Romantic Inclusivity

Now, I’ve said before that Romance is not a genre I’m well acquainted with. It mostly bores me and drives me up a wall.

To be fair I do watch good rom-coms like Imagine Me & You, But I’m a Cheerleader, For a Good Time Call …, Pretty Woman, etc.

But it isn’t something I read I’ve tried but I can’t get into it.

I realised today, thanks to @NeolithicSheep just what the problem I have is.

She decided to tweet-stream a book. And I mean zero criticism to the charming Comrade Shepherd herself; she’s merely a catalyst and her tweet-stream is quite entertaining … far more so than I find the story itself.

And I may have made a brief subtweet on the subject of today’s blogpost but there’s zero point linking to that because I’ll say the same thing here with LOTS more words.

In fairness to the authors of these stories, I do not have the faintest idea how monochromatic they are. For all I know the were-bears are Iroquois, and were-tigers are Nepalese, and … stuff. Which, I’m sure, Tumblr-folk (look, they haven’t settled on a new platform so the name can’t change yet) will complain “that’s so problematic!” but there’s a reason nobody takes the Tumblr crowd seriously: They’re the looking for reasons to be offended sort and I’ve no patience for that; won’t even argue with it, occasionally contemplate slapping the snot out of it but mostly I roll my eyes and move on, because there’s no discussion or debate with that sort. They’re basically the alt-left, the liberal-Nazi … you know, the opposition’s morons. But to return to my point, the cast may be if divers skin tone, accent, religion, and nationality 🤷‍♀️.

But, you know, despite my wife’s cruel sense of humour including reading about all these crazy subgenres of Romance she never hits a single lgbt+ example?!

Not among were-erotica romances, not among the 50 Shades knockoff garbage (I abhor 50 Shades as much or more than Twilight), none of it. The Romance shelves are barren of a Red Sonja-esque Fabia with a damsel draped in her arms. Of a Sean Connery kissing a Valentino. Of … gimme a break, Romance covers don’t get very creative.

I mean, if you’re diligent enough you will find a het-romance with a male POV character or a 3rd person that is either over his shoulder or includes his perspective in the omniscience. That bends the mould a little.

But where’s the shattering?!

I mean, literally – near as I could determine it after weeks (months?) of scouring both trad & self pub – Now & Forever is either first of its kind or damn-near-so as being gay fiction that’s happy. I wrote the Male POV Bodice Ripper of Gay Teen Romance (note: Both girls’ bodices remain intact in the only occasion any bodices are worn).

Now, I’m probably going to have were-things in Færie Patrol because why not. And they’re going to be anywhere on the gender spectrum and anywhere on the sexuality one as is my wont.

But where’s the cliché, formulaic nonsense about A Woman and a Were-Tigress? The Alpha-Bitch taming the New York Banker Man? The (oh gods, I can’t not go here) Were-Bear Bear Couple? (Sorry, not sorry) The Trans Marine Time-Traveller and The Viking Princess/Prince?

Nowhere to be seen! Even in the nightmarish dregs of Smashwords‘ strangest tags (not for the faint of heart, it’s safer to go have tea with a Lovecraftian Horror) I found nothing.

I’m sure it exists. Schrödinger’s Novella mandates it must; but then again, Law of Cliché Themodynamics may overrule and state that no one has actually tried to counter the cis-het momentum in any meaningful way! thus it actually does not yet exist! Which, of course is in keeping with Schrödinger’s Novella because quantum cheats by maintaining strict neutrality.

Why, my dears, must we all suffer at the hands of [Insert culturally stereotypically masculine animal] were-bro of muscles, machismo, misogyny, and let’s collectively vomit 🤮 now wins the vaginal canal (surely he wouldn’t know a clitoris if it bit him on the pecker … oh! An Akira twist! I love it!) of the Lovely Lady With Humdrum Life (or sometimes a bit Kardashianesque Life) which the author conflates with her heart and they all live abusively ever after, amen 🙏?!

I say bollox to all that. Go forth, my lovely minions! I say: Subvert, pervert, and anything else ending in -vert all the Romance Genres! Flood them with lesbians, Enbys, aces, bisexuals, transsexuals, transvestites, drag queens, bears, and twinks, a veritable Pride Parade of queery awesomeness 🏳️‍🌈! Drape the cover models in rainbow flags! Have the Naga Queen with the mostly nude virgin in her clutches from behind have her hand upon yon maid’a crotch and breats the embrace rapturous rather than terrible!

Why? Because it’s getting boring around the genre. I used to boggle at the “plot” crap my wife would torment me with from this stuff and now I just shake my head and finish washing the dishes.

Let’s shake things up like the megaquakes that broke Pangea!

P.S. I proofread this twice. Any typos have earned the right to live via natural selection.

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Dropping Kobo support

Kobo eReader

Kobo eReader (Photo credit: ndh)

I like supporting various e-readers and their associated services.  It’s, frankly, not usually very difficult.

Sadly, Kobo has decided to make it so.  For no reason I can fathom they do not accept ePub files that even the most exacting alternatives accept without question and that work on their App (I don’t have one of their devices so have no idea), won’t accept a MOBI file that Amazon took no issue with, and does very strange things when fed a raw .doc/.docx file.  Therefore, while Love or Lust will continue to be sold there for the foreseeable future, Ready or Not will not be carried there nor will any future books.

I’m sorry.

If you’re a Kobo user you can get ePub copies from Apple, DriveThru Fiction, and Smashwords.  Nook is also an ePub version, but it can be awkward to get at the file, though not impossible — so Barnes & Noble is another source of the file.  I do not use DRM so the file you get from any of those sources will play happily with your device so long as Kobo continues to support standard ePub format.  My personal recommendation is not-Smashwords as the formatting gets a little weird after the trip through their “meat grinder” which is as horrible as it sounds.

I am actually very sad to be leaving Kobo, and I may return some day if their service to the publisher/author improves.  They are almost as respectful to their content providers as Apple and offer many of the same services.  Only DriveThru Fiction can remotely say the same.  Still I have no intention to spend hours or even days pulling my hair out trying to track down its various imagined code errors.

Ready or Not pre-orders

Ready or Not (concept only)Well, it’s finally done with my editor.  A quick proofread by me and some arguing with the various retailers, then the book will be available.

Smashwords and iBooks allow pre-orders, though it is not yet listed with Apple.  Smashwords is another story.

I’ll have the first two chapters up for samples sometime in the next couple of days.

The release is scheduled for 26 July.  Even if Apple doesn’t get the pre-order set up before then, the book ought to be available for purchase and download by then.

The other retailers: Kobo, DriveThru Fiction, All Romance eBooks, Kindle, and Nook will start showing up on that date as they each complete their own listing processing.

There, of course, will also be a print edition; and most likely a Goodreads give-away for an autographed copy or two.

Love or Lust will be reduced to us$2.99, Ready or Not will be us$3.99 their print editions will remain us$17.99.

Hope you will enjoy it as much as you did book 1.  It was certainly a lot of fun to write if not nearly so much fun to edit.  Book 3 still has no title, but one will be announced by the end of the year.

Pre-ordery goodnes!!

So I was poking around on Smashwords today and discovered something wonderful!  They offer pre-order!

This is outrageously awesome.

Now, a few things to bear in mind:  I do not distribute through Smashword’s Premium Catalogue.  I go to each marketplace myself.  Apple, Kobo (if I recall correctly), and (now) Smashwords allows this.  Amazon does not, DriveThru Fiction … I don’t think so, and neither does Nook (unless they’ve changed something, too).  All Romance eBooks, I’m still getting the hang of, they may offer pre-order and I’ve bungled right past it so I won’t hazard a guess either way.

Still — for everywhere I can — I will be putting Ready or Not up for pre-order just as soon as I have a date I’m comfortable it’ll be ready for release on.

I’m almost ill with excitement and nervousness.  I do so sincerely hope you’ll all enjoy it as much or more than Love or Lust!  I’ll warn those who have very strict notions of what a plot is:  this is very much more slice of life; it’s better seen as several little plots carrying the thread of a central theme … and I’ve exhausted everything I remember from literature classes (I loved my high school lit teachers, but loathed the subject … in college I loathed both the professor and subject).  I’ll ask my editor to give me the literary way of saying what it is sometime later today and tell you more tonight or tomorrow.  I’m better at saying what things are about, myself.

P.S. for my fellow WordPressers who still want those neat Zemanta services for related articles, suggested links, suggested tags, etc.  There’s a browser plugin for that!  Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer (oh God, I nearly typed ‘Exploder’ … I’d rather take a lit class than use IE).  Opera is, however, not supported; all other browsers I can think of (Tor, Flock, etc) are modified Firefox, so should be fine to use the one for it.

Trick-or-Treat: Free books!

Well, book.

Love or Lust coverLove or Lust is free tomorrow through 4 November.

Now, there’re catches:

  1. I can’t make the print book free.  Seriously, I don’t have that kind of control over the pricing.  There’s a minimum, and the price is already not much above that.
  2. I can’t set it free in all eBook retailers.  Sad, but true.  Some will set themselves.  Amazon, for example.  I have no control of WHEN they’ll do so nor when they’ll set the price back.  Weird, but true.  As I recall Nook and Amazon were the only places, though.  Or was that Kobo and Amazon?  Oh well, if it’s 31 October and the price isn’t changed … that’s why.

That’s it.  It’s the same thing you’d pay us$3.99 (or various other prices around the world — I’m in 51 countries, give me a break here) for, just free for the Halloween weekend.  A gift to celebrate Samhain and wish everyone a fun fall, a happy (early or belated depending where you’re standing) Thanksgiving, and so on.

I hope you’ll take advantage of it.  Tell your friends.  Etc.

iBooks sales can happen now!

It turns out the issue I was having with setting up the labour day sale was a glitch in iTunes Connect.  C’est la vie, glitches happen in the best of software.  I’ve heard of Hello World failing to run correct for people.  Computers are semi-daemonic entities.

Well, tomorrow until Saturday Love or Lust will be $0.99 on iBookstore.  And lowered approximately the same degree in most markets.  No, it’s not free.  I might do a free weekend soon, again, for everything.  This $0.99 was an experiment so I could tell tech support if I’m still having trouble.  I’ve got an experimental free set up too, but I’m not saying when }=) Well … not yet.

This new sale is just for a few days and only on iBooks (unless Amazon notices and auto-matches).  But I promise another free that will, this time, include everyone (except Nook and Kindle, since I can’t actually force such sales with them) is coming.

Do Amazon and Createspace rip off Indie publishers with failure to correctly report sales?

Outrageous! Sadly, though I can quite believe it. I don’t trust Amazon; I work with them only because I must.

I know I’ve other authors, indie especially, following this blog. Surely you’ve seen this happen as well. Make noise, look at the good it did Ms Hogarth with the Space Marines debacle! We’re writers, damn it, let’s remind Amazon why you treat bards ith utmost respect!

jeanettevaughan

Guest post by John. R. Clark, Managing Editor at AgeView Press

When AgeView Press Indie pubbed the book FLYING SOLO in May of 2012, the author, Jeanette Vaughan  immediately began tracking sales.   She heard from excited friends and family who immediately emailed when ordering their copies.  The first sales were off of Createspace’s e-store with the title ID number given to the author.   Then, through Amazon, a week later, when the book went live on the site.  Finally on Kindle, when the ebook format was completed.

Initially, things appeared kosher.    People exclaiming that they had ordered the book, were showing up within a day or two on the electronic royalty reports with a reasaonable accuracy.    But by June and July, sales descrepencies were noted by the author from customers claiming that they had purchased the book directly through Amazon, not an Amazon affiliate.    Many of these sales were simply not listed.The author contacted…

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What book sales teach us

Well, the up side: Love or Lust is selling; yay for me.

In fact, this is the first lesson: contrary to logic, it is easier to sell a $3.99/£2.62 book than it is to give it away. DriveThru and Smashwords report no one has taken a free copy. According to Amazon the paid copies are just traipsing along at a steady clip. I won’t ask. I mean, really folks, I appreciate that people are paying for it but I’m not starving – my day job pays terribly, but it does pay.

Next lesson: approximately 1/3 of Americans don’t know what a sample is for. How do I come to this statistic? Well, it’s the best guess I can make when a full 1/3 of my US sales were very quickly returned, if the person started reading and changed their mind … you know, like in the span that the sample would have covered.

Corollary lesson: Brits don’t have that problem. The sales there are coming slower, but are catching the Americans up and they seem happy with the purchase.

Kobo can’t tell time. 36hrs is, last I checked, greater than 24hr. Greater in this context means more, large. It does not mean better. I’m still pending there, but I don’t know why.

This has been an … educational experience.

Happiness and excitement

I don’t ever have to use Microsoft Word again.  The reasons for doing so can be accomplished in Apple’s Pages.  It’s even done the way I’d long suspected:  with Sections.  It just never worked for me before.

I can’t take the credit for learning this, though.  My lovely and talented editor figured it out.  She’s even more loathe to touch Office than I am — which is to say she steadfastly will not load it for any reason whatsoever.

In other news I’ve finished my proofread.  I’ll be spending tonight and tomorrow getting the files generated and uploaded.

I’m calling the release date the 29th, though Smashwords will have it the 28th because of their insistence on putting the file up as available the moment it’s uploaded instead of — like everyone else — after you’ve had the chance to make sure everything is correct and waiting for a final, blanket SUBMIT button to be pressed.  Oy.

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Release date selected

Love or Lust coverAfter carefully considering my rate of proofreading, the rate I ought to be proofreading, and the amount of work it will take to make the book ready for publication I have decided that the release date for Love or Lust will be 29 June 2013.

I will be making the final uploads on the evening/afternoon of the 28th so it’s possible that some sources (e.g. Smashwords) might have it sooner — and, sadly, a few (e.g. iBooks) might show it a bit later than that.  It can’t be helped, but Amazon, Nook, Kobo, CreateSpace, etc. should all take about 12 – 24 hours to actually make the book available, so we’ll call it the next day.

Keep a careful watch on the blog — the folks reading regularly may get a discount/free copy from one or more of the sources in the form of coupon codes or redemption vouchers.  It might just randomly be at the end of, or in the comments of a post one day.  Just a little gift from me to you.

I will probably, at some point in the year, do both a sale or two or an outright giveaway.  These will be announced as their own post.  I also intend to create a Goodreads give away (in fact I should have done that yesterday, but I kind of forgot about it).

I’m also looking around for reviewers.  Feel free, please, to recommend your favourite ones in the comments below, or here.  I was going to tackle a place I’ve discovered called The Indie View which looks fairly promising.  I don’t believe they actually do reviews, rather they’re more of a portal to fine reviewers more easily in much the same way as QueryTracker acts to help one find an agent or publisher.

I’m so excited I feel ill.  I wonder — did Arthur C Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, or any other prolific author feel like this on every book?  I assume, naturally, we all feel like this on our earliest works, but after 25?  50?  100?  I guess I shall have to try to attain such a lofty back catalogue to find out.