Writer Wednesday on Tuesday

Do you ever feel that life is like you’re in a movie audience watching one of the biggest comedies of the year—only no one’s laughing?

Two things in the news on Monday, September 15, started me thinking about life, like the song goes “riding high in April, shot down in May.”

By Monday my social media was full of two stories: one, the brawl in Anchorage in which the Palins supposedly played a role and the other was not so much national news as it was writer news.

Ellora’s Cave, one of the top eBook publishers in the business, seemed to be on the verge of implosion, destruction from within. Facebook, Twitter, writer blogs were all reporting how the months of mismanagement and lack of oversight were finally coming to a head. Most of the reporting was done by EC writers, many of whom had not received royalty payments due them for months. The Dear Author website had one of the most informative posts and comments.

I’d submitted several manuscripts to Ellora’s Cave over the years, although I’ve sent them nothing recently. I’ve actually not submitted to any agent or editor recently. One of the manuscripts turned down by EC was picked up The Wild Rose Press. It was the only erotic novella I’ve ever written and, published, it was a rousing failure. But I do have my rights back if I ever want to go back to that pen name and indie publish my, as my daughter called it, “porn.”

I’d tried writing erotica before that manuscript but I’d never submitted it anywhere. Then I saw a “call for submissions” from Ellora’s Cave and decided to give them a shot at the pearls of my purple prose. EC was, and in many ways, still is (and I hope will remain), the largest house selling “Romantica”, a term EC coined and I believe trademarked—erotica with romance. They came on the publishing scene at a time when women wanted something in both genres and writers wanted to write it. It was also the time of eBooks and the Sony eReader (the precursor to the Kindle) and a woman (or a man) could be reading these books and no one would see the cover. The new world order of epublishing was made for Ellora’s Cave.

Writers flocked to EC, or rather, writers submitted manuscripts and stood in line at writers conferences for a chance to have a five minute pitch session with an EC editor. As a result EC signed very good and prolific writers. I know several of them. Some writers were able to make a decent living writing for EC. Ellora’s Cave was one of the places to be published, even when they opened different imprints that had no erotic storyline.

And then the bottom dropped out. I’m not going to rewrite articles and blogs and comments that are already online. I couldn’t do the story justice. Go to Dear Author and read it for yourself. Success doesn’t continue in a vacuum. Success needs ongoing support. Continued success requires oversight—oversight of people who understand the business.

I know. I saw a very successful business (not publishing) go down because the person who owned it was dictatorial and took few suggestions from the people who knew what was happening. People in charge must be people who understand the industry, whether it’s publishing or long term care.

So where do the Palins come into all of this? The brawl in Anchorage in which they supposedly took part has been all over social media. I’m still waiting for the cell phone video. There must be one.  But this is an example of a person (Sarah) and her family who are no longer relevant in the world, who had their 15 minutes of fame, and who did nothing once out of the spotlight to deserve it any longer. However, they feel that because of that 15 minutes, they should have special considerations. “Do you know who we are?” says it all.

My mother had a saying for that: “You, young lady, are getting too big for your britches.”  Today we may say, “She thinks she’s all that and more…” with the implied message that she’s not any of it.

If I had to choose between the hubris of Ellora’s Cave and the hubris of the Palins…well, there is no choice.

I’m hoping EC pulls themselves out of this hole. Even if it’s all hearsay, the rumblings do not bode well for their future.

As for the Palins—I would suggest that they start a nonprofit to help the indigenous people of Alaska and use their might (what they have left) for right.


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