making me human in the books than bashing my clothes. Anyone in House of Night that is considered talented is turned into a vampire for the series.

    Actually, if I were one of the Vamps in House of Night, I’d bash LKH for writing about a character that kills vampires, not for her apparently tragic fashion sense.

    I’m torn on this one, if it was the usual type of celeb, I wouldn’t care, but I don’t like the fact that it’s a dig on a fellow writer. I think a dig on the books is reasonable, but a personal attack on the author herself is cringeworthy.

  28. Anne Ardeur
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 10:38:57

    I read it as criticising Anita’s fashion sense, too, rather than LKH’s, but on a re-read I guess I can see why other people would read it differently.

    But still, it’s not like LKH doesn’t make plenty of references (not always flattering) to other RL people in her own work. Pot, meet Kettle.

  29. Kristen A.
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 12:15:18

    Cast’s books have a lot of pop culture references in them. (At least, her other books do, so I’m sure HoN does although I don’t follow that series.) It makes sense to me that young vampyres- I think that’s the spelling she uses- would read urban fantasy and talk/snark about it.

    And I haven’t read a lot of Anita Blake either, but based what little I have I’d totally believe that the character who said that line was either saying that Anita had tragic fashion sense, or that maybe LKH does because of the way she dresses her characters. No knowledge of LKH’s wardrobe would be required.

  30. Gotta Wonder
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 12:54:12

    @Good Grief:

    I'm less concerned with the LKH/Cast dust-up than I am with the condition of the writing skills of the person who posted the original Facebook message. This is apparently a person who reads. Isn't there a link anymore between being able to read and being able to write at least semi-coherently?

    I also find this troubling. If readers of popular fiction are dumbing down this severely, does that mean authors must either start writing to the lowest common denominator or risk losing audience share?

  31. MaryK
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 14:11:51

    I’m not sure much should be read into how poorly written the reader’s comment is. It’s a facebook message so she was likely typing it on her phone and messages typed on a phone can make anybody look bad. With oversensitive keys, manual capitalization, and punctuation on a separate page, I have to be pretty desperate to type on a phone myself.

  32. Suze
    Jan 12, 2011 @ 22:43:55

    I have very mixed feelings about self-publishing. A year ago, I spit all over it. Now I’ve read a few self-published books and they were pretty good.

    I accidentally bought a Publish America book in my last batch. It would have benefitted from some more ruthless editing (the timeline jerked around a lot, and it had a LOTR-movies-esque sequence of epilogues). Still, it was quite engaging, and the spelling and grammar were good. The formatting (ebook) was EXCELLENT.

    I said in a previous post that I think good editors could still be the gatekeepers for good books even in a self-publishing universe. If an author can acquire a good editor and distribution, that’s all she really needs (she said, naively). If that turns into a bigger share of the proceeds for the author, even better.

    I don’t know, it feels different from the old vanity publishing scams. They (I think) were just sucking money out of unpublishable authors. If Acorn and other agencies are legitimate, they’ll turn away manuscripts and authors that they don’t think are publishable.

    Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out.

    Also, LKH = public figure. People will mock you. Price of fame.

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  34. LesleyW
    Jan 15, 2011 @ 03:52:28

    I haven’t read the P C Cast book in question. But I would have thought that (if the quote was taken from something a character said in the book) it would be the character’s opinion and not (necessarily) the author’s.

  35. Motivation Monday | Solelyfictional
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