Price reductions on old favourites

2016 is going to be a year of changes throughout MANIFOLD PRESS – which we’ll explain in more detail as we go along. However we thought we’d start out gently with permanent price reductions on a handful of our classic titles.

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ALOES by Chris Quinton – now $4.95!

A fluke accident puts Perry in a coma. When he awakes, his scrambled synapses have given him a talent; he can tell truth from lies simply by their flavour. This, plus the new client who is far too attractive for Perry’s peace of mind, the client’s contentious family and the dilapidated old mansion Perry has to restore for him – not to mention anonymous threats which escalate to attempted murder – all ensure that Perry’s life will never be the same again!

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ALWAYS WITH US by Morgan Cheshire – now $5.95!

Liverpool, 1896: Wealthy Harrison Calderwood has never given much thought to the poor of the bustling city until he accidentally runs into firebrand Daniel Harper. Through Daniel’s eyes he begins to see how much more could be done to improve the lot of the working people, and at the same time he begins to feel a very strong attraction towards Daniel himself. However this is the Victorian era, Daniel is believed to be a troublemaker, and Harrison has a position to maintain and a family who are expecting him to marry a well-to-do young woman and settle down to a conventional life …

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HOMOSAPIEN by Julie Bozza – now $4.95

Patrick and David are friends who run a gay bookstore, and life seems simple and safe enough until the day when unexpectedly he walks in – six feet tall, gorgeous and built like a dream. But Homosapien isn’t welcome in their world; he’s a professional wrestler, and everything he does is fake. So he can’t really be gay, can he, or interested in either one of them? Can they even trust a single word he says … ?

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SEA CHANGE by Chris Quinton – now $6.95!

Injured on duty and no longer fit for active service, soon-to-be-ex-Coast Guard Bran Kaulana is drifting, filling his days helping out at the Wai Ola Rescue Center, one of Honolulu’s wildlife charities. He’s working with the new veterinary, Steve, a man drawn to O’ahu by his fascination with dolphins. As their friendship slowly deepens into love, the two men are caught up in the mystery of injured seals and dolphins, a ruthless gang of smugglers and a not-so-dormant undersea lava vent.

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THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH by Julie Bozza – now $4.95!

Joshua Delaney and Carmine Angelo Trezini, cop and mobster, should have absolutely nothing in common; yet, accidentally brought together, they rapidly became both lovers and allies against important crime figure Matthew Picano. Of course, taking down a man like that was never going to be easy – but Josh has no idea of the scale of the sacrifice he will eventually be called upon to make.

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If you missed any of these diverse and fascinating titles earlier in their illustrious careers, this would be a wonderful opportunity of making their acquaintance!

Year Two Week Thirty-One

A little quieter this week, which is only to be expected; people tend not to have a lot of time for reading in this part of the year. However we’ve sold a broad range of titles, with Chris’s SEA CHANGE unexpectedly emerging as the week’s leading seller. Despite one or two minor glitches – one poor reader’s books had to be sent four times! – our average response time was three hours 16 minutes.

We’ve had the chance to do some ‘big picture’ thinking this week, which has resulted in a couple of technical decisions about the way we handle our accounts. We’re changing the dates when we pay our authors, for a start, and it’s also likely that we’ll adjust our business year to fit in a bit more closely with the UK tax year – albeit we don’t pay direct tax as a business because we’re still too small, but some of our authors do and it may make life easier for them.

If you think that sounds boring, we’ve also had the first look at another new book which has been submitted for publication next year and we like the way it’s shaping up. Plus we’ve been putting everything in place for our Christmas special offer, which is going to be a bit fiddly to organise but we feel it’s definitely worth a try!

So, on the whole, a modestly productive and mercifully stress-free week; this can only be a good thing, right?

Year Two Week Six

A slightly more successful week here at home base, we’re delighted to say, and Rainbow Ebooks are also doing us proud.

Our top sellers for the week are Julie’s THE DEFINITIVE ALBERT J. STERNE and Chris’s SEA CHANGE, and our average response time was pretty snappy at just sixty-two minutes.

One of our two August titles is expected back from its final run-through with the proof-reader later today, and as its layout is more or less finished we expect to be able to put it to bed shortly and concentrate fully on the other. The website updates are well in hand, so we’re nicely ahead of ourselves for once. Time to turn our attention now to November …

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Just a word, because we have been visited by Russian spambots this week, about comments in foreign languages. We don’t want to appear xenophobic, but if we don’t understand a comment (i.e. it’s in a language we can’t read) it will be removed and the LJ user banned from commenting here in future. It’s probably ‘shutting the stable door after the horse has gone’, but it makes us feel a bit better (and slightly less stupid). If you’d like to respond to anything you see here, please do so in English so that we know you’re human!!! Thank you.

Week 39 summary

A rather flat week, after all the recent activity. Nevertheless it’s given us an opportunity to catch up with admin and prepare for paying the first batch of author royalties on the November titles. We’re also aware of the first couple of sales filtering through from the GLBT Bookstore; disappointingly these are people who still can’t make our online shop module work for them, but at least now that we have a back-up system in place we’re not losing the sales completely.

Average response time this week was three hours 26 minutes, and the week’s leading title was Chris’s SEA CHANGE.

Progress is good on our two May 2011 titles; Adam’s STAGE WHISPERS is beginning to come back from the proof-reader (in sections, so as not to overwhelm the poor author) and Chris’s FOOL’S OATH is due back today. Preparations for our new promo video are also well in hand, and our reader has made some very encouraging comments about the new script we received recently – although she hasn’t quite finished with it yet. Hopefully it will be possible to come to a decision about that before too long, however, and our plans for the next few months will be a bit clearer.

BTW I discover that in some places I have foolishly been saying that our 2011 lists will be out on 1 May, 1 July and 1 November; naturally I meant 1 May, 1 August and 1 November. I have 1 July stuck in my head for a totally different reason, and I’m afraid terminal confusion has set in. Please ignore me if I get it wrong again!

A somewhat belated review

SEA CHANGEWe don’t mind them being late, however, if they’re all like this! See Elisa Rolle’s assessment of Chris Quinton’s SEA CHANGE here. We particularly enjoyed her response to the leisurely development of the romance sub-plot and acknowledgement that MANIFOLD PRESS is not aiming for the ‘fast-written/fast-read’ market; we hope we have a little more to offer than that!

A belated – but very welcome – review (and thoughts arising from it)

Guest reviewer Val Kovalin has done us proud again at Jessewave with a very strong review of Chris’s SEA CHANGE. However the comments to the review raise some interesting questions – once more, the subject of word/page-count is mentioned (and by implication attention span), and someone makes the distinction between ‘mainstream’ and ‘m/m’ fiction as if the latter was a separate genre. We find this fascinating, as we at Manifold Press don’t really understand the difference. As far as we’re concerned, what we deal with is romantic fiction in which the main protagonists happen to be men; yes, from time to time they’ll have sex and it’ll be described, but we’re not in the pornography business – we’re writing about people who have other things in their lives than mere bedroom antics!

In terms of ‘straight’ romantic fiction, Harlequin/Mills and Boon and ‘Northanger Abbey’ are different aspects of the same continuity. We’d like to try to reflect that range and variety here at Manifold; it’s one of the reasons why we don’t have a mandatory sex scene requirement. Our aim is simply to present you with gay romantic fiction of the highest possible quality. If we’re not considered ‘mainstream’, that’s only because male-male romances are still something of a minority taste – although we’d like to see that change. In every other respect, ‘mainstream’ values are the ones we’re shooting for – well-rounded plots and characters with accurate settings and convincing relevant detail. That does sometimes make our books a bit plot-heavy and involve relationships which develop slowly, but we like to think there’s a niche in the market for more than just – if you’ll pardon the expression – “Wham, bang, thank you man!”

In fact, to paraphrase Marlene Dietrich: We like a man who takes his time.

Apologies for absence

Having only just got back from a week in the Wild North-West, whilst a legion of demon plumbers tore my house to shreds in my absence, it’s time to catch up on a little bit of business. I apologise for not posting on Saturday as usual but the conditions were unfortunately less than ideal. This was particularly disappointing as a really fine review of Chris’s excellent SEA CHANGE was posted to Three Dollar Bills during that period. It’s nice to know that some reviewers appreciate the time and trouble authors take to build up their characters over a longer and more calmly-paced story; I know we all appreciate ‘quick fix’ fiction which can be undemanding and refreshing, but there are days when you just want to get your teeth into a long and satisfying narrative and immerse yourself completely in its world, and it’s nice to know that we have books available to meet both types of need – as well as reviewers capable of relishing them!

Response times were down this week, as a result of my absence, and averaged out to 18 hours 13 minutes. Not ideal, but the best that could be managed in the circumstances.

Like buses, three come along at once!

There are two more new reviews for MANIFOLD PRESS books over at Michele’n’Jeff Reviews, courtesy of reviewer Lisa who seems to have spent her Fourth of July weekend reading and writing industriously!

Chris’s ALOES is warmly reviewed here, and SEA CHANGE in similarly glowing terms here. In addition, there is also a delightful interview with Chris to be found at this location which sheds a lot of light on the way Chris works and how she finds the inspiration for her fiction – definitely worth going over there and taking a look!

The review drought is over

Chris’s SEA CHANGE, which has lagged behind a little in the reviews because it is a longer text than the other three, has now been warmly reviewed at Dark Diva Reviews; congratulations, Chris!

We hate to think what’s going to happen next time – we have two texts of well over 100,000 words for the November list. Should we be worried?

Third week’s sales figures

WEEK THREE – to 0700 GMT 22 May 2010

In the past week we have sold the following:

ALOES – 2 copies
END OF THE TRAIL – 4 copies
SEA CHANGE – 4 copies

A quieter week as you’ll see, no doubt because we did not have a major review until the end of the week.

We also added a customer in an eighth different country, The Netherlands.

Average response time was back to a more reasonable three hours and two minutes, with the longest time taken being five hours and fifty three minutes and the shortest the thirty minutes referred to in yesterday’s entry.  Two other orders were also responded to in less than an hour.

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Congratulations to Chris for a very encouraging review of SEA CHANGE on Literary Nymphs. Having had it suggested to us that some of our titles are too long, it’s especially rewarding to hear of a reader who enjoyed the gentler pace and the slower character development in Chris’s story – something we here at Manifold are particularly fond of. (Also reassuring for the future, as there are a couple of much longer scripts in development at the moment.)