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Wednesday Midday Links: Topless Female Duelists

HarperCollins total year-end results are unclear given that parent company news Corp. did not break out  the division in the year-end report. However, the children’s division improved and e-book sales accounted for approximately 12% of all business in the US last year.  Source: PW


Author Dorothea Benton Frank gave an interview to the Columbus Dispatch which surely sounded better in her head than it did when it was printed out. She indicates her preference for well groomed fans to match her own attractive appearance.

“This is the honest-to-God truth: My readers are good-looking,” she said. “They’re not all beauty queens, but they’re cute as a bug, well-groomed and nice. You wouldn’t mind being related to them.”

She paused, then added: “I went to a Stephen King book-signing once, and his fans . . . I had to sleep with the lights on.”

Source: Columbus Dispatch


File this one under why the Internet is so great. Someone found a picture of two topless Victorian women dueling. The 1892 duel was fought by Princess Pauline Metternich and the Countess Kielmannsegg in Liechtenstein and was overseen by Baroness Lubinska who had medical training. The duel was fought topless for medical reasons rather than titillation. The reason for the duel? It wasn’t over a man. Read the piece at The Mary Sue to found out more.

I thought Sherry Thomas would be the perfect author to incorporate this into her books.


Some pay information for those who work in publishing has recently been published.   Executives are earning a very nice salary.  John Makinson, Chairman of Penguin reportedly pulls in $2,213,670 and Donna Hayes of Harlequin has a total package worth $1,668,486.  The top publishing executive appears to be Will Pesce, CEO of John Wiley, whose total package is over $3 million.

Jeff Bezos takes home an annual salary of $81,840 and no stock awards although the stock he does own places his fortune around $1.7 billion.

Source: PW

The editors, however, are making substantially less.

Using the anonymous job site Glassdoor, we found that the average salary for an editor in the New York area is $53,500 a year. This includes book editors and magazine and newspaper editors. The site breaks out figures from specific companies.

Source: GalleyCat

Maybe the editors are simply not mean enough.  According to a new study written up in the Wall Street Journal, researchers found that meaner people earned more.

The researchers examined “agreeableness” using self-reported survey data and found that men who measured below average on agreeableness earned about 18% more—or $9,772 more annually in their sample—than nicer guys. Ruder women, meanwhile, earned about 5% or $1,828 more than their agreeable counterparts.

Source: Wall Street Journal


Break out the DRM cracking tools because Microsoft has officially killed MS Lit.  The app will no longer be available for download after August 30, 2012, and all stores carrying LIT books will need to pull the formats on November 8, 2011.


A Mississippi judge ruled  the statute of limitations had run on Ablene Cooper’s suit against Kathryn Stockett.  Cooper sued Stockett under various tort theories.  The preliminary pleadings showed that Stockett had given the book to Cooper in January 2009 but the lawsuit was not filed until February 2011.  Mississippi has a one year statue of limitations for these types of claims.  A statute of limitations is a time period set by the state (via a bill) during which people can bring civil claims (also criminal suits).

Cooper argued that the statute of limitations should begin when she read the book and thus was aware of the defamation and slander rather than the date she was given the book.

The decision didn’t rest upon the merits of Cooper’s suit, but rather a procedural issue.  It’s hard to swallow Stockett’s claim that Aibileen Clark was not based on her brother’s black maid named “Ablene Cooper.”

I liked The Help quite a bit but let’s face it, the whole subtext of it is this white girl saving these poor black maids.  Stockett’s refusal to acknowledge Cooper’s distress has to be galling.  Source: Charlotte Observer


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. Klio
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 11:19:40

    Best thing about that topless Victorian duel post? The topic header “Today in Boobs.”

    Another author who might do something awesome with the concept: Ellen Kushner. Her work is considered fantasy rather than romance, but there’s a strong romance aspect in her books, kick-ass heroines (The Privilege of the Sword), and some pretty passionate m/m relationships in some of them (Swordspoint, The Fall of the Kings). And Thomas the Rhymer…well, I just have to mention that one. I was entranced by it in my early 20s. It’s one of those books I’m afraid to reread, lest I break the spell, now that I am old and cynical….

  2. Lynnd
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 11:36:20

    Loved the Victorian women duel story.

    With respect to the compensation paid in publishing, I might not have such a hard time paying the prices that publishers are asking for their books if I knew it was actually going to the people who do the work (the authors, the editors, the art department folks and the booksellers). I really resent that the people who are getting the big paycheques are the ones driving the publishing industry to ruin.

  3. lisabookworm
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 11:48:37

    @Lynnd: I completely agree with you in regards to the publishing salaries. Especially when I can’t remember the last book (print or e) I read that didn’t have some kind of error, whether it was typos, formatting or even names being misspelled or incorrect.

    Makes me want to hold firm to refusing to purchase new books from Agency publishers.

  4. Becca
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 11:51:28

    it’s those $11 books by dead authors (the high price of the Georgette Heyer books in print, for example) that drives me crazy.

  5. Las
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 12:42:09

    Executives are earning a very nice salary.
    Heh, you say that like it’s news. Of course they are. And I doubt they’d even consider a pay cut while laying off employees and such.

    Love the topless dueling story.

  6. mbot565
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 12:54:45

    LOVED the princess and baroness duel story. The reason for it was priceless. Who wouldn’t want to inflict injury, have injury inflicted upon and topless to boot over such matter?

  7. library addict
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 13:31:11

    I will miss LIT. Nothing converts in Calibre nicer than a well-formatted LIT book. But though I have a lot of LIT books, I have been buying in ePub for most of the past year or so. I didn’t realize LIT was even still available for purchasing.

    Are the bosses too scared not to give mean people a raise then?

    For men being agreeable may not conform “to expectations of ‘masculine behavior,'” the researchers write in the study.

    that just strikes me as sad. An interesting article though, so thanks for the link.

  8. LG
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 13:43:05

    @library addict: I will miss LIT, too. I bought an e-book a while back that was only available in PDF, LIT, and something else, no EPUB. I quickly learned that PDFs look awful in my preferred font size on my reader and that calibre could turn the PDF into an EPUB file, but not a very good one. Discovering the LIT looked just about perfect was nice.

  9. Mary Anne Graham
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 14:01:19

    I find Ms. Frank’s comment to be absurd. My readers can dress and groom themselves as they choose. I’ll just be grateful for their patronage. And if Ms. Frank doesn’t want any of those Stephen King fans to wander her way — I’ll welcome them.

    As for the publishing salaries, I’m dismayed that the employees who do the work and earn the money don’t get the biggest share of the profits – but that seems to be the norm. I’m astonished that the publishing companies who can’t pay their editors or authors properly manage to find $$ for million dollar salaries for execs leading their companies toward bankruptcy court. Publishers would be better off if they paid their execs on Amazon’s Bezos’ scale and used the extra $$ to give bonuses to editors to seek an actual fresh voice by reviewing direct submissions from authors.

  10. Isabel C.
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 14:10:35

    On the one hand, I’ve been to a few sci-fi cons, and I know the horror of The Guy Who Doesn’t Believe In Showers: he’s not the majority population, but I can understand how it’d be hard to notice other people when he’s around, because…damn. On the other hand, I like romance *and* Stephen King. While I’m not nice, I think I’m pretty well-groomed, and people who are not my mother have said I’m cute. So, you know: horror and romance != matter and antimatter.

    That duel is made of solid awesome.

  11. Shannon Stacey
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 14:12:14

    I’ll be over there, standing in Stephen King’s line.

  12. Lynn S.
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 15:22:12

    I guess Ms. Frank wouldn’t be interested in any penguin wranglers.

  13. Jayne
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 16:06:19

    @LG: I love the way Calibre converts converted lit files. Epub is okay but it doesn’t reflow quite as nicely. PDF sucks penguins’ fish dinner.

  14. Karenmc
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 17:39:51

    The topless duel is awesome squared. What might Laura Kinsale do with something like that? She already had a woman determined to learn swordsmanship in The Prince of Midnight.

  15. SAO
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 18:15:07

    With the internet and e-readers making disintermediation easier, I suppose if those guys making over a million/year aren’t worth it, the editors making 50K will jump ship and set up small e-pubs.

    Readers are always looking for ways to find good books. I’d think there’s plenty of room for editor, or others, to establish a brand that stands for a good read. Probably this would work well in niches, so the brand doesn’t have to stand for great books, just great books in the niche.

    How long will it take for the market to change? I’d say 10 years.

  16. Michelle
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 19:21:10

    So now we know as readers we owe it to our favorite authors to be physically attractive. How incredibly tacky, clueless, self absorbed, shallow, and insulting can you get. Also bonus points for insulting readers (I guess it is okay-I mean ugly people can’t have feelings) and Stephen King. I mean how dare Stephen King polute her presence with his less than stellar fan base. Poor little lady had nightmares, bless her heart.

  17. Vanessa Jaye
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 19:31:37

    I would have loved (loved!) to see what Judith Ivory would have done with the dueling Victorian ladies.

  18. Lynnd
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 20:42:44

    @SAO: It was like that, to some extent in the 70s and 80s before the big mergers and consolidations took place. Companies like DAW and Del Rey (and probably many others – I’m just not sure which ones) were started by editors who wanted to publish good quality books in the Fantasy/Sci-Fi genre. These presses had a great deal of success and all were gobbled up by larger publishing companies which, in turn, were gobbled up by the huge multi-media conglomerates. From what I’ve read about DAW and Del Rey, the quality of the product was paramount and they supported their authors and helped them to build careers in writing.

    Hopefully authors and editors will once again form this type of small press where authors, editors and readers will be treated with respect and not as victims of the bottom line and tomorrow’s share price. I hope it won’t take 10 years.

  19. Ridley
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 21:09:06

    According to a new study written up in the Wall Street Journal, researchers found that meaner people earned more.

    Well, shoot. I should be moving up a tax bracket or two if that’s the case.

  20. B. Sullivan
    Aug 17, 2011 @ 23:16:36

    I’d love to think that the reason for the women’s duel was something scandalous and important – but the women just decided “meh, make up something frivolous so everyone can joke about it, then they’ll never realize it was about….”

  21. Nadia Lee
    Aug 18, 2011 @ 07:12:28

    Love the duelist story! :D

  22. Ivy
    Aug 18, 2011 @ 14:28:45

    Loved the dueling ladies story..the reason was kinda beyond me. For all that you think it’d be a bit more important..but the clothing bit made absolute sense.

  23. Ivy
    Aug 18, 2011 @ 14:37:04

    I do think it’s pretty pathetic that the exec’s are making such exorbitant salaries. What is it they do again to earn this?

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