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February 15, 2002
Volume 1 No. 27
ISSN 1530-5287

eBook Ecstasy

This month our publisher spotlight is on an Australian publisher, Sandy Cummins of Writers Exchange E-Publishing.

eBook Ecstasy is a free monthly newsletter aimed at introducing readers to great ebooks. In upcoming issues, we plan to include information on worthy ebook news. So, epublishers can feel free to send us their press releases about innovations, authors should send notification of book signings, awards or other achievements and readers should provide feedback as to the features you would like to see added to eBook Ecstasy. This is *your* newsletter.


Special Announcement
ePublishing News
E-Book Corner
New Releases

Featured E-Author: Jim Farris
Featured E-Publisher: Sandy Cummins
Behind the Scenes: Rhonna J. Robbins-Sponaas
Featured Reviewer: Suzanne Colburn
Featured Reviewer: Annette Gisby
Featured Reviewer: Kate Saundby

***Special Announcement***

E-authors and E-publishers - If you would like to contribute an article to eBook Ecstasy, please contact me so we can highlight you and your web sites. E-book reviewers, I am especially interested in four star reviews of upcoming releases.
Lida E. Quillen  

ePublishing News

Author Spotlight is on Kristie Leigh Maguire, author of Emails from the Edge, in the web debut of epubbed.com.

The Belles and Beaux web site joined with New and Previously Owned Books in January 2002. All of the interviews and reviews presently on Belles and Beaux will be transferred to ReaderToReader.com and NewAndUsedBooks.com. This includes reviews from popular reviewer Suzanne Colburn.

Bridges Magazine has a contest for first time published authors called, the Golden Chalice. First place includes $100.00 in cash, feature in an upcoming Bridges issue, and a free ad. If you are an author who has had your first novel published (print or electronic) in 2001, enter to win. Click on the Golden Chalice link on the homepage or details can be found at:

"Can You Find Success with a Self-Published eBook?" Informative article by Melissa Brewer in the Feb. 27th issue of the eBooks N' Bytes Informer.

Complete a survey and have a chance at winning a Free ebook. Hosted by E.L Noel and Bonnie Mercure. The results should be interesting.

Crystal Dreams Publications is a new epublisher accepting submissions. Sarah Schwersenska, Owner, Editor, & Publisher and Elizabeth Gibbs, Assistant Publisher. [Ed. note: We spotted such familiar names, such as Darrell Bain, Jonathan Fesmire, Annette Gisby and Andre West.]

E-Book Buzz: E-Readers and E-books; are they right for you?, article by Julia Brown.

Eva Almeida, Publisher/Editor of the eBooks N' Bytes Informer and Glenn Dietzel of TeacherEbooks.com have co-written an ebook on how teachers can get involved with using ebooks in the classroom. Free download.

Free ebook, Visions, in various formats from popular author N. D. Hansen-Hill.
"It is exciting, filled with tension, horror, romance, humour, feeling, and science fiction.... What a story."  Reader comment by Glenda Leader, journalist, book reviewer, and playwright

Hard Shell Word Factory is this month's featured publisher at epubbed.com. Very informative interview with Mary Z. Wolf.

"Is J.K. Rowling propping up the book biz? Suppose her latest were offered online" by David Kipen

The Military Download Library is seeking donations for March and April. A free service for the troops and support personnel serving in Operation Enduring Freedom. The Library has a private URL, used solely by military personnel.

NovelBooks, Inc. is looking for books that feature large and/or mature women in any genre or cross-genre for their new line: "Real Women/Real Romance."

Preditors and Editors™ will help promote your *first* book by posting a banner on one of their pages for a month for free.

Prospering In Difficult Times," an interview with Scott Pendergrast of Fictionwise.com on how his company has been able to achieve positive growth in what has been a difficult year for the ebook industry in general.

SpecFicMe! Market newsletter has a new "shameless promotion" section that will come out in the next newsletter (publication date mid-month). Doyle Wilmoth, publisher, says you can send your latest publication news or news of any sales you recently made. This includes books, short stories and articles. Send the details to specficworld@hotmail.com

Submit your new SF/F ebook release info to Solar Flare. Ask about their interactive author interviews.

The Alien Online recently re-launched with a brand new web site and is looking for keen, enthusiastic, talented individuals to join their ever-growing team of reviewers, newshounds, interviewers, cartoonists, columnists, and feature writers.

The Eternal Night Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Fiction Web Site is very author friendly. They do author bios, sample chapters, interviews, and book reviews. If you contact Steve Mazey, let him know you're an eBooks Ecstasy subscriber.

Treble Heart Books needs editors and readers. Pays editors a small flat fee monthly, upon receipt of each editorial report, and based upon word length of each book, plus royalties. Applicants must have Internet access and email capability.

Twilight Publishing U.K. [not to be confused with Twilight Times Publications U.S.] will launch March 1st.

Women on Writing recently updated their web site. Lots of new features.

Rumor Mill

Authors on a couple of email lists report that a few reviewers are selling their review copies at Amazon.com and eBay and are *not* even providing a review to the author or the publisher.

Web site down for Crossroads Publishing Company at press time.


AllAboutMurder announces their newsletter, AAM in the News. "We have a bit of something for everyone. Like murder, suspense, thrills, and a bit of romance? Check out our monthly updates from movies, to books, to writers tibbits, to quizzes and polls. Interested? You need not be a member of AllAboutMurder to subscribe! Hope to have you join in the fun!"

eBooksOnThe.Net offers a wide selection of genres that will fulfill one of two purposes: entertain or inform. Current selections include Eyes of Truth by Linda Suzane, The Moon Child by Alex Roces, Prophecy:The Awakening by Ardy M. Scott, Pandora's Box by Jim Farris, The Scythian Stone by Jon F. Baxley and Soul Guardian by Tara Manderino.

The Dragon's Loft now has Musk Rain and Prairie Fire by Terri Branson in several formats. [Ed. note: both books are highly recommended.] Current selections also include The Binding by PhyllisAnn Welsh, Death to the Centurion by Mark Misercola and The Casebook of Doakes and Haig by Patrick Welch.

Twilight Times Books is offering some exciting fantasy releases. Coming March 2002: A Creative Edge: Tales of Speculation by Steve Lazarowitz, Darkly, Darkly by Robert Marcom and Jerome and the Seraph by Robina Williams.

Writing for Fun: Creating a Mystery Game. Design and write your own mystery game. A free PDF download available from PlayMurder.com. Check out the resources while you're there.


The State of the Industry, 2002

An essay on the e-publishing industry

by Jim Farris, Published Professional Author and Composer

Ladies and Gentlemen of the e-publishing world, it is time for us to shift our overall focus.

E-books in the popular media are presented as being "the easy way to get published" - they are not being presented as "the cheap way to read a damn good book". As a result, there are many, many "experts" producing various and sundry guides telling people how they can make a mint publishing their novel as an e-book - yet, there are no popular book-review outlets in the mainstream media telling the general public about the incredible array of talent available in e-books. Instead, the main focus of mainstream media attention has been (as usual) on the Titans and the Big Six (Tom Clancy, John Grisham, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Michael Crichton and Danielle Steele). Good, bad or indifferent, if you aren't one of the "Big Six", it's not likely your latest e-book is going to be reviewed on Oprah.

There are those in the e-book industry who are, in essence, proposing that the majority of our works should be given away for free, similar to online web-comics, in an attempt to overcome this problem, and draw the consumers to us. They point to the "troubador" economic model of the middle ages, with the basic theory being "Well, I can't make money from my books, but I can get famous and go sing for my supper."


Name one - just one - famous medieval or rennaisance troubador.

Just one.

Go on - I'll wait.

Give up?

Okay - next, name one medieval or rennaisance author or playwright who sold their works, rather than using the "Troubador" model.

Bacon, Shakespeare, Chaucer...

Much easier, isn't it?

Thus, I'd have to say 1) This has been tried before, and 2) It didn't work. Indeed, many online web-comics creators today are folding their tents and moving on to other, more profitable careers, simply because the "troubador" model isn't getting them what they really want, which is a contract with one of the major comics syndicates.

The key, however, isn't that 'Free=Bad'. Far from it - free works can help build an author's name-recognition, and greatly assist their sales. Even Shakespeare held free (or reduced-price) viewings of his plays to build audience recognition of his works (and since his works are still being performed today, it appears the notion worked). No, the real key is that while we may have some of our works free or at a reduced price, we shouldn't give everything away, then look to other venues for our meat and bread, as the 'troubador' model suggests. That simply won't work in the long run. Granted, you might succeed in the short run, but where will you be even twenty or thirty years later? Answer: Probably an unknown.

Awhile Back, Dick Brass of Microsoft asserted that e-books and the e-book industry could be directly compared to the automobile industry was in 1908 - and this was a comparison the mainstream media immediately leapt upon, and touted around for many weeks. Unfortunately, the comparison is not quite that simple.

Though Brass is correct in that the e-book industry is pretty much where the auto industry was in 1908 (in that it's in it's infancy, and the general public does not yet fully appreciate the potential of the technology), one has to remember that automobiles and e-books are two radically different technologies and consumer goods. An automobile, even back in 1908, cost a significant amount of one's annual pay, while an e-book only costs a minute fraction of that. Also, it took 20 years for automobiles to double their top speed (the most noticable measure of performance), while computers have doubled their speed in only five years. Finally, the relative cost of a new automobile as a percentage of one's annual salary has slowly increased over the last century to the point now where the average American pays an amount equal to their entire year's salary. Meanwhile, the relative cost of computers, which was initially equal to the gross national product of many small nations, has now dropped to where you can buy a machine that has more computing power than the sum total of all the computers on the planet in 1950, and yet spend less than one months' salary to buy it.

Many in the mainstream media make the simple comparison of the current revolution in publishing/e-publishing to the current (and, indeed, ongoing) revolution in the music industry. However, though similar, the difference in dynamics between the music industry and the publishing industry are different enough so that this comparison isn't quite that simple.

The music industry has undergone this sort of "revolution" several times - in the fifties, new labels broke away from the traditional ones, spreading their new music of "Rock and Roll" through the medium of radio. Then again, in the sixties, new labels such as A&B records appeared, again challenging the dominant labels with new and unique styles of music, promoted through new outlets.

The story of A&B Records, in particular, is a fascinating example of what this kind of "revolution" is like in the music industry - and how it usually settles out, in the end. Herb Alpert (the "A" of A&B) had a band called the Tijuana Brass - and through sharp marketing, distribution and promotion, TJB albums managed to consistently out-sell those of the Beatles, despite the fact that the Beatles got far more media coverage. Now, 40 years later, A&B is one of the giants in the industry - they call the shots, and they're the "establishment" that these younger labels are trying to break away from, just as A&B struggled to break away from the established labels in their time.

Really, the music industry undergoes this type of "revolution" about every ten or fifteen years. The publishing industry, however, only has this kind of "revolution" about every 70 or 80 years - and this makes the dynamics of such a "revolution" completely different.

The last time something like the current "revolution" happened in the publishing industry was back in the 1930's, with the emergence of "Pulp" fiction. In many ways, fiction writing in America reached a pinnacle in the monthly magazines affectionately known to collectors as "the pulps". The pulps were monthly magazines printed on pulp-paper, specializing in fictional short stories set in various genres. Unlike today's periodicals of short science fiction, mystery, horror and fantasy stories, the "Pulp-Era" stories were not written to impart any moral messages or teach some "great truth"; these stories were written purely for the entertainment of the reader - Conan the Barbarian slew his first monster in the pulps, and Tarzan wrestled his first lion in the pulps. But, really, given the general "doom and gloom" that everyone was experiencing during the depression-era thirties, stories written for pure entertainment were precisely what the reading public at the time really wanted - and, given the price of the pulps, they were within the reach of even the most financially strapped reader

The pulps finally died out with the advent of WWII, as the war-effort caused a shortage of the very paper they were printed on - they were replaced by the new medium of "comic books", and the sci-fi serial mags that popped up in the 50's and 60's in what is now termed the "Golden Age" of Science Fiction. Yet despite the death of the Pulps, the pulp stories live on. Not only are they being reprinted for modern readers, many movies have been made using "Pulp Era" scenarios and plots. Doug McClure starred in "At the Earth's Core" and "The Land that Time Forgot" where he (as a "Pulp-Era" hero) discovers and explores a "lost world", complete with dinosaurs, stone-age humans and Weird, psychic powers. The spirit of the Pulps also lives on in modern movies with characters like Indiana Jones, Allan Quartermaine, The Shadow, et. al., and in T.V. movies like Cast a Deadly Spell. This, indeed, is where the comparison between the music and publishing industries falls apart - this type of revival simply doesn't happen in the music industry. Though there will always be an audience for (as one example) the music of the 1950's, to expect that this music will return to the mainstream is a vain hope. Yet, the old stories of the pulps have returned to the mainstream - time and time again, in fact, as each new generation of readers rediscovers what is, by any measure, a golden age of American fiction literature.

Still, this wasn't the first time this type of "revolution" had happened in the publishing industry. 70 years before, at the end of the civil war, a new type of publication arose to challenge the "traditional" publishers - the Dime Novels. Supposedly based on "real" incidents (though usually complete works of fantasy), the Dime Novels popularized the "Romantic" west, where brave cowboys fought off implacable and savage indians to save the helpless heroine, and modern day "robin hoods" stole from the ruthless Rail-Barons to give to the helpless and downtrodden poor. "Buffalo Bill" Cody capitalized on the popularity of the Dime Novels in his "Wild West Circus", where trick shots (like Annie Oakley) and trick ropers performed stunts to amaze and amuse, and real live indians pretended to assault brave wagoneers, the roar of the mock battle and the acrid smell of blanks both thrilling and chilling the crowd (all the indians pretended to die, in the end, of course). But, in the end, most of the Dime Novel publishers folded with the "taming" of the west, with those few that survived later becoming the "establishment" that the Pulps would be breaking away from decades later.

So, the dynamics of what is happening in the publishing industry today, while similar to those of the music industry, are not identical enough to draw a straight comparison. Firstly, the time-scale is much larger, with upstart publishers taking two or three generations to become the "traditional" publishers, themselves, whereas the same process can occurr in the music industry in a single generation. Secondly, the changes that occurr in the music industry are, at best, ephemeral - it has happened before, and it will happen again in just a few years. The publishing industy, by contrast, changes over much longer periods of time - but, once it has changed, it stays changed. Amazing Stories, Asimov's Science Fiction and Fantasy and other similar magazines may not resemble the pulps much, but they strive to carry on the spirit of those magazines as best they can. More, many of the "traditional" publishers who got their start in the "pulps" now are reprinting those old stories to a new generation of readers, who devour the tales of Conan and Doc Savage with just as much eagerness and gusto as the original readers did, seventy years before. This simply doesn't happen in the music industry - collections of music from the 1950's, for example, simply don't interest the youth of today. Yet, this is precisely the type of comparison the mainstream media is making regarding our industry.

Why? How could the mainstream media miss the mark so broadly when it comes to understanding what is happening in e-publishing today? After all, most of these reporters are college-educated professionals - they aren't idiots. Yet, they have completely missed the mark when they try to explain to their audience what is truly happening in our industry. Why?

Well, the essential problem that I see here is that the mainstream media is primarily attracted to brevity. It's difficult to say "This e-book is fabulous because it has a marvellously written plot and sparkling characters." That is an opinion - and opinions take time to present (book-review shows generally take ten to fifteen minutes or more just talking about one book). However, it only takes five seconds to say "Stephen King made over one million dollars selling an unfinished novel as an e-book." That is no opinion - it is simple fact. It ignores the fact that the book was, by the standards of King's other works, mediocre (even by his own admission, it was not his best work). It ignores the fact that many of King's readers have vowed never to buy his works again because they feel he cheated them by refusing to finish "The Plant", and laughed all the way to the bank (as seen in the explosion of "Stephen King Sux" websites following the stoppage of "The Plant"). No, all that is ignored, because explaining it takes longer than a 5-second sound-byte.

The mainstream media is primarily interested in stories that can be presented as simple, brief facts - then cut to commercial. In-depth, detailed analysis programs do exist, of course - but let's face it, the "McNiel-Lehrer News Hour" doesn't get nearly the audience share that CNN Headline News does. The mainstream media is interested in brevity because the public itself is interested in brevity. The public wants the story, they want it now, they want it short and to the point, they want it made simple and easily understandable, and once they've got it, they want to move on.

If we are to learn anything from history, we should learn that our true strengths, the strengths that may allow us to succeed, are 1) Price, and 2) Quality. The old "pulp era" novels back in the 30's and 40's sold not because they were jam-packed with fabulous stories (though many were), they sold at first simply because they were dirt cheap. Later, as various authors made their names in the pulps and the later "Golden Age" serial-mags that followed in the 50's and 60's, these little mags became known not simply for their low price, but for their high quality.

This is what needs to happen in the e-book industry. The reading public needs to become aware that they can invest a small amount of money and recieve an enormous variety of fresh, new tales from talented, sparkling authors. That's the type of brevity that the media (and by extension, the general public) wants.

However, there are several obstacles to this.

First, e-books still lack percieved convenience. The e-reader market is still unstable, with no single format coming to the fore as the one dominant format, and no single reader that looks like it will be around for awhile. The Rocket Reader had enormous promise - and then was utterly ditched by Gemstar, leaving thousands of users in the lurch, wondering if they invested in a lump of plastic that may as well go in the trash bin. E-books have the advantage of multimedia capability - one can create a book with music, animation and illustrations that gives the reader an experience that is utterly and totally immersive, and far richer than simple paper and ink (and I have). Yet, to view this creation requires hardware that is not cheap, nor (for the better desktop and tower systems) portable. The most convenient way to read an e-book, at the moment, remains HTML format on a standard web-browser in a laptop. This, however, pales in comparison to the convenience of a simple paperback, and it's far too easy to attack the laptop for its expense, difficulty of use and readability, and simple size.

Second, e-books lack percieved affordability. While an individual e-book is cheap (most download for the same cost as a paperback, or less), the reader technology is hardly cheap at all. Even a low-end laptop or desktop will run into four figures - and very few people are going to say to themselves "Well, I hardly see a reason to invest six bucks into this paperback when I can invest two thousand into this home computer and read an e-book!" Thus, the perception is that e-books are expensive because the technology required to read them is expensive - whereas it requires no additional expense or technology to read a paperback.

So what are the solutions?

Well, I see the primary solution as being to identify our real market, and focus on them. We are not trying to get Ma and Pa Kettle to read an e-book - they don't even have a computer. Our market is not the "General Reading Public." No, the people we are trying to get to read e-books are people who already own a computer, either a laptop or a home machine (or both). These people have already invested in the technology required to both download and read our works - for them, the expense of obtaining our latest Magnum Opus is minimal. Thus, we focus on these people (who, indeed, represent a growing segment of the population, anyway), and advertise that our books are, in truth, cheaper than paperbacks. In addition, the "convenience" factor is already built in, if we use HTML format. Nearly all web-browsers today allow the user to adjust the font size to whatever is convenient for them to read, and an HTML formatted book can be double-clicked and read with ease. Moreover, the same web-browser they used to visit our website and download our books can be used to read our books - no additional software or investment required. Finally, for those who wish portability (I.E. those who want their books to also be available on their laptop or other portable), they can simply transfer an HTML e-book as a file to their portable, and read it anywhere.

Yes, there are those who point out that HTML has no copy protection - but consider, with modern flat scanners and collating, self-binding print setups being available for very little money, print books have no "copy protection", either. The simple truth of the matter is that the people we are really trying to reach aren't interested in our elaborate and esoteric methods of copy protection - they aren't interested in duplicating the book to begin with, they just want to read it, and read it conveniently. The more we try to protect our works with elaborate and complicated schemes for copy-protection, the more inconvenient we make our works for the very market we are trying to target.

Consider: Microsoft's e-reader software has a multi-million dollar ad-campaign backing it, hugely famous titles in their available library, and prices that, while much higher than normal e-books, are not ridiculously high. So, why haven't they dominated the market? Answer: Because the typical user can't download the book onto their computer, then conveniently transfer it to their laptop to read while they ride the carpool to work. Microsoft has invested millions into making what is, at the moment, the "ultimate" copy-proof system - and, as a result, it has zero convenience for the typical user. Moreover, their "ultimate" system has already been cracked, and there are hundreds of websites now where "wannabe" hackers can download "warez" that will "crack" the copy-protection Microsoft has created, and thus illegally distribute famous works for free on the growing "e-book underground" of UseNet. The "hackers" see copy-protection schemes as a challenge, while the consumers - the people who we are trying to target - simply see them as an inconvenience. Hackers and other illegal software pirates will always be there, and trying to defeat them through various copyright schemes is like trying to hold back the tide with your hands - a noble but futile effort.

Thus, with HTML format, we insure that when our readers go to our websites to buy our books, they already have the "e-reader" they need to read our works - the web-browser, itself. Copyright protection, such as it is, is a non-issue. The people who are visiting our websites and buying our books aren't the people who are copying them in the first place - they simply want to read our works, and the more convenient we make it for them to do so, the better our works will sell.

So, in conclusion, it is my opinion we need to shift our industry's focus not on the general reading public, but on that section of the reading public who owns a computer and a web-browser. Let them know of the simplicity of getting our books. "No need to get dressed and slog through the snow to the bookstore - reading enjoyment is only a click away!" Let them know of the convenience of our HTML-formatted books. "If you're reading this web-page, you could be reading an exciting new novel, instead, just as easily!" And, most importantly, let them know that despite the fact that we all aren't named "King, Grisham or Steele", e-books have as much quality and talent available, and at a significant fraction of what one would pay for the "Big Six".

 - - - - - - -
Author Info:

Jim Farris is the author of several articles, short-stories and fourteen books ranging from science fiction through romance and even non-fiction.

Jim Farris is a modest, self described hermit who has this to say about himself:
"I am thirty-eight, happily married for thirteen years, no children, and live in a small college town in Southeastern New Mexico famous only for the production of Valencia peanuts.

I am self-educated with a smattering of military and college experience of no real consequence or importance. I write novels, and compose and perform music for my novels in MIDI and Mp3 format, but otherwise live the life of a hermit.

That is probably all I want the public to ever know about me, as my life is really so incredibly dull that knowing more about me actually detracts from the reading enjoyment of my work."

Visit Jim's web site:

Ed. note: Jim composed a fabulous New Age soundtrack for Prophecy: The Awakening.
Title theme available with chapter excerpt.

Copyright © 2002 Jim Farris, All Rights Reserved


[Ed. note: I spotted Rhonna's commentary on the Net Author email list asked for permission to use her comments in eBe.]

Editors: The Nature of the Beast

Rhonna J. Robbins-Sponaas, Editor in Chief, Net Author

Not long ago, Net Author’s list community had a discussion about the nature of one of the most potentially perplexing aspects of writing life: The Editor. There was, as there is with many writers, a certain amount of confusion. What exactly is an editor?

Or, more to the point, what the dickens does the editor actually do, anyway? The simple truth is that an editor can be either the blessing or the bane of a writer's existence and, whether we realize it or not, a large part of the relationship between writer and editor depends upon some very basic expectations. Bluntly, what you expect of your editor, and what your editor expects of you.

Those expectations differ between the two camps of writing and editing, but there are certain issues you can expect to have to negotiate. For writers, there are two extremes: those who expect the editor to do absolutely nothing to their work other than the necessary layout, typesetting, or coding, and those who expect the editor to arbitrarily fix everything that may be wrong with the work. Most writers fall on a scale somewhere between those two points, with the healthier attitude being somewhere in the middle.

Editors have a different set of expectations but, by and large, they're consistent among the editorial community. First and foremost, they expect you as a writer to turn in your very best work. It should be as technically clean and as highly polished as you can possibly make it. If you haven't even bothered to take the time to run a spell check or clean up some very basic mistakes, the odds are good that the work will be taken much less seriously than you'd like, or even totally disregarded.

Another thing all editors have—or should have—in common is that they want to print the very best work they can get their hands on. Of course, the level of sophistication of what they print is often dependent upon their publication or organization, and their own level of experience. For instance, a young editor with a fledgling magazine with limited submissions may find himself printing less sophisticated pieces than he'd like. Give the editor time to learn his craft, however, and that journal a chance to earn a reputation for printing quality material—and therefore receive stronger submitted work—and the level of sophistication
will rise accordingly. Editing is as much a skill as writing, and both are learned over time.

From that point, things begin to blur. Depending upon the purpose of the publication and the personality of the editor, you'll find varying degrees of willingness to work with a writer, and varying expectations, and therein lies the crux of the relationship between writer and editor. For instance, if you're submitting a manuscript to an academic publisher, you can expect that they'll demand technical and grammatical perfection, that they'll edit your text for clarity, accuracy, and proper accreditation, and that neither those criteria nor most of their editorial changes will be open to negotiation. Nevertheless, they'll still expect you to have turned in a technically clean manuscript.

By the same token, if you submit a manuscript to a fiction publisher, you can expect that they'll look for many of the same things as their academic counterpart, but they'll usually have a stronger focus on those nebulous things we call style and technique, as well as the usual emphasis on characters and plots. In both cases, their willingness to work with the writer is going to be dependent upon their own caseload, as well as their organization's economics and mission statement, and not necessarily in that order.

The mission statement—or purpose—of the publisher tends to determine how the editor operates. In other words, what I do as editor depends very much upon the journal or publication I'm editing. For instance, recently I spent a year as the Creative Nonfiction Editor of a literary journal; one whose leadership didn’t think very highly of creative nonfiction. When I received a submission, I read it knowing that it had to be a stellar piece of work in order to even be considered. I had to read knowing that there was already a bias in the administration against the genre, and that most of what constitutes creative nonfiction would automatically be rejected. I had to read looking for what I thought they might like—not what I liked and appreciated about this type of writing. Likewise, the goal of that journal is only to publish (the best it can, but simply publish nonetheless), and feedback to a writer is not expected. The work either gets in, or it doesn't. When I could squeeze out the time and when I really wanted to encourage a writer, I responded to the writers who subbed to me, but that wasn't the journal's concern and therefore not in my job description, so to speak.

For Net Author and many small publishers, the focus is the writer. I read everything that my publisher doesn't filter out. Literally. And some work that bypasses him. But the purpose—and therefore my response—is different than it was for the literary journal. Because NA's goal is not just to publish the best we can lay our hands on but to actually help a writer strengthen his or her writing, I read a lot of things I might not otherwise read, and I and the rest of our editorial staff respond more thoroughly than we probably would if we worked for a different publication.

Regardless, we’re still looking at two very large considerations. First, what type of publication does NA's E2K aim to be? If the material doesn't fit our mission and readership, then I can explain that to the writer and invite something that is more appropriate for us. If the material fits within our scope, then I can focus on the writing itself, and that's the second consideration. If the writing is strong, and is as "good" as I believe it can get, then my job is simple: All I have to do is send an acceptance letter.

More often, however, the writing falls into one of two camps. Either it's strong, but there are some technical flaws and weaknesses that I'm not comfortable owning when we print the work, or else the writing needs varying degrees of elbow grease. In the first case, I've absolutely no problem telling a writer to insert a comma, combine a couple of sentences, or otherwise help her fix any grammatical flaws or weaknesses. In my current position, that's part of my job, and I refuse to allow an otherwise intriguing piece of writing to go into print until I know it's technically clean. It would look sloppy and unprofessional, and regardless of what you think of your writing and creative license or your particular voice, that's not a label I want applied to me or the journal I work for.

That's the easy part of my job.

The more difficult part is telling a writer where a shift in perspective may be necessary, that she needs to develop a character's identity or push away from a stereotype, that she needs to complicate a plot, push a supposition to the wall, consider a structural reorganization, etc. The creative aspects of the writing are much more difficult for me as Editor to broach with you as Writer, because I'm very aware that this is your work. You've invested time and energy and heart in that work. I know that, if only because I do the same with my work, and with my own writing.

What it often comes down to for me is a question not of aesthetics, but of believing you've produced the best work you're capable of producing at this moment when we go to print, and that fits with NA's mission. Writing is a craft that's learned just like any other skill, and your expertise is gained by sheer hard work, by a dedication to continued learning, by reading the best examples of writing you can find in your genre and out. In two years, you may look at what you've done and think, "Sheesh! What possessed me?!?"

But for now, for this moment, I want to be sure that you'll be able to be proud of what you're publishing. No less do I want to be proud of what you've done, and what my organization is printing. And equally importantly, although I've saved it for last, I want our readers to be able to read your work with no confusion, no misunderstanding, and no apathy. I want them to read it, nod their heads, and say, "Yeah!"

Those are my motivations and my goals, and therefore my expectations as an editor in this particular place and time. I don't always achieve them, and it's always a juggling act. Generally speaking, the only absolute demands I'll make on a writer are for questions of coherency—places where I don't believe the reader will "get" your brilliance because it's hidden behind something else—and technicals or grammaticals. Everything else will be posed to you as things I want you to seriously consider, because I believe it will make your work stronger. I'll make certain you understand that your choice to revise according to my suggestions is entirely that: your choice. You have the right to go elsewhere if you're not comfortable with what I'm telling you, and I expect you to do so. I will not force you to change a text in such a way that makes you uncomfortable. That's not professional, and is, in my mind, more damaging than helpful, even when I'm right.

In their best forms, editors work in not just their publication's best interests, but also in the writer's. When you find an editor that helps your work grow—one who actually helps you strengthen your writing and your skill—develop that relationship; nurture it. That one individual can easily prove to be your most valuable writing ally.

Having said all that, there are going to be times when you'll find you can't work with an editor. Sometimes it's a question of personalities, sometimes a question of values, or a difference in styles. Occasionally it'll even be a question of ethics; like it or not, there are frankly a host of folks out there who lack a professional code or have absolutely no idea what they’re doing. In the event of the latter, take your work and run. Your writing reputation, your career, and your identity as a writer are both too valuable and too fragile to risk in calloused hands.

In the event of the former, when the conflict is one based on personalities or style—and you will stumble into this situation at least once in your writing career—put the work down for a while. Make a note of the editor's response, but deliberately set the work down for at least a week. I'd suggest a month. Forget it exists. Then go back and see what you think. If you still disagree with the response, go ahead and try to negotiate that with the editor. Calmly, and professionally. If you don't get anywhere, and you reach a point where you recognize that you can't negotiate the difference, then you need to find a different editor for that piece of work. Don't make an issue of it; just withdraw the piece and keep working with that individual on other things if you can and are comfortable doing so. Sometimes selected writings need different editors; an editor may have a strength in one area and be weak in another.

If, on the other hand, they operate like NA does, they'll have folks on staff that they can use to "fill in the gaps" and help give balance. If they don't, or if you reach a point where you simply cannot work with that editor in good faith, then the best you can do is make sure that those relationships stay professional. Load your interactions with the same courtesy and respect you expect to receive. In other words, don’t stoop to name-calling or suggest that the editor must be obtuse if she didn’t get the brilliance of your point. While it's intensely personal, it's still a business; the career field may be huge, but word gets around in the writing community like gossip at a church picnic.

In short, editors are human, and far from perfect, but as you work with them, be sure you take the time to understand what you expect of each other, and to define those expectations as you work on a publication. It’ll make your relationship much more comfortable, and much more productive.

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Author info:
Rhonna J. Robbins-Sponaas serves as Net Author's Editor in Chief at the pleasure of the publisher, Robert Marcom. She believes "to write is the thing," is usually surrounded by books, research of one sort or another, half-finished manuscripts, student papers, and two German Shepherds who think they should rule the world.

She currently resides with her husband in Norway, and is often reminded of her Southern heritage when walking becomes an exercise in balance and temperatures drop to zero.

Copyright © 2002 Rhonna J. Robbins-Sponaas, All Rights Reserved.


Sandy Cummins, Publisher of Writers Exchange E-Publishing

eBe:  Why did you get started as an ebook publisher?

I had been critiquing for a few years and noticed many mistakes on books when doing book reviews.  As I was already running a writing resource site devoted to helping writers, I felt that starting an epublishing company where the helping the author was the main goal was a logical progression.  That is why we emphasise that we judge each book on its own merits, not on the biography of the author.  Many sites are only interested in established authors, I am interested in making authors established.

eBe:  Do epublishers currently have a reputation for producing quality novels?

No.  And it is not fair, there are a lot of "flash-in-the-pan" companies that set up shop and don't edit, but that is why they don't last in the industry.  To try to help combat this perception I have a guarantee at Writers Exchange, that if you find a mistake in one of our books, we will fix it and replace it.

eBe: What will you do to earn a good reputation for your company?

Continue to be honest in my dealings with my staff and the public, and do the best job I can.  To always improve when I find areas that are lacking.  Rather than getting huffy when someone finds an error we need to feel grateful that it was picked up, and be willing to correct it.  Not just on our websites, but on our products as well.

eBe:  What changes, good or bad, have you recently seen in the epublishing industry?

I have seen a growing trend in cooperation between epublishing companies.  This is important.  The independants have a hard battle against public opinion and the monopoly of the giants of the publishing industry.  There are so many potential customers out there, that if we can stick together to promote the epublishing industry it is to our advantage to join forces.

There is also a growing acceptance of the industry amongst the public which is gratifying, and the fact that Australia finally has one ebook reader available for sale is great.  So much has been centered in America, that International customers are at a big disadvantage, to see us catching up is wonderful for the industry.

eBe:  What do you have to offer that perhaps traditional (print) publishers do not?

Our guarantee, we listen to feedback.  I have had many people write to me and make suggestions on improvements, and if I agree with them (which has been 99% of the time) I have made these changes.  I am not perfect, and don't pretend to be, the big print publishing houses though, are a different matter.

For those who like print we have that, we also have formats for electronic readers, for those who want those, we are also going to have audible books later this year.  So we are not only flexible, we are versatile as well.

eBe:  What genres do you offer?

Romance (any subgenre thereof), Fantasy, Science Fiction, Mystery, Western, Childrens Books (children's illustrated picture books, mid-grade readers and Young Adult), Humour, Thriller/Adventure/War, General Fiction, General Non-fiction, Writing Advice, Parenting, How-To/Self-Help, Christian and excluding erotica, we are happy to expand as needed.

eBe:  What do you see as the future of ebooks?

I see them as a wonderful resource for readers and authors.  I do not see them replacing the print industry, but rather working alongside it.

 - - - - - - -
About the publisher:

Sandy Cummins has been helping writers since her first writing website appeared on the internet in 1997.  Since then she has bought her own domain and Writers Exchange was born.  After winning accolades from Writers Digest, her writing website expanded to include an electronic publishing company of the same name.

This year alone Writers Exchange E-Publishing has released Eppie winning books, been used as a case study for electronic publishing by a government-funded university study, and won the Inscriptions Engravers Award for best Epublisher!

So check out the writing resource site http://www.writers-exchange.com

Writers Exchange E-Publishing: http://www.writers-exchange.com/epublishing/

Copyright © 2002 Sandy Cummins.


Title: Suspicious Minds
Author: Kim Cox
Publisher: RFIWest, Inc.
ISBN: 1-58697-449-1
Romantic Suspense
Reviewed by Suzanne Colburn

Debut author Kim Cox dishes up a thrilling romantic suspense that will at times, have you biting your nails.

Ryan Donatelli, New York Times newspaper reporter, goes undercover at Southard and Southard brokerage firm, after his sister Shelley, an FBI Agent working as a secretary is murdered. Ryan, using the name Thomas Randolph, gets close to Southard´s daughter and partner, Natalie. He doesn´t know whether she is in with her father and Mafia bigwig Nick DeMarco, and plays it cool until he finds out which way the wind blows concerning the beautiful Natalie.

Natalie herself is suspicious of her father and tries to find out what is going on by searching her father´s office where she meets Ryan one night. He can´t risk telling her the truth about who he and she isn't willing to confide her suspicions with him, thus a cat and mouse game is set in motion.

This book is so nerve racking at points because dealing with the Mafia can mean death to any that cross them, and Ryan and Natalie have some hair-raising scares in store for them. There is an excellent cast of supporting characters who add depth and excitement to this fast-paced romantic thriller.

Excellent writing by a gifted new writer.

- - - - - -
Author info:
Suzanne Coleburn, the Belles and Beaux of Romance

Copyright © 2002 Suzanne Coleburn

Title: Reflections of a Recovering Servant
Author: Steve Lazarowitz
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
ISBN: 1-931201-42-0
Reviewed by Kate Saundby

"Far from being just another Tolkein wannabe, the versatile Steve Lazarowitz is a true SF Fantasy original. Whether it is a group of archangels drag-racing Satan in a dusty American town or a golden tree's revenge on the murderer of its beloved guardian, his stories never fail to bemuse, bedazzle and delight.

In fact, it could safely be said that Steve Lazarowitz is to the art of SF/Fantasy writing as Godiva is to chocolate-making; because I know I'm in for a treat whenever I see his name on a story.

Steve first became known for his online serials and Reflections of a Recovering Servant happens to be one of his best. Having followed this rollicking adventure chapter by chapter through its original incarnation, I'm delighted to see Reflections reappear in an ebook edition at Twilight Times.

From its heartstopping beginning to the Byzantine twist at the end, Reflections of a Recovering Servant is a winner. And I'll never look at a mirror in quite the same way again."

- - - - - -
Author info:
Reviewed by Kate Saundby, author of The Wages of Justice, 2001 SF Dream Realm Award winner

Kate lives in rural northwest Tennessee with her husband Herman and a laid-back orange cat named Clifty. Her black and tan Coon lab dog, Jessie Mae, joined her ancestors two years ago and she's still greatly missed.

Her first and second trilogies in the Nublis Chronicles saga will be coming soon from Double Dragon. They will be followed by The Orion Property and Fortune's Hostage. The final titles in the Nublis saga, The Spirit Dogs of Sirius and its sequels, Aase's Daughter and The Wages of Deception, will be re-released soon by Double Dragon.

The forthcoming editions of the Nublis Chronicles have been extensively revised and contain additional material suggested by Piers Anthony and Steve Lazarowitz and new cover art by Nicholas Krueger and Tony de Luz.

Copyright © 2002 Kate Saundby

Title: Eyes of Truth
Author: Linda Suzane
Publisher: Twilight Times Books
ISBN: 1-931201-36-6
Fantasy mystery
Reviewed by Annette Gisby

"In the fantasy land of Naj, an oriental kingdom prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, murder and sickness stalks the streets of the backwater province of Funara, especially the city of Dak-Moon. The descendents of the god, the Insu-ha, have been given the gift of knowing when people are lying, the gift is known as the Eyes of Truth.

The ruler of Naj, Cojii, appoints his brother, Dar as his Hand to go and investigate the murder of a gardener found with his body hung over a pole and drained completely of blood. Even with Eyes as strong as Dar's, it is difficult to find the murderer. Other things are happening too.

There is a sickness and the healer Torren is convinced there is a plague of some sort, and Dar discovers that all the victims had one thing in common. They had all been to the magistrate's palace for his entertainments...

There is a bit of everything in the book, adventure, romance, horror, mystery, but closely woven together into a coherent whole. Dar is a well rounded character with es of grey and incidences in his past that haunt him still, the ideal tortured hero.

This is a great story, well crafted and a bit more unusual than most fantasy books I've read. There are no goblins and trolls here, but different entities just as interesting, if not more so. The world comes alive and the characters are well drawn, jumping right out of the page. You care what happens to them and I for one would like to read more adventures set in the world of Naj.

A fantastic read."

- - - - - -
Author info:
Reviewed by Annette Gisby, author of Silent Screams for Twisted Tales.
Annette Gisby grew up in a small town in Northern Ireland, moving to London with her family when she was seventeen. Her first book, Silent Screams is coming soon from Crystal Dreams. It is a contemporary story full of family secrets and betrayals and has had excellent reviews.

As well as writing books, Annette is also the editor of the Twisted Tales webzine, which has stories, poetry, book reviews and author feature articles. She is also the assistant manager of NUW - Not the Usual Way, an international online support group for independent writers founded by Kristie Leigh Maguire

Copyright © 2002 Annette Gisby


Atlantic Bridge Publishing

Child of the Star
A. B. Barnes Jr.

Genuine Haunted House for Sale
Susan E. Lee
Children's Lit

Avid Press

Rapture in Moonlight (The Sequel to "Walk in Moonlight")
Rosemary Laurey
Vampire fiction

Twice Dead
Elizabeth Dearl

Awe-Struck E-Books, Inc.

Blood Will Tell
Jean Lorrah
Vampire romance

Flames Past
Gracie McKeever
Paranormal romance

The Rogue's Revenge
Lucy Zahnle
Regency Romance

Two for the Show
Dorothy Compton
Contemporary romance


Hollywood Losers, Hollywood Dreamers
Lisa Maliga


Immortal Desires
Shannon Leigh
Paranormal romance

Double Dragon eBooks

Aase's Daughter
Kate Saundby
Science Fiction

Brendell: Apprentice Thief
Patrick Welch

Dragonfly Publishing

Paula Blais Gorgas
Paranormal romance

Earth Magic
Paula Blais Gorgas
Paranormal romance


Eyes of Truth
Linda Suzane
Fantasy mystery

Golden Legend
Robert Legleitner

The Moon Child
Alex Roces
Magic Realism

Electric eBook Publishing

Stray Cats: Book Two of the Catloop Chronicles
Jeanie duGal
Crime fiction

Embiid Publishing

Stephen Goldin
Science Fiction

Dare to Dream
Modean Moon

I Dare, a Liaden Universe® Novel
Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Science Fiction


Any Time Now
Chris Butler

Birthright: The Book of Man
Mike Resnick
Science Fiction

Destiny's Shield
Eric Flint & David Drake
Science Fiction

Fortune's Stroke
Eric Flint & David Drake
Science Fiction

The Philosophical Strangler
Eric Flint
Science Fiction

Hard Shell Word Factory

Devoted Deceptions
Cherie Singer
SF/F Romance

Elaine Corvidae
SF/F Romance


Gabriel's Ghost
Megan Sybil Baker
SF Romance

The Plausible Prince
K. G. McAbee

New Concepts Publishing

Heaven's Gate
Dianna Hunter

Mirror Image
Kim Murphy

Secret Dilemma
Jane Toombs
Short Series

The Will of Time
Robin Bayne
Time Travel Romance

NovelBooks, Inc.

For Baby's Sake
Maralee Lowder
Contemporary romance

Married by Mistake
Laurie Alice Eakes

The Choosing
PhyllisAnn Welsh


Liberty and Opportunity
Ross Richdale
Family Saga

Treble Heart Books

Safe Beginnings
Christine Duncan

Twilight Times Books

Eyes of Truth
Linda Suzane
Fantasy mystery

Reflections of a Recovering Servant
Steve Lazarowitz

The Thirteenth Magician
Patrick Welch

Wings ePress, Inc.

Echoes of Drowning Creek
Marilyn Nichols Kapp

Highland Eyes
Marissa St. James
Time Travel romance

Writers Exchange-E-Publishing

The Legend of Lejube Rogue
Patricia Lucas White

The Moon Child
Alex Roces

Zander eBooks

Against Their Will
Nancy L. Livingstone

Zeus Publications

One Way or Another
Richard Meredith
Murder mystery

Prophecy: The Awakening
Ardy M. Scott
New Age fantasy


Awe-Struck E-Books. For the best in romance and sci-fi and everything in between, check out the reads at Awe-Struck E-Books. "Choose a pure pick-a-pak of great Awe-Struck titles for sitting by the pool..."

Colorado Spitfire in paperback on sale now by author Glenda D. Tudor.

DFZ Graphics offers affordable and reliable web-ready and printable graphics services, as well as PDF file conversion with an emphasis on author and publisher needs. Send email to dragonfly@dragonflyzone.com for pricing.

eBook Authors Interviewed, free ebook available from ebooks-made-easy.com. Forty author interviews available from:

eBooks N' Bytes, brought to you by Eva Almeida, is jammed packed with useful resources for electronic authors, gathered together in well-organized sections. Includes: where to promote your e-Books, links to send out free press releases, e-book publishers accepting submissions, and e-book reviews.Don't forget to list your e-Book in the directory.

Embiid Publishing has just released the Palm OS version of its electronic book reader. All you need to read Embiid's encrypted books on your Palm OS device is an upgraded version of CSpotRun, available on the Embiid site.

Lady of the Net Productions - book editing, bookmarks, brochures, business cards, file conversions, graphic design, virtual assistants, web site design, web hosting and etc.

Leaps of Faith: a Christian Science-Fiction Anthology to be published by FrancisIsidore Electronic Press, early 2003. Seeking stories ranging from 3,000 to 10,000 words. Deadline for all submissions is June 30, 2002. Final selections will be made in September, 2002 with a targeted publication date in January, 2003.

Military Download Library Store. You'll see lots of useable items, all bearing the MDL logo. Stop by soon.

Poems, Thoughts & Prayers, a personal spiritual journey written by Marva Boatman. Available in PDF format.

The eBook Catalog maintained by David Hallum is now categorized. Have you listed your ebook(s) yet? If not go to:

The Eternal Night Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Fiction Web Site.

Twilight Times Books maintains a Freebies page with listings of Free ebooks from various publishers.

Zeus Publications is seeking contributions to their newsletter, News and Views.


Thank you for subscribing.

Publisher ~ Lida E. Quillen
Electronic Mail Distribution ~ Lida E. Quillen
eBook Ecstasy Online: http://www.ebook-ecstasy.com/ebook-ecstasy/
Copyright © 2001& 2002 Lida E. Quillen. All rights reserved.
Founder of eBook Ecstasy ~ Glenda D. Tudor

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Editor's note: Permission is granted to distribute the E-Book Ecstasy Newsletter
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eBooks Ecstasy Newsletter, Volume 1 No. 27
Source ~ Copyright © 2001& 2002 Lida E. Quillen



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