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[Publisher] Ravenous Romance

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JanDarby

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veinglory

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In terms of erotic romance ebooks getting a chance is not really the problem. Getting a respectable rate per word can be.
 

victoriastrauss

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From today's Publishers Lunch:

Hollan Publishing's principals Holly Schmidt and Allan Penn have joined with literary agent Lori Perkins to form Literary Partners Group, which is launching an online publishing company called Ravenous Romance. They will publish daily novel-length erotic romances, as well as lunchtime short stories, in e-book and downloadable MP3 format, starting December 1.

It is--at the least--a potential conflict of interest for a literary agent to own or have a financial interest in a publishing company, and I think the discussion in this thread strongly suggests how murky such a situation can be.

- Victoria
 

Sheryl Nantus

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I have to admit that this gives me a nasty shiver up and down my spine, even though I'm not writing for the genre...

The erotica market is pretty saturated now; why start up another imprint? And the associations... well, it doesn't sit well from where I'm standing.

jmo, of course.
 

Old Hack

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As far as I can see (and I'll admit, I know little about e-publishing or erotica, as a genre) this could very well have been a fabulous idea but for the involvement of Ms Perkins, the agent who seems to have sold at least one of her clients' work to her own imprint. Which is a clear conflict of interests--at least, as far as I can see.

Without that conflict, we'd have been positive-with-reservations (which we always have about new publishers). With that conflict in place, we're Very Unhappy. Why? Because an agent always has to be able to give her clients clear, unbiased advice about the publisher she's found for them. If she has a financial interest in that publisher, she's biased in their favour and so CANNOT give unbiased advice. Which means that she might not be acting in her clients' best interests by selling their work to that publisher.

Is that a reasonable summary of our objections? I hope so. Please correct if not.
 

veinglory

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Also this client had been picked up by Perkins a matter of a few weeks prior to the sale to RR. So did she become a client because RR needed books? Maybe not, but the timing begs the question.
 

Old Hack

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What makes this even more upsetting is that as far as I know, Ms Perkins has always been considered an upfront, effective, one-of-the-good-guys agents. Until this came along.

The problem is that an error of judgement in one area, like this, sends out shockwaves in all other areas. Which is sad.
 

Sakamonda

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You might want to pay Ms. Perkins' blog a visit. She has posted something about how her agency will be addressing the conflict-of-interest concerns that have been raised (i.e., she herself will no longer submit her clients' works to Ravenous; one of her sub-agents will).

I am the client being referred to in the above few posts. And just so you all know, Ms. Perkins was interested in my entire oeuvre, not just books for Ravenous. She is pitching several of my other books elsewhere---large, established NYC-based print houses. So that should end that speculation, you heard it from the horse's mouth.

Harvey Klinger has also sold books to Ravenous, according to Ms. Perkins' blog post today. He's not exactly known as a bad agent----quite the contrary.

And Ms. Perkins is indeed still "one of the good guys" as far as I'm concerned, and I'm her client. I've had nothing but good experiences all along, and am very impressed with what Ravenous has to offer authors as well.
 

Jersey Chick

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It still kind of bothers me - even if Ms Perkins won't be steering her clients toward Ravenous - but still... the association doesn't sit well with me. She might not be doing it herself, but people who work for her will be - still doesn't seem entirely free of conflict of interest.
 

Sakamonda

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if it bothers you, you are still free to submit your work elsewhere. You can't say that she isn't being upfront. You can also submit your work to Ravenous yourself, or through another agent. It's entirely up to you. Authors are responsible for their own careers, and should make the (informed) decisions that are best for them. I feel that Ms. Perkins is best for me. Others may feel differently.
 

Jersey Chick

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I understand that and I didn't say anything about her not being upfront. I'm sorry if it seems to offend you and maybe it doesn't bother you, but it does bother me. It just doesn't seem on the level with me. Like I said, she might not be submitting to them, but her employees are. Just what if those employees don't submit many manuscripts to their boss's company? I'm not saying that would happen, but it could and what if...
 
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Sakamonda

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I'm not offended at all, nor am I trying to be snarky. There just seems to be a lot of inaccurate and frankly nasty speculation about all this by people who don't have any first-hand knowledge of the company or Ms. Perkins. Since I have first-hand knowledge of both (and people were also incorrectly speculating about the nature of my business relationship with Ms. Perkins) I chose to clear the air and post the truth. That's all.

Anyone and everyone is free to disagree with my decisions, anyone and everyone is free to submit (or not) to Ravenous. I'm comfortable with all the decisions I've made, that's all I'm saying.

For the record, I've also had the misfortune of having bad agent representation in the past (with someone who also happened to be an AAR member who strictly adhered to their code of ethics), so I do know the difference between good representation and bad representation. Very strict interpretations of the AAR "code of ethics" isn't everything when it comes to being a good agent. Just saying, is all.
 

Jersey Chick

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There is nothing nasty about wondering if an agent who has a financial stake in a publisher could be bordering on conflict of interest. Nothing at all. Nor is there anything wrong with questioning it.

No one is saying she's guilty of any wrongdoing, just that it could come across as fishy. That's it. Take from it what you will.
 

veinglory

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I never heard of that formal code of ethics, I'm just looking at the face value of things as a common pleb.
 

shameless

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If I had signed with an agent and she said, "I have the perfect publisher for you," I'd think she was looking out for my best interests. If I then found out it was an epub she had a financial stake in, I sure wouldn't be happy. While it might mean she wants the best for her epub and that she thinks I'm a great writer, it also means my story didn't even have a chance with any of the bigger publishers because she was looking out for her interests and not mine. Just my .02...
 

Stacia Kane

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There is nothing nasty about wondering if an agent who has a financial stake in a publisher could be bordering on conflict of interest. Nothing at all. Nor is there anything wrong with questioning it.

No one is saying she's guilty of any wrongdoing, just that it could come across as fishy. That's it. Take from it what you will.

Exactly. There is nothing at all nasty about worrying that an agent's writers aren't being well-served. There is nothing nasty about being disturbed by a conflict of interest. There is nothing nasty about wondering why an agent would suddenly start submitting to epublishers when most agents aren't interested in them.

In fact, there is nothing nasty about being very apprehensive at the advent of Yet Another Erotic Epublisher Startup claiming they're going to "change the publishing industry." If you're new to the epublishing industry, I suppose you might not realize just how many of those businesses a lot of us here have seen come and go. But the fact is our concerns have to do with making sure writers are being well-served, and putting as much information as possible at their disposal. Exactly what is nasty about that?

I do wish some people would understand that discussing the pros and cons of something does not necessarily equal criticism or harrassment. It is possible to question someone's actions while still respecting that person. Not one person here has accused Lori Perkins of being a scammer, not a single one.

I keep hearing about all the wonderful things Ravenous has to offer its authors, but have not yet heard what any of those things are. The whole conversation is starting to feel very Who's-on-first, frankly; the same words and phrases repeated over and over, but without actually answering any questions in a way that makes sense.
 

Sakamonda

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What they are offering is enough to impress multiple top literary agents (not just Lori Perkins) as well as several very, very well-known bestselling authors in print. There will be an announcement on who some of those bestselling authors are soon, is my understanding. And what they are offering is enough to get them multiple feature articles in major press outlets over the next two months leading up to the launch.

The other epubs didn't accomplish _any_ of that when they first launched, let alone before they launched. None at all. Just saying.
 

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