New Market

A new market/method of publication has come to town, but I’m honestly not sure I like it. It has too much room for misuse, but let’s see what you think:

PUBSLUSH is an entirely new kind of full service, social non profit publisher: readers decide what books get published, and for every book sold, a book is donated to a child in need.
The process is simple:

Writers submit the best 10 pages and a summary of their manuscript.
Users read, share, and support (a.k.a. pre-order) their favorite submissions. They’re only charged if a book is selected for publication.
Once a book reaches 2,000 supporters, we publish it (ensuring only the best books get published). PUBSLUSH provides all the services and support of a legacy publisher.
For every book sold, a book will be donated to a child in need.

Sounds like a good deal and it is. Kinda. A child in need receives a book. A struggling author is published. What can go wrong? Well, once upon a time my husband’s cover art for my book was in a competition. Don’t get me wrong, Dear Hubby is an AWESOME graphics artist and has done many Indie book covers as well as independent illustrations by now and I do think he deserved to place in this competition. But should I have asked friends and family to go vote? I’m not sure. I did NOT ask them to vote for Mourn Their Courage’s cover, but I’m sure many people did without checking out the other incredible covers. A fact that has haunted me. You see, that sort of competition ends up being one of how many friends and family do the individual competitors have. The DH won, but I’ve always been haunted by the question of, “Did he win fairly?” There was some stiff competition and it was a landslide vote. Not what we were expecting. So yes, I have problems with this sort of thing.

What do you think? If you do use Pubslush, how will you ask folks to vote?

Addendum to Dangdang

My friend Giora heard back from Dangdang, who is clearly responsive to inquiries.

Maria at Dangdang told Giora that they plan to publish 50,000 books next year and most of them will be in Mandarin. Giora believes they will accept some books in English, but tells me Maria didn’t give details on how to submit. However, Giora believes that’s probably because they are only in the planning stage.

If anyone does submit, please let us know what happens and good luck! Many thanks to Giora for going that extra mile. Or li. ;D

Amazon Review Policy Revisited & Growing International Markets

A slight follow up from a previous post. You remember I posted about Amazon’s changing review policy? Well, thanks to Lisha Cauthen‘s amazing Sunflower Scoop, here’s the latest response from Amazon, but it’s not particularly satisfying:

Last week, we reported how book review and publicty company Reader Views was banned from posting their reviews on Amazon.

The post garnered debate among our readers. According to an email from Irene Watson, the founder of Reader Views, Amazon has banned reviews from 15 sites.

In response to our posts, an Amazon spokesman emailed us explaining the policy for reviews posted on their site: “Paid reviews are welcome in the ‘Editorial Reviews’ section of a book’s detail page. Reviews written for any form of compensation other than a free copy of the product are not allowed in the Customer Reviews section.”
Amazon also gave us links to its Customer Review Guidelines and its Editorial Reviews.

We asked Amazon about why Reader Views specifically had their reviews removed, but did not receive a response.

And now for more heartwarming news:

As many of you know, I have a particular interest in China’s growing literary market. Earlier this year, the PRC announced that they are actively pursuing literature about China, but written in other countries. Specifically, they want positive views of China’s history.

Just last week, the following article was published on Shelf Awareness:

Dangdang, which is often called the Amazon of China, plans to launch its own e-book platform later this month. Yi Wen-fei, the company’s v-p, said there are currently 50,000 digital books ready for purchase from more than 100 publishers, PaidContent reported, noting that Dangdang’s digital books will be available “on its own apps for iOS and Android, which are believed to be launching soon, and on its own-brand e-reader which should appear in the first quarter of 2012.”

Dangdang now joins competitors Hanvon and Shanda in the Chinese e-book market, but will have a dramatic impact on those two companies, “who effectively have a duopoly on the digital publishing market to consumers in China,” paidContent wrote.

One of my readers and friends, Giora, has contacted Dangdang to see if this includes works in English. I’ll let you know if we here anything back. What about you? Would an opening market in China encourage you to submit overseas?

And the Winner Is….

Courtesy of, the winner of Jeannie Lin’s “The Dragon and the Pearl” is…

Walt! Walt, I will PM you for your address. Thanks, everyone for your interest in this book.

Book Review: The Dragon and the Pearl

Well, it took me WAY too long to buy this book, for which I can only offer my profuse apologies to the author. I had wanted to do a review while the book was still in stores, but October escaped me. Obviously, November did, too. Before I tell you about this book, I think I will remind you about my review policies and admit that yes, I know the author and consider her a friend. That has nothing whatsoever to do with the nature of my reviews. I do not hold punches. If I’m uncomfortable posting a favorable review on this blog, I won’t do it. I also try to be honest about likes and dislikes. It speaks volumes for “Dragon” that you won’t find any mention of “dislikes” below.
So, I’m almost two months late, but the book was worth the wait. “The Dragon and the Pearl “ is a stand-alone novel by Jeannie Lin, however it does pick up where “Butterfly Swords” left off. “Dragon’s” cast includes Li Tao, the antagonist of Butterfly Swords, as the hero of “Dragon,” and his backstory gives us a much wider vision of the author’s Tang Dynasty China.
Now I loved “Butterfly Swords” (click the link to see my review), but you can see Lin’s skill as an author has increased since the first book. She has sunk herself into this world, making the characters rounded, fleshed and highly sexual. More than that, her political and social structure is more solid than the Kunlun mountains. She needed that solidity as we find out how both the court and the seedy underground culture of Tang dynasty functioned.
Thanks to that background structure, we discover why Li Tao is the stern and unyielding man you met before, but we also find the heart beneath that exterior. That said, he never breaks character. His is one of the strongest, most well rounded characterizations I’ve ever seen. Hypnotizing, never a good man, but always a believable and desirable man. In many ways, Lin’s characterizations and dialogue reminded me of works by my favorite author, Guy Gavriel Kay. Those of you who know me will recognize I mean that as the greatest compliment I can give.
If you enjoyed the dainty appetizer of “Butterfly Swords,” you will love the full course spread that is “The Dragon and the Pearl.” Go out and buy a copy via Amazon, Barnes and Noble or wherever else you can find one OR you can put your name into the hat for this second copy I bought. I refuse to give away mine.