Disintegration?

There’s a wee storm in the publishing world. It started last week when Jill Noble left Noble Romance. She sent out a letter to authors (I didn’t get one, but wouldn’t have expected to as I have only a single title there from February 2009) that can be found on Absolute Write if you want to see it. I’m not gonna post any links to stuff. There’s no need since this post is just my comment on what I read and observe and what facts I do know. And just so you know, my observations aren’t actual fact either because they are subjective. The bare facts are these:

  • Jill said she was the owner of the company.
  • She left the company and in the letter she sent out basically said she was an employee of the company not the owner.
  • She left the company without notice which, according to other Noble staff, left the processing of royalties in limbo since she was the one who did the reports.
  • She hasn’t removed the title of owner from all Noble Romance related social media or her own social media yet. It’s been changed on some but not all.
  • She said authors could contact specific Noble staff members for more information but at least one of those email addresses is now bouncing.
  • Editors were locked out of their email accounts. (This may have been because she left and passwords needed to be changed, not because the editors were being let go as some surmised.)
  • The author loop was shut down. (Purportedly because the authors were upset and panicked and expressed those emotions and a staff member took exception to the posts.)
  • A Noble staff member emailed at least one author and said there was already new management in place and Jim Noble, Jill’s brother and the man whom we are told by staff is the actual owner,  would make a statement by today.
  • Several authors opened a Yahoo loop for authors and staff after the other one was shut down. They also started a Facebook page for info posting.
  • Several authors have blogged about this. Also, Karen Knows Best, EREC, Teddy Pig and Dear Author have all mentioned it or devoted posts to it. (Comments on some of these have been…interesting.)
  • Jill and her daughter Natasha commented on author C.H. Scarlett’s blog about all of this.
  • Jill also commented on Facebook about it with a comment about cleaning out the trash which seemed to be directed toward Noble authors. That comment has since been deleted or made private but one author has a screenshot of it. (The comment is fact as the screenshot bears out, but the intent is subject to interpretation. I know what I think, but your mileage may vary.)

So what does this all mean? Well, for those of us who have been around long enough and have witnessed the demise of several publishing houses…it clearly appears to be disintegration of Noble Romance Publishing. A major person in the company either leaves abruptly, isn’t reachable, and isn’t conducting business as usual. Author panic ensues. Some staff defends the company. Other staff panics. A reorganization of some kind is attempted. Business as usual doesn’t quite come to pass. The house folds.

Noble seems to be following that pattern currently. Maybe I and everyone else who thinks the writing on the wall is wrong. Maybe Jim Noble can make this fly without his sister. Only time will tell. Meanwhile, there’s some nasty comments happening all over and someone on the author loop started feeding the posts there to Jill and/or her daughter Natasha which in turn has disintegrated into name calling and the public soothing of Natasha’s rumpled feathers by her mother on C.H. Scarlett’s blog. The only reason I mention this last thing is because it just seemed weird to me. Why do that in public? Can’t you just phone your kid? I mean, it leads me to believe that the comments were there for the authors who were panicked and ranting and not for Jill and her kid. Meh. What and ever.

I don’t have much vested here. I have a single title at Noble. I have never received a 1099 from them and will be requesting that they fix that. There’s a clause in my contract that they did not fulfill and I have already emailed the owner about that material breach and will be following it up with a certified letter. Basically, I want my rights back. They could just fix my problems with them and hold me to my 7 years. I don’t think they will last as long as it takes to make me wait until February 2016 for my rights. But we’ll see.

And now, here’s my photo for this week!

Yes! I finally finished the cover for Quintessence. I had been searching and searching for the right background and over the weekend I found it. This is the cover for Aiden and Cadence’s story.

And with that, I’m outta here. Have a great Monday!

 

UPDATE: One of the authors heard from Noble staff…the announcement from Jim Noble re the company reorg etc is now said to be coming middle of the week, not today. Hmmmn.

Sinking Into Relative Obscurity

Times change. Normally, I don’t blog here in the middle of the week. Normally, I don’t blog anywhere in the middle of the week. But today, I’m feeling the weight of something pressing on me and I want to get it off my chest if only for the length of time it takes me to write this post.

It’s been my observation, based on my own work and efforts this year, that authors who do not promo the fuck out of themselves and their books begin to sink into relative obscurity. Back in 2008, when I got my first contract, it seemed like a little Tweeting, a little Facebook, an up to date website, a weekly blog post occasionally augmented by a guest blog post or interview, a chat maybe once a month with a giveaway, high placement in a few contests plus some loop promo 2-3 times a week got you enough attention to sell books. No so any longer.

A case in point seems to be my M/M stuff. Fire Season continues to sell. However, there’s huge numbers of readers on the Goodreads M/M group who aren’t familiar with it despite it being on Jessewave’s Top Ten of 2009 and a Rainbow Awards Finalist. Those readers almost seem to be all about the authors who posted freebies during the group’s free read/write events. So this year, I did one, but I don’t think I’m seeing more name recognition for it. I got involved in the free serial story Lords of Aether. Not seeing more name recognition for that either. And all the books I’ve put out this year? Well, I guess you could say they’re not Fire Season.

The only thing I can see that I do differently than all the young up and coming authors in this genre whom everyone seems to know is that they are constantly on Twitter, Facebook, Facebook groups, blog tours and hops, Goodreads groups and all over a gazillion new review sites. And by constantly, I mean I see posts from them time-stamped all day long.

Looking at all that, I hear a death knell. I don’t have all day to promo. I don’t have any time to promo really, although I eke out some time here and there. Also, these authors are all over the conventions and conferences and all about tagging and reviewing each others books on Amazon and B&N and ARe. Whew. Just writing all of that has me exhausted. And discouraged. Because I can’t do all that stuff all the time. I have a full-time, demanding job. I have a family and a graphics business and things I’m supposed to write for my editors. And I live in an expensive part of the world and am the sole provider for 3 adults and a bunch of cats.

The upshot is that I can’t afford to promo like the authors whose names trip off readers lips, especially M/M readers. I don’t have the time or the money. And thus, I find myself sinking into relative obscurity. I can see the writing on the wall. One day, my editors are going to start giving me rejection slips because no matter how good my work is, if it doesn’t sell, they won’t want me.

So I guess I’m seeing the beginning of the end. This is what today’s trending is showing me. Even if I reinvent myself, I don’t have the time and wherewithal to do what’s necessary to sell books. I rather think that the era of “Lex who?” is upon me no matter how many times Wave profiles me, how many times I’m in the Rainbow Romance Writers ads in RWR  or how many freebies I write at the Goodreads M/M group.

All of this begs the question, do I stop? Or do I just wait out the natural attrition I mentioned above where eventually my editors don’t want my work anymore because no matter how good it is, no one knows me and my books don’t sell anymore?

No time to actually answer this question because lunch is almost over and I need to try to drop a few hundred words into my WIP. However, comments and observations are welcome…if anyone’s actually reading this. LOL 😉

Me All New Again

When an author gets a new publisher, no matter how long they’ve been doing this, you feel all squeaky and new again. You pretty much start out at the beginning doing forms and getting added to loops and meeting new people. It’s like you’re a brand new author. The feeling of that first contract comes back to you. And yeah, you might grumble a little at all the hoops you have to jump through, but you don’t really mind it because that new contract feeling is pretty  much priceless and fills you with excitement.

So, um, yeah. Loose Id took my NFL novel. 😀

I’m really excited about it in a quiet kind of way. I wanted to jump up and down and squee and stuff, but that’s not exactly me. I’m more the Cheshire cat grin kind of person. The I’ve-got-a-cool-secret kind of person. But I am totally excited to be with this publisher. I have a lot of friends with them. And I’m hoping to expand my readership by being with this house.

I’ve got some revisions to do and I’m willing to compromise. All my editors know this about me. If I don’t like their suggested change I will make a case for a change of my own or for leaving it as it is. I’m no diva. I’m always reasonable, but I don’t let anyone bulldoze me either. I’m a good writer with a good reputation and while it’s okay to treat me like a brand new author in some ways (the paperwork, etc.) it’s not okay to treat me that way when it comes to my manuscripts. Not that they are. They’re really respectful of my creative process.

So all the nail biting is done. And the hardest work is about to begin. The book is slated for release September 18. And there’s lots to do before then. I’ll admit to being a tad nervous about my cover but not about the editing process. I think my book will be better for the hard work my editor will demand of me. I asked for this. I wanted this book there. And I’m so glad it is!

And now, a Marcus for this overcast (at least out here in the canyon) Monday morning!

Man, he walk my runway any day! 😉 Happy Monday!