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


Wednesday  Midday Links:  Topless Female Duelists

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


Dear Author

The Things I Learned from RWA 2011

Here is my list of things I learned from RWA 2011:

  1. Harlequin and Sourcebooks are really interested in what the reader has to say in all areas of the publishing process from the cover, titles, and content to how the stories are sold.  They use their blogs, facebook and twitter accounts, and customer service emails to acquire this information.
  2. There is no one path to success. Bella Andre is not out there on the blogs, but she’s making personal connections to her readers. Courtney Milan is connecting to her readers through twitter, blog posts, and comments around the internet.
  3. Authors are probably more afraid of approaching readers than readers are afraid of approaching authors. Or it may be a mutual apprehension. Many authors tell me that they are introverts and signings are a painful process made only less painful by the readers who are brave enough to approach them.
  4. There are many types of publishing and no way is the absolute right way.  Unfortunately, I see a lot of authors deriding others for their choices under the guise of helpful advice. Some authors are really going to be proficient at self publishing. Many authors will not be. Some authors are well suited for traditional publishing. Some are not. The reasons that authors choose to self publish, go with a digital first publisher, or with a print first publisher will vary from author to author depending on her aversion to risk, her core competencies, her family situation, her goals, and so forth. Every person is different and we can’t judge whether a person is making the “right” decision about her career unless we are her.
  5. While Courtney Milan says that we shouldn’t make predictions, I have to make one. I think that the most successful self publishing authors will be those who love the business side of publishing as much as they love the creative side. There will always be the exceptions, but generally, I think that the entrepreneurial authors are the ones who we will still see self publishing five years from now.
  6. Family oriented sweet contemporaries, mostly set in some small town (make up your own if you don’t want to use a real one), are hugely popular. Every editor I talked to seemed interested in those. I have no idea why urbanites aren’t interesting. Also, the love of the cowboy hero was palpable.
  7. Editors think that authors self censor too much (and that critique partners may be doing more harm than good). I heard more than one editor say that the manuscripts that they like best are ones where they can see the raw voice of the author. Many times, submissions come in that are polished so much that they are too smooth to be interesting. Write with raw passion, authors. This is an industry built on emotion and the manuscripts have to show this.
  8. There is a lot of experimentation going on that readers don’t know anything about (and that no one would tell me either!) I was told by more than one person that pricing ebooks is not set in stone and that publishers are trying different things to see what works best. I do believe, however, that if the house is driven by hardovers, it is the hardcover policies that drive the prices of the mass market division. Interestingly though, Loveswept and Avon Impluse both set the high water mark at $5.00 indicating that there is some understanding that digital books should be priced less.
  9. Authors often skip over digital first publishing in their musings about what they will do if they leave traditional publishing. There often is a conflation between self publishing and digital first publishing. Two different things folks. An agent who gets into publishing is a digital first publisher. Agents that offer publishing service packages for fee and a percentage of profit are engaging in a business model known as vanity publishers. No one has brought up whether RWA will allow the agent/publisher to continue to be members.
  10. Editors can articulate why a reader should read a book better than any marketing person. I loved listening to the various editors share with me some of their favorite upcoming books. These editors really do have a passion for what they do and I think if anything saves traditional publishing it will be the editors and their support of the books that they love and must see published.