Monthly Archives: March 2011

Impaler is Here!

Impaler by Kate Paulk revisits the tale of Vlad Dracul, also known as Vlad Tepes and Vlad the Impaler.  This is the tale of historical fact mixed with fiction and a touch of fantasy.  But this is most definitely not the tired tale of vampires skulking in the night, lying in wait for innocent victims.  Impaler tells the tale of a man devoted to family and country, cursed and looking for redemption.

December, 1476. The only man feared by the all-conquering Ottoman Sultan battles to reclaim his throne. If he falls all of Europe lies open to the Ottoman armies. If he succeeds…

His army is outnumbered and outclassed, his country is tiny, and he is haunted by a terrible curse. But Vlad Draculea will risk everything on one almost impossible chance to free his people from the hated Ottoman Empire.

You can purchase Impaler now from our site .  It will be available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other e-book retailers in the coming days.

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A Giveaway or Two and a Reminder

Just a quick note to let you know we have two free titles available for download from our webstore.

B. Quick, by C. S. Laurel, is the first in the Quick series.  The second, Quicksand will be available this summer.

It was a night of triumphal activity for the Society For The Elimination of Good Looking Blonds.  By sheer chance, middle-aged literature professor Bill Yates interrupts a murderer in the act of dumping an unconscious young man into the local river.  Bill surprises himself by rescuing the young man and unwittingly plunges into a maelstrom of murder, psychoanalysis and Shakespeare.  Falling in love with the young man he rescued is either fitting punishment or just reward for his trouble, and it will be a long time before Bill knows which.

The second is Born in Blood, by Kate Paulk.  This is the prequel novella to Kate’s upcoming novel Impaler.  Impaler will be available later this week.

Vlad Dracul, known later in life as Vlad the Impaler, suffered more than any should at the hands of Mehmed, son of Sultan Murad.  Of all the pain and indignities brought upon him at the behest of the future ruler of the Ottoman Empire, the curse was the worst. All the young Vlad can do is try to survive and plot his vengeance.

And now the reminder.  We open for submissions on April 1st.  You can find out submission requirements here.

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Borders Strikes Again

Just when I thought I’d seen it all where Borders is concerned, I discover I’m wrong.  Mind you, I’m often wrong, so that’s nothing new.  But the audacity of this latest move by the beleaguered bookseller has me wondering just what their top execs are on.

Specifically, I’m referring to this article from the Wall Street Journal.  In papers filed with the bankruptcy court, Borders is asking for permission to pay their execs bonuses.  Yep, you heard right, they want to reward their execs.  Those same execs who helped lead them into bankruptcy.

But it gets worse.  We aren’t talking token bonuses.  We’re talking a total amount that could add up to something in the neighborhood of more than $8 million, including a bonus for their president, Mike Edwards, in the range of $1.7 million.

So, let’s see, they want to reward these suits — I’ll grant some of them have only been with the company a short time, but they still did not take strong enough steps to save the company from bankruptcy.  And, judging by other news in the above-referenced article, they haven’t gotten any better.  They have just announced that the distribution center they announced several months ago would be closing isn’t.  They’ve called King’s X and have decided to close another distribution center.  Sounds to me that they still don’t have a clue about what’s going on.

The justification put forth by Borders is that they need to pay these bonuses to keep the execs in place during the reorganization.  It would, according to one of the unsecured creditors, cost more to replace them.  If that’s the case, then is there any sense in trying to save the company?  If these execs aren’t willing to hang in there — if they don’t believe the company will survive bankruptcy and that they’d have a job on the other side — then why the farce?

Yes, farce.  They show no hesitation to mess with people’s lives by closing stores and cutting jobs — including stores that were making profits.  Or worse, by telling people they were losing their jobs, so go find another one only to say King’s X later.  Yet they don’t bat an eye to ask for additional reward for a job poorly done.

As much as I hate to see any bookstore close, I’m fast losing hope that Borders will survive for long.  Even if it manages to come out of bankruptcy, this sort of action will eventually kill it.  In the meantime, it is hurting a lot of employees and turning the public even further against it.

–Amanda

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Sunday Morning Round-up

It’s been a busy week, both in the publishing world and in the little bit of the world that is mine. For me, I’ve been trying to finish up reviewing edits on several titles coming out for NRP and I’ve been attacked by a new novel — one that demands it be written NOW. For the industry, well, let’s just say there have been a lot of developments and I’ll try to touch on a few of them.

Let’s start with the news from the courts. A federal judge in New York has thrown out the Google books settlement. From Publisher’s Weekly: But citing copyright, antitrust and other concerns, Judge Denny Chin said that the settlement went too far. He said it would have granted Google a “de facto monopoly” and the right to profit from books without the permission of copyright owners. There is still the possibility Google and the other parties to the settlement can reach and agreement that will pass legal muster, but PW is right. This is a blow not only to Google but to the Authors Guild and Association of American Publishers. The parties had taken two years to negotiate the current settlement and now must go back to the drawing board.

Then there’s this head-scratcher from Hawaii. Simply put, this bill would open publishers and authors up to civil liability if a reader of a travel book or article is hurt or killed trying to get to a location described in the piece. In other words, even if that person trespasses on private property and decides to hang off the edge of a skyscraper to see that nest of birds he just read about in the travel section of the newspaper and falls, the paper and the author could be held liable. It doesn’t matter that the reader didn’t exercise the common sense of a gnat. At the risk of stepping over the no politics line, I have to say that this smacks of legislators going a bit too far. There has to come a point where you have to trust folks to use a little common sense. If they don’t, then they need to suffer the consequences. From a realistic stand point, conditions change and what may have been true at the time an article or book is written may have changed by the time it is published. So the warning might be so totally wrong as to be misleading as well. So, trust folks to use their brains or let them suffer the consequences. This is like requiring publishers to have disclaimers that books written 200 years ago use words that are no longer considered proper, etc.

Then there was the news that Barry Eisler gave up a $500,000 publishing deal to self-publish his books. Among the reasons given were that he was unhappy with the current royalty scheme with traditional publishers — especially where e-books are concerned — and the desire to get his books out quicker than they would be going the traditional route.

Coming on the heels of the news about Eisler is this piece that indie publishing phenom Amanda Hocking has just signed a deal with St. Martin’s. As an indie, Hocking has sold more than a million books and made more than $2 million. She has done what every indie — heck, what every writer — wants. She’s made enough money to be able to write full-time. So why did she, as some will say, turn traitor and join the ranks of traditional publishing? According to Hocking, it’s so she can finally see her books on bookstore shelves. Something else every writer wants. There are other reasons, some very good ones, including making her books available when and where her readers want them, ensuring better editing (I hate to tell her, that may be a pipe dream. I’ve seen some horrible editing coming out of the major publishers.) But this doesn’t mean she’s giving up self-publishing either. As she notes in her post, she still has a number of books she can put out on her own.

So, who’s right — Eisler or Hocking? To me, they both are. Authors have to decide what is best for them and for their readers. The industry is changing. We have to change with it, whether we’re authors or editors or publishers. If we don’t, we’ll be left behind.

Finally, if you want to take part in a poll, Genreville has a poll about SF/Fantasy purchasing habits. You can find it here.

What do you think? Should there be a new Google books settlement? Should there be warnings and disclaimers in travel books and articles? Self-publish or traditional?

(Cross-posted to Mad Genius Club)

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Submission Period Opens Soon

Well, folks, it’s almost that time again.  Starting April 1st and running the entire month, we’ll be accepting submissions for short stories and novels.  Our previous submission periods have brought us some wonderful stories.  The first of these will appear next month — Want by Jay Caselberg and Skipping Stones by Darwin Garrison.

You can find out submission guidelines here.

Like most publishers, big and small, our editors have a wide variety of interests.  So, if you have a mystery, romance, fantasy, space opera, alternate history or anything else that isn’t specifically prohibited by the guidelines, send it in.  We’d love to see it.

Until later!

–Amanda

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This post has been pre-empted

by breaking news….

I won’t often do this, but one of true icons of Hollywood just passed away. I might not always have agreed with her politics, nor did I always like her movies, but Elizabeth Taylor was a true icon. Anyone who saw her as Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof or who watched her performance in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? knows they saw performances that few could forget.   So, here’s a hat tip to one of the last of the great Hollywood icons and condolences to her family.

Back to publishing news later today.

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Monday Morning Mash-Up

The weekend is over.  My son is back to university and, thankfully, texted late last night to let me know he thinks most of his stuff is going to be okay (for those who missed it, after he’d come home for Spring Break, his dorm room flooded and we’d been told his computer, printer and a lot of other stuff had been ruined).  So, fingers crossed, things aren’t as bad as we’d been led to believe.

There were several interesting articles posted the last few days I thought I’d link to.  I’m going to start with the list of Borders stores announced as closing the end of last week.  I know I posted the link earlier but it didn’t always work, so, here’s trying again.  Click here to see the list of 28 super-stores (mainly) announced as closing in the latest round of  filings coming out of the bankruptcy court.  One word of warning, this list includes ALL the stores listed for closure.  The newest ones will have notations in red that they are scheduled to close by late May.

In keeping with the bookstore news, there is this article about Barnes & Noble’s sale of trade books last year.  B&N was #1 in trade book sales and the outlet taking the biggest hit was Walmart.

In other news — and I am just passing this along.  This is by no means an endorsement because I haven’t tried the software myself nor am I receiving any remuneration for posting the link — Scrivener has released a beta Windows version of its writing software.  Scrivener has been a favorite of a number of writers for years but has been tied to the Mac format.  Now it has released a beta version of the software for those writers using PC based and, iirc, linux based systems.  Here is a nice write-up about the software as a whole.  If you are interested in looking at the beta version, check out this link.

If you are going to be traveling through the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport any time soon, check this out.  An e-book library has opened in the airport and it currently has 400 titles available.  The one hitch is that the titles have to be read in the airport; they can’t be downloaded and taken away.  Still, it is an interesting development in the ongoing e-book revolution.

More later.  Have a great Monday!

–Amanda

 

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Friday Morning News

Let’s start with the good news.  AAP (Association of American Publishers) has announced the January sales figures.   Once again, e-books sales rose, although the rate wasn’t as fast as in previous months.  Also posting increases were downloaded audio books, religious and professional books.  The other segments of the industry posted losses.  Here is the breakdown as reported by Shelf Awareness:

CATEGORY SALES % CHANGE
E-books $69.9 million 115.8%
Downloaded audiobooks $6.5 million 8.8%
Religious books $45.4 million 6.8%
Professional $51.8 million 1.3%
Higher ed $382 million -1.4%
Children’s/YA hardcover $31.2 million -1.9%
Audiobooks $7.3 million -6.7%
Univ. press paperback $6.2 million -7.8%
Adult hardcover $49.1 million -11.3%
Univ. press hardcover $3.9 million - 14%
Children’s/YA paperback $25.4 million -17.7%
Adult paperback $83.6 million -19.7%
Adult mass market $39 million -30.9%

Dream Treader Press: My Life After Life by Kenneth Stoller, Galen Stoller

Square Fish: Bad Kitty vs. Uncle Murray

Putnam: Lucifer's Tears by James Thompson

The Penguin Press: The Beauty of Humanity Movement by Camilla Gibb

Algonquin Book Club

Tarcher: Transcendence by Norman Rosenthal Ph.D.

News

Image of the Day: Yamaguchi’s Latest Olympic Performance

On Monday before an SRO crowd at Books & Greetings, Northvale, N.J., Olympic skating star Kristi Yamaguchi had a clean program promoting her new book, Dream Big, Little Pig! (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky). Here Yamaguchi appears with owner Kenny Sarfin.

 

 

Hachette: The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly

AAP January Sales: E-Books Rise Again but Pace Slows

Total net sales of books in January fell 1.9%, to $805.7 million, as reported by 85 publishers to the Association of American Publishers. Continuing the pattern of the past year, digital categories had the biggest sales growth: e-book sales rose 115.8%, to $69.9 million, compared to January 2010. But the rate of growth for e-books has diminished from numbers so high they looked like typos. For example, a year ago, in January 2010, e-book sales of $31.9 million rose 261.2% over the same period in 2009, and, six months ago, e-book sales in July 2010 rose 150.2%, to $40.8 million, over July 2009. Still, e-book sales have grown so much that in January 2011, the category was larger than all other categories except for higher education and adult paperbacks. On the other hand, print sales still accounted for 91.3% of all January sales.

CATEGORY SALES % CHANGE
E-books $69.9 million 115.8%
Downloaded audiobooks $6.5 million 8.8%
Religious books $45.4 million 6.8%
Professional $51.8 million 1.3%
Higher ed $382 million -1.4%
Children’s/YA hardcover $31.2 million -1.9%
Audiobooks $7.3 million -6.7%
Univ. press paperback $6.2 million -7.8%
Adult hardcover $49.1 million -11.3%
Univ. press hardcover $3.9 million - 14%
Children’s/YA paperback $25.4 million -17.7%
Adult paperback $83.6 million -19.7%
Adult mass market $39 million -30.9%

You can see more on this from Publishers Weekly here.

On the not so positive front is the latest from Borders.  On Wednesday, Borders’ DIP filing was approved by the bankruptcy court.  PW has a breakdown of the hearing here.  But what is really interesting, imo, is the separate filing by Borders on Wednesday.  Quoting from the same PW article:  Borders contributed to speculation that it may look to a sale to emerge from bankruptcy. The court approved a motion appointing Jeffries and Company as its investment banker, but note that the company will only be paid under certain circumstances. “Jefferies shall be entitled to a Liquidation Fee with respect to any sale or liquidation of assets (whether pursuant to a Chapter 11 plan, Section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code or otherwise) if, and only if, Jefferies ran a sale process with respect to such assets and/or marketed such assets or investment concerning such assets and/or otherwise provided material services in connection with the sale or liquidation of such assets,” the order stated.

Borders has also listed 28 more stores for closure.  These stores will close by the end of May. Here is a link for the stores closing — I couldn’t get it to work this morning.  Hopefully, it will later today.  If not, here is a link to the PW notice about the closures.

– Amanda

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March Update

The problem with running a small press is that, well, there aren’t a lot of people involved in the operation.  That means when one — or in our case several — of us get sick or have real life intrude, things slow down.  That’s what happened this month.  But have no fear.  We will get the rest of the schedule out.  Impaler by Kate Paulk and Blood Reunion, a short story collection by Sarah A. Hoyt, will be out next week.  Without a Trace by Dave Freer, which is currently available here as an E-ARC, will be out the following week.  In the meantime, check out Death of a Musketeer by Sarah D’Almeida and Nocturnal Origins by Amanda S. Green.

In the meantime, I’m going to cut back blogging to three times a week.  Of course, if something happens that I think we need to talk about, I’ll pop up long enough to post it.  Our next blog will be Friday.

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Quick update on Borders

Despite the announcement late last week that they would be announcing the closure of up to an additional 75 stores this week, Borders has won a 90 day extension in bankruptcy court to renegotiate leases.  This extension was part of the bankruptcy filing and had also been requested by some of Borders’ creditors.  You can see more about it here.

Publishers Weekly has a great interactive map showing the North American locations for Borders, Borders stores that are closing, Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million stores.  Check it out here.

I’ll be back later today with another blog.  See you then!

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