Monday, July 30, 2007


First, the most important thing. I have added an Amber Alert ticker to my sidebar. Mine is the US code; there is one for Canada as well.

I urge all of you to click on the button, or the link above, and add it too, and make a donation if you can.

Second, Anna J. and I got the cover for our January EC release, Demon's Triad. Check it out:

It's a pretty hot cover, no? Except I hate the chick's tacky earrings and necklace. The tank top isn't great either. But all in all, I think it's awesome. Very sexy, very reflective of the mood of the book. (Yes, this is the one we think will be X rated.)

AND, the latest issue of JERR (Just Erotic Romance Reviews) came out, and Blood Will Tell got a 5-STAR review!

"Explosive, orgasmic, riveting are just a few adjectives that describe Blood Will Tell by December Quinn. Ms. Quinn has taken an age-old tale, thrown in modern day lust and action, and has written a story with enough drama and sex to keep you rooted to your spot until the last word is read...Bravo for a story well written."

Until the next issue comes out, the entire review is available only through the JERR Yahoo Group, but once it's been moved to the archives I'll post a link to read the whole thing (or you can join and read it there!)

So color me VERY happy, five stars from JERR makes me feel pretty good indeed!

Not much else going on here. I'm about to start Chapter Five of The Demon Inside (my PD sequel)--I've added a little ticker/counter thingie to the sidebar as well. Remember what I said about avoiding work? Just wait, soon I'll be baking again.)

And we have now gone two entire days without rain.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Okay, ask those questions!

I have a final line-up for my August publishing series!

The following ladies have generously and graciously agreed to answer your questions:

Raelene Gorlinsky, Publisher, Ellora's Cave

Tina Burns, Acquisitions Director, Liquid Silver Books

Treva Harte, Co-owner and Editor-in-Chief, Loose-Id

Angela James, Executive Editor, Samhain Publishing

Y'all, I am so excited about this, and totally honored they've consented to give their time to my readers, so let's think of some really good questions!

Leave yours in the comments. As I said before, I'd like to avoid if possible questions like "What are you looking for". But anything about publishing, the publishing process, their feelings on legitimate publishers and what a writer should look for, what they feel sets their company apart, or anything else you can think of, PLEASE don't be shy!

I'll be picking seven questions or so, compiling them on Monday, and sending them along, so don't miss out on your chance! And check back here every Friday starting next week, for their answers.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Extra Bits

So my total word count as far as words written for the new demon book is about 12,000.

The total word count that's actually still in the manuscript? 5,000.

I've never stop/started and cut as much as this in the beginning, but since the rest of the book is much better planned than it usually is (I'm a pantser, so I usually have good beginnings planned and then the story peters out into the ether) I figure it will even out in the end.

And the good news is, some of the stuff I've cut isn't bad. I think some of it is simply later in the book.

So it's all going into my "Rewriteable" file. I keep one of these for every book I do. In some it's only a scene or two long. In others (like this one) it's pages and pages.

Personal Demons's rewrite file is about 23,000 words, all told. Quite a few entire scenes, and some snippets of conversation I cut because it didn't move the story forward but I liked the lines so much I figured I'd hang on to them in case they became useful later.

Some of it is, in fact. I have a scene planned for the new book set in a place I used in the first book but cut. So all that description I wrote will be put to use, which is nice.

I also plan to put a lot of it on the Stacia Kane website once it's up and running. Bonus content for readers, like on a DVD, along with a few original scenes just for fun--stuff that would hold back the story in a book but would give little bits of backstory or just scenes I think people might enjoy.

What do you guys think? Would you want to read deleted scenes from a book?

How much do you cut from your books, and do you keep it?

Monday, July 23, 2007

Rainy days and Mondays...

We have officially had over two months of rain here. There's been one or two isolated days with no rain (I think) but aside from that, just rain. Which is actually okay by me, as it hasn't been hot.

I have been fairly absent from the blogosphere since Friday. First I had to go get my Potter book, of course. Then stay up half the night reading it. Then finish it Saturday. Then absorb, etc. Frankly, my head has been so full of Potter lately I'm amazed I've gotten anything done.

But I have! I started my fifth Chapter One on the demons sequel, and it's finally, I think, acceptable. Better than acceptable, even, I hope. I'm almost done with Chapter Two as well, so yay me! So that's where I've been. Reading/thinking about Harry, or working.

Did anyone else read Harry?

The first reviews for Blood Will Tell are starting to trickle in. Two Lips Reviews (No, I didn't pay for a review, and they've discontinued that policy--I think they honestly believed they were doing something nice) gave the book Five Kisses and said:

December Quinn has written a story with sizzling hot sex, explosive action and a riveting plot. Ms Quinn makes her hero sexy and confident, and her heroine strong and independent. This book has just the right mix and you never know what is going to happen next. You don’t want to miss Blood Will Tell; get your copy today.

(Entire review here).

Mrs. Giggles gave the book a 78; she wasn't crazy about the story itself but liked the characters well enough, so that makes me happy. At least she didn't think they were morons! That one is here.

ALSO--I have exciting news!

My series on publishers is about to take a really cool turn--I have several interviews lined up for August!
On Friday I'm going to open a post for questions, so start thinking. What about publishing would you like to ask:

Raelene Gorlinsky, Publisher, Ellora's Cave

Tina Burns, Acquisitions Director, Liquid Silver Books

Treva Harte, Co-owner and Editor-in-Chief, Loose-Id

Angela James, Executive Editor, Samhain Publishing

These are all fabulous, extremely well-informed ladies, and they're going to be here to help YOU, so please, do start thinking. Here's your chance!

(Note: if possible, I'd like to keep the questions publishing-related, rather than "What are you looking for". You can find that information in several places already, and I'm sure they've heard it a lot. But please, anything you have about publishing, about how they view the industry, their take on the atmosphere these days, things they are most proud of with their companies, that sort of thing.)

Friday, July 20, 2007

Find the right publisher (Part Five)

So, after a short break last week, we are back!

This is just a shorter post, a general round-up of a few things I'm not sure I touched on. But keep checking back on Fridays, if you've been following the series, as I have some things planned for August that I'm very excited about, and I may need your help too!

So we've talked about how to examine and evaluate publisher websites, how to research a publisher, and whether or not it's a good idea in general to submit to a brand-new publisher. The issue of RWA recognition has of course been eliminated, so there's no need to discuss it further, but I thought of a few more things to keep an eye out for, as they are possible/probable Red Flags:

Calls for Submissions are something to watch; does the publisher keep changing its lines? I don't mean deciding to do a special summer series or set of anthologies, I mean are they asking for new things every month? Are they suddenly starting an erotic line, an inspirational line, a manga-inspired line, a gothic line, an anything-we-hear-might-possibly-sell line? Are they starting them seemingly on top of each other?

There's nothing wrong with a publisher branching out, and I'm certainly not implying that starting a new line is in itself a red flag, because it emphatically is NOT.

But a publisher suddenly totally overhauling their requirements or asking for three or four new kinds of books at once sends a dangerous message if you know how to read it: that the publisher isn't sure what's selling, that their own current releases aren't selling, and that they're desperate to try and find anything, any way to catch on with readers.

Another thing to watch is, if you are an RWA member (or belong to a similar writer's group) the First Sales column. How many books is the publisher acquiring? If you read the column every month you'll see most publishers only have one or two sales reported; that's because not only do they have limited slots, but they have many authors in their stable already. Epublishers can be expected to buy more new authors than NY pubs, but still, does the amount seem excessive? Do the books sound good and original to you, after your own study? Do they sound similar at all (not always important, but something to keep in mind just to see if there's any rhyme or reason to their acquisitions)? Too similar?

A publisher who every month purchases twenty or more new books might be biting off more than it can chew. Allow your other research to guide you here, but remember, even Ellora's Cave (which to my knowledge releases more books every month than the other epubs) releases roughly thirty-two books in a month (if my math is correct), and they never have such a large number of new sales reported.

Why? For one thing, because their authors tend to stick around. A publisher in constant need of new blood is a publisher whose old blood is rapidly bleeding away. (Okay, enough with the bad blood analogy.) If those authors are sending their work elsewhere, there's a reason, and it probably isn't a good one.

For another, because they aren't accepting almost everything, hoping it will catch on. Because they aren't blindly trying to grow in size and so are forcing more and more books out there which may not be as good. (I didn't say they weren't as good, just that it seems excessive to me and a lot of people I know.)

It's not enough to be big; you have to stay big, grow steadily, and not take risks with your authors' work.

How many members does their Yahoo group have, or rather, how many more members does their reader loop have than their Business loop? Not everybody joins a reader loop, of course, which is why this is here in the tag-ends of stuff to be aware of rather than the big important stuff we covered earlier. It's just something to keep in mind.

Have you read interviews with any of the editorial staff or seen them in forums? Do they seem to know what they're doing? Do they make sense? Do they talk about books and reading with passion? Does what they say about the industry gibe with what you've heard elsewhere? Do they answer questions politely, or do they behave like children? (I saw not too long ago on a forum a publisher reacting to basic questions about its business with name-calling and finger-pointing; you can bet I'd never let my work or the work of anyone I know get within ten feet of them.)

Can anyone else think of something I've missed?

Be sure to check next week, we'll be covering some other stuff too, but I believe this concludes this particular series. :-)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Let's start at the very beginning...

A very good place to start.

Unfortunately, you can't start a book with "Do re mi." You have to start it with something that makes sense and is exciting and grabs the reader and has action and drama and pathos and wit...blah blah blah.

I have started my fourth version of the Personal Demons sequel. I hesitate to mention its new title lest I discover, as I did with the last one, that someone else has taken it. (Google might help there, I'll give that a go.)


I lked the first three versions. I liked all of them. I thought that was where the story started, but it turns out I was wrong.

I hate starting new books. Nothing is scarier than writing those first lines--at least, not when the pressure is on.

Usually I just go ahead and start. Anywhere near the beginning is fine, because sooner or later, usually within that first chapter somewhere (although occasionally it's been as late as the third), the actual start of the book will reveal itself. "That's your goddamn opening!" a voice will say, and I'll see that it's right.

But lately, the last couple of books...the opening has been fraught with worry and doubt. Is this the right place? What if I'm wrong? Isn't this all just crap anyway, total gibberish?

They say you should start where the action is, and they're right. But in my head I always carry this too far:
I could start with the car chase...but then there's so much backstory...and that leads into a sex scene, and I don't want to start with that, and besides, the car chase just illustrates a point, I could handle the point with a line of dialogue, couldn't I, but if I do that I don't need the scene on the roof, and really the climax of the story is the big action, so...

And eventually I picture my entire book being this one line:

Some bad stuff happened, but they won in the end.
The End.

But I think I've finally cracked it now. The new opening has a hint of mystery, some humor, a little sexiness, some anxiety, and a healthy dollop of anticipation and "What's going on"-ness without being so overbearing with it that a reader might give up.

Of course, having said that, I'll probably re-read the new opening tonight and decide it sucks, and it will go in the bin (when I say " go in the bin" I in fact mean "stay unopened in the tomb of my hard drive") with the others.

What do you like to see in an opening, especially a sequel? What's the hardest part for you to write?

Monday, July 16, 2007

A Quickie Update

Today is the hubs' birthday, so I'm just popping in quickly with a few little updates.

1. The RWA is beginning its backpedal, as fast as its expensively shod little feet can carry it. They're forming a Task Force to learn more about epublishing. Better late then never? Yes, but it shouldn't have been late at all. If you're going to set rules regarding an industry, you should educate yourself first.

2. The Eighth Wand, my novel for Ellora's Cave's Torrid Tarot series, will be released October 17, 2007. Yay! I'm nervous about this one--yeah, I'm nervous about all of them, but this one makes me different because it is different from my usual stuff. My two main characters are much, much more serious people than most of my H/hs--less joking, more angst. As I've said before, I was dealing with some feelings of isolation and unhappiness when I was writing it, so although it pokes some fun at a few archetypes (pagan "fluffy bunnies"*, take cover), overall it's not a particularly funny book. I still really like it, though, I think it's one of the more emotional and romantic stories I've written. Anyway, October 17!

3. The hubs is currently playing Grand Theft Auto 3, one of his birthday gifts. It's...interesting. :-) The funny thing is at first he kept driving on the wrong side of the road.

*There's a few good definitions/articles about "fluffy bunnies" here and especially here.

Friday, July 13, 2007

We Interrupt this Program

I planned to do a final "Choosing a Publisher" post today--on other warning signs that a publisher is losing its hold--followed by some exciting news for the rest of the summer Fridays. But I feel the need to post about this new RWA debacle, so I hope you'll all tune in next Friday for the Publisher post.

My regular readers know that for some time I've been vocal about the need for RWA to get much stricter about what publishers it deems "Recognized" or "Approved" or whatever. (here) for example). So it was with quite a bit of trepidation that I saw on Wednesday evening that RWA did just what I thought they should do...

Except, NOT.

On the surface, I agree with the changes. These are the new standards:

"After much research, member input, discussion and deliberation, the Board has determined that the blanket application of “Publisher Recognition” to allocate RWA’s resources is not serving its members, many of whom mistakenly perceive that RWA is placing a “stamp of approval” on these publishers. Therefore, the Board has examined its programs and services, item by item.

By substituting the word Eligible for Recognized, and limiting the scope of the term Eligible Publisher so that it deals solely with RWA’s allocation of its programs and resources, primarily at our national Conference, the term and concept of “Recognized Publisher” no longer factors into PAN and PRO eligibility, the RITA and Golden Heart contests, RWR content, and many other sections of our Policies and Procedures Manual.

Commencing with RWA’s 2008 National Conference, for official publisher participation, a romance publisher must verify to RWA that it: (1) is not a Subsidy Publisher or Vanity Publisher; (2) has been releasing romance novels via national distribution for no fewer than three years, with no fewer than two full-length romance novels or novel-length romance anthologies published in each of three consecutive years; (3) provides per book advances of at least $1,000 for all books; and (4) pays all authors participating in an anthology an advance of at least $500.

A Subsidy Publisher or Vanity Publisher means any publisher that publishes books in which the author participates in the cost of production or distribution in any manner, including publisher assessment of a fee or other costs for editing and/or distribution. This definition includes publishers who withhold or seek full or partial payment or reimbursement of publication or distribution costs before paying royalties, including payment of paper, printing, binding, production, sales or marketing costs; publishers whose authors exclusively promote and/or sell their own books; publishers whose primary means of offering books for sale is through a publisher-generated Web site; publishers whose list is comprised of 50% or more of its books written by authors who are principals in the publishing company; and publishers whose business model and methods of publishing are primarily directed toward sales to the author, his/her relatives and associates."

The business of the advances has angered and upset quite a few epublished members. Since most epublishers don't pay advances (and the one who does, Samhain, pays, I believe, $100 or so), this new standard automatically excludes all epublishers. While this doesn't please me entirely, I'm really okay with it. RWA should be making sure the publishers it allows to solicit authors at its convention are able to provide a decent amount of money to authors. This is a step in the right direction.

Personally, I think an epublisher should be able to prove average earnings of over $1000 or $2000 per book, and thus still be eligible. It's all about the money, or at least it should be.

So this is good. I like that they're trying to provide for their members.

The problem, the shameful problem, somes in their definition of Subsidy/Vanity publisher. Did anyone catch it? It's this line here:

publishers whose primary means of offering books for sale is through a publisher-generated Web site;

Which basically means, every epublisher.

This apparently caused quite a stir at the general meeting yesterday, as well it should have. To imply that epublishing automatically means vanity publishing is frankly disgusting.

We all know there are epublishers out there who will seemingly accept just about anything. We've all read epublished books that are essentially crap: poorly written, poorly edited, dull, ungrammatical, etc. But that certainly doesn't mean all epublishers accept anything, and RWA does writers a disservice by both implying they do, and failing to distinguish between the good and the bad. They should be helping their members do that, not ignoring those questions.

When this fact was brought before the board, they claimed to be shocked. Shocked! They enlisted a publishing attorney to help them draft this definition of vanity publishing--an attorney whose name they have not given, and who is apparently a total moron--and they never, ever intended to imply epubs like EC, Samhain, and Loose-id--publisher who were Recognized by them until this convention--were vanity publishers.

But they have not as yet changed the wording. This is highly disturbing.

Whatever the current board says, in an attempt to cover up their shameful ignorance and lack of research into the most basic facts about epublishing, the fact remains that this definition as written equates all epublishers with vanity presses. This board will be up for re-election in a couple of months; who's to say the next board won't choose to rule by the language and not the intent?

The board claims they meant the definition to mean publishers whose only form of distribution is their own websites, and not Fictionwise or Ingrams or any other form of distro.

But the correct wording for that--which one would certainly expect a group of published authors to know--would be "publishers whose exclusive means of offering books for sale is through a publisher-generated Web site;", not "publishers whose primary means of offering books for sale is through a publisher-generated Web site;".

The fact that none of them caught this is cause for real concern. That one reason alone is more than enough to vote against every member of this board when they come up for re-election soon, and it's exactly what we should do. That they claim to represent us and be the face of all of us with regards to the romance industry, and yet apparently can not adequately use or understand written language or do any amount of basic research to benefit their membership is grossly incompetent.

We all know they're trying to prevent another Triskelion-style blowup, and that is admirable. But hiring the Keystone Kops to protect the President is a bad idea, and keeping any member of this failure of a board in office would be irresponsible for any member of the RWA to do. Today they're ignorant of how epublishing works; who knows what new issue they'll be incapable of dealing with next?

This new rule also does NOT address in any way how they will treat epublishers when it comes to the problem of e-piracy. Will the RWA aid epublishers in their efforts to prevent it?

I am quite upset that Ellora's Cave has lost its status with RWA. I am quite upset that Samhain and Loose-id, after finally winning Recognition only a few months ago, ahve now been demoted (apparently, the RWA hasn't officially said yay or nay but these new rules leave little doubt of their intent.) I am quite upset that the RWA isn't taking changes in the industry into account.

Of course there's more; the board managed to claim the reason they haven't added an erotic category to the RITA is because nobody could give them a definition of erotic romance, which is probably one of the silliest excuses I've ever heard (we could give them one, and next year they'll try and tell us their dog ate it).

I've done a lot of thinking over the last couple of days about whether I want to keep my RWA membership. I don't know for sure. As I've said repeatedly, RWA does pretty much nothing for me; in my eyes it's basically a useless organization full of silly women who spend most of their time behaving like they're back in high school. The much-vaunted PAN (Published Author's Network) doesn't, to my knowledge, offer much for its members either, although I'm hoping that now it's harder to get into they'll expand it and make it worth a damn.

For the moment I'm staying in; my membership isn't up until October anyway. Beyond that, we'll see.

But please, if you are a member, and you're reading this, join me in voting against every member of this board. They failed at the very basic tenets of their job, which is to understand the industry and the authors they're supposed to represent, and they do not deserve to keep their offices.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

It's OUT!!!


Blood Will Tell is available on the EC site! Buy it here!

*jumping up and down*

My book is out! My book is out!

Did I mention my CONTEST?

I've put (among other things) a small reference to "The Breakfast Club" in this book. It's actually more of an allusion, but let's not quibble.

Find the reference. Email it to me (you don't have to give the page number or scene, just quote the line or paraphrase it for me, whatever you like.) Do this before August 11 and be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift certificate!

I'm so excited! (Can you tell?)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

...Looks like I too have now been struck by the Blogger-won't-let-you-title-your-post ghost.

Just a quickie here, my post is up over at Bam's blog, so go check it out and get yourself another chance to win Blood Will Tell!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Blood Will Tell releases Wednesday!

And I'm all in a tizzy. Part of me thinks it's a great book, part of me is convinced everyone will hate it, that the dialogue I thought was sharp and clever will just sound stupid, etc. etc. But it comes out on Wednesday anyway and I am very, very excited!

So not much of a post today. Tomorrow I'm blogging over at Bam's (although I have no idea what to blog about, so if you want to suggest a topic that would be great!) So you can read a real post from me there tomorrow, because today I'm taking advantage of this last chance to urge everyone to join my Yahoo group! Joining enters you in a conest to win a free release-day copy of the book, so don't be shy!

And here's another little excerpt too. Julian and cecelia are dining together, and he's just offered to let her stay at his house to protect her from the vampires who want her dead:

“I guess I don’t have much choice, do I?”
“We all have choices. You just only have one right choice.”
“I still don’t really trust you. I don’t think you’re a very nice man.”
“Do I have to be?”
She considered it. “I guess not, although I’d probably enjoy staying with you more if you were.”
“My dear,” he said, leaning in closer. “I seriously doubt that.”
This time she couldn’t hide her response. Heat flowed through her, blood rushing to her face.
He continued speaking in the same soft tone. “I somehow don’t think that a nicer man would be man enough for you.”
Her mouth was too dry to speak. She looked down, aware that by not answering she had answered him in the most eloquent way possible.
She could feel his gaze on her, almost as if his hands were caressing her. Soft and cool, running across her taut, sensitive nipples, making her gasp as her eyes closed involuntarily.
“You look stunning when you do that,” he said quietly. His voice caressed her too, sliding down her bare arms. “Beautiful enough to make an army of men fall to their knees.”
The compliment made her even warmer, but she opened her eyes. “You?”
He smiled a wistful smile that made him look younger. “I’m only one man. It’s nearly enough to kill me.”
He wasn’t joking. The knowledge made Cecelia a little weak herself.
“If you won’t let me die,” she said, surprised at how breathy her voice was, “I won’t let you die, either.”
“As tempting as dying from the beauty of you is,” he said, “it’s a deal.”
She nodded. “Can I call my lab assistant and let him know where I am?”
He was thoughtful, switching quickly back from “Julian the Romantic” to “Julian the Businesslike”. “No, but you can tell him you’re staying with a friend. Make something up so he won’t expect you at work. But don’t give away your location.”
“I don’t think all this is entirely necessary.” She was trying to trust Julian, but he wasn’t making it easy.
“Then you are far less intelligent than I have given you credit for.”
She sighed. Just when she was starting to feel all warm and squishy toward him, he turned that acid tongue on her again and reminded her that underneath the sex appeal was a viper. An intriguing viper, but one who could still hurt her. “You really are an asshole, aren’t you?”
“I prefer to think of myself as a realist. And realistically, your naiveté will get you killed before you even have a chance to see it coming.” She opened her mouth to speak but he held up his hand, stopping her. “No, Cecelia. You know a lot about what you do. This is what I do. Please give me credit for knowing how to do it.”
“You’re asking a lot from me.”
“Yes, I am. But I’m offering you your life in return. Either your life is important to you or not. Either you want to live or not. Honestly, I don’t imagine you want to die, even though your life is terribly dull.”
“It isn’t.”
“It is. But that’s not the point.”
“We’re getting awfully close to that cab, Julian.”
He rubbed his eyes with his thumbs, his face hidden. The gesture was at once vulnerable and masculine, and for some reason Cecelia felt a rush of triumph. He really didn’t want her to leave. She could feel how much he wanted her to stay, sense it like a living thing.
He didn’t want to give in to her, though. He wanted to say whatever the hell he wanted—he was obviously used to saying whatever the hell he wanted—without repercussions.
Arguing with him may have felt like some kind of bizarre foreplay that both pissed her off and turned her on, but Cecelia had a line. He wasn’t going to cross it, no matter how beautifully he complemented her or how attracted to him she was. The sooner he learned that, the better.
“Please don’t go,” he bit out, his face still hidden by hands that now massaged his forehead as if he had a headache. “I will try not to insult you by implying that your life is boring.”
“That’s a little better,” she said, enjoying herself now.
Until he looked up and caught her smiling. He narrowed his eyes. The deep color of them seemed to intensify, darker and darker, leaving her breathless. “Now you are smirking,” he said.
She stood her ground. “Yes.”
He surprised her by shrugging and pouring some more wine into his glass. “As long as you admit it. Enjoy your little victory, my dear. It may be your last.”
“I bet it won’t.”
He smiled. “I’ll take that bet.”
“What does the winner get?”
His smile grew wider. “Whatever they want, shall we say?”
She knew she shouldn’t agree to it, but honestly, she didn’t care. All night her heart had been beating below her waist and she was tired of trying to pretend that she didn’t want him as badly as he seemed to want her. “Fine.”
“Excellent.” He looked far too pleased with himself to make her comfortable.
Cecelia blushed and looked away, catching the eye of their waiter. He was leaning against the wall, glaring at them. “I think we should go,” she said. “Our waiter looks ready to kill us.”
“It is a bit late, isn’t it?” Julian took her hand. “Shall we go back to my place?”
The innuendo was so heavy that she laughed. “My mother warned me about men like you,” she said.
He raised one eyebrow. “Come with me,” he said, kissing her hand. “I’ll show you why she was right.”

So go on! You know you want to read it! And I'll announce the winner nice and early, so there will be plenty of time for you to buy the book if you don't win.

Click here to join DecemberQuinnNews/>
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Friday, July 06, 2007

Find the right publisher (Part Four)

The Honeymoon Period

I see the same sad story all the time, and so have you if you've spent any time in writing communities.

A new publisher opens. Their site looks good, they post Calls for Submissions in all the big places, they seem intelligent and enthusiastic.

Writer X sends them a book, and it's accepted. Instantly, whenever this publisher--let's call them Books of Love, because I don't know of any publisher with that name and doubt it would be used, because it's pretty awful--whenever Books of Love are mentioned on any forum or in any chat, instantly Writer X pops up to say how happy s/he is, how great everyone at BoL is, how professional they are. Often this is echoed by several other Xs, all saying the same thing.

Here's the problem(s). One, unless Writer X is already published with several other places, they really can't say how professional BoL is, because they have nothing to compare it to. Two, being "great and nice" is, well, great and nice, but doesn't mean the staff at BoL is actually professional either. Three, none of this has anything to do with what the actual job of an editor and publisher is, which are respectively to edit your book to professional standards, and to sell that book to the public.

Writer X, high on the rush of a sale and thrilled at the idea of publication, is in The Honeymoon Period.

This is the period of time between contract and royalty statement, and it's the one time when you should probably pay little attention to Writer X's effusive compliments.

The Writer X I'm thinking of specifically for this example was thrilled when BoL signed her, and continued to be thrilled while editing, while getting cover art, while receiving emails from BoL's staff saying how her book was the top seller, and wasn't it exciting?

Do I need to elaborate on what happened to Writer X when she got her royalty statement? She sold three copies.

Three copies in three months.

It wasn't Writer X's fault. It wasn't BoL's fault, either--they had done the best job they could. But BoL was new. BoL had not built a reputation or a readership. Which made BoL a bad choice for an author looking to place her/his novel.

This Honeymoon Period is eveident everywhere, on every blog and forum and website. A new publisher opens, people start selling to them, and before you know it Teh Internets are full of happy, chattery writers, encouraging all of their buddies to sub to BoL, discussing how they're going places, they're doing great, etc. etc. All of it meant kindly. All of it honest--neither BoL or the authors are trying to scam anybody.

But the fact is, and it's one any writer should know and a writer interested in epublishing should tattoo on their arms, that ebook readers tend to be loyal to certain publishers and certain authors. They're not necessarily going to take a chance on a new book by an unknown author from an unknown epublisher. (There are of course exceptions to this, but in general.)

Is this a set rule? No. If a new epublisher is opening its doors and the first books released ar by Patrice Michelle or Jaci Burton or Lora Leigh or any other big name, that publisher becomes a much safer bet. Chances are those authors are over there because they know these people, which means these people are connected and know what they're doing. And readers will follow those big names, and reputation spreads from there.

But anyone can open an epublisher. It's as easy as building a site and posting Calls for Submissions. No advances are paid in epublishing, so it requires little money to start up.

What this means is that every day, it seems, another publisher opens up. Every day new writers submit to and are accepted by those publishers. And every day a writer realizes they've made a huge mistake.

This is the one thing I only skimmed over in my last posts, and one of the most important things there is. Does this publisher have a reputation of sales? Have you heard of them? Have you heard of the authors talking them up all over the place? Are those authors discussing how good the sales are, or are they talking about how nice everyone is?

Don't trust anyone talking up a publisher while they're in the Honeymoon Period. It doesn't mean anything.

Don't submit your work to a start-up publisher unless you know someone in the organization and/or their background. Isn't it better to wait however many months to get acceptance from a publisher you know, than to have your book out there and nobody knows about it?

Yes. It is. Don't gamble with your book. Give it to someone you trust because they've proven they know what they're doing, not because they seem really nice.

More next Friday.

Continue to Part Five

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Just a quickie, I'm afraid

Today is the 4th of July.

When I was a kid this was a big deal, despite the fact that it pretty much rained every year. My brother and I would watch it glumly all day, praying it would clear up by nightfall so we could go outside and draw colored shapes in the air with sparklers, and use a punk to light those black snakes (the only fireworks we were usually allowed to light), while Dad set off the big stuff and the dog cowered terrified inside.

On the Bicentennial we went to a local park (whose name I've been trying to remember all damn morning and can't, and apparently the name has changed because Google doesn't help). My parents laid out the Snoopy sheet we used for picnics and to make tents, and we all sat on it and watched what promised to be The Greatest Fireworks Display Ever. I remember it was pretty cool, too, although being only almost 4 I was awfully tired. We used to be in awe of Bicentennial quarters, too, with the soldier on the back and the flag? That was coool, man. Special coins! Because it was America's birthday!

One year my Dad got chased by a Roman Candle. It tipped over and shot a fireball right at him. He ran out of the way, and it ricocheted off the side of my little playhouse and followed him. I don't remember how it all resolved. I presume he beat it to death. He used to tell us about the Roman Candle fights he got into with his brothers when he was a kid. I was in awe.

A few years ago the hubs and I grabbed a pizza that night and drove home listening to some sort of "Patriotism Mix" on the radio. The Fourth was irritating in our neighborhood, because the people behind us were, like magpies, adoring of Bright Shiny Things and turned the 4th into "America's Six-Week Birthday". The fireworks would start in early June and last until mid-August. When we went onto our back porch it was like the apocalypse was nigh and people were huddling around burning trash cans for warmth.

I miss it all.

Happy Fourth of July, everyone.

(BTW, I haven't been making my usual rounds much this week, and probably won't, because I am up to my neck in work. I did 6k words yesterday. My goal for today is 7500. Everything came due at once--unexpectedly, it wasn't like I lazed about. Pray for me, I'm going in.)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Is it Monday already?

Man, where did that weekend go?

I fully intend to continue my "Choosing a publisher" series, but I'm not continuing it today (as I said, I'll probably do it on Friday and it will likely run all summer). I'm not sure why, since I have no other topics prepared (note to self: when compiling blog ideas in a file, don't drunkenly jot down something and assume I'll remember) but those posts are long and complex to write and as I'm just about to finish a novella I'm working on I don't want to lose the flow. So we'll be quick today. Sort of.

Everyone is gearing up for the big RWA conference next week, and I'm gearing up for my first EC novel release next week (Wednesday), so it seems we're in a bit of a lull. Nobody's writing, nobody's submitting, nobody's leaping on submissions (I assume) because soon it will be time to fly off to the conference.

I've never been to a writing conference of any kind, except for that panel where I acted like a big dork at DragonCon. But that's not really a writing conference. It was fun, though.

So far in our Summer Movie Education program we've shown the sd: Jaws, Speed, Rear Window, Shaun of the Dead, Enter the Dragon, Rocky Balboa, and The Thing. (Tonight we plan a double bill: Face/Off and Hot Fuzz.)

I love The Thing. But I hate the ending. It's my big problem with John Carpenter films. he loves those ambiguous endings.

The hubs likes them too. I hate them. I wonder if it's a gender thing? Because I've never known a man who didn't think the ambiguous ending was somehow cooler than an ending that, you know, actually ends and resolves the story. And I've never known a woman who wasn't irritated by them. At least none that I've talked to about it, because watch, I'll say that and every lady I know will comment how much they love ambiguous endings and I'll feel like a big dumb dummy.

The exception to this, of course, is Gone With the Wind. Because it's Gone With the Wind, so it can have whatever ending it wants.

Books going into series often leave us with unanswered questions, but we know there will be a resolution at some point.

What do you think? Which questions are okay to leave open, and which ones need to be closed? How do you feel about ending a book or movie and not really feeling like you got a resolution?

And was MacCready a Thing?