New York Publishing and 50 Shades

fiftyThe astounding success of 50 Shades of Grey has a lot of folks bewildered.  Publishers included, quite clearly.

While all of us stumble around trying to make sense of it, I was stumped when a reporter asked me recently why it was such a success.  Expecting a succinct answer, I started to talk about covers and the appeal of the hero and it clearly wasn’t what she was looking for.  She wanted a firm and fast answer.

And I just didn’t – and still don’t – have it.  But you know what?  Its clear that publishers don’t either.

I’ve seen the recommendations for those who liked 50 Shades and they strike me as tone deaf.  As in, “here, are our stale traditionally published books, give us some of your money” recommendations.  Please.

One thing that’s completely clear to me:  50 Shades is fresh.  As in fresh in tone and feeling and style.  It’s got a feeling of freshness to it that I haven’t seen coming out of New York in a very long time.

New York publishers are bound (sorry) by tradition.  They do things the same way they’ve always done them.  And they are sluggish.  I have no doubt that they are scrambling right now to find the next new 50 Shades authors. They’ll put them on the fast track and, gee, we might see a resulting book in about a year.  Too little too late, I’m afraid since who knows what readers will want by that time?  Chances are, it won’t be another 50 Shades.

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Books with Buzz: Connie Brockway Interview and Giveaway (Giveaway Closed)

tgobWe’ve been following Connie Brockway’s Adventures in Publishing for some months now and – ta da! – the wait is almost over.  One week from today The Other Guy’s Bride, her eBook of the sequel to As You Desire will be available from Amazon, with the print edition following one month later.

But, for five lucky readers the wait might not be that long.  AAR and Amazon are giving away five copies of The Other Guy’s Bride.  And, just to make sure everybody is happy, winners can choose whether or not they want the eBook edition or a print copy.  Those who choose the eBook will get their prize right away.  Winners who choose the print book will have to wait until early December to receive their copy.

To enter for your chance to win, simply leave a comment to this post by Thursday, November 17th at 11:59 p.m., eastern time. Since this giveaway is designed to get early books into the hands of those who might not otherwise have access, if you review for another Web site or blog, please don’t enter.  Also, due to high postage costs and geographical restrictions, this giveaway is open only to those who live in the U.S. or Canada.

Ready for the next chapter in Connie’s Adventures?  Let’s hear from her:

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Big Changes in the EBook Market

kindle It is no secret that I am a big eReader fan. I’ve talked about it here and here. And from the very beginning I have been a loyal customer of Amazon. With the introduction of the Kindle, I knew I wanted one but waited until 2009. The Kindle Two had just been introduced, giving me the security of a second generation device, plus the slight decrease in price from $399.00 to $359.00 helped.
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Readers Love eBooks. Too Bad Publishers Still Don’t Get It.

sonyIn case you missed it, in February sales of eBooks were up an astonishing 202% from the same month just a year before. To make the news even more impressive, for the first time eBooks exceeded sales of all other formats – specifically hardcovers and, the former staple of romance, mass market paperbacks.

Wow.  Just wow.  This change has happened far faster than I ever would have expected and it reflects a few things that I think are most significant for readers:

  • The enormous ease of eReading.  You want it, you got it without having to worry about whether or not a capricious bookseller will have the book you want in stock.
  • The anonymity of eReading.  While I wish it weren’t the case, women are often embarrassed or uncomfortable reading romance and with eReading, it’s your business and yours alone.

And, even more astoundingly, this growth occurred despite the lame-fisted, ham-handed, stupid, ridiculous, short-sighted, hide-bound, tradition-worshipping New York publishing industry.

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Author Calls for Dorchester Boycott

boycott Dorchester Publishing (publishers of LoveSpell and Leisure Books) is in the news again months after it announced it was no longer publishing mass market paperbacks. The news has gotten even worse for authors and readers. When we last talked about this, former author Brian Keene blogged about getting his rights back from Dorchester.

Now, Keene is calling for a boycott of Dorchester. (Not only did this make Galleycat and Publishers Weekly, but it even made Huffpost Books.) Not only is Dorchester not paying authors, which is bad enough, but they are also selling books to which they no longer have the rights. Say what?! In Keene’s case, even after the rights were returned to him, Dorchester continued to sell editions of his books for the Kindle, Nook, iPad, and other devices. Dorchester kept making excuses, none of which he believed. However, most authors, like Keene, don’t have the means, let alone the time and patience, to sue Dorchester. Besides, they might have better luck getting blood out of a turnip.

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Publishers’ Websites – Better Than Ever

reviewcoffee After seeing LinnieGayl’s piece on author websites, I started thinking not just about author’s sites, but about publisher’s websites as well. I’ve been reading romance off and on since I was in middle school, but I didn’t start following it online until after college. The websites I remember from the late 90s were fairly spartan. Some had lists of authors, a few featured cover blurb information on various books, but features such as blogs and online ordering seemed almost unheard of. For someone looking for book ideas and information, it was very frustrating!

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Observations From My First RWA

RWA Hotel My first trip to the RWA conference felt like complete sensory overload, but in a good way. We kept the live coverage going over at AAR last week, but today I’m finally having a chance to catch my breath, and think about it all. When I got there, I finally got to meet and spend time with Sandy Coleman, whom I’ve worked with here at AAR since 2003, but had never actually met in person. After the literacy signing, I also got to meet Senior Reviewer Jane Granville and some of our message board regulars, which was very fun. Putting names to faces was nice, but I especially enjoyed the chance to spend time with some warm, friendly people who enjoy talking romance novels as much as I do.

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Hey, Did You Know We’re All Irrelevant?

That’s right. Avon Books still believes that those of us out there writing internet reviews and reading them before we buy books don’t make a difference in the sales numbers. I was a little startled when I first saw this view expressed in Laurie Gold’s 2002 interview with Avon, but downright flabbergasted to see this expressed in 2009. After all, the internet is all-pervasive in today’s culture. People shop online, socialize online, research all manner of things online, and review all manner of items online. Therefore, it seemed a little odd to me to discount the importance of online book reviewing.

Various news stories recently have described the decline of newspapers as internet news sources surge in popularity. For a few examples, see here, here, and here. And if people are turning online to get their information about the world, it stands to reason that they would start turning online to get information about the book world as well. And that’s where I take issue with some of what Avon had to say. Continue reading

Not Everything Erotic is Romantic

As many of you know, I moderate AAR’s romance discussion list, AARlist2. In the past, I’ve discussed on the forums about how some authors have abused AARlist2 as a promotion tool. Well, it happened again. Recently, a member posted a promo that offended some members. Why? Gee, it might be because it involved incest, among other things.

Whoops! AARlist2 is a romance list, and last I heard, most romance readers aren’t really into incest scenarios. So I apologized to the list, sent a polite message to the original poster, and deleted her post. I also realized this would be a good time to update the list guidelines, making it clear this sort of post was a Bad Idea. Why was there no guideline about this before? Because it was common sense, or so I thought. Live and learn.

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