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#996 - 05/09/01 06:42 PM THE BIZ
Bob Offline
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Registered: 05/09/01
Posts: 52
Loc: New York, NY
One aspect of writing is that pros do it for money. Are you fascinated as I am about the business end of being a writer? Consider a recent email I sent Ms Paul about the ups and down of having her used books sold on an un-named web site. She makes zero dollars on this sale.
Mark Twain strongly advocated for the right of a writer to profit from his/her work. Will the internet undo this? Bad enough that libraries are eating away at profits... but now this? What do you think?

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#997 - 05/09/01 10:55 PM Re: THE BIZ
Rita Offline


Registered: 09/22/04
Posts: 3264
Loc: St. Paul, MN
Hi, New Member Bob. How do you mean, will the Internet undo the writer's right to profit from her work? There have always been used book stores. Do you mean the Internet just makes second-hand copies even more available?

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#998 - 05/10/01 02:42 AM Re: THE BIZ
Bob Offline
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Registered: 05/09/01
Posts: 52
Loc: New York, NY
Writers do make something from a library sale, of course. If a writer has a copy or two of their book in each library, that's a nice quantity...even if it does reduced direct to the public sales.
Used book shops had local clientele at one time. Now through the internet a small store can ship titles anywhere. Web site where they can list inventory broadens their base of customers.
I just bought four of Barbara's older titles for a song and she did not profit from the sale at all... save when the books were originally bought.
An internet purchase might be as problemsome as an MP3 file. Stephen King's attempt at selling an internet story did not provide a greater profit than it might have conventionally. He discontinued the effort. I am not sure how the "bugs" would be worked out of the system, but with paper that can only age over time... the best way to preserve text is as stored data.

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#999 - 05/10/01 11:04 AM Re: THE BIZ
Mary Offline
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Registered: 10/05/00
Posts: 764
Loc: MN
Bob, one thing that needs to be remembered is that lots of used-book sales are of books that are no longer in print. I recently bought a used copy of "Good King Sauerkraut" which didn't make me feel weaselly because I can't get it new.

I don't know, either, if I think that library sales reduce general sales. People who buy books, buy them, and library readers, in my experience, are either not interested in owning them or can't afford to.

I used to go to the library a lot, but in recent years I can afford to buy more books, and so I do. (And do and do and do.)

The internet probably makes it easier to sell secondhand books, but I don't know if it's all THAT much worse than before. Then again, I'm not a published author. Barbara might disagree.

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#1000 - 05/10/01 12:25 PM Re: THE BIZ
Julia Offline
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Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 258
Loc: Silicon Valley
I've bought most of Barbara's books from the local second-hand shop, but that's because most of them I could only get second-hand, or would have had to pay a huge premium postage-wise to be able to buy new. I have a lot of other books that I bought second-hand because they were either out of print or horribly difficult to get hold of new. A few were even available new, but I wanted an older printing to match the covers on the rest of the set I already had.

Back when I was very young and didn't have much money, I couldn't afford to pay new prices for many books. I wouldn't risk that sort of money on an unfamiliar author. That's when I was *really* grateful for libraries and second-hand shops. It allowed me to explore and find new authors I liked, without having to risk a lot of money. I still do that. So as far as my purchasing's concerned, there are authors who have made sales of new books because I was able to get something of theirs from the library or second-hand.

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#1001 - 05/10/01 12:58 PM Re: THE BIZ
Barbara Offline
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Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
Uh, Mary, you can buy Good King Sauerkraut new. It's available in a nice POD edition you can find right here: http://www.scrivenery.com/catalog/1893818012/index.shtml . It can also be ordered through bookstores.

I used to read library books and buy used copies...until my first book was published. Wow, does that change your perspective in a hurry. Don't ever tell a writer you read a library copy of her new book. Lie. Say you bought it.

Today I still buy the occasional used copy of a hard-to-find book that is clearly not going to be reprinted. But I buy as many new books as I can.

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#1002 - 05/10/01 02:09 PM Re: THE BIZ
Carolyn Offline
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Registered: 05/10/99
Posts: 22
Loc: St. Louis MO USA
Is it okay to wait till it comes out in paperback?




[This message has been edited by Carolyn (edited 05-10-2001).]

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#1003 - 05/10/01 03:15 PM Re: THE BIZ
Mary Offline
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Registered: 10/05/00
Posts: 764
Loc: MN
Quote:
Originally posted by Barbara:
Uh, Mary, you [b]can buy Good King Sauerkraut new. It's available in a nice POD edition you can find right here: http://www.scrivenery.com/catalog/1893818012/index.shtml . It can also be ordered through bookstores.[/B]


Oh, great, now I AM a weasel.

OK, tell me--are all the Marians still available new? I have GKS, I have (darn it, blanking on the title--the one with the Large Marge sting in it), and everything AFTER that, but I believe I'm missing some earlier ones, which I'd like to get my mitts on. (Just checked the main page and the two I'm missing are The Renewable Virgin and He Huffed and He Puffed.) (Off to look for them.) (Well, after work.)

One thing I do, similar to what Julia said, is try out new authors via secondhand book sales or paperbacks, but once I've decided I like you, I tend to buy hardback, at least in the last five years or so.

Edited because I got off my butt and looked up the titles.

[This message has been edited by Mary (edited 05-10-2001).]

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#1004 - 05/10/01 03:25 PM Re: THE BIZ
Mary Offline
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Registered: 10/05/00
Posts: 764
Loc: MN
Since I'm here (usually I'm in Botticelli or General Chat or Showbiz) I thought I'd mention that I particularly enjoyed Inlaws and Outlaws too.

It's quite different from the Larch mysteries (no Holland, worse luck) but excellent and I didn't figure it out till the end.

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#1005 - 05/10/01 05:30 PM Re: THE BIZ
Julia Offline
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Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 258
Loc: Silicon Valley
Well, I did buy King second-hand, but that's because I happened across a hardback in perfect condition, and as far as I knew the hardback edition was out of print.

However, I intend to make up for this misdemeanour now that I am living somewhere where I can actually get my hands on the books reasonably easily. Are any of the books still in print in hardback? Ideally on decent paper, not that horrible cheap stuff with ragged edges that US publishers seem to like to use in hardbacks nowadays. If I buy a hardback, it's because I want a book that's of *better* physical quality than a paperback, not worse. I was not impressed with the quality of the book production on the hardback of Fare Play

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#1006 - 05/10/01 06:17 PM Re: THE BIZ
Barbara Offline
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Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
Oh, that's just your normal midlist book production, about as good as it gets (and it can get worse). I think the only hardback still in print is Full Frontal Murder, and I'm not sure about that; we're not informed when our books go out-of-print. That's one good thing about POD; your book is never OOP.

Mary, stop that; you're not a weasel. Heavens.

In-Laws and Outlaws was made into a German TV movie; I have one tape of it. (I ought to copy that before I spill coffee on the cassette or something.) But the teaser shows a nude girl -- and there's not one bit of nudity in the rest of it, ha.

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#1007 - 05/10/01 07:55 PM Re: THE BIZ
Bob Offline
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Registered: 05/09/01
Posts: 52
Loc: New York, NY
Barbara has spoken for herself on this topic. No need for me to comment on her comment. I do think there are truths to what everyone has said.
Basically no one wants to deprive a writer of well deserved income from their labors. It is refreshing to note this. Therefore any internet system should and could establish a means for paying the writer per download.
The next question is: How would one prevent Joe from sending the newest Marian novel to his friend Harry via email?
Actors get paid residuals. One might establish something like this for books, but only on the internet. Perhaps an identifying code that would have to travel with any forward or attachment. The question again is who would police this? Is it too Big Brother if someone knows what is in our email?
A German language version of a Paul novel? Hmmn. I never thought you'd sell your books to another medium, Barbara. Other writers have, but few maintain control and quality. Spencer was not a bad TV show, but what was lost was the ability to imagine him as someone other than the actor who played the part. It is like James Bond. Who reading the books today would NOT be thinking Sean Connery? Sherlock Holmes is forever Basil Rathbone. Marian? Well, laugh if you all want to but I think a thinner Camryn Manheim would fit. I'm totally off base here, but that's what I see. A younger Elaine Stritch would also do well in the role.

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#1008 - 05/10/01 08:00 PM Re: THE BIZ
Julia Offline
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Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 258
Loc: Silicon Valley
Quote:
Oh, that's just your normal midlist book production, about as good as it gets (and it can get worse).


Yes, I've *seen* worse It's lost at least one publisher a hardback sale - I didn't see why I should pay that price for something so shoddy (and difficult to actually read, because the page edges were grotty), when the paperback actually was better bound and trimmed. Maybe I just haven't done much hardback buying in fiction, but I don't recall seeing that sort of standard, or lack thereof, in British published hardbacks. Maybe the assumption there's different - that if you can't justify the cost of a proper hardback, you don't bother with a cheap and nasty one but go straight to paperback or trade format. At least with trade format you can have it guillotined properly.

Quote:
I think the only hardback still in print is Full Frontal Murder, and I'm not sure about that; we're not informed when our books go out-of-print. That's one good thing about POD; your book is never OOP.


The SFWA wouldn't agree on that one... The big problem there, of course, is it being abused to allow the publisher to sit on the rights without doing anything to promote the book. If you've got a decent publisher, no problem.

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#1009 - 05/11/01 08:43 AM Re: THE BIZ
Mary Offline
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Registered: 10/05/00
Posts: 764
Loc: MN
Julia, some of the hardbacks you've seen may be book club versions, which are most definitely cheaper. Though I recently received three original-publisher's versions from the Mystery Guild; I can't imagine why or how this works out since it was billed at $11.99 as it would have been for their own versions.

I've tended to believe that as long as I had all the words, properly formatted, that I'd be happy regardless of whether it was a book club or regular hardback version, but lately I'm taking more pleasure in the better quality books. (This could have to do with the disposable income going up in recent years too!) My books run the gamut from new high-quality hardbacks to used paperbacks, but since I only buy books that I want to keep, I hardly ever get rid of any unless I replace them with a new copy.

Barbara, is there any chance of doing POD with any of the others?

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#1010 - 05/11/01 09:23 AM Re: THE BIZ
Barbara Offline
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Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
Possibly the Caruso mysteries. In the talking stage.

Julia, my POD contract is renewable annually; I can withdraw the book any January 1st I like. SFWA doesn't oppose POD in general, only rights-grabbing contracts. All small presses, whether POD or not, are limited in what they can do in publicizing a book, and that is a problem.

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#1011 - 05/11/01 10:56 AM Re: THE BIZ
Julia Offline
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Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 258
Loc: Silicon Valley
Barbara said
Quote:
Julia, my POD contract is renewable annually; I can withdraw the book any January 1st I like. SFWA doesn't oppose POD in general, only rights-grabbing contracts. All small presses, whether POD or not, are limited in what they can do in publicizing a book, and that is a problem.


Yes, re-reading my post I should have phrased it more carefully - Ed obviously is a decent publisher, and I didn't mean to cast aspersions in that direction. I've been going through the SFWA website to catch up on current thinking on electronic rights, and ran into the rant about how POD is being abused by a minority of publishers. POD is a good thing, in my view as a reader, as long as it's not a means of scamming the author. I'd have bought the POD edition of King rather than a second-hand paperback, and if any of the others come out in POD I'll be considering buying replacements for the current rather battered collection.

Mary said:
Quote:
Julia, some of the hardbacks you've seen may be book club versions, which are most definitely cheaper. Though I recently received three original-publisher's versions from the Mystery Guild; I can't imagine why or how this works out since it was billed at $11.99 as it would have been for their own versions.


These were new books in a chain bookshop, and mostly full price, not on the remainders pile. I don't remember specifically checking to see if they were book club rather than original publisher, but that's because it wouldn't have occurred to me that book club editions would be that badly made. I know that one I looked at and put back was full price, because it cost as much as I would have expected to pay for a hardback novel in the UK - something that surprised me, given how cheap paperbacks are here. One of the rare occasions when I've thought "Why do Americans put up with these prices?" instead of "Why do the British put up with these prices?".

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#1012 - 05/12/01 12:39 AM Re: THE BIZ
Bob Offline
Member

Registered: 05/09/01
Posts: 52
Loc: New York, NY
I am not as up on the acronymns as everyone else. What is POD?

I am reminded of my late Uncle Bill who, when visiting New York, was confused by storefronts with an OTB sign. It seems what we knew was off track betting meant to him "open to buy"... a term used in his line of work.

So, POD means ''pay or die''?

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#1013 - 05/12/01 03:28 AM Re: THE BIZ
Anonymous
Unregistered


Publishing On Demand, Bob. That's how I bought the only full-length BP book I've read - GKS! Hoping to pick up some more when I visit the US in July/August.

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#1014 - 05/13/01 03:39 AM Re: THE BIZ
Bob Offline
Member

Registered: 05/09/01
Posts: 52
Loc: New York, NY
Thanks, Andrew. I am not sure what Publishing on Demand means. Who is making the demand? The public? God? The writer? I guess the industry has its own little code words that everyone but the public knows.

When computer geeks use jargon I want to kill. Ha ha. Well, not really. It does establish a kind of club, a sort of exclusionary way of communicating.

It took some before I learned that rotflol meant ''rolling on the floor, laughing out loud''. Big Brother would be proud. Ignorance is not bliss, it is at the heart of acronyms.

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#1015 - 05/13/01 08:40 AM Re: THE BIZ
Barbara Offline
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Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
Bob, the normal publishing procedure is to print up thousands of copies of a new book, which are stored in a warehouse. From the warehouse, the books are shipped to a distributor who divides the shipment into smaller packets that are sent on to bookstores that have ordered the books. More often than not, these orders do not exhaust the initial printing, so some books remain in the warehouse awaiting additional orders.

In print-on-demand, a book is printed only when one is ordered. It's a little slower than walking into a store and buying a copy, but you rarely have to wait more than a week. POD cuts down on the need for a middleman, and it eliminates warehouse fees altogether. There are new printing outfits that do this kind of work exclusively; the biggest is Lightning Press, which Scrivenery uses. It's a practical way of fighting against constantly rising printing and distribution costs.

As I see it, the biggest disadvantage of POD is that is offers no opportunity for impulse buying. How often have you gone into a bookstore to buy one book and walked out with two or three? Even that would not be a problem if bookstore owners would order POD copies and display them on their shelves. But so far owners have been reluctant to do so; the technology is still too new, I guess.

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#1016 - 05/13/01 11:13 AM Re: THE BIZ
Anonymous
Unregistered


I don't believe I have ever run across "Print on demand". Is this an online phenomenon? If so, where?

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#1017 - 05/13/01 02:31 PM Re: THE BIZ
Rita Offline


Registered: 09/22/04
Posts: 3264
Loc: St. Paul, MN
Not really, no. POD publishers maintain web sites just like other publishers, but you can order a POD book from a bookstore and bypass teh Internet completely.

Pete, you might want to take a look at Lightning Source, the printer Barbara mentioned: http://www.lightningsource.com/bookseller.html . Click on "Participating Publishers" and scroll down to the "U" section; quite a few universities are beginning to use POD instead of traditional publishing.

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#1018 - 05/13/01 09:14 PM Re: THE BIZ
Julia Offline
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Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 258
Loc: Silicon Valley
Quote:
But so far owners have been reluctant to do so; the technology is still too new, I guess


I gather that one of the differences with POD is that typically POD publishers don't accept returns for credit whereas traditional publishers do, so the bookseller who buys a POD on spec runs the risk of being stuck for the wholesale price of the book.

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#1019 - 05/13/01 10:40 PM Re: THE BIZ
Bob Offline
Member

Registered: 05/09/01
Posts: 52
Loc: New York, NY
I guess POD is a consequence of changing tax laws. It used to be that tax on books in terms of profit was upon the point of sale. The laws changed and now, supposedly, it is considered profit upon being printed. Books held in inventory are taxed. Imagine that. What a creative bunch of vultures these predators are. Barbara, your next novel has to have something horrible happen to the IRS. Please. Ha ha. No, I am not talking about anything like McVeigh... God forbid. I'd just love to see a pencil-pushing, IRS geek drawn out as a character. Done before? Probably. Nobody loves the taxman.

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#1020 - 05/13/01 11:13 PM Re: THE BIZ
Anonymous
Unregistered


Quote:
Originally posted by Rita:
Not really, no. POD publishers maintain web sites just like other publishers, but you can order a POD book from a bookstore and bypass teh Internet completely.

Pete, you might want to take a look at Lightning Source, the printer Barbara mentioned: http://www.lightningsource.com/bookseller.html . Click on "Participating Publishers" and scroll down to the "U" section; quite a few universities are beginning to use POD instead of traditional publishing.


I must be dense. What does one actually do to purchase a PID book? The Web site you give appears to be information on the company, but no information on how to go about purchasing.

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#1021 - 05/14/01 02:07 AM Re: THE BIZ
Scribbler Offline


Registered: 02/25/00
Posts: 2451
Loc: Los Angeles, CA USA
"Nobody loves the taxman"?

I'm not so sure about that.

I have a friend who's a IRS auditor.... and he's a very nice guy. His wife is a good friend.

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#1022 - 05/14/01 03:07 AM Re: THE BIZ
Anonymous
Unregistered


Quote:
Originally posted by Pete G.:
I must be dense. What does one actually do to purchase a PID book? The Web site you give appears to be information on the company, but no information on how to go about purchasing.
It's quite easy, Pete. Go to amazon.com, type "good king sauerkraut" into the search box and hit Go. Then click on the title to get to the GKS page. Then add it to your shopping cart, etc., etc. Amazon will then issue an order to Scrivenery, who will print and bind it, and the book should be shipped to you within 2-3 days (it says).

Barbara, I see that a nice person called S Berner has rated GKS as a 5-star read. Also that a signed first edition of one of your books is available ....

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#1023 - 05/14/01 09:20 AM Re: THE BIZ
Barbara Offline
Administrator

Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
Julia -- yes, that's a major problem (no returns). Scrivenery accepts returns, but I don't think many other POD publishers do.

Bob -- what you're thinking of is the Thor Power Tools ruling. For years Thor kept old useless machinery around to list as inventory, until the IRS got a court ruling saying inventories were no longer deductible. That meant all inventories in all businesses, including books in warehouses awaiting shipping, remaindering, or trashing. Thor immediately broke up its old machinery and listed the bits and pieces as deductible spare parts...which are not considered inventory. The publishing industry followed suit and started storing books and covers separately -- "spare parts" that are assembled before shipping. The Thor Power Tools ruling punished everybody for one company's abuses.

Pete, you'd said you didn't know anything about POD, so Rita was showing you how it worked. Lightning Source (not "Press"; I got that wrong) is the printer that POD publishers use, not a publisher itself. You order books through bookstores, either online or off, or directly from the publisher. Andrew directed you to Amazon; upstream I posted the publisher's URL for ordering Good King Sauerkraut. The price listed at both places is the same, $16.95 for a trade paperback. The difference is that Scrivenery's price includes shipping; Amazon will slap another five bucks on top of the list price.

And bless S. Berner, whoever he or she may be.

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#1024 - 05/15/01 07:30 AM Re: THE BIZ
Bob Offline
Member

Registered: 05/09/01
Posts: 52
Loc: New York, NY
[QUOTE]Bob -- what you're thinking of is the Thor Power Tools ruling.

Yes, you are probably correct. I half knew about this principle. I just know it was yet another example of government being anti-business. How they write tax rules is beyond me. Tax simplification? Where?

Another book arrived today. The title is "The 17th Stair". Memories? Ha ha. It was written, or at least copyright dated 1975. I will get a kick out of reading one of your early titles. I think it will be interesting to see what you did in this genre. It is one not usually read by men... at least until it is labeled "classic" and moves from Harlequin imprint.

As I get older, I get more flexible. I'm living a love story, so why not read one? It has all the standard features one might expect. Romance novels have to have a man and woman embracing in one way, shape or form on the cover. The steamier ones have her bent over backwards in an embrace. These are books I call chiropractic novels as no woman I ever knew wanted to be held this way... few that I met anyway.

I must still have an old fuddy-duddy strain. I will read it with a book cover in place.

Bob

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#1025 - 05/15/01 01:21 PM Re: THE BIZ
Scribbler Offline


Registered: 02/25/00
Posts: 2451
Loc: Los Angeles, CA USA
Ah ha! You haven't checked out our Barbara's front page then?

The romance novelist Barbara Paul is not our goodly hostess, but another writer.

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#1026 - 05/15/01 02:30 PM Re: THE BIZ
Barbara Offline
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Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
::shudder:: I can't stand romance novels.

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#1027 - 05/15/01 03:35 PM Re: THE BIZ
Carolyn Offline
Member

Registered: 05/10/99
Posts: 22
Loc: St. Louis MO USA
Shall I start a new topic somewhere to deal with the Romance Novel?

I can't stand 'em either, but neither do I like country music. Except for Lyle Lovett and he's really not "country." And maybe some Garth Brooks. See where I'm going?

I hate Romance Novels, unless you count some Roberta Gellis, and, of course Eileen Dreyer under another name and... Well, I guess what I hate is BAD Romance Novels, just as I hate BAD sf and BAD mysteries. A well-written book is a well-written book.

I had a friend who refused to read Lois McMaster Bujold becuase he considered all her sf to be "Romance Novels in Space...."

Feel free to jump on me with all feet.

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#1028 - 05/15/01 06:49 PM Re: THE BIZ
Bob Offline
Member

Registered: 05/09/01
Posts: 52
Loc: New York, NY
Carolyn:
You don't read them, and now that I know Barbara did not write this, I won't read it. My limit for romance novels is met by DH Lawrence's masterful "Women in Love" and "The Rainbow". If you consider Thomas Hardy's work "Romance fiction", then I'd say it is a cut above the rest.

Someone must be fueling the fire. Romance novels sell. My brother in law is a former librarian from California. In his tiny town [at the time] he told me old women would drive in, park their trucks, return a large handful of romance novels, select a few dozen more and head for home.

Now men and women have different ideas on this subject to be sure, but there have to be a lot of women who need fantasy escape as much as men. Reality never may equal fantasy, or do you [any of you] think otherwise.

Sticking to the topic, it must be good business. Harlequin keeps pumping them out like penny candy and I guess it turns a profit. There is even a Romance cable TV channel now. Soap Opera 24/7 anyone?

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#1029 - 05/15/01 10:41 PM Re: THE BIZ
Anonymous
Unregistered


I'm pretty sure I have never read a romance novel, per se, but I have read some very romantic stories. One that always stuck with me was The Sorceror's Son, Phyllis Eisenstein. It's fantasy genre, however, not romance.

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#1030 - 05/16/01 05:06 AM Re: THE BIZ
Bob Offline
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Registered: 05/09/01
Posts: 52
Loc: New York, NY
Genre labels are a bit broad these days. I think a lot of classic fiction would be called Romance novels by today's standards. Are they? Is Thomas Hardy's Mayor of Casterbridge a romance novel? Is DH Lawrence's Women in Love?

In the days when they first published, their works... especially Lawrence's...were classified by some as pornography. Imagine that. The title "Lady Chatterly's Lover" still brings forth the image of being risque.

Times do change our perceptions, don't they?

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#1031 - 05/16/01 10:33 AM Re: THE BIZ
Barbara Offline
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Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
Did Hardy and Lawrence write romance novels? No. They would have shuddered at the thought. A book that shows people falling in love (or in lust) is not automatically romantic. Hardy's thing was naturalistic determinism, a belief in the inevitability of a harsh fate that drags people down. Nothing romantic about that. And Lawrence's Freudianism is the perfect romance-killer.

Traditional romantic fiction and the modern genre called The Romance Novel aren't the same thing; they're barely kissing cousins. Pamela, the early Gothic romances, Jane Eyre, Sir Walter Scott's works, The Prisoner of Zenda -- as varied as they are, they're all romantic novels. More recently, Tanith Lee's The Silver Metal Lover is an outstanding SF romantic novel. To some, Wuthering Heights is THE quintessential romantic novel (a view I will dispute until my dying day, but that's a different debate).

But the contemporary genre called "romance novel" has almost nothing in common with those books. The genre is strictly formulaic and its sole purpose is to show a woman winning the man of her dreams, and the woman's worth is implicitly measured by the kind of man she attracts (handsome and rich are good). The further implication is that if a woman does not attract a desirable mate, she's somehow a failure as a woman. That's why I have no use for modern romance novels.

Ed Gorman once told me that he'd set out to write at least one novel in every kind of genre fiction there is -- mystery, SF, western, horror, espionage, fantasy, etc. He was going great guns until he ran up against the romance novel, and that one stopped him cold. The guidelines provided by romance publishers were so rigid, so unbending as to what could or could not be included that Ed gave up before he even started.

The genre "romance novel" caters to women who still want to believe "someday my prince will come." It's a very specific niche in the publishing world aimed at a very specifically targeted readership. I do wish we had another term to distinguish this kind of shallow book from other romantic fiction.

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#1032 - 05/16/01 11:42 AM Re: THE BIZ
Mary Offline
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Registered: 10/05/00
Posts: 764
Loc: MN
Quote:
Originally posted by Barbara:
But the contemporary genre called "romance novel" has almost nothing in common with those books. The genre is strictly formulaic and its sole purpose is to show a woman winning the man of her dreams, and the woman's worth is implicitly measured by the kind of man she attracts (handsome and rich are good). The further implication is that if a woman does not attract a desirable mate, she's somehow a failure as a woman. That's why I have no use for modern romance novels.


And the heroes all look like Fabio.

I have significant problems with the implications (for women) implicit in the storylines of these things, for the reasons Barbara stated, but for some reason it doesn't bother me that people write them, if they can manage to follow the guidelines. If a writer uses the genre to supplement his/her income, cool.

What I do object to, aside from the feminist implications, is the idea that such formulaic, recipe-following books, are comparable to the writing you find in other genres. But then there are bad mystery novels too, if less predictable and formulaic and I guess what it comes down to is needing to judge each book on its merits.

But for me, romance novels just don't cut it on their merits.

(Edited to eliminate a stray apostrophe, since that's a sin I don't want to commit on THIS board. )

[This message has been edited by Mary (edited 05-16-2001).]

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#1033 - 05/16/01 01:06 PM Re: THE BIZ
Scribbler Offline


Registered: 02/25/00
Posts: 2451
Loc: Los Angeles, CA USA
One of the things that has always bugged me is the inclusion of something that is actually "out of genre"... for instance, Georgette Heyer's "romances" are more properly "period comedies of manners" in the tradition of Jane Austen.

But when the Gothic market dropped, many writers saw how well Heyer's books did, and hopped on the Regency bandwagon. Unfortunately, most of them modeled their books more on Barbara Cartland (very much the "goop romance" type) than on Heyer (because of course, writing like Heyer took more research and craft).

Then they ended up killing the "Regency romance" because there was so much trash.

(*sniff* I'm only wailing because I have notes/outlines/beginnings of several Regency romances sitting in my files.)

[This message has been edited by Scribbler (edited 05-16-2001).]

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#1034 - 05/16/01 03:42 PM Re: THE BIZ
Kay Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 17046
Loc: Roanoke, VA , USA
And there is a bit of overlap between "romance" novels (at least the original ones) and "gothic" novels.

But I think we all know what we are talking about here. We can throw names around like "Heyer" "Cartland" "DuMaurier" etc., but it's kind of like the Justice said about pornography: I can't define it, but I know it when I see it....and as someone above noted, it will probably have Fabio on the cover.
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#1035 - 05/16/01 05:39 PM Re: THE BIZ
Bob Offline
Member

Registered: 05/09/01
Posts: 52
Loc: New York, NY
It has been um... 31 years or so since I read "Women in Love", but I was deeply impressed by the passionate depths to which Lawrence detailed three relationships. Rupert and Hermione,Rupert and [I think the character's name was Ursula] and Gerald and Gudrun.

Lawrence's particularly theory was that successful relationships existed because a man and a woman are incomplete beings at best. They need the right combinations to be whole and thrive. Two of the above three relationships were horrid failures. Nothing at all romantic about them, but in the one true relationship Lawrence is able to demonstrate his philosophy. I found the book to be very romantic indeed. It would probably be more significant to me now that I am married and not single. It brings a different focus to such a writing.

I guess we just disagree. I found Hardy's writing to be very romantic, when there is a romance to begin with. No, certainly not the "Mayor of Casterbridge" where a man sells his wife. Yet, doesn't a writer describe that which is bad or wrong in such a fashion as to say what is considered right? No, his were not formulaic novels. I did not mean to imply that. I do think he is quite the romantic however, or perhaps it is my own desire to see him that way. Hmm. Am I the romantic??? Haha.



[This message has been edited by Bob (edited 05-16-2001).]

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