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Monday Midday Links: Cobblestone Press Making the Wrong Kind of News

Monday Midday Links: Cobblestone Press Making the Wrong Kind of News

A Miami Herald article finally states the obvious when it comes to readers and books. Readers are looking to buy books at the cheapest prices possible and if digital books are pushing the prices down, then readers will flock to the digital books.

“The whole book culture is changing, and in some ways, I think it’s worth worrying about,” says Jack Shafer, who writes about media at Slate.com and spent years working at bookstores before turning to journalism. “But we are so much better off now with what we’ve got. There’s a cornucopia of books out there. It may be that the bookstores are vanishing, but readers are going to have more choice and cheaper books.

“Is it good for bookstores, for writers, for agents, for publishers? We readers don’t care. It’s really good for us.”

The article goes on to speculate at the end what new publishing innovations may arise from digital publishing. One suggestion is that epic fantasy works will be serialized. Ginn Hale’s The Rifter (reviewed here) is an experiment in serialization. It will be interesting to see if she and her publisher deem this to be a success.

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3M is gearing up to challenge Overdrive’s supremacy in the ebook lending market. The 3M Cloud product page has been updated. Perhaps 3Ms biggest obstacle is publisher participation. If you recall, Kansas is arguing that it owns the books that it licensed through Overdrive and thus can lend them using the 3M library system. It will be very interesting to see how this shakes out. If Kansas is allowed to do this, then other states will as well.

According to Eric Hellman, the 3M Cloud Library will be using DRM systems from Adobe and will sell “white-label” devices to libraries. (Source: Go To Hellman)

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The Amazon Kindle refurbished prices haves dropped. Many people believe that this signals new Amazon Kindles on the horizons. I think that is accurate. I also believe that Kindle’s late entry into the library market has something to do with the launch of the new Kindles and maybe even the October release of the Harry Potter digital books. There is going to be a big announcement from Amazon and it will likely be made before September.

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Cobblestone Press is making news, but not the good kind. According to absolute write forum, Cobblestone is delayed in making payments to authors.

It seems as if every other pay period, we’re told there’s a computer problem or power outage or whatever that makes it impossible to run royalties or make payments. My sales there trickled off to nothing after a year and I’m currently preparing a couple of rights reversion letters so I’ve let it go.

Requests for information and/or action are getting ignored. According to this author, Cobblestone did not inform her of her release date, has stopped answering emails, and is generally acting in a manner that makes her regret her publishing decision.

One author reported to me privately that she believes her contract is in breach and has been for several weeks but no response has been forthcoming from emails or snail mailings.

This is a departure from the regular practice of doing business for Cobblestone, the author reported. In the past, all royalty payments were made promptly and contact between the author and publishing house was regular and without interruption.

Cobblestone Press has some of the most ridiculously high prices for books – $4.99 for a novella, for example – so one would hope that it is on good financial footing. Or perhaps in this era of $.99 books, the high prices are dooming the Press. Hopefully Cobblestone will right its ship.

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A sock puppet by the name of DarknessCalls is duking it out with readers over at Amazon regarding Dianne Sylvan’s book “Shadowflame”. I wrote a review here at Dear Author expressing my dismay at the direction of the story. According to DarknessCalls and, coincidentally, Dianne Sylvan herself, this reader dismay is being characterized as homophobia.

Like I said, homosexuality clearly disturbs you. I don’t believe for one minute that infidelity would make anyone react with this much hostility toward an author. It’s just silly.

[blackbirdpie url="http://twitter.com/#!/DSylvan/status/96698270012817408"]

Sylvan’s disbelief that readers dislike infidelity that much is a bit naive but even so, jumping to the homophobic accusation is really poor form. Frankly, the way in which Sylvan writes about the infidelity between two male characters is a fetishization of homosexuality. Miranda, the soul mate of one of the cheaters, admits to her girlfriend that the pain of the infidelity is somehow eased by how hot she thinks it is that her soul mate and husband is having sex with another man. Moreover Sylvan’s mistake isn’t that she included infidelity, but rather the way in which she handled the subject matter. She never examines the issue of love versus the soul mate bond; she has the parties who have been cheated on act almost as if it had never happened; she doesn’t acknowledge the issue of emotional infidelity and whether that has any affect on a relationship; she doesn’t deal with the aftermath.

In failing to deal with the aftermath, Sylvan presents the act of sex between two men as something titillating rather than something meaningful.

Sylvan’s reaction that she’ll really stick it to the readers by further feminizing the male protagonist doesn’t speak to someone who is driven by her muse, but of a Lori Foster-esque response wherein the author uses her work to answer her critics.

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Georgette Heyer accused Barbara Cartland of stealing plots.

The borrowings extended to character names. Heyer was outraged that Sir Montagu Reversby, in Cartland’s Hazard of Hearts, was like her own Sir Montagu Revesby in Friday’s Child.

Heyer wrote: “On perusing the first two novels of Miss Cartland’s trilogy I was astonished to find the number of identical or infinitesimally altered names and titles … I also found what might best be described as paraphrases of situations I had created, and a suspicious number of Regency cant words, or obsolete turns of speech, all of which I can pinpoint in several of my books.”

You can read more about it in the October release, Georgette Heyer: Biography of a Bestseller (no release date in the US  yet).  Sunita had some interesting thoughts about Heyer in a recent post on her own blog.

REVIEW: The Subtle Build of Perfection by L.M. Turner

REVIEW: The Subtle Build of Perfection by L.M. Turner

Dear Ms. Turner.

I found this book by looking for your backlist after I fell into reading your new Loose Id release (that I will review when I’ve finished it). I finished this one first, though, because it’s shorter. And I couldn’t stop reading it.

TheSubtleBuildofPerfection_300X454Connor works in a video store with his roommate Boyd. One day, Dane comes into the store to take out a movie. Connor and Dane spend three days dancing around the issue of whether they like each other, then two weeks of slowly building a relationship. That’s it. And seriously, that doesn’t sound like enough, but I could NOT stop reading. I HAD to know how it ended. Srsly.

I know I said in my review here that no conflict in a story was an issue for me. And Subtle Build has very little conflict. But it’s a short little thing — 60 pages or so — and the tension between these two adorable characters of will they or won’t they get through their own insecurities is amazing. In My Summer of Wes there was no tension around the relationship — the characters get together very early and stay together, with no internal barriers to get over. In Subtle Build, there’s no outside plot at all–this is just two guys meeting and falling for each other — but the internal tension, the sexual heat, the “let’s not screw this up because we’ve got something important here” was just perfect. So while there was no deep emotional angst, no secret in their past, nothing that needed to be healed, there was still tension and worry and hope and sweet seduction.

The story is told entirely from Connor’s third person perspective, but you don’t lose Dane’s character at all. They’re distinct people, wonderful characters. You’ve got a gift for dialogue and emotional representation:

Connor’s phone broke without him realizing it. He talks with Dane after he figures it out:

"I thought it was because I wasn't putting out. I saw you, what? Five, six times? And all you ever got from me was a kiss."

"It's fine," Connor said in a rush. "I don't mind, honestly. I can wait."

"Really? Could you wait for, say, a month?"

"Yes. Definitely."

"You don't even know if I'm worth it," Dane said, an odd edge to his tone.

"I'll take the risk."

Dane was silent for a moment. "What about six months?"

"What?" said Connor, before he could stop himself. He cleared his throat. "Um. I mean. Yeah, if that's what it takes. I could try…" Even he could hear the uncertainty in his voice, and he grimaced. "You know what? I want to wait. We're waiting."

"Really?" said Dane. "That's a shame, because I was kinda hoping we could forget the whole waiting bullshit and you'd let me suck your cock next time I saw you."

Despite this excerpt, there’s almost no sex in this book. But I totally didn’t need it. There’s enough sexual tension to fill 300 pages.

This story was laugh-out-loud funny, but more than that, it was sweet. It was sweet and gentle and I could FEEL these two men just fall for each other. I could feel them yearning, I could feel them clicking, and I could feel them a bit pole-axed about how quick it was. It was amazing, and OMG, I can’t wait to read your Loose Id release.

Grade: A-

Best regards,
-Joan/Sarah F.

Book Link |  Fictionwise |  Cobblestone Press