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


Dear Author

Thursday Midday Links: 50 Shades plans on destroying every good thing;...

Last week at BEA I spoke with a number of publishing people about 50 Shades. I was beginning to feel sanguine about the book. A book that made women feel more comfortable about their sexuality was a good thing. A book that got people reading was a good thing. The publishing path of 50 Shades was instructive and enlightening. But my equanimity with the book was utterly destroyed when I read this earlier this week:

Louisa May Anonymous’s 50 SHADES OF LOUISA MAY, imagining the secret sex life of an iconic 19th-century American novelist and the Transcendentalists (Thoreau, Hawthorne, Melville) after whom she lusted, to John Oakes at OR Books, by Dan Conaway at Writers House

For many woman, Louisa May Alcott represents a very innocent and precious time in her life. I feel like my childhood is being despoiled with the mere mention of this deal. Worse? It seems like it is now a trend. Pan Macmillan in the UK acquired Jane Eyre Laid Bare: Jane Eyre with an erotic twist. This isn’t the first time Jane has been bastardized in such a manner. There was Pride/Prejudice, the slash fiction version of P&P. But two historical female authors being sexualized in real person fan fiction because publishers think women just want sexed up versions of everything? That’s a trend I want to see die early and yes, I blame this on 50 Shades.

Update: I’ve been told LMA wrote erotica under “A Well Known Author”.  Consider my innocent youth debauched.

PN: I didn’t realize that publishers weren’t making their files available for instant printing. I suppose in the case of new titles, publishers want bookstores to order stock. In the case of backlist titles, though, I’m not sure I see the downside.

PN: Barnes & Noble owns I’m surprised that they didn’t put in a bid for .book. Maybe they will yet.

PN:  Because of the DOJ lawsuit, the government’s no bid contract with Amazon is under a lot of scrutiny. Some are suggesting that there is some shady relationship between Amazon and the government which led to the filing of the DOJ suit. Not sure whether they are going to allege the same thing with the States’ Attorneys General.

PN:  Terry Goodkind has been published by Tor in the past. I think Goodkind has to be the biggest author to self publish. I think it is interesting that he is going to self publishing first when the popular self publishers are signing book deals with traditional publishers. I wonder if the trend for bigger name authors will be to self publish digitally and then move back to traditional publishing for print.

PN:  Is this fantastic or what? Possibly the best “for reader” news I’ve seen in a long time.

PN: This is subscription only link but the shareholder suit arose over B&N’s acquisition of Len Riggio’s college textbook business that the shareholders obviously felt did not benefit the company but instead Riggio’s own pockets. This should not affect the bottom line for BN given that the $29 is coming from Riggio’s personal funds.

Wednesday Midday Links: More plagiarism at major publishers

Wednesday Midday Links: More plagiarism at major publishers

Do you ever wonder where the year went? Me too. It’s hard to believe that tomorrow begins the last month of 2011. I would love to post some reader reminiscences about their 2011 year of reading. What they loved. What they hated. How they’ve seen the genre evolve, either for good or ill. If you have something to say, send it to me jane @


LA Times takes a look at other tablets in the $199 range and unfortunately there isn’t a really good alternative at this point to the Kindle Fire or the Nook Tablet. Either the screens have lower quality or there isn’t as much processing speed. I was sent a Velocity Cruz for review and while the lower resolution screen didn’t perturb me too much, the inability to stream video content did.

Source: LA Times


O’Reilly urges publishers to sell direct to the public. My biggest problem with publishers right now isn’t their death match moves against Amazon but their unwillingness to step up to the plate and offer a decent alternative. The biggest move to check Amazon, as Charles Stross says (and we have argued), is to remove DRM. While the readers might still buy a Kindle, they can shop around if you make it easy for them to do so.

Source: Radar O’Reilly


Kevin Bolk redrew the Avengers promotional poster to highlight sexism in the comic culture and, more broadly, the entertainment industry. In the actual promotional poster, everyone of the Avengers faces forward in a powerful stance. Oh, except for the chick who is turned so that her back arches and her bootyliciousness is stuck out for all the wankers to enjoy. The second is obviously turning the poster in its head. Or rear, as the case may be.

Source: Tom DavAvengers Redrawnenport.


A reader sent me a link to a book being sold on Amazon by Linda McNabb. She is offering her book for $.99 or the DRM Free version for $2.99. What do you think readers?


Are you noticing incredibly high prices on backlist titles that are suddenly reappearing?  I presume that it is done for two reasons. 1) publishers are attempting to prevent rights reversions by making the books “available” (older contracts, I am told, may not have a specific dollar floor) and 2) using Print on Demand to source the books’ availability.

We actually discussed this on Dear Author in 2007.  How the world changes and doesn’t. In 2007, I referenced Connie Brockway’s inability to write about Lord Strand but now it sounds like that book will be forthcoming via Amazon Montlake in 2012.  But authors like Linda Hilton are getting the shaft because her book is $22 and doesn’t even have a cover and in one case, only has her last name on the graphic image posing as the cover.

I believe that nearly every big publisher has turned to POD for their backlist books.


Jeremy Dun has become a crusader against plagiarism.  Dun is a well known author of thriller fiction.  He was asked to blurb a book and gave a glowing one.  After the book was published, it quickly became clear that the book was heavily plagiarized.  This has led Dun to seek out other instances of plagiarism and it appears to be reaching into some of the highest echelons of publishing.  The latest alleged perpetrator is Patricia Waddell who has reportedly taken passages directly from Robert Ludlum books.

Just looking for a few minutes, Waddell’s novel appears to be massively plagiarized from The Janson Directive, often with whole sentences verbatim. Look at Chapter 22 of True Deception and then Chapter 6 of The Janson Directive. I somehow doubt these will be the only examples, and wonder if her whole book wasn’t also stitched together, Assassin of Secrets-style.

Dun has also been on St. Martin’s Press about Lenore Hart’s The Raven’s Bride.  Commenter Undine pointed this out in an open thread here in April 2011.  It has been repeatedly brought to St. Martin’s attention earlier this year but apparently have not given any response other than they are looking into it.

Of course, Dun for his efforts is getting the same treatment that Sarah Wendell received when the Smart Bitches exposed Cassie Edwards. Remember when Barbara Samuels called them (and us) without ethics and Jenny Crusie made light of it by accusing the SBs of Cassie Edwards having run over their dog? Good times.