Red Sage Publishing
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Writing For Red Sage

by Red Sage Publishing

With our contest deadline approaching, I thought it might be a good time to talk about how Red Sage operates. We get a lot of questions from aspiring writers about this.

Red Sage first opened in 1994, before the recent boom in the erotic romance market, and before e-books came onto the scene in any meaningful way. We were a print house first. The first Secrets anthology is still in print and still selling, as is every other Secrets anthology published since then — 22 and counting! We also have a very small, very exclusive single title print program in early development, and we launched an e-books division last fall.

We pay advances on everything, including e-books. We’re aware that the industry standard from e-book publishers is to pay no advance at all, but to pay 30-40% royalties. We also know that several of the big houses are paying advances on e-books, but are holding the royalty rates to the print standard of 6-10% instead of paying standard e-book rates.

We give e-book authors the best of both worlds: we pay an advance against the higher standard e-book royalties. In other words, if you write for Red Sage Presents, you get part of your earnings up front, and earnings are calculated at a bigger percentage of total sales.

We’re not a micropress; we’re a small press. Of course, not all presses operate alike, regardless of their class, but in general, we run our print operations like the big presses, and we run our e-books division more or less like the micropresses. We have our own distribution channels through the usual outlets for print distribution, and don’t have to rely on anyone but our own sales staff to get our books into the distribution centers. Our books can be found on the shelves of almost any bookstore in the country. (Though the current releases tend to be harder to find than back issues, because current releases sell faster!) And our new proprietary e-store sells books direct to readers much like any micropress website.

With the explosion of publishing technology (e-ink screens, secure webstores, alternatives to movable typesetting), publishing industry models are evolving. We’re proud to have been around long enough to be part of the old model, and we’re excited by the possibilities afforded by the new model.

We work with a lot of new writers. In fact, historically, we’re far more likely to work with new writers than with those who have already published elsewhere. Many of our writers have gone on to achieve great things, and we suspect several more are on the brink of breaking big. We love it when that happens!

Recently, an aspiring writer confessed to me that she no longer considered erotic romance to be a good entry point for a new writer because erotic romance sales have peaked. I think this looks at it from the wrong angle. Erotic romance sales may or may not have peaked — it’s a debatable point, I think — but even if they have, it doesn’t matter. Erotic romance provides you with the opportunity to write across subgenres, to build a brand name (or several), and to move from this established base in any number of directions. Want to write historical romance? You can start in erotic historical romance. Want to write suspense thrillers? You can start in erotic romantic suspense. And so on, gaining income and experience as you build a career.

Best of luck to everyone entering the contest, and watch this space for announcements about the online party we’ll be throwing to announce the winners.

Theresa Stevens
Managing Editor

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