I am thrilled to welcome J. Ellen Smith, Publisher, Champagne Books. Ms. Smith, if that is your real name…LOL, I just had to say that! First off, tell me a little about yourself?
Yes indeedily-do, that is my real name. I inherited it by marriage, and when I got divorced, it was the only thing I got to keep besides my daughter. Besides, it was easier to spell.
I started out as an author, so I'm very aware of author concerns and problems. I wrote for a good 20 years before breaking into the publishing end of things. Sometimes I wonder if that was smart! Lol But as an author and publisher, I'm also an avid reader. I go through spurts of what I like best, and right now it's a suspense/thriller thing. I was enjoying science fiction a couple of months ago, and before that I was reading romantic comedy. I like so much that it's hard to pick any particular genre for too long. When I'm not reading and working, I also like to watch the occasional tv program. My favorite right now is NCIS Los Angeles, 'cause I rather love LL Cool J's dimples.
When I'm not hard at work at my desk, I'm still a nurse a couple days a month. I'm not quite ready to completely give up that aspect of my life yet although I know it's coming. I've also been an army reservist, so weapons are not foreign to me. Bandages and rifles… go figure, eh?
As an author, what genre did/do you write, and where can I find your work?
As an author, I write romantic comedy. Probably because I'm pretty much a smart ass in real life, and I was taught to go with what I knew. You might have picked up on that smart ass angle already… My pen name is Jennifer Lynn, and I've got a couple of books out at Champagne, with another coming soon. I have a couple of older backlist titles that may eventually see the light of day again, but it's hard to make time to write when I'm already working a kazillion hours a day with the publishing end of things. But I did create a new blog the other day since my old domain went by the way of the dodo bird.
From being an author, you became an editor. Which position do you like best and why?
Oh heck, being an author is SO much easier! No stress, you can actually turn off the computer and leave email alone. (sigh) Why did I start publishing again??
What made you decide to make the leap to becoming a publisher?
Oh, I knew you were going to ask that! One day, while having vanilla lattés with a friend, we sat and complained about the latest thing we'd read. Same plot, same formula... ho hum boring. We chatted a while about the types of books we'd like to read. It was around that time that the idea that would become Champagne was born. Several more months of research ensued, and then it was time to either put up or shut up. I'd been saying for two years that I could do it, and I decided that the time had come.
Champagne Books came into being in early 2005, initially as a romance only publishing house, and has since moved into acquiring other genres. It's been fun adding a whole new mix to our author loop because we now have some very creative guys that come to our chats and take part terrorizing... er... chatting with the readers.
Please, explain a little about Champagne Books and your goals for the company.
Champagne Books started out as a romance-only publishing house. While we still have a strong romance focus, it's exciting to see other genres added to the mix now. We have a fantastic sci fi/fantasy department that does quite well with the fans. We have a fabulous editorial/artistic staff that works hard to produce those great books that you see on our cyber shelves.
As for our goals, they're really quite simple: to continue to produce the best books in the industry. My personal goal is to continue to seek out new markets and exploit the hell out of them!
As I'm sure you are well aware, piracy of e-books is a huge problem on the internet. As a publisher, how do you handle this and do you have any suggestions on how to curb the problem?
You have to remember, this happened exactly the same way with the advent of MP3’s. They were pirated widely for a long while (and sometimes still are), until the industry caught up to the digital age. Making them easier to get at (a single MP3 versus the whole album) changed things for artists. Education was a huge factor as a lot of people didn’t realize that what they were doing was wrong. All this is now playing out with ebooks.
While ebooks are being pirated, I don’t believe it’s to the extent that people think. Yes, there are some sites where they are ‘shared’ illegally. But most of the downloaders are collectors who don’t even bother to read, simply want to have whatever they can get for free in their collection. Those people aren’t near as numerous as the loyal ebook readers who do go out and purchase their copies legally.
It’s a slow process, but education is key.
For authors, should they discover their books pirated, I always suggest that 1) they notify their publisher, and 2) send a cease and desist letter to the website where the book is being downloaded. The author MUST send a letter as the registered copyright holder. The publisher backs them up. I also strongly believe that authors need to address the issue of illegal copies whenever the subject arises, again to educate. Most individuals don’t realize that what they’re doing is illegal and are under the assumption that because it’s on the internet, it’s free. Authors can also join an organization, such as EPIC, where they have strength in numbers for those times when multiple emails are necessary.
It’s love at first sight for Blaine Everett, and he’ll let nothing stop him from marrying Beth. He begins a relentless pursuit of her by promoting her to his executive assistant at Starling Productions. Before Beth knows what’s happening, Blaine moves into the apartment across the hall from hers and he’s telling everyone they are engaged.
Beth has had enough bad relationships to last a lifetime, so getting involved with her new boss is not high on her agenda of things to do. With Beth fighting tooth and nail to remain coolly aloof, Blaine’s only options are deceit and trickery. Aided by two matchmaking friends and a wily cat named Houdini, Blaine puts a plan in motion to woo the woman of his dreams, using every dirty trick in the book!