The New Co-Op

One internet trend I’m closely tracking is the concept of an authors’ co-operative, where authors band together to publish and market their works, usually backlist titles or shorter pieces of writing.  I know of three so far (feel free to add others) – Book View Cafe, A Writer’s Work, and Closed Circle.  All three offer a mixture of free reads and titles for sale.

Closed Circle and BVC are mainly SF/fantasy-focused, with quite a few familiar names – the former has just three authors (CJ Cherryh, Lynn Abbey, and Jane Fancher), while BVC’s author list appears to be growing by the week!  Too many to list individually, but Sherwood Smith is one (and I’m a fan of both her YA and adult fantasy books).  Seanan McGuire is another, and everywhere I turn nowadays, I’m seeing glowing reviews for her October Daye UF series (I’ve the first one and really need to get around to reading it).  Finally, I haven’t spent much time on AWW yet, but it’s listing a variety of genres and I am tempted to get Patricia Rice’s “Lost Love” short story collection (she certainly gets around as she is also a member of BVC!).

crownduel It is also currently Ebook Week, and BVC is having a 50% sale on selected titles.  I was already planning on getting an e-copy of Sherwood Smith’s “Crown Duel” (with additional material!) and $2.50 is a complete bargain.  I’m also having a closer look at the other titles on offer, and at the moment, am tempted by Phyllis Radford’s “Lacing Up for Murder”.  Any opinions on this?

I will be honest though, and say that if it wasn’t for the fact I was already familiar with some of the authors on each site, I would take a bit more persuading to look past the website design and ebook covers (not all of them, but certainly some!).  I know, I know, don’t judge a book by its cover and all that, but it does go to show the oft-overlooked contribution by publishers in terms of cover art and marketing.

Also, it probably depends on the author, but more promo wouldn’t go amiss.  For instance, one of the reasons I want the “Crown Duel” ebook version is because it contains additional scenes from another character’s POV (yes, I’m a sucker), but it only says that on the author’s bibliography page, not on the Smashbooks page for "Crown Duel".  I mean, this is exclusive material – why not emphasise it?

I’m going to stop grouching now and actually head off to buy the ebooks.  But do you have any opinions on this trend?  Bought any books from a co-op?  Excited about backlist titles becoming available? 

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “The New Co-Op

  1. While considering Smashwords, have you tried Ann Somerville’s Darshian Tales epic fantasy yet? The central couple are gay, but that is mostly incidental – she has great characters and plot dealing with war, guilt, remorse, love, different ideas of society, healing, coming of age… just about everything.
    http://logophilos.net/free-original-fiction/darshian/
    You can read the Darshian Tales free on her website, too, they’re excellent.

    Oh and Judith Tarr has an older novel on Smashwords, too.
    http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/judithtarr

  2. Estara – Thank you for the links! I’m always on the lookout for new-to-me authors, and the first sounds great.

    I haven’t read Judith Tarr in a very very long time – not sure why as I do remember liking her books, thanks for the reminder :-)

    • Well, she’s joined Sherwood Smith and others at Book View Café where they’re mostly re-releasing older out-of-print novels in e-book format and occasionally writing new stuff too, like The Shadow Conspiracy anthology, which is completely new material. I know that Sherwood said she was working to release her SF collaboration series with Dave Trowbridge via BVC, too, and maybe the last Wren book, which she’s already serially releasing on the site.

      If you want to keep in touch with her or P.C. Hodgell, here are there LJs
      http://sartorias.livejournal.com
      http://tagmet.livejournal.com

      • gah, that should be “their LJs” and also the Hodgell LJ is

        “tagmeth” with an h.

      • I love the idea of BVC and the possibility of getting OOP titles again. And it would be brilliant if she released the last Wren book!

      • Re: sartorias – well, when you get around to the Samhain ones you’ll most likely enjoy them, they’re up to her usual nifty standards.

        re: Wren 4, maybe after the serialisation? Then again I wouldn’t mind if she got a print contract out of it…

      • I’m an instant gratification sort of reader, therefore I tend to avoid serialisations, because I don’t want to be left hanging for a week or more ;-)

        I would love if the Wren books were re-released. Dawn Cook a.k.a Kim Harrison’s Truth books were re-released recently, and for some reason, I tend to think of both series as being very similar, rightly or wrongly!

      • I’ve been waffling about whether to buy the Truth books or not, I haven’t read her as Kim Harrison either. .. the reviews I read were mixed.. and there are so many other books on my tbr pile…

        I expect that Wren 4 will be a book at some point, the only question will be whether it will be a print one with a big publisher or one of the BVC releases. Sartorias has two new contracts on Sartorias-deles under contract from DAW, but those will probably take quite a while to show up.

      • It’s been a while since I’ve read the Truth books, but I recall liking them. But I haven’t really gotten into the Kim Harrison books – read the first two, IIRC, but not the rest.

        And new DAW books? Fantastic.

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