What is Spectrum Books?

Spectrum Books is not your ordianry publishing company or distribution website.  We are designed to operate as a community support and distribution bookstore for every facet of the industry:  authors, editors, proofreaders, cover artists, serial authors, self-publishers, and readers.  Books are sold as self-published works, so there is no publishing contract between the author and us.  As publishers distributing on Full Spectrum Books, you agree to sell your product through our listings, at your price, and provide a nominal royalty for our services.  

 We are not seeking to make it rich on your hard work.  As an "open-source" community, we shower the books and their writers with all the love and attention they deserve.  We strive to offer excellent cover art, excellent layout, Manhattan-quality editing, and top-rate commissions for our writers. We’re proud to put our name on every book we publish, and our authors are too!

The official staff of Spectrum Books is limited.  However our goal is to provide a community of writers, for writers, by writers.  From amateurs to experts, avid readers to literary professionals, everyone is welcome to participate in our process.  If you are interested in volunteering or offering your services for hire, please contact us so we may discuss how best to showcase your services.

 

 

What is an Ebook?

An ebook is an electronic version of a book. You can download ebooks to your personal computer, smartphone, or handheld reading device.

Nearly all of our titles are available in PDF, mobi, epub, and html (some free titles are only available in PDF), and when you make a purchase, you gain access to all available file formats. So if you switch devices in the future, simply come back to our site and re-download your titles in the approriate format.

For iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad users: ePub (Open e-book) is the format of choice. You can download Stanza, which will allow you to read e-books on your desktop (Mac or PC), iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad here (it’s free!).

For Nook, Sony Reader, Kobo, and Android/Aldiko users: ePub is the format of choice.

For Kindle, Palm OS, Pocket PC, Handheld PC, Windows CE, or EPOC users: The file of choice is mobi or prc. You can also read PDFs on your Kindle, but we don’t recommend it.

For Windows PC, Windows Tablet, or Mac users: We recommend PDF. To read PDF files, you can download Adobe Reader here (it’s free!).

What content and genres does Spectrum Books distribute?

Spectrum Books distributes gay romance stories in all genres. While works do not need to be graphic, they must contain a primary or strong secondary romance plotline and focus on the interaction between two or more GLBT characters. The main characters of the story must end in a GLBT oriented relationship.  The primary interest in this genre focuses on male protagonists, however it is not the only available dynamic.

We publish all genres of gay romantic, erotic, and literary fiction, with a particular focus on:

  • Contemporary and New Adult romance
  • Adult Erotica
  • Coming of Age
  • Speculative fiction, such as fantasy, sci-fi, paranormal, urban fantasy, etc.
  • Military: any era, any nation, any planet
  • BDSM: well researched and 100% consensual, please
  • Power exchange: real slavery, capture, kidnapping, etc. (noncon is welcome here)
  • Meticulously-researched historicals from any era
  • Literary fiction with little or no erotic or romantic content

We are also actively seeking:

  • Mysteries
  • Thrillers
  • Horror
  • Menage
  • Transsexual fiction

CONTENT:

Bestiality
Defined as: sexual relations between a human and an animal.
Full Spectrum Books will not distribute any depiction or reference to bestiality in a non-paranormal context. Content involving paranormal creatures will be evaluated for suitability.

Graphic Violence
Full Spectrum Books will evaluate all depictions of graphic violence. Examples: torture (not BDSM/Kink-related), abuse, multiple and graphic deaths. Gratuitous content will not be published.

Gratuitous Sexual Content
Defined as: sexual content included for the express purpose of shocking the reader.
Full Spectrum Books will evaluate all depictions of gratuitous sexual content for suitability.
Examples: necrophilia, autoerotic activity, heavy and/or graphic BDSM/Kink.

Incest
Defined as: sexual intercourse between persons so closely related that they are forbidden by law to marry.
Depictions of incestual relations will be evaluated for suitability.

Pedophilia
Defined as: sexual desire in an adult for a child.
Full Spectrum Books will evaluate all depiction of pedophilia to determine what is necessary to the story. We will not distribute any graphic depiction of pedophilia. We encourage authors to
evaluate whether actual depictions are necessary when statement of occurrence is enough to support the plot.

Rape
Defined as: the unlawful compelling of a person through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse.
Full Spectrum Books will evaluate all depictions of rape to determine what is necessary to the story. Gratuitous content we deem rape for titillation will not be distributed. We encourage
authors to evaluate whether actual depictions are necessary when statement of occurrence is enough to support the plot.

Sex between Underage Characters
All content, graphic or otherwise, will be evaluated for suitability.

Sexual Assault
Defined as: illegal sexual contact that usually involves force upon a person without consent (rape) or inflicted upon a person who is incapable of giving consent (such as because of age or
physical or mental incapacity) or who places the assailant (such as a doctor) in a position of trust or authority.
Full Spectrum Books will evaluate all depictions of sexual assault to determine what is necessary to the story. Gratuitous content will not be distributed. We encourage authors to evaluate whether
actual depictions are necessary when statement of occurrence is enough to support the plot.

Sexual Relations and Safety
The choice to depict safe sex in a story is the author's.
Spectrum Books supports the practice of safe sex. We encourage authors to evaluate whether actual depictions of unsafe sex are necessary to support the plot.

Statutory Rape
Defined as: sexual intercourse with a person who is below the statutory age of consent.
Full Spectrum Books does not publish stories with sexual content between adults and minors (under the age of consent in the US or the age of 18) unless the total age difference is less than three years. This is a standard mitigating clause for statutory rape laws dealing with sex with an underage partner (often called a “Romeo and Juliet” law). Example: High school sweethearts continue their relationship when one of them goes to college.

Can I share my Ebooks with others?

All of our books are protected by copyright and should not be copied without permission. Remember, you are purchasing one copy for your own personal use, so if you’d like to share an ebook with others, please purchase an additional copy or copies; we even offer a handy gifting feature that allows you to send ebooks to a friend with just a few clicks.

It's true that re-use or re-distribution of ebooks in part or whole is against the law, but then, so is slurping your soup in New Jersey. The real reason it's so important not to share ebooks is because it takes money out of our authors' pockets (and in general, authors do not have deep pockets to start with; most authors need to work a full-time job in addition to writing to pay the bills), which makes it harder, if not impossible, for them to keep dedicating the hundreds of hours per book it takes to write new stories for you to enjoy. If you enjoy an author's work, please support them by making legal purchases, and they in turn will joyfully support your reading habit!

Can I buy Audiobook versions of books online?

An audiobook is a recorded account of a novel or story, usually provided in MP3 format.  At this time we currently do not offer audiobook versions of any of the titles available on this store, however we may pursue that option later on.  Audio commentarists are encouraged to contact us regarding their services for producing audo works.

What distribution does Spectrum Books offer?

We are open to writers of all levels and experiences.  We hope it is the goal of all writers to improve over time, and having a place to showcase their work and get productive and constructive criticism is a wonderful tool to help reach that goal.

For general distribution on the main store, submitted works must be reviewed and approved by the Acceptance committee of Spectrum Books.  We will not consider partial manuscripts or simultanious submissions (offering your book to multiple publishers at the same time).  Stories with fewer than 15,000 words will not be condiered unless submitted for a specific collection, contest, or anthology.  We provide an updated list of open calls available on our website that you may review and submit your story for consideration.

Basic criteria for distribution on the store are fairly simple: your story must be well-written, gramattically and structurally correct, fit within the style and genre accepted on our website (GLBT stories), meet the required formatting guidelines defined by our criteria (see the FAQ on formatting), must not be submitted to a publisher for consideration or published under a contract that would restrict its sale on our website, and must meet the general approval of our editor(s), which are subjective experts on determining if a story is of a quality to be distributed.

Writers whose stories do not "fit the bill" for storefront distribution may still distribute their writings on our website.  We provide an array of tools for writers to create and share their stories online for no charge, which allows them to not only share their stories with others (which comes with a great sense of satisfaction in and of itself) but provides readers with the opportunity to review and provide feedback about what they enjoyed, what could be improved, and just in general to communicate directly with the author.

How are sales and pricing handled?

In a nutshell, with regards to distributing on Spectrum Books, the writer is the publisher, and we are the distributor.  As such, we reserve the right to reject any product at any time for any reason.  We also reserve the right to offer discounts, sales, and promotions of your products at any time explicitely to encourage increased traffic and sales of books.  Due to the unique nature of our partnership, this may impact your commission for sales during any of these blasts.  Let me explain...

We offer some of the highest commissions to authors in the industry.  To clarify, commission on sales for each product is between 75-85%.  Your commission rate will be established at the time when your first submission is accepted for distribution, and may be renegotiated at any time.  The royalties (the part of each sale that we keep) goes directly to the expense of hosting, maintaining, and improving this website.

Part of the work necessary to improve the website is to help promote the sale of our products.  And since we're not lining our pockets with 40-60% royalties like most of the larger distribution companies do, the cost of that marketing will come as the decreased sell value of your books; you will still receive the same commission rate, but it will be on a lower price.

We will also provide, at the request of any author, promotional codes and services specific to one or all of their books for a limited or unlimited amount of time.  This gives each author the opportunity to do marketing of their own products (for example, a promo code for 50% off on an advertised sale on Facebook).  This, like any other service available on this website, is provided free of charge.  The only payment we are entitled to is the negotiated royalty on the sales of your books.

PRICING

As the publisher of your own books, it is up to each author to establish the selling price of their products.  We will be happy to provide assistance with determining the appropriate price for your books.  The most common pricing structure for the sale of ebooks in this genre is as follows:

Up to 125 pages:   $3.99
126-200 pages:     $4.99
201+ pages:         $6.99

 Authors may also choose to offer their books for free, at a non-standard price, or at a discounted promotional price.  Books distributed at no cost are offered at no expense, and do not earn any commissions.

What are the formatting guidelines for submissions?

Please follow these simple formatting guidelines:

 - Submissions will be accepted in .docx, .doc, .rtf, and .txt formats.
 - Standard 12 pt Times New Roman, 1 inch margins, .5 indent for the first line of each paragraph. 1.5 line spaces between lines.
 - Use our online Submission Request form to submit your document and contact information.
 - All submissions must be spellchecked and edited for American English grammar and spelling. Regional words and slang are acceptable when appropriate.
 - Spectrum Books prefers works using The Chicago Manual of Style as its primary reference. Editing your work to these standards prior to submission will greatly facilitate the distribution process.
 
Length standards:

 - Novel: 60,000 words and up
 - Long Novella: 30-59,999 words
 - Novella: 15-29,999 words

We are currently not accepting manuscripts of fewer than 15,000 words unless they are submitted for inclusion in an announced anthology.

What you can expect from us:

 - Unsolicited manuscripts are accepted at any time.
 - We will acknowledge all submissions by e-mail within five to seven days.
 - Submissions will be read by an editor and you will have a response within eight weeks.
 - All accepted works must be provided to us as an electronic file.
 - All communications are exchanged via e-mail.

Can I sell books here that I have published elsewhere?

Authors that have previously published works are very welcome to self-publish and distribute new work through Spectrum Books; offer older works for sale on our site if they are no longer bound by a contract; distribute their current and new work through our store if it does not violate terms or contracts with their current publisher or distribution partner(s); list their work on our site with a third-party sales link (link-back to another digital store that is authorized to distribute the product) as long as it does not violate the terms or contracts with their publisher or distribution partner(s); and to provide information, insight, commentary, mentoring, advice, humorous anecdotes, promotional blurbs about their up-coming, current, or previous work (as long as it doesn't violate a non-disclosure or first-rights clause of any established contracts).

In essence, if you are not bound to a contract that says you will not publish and/or distribute your book(s) anywhere but where the contract specifies, you can do it here.

In the event that you have self-published and begun distribution of your work on our site, and establish a contract (or have violated a contract) with a publisher and/or distributor, we are very happy for you and will gladly discontinue distribution of your products on our site or change your product to an affiliated link and wish you the best of luck!  We are not in the business to make money off of you or lock you into working solely with a small-title distributor.  We will provide whatever services we may to help aspiring or established authors write better stories, get and share helpful information with each other, and establish a name for themselves in the industry as a self-published author with distribution and commission profits.

A Note on Self-Publishing

As a professional standard, I feel it important to point out the inescapable issues when discussing self-publishing.  While our site does hold a submission approval process in order to ditribute your books on our site, there are things you should know -- and lessons to be learned -- when trying to tackle the process of self-publishing.

There's incredible emphasis these days on how authors have more power and control than ever in deciding how and when to publish.  Technology has enabled us all to be active creators and distributors, without needing anyone’s permission or approval.  This website is guilty of propogating that message.  However, there is a philosophy that should always be kept in mind called The Golden Mean:  Aristotle believed that we ought to strive for the middle between extremes as a way of finding our virtue.

All this proselytizing about empowerment is starting to become so pervasive that writers now assume there's nothing that a publisher offers that they could possibly need. Or that professional help would have little or no impact on the quality of their work or future career.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Here are three reasons why.

1. You're not pushed to higher quality.

Working with professionals should challenge you. It should raise the bar. You'll probably feel some doubts about the quality of your work. This is a good thing. Professionals usually understand and build off your strengths, and minimize the appearance of your weaknesses.

You need someone you trust to push you—to tell you where things aren't working. Most people don't have that gift of being so distant from their work that they can see objectively where it's succeeding or failing. Even the writers who DO have that power usually have decades of experience and self-knowledge—from being pushed.

Yes, my argument does mean: To develop to your maximum potential, you need someone to create a little discomfort.

2. To compete amidst all the noise and distraction, we need the most professional quality possible.

It's very common now for every John, Dick, and Larry to instantly publish their work using any number of services available. Yep, there's a lot of crap out there.

That's why quality work that has a professional touch stands out. Way out.

You think readers can't tell? I beg to differ. There are subtle cues in every product and service we purchase—small signs that indicate "quality." People may not be able to name them or point them out, but they feel them.

The disadvantage for independent authors is their lack of knowledge about what professional quality is or looks like. Traditionally published authors who go indie don't have this problem as much. They know the process; they know the huge improvements that can be made by a professional. But people who haven’t experienced that professional touch may not yet have a good measuring stick—which only further necessitates the involvement of a professional, whether on the editing, production, or promotion side.

3. Not everyone wants (or has the time) to immerse themselves in media, production, and technology.

Some people just don't have either the interest or the patience to do things on their own. They prefer a partner or professional assistance.

You may know how to cut your own lawn, but it doesn’t mean you want to do it—and it’s not illogical to hire it done if you have the resources.

Final note

Don't mistake me. I do believe in author empowerment and independence. You do not need a publisher.

But some writers can greatly benefit from partnerships or professional assistance, in different ways, and at different times, in their careers.

What if you took a one-week class with me that focused on how to become a power blogger? If I taught you in one week what it might take you one year to figure out, would that be worth the investment? Maybe; it depends on your goals.

There are some things you can figure out on your own. There are other things you want to be taught by an experienced professional, to shorten the learning curve. And finally there are those things that you may never be great at, and that you hire help for.

Part of a successful career is understanding the difference between these things, based on your aptitude, time, and resources.

Do I need / How do I get an ISBN?

An ISBN—which stands for International Standard Book Number—is to a book what your Social Security number is to you. The ISBN is a mandatory sales tool if you intend to make your book available in bookstores, as it provides the basis for identifying books in all industry-wide systems. Bookstores, wholesalers, and distributors keep track of books solely by their ISBNs.

Whether or not you need an ISBN for your ebook depends on your future distribution plans. If you are distributing your ebook only through Spectrum Books website via download, you don’t need an ISBN. But if you plan to sell your ebook through other resellers, you’ll have to find out what each website requires.

Spectrum Books is an independent self-publishing storefront; we are not the publisher of your book, nor do we retain any rights to your product.  As such, we do not provide an ISBN number to your book.  Each book is assigned a product code, which is unique to the eBook, and is an identification number for the eBook listing on Spectrum-Books.com. If you already have an ISBN for your eBook, you'll be able to enter it during the listing process.

The International ISBN Agency recommends that publishers assign ISBNs to each ebook format separately available.  Each format through which you publish your book requires its own ISBN because this thirteen-digit numeral unmistakably identifies the title, edition, binding, and publisher of a given work. So your paper book will have its own ISBN, the audiobook will have its own ISBN, and the ebook its own ISBN.

If you have need to obtain an ISBN for your book, please refer to the US ISBN Distribution Agency at http://www.isbn.org.  If you publish your book using Kindle Direct Publishing (http://kdp.amazon.com/) without an ISBN, they will assign a unique ASIN for you for free.

Questions of Legality

 

 

US Copyright Law: "The distinction between what is fair use and what is infringement in a particular case will not always be clear or easily defined. There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission."

Spectrum Books will evaluate requests to quote up to a maximum of two lines of copyrighted material, whether used in the text, an epigraph, or a dedication. Songs and poems (both short form works) are not legally exempt from fair use laws. Authors are strongly encouraged to evaluate whether use of copyrighted material is integral to the story. Spectrum Books retains the right to disallow reproduction of any amount of copyrighted material at any time. 

Depiction of Real Personages/Institutions/Businesses in Fiction 
There is no legal reason that "real" personages, institutions, or businesses cannot be directly included in fiction. Within a story, an author can talk about and even portray public figures (singers, actors, politicians, sports stars) as characters. If the person portrayed is still alive, there is the possibility of liability if the author is presenting the work as factual, but as it is fiction, authors have a lot of latitude. 

This disclaimer is included on every copyright page: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of author imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. 

Questions may be raised if the author portrays real personages, institutions, or businesses in a particularly negative light or if the character/institution/business doesn’t need to be a real person/institution/business for the story to succeed. If those conditions don’t apply, names should be fact-checked as historical data. 

Sex between Underage Characters 
Sex between teenagers is not pedophilia and is not illegal. All content, graphic or otherwise, will be evaluated for age-appropriate suitability.  Please note we do not expressly prohibit stories of this nature, however we may reject a submission which is deemed to contain excessive or highly inappropriate depictions, subjective to our definition of the terms.

Censorship

Spectrum Books has a clearly defined list of categories and genres that we will distribute.  However we hold a strong stance on a policy of non-cencorship.  Within the guidelines laid forth on this site, and at the discretion of Spectrum Books, any Ebook distributed is offered for sale at the sole discretion of the buyer.  In the event a buyer purchases a product they deem to be offensive, they may contact Spectrum Books directly to inquire about limited restitution, up to and including a refund of their purchase.

When required by law or under proof of an author's breach of contract, Spectrum Books will take steps to discontinue distribution of a product pending further investigation.  We do not offer legal services in the event any government or corporate entity demands a product be removed.  Obviously at such times discontinuing a product is out of our control.  However under no other circumstance will any product be removed for the purpose of censoring the author.

In the event of a breach of policy, etiquette, contractual obligation, or law is exhibited on any of our community, authoring, or feedback services, we will isolate the suspect post and notify its author for resolution.