This has been a watershed year for e-publishing in the romance genre, and not in a good way. A few of the bigger outfits publishing romance, Triskelion and Mardi Gras, have vanished into bankruptcy, leaving their authors in limbo about their work and the rest of us wondering if e-publishing is ever going to fly.
A little bit of background (and now I’m working off my fuzzy memory, so forgive me if I’m off a year or so). Around 2000-01, with the advent of portable electronic book devices, e-publishing was being discussed with more and more enthusiasm among author groups. Writers who couldn’t find print publishers because what they wrote didn’t comfortably fit a market niche, were exploring this possibility seriously. Writers in the romance genre, in particular, were enthusiastic about Ellora’s Cave, an e-pub who explicitly wanted spicier, riskier erotica romances and were doing very well, thank you.
So were their authors, if rumor was to be believed. The royalty rate was generous, the overhead low, and readers were getting more comfortable with electronic books. Ellora’s Cave had kicked open the door for e-publishing with a viable market plan. Others followed. Triskelion Publishing (sorry, this is the only viable link I could find) offered a home to orphaned Regency writers when the last NYC publisher discontinued the line. Romantica (a hybrid genre of romance and erotic coined by Ellora’s Cave) was exploding, and other e-pubs flourished like Silk Vault and Mardi Gras (no link). Triskelion and Ellora’s Cave had been officially recognized by the Romance Writers of America. Authors were getting a foot in the door to publishing. Everything seemed to be going good.
So what happened? [Read more…]