Tag Archive | publishing industry

The Amazing Power of Readers- A Peek Behind The Curtain



As a reader, why should you care what goes on behind the scenes in book publishing? As long as you can find affordable books to suit your interest, things like book piracy, book stuffing and fake reviews won’t affect you. Right?


It may not affect you personally, but those factors, and much more, have already had an effect on authors, especially indie authors.

Scandals Galore

2018 has been a year of upheaval for the publishing industry, and the romance genre in particular. Authors and others related to the industry have been deeply concerned about several issues and forces that, if not resolved, may mean many authors will simply quit writing, rather than continue the often uphill battle that is book publishing.

If unfair practices and scammers overrun the marketplace, it will become much more difficult for readers to find the books they want to read. If authors quit writing simply because they can no longer afford to fight the tide of scammers, pirates, and automated, indiscriminate policing from retailers, there will be less books for you to choose from.

Want to find out more about what Indie Authors face today? Click here

Why Now?

Not caring about any of this is a valid viewpoint. Authors do not expect readers to know how much work it takes to bring a book to market and keep it there. But in my experience, and from what I have been hearing on social media and on blogs, a majority of readers do care what happens to their favorite authors, and by extension, authors in general. Many, up until recently, have been unaware of some of the challenges authors have been facing. But the frustration over what appears to be ongoing unfair practices has caused things to come to a boiling point, and the voices of dissension have been getting louder.

Readers really should care, because what has been happening has already begun to affect their choices.

This blog post by Author Jami Gold spells out clearly a few of the issues, including Trademarking common words and book stuffing on Kindle Unlimited.

You Are Powerful

There are several other issues authors face daily which can have a severe impact on getting their books to market so you may read them. If even a few readers take the time to find out what is happening and learn how to (properly and respectfully) report the unfair practices that make their reading experience less than desirable, we may see positive change. We are a consumer-based society, and consumer habits and preferences are very powerful.

You deserve to read only the best quality of your chosen reading material. Most authors want to provide this for you. Those who are in it only for the money will always find ways around the system, or to fool unsuspecting consumers, and quite often they trade quality for quick, easy money.

On the other hand, ethical authors agonize probably way more than is even necessary to bring you a quality product, and that requires much time, effort and expense. Several authors I know are already pulling their titles from Kindle Unlimited. It comes down to a business decision, and many cannot afford to continually fight.

Transparency and Gratitude

The purpose of this post is simply to let readers know they have a stake in what happens in this industry. In the days of traditional-only publishing, readers were far removed from the behind the scenes machinations of book publishing. Most didn’t have regular contact with their favorite authors. But it’s a different world now, and you can help. The curtain is wide open, as it should be. Talk to others, both readers and authors. Research the hashtags #Cockygate and #Bookstuffing. Support ethical Indie Authors who play by the rules and want to bring you the best stories possible. We do this writing gig for many reasons, but the main reason is you—the reader.

And for that, we thank you.




Post-Publication Syndrome- Now What?

attractive woman with laptop having neck pain

You’ve worked hard for months, maybe even years, on your first book. You’ve dreamed of the day you can finally say, “I’m a published author”, and it’s finally here. You had the launch party, your friends and family have congratulated you. You’ve finally made it, your dream has come true.

So now what?

Preparing for that day, which I experienced in October 2016, I tried to imagine what I would do, how it would feel. I asked other authors, I read blog posts and craft books. Most of them said it’s a wonderful thing, and some of them warned that it was just the beginning of even more work and additional challenges. I understood, and was ready and willing to take it on and do the work. But there was something no one told me about. Or, maybe they did, but in my push to get published, I dismissed it.

I’m talking about The Let Down. The Post-Publication Blues. I’ve got it, and I didn’t see it coming.

Mission Accomplished

Now, I’m a practical sort of person. I had no dreams of grandeur, I didn’t expect to be a best seller or even a good seller out of the gate. I’m a business person, an entrepreneur, so I know I’m selling a product and it will take time to find buyers (readers). I’m not feeling down due to lack of sales or recognition.  With time, and perseverance, (and spending money on marketing) it can improve.

It’s just…I accomplished what I set out to, and now I have this sense of loss. It’s purely emotional, and not what I expected to feel at this point in my career.  How I went from hopeful enthusiasm to…a general lack of enthusiasm in such a short time is beyond me. I love my stories, I believe they are worth reading. I haven’t had many reviews yet, but so far they have all been positive. My negative feelings have nothing to do with the work I have published to date. It’s more to do with expectations and realities, and the emotions that go along with them.

So Back to Work…Right?

Being practical, I knew the best thing I could do right now, besides promoting my newly published series (Higher Elevation, Books 1-3), is to keep writing.  I had several projects on the back burner while the Higher Elevation Series was being published, so all I had to do was pick up where I left off.  I needed to get the pipeline going again.  But that proved easier said than done, and I found my post-publication blues were effecting my ability to write. I’d get going and then I’d stall.  I found myself procrastinating, which I rarely did before. Used to be I couldn’t wait to do something, anything writing-related.

It didn’t help that I’d spent the better part of this year editing, rewriting, and all the other business that comes with Indie publication.  My creative muse had been exiled, and when I asked her to get back to work, she had less enthusiasm than I did.  Clearly, something has gone wrong.

What’s Next?

One thing I know I won’t do, is give up. Writing is like breathing to me, so I will keep going, even if the muse stays in exile. And I know negative emotions are usually temporary. But any advice or tips from other writers are welcome. I doubt I am the only one to ever go through this!

Do I just need time off from writing? Or should I push myself and hope it will work itself out?  Have any authors out there experienced a sense of disappointment or loss, even after achieving success? How have you worked through it?


Documentary on Romance, Love Between The Covers, Goes Wide!

Opened Book And Heart Shape

Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes in the Romance Novel Industry?

If so, you’ll want to see the well-done documentary film Love Between the Covers, which goes into wide release on July 12, 2016.  Director/Producer Laurie Kahn gives us a funny and inspiring look into the billion-dollar romance fiction industry and its powerhouse of female writers and readers, a sisterhood that’s pioneering the digital revolution while finding fortune, fulfillment, and a global community.

What’s It About?

Now available for pre-order on iTunes and Amazon, the film will be available on DirecTv, AT &T Uverse, and many other cable or online sources. The film has only shown during private screenings the past few years, but has garnered acclaim for its honest, funny, and touching look at how romance novels are created.  For three years, Ms. Kahn and her crew followed the lives of five published romance authors (including Eloisa James and Beverly Jenkins), and one unpublished newbie as they built their businesses, found and lost loved ones, and coped with a tsunami of change in publishing. The film also has a segment on readers, and why they are among the most loyal of any publishing genre.

This Time, It’s Personal…

I saw the film a few years ago, and it made me proud to be associated with the Romance Novel industry.  As I mentioned in a recent blog post, My Fifteen Seconds of Fame in a Film About Romance, an author friend of mine and I ended up in the film for only a few seconds. It was a thrill to be included and I was happy to help spread the word when Ms. Kahn informed me personally of the wide release.


More info on Love Between The Covers:

USA Today-HEA shared a trailer clip and had an article over this past holiday weekend (July 4th).  You can view it here- http://happyeverafter.usatoday.com/2016/07/01/love-between-the-covers-trailer-reveal/ 

For a direct link to just the trailer- vimeo.com/167886547

Amazon Link- http://radi.al/LBTC

For more detailed info on the wide release, and a list of where the film will be available: lovebetweenthecovers.com/filmrelease.

On the film’s new web page, you will also find all of the short excerpts from Love Between the Covers that are being posted, one a day, on social media, PLUS info about fun prizes to win!


There’s been some great buzz about the film, if you’d like to read some reviews/articles:

NPR’s Radio West, hour-long really thoughtful interview with the director, Laurie Kahn, and Princeton professor Bill Gleason.  Doug Fabrizio was a fabulous interviewer.- http://radiowest.kuer.org/post/love-between-covers

Writers Digest, a Q&A with Ms. Kahn…covering a wide range of topics- http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/love-between-the-covers-inside-the-world-of-romance-writing

AOL Build live studio show, 20 minutes with Ms. Kahn and Mary Bly (Eloisa James) – http://build.aol.com/video/5775583b50954952cc56ae7d/

Refinery 29, a very positive review from a very hip blog- http://www.refinery29.com/2016/06/115294/romantic-novels-love-between-the-covers-documentary


I can envision regular showings of the film any time authors or readers gather─conferences, book club meetings, retreats.  It’s sure to spark discussions on the many facets of this billion –dollar industry that brings pleasure to readers and authors alike.  Romance is unlike any other genre in publishing, and this film shows us why.

Have you seen Love Between The Covers?  What are your thoughts?



My Fifteen Seconds of Fame in a Film About Romance

That's Renee, with two e's....

That’s Renee, with two e’s….

In July 2013, I attended my first Romance Writers of America conference in Atlanta Georgia, where I happen to live. I enjoyed every minute of it, but for months afterward, I had no idea my experience had been recorded for posterity.

Love Between the Covers

Apparently, a documentary film about the romance novel industry was being recorded during the conference. Several months later an author friend of mine, acclaimed erotic romance author Annabel Joseph, lent me a copy of the movie to watch.  Imagine my surprise when I came up on screen, in a shot of the audience at a seminar. Another author friend, Lainie S. Flin, was beside me in the front row, and we were laughing at something the speaker had said.  We were both onscreen in the film for about fifteen seconds.

I am honored to be a part of this film, albeit inadvertently. If you haven’t seen Love Between the Covers, it is worth your time. The romance genre is one of the most profitable, and also one of the most maligned genres in the publishing industry.  The film takes an inside look at business of romance, through the eyes of its’ authors, such as Eloisa James and Beverly Jenkins, to name a few. On the website, you can view a trailer or film clips and find out how to attend a screening.

I had forgotten about the film until I came across an article about it in Rewire, an online magazine. Written by Eleanor J. Bader, the article makes the point that romance novels often imagine a “world in which women can win.” This is also a theme that comes through in the film, which I found to be inspirational in the way it portrayed the writers and the fans of romance novels.

No Defense Required

The only thing that bothers me is this:  more often than not, articles, films or shows about the romance novel industry often have a subtext of defensiveness. As though a case must be made for the value of romance novels.  Some are not so subtle and tackle the critics of romance directly, but whether the subject is defending or refusing to defend the industry, it shouldn’t be necessary.

You may have heard the criticisms before— that romance novels are trash, formulaic, or something worse, such as the label of “mommy porn”.  Well, I’ve been reading romance novels most of my life, but I have also read books in many other genres. So I have a well-rounded sampling of literature from which to draw my opinion, and I say the romance genre doesn’t need to be defended.

To me, books are similar to music. There are genres of music I don’t particularly care for, but I can still find the occasional song in that genre that I really like. All music has value to someone, just as books in all genres have value.  I do not understand the judgmental attitude towards an entire genre of stories. If you don’t like it, don’t read it, but respect the choice of others who may enjoy it.

To Infinity, and Beyond

Believe it or not, there is room in the universe for an infinite number of songs and an infinite number of books!

And an infinite number of films, but they will probably not feature yours truly…

So check out Love Between the Covers if you get a chance.  It’s worth your time if you have any interest in the business of romance novels. And don’t forget to look for a couple of laughing ladies at about the three-quarter mark!