Category Archives: Publishing

How much would you pay???

I’m told I have a knack for writing taglines and blurbs, coming up with titles, sometimes even synopses. Today I’m working on blurbs for my brand, spankin’ new author co-op (as yet nameless, but I’ve submitted some ideas). That means, including my own, I’ve worked on 14 so far today! (Some of my colleagues have entire series.)

I also promised my friend Hyacinthe I’d look at her query letter and synopsis, as well as doing a trade off with pal Jennifer: she has marketing tech savvy and I’ll look at all of her books. She has… wow! A lot of books.

People keep praising my ability to do this. And I enjoy it. If I were to hang out my shingle, what would you be willing to pay for a tagline and a back cover/query blurb?

Here are some taglines I’ve come up with:

For my Reluctant Reaper series: Death is what happens while you’re making other plans.

For my friend Joan Leacott’s secret baby book: Instant family; just add daughter. (I wrote the blurb, too.)

For my latest release, Edwardian steamy-punk, Re-Inventing Love: The road to love is paved with good inventions. 

There’s lots more. I’ll post them as I come across them.

Let me know what you think is a fair price. Thanks! 

brain-for-writers

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Get your Murder, Mayhem and Mystery here!

Guardian Angel. Stalker. It’s a fine line.
Read “Summer Stalk” in the crime-filled anthology, “Villainous Vacations” now available for pre-order.

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EXCERPT: Conner stares into his locker, leaning forward as far as he can without actually climbing inside.

She steps closer, squeezing his arm.

I step closer, too. Pushing off the wall, I redirect and head over to the glass display case, pretending to read the dusty trophies. A bead of sweat tickles the hollow of my spine.

“I hear your parents are out of town. Want me to come over tonight?” Cheryl’s lips flap like huge, pulpy wings. At least they do in the distorted reflection in the big brass trophy.

Oh, look. We won the Kiwanis Festival in 1992.

coming soon ad

Marginalization or Marketing?

WARNING: This post contains opinion and controversial subject matter.

I wasn’t there, but apparently at the last RWA conference, Pocket’s spokesperson said (and I paraphrase) they funnel their black authors into a black line. (And Latinos to a similar line.)

From the RWA update: During the Spotlight on Pocket at the 2015 RWA Conference, an attendee asked Executive Editor Lauren McKenna, “Are you working at all on diversifying your author list?” When McKenna requested clarification, the attendee observed that it seemed most of Pocket’s authors were white. McKenna then responded:

“Right now, we [Pocket] don’t have an African-American line. Our sister imprint—because we are all Simon & Schuster—we are just two different imprints that we spoke about today within Simon & Schuster.

Read the rest Here: Update on RWA2015 Spotlight on Pocket Books.

Now, I always feel we should cut speakers some slack. After all, I wouldn’t want to be held accountable for every word I said when I was up in front of an huge audience, nervous as heck and answering questions I hadn’t prepared for.

But in this case, I think we should.

The RWA called their statement “objectionable,” “insulting and unacceptable.”

Eventually, Simon and Schuster threw their exec under a bus and wrote this in reply: Open Letter to the RWA from Pocket

It’s corporate speak for we’re great guys. I know, I worked in corporate communications most of my career. I’ve written stuff like this.

But here’s the thing. They never answered the question. She answered a different question, instead.

Before we get to that, we need to define our terms. As an author of books containing gay main characters, I’ve often been called “a gay author,” but I’m not actually gay.

I’m white, but two of my books feature black main characters, Lost Boys 2.0 and Mysterical. Does that make me a black author?

Mysterical is a YA. I’m sure no teenager.

So where do you publish my books?

What if a black person writes a book with a white main character. Which line should publish that?

And if her next book features a black main character, does it get moved elsewhere? Does she take a new pen name?

Studies of sales show that books sell better when they’re separated out. That black fiction sells better when it’s located with black non-fiction than when it’s located with other fiction. Same with gay books. (I’ve read these studies but can’t link to them right now.) But, depending on your perspective, this can be considered “ghettoizing.” As an author, I want more sales. If I were gay or black, how would I feel then? Conflicted, probably. Let me know in the comments.

It’s easier with online book vendors—you can tag your books by several different categories: So using Lost Boys 2.0 as an example, it’s a gay, action-adventure, romance, African-American. It’s other things, too, like paranormal, urban fantasy. Has a couple of graphic sex scenes… etc. But sadly, I can only use 3 or 4 tags on each book. I’m sure that will change in time. (I’m looking at you, Amazon.)

But where would you shelve it in a book store? To traditional publishers, that’s still exceedingly important: Where would I shelve it that it will sell best?

So I think the question S&S’s exec actually answered wasn’t the one asked. Instead, it was this: Why are books featuring black characters published by a separate line?

The answer is: because it’s better for sales.

But the question she was actually asked was: [Why are] “most of Pocket’s authors were white?”

And that’s the important question. So Pocket… First, is it true and second, why is that? 

Is it really because all your black authors are writing black main characters? Really?

And if that’s the case, is it affecting your acquisitions? Sorry, person of color, you’ve written a book with a white main character and we don’t know what to do with you, so no deal.

I dunno. I said at the outset this was an opinion piece, but really, the only opinion I have is we need more information before drawing conclusions.

In the interest of full disclosure, my Reaper books, featuring white main character, are published by Pocket Star, Pocket’s “digital-first” line. And I’m white.

So… your thoughts?

LB + Myst

 

It’s always the author’s fault

I picked up a book from the library yesterday and began to read it last night. Yikes! Is the type small. It’s like the anti-large-print book. I’m lucky. By taking off my glasses, I can read it just fine, but most people can’t.

The book was printed back in 1987. So every single copy sold was hard copy. Someone walked into a bookstore (this predates Amazon by 7 years), looked at the type and put it back on the shelf.

The publisher had a choice to produce a larger book, but chose to save on paper and ink. Then when it didn’t sell, I’m sure they blamed the author.

Why does publishing continually shoot itself in the foot and then say we’re the problem?

Here’s a shot of a recent Stephanie Plum mystery which I’d just finished re-reading next to “Double Whammy” by Carl Hiaasen:

small type

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luckily, he went on to be a popular bestseller. But it’s one more thing for us authors to watch out for if we get a print deal.

Don’t get me wrong, I *want* a publishing contract with a print deal, I just want to be wary of the things that could go awry.

Do you write for money or what you love?

My response:

My books Venn

 

 

 

 

 

YMMV

 

Harrington Park Press is back. Did you know that?

From their website: Harrington Park Press, previously the LGBTQ imprint of The Haworth Press (now part of Routledge/Taylor & Francis) is now re-launched as a specialized academic/scholarly print and ebook publisher devoted to emerging topics in LGBTQ diversity, equality, and inclusivity.

Huh. No idea when that happened, but I found out this morning when the Bill Cohen, Owner/Publisher, requested we connect on LinkedIn. Of course I accepted.

My very first sale was to Haworth/Harrington back in ’07. I’d submitted a short story to their then-acquisitions editor, awesome author and all-round great guy, Greg Herren, and he said the story was too long for his anthology, but would I consider expanding it into a novel for Haworth. I tried, but that particular story wasn’t expandable, so instead I offered him GYM DANDY, which he accepted. We got as far as a “coming soon” placeholder on the Haworth website when Haworth was acquired by Taylor & Francis. They only wanted the non-fiction titles and that left us fictioneers in limbo for a while.

Eventually, I got my rights back and sold the book to MLR Press, and more recently, self-published it. But I met some great people while we were trying to figure out what was going on with our books, including Toronto author Jeffrey Round who was very supportive of my stumbling efforts when I was just starting out.

So, huh. I don’t think I write what Harrington is looking for, but you might. Check ’em out.

Gym Dandy_200

 

HOW TO GET MY BOOKS CHEAP! TODAY ONLY!

50% off everything, including all my books at AllRomanceEbooks today.(note: ARe offers both Kindle (mobi) and EPUB versions.)

From brand new LOST BOYS 2.0 for only $3 to sexy ASSUME THE POSITION for less than 50¢!

Lost Boys 2.0

   
Lost Boys 2.0 Tales of B.O.O. #2 (but stands alone)
NOW $3.00 (after rebate) Regular Price: $5.99
Trapped outside the world, unlikely hero Thaddeus Wright must partner with sexy Secret Agent Peter Pan to save a new generation of Lost Boys.
Shift Happens
    

SHIFT HAPPENS: A change is as good as a quest.
Gym Dandy

   
Mixed signals or glitchy gaydar? After a first kiss gone horribly wrong, out and outgoing personal trainer Victor Brighton settles for friendship with his handsome new client Douglas Newkirk. But is Doug in denial?
Assume the Position

   
NOW $0.49 (after rebate) Regular Price: $0.99

 Sex, drugs, and a blinding reaction. Can false arrest lead to true love?

Tart & Soul

   
Tart & Soul
$0.99 (after rebate)  Regular Price: $1.99
It’s a business doing pleasure with you. A fun, angsty and sexy tale of young hookers in love.

Few Are Chosen

 
NOW $1.50 (after rebate)  Regular Price: $2.99

Sparks fly between virgin teenage demon hunters when the Chosen One turns out to be the Chosen . . . Two?

You can now get my novels in print!

Shift Happens and Gym Dandy are now available in hard copy.

I’ll have a few copies with me at the upcoming Toronto Book Fair.

Lost Boys 2.0 will follow shortly!

 

It’s alive! And only 99¢!

AssumeThePosition_200Get ASSUME THE POSITION now: Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Kobo / AllRomanceEbooks

Just 99¢!

Sex, drugs, and a blinding reaction. Can false arrest lead to true love?

Detective Tyler Colt meant to arrest the rent boy—really, he did—but finds himself taking the pretty young man home instead. Then Det. Colt meant just to kiss the boy, just once. Just to calm him down. But one thing leads to another and the next thing he knows… Colt’s naked and blind! Just what has this kid done to him?

Next up are handcuffs, hospital visits and a heartfelt apology. Given their rocky start, can our two guys live happily ever after?

A sexy m/m contemporary cop romance (previously published as Lust in Translation in the charitable anthology I Do from MLR Press)

Short story, approx. 55 pages. Available in digital format.

REVIEWS

Particular favourites include… Assume the Position by Storm Grant (where a hooker isn’t entirely what he seems and a cop gets rather more than he bargained for)… Anne Brooke

Assume the Position is the best story for the anthology…. What a fresh and original story. The story had great characterization, not only just filled with some steamy sex scenes and overall just a great piece. This is another author to look out for. Rainbow Reviews

This story contains a lot of good qualities such as strongly written action scenes, vivid sensory detail, and male characters who seem like believable men. Obsidian Bookshelf

From a one night stand to something more is only a brief path, in a very nice and mostly funny story. Elisa Rolle

EXCERPT

His years working Vice led him by habit through the dirtiest sections of town, the parts the tourist brochures never mention, but the tourists often found anyway.

Neon signs advertising pawn shops and discount liquor stores glowed dimly behind metal grates. Boarded-up, burned-out buildings lined one entire block. Shot-out streetlamps stood uselessly like blind watchmen. Great lakes of rainwater formed on the road where clumps of wet garbage blocked the sewers. The smell of rotting filth overpowered the pine-fresh scent of the little air freshener dangling from the mirror. Neither hooker nor john ventured out on a night like this.

Tyler white-knuckled the steering wheel, his SUV hydroplaning around the corner. “Goddamn it!” He cursed the road, the SUV, the weather and most of all his Goddamn friends who’d convinced him to meet them for drinks and then begged off. “You’re all a bunch of wimps!” he yelled at the road.

He drove cautiously through the storm, unable to remember the last time he’d seen weather this crappy. Must have been a couple years back, at least. He’d been on stakeout and—

He slammed on the brakes so violently his seatbelt locked, knocking the air from his lungs. The car fishtailed wildly out of control. Skidding sideways, the vehicle finally came to a stop just inches from the bedraggled guy meandering in the street in front of him. The drunk or whatever staggered straight into his SUV even though he’d come to a halt. He careened off the bumper only to wander into the other lane.

Continued . . .

Cover reveal: Just 99¢ for ASSUME THE POSITION

So here we are in week 4 of A-Book-A-Week for 4 weeks! And here’s ASSUME THE POSITION‘s awesome cover:

A fun, sexy read that’s only previously been available in the I Do charitable anthology.

Sex, drugs, and a blinding reaction. Can false arrest lead to true love?

Read ASSUME THE POSITION and find out!

It’s not too early to pre-order it, here: Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Kobo / AllRomanceEbooks

And the reviewers have said…

Assume the Position is the best story for the anthology…. What a fresh and original story. The story had great characterization, not only just filled with some steamy sex scenes and overall just a great piece. This is another author to look out for. ~Rainbow Reviews

This story contains a lot of good qualities such as strongly written action scenes, vivid sensory detail, and male characters who seem like believable men. ~Obsidian Bookshelf

 

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