Sunday, April 7, 2013

Jeffe's Spotlight on Ellora's Cave

In honor of Veronica Scott, #1 Jackson fan, joining the Word Whores - a photo of said kitteh working on his plumbing apprenticeship. I'm told he's more of a hindrance than a help, but I don't see how this could be.

This week we're all doing a spotlight on one e-publisher. Since the aforementioned Veronica is the only other Carina Press author in the bordello, I'll leave that one to her. Aren't I nice?

We've never really done this before, so I guess I get to invent a style.

E-Publisher: Ellora's Cave

A little bit about them: EC is one of the oldest e-publishers out there. I remember back when they started in 2000, well before I considered writing fiction, much less romance. A colleague and I traded romance novels frequently and we were intrigued by the concept of e-books, which we'd read on the computer, since this was before e-readers. We were also interested that they promised to be very hot. She bought one as a trial and shared it with me. Amazing to look back at that. They were recently the subject of a CBS Sunday Morning segment on "Mommy Porn."

Ellora's Cave started as a way for the gal who wrote as Jaid Black to publish what she called "Romantica." In fact, up until just a few months ago, the URL for EC was Thankfully they fixed that. You can read the history here, if you're interested.

This Word Whore's Experience: I've done two books with EC, Feeding the Vampire and Hunting the Siren. They are part of my Blood Currency series and both take place in a post-apocalyptic world where vampires have been driven out of deliberate obscurity and into the open by the dearth of humans to feed on. Drinking blood involves lots of good sex. My editor is Grace Bradley, a lovely woman who actively recruited me to write for her.

What I like: EC is committed to getting a lot of books out very fast. They publish 150-200 books/month. The turn-around time between sending a story to Grace and seeing it on the virtual shelf (I call it my sub to pub number) is the fastest of all my publishers - 69 days for one, 115 days for the other.

EC also has a built-in audience. Because they've been around for so long, they have many loyal readers who routinely buy every new title.

They're working hard to promote the books and the press. EC has a high visibility at conferences like the RT Booklovers Convention, where they sponsor a big party and authors walk across the stage escorted by handsome men. They have their own convention, Romanticon (I've never been, but I'm told the authors are treated like rock stars) and have been setting up booths at sex expos across the country. I signed at one in Toronto and it was a totally different - and very fun - audience of readers than I've encountered at *any* other signing I've done.

What I don't love so much: EC is quite corporate and insular. They want to cultivate exclusive relationships with their authors. Thus their contracts are quite draconian about rights to worlds and characters. They don't allow me to mention books with other publishers in my bio, making cross-promotion pretty much moot.This frustrates me greatly. EC does not use Net Galley and does not allow us to distribute copies for review - everything must go through them. This can really limit the opportunities for review.

While I love my editor, she has a much more circumscribed role than any of my other editors do. She cannot answer most of my questions and instead refers me to a contact list EC maintains. This list is insanely long and determining who to address my question to can be a painfully long process. Then when I have emailed the correct person, they usually refer me to an article in their internal newsletter or to FAQs. I asked them if they'd like to participate in a special deal with me and I was referred to an article that basically said "No." Carina Press on the other hand, created a special rights dispensation for me, to allow me to take advantage of this particular publicity opportunity. This is not a place for flexibility.

All that said, I understand many EC authors do quite well there. The have grown intensely loyal followings and make excellent money. My feeling is that EC is clinging to an old business model and they are not keeping up with innovations in the e-publishing market. But that could be me. Working with my lovely editor is really the best part for me.


  1. Interesting about EC. I've been reading their books for a long time but now that I'm a published author too, the backstory is fascinating! Thank you for my weekly "fix" of Jackson - love that cat! And I was hoping I could talk about Carina Press on my day to blog since that's my only e publisher experience - Jeffe, you're TOO kind LOL!

    1. Hey - don't say I never did nothin' for ya, babe!

  2. Replies
    1. heh. ~makes sekrit sign of shared understanding~

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. That last comment showed up blank. I said heh back at ya!

  3. You are right about EC, they have a niche in that corner of the book world.

    I'm just glad we got to see a picture of your incredibly fluffy kitty! So cute! You could make a tiny tool belt...maybe that would help his apprenticeship.

    1. What a great idea, Lexi! I'm totally working on that...

  4. So I got a pattern to make a tool belt for my two year old twins...I am sure it could be tweaked into cat size :)