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

Wednesday Midday Links: JA Konrath Posts a Must Read Article and...

Last night, author and reader Nadia Lee, tweeted me a link to JA Konrath’s most recent blog post. It is incredibly illuminating and a must read for anyone interested in publishing and ebooks. Konrath has been experimenting with releasing his own fiction (mostly short stories) on the Kindle. He had shared his success earlier this year. You’ll need to go and read the entire post to get a full sense of what is going on with Konrath’s Kindle sales. Suffice to say that in the first half of 2009, he’s sold 1237 ebooks of his New York published books netting him $2008. Of his self published titles, he has sold 9800 ebook netting him $6860. Konrath does the math to figure out what he would be earning if he sold his NY published titles directly on the Kindle and well, read it for yourself.

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Booklist Online is hosting a FREE webinar about the state of the romance genre in libraries and the marketplace.

Romance is hot . . . in the library, that is. Join Donna Seaman, Booklist‘s romance fiction editor, and a panel of librarians, authors, and publishers to discuss the state of the genre-’in public libraries and in the marketplace. Panelists include John Charles, Reference Librarian, Scottsdale (AZ) Public Library; Shelley Mosley, Adjunct Librarian at Glendale (AZ) Community College; Madeline Hunter, best-selling author of 17 historical romances; Kayleigh George, Library Marketing Coordinator at HarperCollins Publishers; and Cheryl Herman, Library Marketing Director for Books on Tape and Listening Library (Random House).

Did I mention it was free? The date is November 12 from 3-4 pm CST. Thanks to Jennifer Estep for this link.

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Jane Friedman’s new venture is fleshed out in greater detail over at the New York Times. Motoko Rich writes that Freidman will be partnering with Grove and Kensington to re-release books digitally that have been out of print or not previously available in digital format. Friedman’s group is also going to look to publish new authors in digital format first.

Together with Jeffrey Sharp, a film producer of features including "Boys Don’t Cry" and "You Can Count on Me," Ms. Friedman, 64, has founded Open Road Integrated Media to focus almost exclusively on digital publishing. The company will also seek new authors willing to be published in the electronic format first.
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Ms. Friedman said that between the backlist titles, new works and joint marketing agreements, which will include some self-published works, the company will help to market 750 to 1,000 titles in its first year.

Kensington is noted to be a romance publisher with strong African American and gay and lesbian lines. Does that mean Friedman will be stepping up digital publishing in the gay romance fiction market? I can’t wait to see. Friedman presided over 10 years of growth at HarperCollins.

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Speaking of Kensington, Publishers Weekly had the news that Victoria Alexander has left Avon to join Kensington in a 5 book deal. I’ve heard of another major author who has jumped ship and will be moving to a new house soon. Does it seem like that is happening more and more? Liz Carlyle leaving Pocket to go to Avon. Teresa Medeiros leaving Avon to go to Pocket. Roxanne St. Claire leaving Pocket to go to Grand Central.

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LA Public Library is demanding equal access for its disabled readers. It will refuse to buy any new ebooks from Overdrive, a fulfillment service, for its patrons until Adobe turns Text to Speech back on.

Some 30 million Americans potentially rely on software accessibility features to access library materials, according to the Reading Rights Coalition (RRC). So last spring, when text-to-speech (TTS) stopped working on OverDrive ebooks because of a software change from Adobe, millions of print-disabled patrons found themselves with fewer options for accessing digital library materials.

I’m not sure whether TTS stopped working on ebooks because of a software change or whether it was something Adobe did under pressure from the Authors’ Guild? Remember the Authors’ Guild is the entity who pressured Kindle into turning off its TTS feature.

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Google has announced in Frankfurt’s Book Fair that it would be releasing its “ebooks in the cloud” early next year. While Google claims that it is device agnostic and will allow anyone, with any device, to buy anywhere, I’m doubtful. Here is why. First, to allow offline reading, Google would have to have some kind of app for the platforms out there. Second, unless Google is magically resolving territorial disputes, readers access will still be limited. I’m unenthused about yet another format and DRM.

Existing retail and publisher partnerships that the company has through its Google Preview programme are expected to pave the way for groups to sign up. W H Smith, Blackwell and The Book Depository are existing partners, as are thousands of UK publishers.

Edmonds said it was “definitely” Google’s intention to partner with device manufacturers, but declined to give names. She added she “doubted” Kindle would be on board.

Given the favorable terms for publishers under the Google probram, I perceive the rush for pubs to sign up with Google and stick it to Amazon will leave treadmarks.

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If you are looking for a new ebook reading device, the Barnes and Noble one might be what you are looking for. Gizmodo has the scoop that the new device (to be announced next week) will feature both an eInk screen and an lcd touchscreen and that it will not only sell BN books but also allow access to the Google Books Project (will that include the buy anywhere, everywhere, anything cloud access?) The BN device also has some kind of light built in. I’m getting kind of excited about it even though I hate the ereader format. (I did note that someone suggested that it might read ePub, but I think we’ll have to wait until next week to confirm).

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A reader, Kim, wrote me to report a happy customer service incident at GoodReads. A reader had written up a negative review of a book. Two of the author’s rabid fan girls wrote some very nasty comments and then followed up by writing up reviews targeting the initial reader. The author came in to publicly thank the two rabid reviewers (cue eyeroll). The incident was reported to GoodReads who retrieved the comments and reviews. The two rabid fan girls got their accounts deleted for harassment.

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Still with me? Dear Author has some very cool (at least to us) news. A few months ago, Harlequin Books contacted Dear Author and asked if we were interested in suggesting a few out of print titles to put into a digital bundle. Other bloggers have been invited to do this as well. In January, the first Blogger Bundles will be released including the one from Dear Author. The titles that we have chosen are the following:

  • Jo Leigh- Arm Candy
  • Kathleen O’Reilly -  Just Kiss Me
  • Kay David -  Obsession
  • Kathryn Shay - Code of Honor

We’ll do a review of all the books in late December to whet your appetite.   We hope that you buy the bundle and enjoy the books and if you don’t, you should come back and tell us so!   Obligatory FTC thing here. We are not getting any money from this (unless you buy it through an affiliate link) but Harlequin did buy me dinner at RWA where I joked with Malle Vallik about doing a Dear Author Presents Presents bundle of all Susan Napier backlist titles…

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

12 Comments

  1. SarahT
    Oct 14, 2009 @ 13:29:38

    I’m delighted to see that Jo Leigh’s Arm Candy will be part of the digital bundle! After our Twitter conversation, I looked for a used copy but balked at the prices plus international shipping. I’m so glad I waited.

    Kathleen O’Reilly is another fave of mine and I haven’t read Just Kiss Me. Kay David and Kathryn Shay will be new-to-me authors.

    Way to go Dear Author and Harlequin!

  2. library addict
    Oct 14, 2009 @ 13:43:47

    That’s cool news, Jane. I hope Harlequin continues to “rerelease” more OOP gems in e-format.

    I would love to get my favorite Lee Magner, Naomi Horton, and Carole Buck books in E. And the beginning books in Rachel Lee’s Conard County series.

  3. Danielle
    Oct 14, 2009 @ 13:56:45

    I love Bundles that they sell over at Sony.

  4. maddie
    Oct 14, 2009 @ 14:25:39

    You know I would actually buy a kindle if they Harlequin Book reissue their old out of print Harlequin Presents Books, authors like Anne Hampton, Margaret Pargeter, Patricia Lake and the likes.

    I would love to have all of them in one E-Reader, that would be lovely.

  5. Jane
    Oct 14, 2009 @ 14:27:24

    Clearly we need to have a Harlequin Bundle suggested by the Dear Author Readers! That would be very fun.

  6. Shannon Stacey
    Oct 14, 2009 @ 15:23:15

    Konrath does the math to figure out what he would be earning if he sold his NY published titles directly on the Kindle

    BUT…without those traditionally published titles, would he sell worth a damn through Kindle? His cheaper, self-pubbed Kindle books sell well because he’s Konrath, with a readership built by a hardcover series. I think somebody out there reading his post who decides to self-publish via Kindle instead of pursuing a NY contract is going to have a very different experience.

    And I’m still desperately hoping Harlequin will digitally reprint The Sweetest Taboo (Blaze) by Alison Kent.

  7. Jessica G.
    Oct 14, 2009 @ 16:42:50

    I’ll buy that bundle just to support Harlequin for doing something so cool :)

  8. Kim H
    Oct 14, 2009 @ 20:22:44

    Just wanted to comment on the blip about the incident at Goodreads – I sent that in to Jane, and thought I should mention that the author in question put on her big girl pants & apologized for patting the flying monkeys on their tiny monkey heads:P She sez she didn’t consider it from that angle – that her “thanks for the support” or rather, *cough* “heartfelt support”comments could be construed that way, and she thanked me (several times) for pointing it out. Not to be nitpicky about it, but this was after I pointed out to her that thanking these people for their behavior was highly inappropriate and could possibly be detrimental to her career – I think what I said was “Imagine your name being bandied around at Dear Author”:P
    Nevertheless, she was very mature & gracious in admitting her mistake, and she took the criticism very constructively, so good on her. I’m planning to buy the book that caused the hoopla this weekend (and review it at Goodreads).
    And speaking of Goodreads, kudos to them for doing exactly what Amazon should have done in the face of the now infamous Big Mac attack against Reba Belle.

  9. Nadia Lee
    Oct 14, 2009 @ 22:32:49

    @Shannon Stacey:

    BUT…without those traditionally published titles, would he sell worth a damn through Kindle? His cheaper, self-pubbed Kindle books sell well because he's Konrath, with a readership built by a hardcover series. I think somebody out there reading his post who decides to self-publish via Kindle instead of pursuing a NY contract is going to have a very different experience.

    JA Konrath later clarified his post with the following:

    I do not think that ebooks are able to replace the exposure, or money, you’d get with a print publisher.

    To All New Authors: JA says try the traditional route first. Find an agent. Land a deal with a big NY house. Ebooks aren’t there yet.

    I’d hate to think some writer gave up on their print aspirations because of something I’ve said on my blog. I suggest you keep up the agent search. While I have no doubt others will be able to sell as many ebooks as I have, and probably many more, I still haven’t made anywhere near the money I’ve made by being in print. Plus, everyone’s situation is unique, and no writer should compare themselves to any other writer.

    Most of all, don’t change the future of your career base don one man’s ideas. Learns as much as you can, do research, get other opinions.

    So I don’t think he’s saying everyone should just give up trying print pub and put stuff out via Kindle. Even though he made lots of money via Kindle sales, he’s advising people that ebooks aren’t there yet and the money isn’t as good as print pub (assuming you care about things like money…).

  10. Shay
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 09:26:11

    Very cool, Jane, can’t wait to see what you suggest.

    Has anyone checked out the Harlequin Vintage Collection Bundle http://www.diesel-ebooks.com/cgi-bin/item/BP-8527162180 at Diesel ebook site? Fun stuff.

  11. S. W. Vaughn
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 10:13:14

    I’m participating in JA’s ebook advertising experiment (wherein he’s sold space at the end of his ebooks and includes excerpts from and links to other authors’ ebooks). I am currently the only excerpt in Truck Stop. :-)

    Will be interested to see if it has any effect on my sales (the excerpt thingy is running through October and November). I think Joe has a lot of good out-of-the-box ideas, and he’s definitely a hard-working writer who takes the promotion end of the writing biz very seriously.

    Plus, he’s a good writer. I’ve read and enjoyed a couple of his Jack Daniels books and some of his short stories.

  12. Jane
    Oct 15, 2009 @ 12:07:46

    @ShayKeishon read one of those vintage books…not so good.

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