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Tuesday News: Retail in the online marketplace, Omnific + Gallery Books = ?, that odd Amazon self-publishing petition, and 10 useful facts about the penis

Tuesday News: Retail in the online marketplace, Omnific + Gallery Books...

Gap’s former social chief: Retail has shiny-new-object syndrome – An interesting little Q&A with Rachel Tipograph, who used to be the Gap’s digital and social media director, on how retailers are managing the online marketplace. While the focus here is on retail, there are some implications for authors, too, especially in regard to the way content is used to sell products (and books are a natural for that), and the persistent power of email marketing:

Are you seeing, generally, retailers missing out on opportunities — whether through social or other digital tools like content?

First, it’s the ‘non-shiny object’ list that retailers miss out on. Email is still the holy grail of e-commerce, so many retailers miss basic email segmentation and investing in great content and design for their emails as this is the No.1 place people are experiencing your brand. For example, check out the startup Custora. They also miss out on the unsexy cart abandonment, millions of dollars are left on the table for not imposing simple solutions like Bounce Exchange; companies doing it well are Canvas Pop and Agoda.

On the slightly-more-shiny-object list, integrating user-generated product content into your e-commerce site is proven to drive higher sales lifts. There are easy solutions from Curalate or Second Funnel to do this. –Digiday

Gallery Books in Deal with Omnific – Gallery Books, imprint of Simon and Schuster, is “co-publishing” (with Simon and Schuster serving as distributor) a number of title. Omnific describes itself as an independent publisher of “Romance . . . without rules,” whatever that means. I have no idea what to expect from this partnership nor any idea of how/why it has been formed.

Founded in 2009 in Los Angeles, Omnific is a romance publisher whose titles are aimed at the “modern sensibilities of today’s readers.” Areas it publishes in include contemporary, historical, paranormal, suspense, and erotic romance, –Publishers Weekly

THEORETICAL AUTHOR-PUBLISHER COALITION RESPONSE TO AMAZON PROTEST – I’m all about buttering some popcorn, cracking open a nice bottle of Chianti, and enjoying the show. Feel free to discuss the issues, however — whatever they may be.

Of course, if you’re really truly confident that self-publishing is the way forward, then I don’t know why you’d need to write this response letter at all. You’d just drive by on your blinged-out jet-skis, throwing up devil-horns and spraying the stodgy old trad-pubbers in their dinghy with a mist of Cristal. Somewhere, the news would report on graffiti seen all over the world:

AUTHOR-PUBLISHERS RULE

TRAD-PUBBERS DROOL

WOOOOOOO

*jet-ski vroom* –Terrible Minds

10 Things You Don’t Know About Penises – We talk a lot about how unrealistically the female body is often portrayed in Romance, so in recognition of gender equality, here’s a somewhat useful list of demystifying facts about the penis, including an interesting comparison to the boomerang I don’t remember seeing in any Romance novel sex scene. No NSFW pictures, but the post itself is pretty explicit.

The penis isn’t exactly a mysterious organ. Most of it’s right out there in the open, and most guys are far from ashamed to bring it out should the right occasion arise. But macho grandstanding and fallacy (or should we say “phallusy”?) aside, there are plenty of things you probably don’t know about this important piece of the male reproductive system. Check out these interesting factoids about man’s best friend. (If you haven’t already, be sure to read 10 Things You Don’t Know About Vaginas too!) –Kinkly

REVIEW:  Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

REVIEW: Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

Dear Ms. Clayton:

When I don’t know what to read next, I admit that I prowl the Amazon bestseller lists in the hopes of seeing something that will catch my attention. Your book’s risqué cover certainly did, and I downloaded a sample. I was immediately charmed by your breezy, light-hearted voice and purchased despite being leery of your publisher (Omnific, who publishes a lot of reworked fanfiction). The first half of this book was everything it promised to be, but I found that as the story wore on, it lost some of its charm.

Wallbanger-Alice-ClaytonWallbanger is the story of Caroline, a young, single interior designer who has been without a boyfriend and without her ‘O’ for some time. She moves in to a lovely apartment that seems perfect, only to be awakened nightly by her neighbor, the ‘wallbanger’ of the title. He has a different woman over several nights in a row, and Caroline grows to hate him. Naturally they later meet up at a party and are forced together, and what follows is a flirty, coy friendship that eventually blossoms into something more. Caroline is wary of Simon and his ‘harem’, but falls for him.

Initially I was skeptical but hooked. Caroline seemed like a brash, fun, independent heroine and the hero was a manslut who was, in fact, sleeping with three different women. I wanted to see how you would turn him around and make him loveable.

The conversations between Caroline and Simon were fast, frenetic and amusing and I couldn’t wait to see how these two would end up together. In a world of instant-love romances, I loved that Caroline and Simon are friends for quite some time before moving on to other things, because it allowed me to enjoy their witty push-pull banter for that much longer. Unfortunately, the push-pull goes on for too long, and by the 70% mark on my kindle, I was ready for the book to be over and for them to consummate the deal. In my opinion, the latter half of the book dragged because of an overabundance of the will they won’t they scenario and I wanted the story to do something, anything, different at that point. It could have been 25% shorter and I would have been pleased.

As the story wore on, I began to have trouble with suspension of belief as well. I could suspend belief that Caroline and Simon could hear everything through their paper-thin wall; from sighs to snorts of disbelief to the cries of Simon’s harem. However, the suspension of disbelief items began to pile on. The cat’s ridiculous antics were aggravating, as was the fact that everyone thought it was adorable instead of obnoxious or disgusting. The hookups of the best friends of both seemed a little overly cute, and Simon’s later revelation that he’d never had a real relationship seemed farfetched. In addition, the closer that Caroline and Simon grow, the more beta male he became. I felt as if you defanged the manslut hero in order to make him hero material, but in doing so, you lost the things that I found appealing about him in the first place. By the end of the book, Simon is wimpy and needy and I was longing for the arrogant manslut of the first few chapters.

Overall, the book was a light, amusing read that went on a touch too long. I enjoyed it but it did not make me rush out to purchase your backlist; I need a break from the cuteness. If you enjoy a slightly more curse-word-happy and sexed up Kristen Higgins heroine, you would probably enjoy this story.

For me, the first half was a B+, but the second half fell to a C. Overall I’d have to round it out to a B-. Enjoyable but flawed.

All best,

January

PS –Upon further investigation…it seems this is another Twilight fanfic.

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