News

Cosmo launches e-book erotica collection

Women's magazine Cosmopolitan has launched its first erotic short story collection, Cosmo Sexy Stories: Volume 1, featuring five stories by Cosmopolitan writers.

Cosmopolitan has been releasing e-books about sex and relationships since last year, publishing 14 so far, but Cosmo Sexy Stories is the first collection of original fiction from the magazine's writers.

Priced £2.99, the collection is available now through all major e-book retailers.

Group publishing director Ella Dolphin said: "As the world's biggest women's magazine brand, Cosmopolitan has a long history of publishing fiction which our readers love to get lost in. This collection is the first of many written specifically for the Cosmo girl to consumer on whichever device she chooses."

This follows the news last week that Cosmopolitan in the US is linking up with romance publisher Harlequin for an e-book partnership.

The partnership will see the companies two titles every month from May 2013, with each title about 30,000 words long. The range will be called Cosmo Red Hot Reads from Harlequin, and will present independent, adventurous women in contemporary settings with fast-paced plots, written by some of Harlequin’s bestselling authors. The e-books will have both the Cosmopolitan and Harlequin logos on their covers. The partnership does not currently include the UK.

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A very interesting article and maybe more telling than you can imagine. Unless you own a bookshop, this is excellent news and bears out everything I think the way today's book market is going.

I was writing 'Deadly Prediction' as a 30,000 word novella to fit Amazon's KDP Singles requirements, when up popped Fifty Shades. It was the spark I needed, inspiring my inclusion of BDSM sex. Don't ask if I'm into it, just read and judge for yourself. Anyway it totally transformed the plot, to the point that I even swapped protagonists and the story then wrote itself.

Unfortunately, on submission, I found that KDP Select don't accept erotica. I could have taken the subDom sex out, but that would have weakened the plot, as now the protagonist, who likes giving up control in sex, has to take control to survive. No longer can heroes and heroines kiss and wake up next morning, so having only scratched the surface of BDSM, adding submission and domination gave me plenty of scope for graphic opportunities in the sequels. I therefore decided to leave things as they were and give KDP Singles a miss.

However I do agree entirely with Amazon's KDP Singles approach. William Goldman's advice is to write screenplays, they are faster to write and pay much better. That's fine if you are well connected in Hollywood but the public don't read them and Hollywood's draws are full of rejected screenplays. Films are pitched with a one-page treatment, followed by a five-page treatment, followed by a screenplay because Hollywood time, like its population, is the most precious on the planet.

If you are unaware of Hollywood rules, screenplays are presented in a strict format so every screenplay looks the same and runs to around 20,000 words. They are written in Courier (a monospace typewriter font) where the letter i takes up the same space as an m. This puts approximately the same amount of letters on each page and every page equals a minute of screen-time. Films are ninety minutes so screenplays run to 90 - 110 pages. My point is 20,000 words is enough to get across any good idea and today's readers, with so much else to occupy their time, don't want to read detailed descriptions, which slow down the plot.

So why do novels run to 85,000 words? It’s historical, but mainly to give the book a worthwhile retail price and decent spine, because the spine is all you see on the bookshelf. However with ebooks there is no spine. More importantly for booksellers, with ebooks there is no bookshelf.

There are 220,000 ebooks now produced a year and rising, most, like mine, self-published. Amazon has changed the rules for cover art too, which now has to be simple to work as a tiny Amazon thumbnail.

Cosmo's US ebooks are 30,000 word novellas from Harlequin, sold, just like my 'Deadly Prediction', on Amazon. So what is Cosmo erotica? Nothing more than a marketing tool, giving Harlequin’s ebooks publicity in Cosmo and Cosmo something extra to interest its readers. Sell an ebook on Amazon at less than $2.99 and Amazon keeps 70%. Sell it at $2.99 and more and Amazons keep only 30%.

Bear in mind KDP Select encourages authors to give ebooks away for five days in every ninety. Also bear in mind many ebooks like 'Deadly Prediction' are on promotion at 99p to get the ball rolling, £2.99 for 30,000 word Cosmo Erotica, with no printing, storage and shipping costs, allows almost two pounds to be shared out in royalties, which if split three ways, would still give the author 66 pence, probably more than they’d get from a regular 85,000 word paperback. In the UK if Cosmo is fair to its writers with no Harlequin and a fifty/fifty split, one of their house writers would get almost a pound. Where’s the Cosmo Christmas party being held this year, the London Dungeon?

Writing and editing 30,000 words is also obviously much faster, mainly because 85,000 words takes a lot of checking back and forth. Soon every latest craze will have ebook promos from the likes of Cosmo. Almost every London Tube station is now wi-fi equipped. Reading Cosmo online, Cosmo Erotica is only a click away, paid for and instantly downloaded onto your iphone with Kindle Reader software as you wait for the tube.

Of course none of this is much comfort to booksellers but for one thing. JK Rowling was turned down everywhere. Even at Christopher Little, JK’s agent, Harry Potter had to be dragged out of the slush pile by a junior. Both Amanda Hocking and EL James built their initial following with works under 30,000 words. EL James literary style has met with mixed reaction so it is entirely likely no agent or traditional publisher would have touched her without her online success. Ebooks put Fifty Shades on the bookshelves and the subsequent publicity is all Hollywood needed to queue up to sign.

As far as I’m concerned if you have a good graphic idea for a film, 30,000 words is all you need to tell the story, the other 55,000 is spine filler. Even if films are not your goal, my advice to any new author is don’t waste your time looking for an agent. Get the story out as an ebook novella and start driving the publicity online. If it gets anywhere the sequels can be rolled into an 85,000 word novel and with success, while the regular book trade is still around, an agent or publisher will come looking for you.

There may always be the Christmas top twenty TV celebrity book list, sold in supermarkets as presents and often going unread. However for the bulk of the trade I give paperbacks another ten years, along with much of high street retail. When paperbacks die all a publisher will be able to offer an author is an advance and a guaranteed publicity budget for a slice of their Amazon royalties. Then the question all publishers will ask a new author is, “How many are you already selling online?”

All Amazon reviews of ‘Deadly Prediction’ welcome.

http://www.darcyblaze.com/

A very interesting article and maybe more telling than you can imagine. Unless you own a bookshop, this is excellent news and bears out everything I think the way today's book market is going.

I was writing 'Deadly Prediction' as a 30,000 word novella to fit Amazon's KDP Singles requirements, when up popped Fifty Shades. It was the spark I needed, inspiring my inclusion of BDSM sex. Don't ask if I'm into it, just read and judge for yourself. Anyway it totally transformed the plot, to the point that I even swapped protagonists and the story then wrote itself.

Unfortunately, on submission, I found that KDP Select don't accept erotica. I could have taken the subDom sex out, but that would have weakened the plot, as now the protagonist, who likes giving up control in sex, has to take control to survive. No longer can heroes and heroines kiss and wake up next morning, so having only scratched the surface of BDSM, adding submission and domination gave me plenty of scope for graphic opportunities in the sequels. I therefore decided to leave things as they were and give KDP Singles a miss.

However I do agree entirely with Amazon's KDP Singles approach. William Goldman's advice is to write screenplays, they are faster to write and pay much better. That's fine if you are well connected in Hollywood but the public don't read them and Hollywood's draws are full of rejected screenplays. Films are pitched with a one-page treatment, followed by a five-page treatment, followed by a screenplay because Hollywood time, like its population, is the most precious on the planet.

If you are unaware of Hollywood rules, screenplays are presented in a strict format so every screenplay looks the same and runs to around 20,000 words. They are written in Courier (a monospace typewriter font) where the letter i takes up the same space as an m. This puts approximately the same amount of letters on each page and every page equals a minute of screen-time. Films are ninety minutes so screenplays run to 90 - 110 pages. My point is 20,000 words is enough to get across any good idea and today's readers, with so much else to occupy their time, don't want to read detailed descriptions, which slow down the plot.

So why do novels run to 85,000 words? It’s historical, but mainly to give the book a worthwhile retail price and decent spine, because the spine is all you see on the bookshelf. However with ebooks there is no spine. More importantly for booksellers, with ebooks there is no bookshelf.

There are 220,000 ebooks now produced a year and rising, most, like mine, self-published. Amazon has changed the rules for cover art too, which now has to be simple to work as a tiny Amazon thumbnail.

Cosmo's US ebooks are 30,000 word novellas from Harlequin, sold, just like my 'Deadly Prediction', on Amazon. So what is Cosmo erotica? Nothing more than a marketing tool, giving Harlequin’s ebooks publicity in Cosmo and Cosmo something extra to interest its readers. Sell an ebook on Amazon at less than $2.99 and Amazon keeps 70%. Sell it at $2.99 and more and Amazons keep only 30%.

Bear in mind KDP Select encourages authors to give ebooks away for five days in every ninety. Also bear in mind many ebooks like 'Deadly Prediction' are on promotion at 99p to get the ball rolling, £2.99 for 30,000 word Cosmo Erotica, with no printing, storage and shipping costs, allows almost two pounds to be shared out in royalties, which if split three ways, would still give the author 66 pence, probably more than they’d get from a regular 85,000 word paperback. In the UK if Cosmo is fair to its writers with no Harlequin and a fifty/fifty split, one of their house writers would get almost a pound. Where’s the Cosmo Christmas party being held this year, the London Dungeon?

Writing and editing 30,000 words is also obviously much faster, mainly because 85,000 words takes a lot of checking back and forth. Soon every latest craze will have ebook promos from the likes of Cosmo. Almost every London Tube station is now wi-fi equipped. Reading Cosmo online, Cosmo Erotica is only a click away, paid for and instantly downloaded onto your iphone with Kindle Reader software as you wait for the tube.

Of course none of this is much comfort to booksellers but for one thing. JK Rowling was turned down everywhere. Even at Christopher Little, JK’s agent, Harry Potter had to be dragged out of the slush pile by a junior. Both Amanda Hocking and EL James built their initial following with works under 30,000 words. EL James literary style has met with mixed reaction so it is entirely likely no agent or traditional publisher would have touched her without her online success. Ebooks put Fifty Shades on the bookshelves and the subsequent publicity is all Hollywood needed to queue up to sign.

As far as I’m concerned if you have a good graphic idea for a film, 30,000 words is all you need to tell the story, the other 55,000 is spine filler. Even if films are not your goal, my advice to any new author is don’t waste your time looking for an agent. Get the story out as an ebook novella and start driving the publicity online. If it gets anywhere the sequels can be rolled into an 85,000 word novel and with success, while the regular book trade is still around, an agent or publisher will come looking for you.

There may always be the Christmas top twenty TV celebrity book list, sold in supermarkets as presents and often going unread. However for the bulk of the trade I give paperbacks another ten years, along with much of high street retail. When paperbacks die all a publisher will be able to offer an author is an advance and a guaranteed publicity budget for a slice of their Amazon royalties. Then the question all publishers will ask a new author is, “How many are you already selling online?”

All Amazon reviews of ‘Deadly Prediction’ welcome.

http://www.darcyblaze.com/