Monday, April 2, 2007

Eek! It's an ebook!

Sorry, no cowboys this time, only a discussion on those peculiar pieces of internet fiction called e-books and an extract from my latest, "Antonia's Bargain" about a bisexual Regency rake. Just in case you were wondering, the cover to the left is from my futuristic e-book about a planet full of intergalactic Vikings. It's very popular with the ladies, God knows why.

Back to e-books-What are they, why are they good, and more importantly, can you make any money out of them?

I write e-books for Ellora's Cave who specialize in erotic romance. EC was founded by a writer called Tina Engler who couldn't find anyone to publish her steamy stories so set up her own publishing company at her kitchen table. Tina's done good. She realized there was a growing audience in the U.S. of women who were interested in reading more erotic stories but didn't necessarily want to go into a bookstore and be treated like sinners for wanting to read smut.

People often ask me, in a kind of patronizing way, whether I self-published my EC books and had to provide cover art etc. No, I didn't. Some internet publishers are very sophisticated and do all that for you. EC sell a phenomenal amount of downloads a month and reported first-quarter sales in 2006 of 200,000 e-books. 200,000 ain't bad is it?

The main thing that appealed to me about EC when I submitted my first story to them back in 2005, was that I could write as hot as I liked and they loved it. They also take manuscripts of all different lengths (naturally) and didn't mind that my first book "Eden's Pleasure" was only 27,000 words long.

Originally, a lot of people looked down on internet publishers as kind of a showcase for writers who weren't good enough to get published anywhere else. And yes, some online publishers are like that, but not all of them. The covers can sometimes be a bit leery but they are also improving. (mine aren't too bad are they?)

Other nice things about writing for an e-book publisher, your books come out quickly, you get paid monthly and the royalty rate is substantially higher (37.5% of cover price for my EC books)And yeah, I sell a few, on average, a thousand copies in the first 6 weeks.

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Another good reason for writing for EC is that they let me write pretty much what I want. My latest, "Antonia's Bargain" a Regency set erotic romance has a bisexual hero, m/m, f/m/f, m/f/m and a lot of other delicious stuff going on in it all in only 40,000 words.

Here's a short extract:

“The interesting thing is, I think I have found what I want.”
Peter cupped Gideon’s balls. “A man or a woman?”
Gideon reached across to slide his fingers beneath the open neck of Peter’s shirt. He tugged gently on his nipple ring. “A woman who only chooses to acknowledge me when she is dressed as a man. Take off your shirt.”
“I can’t say I’m surprised. A woman masquerading as a man would suit you perfectly.”
Gideon raised an eyebrow as Peter continued. “I know you’ve chosen to bed mostly men in the last few years, but I’ve never believed your heart was in it.”
“You haven’t?”
“Just because you’ve tried to convince yourself that you prefer men, doesn’t mean that it is the truth.”
“And how would you know this?”
Peter locked gazes with him as he removed his shirt to display his lean muscular chest and scarred skin. “Because I spent ten years of my life in a Turkish brothel and I’ve been in every sexual situation imaginable. You use men because you believe they can’t hurt you like Caroline did. If you truly preferred men, you’d let them fuck you as well and you don’t.”
“Perhaps I’m one of those men who believe that if they don’t allow themselves to be fucked, it means they aren’t a sodomite.”
“You’re not like that.”

Like the sound of it? then be brave, experience your first e-book and let me know if you enjoyed it! It's available to download here

And if you reply to this post, and have an opinion on e-books, you can win a copy of your very own...


Robin L. Rotham said...

Preachin' to the choir here, baby! :D You know I'm all for ebooks.

And let me just say that Antonia's Bargain is scrumptious -- EC was lucky to get it.

Portia Da Costa said...

I've read a few ebooks and really enjoyed them, but they're mostly ones by my writing buddy, Saskia Walker, so I would be reading them anyway. As yet, I've only read them as printoffs though... and yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that's not good for the environment and that, but I still prefer to hold paper in my hand when I'm reading. I think when there's a better choice of ebook readers here in the UK that'll probably change, as I love my gadgets, and I think an ebook reader would be fun! I'm not sure I want to read a whole book off the screen of my laptop, and when I tried to put an ebook on my Alphasmart Dana it wasn't a comfortable way to read it.

As an author, I had one ebook with Ellora's and I found the editing process quite a contrast to what I'm used to with a print book. It's an entirely different way of working, but I think the end result was worth the time spent polishing it. I don't think my book has sold hugely, although there's still a nice little trickle of steady sales coming in. I've been told that vanilla contemporaries are the least popular sellers, with Ellora's Cave at least, and that's what LESSONS AND LOVERS was/is... It got some lovely reviews though! So hopefully, the people who did read it, really enjoyed it... :)

Your book sounds like a hoot, Kate! And red hot with it... ;) So it's probably time I took the plunge and read another ebook...

Madelynne Ellis said...

Darn, I think it's most unfair that we're not allowed to enter the competitions. What about if I bribe you with Cadbury's chocolate?

I've been debating whether to pick up Eden's Pleasure and Antonia's Bargain for a while, but like Wendy, I much prefer reading off paper. And I can't take my laptop in the bath!

Nikki Magennis said...

Hey Kate, thanks for the insights! E books are something I'm intrigued by, but not very knowledgeable about. A whole other universe of books that live in the

I agree that I can't read off a screen. I spend all day staring at one as it is! I've bought a few ebooks, and love the idea, but I always end up printing them out to read them.

What I'm really looking forward to are these POD machines that they're talkiing about - in coffee shops and so on, you'll choose your book and it prints while you wait, with a proper binding and everything. I think that's the future of books, right there. Nothing printed until its bought, no recalls or pulping.

And I love Lulu. What a fabulous idea.

But then - browsing. What about browsing in a book shop? The smell of books and the weight of them. I'm one of those freaks that actually like to stroke book covers. The eggshell ones and the embossed lettering...

Maybe I'll always need both. Paper books and electric books. More, more, more!

(Ten years in a Turkish brothel? Sounds like fun!)

May said...

I love ebooks.

I like being able to carry an entire library with me everywhere in my PDA. I have something for every mood I might be in, so I've found that they are really good for books that are rereads for me.

Plus I'm moving in September, and can't take my books with me, so ebooks? They are da bomb.

See, unlike most, I reversed the reading books and computer screen thing. Now I prefer to read on screen and I do my first drafts by hand. LOL.

Anonymous said...

I have never bought an ebook. Funny though, because I like screen reading. Too much fanfic.

I love that cover for Planet Mail.

Mmm - arm fetish.

Janine Ashbless said...

At least the Viking doesn't have a horned helmet. Although maybe they do in the text... I will never pluck up the courage to find out. For personal reasons I can't entertain thoughts of Vikings and Sex simultaneously.

Kate, that was a fascinating piece and I'll have to look into e-books more seriously. As a paid-up Luddite I'd simply ignored them so far but, let's face it, everything has to change at some time. :-)

Portia Da Costa said...

Any recommendations, Kate, for a good ebook reader? I'm sure some of them must be available over here in the UK. I would need one that I can read in low light, for reading in the evenings and at night. Does that mean I'd need one with a backlight?

I'm really fancying the idea of an ebook reader now... haven't bought a 'gadget' for at least a month! And most of the traditional print publishers are looking into ebook pubbing now too.

I think himself would approve of anything that cuts down the amount of books that come into this house. It's getting to the state that we just can't move...

Kate Pearce said...

Thanks for the comments so far, ladies!

I actually read off the screen, because I like the fact that you can make the text the size you want it. I've heard good things and bad things about the new Sony e-book reader. It doesn't seem to play well with EC titles but the screen looks good and it's not too badly priced.

I think someone will come up with something equivalent to the ipod which will become the standard cheap e-book reader. Not sure if it's happened yet though!

I love the idea of carrying hundreds of books around with me in one little gadget. It saves trees and won't make me feel so guilty about the huge stacks of books filling the shelves and cupboards in my house!

Kate Pearce said...

Hey Robin!
Robin has her first book coming out with EC next month and is one of the long suffering fools who reads my stuff and puts comma's in it for me!

Portia-it's interesting that you found the experience different-what made it different?

Madelynne-no fair with the Cadbury's bribe-actually it's probably cheaper to buy the book than send me chocolate! (not that I want to dissuade you or anything)

Nikki-I love browsing too-it's not the same on a website! And yes, 10 years in a Turkish brothel...not good for my particular characters but good enough to get me a deal with Kensington Aphrodisia to write both the guys' stories! squee!

Kate Pearce said...

Mathilde-you and me are so sympatico-everyone likes this cover. Mr Kate Pearce insists it was modeled on him and as he is a gym fanatic I kind of let him get away with it. I just want a bead of sweat to fall down his torso so that I can lick it up...mmm

Janine, no helmets, (purple or otherwise) I promise. Just lusty men desperate to pleasure women.

May-see? May knows what she likes and makes a great point about transporting her reading material right along with her!

Cherie said...

I just started reading ebooks last year and I enjoy them. I still prefer print copies because I love being able to leaf through the pages. Just something about feeling actual paper. I think I would be more enthused if I had a ebook reader or pda because there are so many great ebboks on the market. I have been hinting to hubby so maybe for my birthday if I hint long enough.:-) Anyway it is harder to read on the computer in the evenings when I want to relax.

Cherie J

Portia Da Costa said...

The difference, Kate? Better email me privately on that one... ;)

Nikki Magennis said...

Yes, Cherie, curling up with a laptop isn't quite as appealing as doing the same with a book, is it?

But books aren't perfect either. Mostly I read in bed, and there's always the trickiness of finding the right position, and my arms get tired (FROM HOLDING THE BOOK UP before anyone starts sniggering), and what would be really cool is if I could project the text onto the bedroom wall and move it like Tom Cruise did in Minority Report -

I think I'm going off on a futuristic tangent here. But that's what I'd like. Books on intravenous drip.

And Kate - ooh. What are the titles of the Aphrodisia books? I love 'Ten years in a Turkish Brothel', but I'm guessing that's not it...

Kate Pearce said...

Nikki-at the moment they're called erotic historical #1 and erotic historical #2-not quite as catchy as I hoped for but what can you do?

Cherie J-yes, hint away! Show him the Sony e-book site, it has technical data on there-he'll probably like that :)

KimW said...

I'm a big fan of ebooks. Almost half of all the books I read are in ebook form. I have an older Palm that I use. It has a backlight and I can read at night. I can put a whole bunch of books on it and it fits in my purse.

Madeline said...

This is a very informative post, Kate. Like others who've commented, I prefer reading on the page, rather than screen. Like Gil Grissom (CSI) I like to look down when I'm reading, not up. But more to the point, I've wondered about submitting to e-publishers and yes, e publishing has had the stigma of being for 'not ready for real book writers' but that's a yesteryear attitude. It all sounds darn good to me and I'm going to start investigating further, right now!
Your book excerpt makes me want MORE!

Lucy Felthouse said...

I think e-books are fab!! They're the future.. especially since my bookshelf is overflowing. They're great to get hold of titles that are difficult to get hold of in shops and so on, and they're quicker too, so if you're in desperate need of some good erotica, you're just a click away!

Terri said...

eBooks have never really been something I've looked into, but as I'm spending more and more time on my laptop these days, it looks like a viable option.

Looks very intriguing, and I'll have to check EC out.