1.17.2007

e-books

Dear Ms. Snark:

What's your opinion on ebooks? Do you look favorably on them, or do you think publishing one is a potential determent to a writer's career?

ebooks are books read in little e-book readers, or online. Why would they damage your career? Are you confusing e-books with POD? They aren't the same thing at all.

E-books, acquired and edited by someoone-not-your-mom, is a legit publishing credit. They don't sell vast quantities but they aren't anything to sneeze at either.

Here's an example of a legit, e-book publisher: Linden Bay Romance.

18 comments:

anon said...

Many publishers arrange for works published in hard copy to also appear in e-book format at: http://fictionwise.com/

Termagant 2 said...

Miss S, thanks for the link. Authors-all, know that they are CLOSED TO SUBMISSIONS. Probably too many great e-book submissions from furiously typing Snarklings.

Some other reputable e-pubs include Mundania, Triskelion, Moonlit, Cerridwen, and Samhain, as well as several good houses in mine own market, Christian fic. I know I left a couple out so don't beat me up. I am not open for abuse 'til Saturday.

T2

Anonymous said...

Ellora's Cave is legit, and the biggest epub in the business. They handle erotic romance, and their Cerridwen Press imprint runs non-erotic romance and other fiction.


I wouldn't be so quick to say Triskelion is legit. They're RWA recognized, yes (on the strength of an anthology), but their contracts are not great (and they won't negotiate them), their policies towards print are unimpressive, and they aren't the most professional people in the world either--edits don't come on time, covers are terrible, releases are delayed with no explanation, emails go unanswered, their site keeps changing and is difficult to use and navigate. I've heard from a lot of their authors who are incredibly unhappy with them. Check out the Piers Anthony website for more about that, too.

Termagant 2 said...

I didn't claim any of these houses are perfect--just that they're not scams or what have you. Triskelion may have its issues; I don't know personally so I'm not qualified to say.

And don't get me started on Ellora's Cave.

T2

Maya Reynolds said...

Anonymous: I'm not a Triskelion author, but your ad hoc comments make me very uncomfortable.

Getting RWA-approved status requires that a publisher jump through a fair number of hoops, and those hoops are not user-friendly for e-publishers. It's no small feat for an e-pub to achieve.

Some of your comments go beyond mere snarkiness (Apologies, MS) and verge on poison pen.

Of course, the fact that you are sniping from behind an "anonymous" label prevents a reader from identifying any possible agenda.

It appears that the original Piers Anthony comment was based on one writer's experience. That kind of anecdotal stuff just makes my skin itch.

If you have legitimate proof, come out from behind the Anonymous label and speak up.

Let me be clear, I'm not defending Triskelion because I don't know enough about them to speak to the issue one way or another. I'm challenging YOUR comment.

Kara Lennox said...

www.BooksForABuck.com is another legit e-publisher, which does a simultaneous print edition that is available on Amazon.

Okay, it's my husband's company, but it's definitely not a scam and has a very author-friendly contract. He publishes only genre fiction--mystery, romance and SF/Fantasy.

Kim said...

The only thing I question regarding gaining RWA-approved status is the fact that one newly-recognized publisher states in their guidelines that they don't edit for content. That bothers me a little. Maybe it shouldn't, but it does. It also makes me wonder a little about RWA's standards. I've never read a book put out by this pubisher, so I can't comment on how the quality is, but the fact that they only edit for typos and grammar is a little troubling.

Diana Peterfreund said...

Getting RWA-approved status requires that a publisher jump through a fair number of hoops, and those hoops are not user-friendly for e-publishers. It's no small feat for an e-pub to achieve.

This argument is commonly tossed around online, and it's inaccurate and misleading. RWA is NOT biased against e-publishers. They have the *exact* same requirements for epubs to become recognized as they do for mass-market paperback publishers to become recognized, and the vast, vast majority of romance novels are published in mass market paperback form.

These are the "hoops" that any publisher, ebook or otherwise, needs to "jump through" in order to achieve recognition by RWA.

From the RWA website:
(1) is not a subsidy or vanity publisher;
(2) has been releasing books via national distribution for a minimum of one year;
(3) has sold a minimum of 1,500 hardcover or trade paperback copies or 5,000 copies in any other format, including print on demand, of a single romance novel or novella or collection of novellas in book form, in bona fide arms-length transactions.

They don't even MENTION electronic books separately. I would say that, if anything, e books, after a few years, have a potential of selling more copies than a small *print* press, because ebooks stay "in print" and "on shelves" -- there are no remainders. Also, ebooks, by dint of being on the internet, automatically have that "national distribution" thing going for them.

You'll also note that the rules for recognition don't say anything about whether a publisher is "good" or not, and nothing about the quality of their covers or how quickly they answer emails. The only rules for recognition are that they don't charge authors to publish, they sell copies, and they've been around for at least 365 days.

So there is no bias, nor any special hoops for an ebook pub to jump through.

Mark said...

Does anyone aspire to be a fringe e-book author? That's the answer.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Liquid Silver Books, a legit e-publisher of erotic romance. Great people to work with, amazing art department (for covers) and reasonable amount of time in business (since 2003, I believe).

Dave Kuzminski said...

Speaking for P&E, we have no complaints on file regarding Triskelion. Generally, we get a few complaints about the legitimate publishers, but those tend to be based on misunderstandings and policy changes. Not all of those are in favor of authors, but P&E recognizes there has to be a balance and we take that into consideration. We also try to issue any negative recommendations only when we have adequate documentation of the problem or unfavorable behavior.

In the meantime, I will point out that I've encountered some serious epublishers such as Hard Shell Word Factory, New Concepts Publishing, Boson Books, and Double Dragon Publishing. Disclosure Statements: I have had ebooks published with each of these. Of course, I submitted to them based on my own recommendations. Like anyone expects me to submit to something like PA unless it's a sting manuscript? I have also submitted to one publisher that went bad and is no longer in business. P&E issued an immediate "not recommended" when the truth became known even though I had a book signed with them.

Maya Reynolds said...

Diana: My comments were neither inaccurate or misleading. You are choosing to interpret them through the filter of RWA's public posture. It IS difficult for an e-publisher to achieve RWA-approved status.

The point is that RWA SHOULD have a different set of rules for e-publishers. If they are not producing hard copies, why should the rules insist that they do so in order to be approved?

I'm not suggesting that the rules should be easier for e-pubs, just that they should be different to match the reality of that particular medium.

E-publishing is a different medium and to impose the rules of the print medium on it makes no sense.

BTW, my present contract with NAL is for trade paperbacks. I am not a e-pubbed author (yet), but I fully intend to publish in that venue.

I am a member of RWA in good standing as well as one of the founders of an RWA chapter (Passionate Ink). I appreciate the good work RWA does and am proud to support it. I do believe they need to move more rapidly to adapt to a changing world.

Regards,

Maya

Karen said...

Well, I have an ebook and it is published by Triskelion. I love my cover, the people there have been nothing but professional, I had to write a real query letter and a synopsis, it's all legit. For me, it's not as though I aspire to be anything ~ I just wanted to write and I saw ebook publishing as a stepping stone, both to learn about the business and to get some experience under my belt before trying to break into the big leagues.

Anonymous ~ it's never a good idea to trash a publisher ~ even if you don't choose to show your name. Lots of people read this blog, and there's something to be said for discretion. Just my two cents, given to you from my royalties from my lovely ebook novel, Designing Bitches. Available now at Triskelion Publishing :)

Lynne Connolly said...

Anonymous, that's not my experience about Triskelion.
Let's see who you are, anonymous posters aren't very credible!

Yes, I write for Triskelion, and I have the reputation that I don't have to if I don't want to.
My covers are on time and gorgeous, my edits are thorough, and my sales are good enough that I don't have to go for New York any more.
In a way, New York came to me. Because the editors and management at Triskelion work very hard to keep the consistency and quality of their books as high as possible.

Triskelion wasn't admitted to the RWA on the strength of "one anthology." Get your facts right. There was more than one book which qualified, even when Triskelion was only doing POD, so when the anthology was rejected Triskelion sent in another, more conventional romance and passed with no problems.
Now Triskelion has gone over to mass market paperback runs, sales are even better.

You said:
"Their contracts are not great (and they won't negotiate them)"

Better than many others. And by "negotiating" do you mean "making demands and stamping your foot when they say no" or "discussing what each party can bring to the contract"?

you said, "their policies towards print are unimpressive,"

Not at all. The sales for my Triskelion POD book made my bank manager smile, and now Triskelion has gone over to mass market paperback runs, my first release, "The Haunting" is doing very nicely too.
But print is hugely expensive, so the decisions are made in conjunction with the marketing department (the print market being different to the ebook market), advice from the bookstores, who know what's selling, and the reputation of the author. Not everybody gets print. Other houses decide on finite numbers, like 'you sell x books, you get print' but that doesn't always work well.

You said, "edits don't come on time, covers are terrible"

No complaints here. My edits always come in plenty of time and my covers are gorgeous. Really, check my website for the Department 57 covers!

It's a fact that not every publisher is right for everyone, but if I didn't like Triskelion, I'd move on. And I haven't.

If you don't get on with your publisher, the best way NOT to find another one is to bitch about it in public. No one publisher is right for everyone, but, Anonymous, badmouthing a publisher is never a good idea, whether you're unpubbed or multi pubbed. Unless you have a real beef.
So give us your name and your specific complaint.

Anyway, I'm beginning to bore even myself, so I'll stop now.

Termagant 2 said...

Diana et. al: RWA has made the bar equal for everyone, true...but a few years back, when an e-press whose name escapes me at the moment was about ready to qualify--they RAISED the standard. This publisher no longer qualified for "recognition" when RWA increased the minimum numbers by a substantial proportion. The publisher withdrew its request in disgust. Most e-/small press authors who are still RWA members remember this incident. It didn't bother me one way or 'tother, since I wasn't pubbed then, but since then it kind of grates on me. I'm not here to diss RWA specifically, but they've perpetrated other disingenuous things since then. They should deal honestly with both the publishers and us.

And when was the last time you picked up a Harlequin that was lightly or poorly edited? if at all?

T2

December Quinn said...

Oh, geez.

I write for Trisk as well. I can't confirm what anon there has said.

But I feel now like I have to comment on it.

Personally I'd be surprised to find any publisher out there who doesn't have author complaints about them, so I don't understand why everyone is getting upset. Trisk has its own reputation, I seriously doubt one little anon is going to make a big difference in how they're perceived.

Diana Peterfreund said...

Diana: My comments were neither inaccurate or misleading. You are choosing to interpret them through the filter of RWA's public posture. It IS difficult for an e-publisher to achieve RWA-approved status.

Uh, no I'm not. I'm not interpreting them at all. Just listing them.

The point is that RWA SHOULD have a different set of rules for e-publishers.

Why? I'm not being combative. I want to know. If the publishers want to be considered in the same way by the organization, shouldn't they be capable of operating on the same level?

If they are not producing hard copies, why should the rules insist that they do so in order to be approved?

They don't. They say "any other medium." Any other medium includes electronic copies. No one is making anyone produce hard copies according to the rules I read... for RWA recognition.

For the RITA contest, yes. And I think those rules are unfair and should be changed.

I'd be happy to discuss this with you further. My email is listed on my blog.

Tina Gerow said...

After reading all the comments I thought I'd add my .02. I agree with Lynne's comments about Triskelion. I've been writing with them since they 2004, I have five books with them and two more on the way, and I also have a three book deal with Kensington, so I've pubbed with both the NY presses and the smaller.

I personally love all my covers at Triskelion - feel free to check them out on my website. And my print sales are doing very well. In fact, Stone Maiden, my 2nd book with Trisk was the book that was used to get the RWA approval, and there were several other author's books who qualified right around the same time. I would have to say it's definitely a legitimate publisher.

I'm just stating facts and my own opinions. But I do agree that if you're unhappy with your publisher - it's not the best practice to trash them in an open forum. If you're not happy - take your work elsewhere.