things to think about

I was reading Kris Rusch’s latest post and… well you know she made me cry. She really did.

 

When you strive for perfection in your writing, you’re dooming yourself to perpetual failure.

 

Go read her latest post. Then go write. 🙂

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Some things

If you have an artistic passion, writing, drawing, singing, sculpture, whatever tugs at you and geeks you out, I highly recommend you take the time to listen to this talk given by Neil Gaiman to the grads of UNA class 2012.

 

This is, imo, a life changing speech. It is something that will move you. I’ve been listening to this daily for a few days now and it is inspiring each time.

and now to get back to the grind. Working on multiple projects, joining in the CampNaNo thing and getting back to being ME.

I went to print out my amazon sales report… and discovered my printer was jammed.  after fiddling with it I discovered on of my son’s old gameboy games had somehow slid into the printer and jammed it and messed up the rollers so where I have to put paper in one page at a time. >.>  AND it is out of ink. **sigh**

Depending on the price of the ink, I may have to go get another printer. Gotta love life.

 

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Hack Job – Kris Rusch’s post

Apparently someone didn’t like what Kris Rusch posted yesterday about missing royalties. Her websites. yes plural, are down. One, it could be random. Two…ehhh. More than two? I’d say this is an attack and given the nature of her posts, it makes me think that maybe someone wants her to stop posting. Which I don’t think is going to happen.

 

Here is her mirrored link  http://kriswrites.livejournal.com/ however according to PG, his antivirus software told him there was malware in the coding, so instead I’ll do what he and several other did, copy and paste her post here, in essential hosting the information which I feel is very important.

Kris –  Hope it all gets sorted out soon.

 

Kris posted this on the FB and so I thought i’d pass it along:

Site update: Still down. Have a major security firm trying to solve the problems. If they work out, I’ll recommend them to folks. 

It looks like the trolls who usually attack me are *not* behind this one. (I have been dealing with such trolls for months now.) This probably is a Russian malware as folks said in posts below, attracted to the heavy Thursday traffic. The malware is now moving to all of my other pen name websites, eating through them like crazy.

So if you’ve clicked on *any* of my websites (pen names, etc) since Thursday am, make sure you run your anti-virus software to make sure your system hasn’t been infected. And don’t go near my sites until I send out an all-clear. Dean’s sites are fine. No worries there. Thanks!

Beginning of post:

Welcome to one of my other websites. This one is for my mystery persona Paladin, from my Spade/Paladin short stories. She has a website in the stories, and I thought it would be cool to have the website online. It’s currently the least active of my sites, so I figured it was perfect for what I needed today.

Someone hacked my website. Ye Olde Website Guru and I are repairing the damage but it will take some time. The hacker timed the hack to coincide with the posting of my Business Rusch column. Since the hack happened 12 hours after I originally posted the column, I’m assuming that the hacker doesn’t like what I wrote, and is trying to shut me down. Aaaaah. Poor hacker. Can’t argue on logic, merits, or with words, so must use brute force to make his/her/its point. Poor thing.

Since someone didn’t want you to see this post, I figure I’d better get it up ASAP. Obviously there’s something here someone objects to–which makes it a bit more valuable than usual.

Here’s the post, which I am reloading from my word file, so that I don’t embed any malicious code here. I’m even leaving off the atrocious artwork (which we’re redesigning) just to make sure nothing got corrupted from there.

The post directs you to a few links from my website. Obviously, those are inactive at the moment. Sorry about that. I hope you get something out of this post.

I’m also shutting off comments here, just to prevent another short-term hack. Also, I don’t want to transfer them over. If you have comments, send them via e-mail and when the site comes back up, I’ll post them. Mark them “comment” in the header of the e-mail. Thanks!

The Business Rusch: Royalty Statement Update 2012

Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Over a year ago, I wrote a blog post about the fact that my e-book royalties from a couple of my traditional publishers looked wrong. Significantly wrong. After I posted that blog, dozens of writers contacted me with similar information. More disturbingly, some of these writers had evidence that their paper book royalties were also significantly wrong.

Writers contacted their writers’ organizations. Agents got the news. Everyone in the industry, it seemed, read those blogs, and many of the writers/agents/organizations vowed to do something. And some of them did.

I hoped to do an update within a few weeks after the initial post. I thought my update would come no later than summer of 2011.

I had no idea the update would take a year, and what I can tell you is—

Bupkis. Nada. Nothing. Zip. Zilch.

That doesn’t mean that nothing happened. I personally spoke to the heads of two different writers’ organizations who promised to look into this. I spoke to half a dozen attorneys active in the publishing field who were, as I mentioned in those posts, unsurprised. I spoke to a lot of agents, via e-mail and in person, and I spoke to even more writers.

The writers have kept me informed. It seems, from the information I’m still getting, that nothing has changed. The publishers that last year used a formula to calculate e-book royalties (rather than report actual sales) still use the formula to calculate e-book royalties this year.

I just got one such royalty statement in April from one of those companies and my e-book sales from them for six months were a laughable ten per novel. My worst selling e-books, with awful covers, have sold more than that. Significantly more.

To this day, writers continue to notify their writers’ organizations, and if those organizations are doing anything, no one has bothered to tell me. Not that they have to. I’m only a member of one writers’ organizations, and I know for fact that one is doing nothing.

But the heads of the organizations I spoke to haven’t kept me apprised. I see nothing in the industry news about writers’ organizations approaching/auditing/dealing with the problems with royalty statements. Sometimes these things take place behind the scenes, and I understand that. So, if your organization is taking action, please do let me know so that I can update the folks here.

The attorneys I spoke to are handling cases, but most of those cases are individual cases. An attorney represents a single writer with a complaint about royalties. Several of those cases got settled out of court. Others are still pending or are “in review.” I keep hearing noises about class actions, but so far, I haven’t seen any of them, nor has anyone notified me.

The agents disappointed me the most. Dean personally called an agent friend of ours whose agency handles two of the biggest stars in the writing firmament. That agent (having previously read my blog) promised the agency was aware of the problem and was “handling it.”

Two weeks later, I got an e-mail from a writer with that agency asking me if I knew about the new e-book addendum to all of her contracts that the agency had sent out. The agency had sent the addendum with a “sign immediately” letter. I hadn’t heard any of this. I asked to see the letter and the addendum.

This writer was disturbed that the addendum was generic. It had arrived on her desk—get this—without her name or the name of the book typed in. She was supposed to fill out the contract number, the book’s title, her name, and all that pertinent information.

I had her send me her original contracts, which she did. The addendum destroyed her excellent e-book rights in that contract, substituting better terms for the publisher. Said publisher handled both of that agency’s bright writing stars.

So I contacted other friends with that agency. They had all received the addendum. Most had just signed the addendum without comparing it to the original contract, trusting their agent who was (after all) supposed to protect them.

Wrong-o. The agency, it turned out, had made a deal with the publisher. The publisher would correct the royalties for the big names if agency sent out the addendum to every contract it had negotiated with that contract. The publisher and the agency both knew that not all writers would sign the addendum, but the publisher (and probably the agency) also knew that a good percentage of the writers would sign without reading it.

In other words, the publisher took the money it was originally paying to small fish and paid it to the big fish—with the small fish’s permission.

Yes, I’m furious about this, but not at the publisher. I’m mad at the authors who signed, but mostly, I’m mad at the agency that made this deal. This agency had a chance to make a good decision for all of its clients. Instead, it opted to make a good deal for only its big names.

Do I know for a fact that this is what happened? Yeah, I do. Can I prove it? No. Which is why I won’t tell you the name of the agency, nor the name of the bestsellers involved. (Who, I’m sure, have no idea what was done in their names.)

On a business level what the agency did makes sense. The agency pocketed millions in future commissions without costing itself a dime on the other side, since most of the writers who signed the addendum probably hadn’t earned out their advances, and probably never would.

On an ethical level it pisses me off. You’ll note that my language about agents has gotten harsher over the past year, and this single incident had something to do with it. Other incidents later added fuel to the fire, but they’re not relevant here. I’ll deal with them in a future post.

Yes, there are good agents in the world. Some work for unethical agencies. Some work for themselves. I still work with an agent who is also a lawyer, and is probably more ethical than I am.

But there are yahoos in the agenting business who make the slimy used car salesmen from 1970s films look like action heroes. But, as I said, that’s a future post.

I have a lot of information from writers, most of which is in private correspondence, none of which I can share, that leads me to believe that this particular agency isn’t the only one that used my blog on royalty statements to benefit their bestsellers and hurt their midlist writers. But again, I can’t prove it.

So I’m sad to report that nothing has changed from last year on the royalty statement front.

Except…

The reason I was so excited about the Department of Justice lawsuit against the five publishers wasn’t because of the anti-trust issues (which do exist on a variety of levels in publishing, in my opinion), but because the DOJ accountants will dig, and dig, and dig into the records of these traditional publishers, particularly one company named in the suit that’s got truly egregious business practices.

Those practices will change, if only because the DOJ’s forensic accountants will request information that the current accounting systems in most publishing houses do not track. The accounting system in all five of these houses will get overhauled, and brought into the 21st century, and that will benefit writers. It will be an accidental benefit, but it will occur.

The audits alone will unearth a lot of problems. I know that some writers were skeptical that the auditors would look for problems in the royalty statements, but all that shows is a lack of understanding of how forensic accounting works. In the weeks since the DOJ suit, I’ve contacted several accountants, including two forensic accountants, and they all agree that every pebble, every grain of sand, will be inspected because the best way to hide funds in an accounting audit is to move them to a part of the accounting system not being audited.

So when an organization like the DOJ audits, they get a blanket warrant to look at all of the accounting, not just the files in question. Yes, that’s a massive task. Yes, it will take years. But the change is gonna come.

From the outside.

Those of you in Europe might be seeing some of that change as well, since similar lawsuits are going on in Europe.

I do know that several writers from European countries, New Zealand, and Australia have written to me about similar problems in their royalty statements. The unifying factor in those statements is the companies involved. Again, you’d recognize the names because they’ve been in the news lately…dealing with lawsuits.

Ironically for me, those two blog posts benefitted me greatly. I had been struggling to get my rights back from one publisher (who is the biggest problem publisher), and the week I posted the blog, I got contacted by my former editor there, who told me that my rights would come back to me ASAP. Because, the former editor told me (as a friend), things had changed since Thursday (the day I post my blog), and I would get everything I needed.

In other words, let’s get the troublemaker out of the house now. Fine with me.

Later, I discovered some problems with a former agency. I pointed out the problems in a letter, and those problems got solved immediately. I have several friends who’ve been dealing with similar things from that agency, and they can’t even get a return e-mail. I know that the quick response I got is because of this blog.

I also know that many writers used the blog posts from last year to negotiate more accountability from their publishers for future royalties. That’s a real plus. Whether or not it happens is another matter because I noted something else in this round of royalty statements.

Actually, that’s not fair. My agent caught it first. I need to give credit where credit is due, and since so many folks believe I bash agents, let me say again that my current agent is quite good, quite sharp, and quite ethical.

My agent noticed that the royalty statements from one of my publishers were basket accounted on the statement itself. Which is odd, considering there is no clause in any of the contracts I have with that company that allows for basket accounting.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with basket accounting, this is what it means:

A writer signs a contract with Publisher A for three books. The contract is a three-book contract. One contract, three books. Got that?

Okay, a contract with a basket-accounting clause allows the publisher to put all three books in the same accounting “basket” as if the books are one entity. So let’s say that book one does poorly, book two does better, and book three blows out of the water.

If book three earns royalties, those royalties go toward paying off the advances on books one and two.

Like this:

Advance for book one: $10,000

Advance for book two: $10,000

Advance for book three: $10,000

Book one only earned back $5,000 toward its advance. Book two only earned $6,000 toward its advance.

Book three earned $12,000—paying off its advance, with a $2,000 profit.

In a standard contract without basket accounting, the writer would have received the $2,000 as a royalty payment.

But with basket accounting, the writer receives nothing. That accounting looks like this:

Advance on contract 1: $30,000

Earnings on contract 1: $23,000

Amount still owed before the advance earns out: $7,000

Instead of getting $2,000, the writer looks at the contract and realizes she still has $7,000 before earning out.

Without basket accounting, she would have to earn $5,000 to earn out Book 1, and $4,000 to earn out Book 2, but Book 3 would be paying her cold hard cash.

Got the difference?

Now, let’s go back to my royalty statement. It covered three books. All three books had three different one-book contracts, signed years apart. You can’t have basket accounting without a basket (or more than one book), but I checked to see if sneaky lawyers had inserted a clause that I missed which allowed the publisher to basket account any books with that publisher that the publisher chose.

Nope.

I got a royalty statement with all of my advances basket accounted because…well, because. The royalty statement doesn’t follow the contract(s) at all.

Accounting error? No. These books had be added separately. Accounting program error (meaning once my name was added, did the program automatically basket account)? Maybe.

But I’ve suspected for nearly three years now that this company (not one of the big traditional publishers, but a smaller [still large] company) has been having serious financial problems. The company has played all kinds of games with my checks, with payments, with fulfilling promises that cost money.

This is just another one of those problems.

My agent caught it because he reads royalty statements. He mentioned it when he forwarded the statements. I would have caught it as well because I read royalty statements. Every single one. And I compare them to the previous statement. And often, I compare them to the contract.

Is this “error” a function of the modern publishing environment? No, not like e-book royalties, which we’ll get back to in a moment. I’m sure publishers have played this kind of trick since time immemorial. Royalty statements are fascinating for what they don’t say rather than for what they say.

For example, on this particular (messed up) royalty statement, e-books are listed as one item, without any identification. The e-books should be listed separately (according to ISBN) because Amazon has its own edition, as does Apple, as does B&N. Just like publishers must track the hardcover, trade paper, and mass market editions under different ISBNs, they should track e-books the same way.

The publisher that made the “error” with my books had no identifying number, and only one line for e-books. Does that mean that this figure included all e-books, from the Amazon edition to the B&N edition to the Apple edition? Or is this publisher, which has trouble getting its books on various sites (go figure), is only tracking Amazon? From the numbers, it would seem so. Because the numbers are somewhat lower than books in the same series that I have on Amazon, but nowhere near the numbers of the books in the same series if you add in Apple and B&N.

I can’t track this because the royalty statement has given me no way to track it. I would have to run an audit on the company. I’m not sure I want to do that because it would take my time, and I’m moving forward.

That’s the dilemma for writers. Do we take on our publishers individually? Because—for the most part—our agents aren’t doing it. The big agencies, the ones who actually have the clout and the numbers to defend their clients, are doing what they can for their big clients and leaving the rest in the dust.

Writers’ organizations seem to be silent on this. And honestly, it’s tough for an organization to take on a massive audit. It’s tough financially and it’s tough politically. I know one writer who headed a writer’s organization a few decades ago. She spearheaded an audit of major publishers, and it cost her her writing career. Not many heads of organizations have the stomach for that.

As for intellectual property attorneys (or any attorney for that matter), very few handle class actions. Most handle cases individually for individual clients. I know of several writers who’ve gone to attorneys and have gotten settlements from publishers. The problem here is that these settlements only benefit one writer, who often must sign a confidentiality agreement so he can’t even talk about what benefit he got from that agreement.

One company that I know of has revamped its royalty statements. They appear to be clearer. The original novel that I have with that company isn’t selling real well as an e-book, and that makes complete sense since the e-book costs damn near $20. (Ridiculous.) The other books that I have with that company, collaborations and tie-ins, seem to be accurately reported, although I have no way to know. I do appreciate that this company has now separated out every single e-book venue into its own category (B&N, Amazon, Apple) via ISBN, and I can actually see the sales breakdown.

So that’s a positive (I think). Some of the smaller companies have accurate statements as well—or at least, statements that match or improve upon the sales figures I’m seeing on indie projects.

This is all a long answer to a very simple question: What’s happened on the royalty statement front in the past year?

A lot less than I had hoped.

So here’s what you traditionally published writers can do. Track your royalty statements. Compare them to your contracts. Make sure the companies are reporting what they should be reporting.

If you’re combining indie and traditional, like I am, make sure the numbers are in the same ballpark. Make sure your traditional Amazon numbers are around the same numbers you get for your indie titles. If they aren’t, look at one thing first: Price. I expect sales to be much lower on that ridiculous $20 e-book. If your e-books through your traditional publisher are $15 or more, then sales will be down. If the e-books from your traditional publisher are priced around $10 or less, then they should be somewhat close in sales to your indie titles. (Or, if traditional publishers are doing the promotion they claim to do, the sales should be better.)

What to do if they’re not close at all? I have no idea. I still think there’s a benefit to contacting your writers’ organizations. Maybe if the organization keeps getting reports of badly done royalty statements, someone will take action.

If you want to hire an attorney or an auditor, remember doing that will cost both time and money. If you’re a bestseller, you might want to consider it. If you’re a midlist writer, it’s probably not worth the time and effort you’ll put in.

But do yourself a favor. Read those royalty statements. If you think they’re bad, then don’t sign a new contract with that publisher. Go somewhere else with your next book.

I wish I could give you better advice. I wish the big agencies actually tried to use their clout for good instead of their own personal profits. I wish the writers’ organizations had done something.

As usual, it’s up to individual writers.

Don’t let anyone screw you. You might not be able to fight the bad accounting on past books, but make sure you don’t allow it to happen on future books.

That means that you negotiate good contracts, you make sure your royalty statements match those contracts, and you don’t sign with a company that puts out royalty statements that don’t reflect your book deal.

I’m quite happy that I walked away from the publisher I mentioned above years ago. I did so because I didn’t like the treatment I got from the financial and production side. The editor was—as editors often are—great. Everything else at the company sucked.

The royalty statement was just confirmation of a good decision for me.

I hope you make good decisions going forward.

Remember: read your royalty statements.

Good luck.

I need to thank everyone who commented, e-mailed, donated, and called because of last week’s post. When I wrote it, all I meant to do was discuss how we all go through tough times and how we, as writers, need to recognize when we’ve hit a wall. It seems I hit a nerve. I forget sometimes that most writers work in a complete vacuum, with no writer friends, no one except family, who much as they care, don’t always understand.

So if you haven’t read last week’s post, take a peek [link]. More importantly, look at the comments for great advice and some wonderful sharing. I appreciate them—and how much they expanded, added, and improved what I had to say. Thanks for that, everyone.

The donate button is below. As always, if you’ve received anything of value from this post or previous posts, please leave a tip on the way out.

Thanks!

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“The Business Rusch: “Royalty Statement Update 2012,” copyright © 2012 by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

 

 

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Covers, Links, and an update

I’m trying to decide on a cover for this #zombiething. I think I know the title, but the cover is aggravating me. So here are a few versions, input always welcome.

 

  

 

Trying to get the setup to have these side by side, doesn’t seem to be working.

So that’s what I am doing right now, I REALLY like the top one, but the teddy bear is too dark. The white teddy in the second one doesn’t look right, the third one is close to what I envisioned for this project’s cover, but I keep going back to the first one thinking but, but, but…

Anyways, there’s a new post up by J.A. Marlow on ebook pricing over here, well worth the read. Dean Wesley Smith also has an updated post on ebook pricing over here. I will admit, I have few thoughts on the matter at the moment. I need to sit down and really do a in depth read and think about it.

Agent Rachelle Gardner posted 6 Reasons Authors Self-Publish, which is not a bashing post, which I was happy to see. Kudos to her for that!  The comments are also very interesting and enlightning. Check it out. 🙂

 

This move has been brutal on me and I’m just barely getting back on track, please forgive me.

I’m still writing, still happy with self publishing. Just very, very; distracted. 

Anyways, any suggestions on the covers are more than welcome.

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Smashwords

Smashwords is doing a week long promo Read an EBook Week,  in which many authors have put their books on special with coupon codes listed on the book page. I signed mine up also, and the first of my Inside the Author’s Mind series, The Shiny, is actually free with the coupon!

There are a lot of good reads in that catalog which is over here. I suggest you take a look and go through it, you might find some stuff you’ll enjoy.

 

In other words, I did a add up of the sales from last year, a total of 22 between Amazon and Smashwords. Ok, doesn’t look too impressive. But think about this, it is 22 sales I would never have made if I left those stories unwritten/on my computer. And that was just between Aug and Dec 31st. With little, if any marketing. It looks like The Magic Maker seems to be my best selling title. So far.

I consider this as an ongoing success. It makes me happy to know I’m doing this.

Now to editing and figuring out what next.

Happy Monday.

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Links and thoughts

I have been battling rl stuff (move preparation and kids with the flu) so my writing and editing, as I suspected it would this month, has ground to a halt. This morning, in between sanitizing my house post some upset stomachs, and making some mad dashes to the bathroom (yes, I know my life is soooo glamorous) I went over to Dean Wesley Smith’s* site to see what posts he has done since my last check in (about a week ago I think). His post was short, but linked to Kristine Rusch’s post on Bestseller Lists, and Joe Konrath’s post The Myth of the Bestseller.

Now I’ve heard, for quite some time actually, that the bestseller lists were not entirely accurate portrayals of who/what is selling well. Kris breaks it down very well (IMO) and the commentors are as informative as her post itself.

I’m not too familiar with Konrath’s blog, I’ve found his manner a bit brusque at times in the past, and the swearing does make me cringe (which is weird because I am worse than a sailor when it comes to swearing) but he’s very informative and well worth taking a read through his posts if you don’t already.  I don’t totally agree with his delivery ;), but that’s personal preference. That said, his post was exactly what I needed to read and I suggest you read it too.

Any writer who puts food on the table with their writing is successful. It doesn’t matter if it is a box of mac and cheese, or caviar and champagne. Taking your career into your own hands, giving it your best shot, striving to do better… that’s the American Dream, baby.

 

Are the bestseller lists important? I can’t answer that. For the brownie points, for the thrill of saying “I made it! Looksee!”, well if that what geeks you out then sure, they’re important. I can’t comment on the money side of it as I, personally, do not know authors who are on bestsellers lists and are willing to discuss their finances with me.  I have however read about bestsellers who are still struggling to pay the bills.

Are the lists important to me?

I don’t honestly know how to answer that question. In the past I wanted to see one of   my stories on the NYT Bestseller’s list. Why? Because I erroneously thought  that would show that I was a success. But lately it doesn’t seem to matter because those lists rarely contain books I actually would want to read. Now?  It would certainly feed my ego to say “I was #____ on the NYT Bestseller List”, I won’t lie, that sort of thing would have me grinning for a month. But I don’t need that list to validate me being a success.

I AM a success. I have written and I continue to write, and I have published my work. It is up, available. And people seem to like it, I’m selling a bit. And what is really cool is it will be available to readers. For as long as I choose it to be.  If I don’t sell a huge amount in the first week of putting it up, I won’t have to worry about my publisher not picking up my next story. I’m not going to fire me. 😛

I’m putting mac n cheese on the table man! 😀

As always, your thoughts and opinions are welcome. And thanks to Dean Wesley Smith, Kristine Rusch and Joe Konrath for sharing their experiences in publishing with the rest of us. Have a great day peoples!

ooo  Bonus link: 25 Things Writers Should Know About Agents.

 

 

 

*I try not to spend too much time reading blogs. I read Dean and Kris’s, and I skim over my livejournals which I have rssfeeds of other blogs. Other than that I just don’t have the time.
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Digi art Sunday

I put together a new cover for Muse Interrupted yesterday, which has me chortling as much as I was when writing the story;

 

This is cute, I don’t care what you say it made me giggle. Still does. 😛 However for some reason Amazon, though I have changed the cover, isn’t showing the new cover. I need to go see what’s up with that and maybe re-upload it.

Since I had the program open anyways I went ahead and fiddled with a cover concept idea for the still unnamed zombie thing, though the more I think about it the more I lean towards the title “Help never came

This one: then this one

 

I like the creepy of the first one but not the colors, white bear didn’t fit in that color scheme at all. When I put brown bear in the setting with the house it didn’t look right, i didn’t even try to render it. The white bear stands out more in this. Still fiddling with it while I try to get rid of the plague I seem to have caught. I need more sinister in this I think, though every one seems to think the eyes are still freaky.

What about you, interwebs? Which of the two seem to work better? Or is there another background I ought to try. The teddy and the gun are going to stay… hmmm I do need grass….

What is your agenda for the day?

**putters back to the digi art**

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Links and things

Kristine Rusch continues discussing the publishing business with the post Why Not? Well worth taking the time to sit down and reading it over. I like the post because of the questions she poses.

Dean Wesley Smith has a new post up about Investing in your Future as a writer. It is a good post, interesting. With some good suggestions on goal making and sales as a   self pubber.

I’m sure you have heard of the KDP Select thing with Amazon.com, while I am not entirely well versed with the program I’ve been hearing some interesting viewpoints for and against it. I have been flirting with the idea of putting one of my projects on it, Playing For The Dead or Magic Maker but I need to do more reading up on it and I don’t know that I have the time to do so at this point in time. ANYWAYS here is a Early Eval of KDP Select written by Kevin O. Mclaughlin over here. Now it was written last month so the numbers could be different now, I don’t know.

Now on to other news, a friend of mine has a new book out today The Between by L.J. Cohen. I haven’t had a chance to get my hands on it yet but don’t let that stop you! Here is a good review by PBackWriter who is doing a contest to win a copy of this awesome sounding book!

Lets see what else…

Today is friday the 13th, a day that some people get all weird about. I wish i had realized sooner, I’d have put something up.

I apparently sold a copy of Playing for the Dead to someone in AU. Austria? Belgium? that is absolutely wow.

I keep thinking there was something in particular I was going to mention here andI can’t remember what it was. hmm…

Have a Happy Friday!

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Happy New Year!

It is looking up on my end, what about yours?

so I sat down a couple days ago to look over the goals I made and **sigh** decided that they need to be adjusted. I am very tuned to RL right now, not writing so much, and until we get ourselves moved I don’t know that my writing will be successful. So you know what? Not gonna stress about it.

I’ve been playing with another zombie idea, the Christmas story. I realized I needed to do research to get Bastard Prince right. So when I am not fiddling with the zombie thing I think I’ll play with the outline for Crossroads and the rest of the series. Perhaps Bastard Prince will end up as a prequel…

We shall see.

 

In other news, a dear friend of mine has a new ebook out, a christmas story entitled Snow;

 

It’s Christmas. The Solstice Covenant is in full effect. So when the StarChild sends her to the North Pole to investigate the disappearance of an Earth Lord, Nikki Jeffries has to rely on something other than her normal habit of killing anyone who crosses her. Luckily, a sexy Jack Frost is there to help her out.

 

Check it out! 😀 **waves at val** Now the cover was done by an awesome Starla who is offering a limited time discount on covers. From her twitter: For a LIMITED time, I will do ebook covers for $75, and printed book covers for $100.

Up there is an example of her breathtaking work, I really think this is a good deal folks.

 

Now to go figure out if I am going to pack or write or read….

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Interesting things in the business plus Goals and Dreams for 2012

If you don’t read Kristine Kathryn Rusch, I highly suggest you start. She presents an interesting view of the business side of writing. Her last post, The Business Rusch: The Holiday Surprise, has some interesting observations about ebooks, this Christmas season and some very interesting thoughts about the patterns we saw last year…

 

But publishing itself, that grand old business that we writers form the foundation for, is doing better than ever. Our business is healthier than it’s been in decades—and it’s working its way toward robust.

 

That said, have you guys, fellow writers, given any thoughts to your goals for 2012? Have you worked up a business plan for next year? Dean Wesley Smith has a series he’s doing entitled Goals and Dreams 2012. The first two are up and I recommend you take a few min to really read them and take a look at how you form your goals with writing.

So many great points to those two posts,

Failure is an Option. Quitting is not.

When setting goals, everything about your goal must be in your control. Completely.

 

Shifting Goals in This New World

The point of a goal is to help set guidelines on work and maybe deadlines on that work that help drive the work forward.

 

And there is this beautiful gem which, once I am able to replace my printer AKA paperweight, I am going to print up and frame:

Success is often buried in what seems like failure.

 

My goals are here, if you want a gander, and feel free to share yours, I’d love to see them. 🙂 Have a Happy New Year, stay safe!

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Writing, editing, revision,

I was talking, last night, with a writer friend about a mutual writer friend whom we absolutely adore. We were discussing the fact that some writers, like this one friend, was in constant edit mode, tweaking mode, and didn’t see how wonderful her stories are. It occurred to me, and I have heard this expressed on other blogs, that this is a rut, a cycle of always reaching for perfection. No book is ever going to be perfect, that is an impossibility. As my one friend stated, since the opinions of what is perfect is so varied, getting a perfect book is not achievable.

Improvements can ALWAYS be made. But there comes a time when one must step back, take a deep breath, and really ask ones’ self if you are overdoing a bit? if one has been going over and over and over the same project could it be that you have gotten it as good as it can get? That perhaps now is the time to let it fly free.

Now I totally understand how hard it is to let go of it and say “This is as good as I can get it.” And shove it out into the grand wide world. I have stories I am still clinging to and think, “I can get it better!” Even when a part of me knows that this is as close to perfect as this particular project is going to get.

Dean Wesley Smith put out a blog post a while back entitled Dare to be Bad in which he discusses this very issue. I think it is well worth the read.

I see people, who’s writing I love and adore, caught in this mucky unending cycle of editing, rewriting, tossing stuff out, starting again from scratch, and I have caught myself doing it too (Bastard Prince anyone?:P). I have to shake myself, tell myself “Knock it off! At this rate the other stories will never get written cause you are constantly tweaking this one!”

People, i think you may know who you are, your writing is far better than you realize. Is it good enough to submit? (The people I have in mind have dreams of going trad) YES IT IS! Submit it damnit! Dare to be bad! So you can get on to the other stories you have in your hearts waiting to be told.

And with that, though I am still on vacation, I’ll go back to tweaking Bastard Prince. I am going to finish it, because there are other stories in that series to be told and other projects are waiting.

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Done

Really I am.

The Zombie Christmas thing is shelved till next fall. I have Bastard Prince to finish before we move. But for now, through the 1st, I am on vacation.

This year has been a tough and amazing one. I am published, by my own means and it feels damn good. I have plans for next year writing and other. But for now I am going to unwind, maybe poke at BP. And read. Yes that thing called reading, I amso behind on it…

Happy Holidays, hope yours are wonderful.

 

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Digi art and other meanderings

I love digi art. I love playing with programs such as Poser and Daz3d. I love being able to look at a piece of art I have made using those programs and “see” the characters I write about. So yesterday I kinda took a break and just *played* and came up with this:

Zander test render 2

I am quite proud of this picture. Despite the fact the clothes aren’t aligned right at the legs and arms and the hair is not exactly right… And I just noticed he doesn’t have eyebrows… **snerk** I find that funny

It is still very close to how I picture him, in his youth. Before shit hits the fan.mwahahaha **coughs**

#

We’ve been, in chat, having an ongoing discussion of traditional publishing verses self publishing. There is a lot of distrust between the two sides. Which makes me very sad. There is a lot we, as authors, should be able to do. Respecting others’ decisions on how they want to distribute and manage their writing career should be paramount. Luckily, for the most part, the folks I chat with have this respect, and are willing to accept other folks’ decisions… as long as they aren’t pressured to go the route they don’t feel comfortable with.

When I was working on the Zombie thing the other day, a friend advised me to find a publisher for it. And I realized, I’m having far too much fun to do that.

There is a lot of trad publishing hate out there. And it is not very surprising. They’ve been underpaying and mistreating their writers for years. (not getting on that soapbox) I have multiple reasons why I am just not comfortable with going the traditional route. So much is changing, so fast and the publishers, agents and writers are scrambling to figure out what next. I could list off things and reasons why I choose not to trad publish, but there are so many of those declarative posts out there that it feel like it is feeding a negative air that surrounds self pubbing. Honestly, when it all boils down to it, I’d rather list off reasons why I choose to self publish.

  • I love making covers. I am such a geek. I love fiddling with the digi art, I love putting together concepts, I love knowing that if I screw up on the cover it is MY fault not an underpaid and over worked artist who is given minimal information about book they are doing a cover for.
  • Time frame. Instead of wasting my time sitting on pins and needles waiting for a YAY or NAY from an editor/agent, as soon as my work is deemed publishable, it takes about a day or two to format and do the cover and then put it up. Months/years vs a day or three… Yeah
  • More freedom to write what I want. I am not locked into a genre, so if I want to explore doing sci-fi stories instead of fantasy or maybe a zombie thing or two… I CAN without needing to ask an agent or editor if I should or not. I have trouble with that idea.
  • If I need to handle real life I can give myself more time. (like the past three or four months) I don’t have to ask for patience from someone who has their bosses breathing down their neck because their author hasn’t delivered yet. That would make me feel real bad.
  • It is fun. Just, fun. I love the community, I love the people I have gotten to know. I love the options. I love seeing what I can do.
  • I love waking up to see sales. I won’t lie. That is one of the coolest things. I woke up the other day after having a series of minor disasters (flooded basement, leaky water heater, out furnace in 30 degree weather…) and saw sales. And I geeked, it made me smile big. Reviews would be nice but hey you can’t have everything can you? 😉
  • Returns on sales. I get about 30% on every sale (for the .99 price range) from Amazon, I’d have to double check on the Smashwords sales. To my knowledge, based off of discussion with my friends who are trad pubbed, trad published authors get far lower percentage per sale than that. Which makes me very sad. You trad published writers work so hard for your publishers they should be paying you more per copy imo.
At this point in time I really don’t see myself pursuing a trad publisher or agent. I can do everything they can do for me, for the most part, and thats just fine and dandy with me.
Now that I’ve procrastinated enough 😛 I have a zombie thing to finish (and find a title for), Bastard Prince to finish and Crossroads and Crown of Bones to outline all before the end of Jan.
Hope you all have a good Monday.
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New Book Out and other thoughts

Her job is to send ideas to the Author, however, not everyone appreciates new ideas and Muse is told to curb her idea gathering. But can you really tell a Muse to stop?

 Another one of the Inside the Author’s Mind series. It is available at Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com and XinXii

I did that yesterday, taking a break from writing. Sometimes it is good to just take a breather, I’ve been going at a crazy pace since October. With the new year right around the corner it is time to evaluate what next year’s plan is. Put together a publishing schedule and figure out what my writing goals are.

Next year is going to be a bit crazy, at least the first part of the year will be. We are planning a cross-country move within the first three months or so of 2012, and for that time frame I will be offline while we get settled. How long will that take? I do not know. So much of it is in the air it is making me quite frustrated because I simply don’t know.

That said, in the last half of THIS year I have written a tremendous amount. I have pubbed 5 things, and if I can get a handle on this Zombie thing I may have a 6th story published by the 1st or shortly after. So I think I’ll do goals in short quarterly steps. The rest of this year will be to finish the zombie thing and Bastard Prince and possibly work on the outline for Crossroads

So;

  • Jan thru April if I can finish editing E1 and get it to betas before the move, maybe start edit pass 1 on Bastard Prince, I’ll feel like I have accomplished something for the first part of the year. I would like to get the outline for the Epic Fantasy story idea done.
  • May thru Aug should be a fairly good writing time, depending of course. Finishing and publishing E1, finishing edit pass 1 of BP and possibly start of Crossroads or start on Crown of Bones. Or both.
  • Sept thru Dec we have NaNo prep. What am I going to do for nano? I don’t know.
Mind you that these plans are always subject to change depending on my RL situation and what plotbunnies attack me throughout the year. Not to mention these are my BIG projects and don’t cover the myriad of little projects I have planned. If I deviate, I deviate.
Today’s plan; I want to try to wrap up the Zombie thing. So far it is still a short, for now. Then get back to Zander.
Recent Reads:
Night of the Aurora by J.A. Marlow
It is a freebee over at Amazon (though I don’t know how long that will last). Set in Alaska (one of my dream destinations, if I wasn’t married and had kids I would so go move to Alaska) there are hints of a haunted tourist lodge, an amazing and lively array of characters who left me laughing so hard I was almost crying, a failed sled dog and the beautiful aurora overhead. Oh and did I mention hidden aliens and a train breaking down in the middle of nowhere? This is the first book of the series and absolutely brilliant. I mean come on, Aliens in Alaska! How cool is that?  If you want to give someone a great gift this year, this would totally be a good one. I’m actually considering sending my nieces and nephews a copy. Good clean fun, great reading and a good pace.

Ok Time to get to work. Take care all.

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December already?

What happened?

Wow. OK, so life is interesting.

Writing is too.

This months’ list is limited to finishing Bastard Prince and then playing with digi art and editing side projects.  I have this Zombie idea that has been growing on me. It is now sitting at over 1500 words and still going. Words that haunt:

My daddy always called me his Angel, but my mama called me born of the devil. 

I don’t know about you, but I “hear” a heavy southern accent.

Ok time to get to writing. Will check the sales later. I haven’t been marketing or anything because of RL issues. My sales are not the best atm but I am not too bothered by it.

 

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