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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Ebook Sales--the real numbers


I've read recently that 2006 ebook sales were up 24 percent over 2005. That's a fabulous increase. A big WHOOT for ebooks!

But is this news really worthy of some serious celebration?

Not that I'm all doom and gloom, because I'm as pro-ebook as a girl can get. But to report a statistic like the one above without clarifying what it means is slightly deceiving.

If you pay a visit to the AAP (The Association of American Publishers) site, you can find the statistics on reported book sales in the US for 2006. Let's take a look at those figures.

From the AAP site: "The report, which uses data from the Bureau of the Census as well as sales data from eighty-one publishers inclusive of all major book publishing media market holders, estimates that U.S. publishers had net sales of $24.2 billion in 2006."

Now, let's take a look at ebook sales.

From the same report: "E-books saw a 24.1% increase in 2006 at $54 million, with a compound growth rate of 65% since 2002."

$54,000,000 dollars in total ebook sales. Out of $24,200,000,000 in total book sales (whew, that's a lot of zeros!). Therefore, doing the math, that means ebook sales comprise .22% of book sales. One fifth of one percent.

Why am I mentioning this? Because lately I've seen the first statistic (24% increase) cited by well-meaning authors in discussions (including the Dear Author blog), and I'm afraid they're giving hopeful writers the wrong impression.

Yes, writing ebooks can be very lucrative. Some ebook authors pay their bills with their monthly incomes. But writing ebooks is not a surefire path to a champagne and caviar lifestyle. Not yet.

That's not to say I'm not hoping they will some day soon :)

I'll close with this warning: be sure to read the numbers behind a statisic. Statistics, percentages, etc. can paint a very deceptive picture.

Tawny
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Tawny's Erotic Romance
Sydney's Sassy, Sexy Romance
www.erotic-romance.net

posted by Tawny Taylor at 3:31 AM | 4 comments

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Website Design Trends and Reviews

First, did you notice anything different this morning? Yep, I changed the blog header. It's been a long time since I gave it an updated look. I felt it was overdue.

Anyone have any comments? Suggestions for improvement? I need to tweak the background gradient. I can see that. Anything else?

Another question regarding blog/website design:

Can you name off the top of your head a blog that's particularly attractive/sharp/fresh? I'd love to put together a list of blogs for inspiration for future updates. Thanks! It seems that right now websites and book covers are trending toward the darker side. Even Katie MacAlister recently updated her blog and made it darker. The cartoon cover/website seems to be a thing of the past.

Website images I'm drawn to right now have a gritty feel to them. Lots of layered images, gothic swirls and curls. IMO, the darker images are sexy, and I can see this trend lasting a while (until we come full circle, lol). Any other opinions? Can you cite any websites that you find fresh or interesting?

Second, I received a couple of REALLY great reviews the past couple days. I just have to share. I'm so flattered!

The first one is for Burning Hunger.

This author did it again! No matter what she writes about her stories all rock big time. The story line these three were "Hot". Five Roses. Nicole, mybookcravings.com

The second one is for Carpe Nocturne 1: Dressed to Kill

This story kept me on my toes trying to figure out what would happen next. Ms. Taylor, I am waiting on pins and needles to see what does happen next for Sylvie, Burke and Miko in your next story in this series. Racine, sensual.ecataromance.com

Tawny
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Tawny's Erotic Romance
Sydney's Sassy, Sexy Romance
www.erotic-romance.net

posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:24 AM | 3 comments

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

How POD will save publishing

There's been a lot of talk about small presses, POD, and ebooks lately. On this blog, I've posted several blog entries about these subjects. In addition, there have been a number of discussions on the Romance Divas forum about returns, print books and distribution.

Recently, I read the following article about POD and changes in print book distribution. I found the article timely and informative. Hope you do too!

http://www.bksp.org/secondarypages/articles/agentseditors/RCurtis4.htm

Anyone want to share their opinion?
*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Tawny

Tawny's Erotic Romance
Sydney's Sassy, Sexy Romance
www.erotic-romance.net

posted by Tawny Taylor at 5:33 AM | 0 comments

Friday, May 25, 2007

Simon and Schuster's New Project

Have you heard the news? S&S has teamed up with a company called Media Predict. What's that mean?

From the NYT article,

Publisher to Let the Public Have a Vote on Book Projects

"Media Predict is soliciting book proposals from agents and the public, and posting pages of them on the site. Traders, who are given $5,000 in fantasy cash, can buy shares based on their guess about whether a particular book proposal is likely to get a deal, or whether Touchstone Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, will select it as a finalist in a contest called Project Publish. If either happens within a four-month period, the value of the shares go to $100 apiece; if not, the share price falls to zero."

Link for Media Predict: http://mediapredict.com/

This is interesting. I admit, I'm intrigued, although the projects currently up for consideration don't inspire me to vote.

I can see some potential good and bad. What if an author solicits votes? Just because she/he is able to win a popular vote doesn't mean the book will potentially sell tens of thousands of copies, right? Yet, if it works properly, a program like this would also allow readers (with dollars to spend, hopefully) to have a direct impact on what makes it to the marketplace.

This could be very good.

I work in a bookstore and often hear readers griping about finding the same ole stuff (whatever that might be), or not finding enough of their fave subgenre (alien-abduction-secret-baby-cowboy-menage-a-trois-romance).

What do you think of this concept--letting the public determine what projects deserve to be published? And if you could go directly to the publisher and tell them what you want, what would it be?

Tawny
*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Tawny's Erotic Romance
Sydney's Sassy, Sexy Romance
www.Erotic-Romance.net

posted by Tawny Taylor at 9:14 AM | 0 comments

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Little Squee...or three

I'm taking the day off from reporting news in the publishing world to share some great news I've received about my own books.

First, I received the BEST reviews from Coffeetime Reviews and JERR today. Both are for Burning Hunger, my most recent vampire menage release at Ellora's Cave.

Burning Hunger is gratifyingly scorching hot when it comes to the love scenes, but tender too, which I really enjoyed. Ms. Taylor has a gift for giving her characters just the right amount of humor to make them rip roaring funny. Brea had me cracking up throughout the entire book with her attitude! Reading about Dayne and Marek’s dance to get Brea to agree to the bond was one to be savored. I also really enjoyed how they handled Brea’s secret fantasy and helped her heal from a devastating experience related to that fantasy. This is one book you will not want to miss! 5 cups!

Regina
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance

This is an unusual idea for a vampire story. In Ms. Taylor’s world vampires require a blood bond every five hundred years or they die. This makes for an interesting experience for the woman that the pair of vampires picks. The threesome will not be able to get enough sex until the seven days has past. Oh yeah, sign me up for the next pair that needs a mate. (Winks) Marek and Dayne are handsome, arrogant and very caring of Brea. They also find that they are attracted to each other even though neither has been attracted to a male before. So be warned there are a few scenes of m/m interactions throughout the story...The sex that the three has is steamy and explosive. They can’t keep their hands off each other. I am surprised that my computer didn’t melt from the heat. There is also a mystery involving Marek’s brother. This story is setup in a way that it could be the first in a series of books so it will be interesting to see how the story evolves. Overall, Burning Hunger is a fast paced read that will have you wanting to find the ice cubes or the toys.

Oleta M Blaylock
Just Erotic Romance Reviews

You can buy Burning Hunger HERE

A huge thank you to Oleta and Regina for the terrific reviews!

And second, the news:

First, Master of Secret Desires is now live on Amazon! FYI, my novella in this anthology, Dragons and Dungeons is not only one of my most popular titles, but also the first book in the Immortal Secrets series.

Second, Animal Urges is available to order from Amazon as well. I've been waiting a long time for these novellas to release in paperback! You can read excerpts and blurbs for both Mark of the Beast and Touch of the Beast HERE.

And third, my dragon shapeshifters will be coming to paperback late this summer (August or September)! Included in the paperback will be the novel Light My Fire and novella Spells and Seduction. The title of the paperback will be Immortal Secrets.

That's it for the news. Thanks for your support and comments. Please feel free to share a squee in the comments section if you've received a terrific review lately or good news.

Tawny

Tawny's Erotic Romance

Sydney's Sassy, Sexy Romance

Erotic-Romance.net



posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:31 AM | 1 comments

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

E-pub Authors--Do you need print?

There's an extremely interesting discussion being held on another blog. It started as an interview of Patty Marks, CEO of Ellora's Cave, centering on the challenges of small presses to produce and market print books (treebooks, as I like to call them). The conversation shifted when Patty made a comment about authors getting upset about print books being delayed. The blog owner then asked epublished authors to respond to her question about whether they care about having books in print or not.

I have my own thoughts on this topic. But I have to say, Nora scored some major points in my book for saying that ebooks are real books.

My slant, for those who care to listen...

First, understand that I write to provide for my family. That's not to say I don't love writing. I do. But what I'm trying to say is that the focus of my efforts is on producing income to meet the basic needs of my children. The money doesn't go into a vacation account, or pay for nonessentials. It buys food. Pays the car payment. Buys clothing. And I'm not working toward meeting some intangible lifelong dream, like having a friend see my book at Walmarts or becoming a local celebrity. Writing is my career, my business.

Now that you understand my situation, I'll share my opinion.

Having my ebooks put into print is a nice bonus, but it plays no part in deciding where I'll submit my books for publication. I make the vast majority of my monthly income from ebook royalties. I've submitted books to epublishers, never expecting to see them in print. And I'm okay with that. I'm perfectly content taking my ebook royalty checks to the bank every month.

Granted, I am writing for a NY house, and I receive advances on those contracts. And I am able to schedule book signings, libarary appearances, conferences, etc. because I have those print books to market. However, those events do little for my bottom line, at least at this point.

So, the answer to the question, "Do you care if your ebooks are put into print?" is no.

Do all epublished authors share my opinion? No. Actually, I suspect most epublished authors have heard over and over from readers, "I don't read ebooks. I don't want to read ebooks. I like to hold a real book in my hands." They are frustrated when they go to conferences and don't have books to sign. They are treated like second class citizens by some of their peers and feel a need to be legitimized. They want books in print. They value paperback programs at epubs because that is their only means to getting books in print. I can certainly understand that. I can also understand the frustration of spending money to advertise a print book that ends up being cancelled or delayed.

But me--I look to my epublishers to publish ebooks. I look forward to the day when ebook readers are affordable. Ebook sales reach the hundred thousands per title, like some treebook sales do. And when all authors, ebook and treebook, are considered equal by most professional organizations and influential individuals.

Anyone else care to share their opinion or concerns?

posted by Tawny Taylor at 6:46 PM | 17 comments

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Miss Snark is Retiring the Stilettos

Doing my part to help spread the news: The one and only Miss Snark has decided to retire from blogging. Yes, her blog will remain up, so that writers can learn from the archives. But there will be no new snarks, crapometer submissions or stories about Killer Yap.

http://misssnark.blogspot.com/

Best wishes to Miss Snark, and thank you for your generosity over the past two years.

posted by Tawny Taylor at 6:42 PM | 0 comments

Monday, May 21, 2007

Warning: Simon and Schuster Contract Change

Forwarded with permission.

Simon & Schuster has changed its standard contract language in an attempt
to retain exclusive control of books even after they have gone out of
print. Until now, Simon & Schuster, like all other major trade publishers,
has followed the traditional practice in which rights to a work revert to
the author if the book falls out of print or if its sales are low.

The publisher is signaling that it will no longer include minimum sales
requirements for a work to be considered in print. Simon & Schuster is
apparently seeking nothing less than an exclusive grant of rights in
perpetuity. Effectively, the publisher would co-own your copyright.

The new contract would allow Simon & Schuster to consider a book in print,
and under its exclusive control, so long as it's available in any form,
including through its own in-house database -- even if no copies are
available to be ordered by traditional bookstores.

Other major trade publishers are not seeking a similar perpetual grant of
rights.

We urge you to consider your options carefully:

1. Remember that if you sign a contract with Simon & Schuster that includes
this clause, they'll say you're wed to them. Your book will live and die
with this particular conglomerate.

2. Ask your agent to explore other options. Other publishers are not
seeking an irrevocable grant of rights.

3. If you have a manuscript that may be auctioned, consider asking your
agent to exclude Simon & Schuster imprints unless they agree before the
auction to use industry standard terms.

4. Let us know if other major publishers follow suit. Any coordination
among publishers on this matter has serious legal implications.

Feel free to forward and post this message in its entirety.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
What does this mean?

It means that authors who sign contracts with this clause in it will probably never get their rights back on their books. They will never be able to resell them to another house to make more money once the first publisher has stopped printing them. I have personally never resold a previously published book, but I know plenty of authors who have. It is done a lot in NY.

Note: I have heard mixed reports on whether this clause is negotiable. One source (quoting S&S) said it will be negotiable on a book-by-book basis; another said it will not.

For reasons like this, every author who has received an offer from a NY publisher needs to have the contract reviewed by a competent agent or literary attorney.

Tawny
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Tawny's Erotic Romance
Sydney's Sassy, Sexy Romance

posted by Tawny Taylor at 10:26 AM | 0 comments

Friday, May 18, 2007

Elephant Butts and Blogs

Have you noticed the recent dirt being posted on blogs? I've read some *really* nasty stuff, most of it personal opinion being presented as fact. Sure, it makes great reading. We love our gossip mags and ET's True Hollywood Story. But I felt I should post my concerns about the recent activity in Blogland.

The way I see it-- since blogs are not newspapers, certain rules don't necessarily apply (at least not in a legal or literal sense). These blogs are owned by individuals: romance readers, reviewers, etc. not by reporters. Unlike freelance writers working for a major newspaper, they have no professional responsibility to provide accurate information. They post what they think will appeal to readers, what will bring them the most traffic, what they believe is true, or what simply strikes their fancy.

Please understand, I'm not bashing blog owners. Blogs are what they are: personal online tools to be used as the owner wishes. If Karen wants to "say what she wants" because it's her blog, then she has that right. Absolutely. And I have the same right too.

But please remember, just because you read something on a blog doesn't make it true, even if one person's perspective seems to be backed up with several opinions.

This whole situation reminds me of a story I read once. The details are hazy, but it was about several people who were asked to describe an animal. Each had a unique perspective, and described the animal accurately based upon what they saw. It soon became obvious they were all looking at a different animal, based upon their observations...and then the identity of the animal was revealed--an elephant. They were all looking at the same thing, but saw a limited portion. No one saw the whole picture. (side note: if anyone remembers what that story was titled, could you post it in the comments? I can't remember and it's driving me nuts *g*)

So, what does this have to do with anything?

I don't really know who my blog readers are. Are they readers? Hopeful writers? Published writers?

I'm directing this particular post to writers who have books on their hard drives and are researching publishers to submit their work to. The lesson here: before you submit to any publisher (EC, Samhain, Triskelion, whoever), make every effort possible to see the whole picture...not just the butt :) Sure, it's a good idea to see the ugly side of a company you might end up in bed with. But you don't want to base such an important decision on limited information or opinion.

My opinion :)

Comments? Questions? Opposing viewpoints?

Tawny
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Tawny's Erotic Romance
Sydney's Sassy, Sexy Romance

posted by Tawny Taylor at 9:47 AM | 2 comments

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

NYT Article on Publishing and Best Sellers

Today's the "thing" at the library, so I have a ton of stuff to do to get ready. No time to blog, but I wanted to post this article because it's some interesting and informative reading.

Enjoy!

Tawny
~**~*~*~*~*~**~
Tawny's Erotic Romance
Sydney's Sassy, Sexy Romance

The Greatest Mystery: Making a Best Seller

"Most in the industry seem to see consumer taste as a mystery that is inevitable and even appealing, akin to the uncontrollable highs and lows of falling in love or gambling."

Read the rest HERE

posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:49 AM | 1 comments

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

New Law banning Tarot and more about Triskelion

In Livingston Parrish, Louisiana, it is now illegal to read Tarot Cards, give psychic readings or perform fortunetelling of any type. It is also illegal to receive a Tarot Card reading, or a psychic reading.

Punishment: A $500.00 fine and up to 1 year in jail.

This is the same state that hosts the Mardi Gras. A whole lot worse than fortunetelling goes on at Mardi Gras, right? So what's the deal? Anyone have any more info?

And on another note, news of problems at Triskelion is spreading. A couple of the more popular romance blogs, Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Books and Dear Author have both posted information. This post verifies the rumor that RWA has "uninvited" Triskelion from accepting editor appointments or participating on panels and workshops at this year's national convention.

A quote from the Dear Author blog:

I can confirm that due to the ongoing problems authors are reporting with Triskelion Publishing, and the company's latest announcements regarding print titles, changes in editorial staff and management, the invitation for Triskelion Publishing to participate in workshops and editor appointments at RWA's 2007 conference in Dallas has been rescinded.

Sincerely,

Allison Kelley, CAE
Executive Director
Romance Writers of America, Inc.


I gather from the comments that Smart Bitches had originally included some personal matters in their post but later removed it. I agree, that was a good move.

I'm not going to sling mud about a publisher I have no personal experience with, but I will say I'm sad to hear about the authors who've been hurt by the changes at Triskelion. And I hope they are able to find new homes for their books.

posted by Tawny Taylor at 9:21 AM | 0 comments

I've been Tagged by Nicole Austin

I’ve been meme tagged. *groan*

Here’s my list. Eight things you didn’t know about me…

1. I did a lot of theater throughout my school years, right into college. During my theatrical career, I've played a Scottish lass, an orphaned boy, a German girl running from the Nazis, a stoned socialite, and a desperately in love young woman.

2. I was a college cheerleader--didn't make the team at tryouts but was an alternate, and ended up taking over for another cheerleader who was hurt a few weeks into practice.

3. I am the world's worst singer :) But my kids don't seem to mind.

4. I have serious issues with food--I love ice cream and Doritos, and I'll eat both until either I run out or feel ill :)

5. I love to dance, and recently took a hip-hop class for mommies.

6. I struggled as a single mom for many years before marrying the man of my dreams almost ten years ago.

7. I volunteered for the Michigan Humane Society as an animal foster mommy for a couple years. I bottle fed kittens around the clock, cared for puppies with intenstinal parasites, and socialized animals who had previously enjoyed limited exposure to people. It was hard work, but very rewarding.

8. I'd once dreamed of being: a gymnast, a competitive figure skater, a violinist in an orchestra, a doctor, a nurse, a social worker, a singer...Yes, I had a lot of dreams as a child.

Tag, you’re it! Feisty, RG, and Eden

Here are the rules according to whomever likes to makeup rules :
1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.


posted by Tawny Taylor at 1:22 AM | 1 comments

Monday, May 14, 2007

Is Triskelion Publishing in Trouble?

Blogs, forums and Yahoo groups are burning up with rumors about Triskelion Publishing (http://www.triskelionpublishing.com/), one of the few epublishers who have received the coveted thumbs-up from RWA (RWA recognition). I've heard whisperings of a partner in the company leaving, print programs being discontinued, and "restructuring" of the company. I've also heard of dissatisfied authors whose contracts were terminated for no reason and problems with editing/quality. Some authors shelled out beaucoup dollars for print ads to advertise paperbacks that won't be coming out. One author actually claimed they were operating like a subsidy publisher. And several others stated they'd already asked for rights back on their contracted books. Others reported authors were humiliated in front of peers on the author's loop.

Note: this information is all rumor. I have not been given any information directly.

For more info,

http://www.hipiers.com/publishing.html#T1
http://www.romancedivas.com/(must register to be a member of the forum to read the post)
http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=64132

I'm very sad to hear all of this.

Epublishers have it tough. In so many ways, they're still the ugly red-headed stepchild of the publishing world, especially in romance fiction. Even with RWA recognition, it seems epublishers are frowned upon by some folks. And the authors who are published by them are sometimes treated poorly by (some, not all) NY published peers. As a result, any trouble with an epublisher impacts (granted, indirectly) other houses and their authors by legitimizing those negative opinions.

It's my hope that Triskelion manages to work though their current difficulty. I get the impression that returns on paperbacks caused them troubles, and that doesn't surprise me. Reports of massive Borders/Waldenbooks closings and huge numbers of returns to publishers make it conceivable. Small presses don't have enough profit built into their print programs to swallow those kinds of returns.

The other issues--regarding late payments of royalties, unfair treatment of authors, etc bother me, however, because those aren't necessarily financial issues. They indicate a certain climate within the company. My advice to unpublished authors: approach this publisher with open eyes. Google the company, read what you can, and make an informed decision.

If anyone associated with Triskelion would like to comment on this post, to fill in some details, or perhaps refute something I've posted, I welcome them!

Tawny
*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Tawny's Vampilicious Erotic Romance
Sydney's Sassy, Sexy Romance

posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:41 AM | 2 comments

Friday, May 11, 2007

For writers in Michigan...

Wednesday, May 16th at 7:00pm there will be an informal presentation by several published authors on writing, followed by some time for one-on-one conversations. The participating authors write a variety of books, including children's fiction, nonfiction, historical fiction, military fantasy (that's a new genre for me) and (of course) erotic romance :)

You can read more details in this week's Canton Eagle or HERE.

I would love to see some of my online friends there! Please, if you do make it, come up and introduce yourself.

The Canton Library is located on Canton Center Road, South of Cherry Hill, on the west side of the street. The library's phone number is (734) 397-0999.

Tawny
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Vampilicious Erotic Romance
Sydney's Sassy, Sexy Romance

posted by Tawny Taylor at 9:01 AM | 1 comments

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Thursday Thirteen




Thirteen blogs I love to visit by Tawny Taylor


1.http://evileditor.blogspot.com/
2.http://misssnark.blogspot.com/
3.http://nicemommy-evileditor.com/blog/
4.http://babes-always-write.blogspot.com/
5.http://www.romancingtheblog.com/blog/
6.http://www.romancebytheblog.blogspot.com/
7.http://isabelswift.blogspot.com/
8.http://arcaedia.livejournal.com/
9.http://booksellerchick.blogspot.com/
10.http://dearauthor.com/
11.http://www.squawkradio.com/
12.http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.com/
13.http://pubrants.blogspot.com/


Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1.Nicole Austin http://nicoleaustin.wordpress.com/
2. Rhian/Crowwoman http://creativegoddesses.blogspot.com/
3. Darla http://nichtszusagen.blogspot.com/

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!




*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Vampy Erotic Romance
Sassy, Sexy Romance

posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:19 AM |

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

On the hook


From Jessica Faust at BookEnds Literary Agency:

"Publishing is not about selling a good book. Publishing is about selling a book that will sell, and rarely does that have to do entirely with how good the book is. Usually it has a lot more to do with how marketable it is. Sure that has a lot to do with how the book is written, but it also has a lot to do with plotting, characterization, and hook." (boldface my addition)

One thing I see commonly from unpublished authors who are trying to break into NY houses is the lack of a commercial hook in their work. The story might be really great--wonderfully written, fabulous characterization, page-turning plot. And perhaps that's enough to get some editors to take a look. But generally, editors won't buy unless they not only believe the book will sell in a highly competitive marketplace, but are able to convince anywhere from one person to a whole committee that it'll sell really well. NY houses buy books that will sell.

Want to make an editor's job easier?

My advice: Write the book of your heart. Write it well. And look for a commercial hook to work into the story.

What's a "hook"?

Let's take a look at an example. Dorchester has just launched a four-book series of paranormal romances. Do you know what the series is called?

That's right, it's The Immortals.

Do you know what the individual book titles are?

I'm not afraid to admit I don't. But I can picture the four covers.

Why do so many people know about the series? Because the brilliant minds at Dorchester did a fabulous job with creating a marketing hook--by connecting the four covers in a way that they create in large image when placed side-by-side, and then using that hook to gain media exposure.

Granted, in this case, the hook is related to the cover, not the stories. But I can think of one obvious example of a storyline hook--The DaVinci Code. That book sold so well for Dan Brown, and launched him to bestsellerdom not because it was the best written book ever, but because of the subject matter. The controversy.

My challenge for you today (for those who dare to accept it, lol): Take a look at the commercial fiction in your fave bookstore and find at least three that have a compelling commercial hook.

posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:41 AM | 1 comments

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Back to the Grind

Today, I'm committed to getting back to my routine. I started the day with thirty minutes on the treadmill. It's been a couple weeks since I'd last exercised regularly. Ughhhhhhh...

Evidently, two weeks is a long enough time for me to lose some of my conditioning. I felt like I was going to die.

Next (after I chased the kids out the door for school), I sat down to write this blog. I stared at the blank screen forever, completely clueless about what to write. I think two weeks have cost me some of my "mental" conditioning too.

Do you suppose it's possible that the creative centers of our brains work like our muscles do--that exercising them regularly strengthens them? And a lengthy break from regular exercise will cause them to weaken? Looking at this pathetic blog entry, I'm thinking it's entirely possible.

I need to send myself to mental bootcamp and get my grey matter back into shape. Now if I could only figure out what the mental equivalent of pushups is...

Handy Links

Exercises for Writers

Exercises from The Writers List

Writers: Exercises and Warmups

Fifteen Craft Exercises for Writers

Brainstorming for Writers (WikiHow)

General brainstorming/creative thinking exercises

What a Great Idea
Stuck? Think opposites. Shake the tree. Ask questions. Try out some of the inspiring ideas at this site, focused on creative thinking and brainstorming.
White Page Syndrome
This editorial at Whiskey Creek Document Design explores the ways that both writers and designers can overcome "creative block" to get started on a project.
Idea Workout Gym
This is the place to come if you feel your brain getting moldy or it seems that your ideas are coming out like hard little cubes stuck firmly in a very, old box, very rigid box.
So Break Out!
Flex those synapses!

Stretch those neurons!
Break out of that box!

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posted by Tawny Taylor at 7:58 AM | 3 comments

Monday, May 07, 2007

Tawny Does Akron 2: College Profs and Printing Presses

Well, I'm back home from my annual jaunt to my home state, Ohio. Gotta say, it was an interesting trip. No, nothing profoundly mind-blowing happened. Nor did we face any life-threatening disaster, thank God. But I did see and hear some fascinating things.


(EC authors Gail Faulkner and Diana Hunter)

First, I'd like to thank the manager of the Howe Ave. Borders store for being such a terrific hostess. She's absolutely wonderful, and I'd be happy to make a return visit anytime. I'd also like to thank the readers who traveled who-knows-how-far to visit with us and finally the staff at EC who also stopped by. The book signing was a huge success. I had a terrific time. In particular, I enjoyed a conversation I had with the young women in the photograph below. One of them attends a college where her professor assigned EC books for an English class (the course was something along the lines of "popular romance fiction"). EC books. Erotic romance. In college classrooms. Who would have ever imagined such a thing?


(Tawny with local readers, one who read her book for an English class)

After the book signing, we headed over to EC's headquarters to watch the new printing equipment in action. For those who don't know, EC's once carefully-guarded secret is a secret no more. Their new "printing partner" is...themself. Ellora's Cave. They now have the capacity to print books in house.

I watched dozens of copies of Animal Urges being printed, glued and trimmed within minutes. The equipment practically runs itself and it's FAST. I was impressed. The quality was top notch. EC now has the plan--and most importantly, the means--to put every EC title into print. Thanks to the new equipment, all five authors at the signing had new books to sign. And authors attending RWA will have new books for the literacy signing in July. I'm looking forward to my backlist coming out in print. I can't see this as anything less than a very good thing for EC, its authors...and most importantly the readers (who have been waiting patiently for their fave authors to have new print releases).


(Tawny holding a copy of Animal Urges, printed seconds earlier)

I'm back home now. Back to my routine. Back to work. It's been an exhausting (and thrilling) couple of weeks, spending so much of it away from home, away from my family, dressing up, meeting new people, traveling, signing books... Even though I had an absolutely wonderful time at the signing and RT, I have to admit, I'm looking forward to settling back into the normal day-to-day--grocery shopping, potty training, dance classes, writing and promoting my next releases: Carpe Nocturne: Kiss Me, Kill Me and Master of Secret Desires.

Tawny
*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Erotic Romance by Tawny Taylor
Sydney's Sassy, Sexy Romance

posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:01 AM | 3 comments

Friday, May 04, 2007

Heading to Ohio Today...

...for the big book signing tomorrow! I'm so excited. It's been over a year since I've had a new Ellora's Cave print book release. Animal Urges will be launched at the signing. Squee! Can't wait to see it. I think the cover is killer.


Drooooool...

Anyway, since I'm in the middle of packing, gathering stuff to keep the kiddies busy during the drive, etc, I'm posting a quick promo post for a Diva friend.

Enjoy! And be sure to come back for Tawny Does Akron II.

ONE WICKED WINTER is now available!

It's a three novella anthology...

Published By: Amber Quill Press
Release Date: April 2007
Written as: Cassidy Kent

A sexy first date, an unexpected encounter, and a torrid reunion. Three smoldering stories of reckless passion stoke the fires of one very wicked winter…

Dear John

In her last year of high school, Dane Harley, a foster kid with no direction, met John Stratton, a Pittsburgh rich kid with a penchant for trouble. She visits him a decade after disappearing from his life, only to discover he’s moved on. Their subsequent affair speaks of the torrent of passion and love that still binds them.

Santa’s Helper

CEO Noel grants a boy’s Christmas wish by escorting sexy single mother Maura around Manhattan on Christmas Eve. The spark between them is immediate, but the distance between Park Avenue and the Jersey suburbs is immense. Are their worlds too dissimilar to merge or can they bridge the distance with love?

What Lies in Winter

Workaholic Hayley vacations in the mountains and meets author, Nicholas. He might be a solitary beast but Hayley is hell-bent on disrupting his peaceful balance. A blizzard makes them share quarters and their fiery personalities melt the ice caps off the mountains.

posted by Tawny Taylor at 12:53 PM | 0 comments

Thursday, May 03, 2007

RT The Final Post


I'm still gathering photos from various sources, so look for updates over the next few days. But for today, I'm moving on to Saturday, my last full day at RT.

Thanks to constant running, lack of sleep, and waning adrenaline levels, by Saturday, I was ready to slow down. I swear, I've never felt so exhausted in my life, and that's saying something, since I've had five babies. I was able to sleep in a little, since I wasn't scheduled to appear at any breakfast mixers or early morning television feeds. I took my time dressing. Ate some breakfast, and gathered my goodies for the big book signing. I learned something that day--even if you are sitting all day, wear comfortable shoes! Anyway, I dragged my tired butt to the signing, set up my goodies and had a seat.

I had a terrific time signing books, making new friends and talking to readers and booksellers about my books. It was beyond wonderful, a real spirit lifter. And I caught up with my "next door" neighbor, Julia Templeton, who happened to write the VERY first EC book I read, Kieran the Black. Afterward, I had lunch with a handful of fun, intelligent, terrific authors (Jordan Summers, Julia Templeton, Sasha White). Ran up, changed my shoes, and headed down to the Mr. Romance competition.

I have to say, the contest was absolutely fabulous this year. It was classy, the MC's were terrific (FUNNY!), the question and answer sessions were fa riot. I really enjoyed the show! Next, I was off to have dinner with my fabulous agent before dressing for the final party, Dorchester's Immortals.

This past week was one of the most exhausting, grueling, thrilling weeks of my life. I have to say, I made the most of every minute. And yet, I felt like I missed a lot.

I would have loved to spend more time with a lot of people--Sylvia Day, Shelley Bradley (who I tried to sit with at Heather Graham's dinner, but ended up being separated from), the Divas: Christina, RG, Jax, Eden, Kristen, Feisty (sorry, I know I'm missing some Divas!), Sahara Kelly and her talented writing partner, Scott Carpenter. Even my roomie, Ann Jacobs, who I saw very little of, despite the fact that we were tying each other into our costumes every night. The dozens of EC authors that were there--Lise Fuller (whose active-duty military hubby flew in from wherever to be with her), Nathalie Grey (this woman has the BEST clothes--we need to go shopping together!), Mackenzie McCade (who had us rolling at the EC photo shoot), Judy Mays (whose brother came to the conference to cheer for her at the awards luncheon--wasn't that sweet?), Chey McCray (it's impossible catching Chey standing still, lol) and Annie Windsor (too sweet for words), Mandy Roth and Michelle Pillow, JC Wilder, the list goes on and on and on! I'd never survive a two-week RT, but darn it, there just wasn't enough time! Already, I'm making plans for next year.

I can't wait!

Thirteen things I learned at RT

1. Always wear comfortable shoes.
2. Caffeine is a girl's best friend, even at 2:00am.
3. It's good to be flexible and go with the flow--the best "meetings" are often in the bar
4. It's sometimes best not to over-book yourself, sign up for too many panels/workshops if you're a newly published author or looking for opportunities to network.
5. If you're on a tight budget, make sure you know where the nearest inexpensive eating establishments are. Hotel restaurants are always expensive.
6. There is no such thing as over-the-top costumes at RT. The more feathers, the better.
7. Rolling totes are a MUST HAVE.
8. Readers and booksellers LOVE excerpt booklets.
9. Taking a half hour or so to rest in the middle of the day can give you the second wind you need to make it through the night.
10. It's tough, but a newbie published author needs to find a way to stick out from the crowd to be noticed in that enormous .
11. Friendships are made on the dance floor, the elevator, the bathroom, hallway, shuttle/cab, bar. Be open and approachable wherever you are.
12. RT attendees like free stuff, but they love good free stuff. Spend your money on quality promotional items for the biggest impact, and make sure to have a free-standing, mounted poster of your most eyecatching cover (the most recent is always a good choice) on display.
13. Murphy's law dictates that the book that's NOT available yet is the one everyone will want. So make sure you have lots of promo goodies, excerpts and postcards for upcoming releases.


posted by Tawny Taylor at 8:14 AM | 4 comments

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Some more RT pix

I was able to score a few more pix from days one and two of RT, so I'll post them first, then the ones of day three. HUGE thanks to Ann Jacobs, Kate Douglas and Lillian Feisty for letting me post these!








Friday was absolutely INSANE with a capital "I". It started early, as I rushed down to the meeting place where a love shot was being taken for a local Houston television station. We were asked to appear in costume. It was starting early, and so I had to rush. As luck would have it, some poor woman stepped on my train as I was dashing down the hallway, ripping it from my gown. I cursed and continued running, clutching the side of my skirt and train, anxious to get there on time. What an ordeal!

Luckily, I was able to pin the train good enough to get through the interview. Yay! It was my first television interview, and I was terribly nervous. Thank goodness for Evan Scott (who happened to be on my very first book cover--Raphaela's Gift) and his wonderful wife, Tamara. They helped ease my frazzled nerves, and I was able to make it through the interview without stuttering too badly :)

Next, I hurried back up to my room to change into "normal" clothes for the Kensington breakfast mixer. That one was insane. This was my first year with a Kensington book, and I half expected to stand in a corner watching everyone oooh and ahhh over the better known authors.

Didn't happen. There was no standing in a corner. I think I ran out of books in the first five minutes. Poof gone. After that, I doled out dozens of postcards, all fifty of my Vampilicious makeup bags, and cover flats. The best part--I had the chance to chat with fellow Kensington authors Diane Whiteside, Sasha White, Sylvia Day and Rachelle Chase. Rachelle runs a writing contest called "Chase the Dream", which I'd entered back before I'd sold to Kensington.

Anyway, since I'm still very much a newbie to Kensington, I felt like the new kid trying to fit in. HUGE thanks to my fellow authors for being so warm and welcoming.

The rest of the day is kind of a blur (and no, that's not because I was loaded, LOL). I cheered for my friends who'd won RT awards (Judy Mays, Michelle M. Pillow--whoo hooo!), had headshots taken by our uber-talented and downright loveable EC staff, and then attended an editor and agent panel. Editors: Anne Groell, Chris Keeslar, Randall Toye, Megan Records, Monique Patterson, Gail Delaney and another editor from a second epublisher (can't remember her name). The agents: Scott Eagan, Miriam Kriss, Caren Johnson, Laura Bradford and Natasha Kern.

To sum up what I heard in the panel:

No one knows what the next "thing" will be. No one knows what they're looking for, until they actually see it. But they all want something that's fresh, original and stands out from the crowd. Paranormal is glutted right now, but almost all the agents and editors suggested authors read what they love and then look for a way to tweak what they've read to make it fresh and new. What is popular in our culture now and how can you bring that into a story? What is missing in what you see in the stores? Almost all the editors said they are interested in historicals but haven't read any really great ones lately. Monique emphasized she wants "really" books--really funny, really sexy, really suspenseful. And another (didn't note the name) said her mantra is Deeper, Darker, Madder. Finally, one agent suggested looking at what is popular in YA fiction for a hint of what will become popular in the future. Because of Harry Potter's success with kids of all ages, they're expecting fantasy to be very strong for years to come. We'll see if they're right.

After the panel, it was dinner and dancing at the Vampires of the Wild West. I have to say, Heather Graham knows how to throw a party. And her shows are absolutely hysterical. OMG. Some of the folks at my table were laughing so hard they were crying. And lucky me, I had a fangirl moment in the bathroom where I got to tell Heather how much I enjoyed the show. I won a second costume award--a signed copy of Heather's hardcover release, The Dead Room. Squee!!!

Once again, I dragged my weary bod up to my room sometime after 2:00am and fell into bed.

More pictures coming. Just need to download them from my camera...

posted by Tawny Taylor at 11:31 AM | 1 comments

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

RT Day Two

After getting roughly three hours of sleep, I dragged my weary body out of bed, stumbled into the shower, and dressed for a loooooong day of promoting, networking, socializing, learning and dancing. On my agenda: a publisher spotlight at 9:00, EC breakfast, lunch with the Changeling gang, several workshops about writing YA (MaryJanice Davidson, Mari Mancusi, Gena Showalter, PC Cast, Caridad Ferrer, Caron Johnson, and others) a mixer hosted by Nocturne and the medieval fairy ball. I didn't make it to several events on that list, lol, but in the end, it all worked out okay. The family was all sick at home, and I ended up fielding calls from a miserable hubby and daughter (Murphy's Law, you know?), and I ran out of steam by mid afternoon. But after a couple of hours resting in my hotel room, I dressed, headed down to the Divas' rooms for some makeup assistance (a huge thank you to Lilian Feisty!), and then made my big entrance at the fairy ball (had to literally leap off the escalator to avoid catching my train in the workings).

I have to say, that night was like nothing I've ever experienced. I learned something about ten seconds in--I'm terribly awkward in front of a camera, lol. That's not to say it wasn't wonderful. It was beyond wonderful. I've always been a girly-girl. For the first time since my wedding, I felt like a princess. And the prize I won--a quilt autographed by the authors on the fairy court is the best prize ever for this fangirl. It's found a new home hanging in my office. LOVE it! Another HUGE thank you to the fairy court, especially Brit Blaise who made it.

I think I finally stumbled up to my room at around 2:00am, so tired my head was spinning, yet so giddy I couldn't fall asleep. I spent an hour stuffing bags for the next morning.

Pix (A big thank you to Kate Douglas for these great shots!)


OMG, I'm sitting with Diane Whiteside and Angela Knight! Squeeeee!

Side shot of my gown.

Me with Judy Mays, winner of RT Reviewer's Choice award.

posted by Tawny Taylor at 7:41 AM | 4 comments
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