I was asked to speak for a few minutes about digital publishing for the Passionate Ink chapter’s RWA party last week. Since digital publishing is such a broad topic, I chose to take the rah-rah approach. I think the speech loses a little in translation, reading it instead of seeing it presented, but several people on Twitter requested that I post it so here you go:

“Zor Q’an Tal, High King of Tryston, Emperor of Trek Mi Q’an galaxy, Guardian of the Sacred Sands, and the most feared man in six hundred galaxies and seven dimensions, popped a cheesy doodle into his mouth.”

And in 2000, with those highly evocative words from Jaid Black, author of the Empress’ New Clothes, Ellora’s Cave was open to the public and thus began the age of erotic romance. Prior to 2000, there were other digital publishers in the market, but Ellora’s Cave, who holds the trademark for romantica, was arguably the publisher to put erotic romance on the digital map. After Ellora’s Cave came other digital publishers such as Loose Id and Liquid Silver. In 2004, Samhain Publishing exploded on the scene (I can say it like that because I work there :P) with offerings like Maya Banks 2005 debut, Colters’ Woman:

“His big hands traveled down her back and settled on her ass, cupping and squeezing, pushing her against his groin. His cock, hard, big, bulging in his jeans, thrust into the cradle of her pelvis. Can you feel how much I want you?” he whispered.”

In the almost decade since erotic romance has made its mark on the publishing map, countless other digital publishers have opened their doors from Cobblestone, to Total E-bound, to Wild Rose Press, to the most recent addition, Quartet Press. Print publisher Red Sage joined the digital-first/digital-only ranks. In that time we’ve also seen traditional print publishers join the erotic romance trend…and now release their books in digital formats as well. Beth Kery’s Sweet Restraint from Berkley Heat:

“He saw her eyes go wide but he didn’t give her a chance to respond to his totally irrational proclamation before he covered her mouth with his own.
He drank from her furiously. Pain vibrated through his flesh. Not the discomfort of a wound or an injury, but the raw, searing pain that came from exposing a desire that had long been denied.
At that moment he needed Laura Vasquez just like he needed to breathe.”

And yet, while there is now an outlet for erotic romance in the traditional publishing realm, authors and readers continue to seek out digital publishers to publish not just erotic romance, but all genres of romance, as well as fiction.

When Passionate Ink asked me to speak to all of you about digital publishing, I didn’t know how I could possibly do justice to the topic in five to ten minutes. Where do I begin to explain why I think readers and authors continue to seek out digital publishers? How would it be possible to convey how amazing I think digital publishing is. How excited I am to work in a part of the publishing industry that gives me the freedom to publish books that I love, to push the envelope and allow authors the ability to get books that bend genres (and body parts) in new and unique ways.

Then I realized that I probably don’t have to do that. Many of you already come from a digital publishing background. Those who don’t, who are here tonight, are here because of your love of erotic romance, a genre everyone can acknowledge got its push in digital publishing. So many of you already share my excitement and love of this corner of the industry.

Still, with all that’s been discussed leading up to this year’s conference, we have to acknowledge that there are those who don’t feel the same optimism, excitement and passion for digital publishing, and in some cases, erotic romance, as we do. It would be easy to be discouraged, angry and frustrated about this, and since I’m only human–don’t tell anyone, I heard earlier that there’s some talk I’ve never been seen in the sunlight and I don’t want to shatter anyone’s illusions– but since I am only human, I’ll admit there are times I feel all of those.

But then I remember I work in an industry that allowed talented authors like Lora Leigh, Lauren Dane, Angela Knight, Jaci Burton, Maya Banks, Beth Kery, Mary Janice Davidson, Megan Hart, Linnea Sinclair, Lilith Saintcrow and so many others to get their start. An industry that’s drawn authors like Deidre Knight, Shayla Black, Ilona Andrews and Lucy Monroe. And an industry that’s showcasing talents like authors Josh Lanyon, Laura Baumbach, and K.A Mitchell who write male/male fiction they otherwise might not have found a home for.

Digital publishing is a place where authors can start their careers, continue their careers, write short, write long, write erotic, write male/male, write female/female, write about three brothers loving and living with one woman…write about werewolves, demons, vampires, suspense, erotica, BDSM, and publish a book like Deidre Knight’s Butterfly Tattoo, a simple yet amazingly complex story of a man and a woman falling in love and facing obstacles…such as finding a publisher because the hero was formerly in a homosexual relationship. Digital publishing offers all of that and so much more.

I know that, you know that and I believe that as time passes and more people get to know digital publishing, they too will recognize that. I’m not going to stop believing in our industry because people question, disdain or disbelieve. In the words of Galaxy Quest, I choose to “Never give up. Never surrender.” because I have faith in digital publishing.

Chassie planned on having a whole lotta beer. She definitely needed alcohol to get the conversation started and probably an entire case to follow through with her plan. She took two bottles of Bud Light from the door and passed one to him. Snick, hiss, pop echoed, as the lids were untwisted.
Edgard’s backside rested against one counter; hers on the one across from him. She gulped her beer, cautioning herself to be tactful and calm, but what burst forth from her mouth was, “Are you in love with my husband?”

This is the industry that brought readers erotic romance and powerful books like Lorelei James’ Rough, Raw and Ready.
And it’s not going away.

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