Saturday, 31 December 2011

New review of 'The Valley of the Shadow of Death'

Not an unmixed reception from reviewer Cryselle at Jessewave for Julie's THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH, to which she gave three stars out of five.

The ending is as tragic as the title promises, the last line the most moving in the entire work. The entire story improves as it goes on; had I not been reading for review, I would have bailed before page 60 for insta-love and implausibility, and would have missed the best parts.

It's a shame the book didn't work for this particular reviewer, but you can't please all of the people all of the time; that doesn't mean we're going to stop trying, though! ;-D

More kudos for Julie Bozza and R. A. Padmos

We learned yesterday that reviewer 'Lady M' on the Jessewave website had named THE DEFINITIVE ALBERT J. STERNE as her 'Top Pick' of 2011, and RAVAGES appeared in the top ten list of another reviewer, 'Sirius'. Well done to both authors for leaving a lasting impression on reviewers who must get through millions of words in a year, which we feel is quite a considerable achievement!

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Year Two Week Thirty-Four

It may be Christmas Day, but it's also a regular Sunday and therefore here's a quick update on the week.

We sold a lot of copies of RAVAGES on the back of the recent excellent review, so although it's not the only title we've sold this week it was by far and away our best-seller. We had a few computer glitches, which resulted in the responsibility for order-filling being switched back and forth a couple of times, but nevertheless were able to produce a decent average response time of four hours and 37 minutes.

Preparations for the two 1 February titles are almost complete - aforementioned glitches notwithstanding. The layouts are done on both, and all that remains is what we call 'topping and tailing' - adding things like the ISBN, the credit for the cover photograph, and any personal messages or dedications from the author. Details of the two new titles will be posted to the LJ, blog and website on 1 January ... which, by an interesting coincidence, also happens to be next Sunday, so we'll see you back here then! Meanwhile, if you're celebrating any seasonal festival, we hope you will enjoy it ... and we'd like to close by thanking the friends who sent Christmas cards to the Press; we weren't expecting that, and it came as a delightful surprise!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

New review of 'Ravages'

Reviewer Sirius at Jessewave has reviewed RAVAGES in most glowing terms here.

"I loved watching how what happened to Steve forced these two to see what their real priorities were, and how Dan fought to help Steve to come back from the dead. Even if Steve’s body would never be one of a fit, healthy man because of the horrors they lived through, they have and support each other, and Dan being there made all the difference in the world. I enjoyed reading about their doubts and their fears and how their love kept winning over those doubts and fears, and how they achieved their happily ever after. It is a very hard earned happy ending, but it is truly happy."

We'd call that a pretty fair summation, ourselves!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Year Two Week Thirty-Three

Another quiet week sales-wise, with GHOST STATION our highest-selling title this time around and response time averaging out at two hours and forty minutes.

Here at Megaheadquarters, however, we're gearing up for a very busy few weeks; we've had two new books submitted and both our two 1 February titles have come back from their proof-readers, which means that doing the layout/making the ebook files is now looming on the horizon. (No rest for the wicked, even at this time of year!) We're also looking at possible titles for later in 2012; there's plenty of good stuff in the pipeline, from old friends and new, and just at the moment the only limitation on our potential achievements is the ridiculously small number of hours in every day - whoever made that decision, in our humble opinion, just wasn't thinking big enough!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Year Two Week Thirty-Two

Only a very slight bump in sales to reflect our outstanding showing in the Rainbow Awards, alas, but with a well-publicised 'Special Offer' coming up in two weeks' time we're expecting to be rather busier then.

Our leading title this week was Julie's THE DEFINITIVE ALBERT J. STERNE, and average response time snappy enough at 41 minutes.

Progress is good on our two new titles for February - details of which we will be announcing soon - and one of our 1 May titles is already with its proof-reader. The other, we expect, won't be far behind, although obviously at this time of year deadlines have to be a little more flexible.

We'll close today with extra thanks to those loyal readers who congratulated us after the Rainbow Awards were announced; we know you're out there and we always appreciate hearing from you - it makes all our hard and often solitary endeavours seem very worthwhile, somehow. Thank you for being with us for the ride!

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Year Two Week Thirty-One

A little quieter this week, which is only to be expected; people tend not to have a lot of time for reading in this part of the year. However we've sold a broad range of titles, with Chris's SEA CHANGE unexpectedly emerging as the week's leading seller. Despite one or two minor glitches - one poor reader's books had to be sent four times! - our average response time was three hours 16 minutes.

We've had the chance to do some 'big picture' thinking this week, which has resulted in a couple of technical decisions about the way we handle our accounts. We're changing the dates when we pay our authors, for a start, and it's also likely that we'll adjust our business year to fit in a bit more closely with the UK tax year - albeit we don't pay direct tax as a business because we're still too small, but some of our authors do and it may make life easier for them.

If you think that sounds boring, we've also had the first look at another new book which has been submitted for publication next year and we like the way it's shaping up. Plus we've been putting everything in place for our Christmas special offer, which is going to be a bit fiddly to organise but we feel it's definitely worth a try!

So, on the whole, a modestly productive and mercifully stress-free week; this can only be a good thing, right?

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Year Two Week Thirty

The Press is doing very well at the moment, so we'd like to take this opportunity of thanking all our readers for their part in making that happen. Having crunched a few numbers, we can report that November 2011 - although not over yet - has so far been our best trading month ever, with cumulative sales over our three platforms (our website, Rainbow and AllRomance) already 25% up on our previous best month. This is wonderfully encouraging, and we're beginning to feel that we may be around for quite some time after all.

We can also report steady progress on our forthcoming titles. Of our two books for 1 February, one has been with its proof-reader for a while now and the other has just been handed over; they both have covers, so very little remains to be done on either of them now. We have also made good progress on one of our titles for 1 May; it has a cover and is being edited at the moment. We have not yet made a definite decision about the second book for 1 May - there are two contenders, both in similar almost-completed condition, and we're waiting to see how the respective authors get on over the next few weeks before we come to any firm conclusions. Further down the line, we have items on our spreadsheet listed as 'new Adam Fitzroy project' (which sounds like a Sixties pop group to us), 'new Chris Quinton book' and 'new one from Julie Bozza' ... just so that you know everybody is still scribbling away busily; it gets quite addictive, after a while, and we don't think we'd know how to stop now even if we had to!

Anyway, our best seller this week has been GHOST STATION, with an average response time of five hours 17 minutes. We may be slightly biased, but we don't think that's at all bad...

Sunday, 20 November 2011

New review of 'Ghost Station'

Reviewer Sirius at Jessewave seems to have a penchant for Adam Fitzroy's work and has now reviewed GHOST STATION most flatteringly:

While it is first and foremost a spy/thriller, there is also a secondary tender love story thrown in, which to me it was very believable and pleasant. I enjoyed every second of this romantic element and watching our protagonists grow significantly closer to each other over the course of the story, but it did not overshadow the fact that guys were working and doing their jobs.

Year Two Week Twenty-Nine

Delightfully, and to no-one's great astonishment after the recent stellar review, our best-selling title this week has been Jane Elliot's END OF THE TRAIL. Other books may be selling in smaller numbers at the moment but it's been a pretty steady week generally and we've achieved an average response time which at 5 hours, 35 minutes we're reasonably pleased with.

Plans and preparations are going ahead for future titles and we've made significant strides on at least four of them this week - books that we intend to publish in February, May and August next year (although the final running-order has not yet been agreed upon).

One definite non-starter, however, will be the Olympics anthology which is now officially cancelled. We had a few vague expressions of interest from people but no actual enthusiasm or substantive proposals for stories, so we've come to the conclusion that perhaps it was a project too far for our authors; they obviously prefer to do their own thing, and who can blame them when it generally turns out so well? We hope no-one is deeply disappointed by this decision; we suspect not, however! It's not as if we didn't have plenty of other books in the pipeline, after all!

Monday, 14 November 2011

New review of 'The Valley of the Shadow of Death'

Julie Bozza's THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH has been reviewed today at the MM Good Book Reviews website. Amongst other things the reviewer, Pixie, seems to have become very enamoured of Angelo:

This is a well written book that has a very good story-line and plot. Angelo is the guy that I fell in love with in this book. He just seems to live life to the fullest, embracing his love for Josh and just going with it without procrastinating about how soon it is or the fact that the man was straight.

A conversation between authors

R. A. Padmos set out to interview Julie Bozza recently, but it turned into more of a two-way conversation. The result has been published on their two blogs (linked above) and is absolutely fascinating. We here at mega-headquarters have thoroughly enjoyed reading it, but we're a little nervous too; if ever they get together and chat in person, will anybody else get manage to get a word in edgeways?

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Year Two Week Twenty-Eight

Another thoroughly successful week, we're delighted to say! It's beginning to feel as if we've really made it at last, through the tricky part of setting this Press up and getting it going, and have now fallen into a modestly successful groove. In particular we're very pleased to have the final drafts of our two titles for 1 February release already to hand, enabling our loyal proof-reading staff to work on them at their leisure over the winter. There are also more projects in the pipeline than we can ever hope to shake a stick at, with most of our existing authors already beavering away on new titles to set before you in due course.

Our top seller this week was Julie Bozza's THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH, with Jane Elliot's END OF THE TRAIL, once again performing strongly, pushing it all the way. Average response time was pretty creditable at two hours 45 minutes - not at all to be sneezed at, we feel.

The only slightly depressing item to report is the lack of enthusiasm following our call for stories on an Olympic theme. It seems that, on the whole, writers and readers are not inspired by thoughts of the Olympics, and with that in mind it's likely a decision will soon be made to cancel the project. This is therefore absolutely the last invitation to contribute to our Olympic anthology; if we receive no more positive responses within the next seven days, we'll formally call proceedings to a halt and concentrate our energies elsewhere. If there's no interest at this stage, there's unlikely to be any market for it either; therefore we'll redirect our efforts towards books that are more likely to find a ready audience - although we still believe that it was worth a try!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Year Two Week Twenty-Seven

A very gratifying week all round, with our new titles doing very well through the website and some of our previous titles making a splash all over again courtesy of our partners AllRomance and Rainbow. Indeed, RAVAGES is currently at number six on the Rainbow bestseller list, so congratulations to R. A. Padmos for that!

Closer to home, the top seller from our own site this week was Adam Fitzroy's new book GHOST STATION, just one copy ahead of Julie Bozza's THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH, with Jane Elliot's END OF THE TRAIL thundering up into third position as a result of the recent excellent review.

As you can probably imagine we've been kept very busy filling orders this week, but we're delighted to say that our average response time has been a keen three hours and 18 minutes. Go us!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Interview with Adam Fitzroy

A little incestuous, we'll confess, since they've known one another since God was a lad, but Chris Quinton has interviewed Adam Fitzroy here to mark the publication of GHOST STATION. We're bound to admit that we here in the office agree with Adam 100% about the necessary role of cats in the creative process!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

New review of 'The Valley of the Shadow of Death'

Phew, we're having a busy morning! The first review of Julie Bozza's THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH has reached us already - courtesy of The Romanceaholic who received an advance copy and has a lot of very positive things to say about the book:

The angst and tension caused by Carmine’s double crossing his boss/best friend was wonderful, and the courtroom drama a delight. The romance that was developing between Josh and Carmine was intense and angst-ridden due not only to the stress of the undercover operation, but because Josh had previously considered himself to be heterosexual, and as such was struggling with embarrassment, confusion, shame, anger, lust, guilt, developing emotional feelings and fear for Carmine’s life.

Carry on, Julie, you must be doing something right!

Our new titles go 'live'

Well, as of just over half an hour ago our two new titles, GHOST STATION and THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH are now available to buy through our online shop - and we're very impressed that one eagle-eyed customer, presumably hovering over her keyboard at the crack of dawn (not unlike ourselves, in fact!) managed to get her order through within the first ten minutes. That's true dedication, and we cheerfully salute her for it!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

New review of 'Solemn Contract'

Morgan Cheshire's SOLEMN CONTRACT has just been reviewed at Jessewave. We're delighted that this gentle romance caught the imagination of the guest reviewer, Sirius.

Thanks very much to LJ user Caledonia for drawing the review to our attention!

Year Two Week Twenty-Six

Hooray! Another landmark! This Press is now a year and a half old. In the great scheme of things that probably doesn't seem like a lot - but, when you consider that we weren't at all sure we could set it up in the first place and even then we didn't know whether anybody would want to buy what we were selling, it seems like a modest sort of triumph to us.

Sales have actually picked up a little bit this week, after something of a drought, and our top seller has again been RAVAGES, with a tidy average response time of three hours and 47 minutes.

Rather less pleasingly, we've had to issue yet another DMCA Notice in the past 24 hours, when we discovered a copy of Adam Fitzroy's DEAR MISTER PRESIDENT available free of charge on another website - and not even intended for download, either; this time it was an open file to be read online. Our new enforcer, when she starts work, is certainly going to have her hands full we're afraid.

But ... our quarter-end book-keeping is done, our authors have all been paid, and we are now in the throes of the last preparations for launching the two new titles on Tuesday. Fingers crossed, please, dear readers!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

New Review of 'End of the Trail'

We're still getting used to the way reviewers operate; some of them are very quick off the mark and others like to take their time - but when they do deliver a verdict, it's very often well worth waiting for!

Maggie B at Dark Divas Reviews gave Jane Elliot's END OF THE TRAIL a rating of 'four and a half Delightful Divas', called it 'a great Western with a twist' and added

I am hoping for many sequels that tell more of Will and John’s story, as well as expanding on the previous and future lives of the secondary characters.

A sentiment which we feel will be echoed by many!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Year Two Week Twenty-Five

Wow. Only another week to go before our new titles are out. Happily we're all ready, and in fact we've been spending time this week making decisions about February and afterwards - and bringing the accounts up to date, of course. We've also recruited a new member of staff - who won't be able to start until the New Year because she's moving house - to take on the onerous responsibility of checking up on copyright violations and issuing DMCA Notices. Again, we'd like to ask readers who become aware of our publications being made available without our permission - the only authorised resellers are Rainbow Ebooks and AllRomance Ebooks - to let us know.

Anyway, you'll hardly be surprised to learn that we've had another slow week sales-wise; however our top-seller has again been RAVAGES and our average response time was fairly tidy at three hours and 41 minutes.

We were slightly confused by a review on GoodReads which suggested that 'Ravages' had a lot of 'spelling mistakes' in the text. We've double-checked our copy and found precisely one which seemed to have escaped the eagle eyes of the author, proof-reader and editor, so we can only imagine that this reader expected American spellings and considers everything else to be an error. Since one of the reasons for setting up this Press in the first place was that we chose not to be obliged to use American spellings - something insisted on by American-based e-book publishers - we found this highly ironic. However it's by no means the most egregious example of Not Getting It that's come our way recently, and I'm afraid we're just going to to have to agree to disagree with that reader about the correct way to spell words like 'honor' and 'catalog'!

The count-down to the new titles starts here. We hope you're looking forward to them as much as we are!

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Year Two Week Twenty-Four

Very little to report this week; business always goes very quiet just before the new titles are due out, and this is not a great time of year anyway - probably a lot to do with the new academic year and new TV schedules. However we had a respectable week, no overall best-seller but an average response time of 5 hours and 19 minutes.

We've taken the peace and quiet as an opportunity to crunch a few numbers, here at Mega-Headquarters, and are delighted to report that - all three outlets taken into consideration, ourselves and our two resellers - we have sold exactly as many books in the first six months of this year as we sold in the whole of last year. The numbers still aren't stellar by any means, but it's an encouraging trend - although we're not foolish enough to think that this means we'll double our business for the entire year. Nevertheless it means that we're in a reasonably strong position financially and will go into our second winter with a great deal of optimism; obviously we must be doing something right.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

New Review of 'Fool's Oath'

Chris's second Andreas/Xavi novel FOOL'S OATH has been reviewed at Three Dollar Bills. The reviewer calls it 'explicit and scorchingly sensual' and is obviously looking forward to the third book in the sequence. No pressure, then, Chris!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Year Two Week Twenty-Three

Is it really getting close to a year and a half since we launched this project? That doesn't actually seem possible!

Our two new books for November are all prepped and ready, ebook files made and checked, and even the online shop module has been made ready for the new titles. We're going to make a few more tweaks to the website as soon as we can, but otherwise we're very happy with the way things are going. Naturally we could always use more sales, but since every business since the dawn of time has probably been able to say that we're not going to be greedy.

Not surprisingly, RAVAGES was our top seller again this week, although due to one or two minor domestic entanglements our response time was hardly stellar with ten hours 52 minutes being the average. We hope to do slightly better in future, although now that we have most of our books available through distribution websites we're finding that people aren't so concerned with the time it takes us to respond - and, as happened this week, they're usually quite receptive when we explain the situation to them, for which we're grateful.

So, anyway, now we're turning our attention to February and we hope to have some snippets of news soon about what we're going to be publishing then. Fingers crossed, please!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

One of those Good News/Bad News posts

First of all, the Good News. Chris's ALOES has been favourably reviewed at the ARe cafe, which is the review area of the AllRomance website. The reviewer, Val, concluded by describing it as 'an absorbing, unusual read'.

Alas, the Bad News is really rather annoying. This morning we've had to file three separate Takedown/DMCA requests - with BergFiles (DEAR MISTER PRESIDENT/FOOL'S ERRAND), Demonoid (END OF THE TRAIL/THE DEFINITIVE ALBERT J. STERNE) and Bitsnoop (END OF THE TRAIL, DEAR MISTER PRESIDENT). We were unable to tell how many copies had been downloaded in every case, but there had been a total of 25 downloads from the Bergfiles site which if they had been sales would have represented much-needed revenue of approximately £85.00/$132.00. One person on Bitsnoop had made almost 2,000 m/m ebooks available for download; another on Demonoid was bundling ebooks by the dozen.

Whichever way you dress this up it's stealing, and in our case could make all the difference between survival and catastrophe. Nobody here is making a fortune; in fact nobody is doing much more than covering their costs. In robbing us, the thieves are not striking a liberating blow at The Man; they are undermining the existence of a small, independent publisher attempting to make a modest income in a challenging world. We really don't believe that these people can't afford the occasional £3.75/$6.50 for a few hours of quality reading material. In short, this is a mean theft and our opinion of the people involved in perpetrating it is probably best left unexpressed for the sake of our sanity.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Year Two Week Twenty-Two

A slight change in schedule this week, as we're due to have a shiny new website installed tomorrow. (Fingers crossed, please.) However there is already a temporary update available which gives the first information about our two new titles, due for publication on 1 November.

We're always glad to see new work from JULIE BOZZA and ADAM FITZROY, two of the stalwarts of this Press, and we're very enthusiastic about these two titles - Julie's THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH and Adam's GHOST STATION. The latter is (completely accidentally!) rather well-timed to catch the Cold War spy vogue which seems to have started up again with the release of the new Tinker, Tailor film.

All the pre-publication tasks on these titles have now been completed except for making the .mobi and .epub files - a quick process - and updating the online shop module, which is always the last thing we need to do. We will shortly be turning our attention to the two titles we are preparing for 1 February - no rest for the wicked, we find!

Meanwhile, although sales from our own website have been slow, we are still doing rather well over at AllRomance. As far as our own statistics go, FOOL'S OATH was our top seller this week with an average response time of two hours and 38 minutes.

Wish us luck with the website!

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Year Two Week Twenty-One

Our bestseller for the week was ALBERT, bless him. (We are all very fond of Albert, even though he's a grumpy old sod!) Average response time, we have to confess, was a bit limp at ten hours, but it's just not physically possible to be at the keyboard all the time - sometimes we have to eat and sleep as well!


Our website is likely to be offline for maintenance next weekend, and hopefully when it returns it will look a little smarter than it does now. Well, actually, a lot smarter. As soon as we're back we'll tell you all about our two new titles for 1 November publication, which are by MANIFOLD PRESS stalwarts Julia Bozza and Adam Fitzroy. However we're going to keep you in suspense for just a little while longer! Fingers crossed for our big update, please!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Year Two Week Twenty

An interesting week, with a lot achieved - only small things, perhaps, but useful nonetheless.

Our top-seller for the week, to no-one's astonishment, was RAVAGES, and our average response time settled down to 5 hours and 44 minutes.

The big achievement of the week, however, is finally breaking the back of the page numbering and getting the first of our 1 November books all topped and tailed and ready to publish. It's quite appalling how long it can take for the penny to drop sometimes, and with software it's very often a case of either asking the wrong questions or looking in the wrong places for the answers; this is not the first time we've had cause to wish that software manufacturers didn't all insist on calling similar functions by different names! Nevertheless, our relentless code-cracking skills (plus a good slice of luck!) located the answer in the end, and we will now try very hard not to complain about the page-numbering ever again!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Another review of SOLEMN CONTRACT

Delightfully, the first review of Morgan Cheshire's SOLEMN CONTRACT was swiftly followed by a second, this time at Top2Bottom Reviews, where the reviewer describes it as an understated novel perfect for those who appreciate a more reserved romance.

We think Morgan will probably be very happy with that description!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Introducing Daniel Borghardt

Readers may be interested to know that R. A. Padmos has introduced one of the leading protagonists from her novel RAVAGES on Amy Valenti's blog here. Definitely worth reading!

Monday, 12 September 2011

Another country heard from

Finally found a moment to compare website hits with orders and to add to our 'distribution' list the following countries:

Serbia, Slovenia, UAE, India, Bulgaria, South Korea, Vietnam, Cameroon, Indonesia, Latvia, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and Ivory Coast.

Between them they only account for the same number of hits as the State of Illinois, but it's worth trying - just in case there is one solitary Ivorian or Saudi resident desperately trying to buy our books! We like to think we're providing a service, after all!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

First review of SOLEMN CONTRACT

Thanks to good friend on LiveJournal we are delighted to be able to report that Morgan Cheshire's SOLEMN CONTRACT has been most favourably reviewed at BitterSweet Reviews. Morgan was with us when the information came through, and we have rarely seen an author so thoroughly overwhelmed by a reader's response. For that reviewer, and for anyone else who is interested, we can confidently report that Morgan has recently started work on a new project which we are hoping will be available for publication towards the end of 2012.

Congratulations again, Morgan; we feel sure that this is only the first of many!

Year Two Week Nineteen

RAVAGES was our top seller again this week, with an average response time of two hours and 36 minutes which is not at all to be sneezed at.

The first e-book for 1 November is now finished but for the page numbers, which frankly drive us insane every time and which we must find a better system for dealing with.

On the whole, then, a week of consolidation with nothing much happening, which accurately reflects the situation at the same time last year. However, with sales ticking over steadily and all our plans for the future maturing nicely, we have decided that we're allowed to feel just a tiny bit smug about it all - at least until the next thing goes massively wrong!

P.S.: Apologies to R.A. Padmos for omitting to mention that RAVAGES finished second in the Miz Love poll with well over 250 votes - a staggering total for a debut novel - and we heartily congratulate the author!

Monday, 5 September 2011

Two items of administrivia

(1) Now that the order filling is done from a different location, the first time we here at headquarters get to see orders is when we put the finishing touches to them - which consists of going through the database and setting the 'shipping status' to 'shipped'. Having just done a batch of these, we are delighted to see so many new names - and a large number of them appear to be Dutch! One day we really must analyse the geographical spread of our readers properly; I think we'd probably be in for a few surprises.

(2) On a related subject, anyone who has been with us from the beginning will know that we had some problems in the early days with orders from Canada; people told us that apparently it was impossible to order from there, although we did everything in our power to resolve the problem. However this was something which hung over us for a very long time, and we never seemed to receive any orders from Canada at all. In the end we assumed that any Canadian readers anxious to obtain our books had done so through one or other of our distributors, as nothing more was heard of the problem. We can report now, though, that an order has at last been received from Canada and completed successfully, so let's hope that's the last we'll hear about people not being "allowed" to purchase our books from certain countries.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Year Two Week Eighteen

A much more satisfying week sales-wise, after a quiet period. (We have a theory that people holidaying in the northern-hemisphere summer probably prefer to take dead tree books on flights and beaches as they're less delicate than electronic equipment.)

Our leading seller this week was again RAVAGES, although the theory that 'no review is a bad review' has once more been proved correct by a revival of interest in STAGE WHISPERS.

Our average response time was steady, but not stellar, at 5 hours 52 minutes.

- - - - -

In addition we are delighted to say that one of the two books for 1 November publication has come back from the proof-reader and been corrected by the author and we are now in the middle of making up the e-book file. The other has also come back from proof-reading and is back with its author for last-minute revisions. We are well on course to being able to reveal details of both these books on 1 October.

And as if all this wasn't enough ... having our February 2012 books also nicely in hand, we now have two solid prospects for May 2012 (one by a returning author, the other by a new voice), and one more tentatively pencilled in for August 2012.

When we started this project we were looking at an initial trial period of two years, to see whether or not we could make a success of it. At this rate, it would probably be fair to say that we expect to be around for a little while after our second anniversary, too - fingers remaining firmly crossed!

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Better late than never!

The first substantive review of STAGE WHISPERS appeared today at Jessewave. We're not sure how Adam will react to the suggestion (in the comments) that the Shakespearean quotations were only included for the sake of 'artificially increasing page space' - we don't actually understand what the point of that would be, and anyway it's not something we would either expect or wish a writer to do - but the overall tone of the review is favourable and they end up giving it four stars out of five.

Vote for RAVAGES!

There's a poll on Miz Love and Crew Loves Books to choose their top title for the month of August. If you loved RAVAGES, please consider going on over there and voting for it!

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Excellent news!

Having received no direct response from Nakido to the DMCA Notice which we filed on 25 August, we have just been checking their website and discover that they have now removed the three titles of ours which had been available for free download there.

Obviously we will have to keep an eye on them in the future - and unfortunately there are plenty of similar sites out there - but this does seem like a (very) small victory!

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Year Two Week Seventeen

A quiet week again, with no direct sales from the website - although one arrived after the cut-off point so it will be included next week. We're not too concerned - the summer months were rather quiet last year, too, and we've certainly done better than we did then! On the whole, in fact, thanks to Rainbow and AllRomance, August 2011 has been one of the most successful months we've ever had.

- - - - -

We'd like to draw your attention to some wonderful comments made about RAVAGES by a reader named Jennifer on the GoodReads website. As both GoodReads and the very similar ManicReaders operate on informal reviews - and as there can therefore be rather a lot of them - our general policy is not to include comments from them on our own site (which is being redesigned even as we speak!) but we felt we should draw your attention to them in this particular case.

Amongst other things, Jennifer makes this observation:

After awhile you realize that it doesn't matter if these two are gay or heterosexual because these are real people, not caricatures of people, gay or otherwise.

This, we feel, sums up very nicely not only the great strength of RAVAGES as a novel but also the entire ethos of Manifold Press; we're not really in the business of producing male-male porn (although we certainly don't object to it!) but satisfying and hopefully realistic fiction about people who just happen to be gay.

And in the great scheme of things - although we'd obviously like more sales - there's a huge amount of pleasure to be gained from just knowing that we're reaching readers who really understand what we're about. It would be fair to say, in fact, that Jennifer's lovely review has completely made our week!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Takedown request

We've just had to file another takedown request with Nakido to try to get 'Dear Mr. President' (sic), 'Aloes', and 'Fool's Errand' removed from their site. Since this is the second time we've had to do this for Adam's book - and one of the most aggravating aspects is the way they've mangled its name - we are not unduly hopeful, but we'll do our best.

We double-checked our other authors and titles, but only these three seem to be involved. Clearly, however, we will have to keep an eye on Nakido in the future.

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We had intended to post a plaintive lament about the lack of reviews today, but the foregoing has taken the wind out of our sales*** a bit. Not only that, but when we realise how overcrowded the eBook romance market is - whether gay or straight - we're astonished that anything ever gets reviewed at all. We were very lucky early in our publishing career, we got a lot of attention from reviewers. Now this has fallen off steeply, but we're assured that it's the same for everyone. It's disappointing, of course, and we wish there was a solution.

However it makes us grateful for the reviews we do get, and even more so for the faithful customers who return time and time again to buy our books. We thought it was probably about time we mentioned that again!

*** sails! That's just embarrassing!

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Year Two Week Sixteen

It's becoming apparent that our recent reorganisation is not going to allow us to update statistics on Saturday mornings any more, so we are going to start doing so on Sundays as from next weekend. Although we doubt that anybody really pays a lot of attention to this information we still feel it is worth recording, and will continue to do it in the absence of a compelling reason not to.

Anyway, our leading seller has been RAVAGES again this week, with an average response time of eight hour and seven minutes.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Another interview with R. A. Padmos

Following the highly complimentary review of RAVAGES that they posted recently, the good people at Miz Love and Crew Loves Books have interviewed R. A. Padmos, which makes excellent reading and which we would heartily recommend.

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Apologies, we thought we'd posted this last night. It seems we may have accidentally deleted it instead. Whoops!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Year Two Week Fifteen

Our highest-seller again this week was RAVAGES, which seems to be creating something of a stir; we eagerly await new reviews both for that and for our other new title, SOLEMN CONTRACT.

Average response time, after the hiccups of last week, is looking a whole lot more settled now at two hours 13 minutes.

Beyond that, and the fact that covers for the next four books have recently been prepared, there is little to report this week except a steady trickle of sales through our partners on ARe and the excellent progress being made by the proof-readers with our two November titles. We feel we are ticking over rather nicely at the moment, in fact, although we could always use a few more reviews!!!

Friday, 12 August 2011

First review of RAVAGES

Congratulations to R. A. Padmos for a stunning review at Miz Love and Crew Loves Books which concludes with this ringing endorsement:

Ravages is a wonderful story (but not for the faint of heart) that deals with love to the highest degree, and everything else in between. It’s an emotional roller coaster, I won’t lie and say it isn’t, but it’s a book well worth reading if you want to be amazed by just how strong the power of love can be. If you like your romance with a heavy dose of reality, please read this book. I think it will change you in some way, just as it did me.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Interview with R. A. Padmos

Over on Chris Quinton's blog there's a fascinating interview with R. A. Padmos, the author of RAVAGES.

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We now also have a 'Publisher Page' on Manic Readers which may help us to reach the notice of a few more reviewers.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Year Two Week Fourteen

And that, dear friends, is what we mean by a steep learning curve! Our new order-filling person had a little bit of a rough time getting to grips with the system but by mid-week had it all sorted out and ended up being much more comfortable with everything.

Teething troubles aside, however, it's been a very successful week, with RAVAGES easily our best-seller of the week, and an average response time which settled down in the end to exactly eight hours.

We can also report that one of the books scheduled for publication on 1 February 2012 has gone off to its proof-reader already - so all in all we think we might be excused if, just for a little while, we're feeling rather smug!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

First sales via ARe

We take back what we said about ARe's website being big and confusing; obviously somebody has been able to find our books - at least two 'somebodies', in fact!  Our 'real time report', which yesterday was empty, is today populated with fascinating details.  This is a very promising start!

We've also ticked the box to allow them to review our titles, which is supposed to happen within the first month.  We don't suppose they'll do all of them but we hope they choose some - and will be very interested to see their response!

Monday, 1 August 2011

Two new titles now available from MANIFOLD PRESS

At last, it's August 1st - and we're delighted to announce that our two most recent titles have now gone live!  So hurry on over to our website/online shop and you will be able to order:

RAVAGES by R.A. Padmos

Steve Gavan and DaniĆ«l Borghart are professional soccer players for Kinbridge Town - and also secret lovers.  All that changes, however, when Steve innocently wanders into a city park and falls victim to a vicious gang of queer-bashers who beat him within an inch of his life.  After that there are no secrets any more - and it's a very long road back, for both of them, from there...


SOLEMN CONTRACT by Morgan Cheshire

Connecticut, 1720:  In an attempt to give his family financial security, school master Jem Bradley hires himself out as an indentured servant - and thus begins an odyssey which will take him to the small settlement of Kennet and a burgeoning friendship with enigmatic blacksmith Will Middleton.  Trouble is never far away, however, and when Jem is accused of committing a bloody murder his future begins to look very bleak indeed...

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While we're at it, we should say that we've redesigned the online shop module for a smarter, more modern look.  We're wondering now why on Earth we ever chose that 'book page' layout in the first place, and indeed why we stayed with it as long as we did, but we hope you'll agree with us that the new look is a considerable improvement.

Oh and we redesigned the LJ too ...

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Year Two Week Thirteen

First of all, we'd like to thank everyone who has wished us well with this blog and those who have 'followed' us already.  (It's very brave of you, since we don't actually know where we're going!)

We'd also like to wish our good friends at Rainbow Ebooks a Happy First Birthday: we hadn't realised they were celebrating or we'd have said something sooner!  We're very happy about our link with them, we like the way they do business, and it feels to us like a match made in Heaven!

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Since sales from the website have been a bit sluggish lately we've had plenty of time to crunch numbers, and this is what we've come up with so far:

For the first quarter of Year Two our best-selling titles direct from the website were -

1=  The Definitive Albert J. Sterne by Julie Bozza
1=  Stage Whispers by Adam Fitzroy
3.  Fool's Oath by Chris Quinton

However if we include sales through Rainbow as well the picture is very slightly different -

1.  The Definitive Albert J. Sterne by Julie Bozza
2.  Stage Whispers by Adam Fitzroy
3.  Dear Mister President by Adam Fitzroy

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Average response time for the first quarter of the present year was 2 hours 26 minutes.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Welcome to the new Manifold Press blog!

In view of the recent difficulties with LiveJournal - extended DDoS attacks and Cyrillic comments, amongst others - it seemed sensible to organise some sort of back-up facility.  As we've said in so many contexts before, we're constantly on a learning curve with Manifold Press, and this is just another new thing to learn (but we like what we've seen so far).  In fact we are seriously considering transferring operations over here permanently and producing our weekly update here rather than on LiveJournal, although we'll run the two in tandem for the time being and see how that goes.  However, the chances are that there will be many more DDoS attacks in LJ's future and we think it might be more convenient not to be around when they occur.