Monday, August 27, 2012

My Start: Erotic and Electronic

by Ann Jacobs

November 2002—A personal revelation about erotic romance…and electronic publishers.

Sure, I’d heard about ebooks way before 2002, but most of what I’d heard wasn’t good. I had the typical mindset of an author who’d battered her way into the dog-eat-dog world of traditional big however-many NY publishers and found modest success. I hesitated to screw my reputation, such as it was, by delving into the world of epublishers where it was said one couldn’t make a living, or even a pittance, taking part in this daring new venture.

What changed my mind? By 2002 I was getting desperate, not able to make myself quit writing but also not able to sell another NY book after Coming Home, which came out from a dying line in early 2000. The owner of Red Sage Publishing, birthplace of my Ann Jacobs pseudonym, had even turned down a novella I’d submitted to her for a Secrets anthology, as being “not right” for the particular Secrets she was trying to complete. One day at RWA National, I was whining to my good friend and fellow Red Sage author Angela Knight.

“Ann, you can write steaming hot stuff. You ought to submit something to Ellora’s Cave.” Angela then mentioned that there was gold out there ripe for the taking, and I knew her well enough to be convinced she wouldn’t steer a fellow writer wrong.

Everything I’d had rejected by Harlequin and the NY houses had pushed the envelope on sex at the time with wide-open bedroom doors and the one-man, one-woman protagonists doing things that must have shocked the panties off the editors to whom two agents and I had submitted them. I recalled Angela’s words. Her recommendation about Ellora’s Cave echoed in my head until I gave in and submitted Commitment, a contemporary novella that Red Sage had declined as being too sexy.


I’d been used to getting phone calls when an editor bought my book, but then I’d also been accustomed to spending big bucks shipping printed manuscripts to New York editors. EC’s offer came the following day via email—the same way I’ve now been submitting proposals and manuscripts over nearly eleven years. Still skeptical about the possibility of earning real money with an e-publisher but thrilled to be writing and selling again, I wrote a new novella intended for a program Kathryn Falk had envisioned for the 2003 RT convention, about magicians. That story, Illusions, was paired with Commitment in Love Magic, an e-book collection that released in November 2002. The two novellas were split out and released separately in 2010 with gorgeous new covers by Syneca.

Also released in late November 2002 was Love Slave, my Quickie introduction to the Black Gold series books that came out in 2003 and 2006 respectively. Its new cover by Dar Albert sizzles, don’t you think?

But I digress. My editor apologized profusely in December 2002 over the small amount of my first EC royalty check. It wasn’t small to me. As a matter of fact that check exceeded my wildest expectations, and from there things kept getting better. While I’d heard horror stories of ebook royalties that wouldn’t pay for a Starbucks coffee, I had a receipt from Paypal for enough money to register for the next RT conference and have some left over to apply to airfare!

Over the past nearly eleven years I’ve come to respect the new paradigm of publishing: e-first or e/print simultaneous, which is now becoming an industry standard. My thanks go to Tina, Patty, Raelene and all the visionary women who made Ellora’s Cave Publishing an industry standard for erotic romance and a joy for authors to work with. This month I have my sixtieth title coming out from Ellora’s Cave, and I hope to have at least sixty more over the next ten years. Thank you, EC, for giving me an outlet to write the kinds of romance that warm my heart and heat my libido, and hopefully do the same to the host of Ellora’s Cave readers.

Mountain Heat, new this month from Ellora’s Cave
Shotgun Relations, Caden Kink series book two, coming soon
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Cris Anson said...

What a wonderful journey you're having, Ann. Thanks for sharing your experience.

I agree that Tina, Patty, Raelene and the EC editors are superstars in the publishing biz. Their marketing strategy, the "look" of their covers, the cutting-edge sub-genres, everything about EC has made me a very happy EC author.

Barbara Elsborg said...

Do you find time to breathe, Ann!!! Congrats on such a fantastic career!!!!