I’m finally off today! I have no intention of putting on real clothes [sorry, wearing suits all week means I live in PJs when I get the chance!!] and spending the day with my kids – which I haven’t done in ages. Today’s plan is to bake our mid-December holiday cookies. We’ve done this for the past three years now, and I’m quite fond of it. Will be updating flickr account later with the blow-by-blows.
I shot off some questions to my contact at DMP, and I’m very excited because I think ‘yaoi-fiction’ will have a great home there. I feel that eManga.com is proof that they’re sincerely invested in fostering independent creators.
BUT WRITERS…PLEASE PAY ATTENTION…
Ok, cutting for boring publishing stuff:
I got a reply from Ms. Michelle Mauk and she gave me the rundown on eManga.com’s original ‘light-novels’ initiative. It’s for author’s looking to distribute their brand [if you’re a serious self-published author, you know what I’m talking about! when I say ‘brand’; to those who don’t, here is the 411: Authors that self-publish do so on their own dime with their own name /or named press serving as their ‘business brand’. For example, I am Gynocrat Inc with two imprints for novels and comics, while Donna Barr is A Fine Line Press for all her comics. For you Japanophiles, let me use examples you’ll best understand: late 90’s BL author Hasegawa Shinobu wrote stories as MOVEMENT, her artist was some chick named Nitta Yuuka. Mika Sadahiro’s brand is Affluenza. Pretty much everything she’s ever done was released via Affluenza before being picked up and given an ISBN by a publisher. Our writing/art is an investment – we pay all the bills, we collect what we can when we sell. No middle man small press or vanity publishing house – it’s all on us – including sales and distribution and paying taxes on what we earn. ] /classover
According to Ms. Mauk, the material has to come in completed and professional; this tells me that they’re looking for self-producers with experience in DIYing their work.
IN a nutshell, authors must invest in copy editors and cover artists [which most seasoned self-publishers do all ready], so the only new expense is having your cover artist draw some internal illustrations. Don’t share royalties with cover artists/illustrators – these folks must be paid up front for their work, this way you, as the author, earn direct royalties from sales [in this case, online purchases from DMP]. If you have no money and decide you want to share royalties with your illustrator, then you better have a head for business – because you’ll be the one getting the payments from the company [companies/bookstores/distributors do not dole out separate checks to ‘partners’] that means you’re fiscally responsible for ensuring your illustrator is paid every quarter… No offense, but this is a real hassle.
In the case of online light-novels, I can tell you from experience that you’re not going to make a fortune on eBooks, no one does – so telling an artist that they’ll get paid when you get paid is not just financially lame, it’s unfair. Unlike writers, illustrators create in a physically demanding way…collecting peanut-size profits over time is demoralizing. 😦 Also, sharing back-end profits is not fun for authors either because we need to be mentally free of worrying about paying a second-party illustrator, or if that person is unhappy/happy with the state of affairs. NOT-FUN: Let’s say you make about $15 a quarter on your book – you’ll be giving half of that to your artist…so for three months of sales, you’re pocketing around $7. Demoralizing: It’s likely the artist worked hours on the cover, and hours on the comic-style illustrations – and he/she is only going to get about $7 every three months. That sucks. PAY YOUR ARTISTS UP FRONT; once they’re paid and get their name on the book – you’re no longer financially tied to giving them anymore money. Keep your quarterly earnings for yourself. Trust me, your artist wont mind because they’re getting paid their commission price for completed art, and they’ll have their name on the book to add to their portfolio. Back-end deals are better suited for writers. 🙂 /preaching
If you’re unsure of how light-novels read or feel, go over to Emanga.com and rent one – or take a look at some non-yaoi ones from companies like Dark Horse [Ghost in the Shell series] or Seven Seas [Boogie Pop Phantom Series]; BECAUSE Emanga.com wants NON-YAOI light novels as well.
According to Ms. Mauk:
…looking for completely finished products-from beginning to end, cover, illustrations, internals, etc. DMP will go over and double check all the submissions, but he’s looking for works that are pretty much self-contained. If it will require far more work to make it presentable in a professional format for eManga, but we want it, we will probably ask the creator to make changes to make it more acceptable. But we won’t just be putting anything up on eManga that isn’t quality finished work. New content on eManga is still a work in progress as we go through submissions. […] We’ll edit things in house if need be (to ensure it flows and looks correctly online in the case of a novel type property, or ask the creator to make spelling/lettering corrections on a manga type property).
From their editorial styling, it sounds basic to me – they’re just offering up their corporate-name as a means of selling original English language novels and manga from professional ‘doujinshika’. They’re not looking to change anyone’s story or ‘edit the completed work’ to fit ‘the profitable market’. Creators happy to produce themselves in print, but could use a little extra exposure and cash from online sales would be best serviced by partnering up with Emanga.com What I like about DMP’s program is that they sell my work digitally, in a format that can’t be copied, shared, or pirated. Seriously– pirating eBooks literally takes money from the authors because 99.9% of all eBook contracts have the author earning money solely from royalties. Pirating erotic and small-press eBooks sucks and this mindset people have where they think it’s ok ‘because the pub’s made money from the print copy’ or ‘the author’s been paid an advance’ is bullshit. eBooks don’t work that way, and you’re stealing. /soapbox.
I’ve finished the first round of revisions of Lost Along the Way, and must find an new editor, and I’m going to bug my friends Katrina, Hayden, and Silapa into writing something with artworks attached and sending them off to eManga. There’s a ton of creative illustrators out there that just aren’t ‘comikers’, but love yaoi. They’re taking commissions from fans and writers, so this would be great for them.