Saturday, March 26, 2011

Bookedity News of the Week! Self-Publishing Announcements, Amazing Dollar Books Deals and Rita WTFckery

This week was chockful of book announcements from all ends of the publishing spectrum. For those who may not be aware, I'm here to give you the run down... *because I'm cool like that *G*

Two big named authors are deciding to try their hand at self-publishng and leave traditional publishing behind.

1. Thriller writer, Barry Eisler has walked away from a $500,000 book deal to self-publish his own work. Plus he let go of his agent. You can read about his decision over at self publishing guru author, J.A. Konrath's blog where J.A. and Barry talks about his decision in doing this.

Here's a small taste of the interview:

Joe: So... no BS... you were just offered half a mil, and you turned it down?

Barry: Yes.

Joe: Holy shit!

Barry: I know it’ll seem crazy to a lot of people, but based on what’s happening in the industry, and based on the kind of experience writers like you are having in self-publishing, I think I can do better in the long term on my own.

Joe: Holy shit!

Sorry. That needed to be said twice.

Barry: It’s okay, I like when you talk dirty.

We are living in remarkable times, aren’t we?

Joe: Indeed. "Barry Eisler Walks Away From $500,000 Deal to Self-Pub" is going to be one for the Twitter Hall of Fame.

Barry: Here’s something that happened about a year ago. Anecdotal, but still telling, I think. My wife and daughter and I were sitting around the dinner table, talking about what kind of contract I would do next, and with what publisher. And my then eleven-year-old daughter said, “Daddy, why don’t you just self-publish?”

And I thought, wow, no one would have said something like that even a year ago. I mean, it used to be that self-publishing was what you did if you couldn’t get a traditional deal. And if you were really, really lucky, maybe the self-published route would lead to a real contract with a real publisher.

But I realized from that one innocent comment from my daughter that the new generation was looking at self-publishing differently. And that the question--“Should I self-publish?”--was going to be asked by more and more authors going forward. And that, over time, more and more of them were going to be answering the question, “Yes.”

This is exactly what’s happening now. I’m not the first example, though I might be a noteworthy one because of the numbers I’m walking away from. But there will be others, more and more of them.

2. Over at All About Romance's blog, beloved historical and contemporary author, Connie Brockway has also announced that she is also going to self publish as well.

Excerpt from the interview:

So, what are the major reasons that you’re making the change?

Connie: Oh, there’s reasons a-plenty. First off, the contract I was offered was not good either monetarily and elsewise, the elsewise being in terms of eBooks. It doesn’t take too much business acumen to look at recent eBook sales history and project that eBook readers aren’t going to pony up the same amount for an eBook, that exists only as a virtual entity, as a paper book which costs substantially more to produce (printing, shipping, warehousing, distribution, covers etc.) Or if they do, they aren’t going to do it often. And if the publishers set the price too high, it’s the authors that lose the most. I hate losing.

Of course, this was more than a business decision. Strictly as a writer, I’m squealing with joy at the notion of being completely free to write the stories I most want to read. And, I sincerely believe, that my readers most want to read.

Connie has stated she has tried to convince her publisher to write a sequel to All Through the Night, but they refused. All Through the Night is one of my all time favorite romances and one I've been dying to have a sequel for. If she does do a sequel, a squee will be heard around the world from me.

As two authors move away from traditional publisher, there has been a few wonderful book deals announced.

3. Paranormal romance author Jill Myles and all around quirky and lovely person has just announced a 2 book deal to Berkley Heat under her new pen name, Jessica Clare.

"Jill Myles writing as Jessica Clare’s WHEN SPARKS FLY, in which a woman seeks romantic revenge on the boy-next-door turned hockey hunk who did her wrong in high school, until they reunite and she finds herself caring more about the romance than the revenge, to Cindy Hwang at Berkley Heat, in a two book deal, by Holly Root at Waxman Literary Agency (World English)."

Congrats Jill! (we'll still have words over you spoiling Breaking Dawn for me in July)

4. And for those bloggers who are aspiring author who think you can't get published, well one blogger has succeed this week with an eye-popping announcement.

Lenore at Presenting Lenore who reviews YA and loves to post pictures of her adorable cats can call herself a YA author:

"Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers has acquired a YA novel called Level Two by Lenore Appelhans, in a joint acquisition with CBS Films. According to S&S, this is the first time the company has coordinated a deal so that an author received a simultaneous book and film offer. In Level Two, the liminal place between our world (Level One) and heaven, Felicia spends her days reliving her memories from the security of her pod—until she gets broken out by Julian, a boy she met on Earth. Appelhans writes the popular YA blog Presenting Lenore. Level Two will be published in either fall 2012 or spring 2013, with a 200,000-copy first printing."

5. I'm simply amazed by Amanda Hocking and all her success. Not only has she made almost $2 million dollars on her own self publishing in one year alone,  and sold 300,000 more books in February, but she has just signed an incredible deal with St. Martin's for $2 million for 4 books with the publisher:

"Amanda Hocking, the 26-year-old author who shot to fame by selling more than a million copies of her self-published books, has signed up with a traditional publisher for her next series.

St. Martin’s Press, part of Macmillan, will publish Ms. Hocking’s “Watersong” series, four books in the young-adult paranormal genre. A heated auction for the rights to publish her books began early last week, and several major publishers, including Random House, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins, dropped out as the price climbed into the seven figures."

Amanda is living the dream I'm aspiring to reach. I bow down to her. Good luck Amanda and ignore all those naysayers coming out from all sides and being Debbie Downers about your decision to embrace the traditional publisher world. They are simply, petty and immature jealous haters. My motto has become, do what makes you happy and that's what's Amanda is doing. If only we all could be so lucky. Zoe Winters, who also self publishing, and is also very successful at it agrees in her post called Disgusted. You can't tell me if a publisher offered you a 7 figure book deal, or even half or that, of hell, a quarter of that, you wouldn't take it? I would.

6. Yesterday RWA announce the 2011 Rita and Golden Heart Finalists. You can click here to read the nominations.

There are some great books nominated and worthy authors up there, but I'm not happy overall with the nominations.

Could someone please explain to me...

How Meljean Brook's The Iron Duke was not nominated when it was one of the most well received, admired and buzzed about romances last year? Major Fail!

another excuse to post hot man-titty cover

Why is it that not one digitally publisher book from an epublisher is not nominated? I know for a fact that digital books were submitted for nomination. Are you telling me out of the amount of digital books submitted, not one was good enough to be nominated for a Rita?

Why under the Series Romance category, it's overrun by Harlequin and Mills & Boon? I guess it should be renamed Harleqin/Mills & Boon Romance category. Again, not one digital ebook that could be considered a Series Romance was nominated.

And not having a GLBT and Erotica category, but having an Inspirational category is wrong. Yes, there, I said it. It's wrong.

Perhaps the Ritas should be renamed- WTFckery Ritas. I guess I'm bitter because I'll have a book published this year that I would like to submit for the Ritas. But what would be the point because from no digitial books nominated, mine would probably not stand a chance because it's a digital release that will definitely be published in print, but unfortunately not by one of the big 6 publishers.

Am I wrong about my feelings about the Ritas? What do you think?

Anyone else have any fabulous book news they may have read about their favorite authors? Of if you're an author yourself, you're more than welcome to leave a comment about your incredible news here.



Monica Burns said...

The RITAs are peer contest. I admit to being surprised by some of the paranormal entries nominated.

I think this really harks back to what I've believed all along. When someone reads a book, it's ALL about the author's voice. It's not about whether they did or didn't do something right in terms of characterization, showing/telling. It's about an author's voice grabbing you. While characterization, GMC and other "rules" are touted as to why a book is good or not, I think that stuff is a MINOR part in why a book is liked.

Personally, I don't get the popularity of a number of authors, but I know it's because I don't care for their voice. It's as simple as that for me.

So that long spiel is simply my way of saying that the books nominated were read by readers who enjoyed the books, vs. what others believe is a well-written book.

I imagine I'll get slammed for saying that, but one reader's incredible reading experience is another reader's WTF do people see in this book. Quality is in the eye of the beholder, and sometimes a LOT of people agree on the quality of a book, while for other books a LOT of people go meh.

MicheleKS said...

RWA is far from perfect and I've been an unpublished member for close to 15 years. I think there is still some opposition to e-publishing and e-only books in general not to mention erotica and LGBT. With erotica I've heard in the past that erotica books can be entered into the other categories and that was the reason for not establishing its' own category. With an LGBT category it's probably the same reasoning as erotica but I hope that will change soon.

Lenore said...

Bloggers FTW!


Amber (aka BBB) said...

As someone who is *not* an aspiring or published author or a member of RWA, it seems to my outsider's view that the organization is very conservative as a whole.

So it makes sense there's an inspirational category, but no erotica. It makes sense that they still haven't caught on to the growing popularity and momentum of ebooks and epublishing. And it makes sense that "groundbreaking" or "buzzed" novels were passed over in favor of established NYT authors with name recognition.

Carly M. said...

I think it's telling that RITA's are read and voted on by authors. I'm sure they are in some way to do it "blind" but everyone probably knows the plot and voice of their author colleagues. What gets me is the lack of Julie James. I have gotten so many of my friends who refuse to read romance novels to fall in love with her and read all of her books.

RRRJessica said...

On the self-publishing thing, I think your roundup really shows how blurred the lines are becoming. One and the same author can (a) self-publish, (b) publish with a publishing house, and (c) e- publish). I think what a writer choses to do may depend on several factors. Sometimes, it's that they couldn't get publishers interested in the book they wanted to write. Sometimes, it's that they want control over the process, for example, in terms of timing or cover art or length or something else.

I think it's a good thing that lines get blurred. someday I hope the default view of e-first or even self-pub is "she chose that route for that book", rather than the negative judgment "guess she couldn't get a NY / print contract!"

Kim in Hawaii said...

Aloha, Katie! I read another blogger hint that Miss Brooks did not enter her book (key word: hint). So we don't really know who did enter (unless you have insider info such as the ebook entries).

RWA members can volunteer to judge. I have been one for preliminary rounds of the Golden Heart. As frustrating as the nominations may be, it is what it is. I hate to take away from those who have been nominated - I do see some new names and some awesome talent.

If readers and bloggers are unsatisfied with the RITAs, then create your own awards!

Anonymous said...

Meljean Brook's The Iron Duke was entered. But with the RITA five judge system, all it takes to knock a book out of contention is for just one of the five judges to be "meh" about the book.

KB/KT Grant said...

Monica: Reading is so subjective. A perfect example are book reviews :)

Michele: Why is there such opposition to ebooks when it's another way for their authors to become published and be successful at it? I don't get it.

Lenore: Word!

Amber: It seems like that. Name recognition goes a far way.

Carly: I was upset last year when Julie James wasn't nominated. :(

Jessica: I think more published authors are going to come forward and try self publishing to see how it is. And if they find the success they are looking for, I wouldn't be surprised if they turn their back on traditional publishing for a while or perhaps forever.

Kim: The Iron Duke was submitted. That book is just so... sigh. Looking forward to the next book in her series. I was ready to submit to the Golden Heart this year but couldn't because I've written and publisher over 20,000 words. :(

Anon: Thanks for the FYI. :)

meljean brook said...

Ah, Anonymous beat me to it. The book was submitted, but I think Monica Burns is right: it all depends on how much that individual judge enjoys the book.

One look at Amazon or Goodreads, and it's obvious that quite a few people didn't enjoy it :-D The same for the RITAs.

On the other subject, I've always been curious about why inspirational books are set against erotica, in the "why are inspies allowed their own category but not erotica?" Inspies, to me, have certain content -- the religious aspect -- and that (IMO, at least) is not equal to/opposite sexual content. Why isn't romantic suspense (for example) used for the "why does it get its own category" argument, too?

Because when it comes down to it, I think most writers who want an erotic category are asking because it is its own subgenre of romance, and should be recognized as such ... just like inspies, paranormal, suspense, historicals, and so on. But it's always inspirationals that are singled out. Is it because they share a perceived/similar on-the-boundaries-of-romance status, or just the lack of sexual content?

KB/KT Grant said...

Meljean: Well, I think you were robbed. ;) But as with all books people are going to love them or find something wrong with them. I can't think of one book that is universally loved.

In terms of erotica, I guess RWA would have to figure out what is considered erotic because I feel erotica has different levels to it in terms of heat. More romances I've been reading are borderline erotic as it.

And are Inspirational based on faith and spiritual values found in the story or closed door love scenes?

Jill Myles said...

Woo! Thanks for the shout out, KB. :)

I always conflate inspies with the opposite end of the spectrum with erotic romances/erotica. I guess because in my mind, they're two incredibly separate audiences? I don't know.

MicheleKS said...

Katie, in answer to your question as to why there is still opposition in the romance-writing community to e-books... I think it's because some people still have a very rigid view of publishing in general and won't widen their viewpoint. Years ago, when the first e-publishers began some authors and publishers boasted that they'd take over the world in five years and leave paper in the dustbin of history. Well, that didn't happen of course but I think some saw that as a threat to their own future and reacted accordingly.

Then RWA changed published author recognition guidelines and a ton of people got PAN membership just by being e-published first with a few print copies to spare. Then a couple of e-publishers imploded rather specatacularly and PAN acceptance guidelines got changed again. Also, there is still opposition to the no-advance model that most e-pubs use. And that's because some people believe authors always get paid first. Well, in my not so humble opinion it should be an individual author's choice as to how they want to get paid.

In conclusion, RWA is full of conflicting personalities and sometimes a vocal minority still holds sway and can influence opinion. But I do believe a change in the guard is happening and although that's a good thing, it's not an easy thing to pull off either.

If you want to know more about any of this contact me.

Zoe Winters said...

Thanks for the shout out! I think some people would turn down a big deal, it just really depends on too many factors. Like I'm not even sure if I'd take a 7-figure deal. Because at the point at which a publisher would even offer something like that, I'd have to ask myself: "Can I just do it myself and keep all the profits?" I'm pretty sure Amanda could have gotten into bookstores and even bought some front table space on her own at this point, but she doesn't "want" to be a publisher.

I can't say I 'wouldn't' have taken a 7 figure deal, but I also can't say I would, either. Because my goals are different from Amanda's and mine include "being" a publisher in addition to being a writer. But people need to lay off Amanda. I'm not sure why so many indies think she exists to validate them and their choice to go against "The Man". Many indies aren't even in it as a "rebellion" to begin with.