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


Dear Author

Thursday News and Deals: Growing Number of Academics Unhappy with Elsevier


Brenda Novak’s auction will take place from May 1st through the 31st. They are looking for donated prizes. I’m thinking of donating a 100 page critique but honestly I don’t know whether that would be something someone would want. I can’t offer an ad as I’m sold out for the year. What do you think?


Melissa Foster and Amy Edelman for itemize a number of reasons why self published authors aren’t getting respect. The reasons are commonsense and include the lack of editing and quantity over quality.

A scarier issue is that some independent authors simply believe that their work does not need to be edited. Writers are often too close to their work to make the critical structural and grammatical changes that might make the story more succinct. Let us simply say here that every writer benefits from a good editor.


Music firms are going to be offering licensing for websites. This will allow ordinary folks to add well known music tracks to their videos or advertisements:

Examples of the customers they hope to attract include couples wishing to add music to their wedding video before uploading it to the internet, film festival entrants, small businesses making web adverts, school clubs and smartphone app developers.

Online licensing is a bonanza for music firms. Vevo made $150 million last year putting up web videos and paid out $100 million to artists.


Stick a fork in Dorchester? That’s the question swirling around the internets now that it’s last known editor has been laid off. According to Brian Keene, Chris Keeslar has been let go.

Dear Publishing Colleague:

As of January 31st, 2012, I am no longer employed by Dorchester Publishing or collecting mail from this address. I have left a list of outstanding issues and will be available to management if questions arise, and I know that my colleagues are aware of each issue’s importance.

You can see a list of contacts Chris Keeslar provides to the publishing colleagues at Brian Keene’s site.


Remember how Kiera Cass plotted “quietly” on twitter to down vote a negative review on Twitter? The bad review, the bad behavior, and the resulting brouhaha affected her not at all. CW has ordered a pilot of her book which is apparently Hunger Games meets the Bachelor (this book should be panned on the idea alone).


Barnes & Noble is not stocking any print versions of Amazon published books. No way, no how, even those distributed by Houghton Mifflin. But, as Nate the Digital Reader points out, is BN going to pull all the Harry Potter books when Pottermore is launched and the only place you can buy the digital versions of Harry Potter is through Pottermore? After all, to not do so would be to violate B&N’s own policy that it created to punish Amazon. B&N’s policy is that books that are exclusive to Amazon shouldn’t be allowed into B&N’s stores. It’s the reason that B&N gave when it pulled the DC Comic books and it is the reason B&N is giving now to avoid stocking Amazon books.


Amazon’s Q4 results are disappointing to Wall Street. It’s stock is tumbling because while the revenue stream is growing, the margin is not. Remember that Apple had a record quarter of revenue and a high margin (44%+). Wired writer, Tim Carmody, notes that Amazon’s game is the long ball.

Amazon has strategically placed a very long bet on growth in revenue and sales at the expense of profits. The Kindle Fire is a perfect example. Amazon makes relatively little in revenue and virtually no profit on the sales of individual devices. Millions of Kindle Fires, however, become millions of tiny retail outlets for everything Amazon sells, from digital books and movies to decidedly analog clothing and hardware. The company trades profit today for revenue tomorrow — with even more revenue and even higher profits arriving in the years to come. That’s the yardstick the company judges itself by.


One of the reasons publishers are having a hard time competing with Amazon is Amazon’s direct to consumer relationship which eliminates some costs and provides Amazon with a hoard of data. The reason for this is because publishers don’t view readers as their customers and making that transition is difficult. Oh, John Scalzi might want to argue otherwise, but I don’t think that you can state it more clearly than the Authors Guild did yesterday:

For book publishers, the relevant market isn’t readers (direct sales are few), but booksellers, and Amazon has firm control of bookselling’s online future as it works to undermine bookselling’s remaining brick-and-mortar infrastructure.

The entire blog post is worth reading if only to understand the mind set of the most powerful author lobbying group in the business. There are about a half a dozen things wrong in the post but learning what others think about the business can help one understand the decisions that are made.


A number of academics (1900 so far) have pledged to do no more work for Elsevier Publishing.  The boycott was suggested by a mathematician of the University of Cambridge.  The reason is threefold: 1) high priced access to scholarly works; 2) bundling of unwanted journals with high priced, coveted journal; and 3) support for the Research Works Act.

Hal Abelson, a professor of computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an open-publishing advocate, signed the pledge and wrote that “With the moves of these megapublishers, we [are] seeing the beginning of monopoly control of the scholarly record.” Benjamin R. Seyfarth, an associate professor in the School of Computing at the University of Southern Mississippi, wrote that “nearly all university research is funded by the public and should be available for free.”

Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education



  • Something Secret This Way Comes by Sierra Dean * $0.00 * A | BN | K | S
  • Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S (YA)
  • Giants: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham by John Stauffer * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • The Playboy by Carly Phillips * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S * The Bachelor, first in the series, is also on sale *
  • Greatest Love on Earth by Mary Ellen Dennis * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S * A circus book*
  • Jane by April Lindner * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S (YA)
  • Knit Together by Debbie Macomber * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • This Is Not a Game: A Novel by Walter Jon Williams * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Death, Taxes and a French Manicure by Diane Kelly * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Hedgewitch Queen by Lillith Saintcrow * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S (reviewed here)
  • Bandit King by Lillith Saintcrow * $4.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • The Sherlockian by Graham Moore * $1.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Lord Lightning by Jenny Brown * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Infinity: Chronicles of Nick by Sherrilyn Kenyon * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • A Fountain Filled with Blood by Julia Spencer Fleming * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S * (this is the 2nd in the series. The first and second are now $2.99) *
  • Anastasia’s Secret by Susanne Dunlap * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Blood Song by Cat Adams * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S
  • Child Bride by Suzanne Forster * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S * The book description is LOL you guys “As Annie lies unconscious, Chase can’t deny his swiftly mounting desire, watching her pillowy breasts undulate in rhythm with her shortened breaths. “
  • Lily by Patricia Gaffney * $2.99 * A | BN | K | S (Reviewed favorably here)


Dear Author

Thursday Midday Links: The RITA Version

Earlier this week, the RITA nominations were announced. We collected some of them here at DABWAHA and the full list is here.   First off, congratulations to the RITA nominees.   To the authors, this is akin to receiving an Oscar nomination.   I understand that readers don’t necessarily feel this way but I do want to take a minute to congratulate the nominees on an honor that is very meaningful to them.

To readers, this is another list full of books, the validity of which they agree and disagree about.   Here are some of my thoughts.   One thing I like to do is look at the category selections because those nominations are generally for strong books. The majority of RITA voters are category writers and they know category writing. What I feel isn’t well represented is the paranormal sub genre. The paranormal writers aren’t allowed to judge this category and I think it shows. Instead of deep rich works with great world building, we get wins like Gwen Cready’s time travel fan fic, Seducing Mr. Darcy, and Anne Mallory’s The Earl’s Pleasure, a ghost romance. (and I really like Mallory’s writing).

  • Unchained: the Dark Forgotten by Sharon Ashwood Edited by Laura Cifelli, NAL/Signet Eclipse
  • Sins of the Heart by Eve Silver Edited by Tara Parsons, HQN
  • Marked by the Moon by Lori Handeland Edited by Jennifer Enderlin, St. Martin's Press
  • A Highlander's Homecoming by Melissa Mayhue Edited by Megan McKeever, Pocket
  • Enemy Within by Marcella Burnard Edited by Leis Pederson | Book Link
  • Water Bound by Christine Feehan Edited by Cindy Hwang | Book Link
  • Immortal Sea by Virginia Kantra Edited by Cindy Hwang | Book Link
  • Rebel by Zoë Archer Edited by Megan Records | Book Link

The historical and the contemporary categories are pretty interesting as well. Victoria Dahl received a double nomination. (I think she received a double nomination last year?) I have to say I was surprised because Dahl’s heroines in both books are unusual. Dahl’s heroines have been castigated by readers for being amoral and unlikeable. (I’m a fan, full disclosure). Sherry Thomas was also nominated for His at Night and Joanna Bourne for The Forbidden Rose. Newcomer, Kaki Warner, received a historical nod for one of her epic Westerns.


  • A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James Edited by Carrie Feron, Avon
  • Countess of Scandal by Laurel McKee Edited by Alex Logan, Forever
  • Last Night's Scandal by Loretta Chase Edited by May Chen    |    Book Link
  • Open Country by Kaki Warner Edited by Wendy McCurdy    |    Book Link
  • The Forbidden Rose by Joanna Bourne Edited by Wendy McCurdy    |    Book Link
  • A Little Bit Wild by Victoria Dahl Edited by John Scognamiglio    |    Book Link
  • Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah Maclean Edited by Carrie Feron, Avon    |    Book Link
  • HIS AT NIGHT by Sherry Thomas Edited by Caitlin Alexander, Bantam Books    |    Book Link


  • And One Last Thing by Molly Harper (Gallery Books; Jennifer Heddle, editor)
  • Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts (Berkley Trade; Leslie Gelbman, editor)
  • Lead Me On by Victoria Dahl (HQN Books; Tara Parsons, editor)
  • Not That Kind of Girl by Susan Donovan (St. Martin’s Press; Monique Patterson, editor)
  • Nothing But Trouble by Rachel Gibson (Avon Books; Lucia Macro, editor)
  • One Fine Cowboy by Joanne Kennedy (Sourcebooks Casablanca; Deb Werksman, editor)
  • Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis (Forever; Alex Logan, editor)
  • Still the One by Robin Wells (Forever; Selina McLemore, editor)
Remember Brian Keene’s calls for a Dorchester Boycott because Dorchester keeps selling his books, books they don’t own the rights to?   Dorchester has now said that it isn’t their fault, but the retailer. The retailers aren’t talking so it is easy for Dorchester to point the finger.   Chris Keeslar told Publishers Weekly that Keene will get the money that is owed to him.   The problem is that Dorchester owes money to a number of authors, including Keene, and they don’t have the funds to pay those authors at this point:
Anthony acknowledged that in rebuilding Dorchester the company has had to "prioritize its cash flow." This has resulted in not all authors being paid the money they are owed and that Dorchester had committed to pay when Anthony took over from John Prebich last November. "All authors will be paid in full," Anthony vowed. The Keene controversy has been a setback to Dorchester's turnaround efforts, but Keeslar said Dorchester is committed to rebuilding.
This link was tweeted by author Susan Mallery. Apparently heartbreak can cause physical pain.

Participants underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans while they:

•Viewed photos of their ex-partner and thought about how they felt during their breakup.

•Viewed a photo of a friend and thought about a recent positive experience with that person.

•Wore an arm device that created tolerable pain sensations to measure physical pain reactions.

Researchers compared the findings with 500 scans of other people’s brain responses to physical pain, emotion and other psychological processes.

“We found that the intense experience of social rejection activates regions of the brain that are involved in the sensory experience of physical pain,” Kross says.


Author Sarah Mayberry pointed to this article relating the rise of ebook interest following the collapse of a major brick and mortar bookselling change.

The Australian arm of Canada-based e-books company Kobo estimates there has been at least a 30 per cent increase in traffic to its sites, generating "good" sales, since REDgroup Retail slipped into voluntary administration in February.

“The mere fact that there is all this speculation whether e-books had pushed REDgroup into administration drove a lot of people to look at e-books," said Kobo's Australian head Malcolm Neil. "We actually saw a huge sales spike in the couple weeks afterwards."


Random House had a very good quarter and much of it is due to the rise of digital book sales.   I’m not sure if this will decline now that RH has adopted Agency pricing.

Random House Group (RHG) revenues were up 6.1% in 2010 compared to 2009, to €1.8bn ( £, with worldwide digital sales up 250% on the previous year.

Operating earnings before interest and tax (Ebit) for Random House also rose to €173m ( £152.6m) from €137m ( £120.8m) in 2009.

RHG expanded its e-book programme to include 25,000 titles worldwide by the end of 2010. In the United States, Bertelsmann said as much as half of first week fiction sales were now in digital.


I haven’t tried this out yet, but it intrigues me.   Asus Eee Pad Transformer is soon to hit the US shores.   This is a tablet and laptop in one because the screen (or tablet) detaches from the keyboard base.   I suspect that the internal guts of the Transformer is netbook and I gave up on my netbook.   At $400, though, this might be a decent replacement for the iPad.