Looks Like Another Romance Digitial First Line is being axed


From the chatter I’m hearing, Random House is dumping its Loveswept line. Nothing is confirmed yet, but it certainly looks that way.

I’m not an expert, and I don’t pretend to be one, but I am a traditionally published romance author and the way things are going, it is going to be harder and harder to get a traditional publishing contract.

If you want to get your romance book published, I’m not telling you that you’re wasting your time, but it’s going to be tough. Real tough going forward. The competition from Amazon and all the cheap books that are available there is killing romance in the traditional publishing world.


I imagine they’re going under because writers believe they can make more money going indie instead of traditional. I myself certainly believe it. What’s the advantage of a traditional contract these days when you have to do all the marketing yourself anyhow? They just take a piece of your pie without earning it, and they take a larger piece than Amazon, Kobo, etc. Is there any real advantage to a traditional publishing contract these days? I’m not trying to be flippant or anything; I’m really serious. _〆(..)


Depends on the contract (which, BTW, will suck) and the individual publisher. Some are better than others.

  • Traditional is, in my opinion, good for a first book because it validates your skill. (It still provides personal validation for many people, too.)
  • Traditional still provides (usually) decent covers and multiple rounds of editing. The latter is a HUGE benefit, particularly the developmental editing. Until you’re secure in your ability to produce a well-crafted, well-paced, well-developed novel, it might be better to stay traditional.
  • Traditional still has access to some marketing channels that indie doesn’t. If your publisher is going to pursue those for your book that is a benefit. (If not, not so much.)
  • Some imprints/publishers have distribution channels that indies can’t get. Again, if you’re going to benefit from those, that’s a benefit. If not, not so much.
  • Reach. Traditional publishing GENERALLY results in MANY more sales at a smaller royalty rate. The lower rate rankles, but if you can keep those readers with a subsequent indie book, it could absolutely be worth it.

I think you really have to look critically at the deal you’re being offered. Just because a “traditional publisher” is offering you a deal doesn’t mean you should accept. A bad deal can be far worse than no deal – especially since poor sales from a bad deal can haunt your career forever.


Thanks for the info! /(=^ェ^=)\


In all traditional publishing, or only in ebook publishing? Because while all ebooks look the same to a Kindle customer, only traditionally published romance paperbacks end up in bookstores. Or is the budget paperback market being replaced by ebook?

:clap: YASSSSS! :clap:


Digital first. Loveswept is digitial first.


Probably not. That’s why I’m going hybrid.

One thing I’ll add about self-publishing is that you can’t just throw something up on Amazon (or wide) and expect it to sell. A lot of people fail there. Without a good cover, editing and marketing, the book will no nowhere.


So true. It’s also true for traditional publishing, especially since they won’t market for you anymore. ʕ•́ᴥ•̀ʔっ


What makes you think they ever did? For authors getting a standard advance $5,000 - $10,000 a book, the marketing is basically (a) being in the seasonal catalog and (b) a few ARC copies to the big reviewers (Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, and so on). It’s only when you have a $100,000+ contract that you receive substantial marketing - and that is very short-lived (a few weeks before the release). Building the audience has and is something that the author needs to do or it doesn’t get done.


I’ve been hybrid now for quite some time and it is definitely the way to go. I applaud you for going that route. Certainly having all the things you mentioned are important, and the good news is the freelancers who provide design and editing will take your money just as easily as the publishers. I use the same people that my big-five publisher uses for my self-published releases.


Ahhh! I just assumed that they did it for you. Then I can’t understand why anyone would want a traditional contract. The only thing they offer of value is you can’t get nominated for a Pulitzer, Booker, or other major literary award unless you’re traditionally published, and most writers aren’t interested in that anyhow. Why would anyone want a traditional contract? If they don’t market for you, then they have nothing to offer at all as far as I can see. Indie book stores will put your paperbacks on their shelves, and Kobo will put your books into libaries. ( ˘◡˘)۶ ٩(˘◡˘ )


If you approach them. Individually. In person.

And if you purchase the printed books, paying for them upfront. And allow bookstores to return what they don’t sell – generally at a complete loss to you.

Kobo makes it possible for libraries to stock your book. That’s not the same thing as getting them on the shelves.

That’s like Ingram making it possible for bookstores to stock your book. That doesn’t mean your book will be ordered – in fact, it almost assuredly won’t be unless it is blowing up with sales.


Just to clarify, this isn’t required, to my knowledge, if your book is listed in Ingram, and you get them to order through Ingram. This is if you approach local stores and have to provide the books to them.


Actually, it’s not just romance. It’s everything. And as such, writers these days aren’t breaking even on their books.

Everybody wants everything for free or cheap and that attitude is hurting everyone from the top down.

Just the other day, I came across a book that had 478 pages. The author was selling it for $2.99.

That’s the going rate for a 500 page novel on Amazon as an indie author apparently.

Mine was 35 pages longer, but I was offering more for the reader in turn.

(And I got my first 1* star review on Amazon!)


That’s not true. Authors who treat publishing as a business not only break even but make a profit. That’s how you run a business. The authors in my groups where we talk business, all plan on a book being in the black in its first month. It’s the authors who just throw a book up on Amazon, do nothing else and expect to be overnight successes, who encounter problems.

Also a long book that is in KU can earn more from pages read than from a sale. That’s part of the business decision authors make. KU favours long books which is why epic fantasy and sci-fi authors are making significant incomes from having their novels Amazon exclusive.


Absolutely. If you don’t look at this as a business, you better hope you get lucky.

And a lot of self-published authors do very well. They work hard and market their product.

@SchuylerThorpe Getting a 1 star review sucks. It happens. Move on from it. We all get bad reviews once in a while. Not everyone is going to love your book. Dwelling on it is pointless. I get very suspicous of authors with all 4 and 5 star reviews. And on your point of a $2.99 book. The author is getting 70%. What do you think a trad book would get on a $10 or 15 book?


A lot of people assume that. It’s one of the reasons why I hang out, so I can share what I know. There are many reasons people want traditional contracts such as:

  • Advance
  • Better distribution
  • Structural editing
  • Line and copy editing
  • Validation
  • Bookstore distribution

As for indie bookstores stocking you. If you are local they MIGHT stock you but they’ll do so on consignment, so you bring the books to them they shelf them for some amount of time, if someone buys a copy they’ll pay you for it. The time and effort for the 1 - 3 sales you’ll make is NOT worth it.

As for getting into libraries, are you talking about ebooks or print? For ebooks the big libraries use Overdrive. I’m not aware of any printing for libraries Kobo does, but if they do, it’s a matter of "we make it available in case a library wants to buy one - which is much different than “being in the library” - they have shelf space problems just like bookstores do.


Mass market paperback sales have been in the toilet for years now. And yeah it’s largely due to the ebook replacing the MMPB as the “format of choice for budget conscious buyers.”

And this isn’t just a romance issue - MMPB have been a depresses format across all fiction genres.


It depends. Most indie authors use print-on-demand and that type of printing requires SOMEONE to pay UPFRONT to get copies. Usually what happens is the author gets some copies and they hand carry them to their local indie store.

There may be a few indies (heck I’m one of them), that do print runs and then distribute and in those cases the indie bookstore can “order” them from Ingram and they don’t have to pay anything for them when they arrive. They’ll have 30 - 60 days until the bill comes do, and when that happens if the books haven’t sold they just ship them back.


Making a living as a writer has always been difficult so the “these days” really doesn’t apply. When you say “breaking even” you must be talking about indie (the post was on a digital first imprint) and all the indies I hang with broke even and are making a very good profit. That said, I’m hanging with some of the tops in their field. So, yeah, there will be those who won’t break even - but that’s usually because they aren’t releasing a quality product.

Actually pries have been going up. Traditional books that used to be $9.99 are now routinely $12.99 - $14.99. Indies that used to sell for $0.99 - $2.99 are new in the $3.99 - $4.99 range. So we are seeing vast improvements in that area.

Novels aren’t priced on # of pages…I have books of mine that 800 pages long and others that 350 pages long and the publisher charges the same for both. The price is set based on “what people are willing to pay.” – in other words what the market will bear.

[quote=“SchuylerThorpe, post:14, topic:59404, full:true”]
Mine was 35 pages longer, but I was offering more for the reader in turn.


I’m not sure why you are always so hyper-focused on the length of your book. Readers want a story they aren’t buying it like flour to see what the cheapest per pound is.

All books get 1-star reviews. Don’t sweat that. Oh, I just went out and saw you have only 1 review and it’s 1-star. Yeah, that’s going to sting. When your book is in that shape, it makes it hard for others to give it a try. But it won’t always be that way. Other reviews will come in. A word fo advice – don’t give into the dark side and sink to unscrupulous tactics to get your rating up. Buying reviews, trading reviews, or getting people you know to review your books are all no-no’s. Don’t dip your toes in that water. Just wait it out.