Friday, August 10, 2007

Epublishing: with Treva Harte, EIC of Loose-ID

1. Do you have any comment on RWA’s recent re-redefinition of “Vanity/Subsidy publisher”?

Loose Id is not a vanity or subsidy publisher by any definition, so RWA's modifications to that policy won't affect us or our authors.

2. What do you think a writer should look for from an epublisher, and how should they expect to be treated?

Professionalism and professionally. Look at their website for a start. (I got the following questions thanks to an article one of my fellow Loose Id partners wrote recently.) How long has the company been in business? How many titles does the company release each week? Does the company ever promote old titles? What are the contract terms? Are there any rumors flying around about this company? Does the publisher want books like mine?

You may want to check out her article for more info here.


3. What are the most common mistakes made by authors submitting works for consideration?

Not doing their research on what the publisher and market wants. Grammatical and plot mistakes can be worked on, but the story has to be a strong one first.

4. Although conservative non-fiction has a large following, lately I have picked up on a resistance to conservative leaning fiction. Two well known agents even stated such on their Blogs. This is informative, and it means if you write from a conservative perspective, it would be best to seek representation elsewhere. My question is how pervasive is this attitude among publishers and agents? Do the political views or leanings, in either direction, of the author or characters in a book influence your decision? Would you ask an author to tone such views down to make the book more palatable to a larger readership?

Other than trying to avoid politics and religion as much as possible in our stories – we sell romance, not politics, and we have no desire to annoy any of our market – we have no particular policy on this.

5. With a primarily digital mode of publication, how do you decide how much to publish? Are all high quality manuscripts that meet the perceived needs of your customers published, or is there a goal for monthly or annual publications?

I’m going to quote very freely from Doreen’s article here—
There's a balance between too many and too few releases. Too few releases may mean that the publisher is new on the block or has a questionable reputation with authors. Even if the company is solid, readers only re-visit sites that frequently offer fresh new titles.

In contrast, some E-publishers release too many titles. With too many new titles, readers become jaded and will often postpone a buying decision, thinking "No hurry...I can wait to see what's new tomorrow before I buy."

Chances are you'll do best with a company that releases a regular amount of new titles every week, because readers visit the site when they know there are new releases on a regular basis.

6. When would you advise an author to seek publication with a traditional print publisher and when is it in their best interests to publish in digital format? The pros and cons are often debated among authors, and I was wondering how the actual publishers saw these issues.

All right, I won’t quote Doreen’s article because she has a very lengthy answer for that. The short answer would be, consider a traditional publisher when you're writing for the mainstream. E-publishing tends to publish certain subject matter in advance of traditional print. If you're blazing a new trail in fiction, you might find a good home with an e-publisher.

7. Can you share any sorts of revenue targets you have in mind when purchasing a manuscript? I assume that you need to sell a certain number of copies before the time spent acquiring, editing, and publishing is worth it financially. What is that approximate point? What percentage of manuscripts make this cut-off?

We prefer to keep our sales targets confidential, but I can say that we don't select books if we don't honestly believe they will strike a chord with our readership. We've been releasing new titles every week for more than three years; by now we're familiar with what our customers want to buy.

8. By far the most famous epublishers currently are focused on erotic romance. I would guess that far more erotic romance is bought in ebook format than in print. First, is this guess accurate? Secondly, what prospects do you see in the short to mid term for other genres in eBook format? Will we soon see non-romance mysteries or fantasy or manga taking off? Will we see it with your company?

We believe that there is a huge market for erotic romance in e-publishing. The nature of electronic media means that the books can more easily be kept private than a print book. Your kids are far more likely to stumble across a print book than an electronic book.

Loose Id has always been on the cutting edge of new trends such as manga-inspired erotic romance. However, we have no plans to branch out into other genres such as non-romance mysteries. Those markets are already being well-served by traditional publishers.

9. Is there such a thing as a best seller list for e-books?

Not at the present time.

10. Since marketing and promotion are a shared venture with publishers and authors, what do you see as some of the best venues and tools to establish the name and work of a new writer?

My marketing partner would say start by writing the very best book you can – one with a great hook and memorable characters. Word of mouth from readers is the best advertising and it certainly helps when you have something you can market easily. Even before that getting your name known (in a good way) on lists and blogs is helpful. After that, there are many useful avenues you can pursue. I’d check with fellow authors and ask your publisher what they will do or recommend the author do.

You may also want to take a look at a new blog that a fellow e-publisher, Margaret Riley of Changeling Press, and I have started to answer epublishing questions. It's here. (

Thanks so much to Treva for taking the time, and for the excellent answers and links!!


Erica Ridley said...

Thanks Stacy and Treva--great interview! =)

pacatrue said...

Yeah, thanks, DecStac.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I find this topic fascinating. On a related topic, December, how about a December rant on how we eauthors can help epublishing become more widely accepted (or just help counter the idea that epubbed books are a dime a dozen and poor quality).

Scary Monster said...

This be pretty cool. Me didn't realize that e-publishing were such a serious bizness. Maybe thar be room for a monster/pirate/pinkfrog romance story somewhere.


Bernita said...

Useful interview and links.
Thank you.

Rhian said...

Stacember - that was a terrific interview! Great questions - very helpful. Thanks hon!!

Stacia said...

Thanks everyone, glad you enjoyed it!