An Upbeat Winter Institute—With Some Caveats

31 January 2018

From Publishers Weekly:

Winter Institute, which American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher has called “some of the most significant few days in our calendar,” drew 1,000 attendees to Memphis the week of January 22, including more than 680 booksellers from all 50 states.

. . . .

“For more than five years now, our channel has seen sustained growth—the result of your clear focus on ongoing professional development, tireless work, and continued entrepreneurial innovation,” Teicher told booksellers. He acknowledged that some stores continue to face challenges, particularly as retail dollars continue to shift online. But he assured booksellers, “Our advocacy on your behalf regarding a level playing field will continue as a major priority for 2018.”

. . . .

In addition to working for a playing field on which physical and online stores are treated equally, other bookseller priorities emerged over the course of the conference’s four days—among them the need for diversity in the book business. As Hannah Oliver Depp of Word Books in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Jersey City, N.J., a member of the ABA Task Force on Diversity, noted, “We’ve made a lot of progress, and we have a lot further to go.”

Keynoter Junot Díaz also pushed booksellers to do more for diverse books. In a powerful address, which he titled “In the Time of the Wolf and Fox I Dream of Books” (the “wolf” being conservative whites and the “fox” liberals), he elicited many tears and a standing ovation. Díaz criticized the book industry for being a business in which predominantly white gatekeepers publish predominantly white authors. It’s imperative, he said, for booksellers and librarians, who are on the front lines, to “stop talking about diversity and start decolonizing our shelves.” On behalf of the next generation, he called for “new stories where every single one of us can find ourselves.”

Amazon’s growing dominance in many aspects of our lives, not just books, was also a significant concern. For Kenny Brechner of Devaney, Doak and Garrett in Farmington, Maine, one of the most threatening aspects of that dominance is the erosion of list price. “One thing I hear is, ‘What are you charging for this book?’ ” he said. “We’re in a competing narrative with Amazon. There’s a narrative we need to share. The antitrust laws are just paper, or whatever, without the will to do something about it.”

. . . .

Booksellers should be able to pay their staff a living wage and not have to work long hours or take a second job to do so, she said. “I know publishers that make good profits,” she added. “It would be nice if they could give us an extra percentage.”

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly

Stuff, Things and a Farewell to Ellora’s Cave

6 October 2016

From author Stacia Kane:

I imagine many of you have already heard about the closure of Ellora’s Cave Publishing.

When I started writing seriously in 2005/2006, EC was the biggest name out there in erotic romance. Everyone wanted to be an EC author; it was a goal of mine, and I’ll never forget the day I got that acceptance email from them. I was thrilled.

I know a lot of authors did not have a great experience with/at EC. I’ve heard (a few of) their stories. I know many people felt honestly cheated and betrayed by them, and those stories, those feelings, are valid; their experience was their experience, and just because mine was different doesn’t mean theirs was or is untrue. It’s the nature of publishing, to some degree, that different writers can have wildly different experiences with the same publisher. While I honestly saw/heard nothing that led me to believe EC was being malicious or deliberately mistreating authors, again, that does NOT mean that A) it didn’t happen; and B) that those authors are wrong to feel that they were maliciously or deliberately mistreated. In other words, if there are authors out there telling stories about their ill treatment at the hands of EC, I believe them–I absolutely do–and I’m not at all saying they’re lying or exaggerating.

. . . .

I stopped actively writing for EC because I’d moved in a new direction with my work and didn’t have the time (or the option clauses) that would allow it, but that is the only reason I stopped. I made good money at EC. I loved being, and was proud to be, one of their authors–I always will be proud to have been one of their authors.

. . . .

However, their closure does mean that the rights to all of my EC books revert to me. For a while I’ve been toying with the idea of getting them all together, re-editing them (mostly to remove stylistic quirks put in place due to EC’s rather specific house style, which I admit to never being a huge fan of), and releasing them all.

Link to the rest at Stacia Kane

Here’s a link to Stacia Kane’s books. If you like an author’s post, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.

Truman Capote, Groucho Marx and Dick Cavett

3 July 2016

On writers and writing.

Is Yale About to Cave on ‘Too White’ Major English Poets Course?

21 June 2016

From HeatStreet:

The English faculty at Yale looks prepared to surrender to social justice warriors demanding a rewrite of the storied “Major English Poets” course.

The faculty’s chair appeared to make concessions after calls for the compulsory course be “decolonized” because it features too many white male authors.

Students claimed that they were “so alienated that they have to walk out of the room” because of a preponderance of authors like Shakespeare and Chaucer, who “actively harm” them.

. . . .

They concluded: “It is your responsibility as educators to listen to student voices. We have spoken. We are speaking. Pay attention.”

While noting the course – which dates from the 1920s – has “never been in the news before”, [Professor Langdon] Hammer said it “seems fitting for students and faculty to raise questions” about the content.

Those questions include how the course could be “made better” and what it “will look like tomorrow”.

Link to the rest at HeatStreet and thanks to Felix for the tip.

PG listened to a podcast earlier today that discussed cognitive errors/distortions and their treatment.

The OP reminded him of  Emotional Reasoning:

We believe that what we feel must be true automatically. If we feel stupid and boring, then we must be stupid and boring. You assume that your unhealthy emotions reflect the way things really are — “I feel it, therefore it must be true.”

Link to the rest at PsychCentral

Ellora’s Cave Now Threatening RWA With Bogus Defamation Lawsuit

23 May 2016

From The Digital Reader:

The romance publisher Ellora’s Cave has moved on from trying to silence book bloggers with a SLAPP lawsuit; now it is reportedly making threats against the Romance Writers of America.

The RWA is the leading writers association for the romance genre. While it has no legal authority, it does have considerable industry clout. It can sanction publishers for violations of the RWA’s Code of Ethics for Industry Professionals, and has done so in the past when publishers cheated  authors out of royalties or otherwise tried to exploit authors (Harlequin and DellArte Press, for example).

Throughout Ellora’s Cave’s ongoing financial problems, the RWA has been pressuring the publisher to pay authors overdue royalties or release the authors from their contracts. The RWA has banned Ellora’s Cave from conferences and forbidden the publisher from contacting RWA chapters to recruit new authors.

. . . .

Author Kellie Jamieson has revealed on Facebook that Ellora’s Cave is making legal threats against the RWA. On Thursday she published part of a notice which she says the RWA sent out.

RWA has repeatedly contacted management at Ellora’s Cave to demand payment to authors. RWA has also requested that the publisher revert rights if it is unable to pay authors in full. The response we received was a letter signed by Steve Mastrantonio, attorney for Ellora’s Cave, in which he states, “any premature comment by RWA that Ellora’s Cave is in breach of their agreements is reckless, false and Defamatory.” Mr. Mastrantonio asserts that Ellora’s Cave is paying authors as it should, and “any false comments by RWA to harm his clients reputation will be dealt with in a forceful manner.

In light of Ellora’s Cave’s lawsuit against the Dear Author book blog, that is not a legal warning so much as it is an outright threat, an attempt to silence the RWA through legal intimidation.

Link to the rest at The Digital Reader

Ellora’s Cave versus Dear Author settlement

27 October 2015

From Debbie’s Spurts:

So, I’m suspicious that EC settled before having to open their books.  Or that with the settlement having some gag order conditions we’ll ever know the financial details until next legal action.

Good luck to all the authors trying to be paid royalties owed and/or get their rights back.  I’m not a lawyer and have no knowledge of settlement or anything about this case except what I’ve seen online — but, I think if EC does go into bankruptcy that all the rules change on collecting royalties and rights.  I sincerely hope the court in the event of bankruptcy filing does make an effort to help author victims.

Link to the rest at Debbie’s Spurts

Ellora’s Cave: Dear Author/Jane Litte Case Settled

23 October 2015


Today there’s big news in this year-plus long defamation case: plaintiffs Ellora’s Cave and Defendants Dear Author and Jane Litte have settled.

. . . .

In an email to EC’s biz loop, Ellora’s Cave CEO Patty Marks said:

From: [ec_biz]
Date: Thu, Oct 22, 2015 at 9:50 AM
Subject: [ec_biz] Settlement with Dear Author

We are pleased to announce that we have reached a settlement with Dear Author. The terms are confidential, so we will not be discussing that. We are very happy though to now put all of our time and efforts into Ellora’s Cave, the authors and staff without further distraction.

Thank you for your patience and support.

Patty Marks

Defense’s Parting Gift to the Case

Those of you following #notchilled recently will recall discussion of a footnote in case document 71-main (p. 11):

Further,Ellora’s may be planning for bankruptcy even at this time–but have refrained from doing so in the hopes that this SLAPP suit will bear fruit. In fact, Ellora’s counsel has reported to the undersigned on numerous occasions that Ellora’s has failed to pay his bills.

This was a footnote that Randazza had apparently intended to delete, and it led to plaintiffs filing a motion yesterday to strike the footnote, pointing out that this case had received a fair amount of discussion on Twitter’s #notchilled hashtag.

Link to the rest at and thanks to Liana for the tip.

Ellora’s Cave: No COO?

28 October 2014

From Sounds Like Weird LJ:

Ellora’s Cave Lost Its COO?

Behold the current LinkedIn profile of Susan Edwards, who was Ellora’s Cave’s COO.

Note that it lists “Writer and Editor” as a job from “1980 – Present”, but Ellora’s Cave from “January 2005 – October 2014″, meaning she’s no longer there.


Link to the rest at Sounds Like Weird LJ

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