Man Candy Monday: Black Lace and Nexus suspended
He giveth with one hand, he taketh with the other – perhaps appropriate for the God of One-Handed Reads.
So there we were on Thursday, merrily celebrating Xcite putting a guy on a book cover thanks to us, and then BAM! On Friday, along came a press release stating that the UK’s main women’s erotica imprint, Black Lace, was to fold after 16 years.
OK, so the official line is the imprint, along with Nexus, has been put on hold with no new titles released in 2010. Authors haven’t yet heard anything but the mood is gloomy. It’s been a long, difficult weekend, particularly for debut authors whose books are scheduled to be released towards the end of 2009.
There’s a lot of bewilderment, sadness and anger. Comments on The Bookseller site include:
The loss of Black Lace and Nexus will leave a huge hole in what is left of literary, intelligent erotica and, I’m sure, must be devastating for Adam Nevill and all the authors currently writing for the imprints.
How stupid is Virgin Books, and in particular how strategically dumb is Mr. Sadler?
I think the marketing department may be screwing things up for them. No doubt this is a recession cost cutting thing. I love Black Lace. I want to see more.
Some Black Lace books are stunning in their intellectual exploration of sexuality and beauty of literary expression.
Between them Black Lace and Nexus have been responsible for most of the worthwhile literary erotica published over the last two decades […] It is a great shame that Random House seem incapable of appreciating the value of this […] The closure – and who believes they are merely suspended – of these two imprints is a foolish and cowardly decision.
Inevitably, there’s been a lot of chat, sympathy and speculation on Twitter (#blacklace) and elsewhere. Some have wondered whether the high number of reprints have damaged sales or if Black Lace has failed to keep pace with a growing and changing erotica market. Others have asked if the imprint’s move towards erotic romance a couple of years ago damaged brand identity and caused confusion and loss of reader confidence. Most longstanding Black Lace authors are only too aware of Virgin and Random House’s failure to invest in the line. Marketing was practically non-existent, the website rarely got updated, advances and flat fees were down and our fabulous editor, Adam Nevill, worked his nuts off trying to keep Black Lace and Nexus alive despite the loss of key members of his staff due to ‘reorganisation and cuts’ in 2008.
And so, in our current economic climate, the vulnerable go to the wall. Authors are hoping to hear something more concrete this week, and there’s understandable anger at the company’s ability to write a press release announcing the line’s suspension yet inability to inform its authors. We’ll keep you posted.
In the meantime, get your orders in for Volume 1 of Best Women’s Erotica from Black Lace, due out next month (September in the States). The table of contents reads like a roll call of today’s top erotica writers, established and upcoming: Charlotte Stein, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Justine Elyot, Portia Da Costa, EllaRegina, Janine Ashbless, Shayla Kersten, Madelynne Ellis, Kay Jaybee, Kristina Wright, Delilah Devlin. My story, Rebecca, a filthy riff on Daphne du Maurier’s classic novel, is the first piece in the collection. Get it while you can. It could be the last Black Lace anthology ever published. (Shame about the woman’s arse on the cover.)
Last night I dreamt he came on my face again …