Friday, April 12, 2013

E-Pub Spotlight: I Cheat

I'd planned to tell you I'm not published through an e-pub. In the strictest sense, this is true. However. I do have an e-only novella out and I'm under contract for two e-first novels via Penguin's electronic imprint, InterMix. Part of me feels like they don't quite count because InterMix is a line within the broader scope of a traditional publishing house, rather than a dedicated electronic publisher.

The problem for me is that they are the only e-first publisher I have first hand knowledge of, so here we are.

When this line began, it seemed to be a vehicle for backlist, but it quickly grew into far more. At the last RWA National Conference, Berkley and NAL (who are currently doing the bulk of acquiring for Intermix) editors across the board said they were looking for all kinds of fiction for the line. Romance, nonromance, cross genre - they felt like they could take square-peg projects for the e-first line that didn't fit into the round holes of the houses' print lines.

The Good: The editors. For my e-books, I'm working with the same editor I had for the two print novels Berkley Sensation published. And this is a source of infinite joy to me. Turn around time is much faster than taking a book to print - inside of 6 months, generally. (Print books took a year or more.) Cover art is yummy. Your say in it is limited, but the in-house people are good. You do NOT need an agent to submit. Which leads us to:

The Bad: You're still submitting to Berkley or NAL. If you don't have an agent, you end up in a slush pile that may be . . . unwieldy. True slush pile story from Berkley? 3 years. I mailed a requested MS. Got the rejection letter 3 years later. (This was in 2000 ish) Apparently, that's no longer common. I'm told turn around times are much better these days. The editors consider submissions for their print lines and for InterMix all at one time.

The Neutral: The contract. This is a big, traditional publishing house contract, which is to say, it might as well be in Greek. Or Middle English. You'll want to read carefully. You may want legal advice if you don't understand it. I sure didn't. Negotiation on that contract is limited as well. Another factor: Depending on the project, there may be a small advance involved, but royalty rates for this line are usually 25%.

I adore my editor. It's what drew me to InterMix. If I can manage to write faster, I may yet work with a dedicated e-publisher. There are so many fun options out there. InterMix is just one.


  1. I haven't heard of InterMix, seems there is a lot more to the e-pub world than I knew! (side note to myself--duh! it is a huge new area that I only dabble in)
    Interesting to hear how it is different/same as Berkley and NAL.

    1. Yeah, the fact that you haven't heard of them is one of their hurdles, I think. Unless they're only concerned about loading their e-offerings to Amazon, B&N and all of the other e-book channels at semi-competative prices.

    2. A good point. I wonder what they will do in the future to market themselves to readers.