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

Wednesday Midday Links: Upcoming RT Convention, Avon Impulse, EC lowers prices

This will be my third year of attending RT Convention.   RT has, in my opinion, really made an effort to bring interesting content to readers.   The conference takes place in LA from April 6 through the 10.    All of the “reader” events are marked by “READER” at the front:

READER: Western Reader Roundup
Date: Wednesday April 6, 2011 01:00 pm – 02:00 pm

READER: "He's A Pirate" Treasure Hunt
Date: Wednesday April 6, 2011 02:15 pm – 03:15 pm
Event Type: Reader Author Meet Ups

At RomCon, these Reader Author game/meet ups were very popular.   Sarah Wendell, Angela James, and I will be doing our eReader roundup so if you are at the conference and wondering what ereader to buy, stop in during the session. We’ll be talking about what to look for in an eReader and we should have all the latest devices for you to try out.   I’m not sure when the session is, but as soon as I do, I’ll post it.

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This post has been updated with official EC response:

Ellora’s Cave’s pricing at retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble has been outrageously high.   This is because EC’s existing contracts pays royalties based on the cover and if EC lowers the retail list price then (according to how the contracts are structured) EC would lose money on the sales at third party retailers.   The stated goal is to lower prices but “adjust royalties so that EC makes no less than it does now and the author makes more that currently due to increased sales.”   The internal email goes on to state that ten authors have been recruited to test a lower price point with a reduced royalty rate of 30% cover price. At the lower price, EC will need to have “at least two-and-a-half times more sales from the vendor sites to compensate for the lower per-sale income.”

We're starting with around 150 titles from 10 test authors who have agreed to participate for a limited time period (3-4 months, starting in April). We'll keep the cover price on our website the same as it is now, but dramatically lower the MSRP to third-party vendors (Amazon, B&N, etc.). If the new pricing/royalty structure increases sales enough to make it viable for authors and the company, we will offer it to all our authors.

For “backlist” books (books that are two years or more older and whose sales are “less than several hundred”), the cover price will be reduced both at the EC site and the retail sites.

We will lower the MSRP and cover price of older books (more than two years old) that are selling less than a few hundred a year. That's a huge undertaking because our backlist is so large, so we'll do that by genre, starting with our smaller genres. That will take most of our books down to far below $10 and many to $5 and below.

Current Cover/MSRP — New Cover/MSRP
7.99 / 15.98 — 5.99 / 11.98
6.99 / 13.98 — 5.24 / 10.48
5.95 / 11.90 — 4.95 / 9.90
5.20 / 10.40 — 4.20 / 8.40
4.45 / 8.90 — 3.45 / 6.90
2.49 / 4.98 — 1.99 / 3.98

For UK Kindle pricing,

Kindle is now offering publishers the option to set a specific GBP price per ebook, and is very strongly encouraging that this price be low enough to offset all or most of the VAT. We have just signed the contract for this, and will be working on pricing, setting a lower UK price than US price for the ebooks

Generally, EC will be discontinuing its free online reads as they don’t see a monetary uptick in sales as a result of the free reads.   (EC had free reads?).   No official comment from EC was given when contacted.

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I am not sure what to make of this and I couldn’t find any information on Diesel’s website, but Diesel and Macmillan have announced a partnership.   At first I thought this meant that Macmillan would be using a Diesel powered digital purchasing site to sell directly to the consumers. But now I believe that Diesel is cutting out Ingram or Overdrive.   For these smaller retailers (and for Harlequin), the content is actually housed on an Overdrive or Ingram server where the magical DRM takes place.   This way, Diesel can cut out the fees paid to Overdrive/Ingram by serving those files directly to the consumer. This is what Amazon and BN does.

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Avon Impulse.   We have an ad for Avon Impulse, but I had no idea what it was for until Monday.   I thought it just was meant to direct readers to the Avon blog.   Instead, Avon Impulse is a digital publishing arm of Avon.   From the Smart Bitches site:

Where will Avon Impulse titles be sold?

Our Avon Impulse e-books will be available at every e-tailer, and readers will be able to download them onto every portable reading device sold today-and tomorrow, too. Readers who seek a hard copy of individual Avon Impulse titles will be able to lay their hands on physical books, thanks to a print-to-order option available through major online book retailers.

Do Avon Impulse authors get an advance? What is the royalty rate?

Avon Impulse will not pay an advance, but authors receive 25% royalties from the first book sold. After an e-book sells 10,000 copies, the author's royalty rate rises to 50%. (Contracts will provide royalties for both e-book and print-to-order copies.)

ETA: Pam Jaffee confirms royalty is based on net.

I had to do a little math, but 25% of the net with agency is about 17.5% of the cover price and 35% at the 50% net assuming, of course, that bookseller fees are the only thing that reduces the net.   There is no mention of word count, price of books, length of contract.   Maybe that is all negotiable. I did see on Twitter that they are looking for westerns, steampunk, historicals, and erotic romance.

Also from Sarah’s site came the word that the books would be DRM’ed.   Unsure about georestrictions. I’ve emailed for clarification.   UPDATE: From Avon: “The plan is for Avon Impulse e-books to be delivered everywhere around the world where English-language novels are sold.”

More from the press release:

The line launches with A LADY'S WISH, an original e-novella by Katharine Ashe; on-sale 3/15/11; and then features ROYAL WEDDING, a historical romance short fiction anthology by Stephanie Laurens, Gaelen Foley and Loretta Chase,   timed to coincide with the nuptials of Britain's most beloved young couple.   Later in the season bring four releases from Lavinia Kent and a prelude to Karina Cooper's Avon debut, Blood of the Wicked.   Jaime Rush launches a brand new series with a   digital short; and a full-length paranormal romance novel by author Kristin Miller will be released in the summer.

Avon Impulse is currently in the acquisition and production process for e-books to be published in 2011 and 2012.   "We are actively looking to acquire for Avon Impulse," says Feron.   Authors looking to submit to Avon Impulse can find guidelines and an online submission portal at www.avonimpulse.com.   "We are looking for quality submissions across every romance subgenre," says Feron.

Avon Impulse e-books will be made available at all online retailers, everywhere in the world where English-language e-books are sold.   For those seeking a hard copy of individual Avon Impulse titles, print-to-order books will be available from online book retailers.

I read that the line will publishing one ebook a week.

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If you are a Kobo user and worried because of the Borders reorganization, you’ll be happy to know that Kobo secured another round of financing.   The amount is undisclosed but investors are interested in seeing Kobo grow.

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I’ve been struggling with the decision over whether to purchase the iPad 2 or try out an Android tablet or maybe even wait for a Windows tablet.   Unfortunately, the Xoom (Android and Motorola’s answer to the iPad) is getting so so reviews and its far more expensive that the iPad.   My hopes of acquiring another tablet with a different OS were further crushed by the news that Microsoft doesn’t even intend to enter the tablet market until the fall of 2012. Guess I will be shelling out for the iPad 2.

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The rumors regarding free Kindles to Amazon Prime customers are heating up.   Amazon customers who pay $79 per year receive free 2 day shipping on any product that is “Prime Eligible” which is a lot of stuff. I love my Prime membership and it pretty much pays for itself during Christmas (the free shipping can be directed to any US address not just your own).   I don’t see any benefit of it now, but I could see something like this near September and October as Amazon gears up for the Kindle 4 and the 2011 holiday shopping season.

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The RNA Pure Passion Awards were handed out yesterday.   Romance Novelist Association is the UK form of RWA.

 

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

33 Comments

  1. Angela James
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 10:22:50

    “The Skinny on Digital Devices” is Friday April 8th from 10a-11a. I think we should try for a giveaway like we did last year, what do you think?

    ReplyReply

  2. Angela
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 10:55:41

    I think it’s great the EC is dropping prices at other retailers. I went to Amazon to buy a novella and it was priced at $11.90 for my Kindle.

    I almost died of shock. Then I went and checked EC’s website, where it was $5.95. More reasonable for a novella, but I think, for me, my price point is $3.99 for that length.

    That being said, while I probably would have paid the $5.95 if I’d seen that first, after seeing the $11.90 I had no desire to buy it anymore.

    Also, I’m not going to pay $9.90 under the new pricing structure either for a novella. Ridiculous.

    Even though I own a Kindle I’m really interested in the rumors of free Kindles to Prime users. I still have the first generation Kindle. I just hope if they’re going to do it, they do it before mine finally dies and I have to replace it. :P

    ReplyReply

  3. Jane
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 11:08:21

    @Angela James Absolutely (remind me what we gave away last time?)

    ReplyReply

  4. Jackie Barbosa
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 11:14:43

    You have to sell 10k copies of an Avon Impulse title before you can earn even the average royalty rate from any of the major existing digital publishers? And their first cover looks like tepid women’s fiction?

    Color me not impressed.

    ReplyReply

  5. Laura Vivanco
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 11:15:43

    The RNA also gave a prize to Louise Allen:

    Winner of the Love Story of the Year for a shorter romance with a strong emphasis on the developing central relationship was Louise Allen with The Piratical Miss Ravenhurst published by Mills & Boon.

    ReplyReply

  6. Ridley
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 11:17:03

    EC’s prices are still too high for the garbage they put out.

    ReplyReply

  7. Kim in Hawaii
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 11:23:08

    Looking forward to RT – there are too many events to choose just one per hour! I add that readers are not confined to reader events – they can attend panel discussions, too.

    In fact, that’s what I did at my first RT in Daytona/2006. I wondered into the Romantic Suspense craft workshop and met Brenda Novak, Allison Brennan, and Christina Skye.

    If you are within driving distance of LA, but cannot make it the whole week, RT is offering one day passes.

    ReplyReply

  8. Vi
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 12:01:03

    I’m very curious to find out what the prices are for the Avon Impulse line.

    ReplyReply

  9. Jackie Barbosa
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 12:15:06

    @Vi: The lead title, A Lady’s Wish, is $1.99 (a novella). It is also agency-priced (i.e., Amazon says the price is set by the publisher).

    ReplyReply

  10. Susan Edwards
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 12:19:48

    I just wanted to clarify for Angela that EC cover price for novellas (15k-30k words)is currently $4.45 with an MSRP $8.90. Though that’s still slightly above your price point, our new pricing for older titles will put cover price at $3.45. That still puts MSRP at more than you want to pay but keep in mind that third party vendors can and sometimes do sell for well below MSRP. The $5.95/$11.90 pricing you referred to is for a regular-length novel (45k-70k words).

    ReplyReply

  11. DS
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 12:37:59

    I think Prime pays for itself, but I also love the instant streaming Amazon provides to my Roku. I haven’t watch Hulu since I started working my way through The Vicar of Dibley last week.

    Also Audible has To Defy the King for $11.00 for members. (Unabridged 16 hours).

    ReplyReply

  12. Angela
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 12:40:48

    @Susan Edwards: Thanks for the clarification. I guess I’m getting my ‘novella’ label based on the fact that it was previously issued in an anthology with 2 other stories. The paperbook is 352 pages, making an average of 117 pages/author.

    It does help to know what the word count distinctions for novella/novel are though!

    Which is a whole ‘nother thing I’ve been thinking about lately. I’d love for publishers (and self publishers) to list word counts. It’d give me a better idea of what I’m getting, and make it less likely for me to get frustrated, feeling that I didn’t get what I’d paid for. (And also could have helped with my shock above)

    ReplyReply

  13. Vi
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 12:40:50

    Thank you, Jackie! I just looked at the cover, very generic and unappealing.

    ReplyReply

  14. Anthea Lawson
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 12:43:54

    I’d like to support what Jackie Barbosa said re: Avon’s royalties. They are very low. From what I’ve seen of “25% of net” e-royalties, there are a LOT of costs the publisher takes out. I believe they take DRM and formatting off the top, as well as the bookseller cut. My e-book royalties are UNDER the 8% of cover price that’s standard for print.

    If an author can hit the 10k mark and get the promised royalty bump from Avon, then they will come in at about what the established e-pubs have been paying all along. Is it worth it for Avon’s marketing might? That’s something every author needs to decide for themselves. I hope that authors understand that the royalties Avon is offering on net are substandard when you look at what the established e-pubs pay.

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  15. Susan Edwards
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 12:57:12

    @Angela: Good point about listing word counts for various length books. EC used to have that on the website. I was looking for it before responding to your post but couldn’t find it, so I had to ask the publisher. I’ll try to get it put back up on the site, but for now, here’s the EC breakdown with cover prices for new releases on our website:
    Naughty Nooner or Scintillating Sample – 0.49 (3-7K words)
    Short quickie – 1.49 (7-10K)
    Quickie – 2.49 (10-15K)
    Novella – 4.45 (15-30K)
    Short novel – 5.20 (30-45K)
    Novel – 5.95 (45-70K)
    Plus novel – 6.99 (70-100K)
    Super plus novel – 7.99 (100K+)

    ReplyReply

  16. Annabel
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 13:15:12

    I am one of those authors who has EC books priced at $11.90 on Amazon. Needless to say they have sold dismally compared to my other (reasonably priced) published work.

    I’m glad EC is finally taking this step. I’ve been kicking myself for giving them my stories but maybe with these new prices they’ll have a chance.

    ReplyReply

  17. lisa
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 13:18:57

    NET is a scary word if you don’t get paid until NET is achieved unless you know the exact calculation of the expenses and when they come out. Depending on what is included in expenses, you could keep net from existing for a very long time.

    ReplyReply

  18. Jackie Barbosa
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 13:47:22

    @Anthea Lawson: Heck, I get 25% of list price on my Kensington anthology. No way would I settle for 25% of net (although I did agree to 8% of list when I signed with Harlequin Spice Briefs, but at least there was a decent advance involved).

    ReplyReply

  19. Jane Lovering
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 14:08:15

    Congratulations to all the RNA prize winners and short-listed authors!

    ReplyReply

  20. Carin
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 14:47:54

    I’ve been looking at buying Lora Leigh’s early Breeds books, published by EC, so I’m actually trying to understand this pricing thing. Can someone explain what Cover pricing vs. MSRP is to me?

    ReplyReply

  21. Brian
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 15:05:57

    @Carin:

    I've been looking at buying Lora Leigh's early Breeds books, published by EC, so I'm actually trying to understand this pricing thing. Can someone explain what Cover pricing vs. MSRP is to me?

    Good question as I usually think of cover or list price being the same thing as MSRP.

    ReplyReply

  22. Cricket Starr
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 15:08:36

    Ellora’s Cave has had quite a few free reads over the past couple of years. I recontracted one of my older titles so that it would become a free read and it is about to go live on the Ellora’s Cave site in early April.

    Kind of a present to my readers, a short science fiction erotic romance called Imperfect Judgment. Unclear on whether it will sell any of my books that aren’t free but that wasn’t necessarily the point anyway. I checked and it is still scheduled to go up for free on April 5th.

    ReplyReply

  23. Jane
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 15:11:50

    @Carin: I think in EC parlance, Cover Price = the price charged at the EC site and MSRP= the digital list price at which they sell to retailers.

    I believe that Cover Price is the term used in the contract and CP at the retailers has to be higher for pub to make $$ on a sale. So an amendment of the contract is necessary so that the EC royalty is reduced for third party sales.

    ReplyReply

  24. Carin
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 16:03:02

    Thanks, Jane. I’d never looked at the EC estore, so I wasn’t ever seeing “cover” prices. Thanks for explaining

    I’ve been looking around, and I’d say Lora Leigh is not one of the authors they’re trying the new pricing on. Boo.

    ReplyReply

  25. RachelT
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 17:58:38

    I was interested in the comment about UK Kindle pricing, and setting prices to offset the VAT. All too often we pay in pounds what people in the US pay in dollars – that’s over one and a half times the cost. I hope publishers do take this up.

    ReplyReply

  26. MaryK
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 23:54:58

    Is “ROYAL WEDDING, a historical romance short fiction anthology by Stephanie Laurens, Gaelen Foley and Loretta Chase” a new anthology or a reprint? I’ve been dreading the advent of digital first/only books with DRM. I like to have the option of good ol’ non-DRM’d paper.

    ReplyReply

  27. Seriously? | Around The Writer's Block
    Mar 09, 2011 @ 23:55:25

    [...] loop. Someone then turned around and sent the email (either in its entirety or huge chunks) to a public blog. Of course the owner then turned around and published the information. WTH?? I felt guilty telling [...]

  28. eskimo
    Mar 10, 2011 @ 08:09:52

    I don’t understand why EC had their books so expensive in the first place? 11.90 for an ebook, is that right? I hope this new method works for them…

    ReplyReply

  29. Jenna
    Mar 10, 2011 @ 08:52:26

    Doesn’t basing royalties on net rather than gross make Avon Impulse ineligible for RWA recognition?

    ReplyReply

  30. Jane
    Mar 10, 2011 @ 09:54:16

    @Jenna I don’t think so because net is standard in the print industry. I’m not familiar with RWA recognition standards anymore. Seems so complicated!

    ReplyReply

  31. Jackie Barbosa
    Mar 10, 2011 @ 10:14:04

    @Jane: I’m not SURE net is standard in the print industry for digital royalties. Maybe it’s changed since I signed my contracts, but in my Kensington, I’m paid digital royalties as a percentage of list price, not net. I’m also 99% sure my Harlequin Spice Briefs are paid on list price, although I’d have to yank out the contract and look at it to be sure.

    That said, I don’t think net vs list is a disqualification from RWA recognition.

    ReplyReply

  32. Cameron Belle
    Mar 10, 2011 @ 15:15:18

    I don’t know if this has already been mentioned here, but the pre-order page for Agony/Ecstasy is up on Amazon :)

    http://www.amazon.com/Agony-Ecstasy-Original-Agonizing-Exquisite/dp/0425243451

    ReplyReply

  33. Kristine
    Mar 10, 2011 @ 16:10:24

    I think that it is funny that Avon is finally discovering e-publishing but the way they are doing it is rubbing me the wrong way. I decided to poke around the submussion site and saw some of things that the site thought was important in a novel. Things like what are are hero and heroine are like and what is the best line of the book and issues of that nature. But the kicker is this. If you want to have your book published by Avon you HAVE TO go though this imprint there is no longer a way to go directly to the print division of the company. When a author presses the the submission tab at the bottom you get directed to the digital section. This means that if an author wants to have her book published she has to use this imprint whether she wants to or not. This means that she has to deal with the meger payouts that this imprint is offering. I mean if the average e-book sells a thousand copies then after all expensives are paid then the author might be lucky if she gets $.50 per book for a grand total at the end of it of $500. This means that a full lengh novel that took months to create may only get pennies on the hour for her effort. This stinks and the fact that this is the only way newby authors can be published means that they will be working for peanuts. The only way that they can get more is to sell 10,000 copies and unless they are major names that is not going to happen. I feel for the authors because where Avon leads other follow and it seems like more and more the author gets short changed and this may be just the begining,

    ReplyReply

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