Thursday, September 13, 2012

I've Moved

As of today, this blog is no longer being used. All updates will continue at my new site.

If you're not automatically redirected, please proceed over to my new author site!

See you there!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Are you an Entrepreneur, or an Employee?

There has been a consistent cry against people who choose to publish their work through means other than traditional publishing houses.

"There is no quality," they say. "Why would you put something out that is less than your best?"

Or, "Getting a publishing contract is prestigious. It's a mark of quality and professionalism."

Which really, both of those comments are tied into one another. And both of them show people who don't realize their writing is an independent business, one where the writer wears all the hats. And where all of their decisions directly impact their business.

I don't have to actually reply to either of these comments. Instead, I can show evidence written from many other writers, people who've been well published or who have received awards from their books. Writers who take their independent business and ALL of the decisions within it seriously. People like Kameron Hurley, who details her experience and the many pitfalls associated with her contract. Or Kiana Davenport. Or how about David Farland, who has published quite a few books both traditionally and self-published waxing on about the loss of control of his book's covers, something which can make or break people's purchasing decisions?

The number of people I've heard say poor covers are the reason they don't buy self-pubbed books makes me wonder if they've taken a look at some of the covers traditional publishing has produced. Here's a whole blog dedicated to the very topic!

As for well-written self-published books, you only have to look at the likes of Hugh Howey to see well-written and excellent stories can come from indie books.

I'm not saying all indie books are amazing. Let me be clear: there are plenty of stinkers, both in self-published and traditional publishing. No side to publishing is free of poor quality, or poor decisions.

Generally speaking, there's a sliding scale when it comes to praising traditional publishers. The higher up the money chain, the more pro-big publishers comes out. The most complaints about how traditional publishers work come from the mid-listers, those who seem to consistently not receive the benefits/options award winners or bestsellers receive. Or enough money to make a living.

And while we're on the subject: keep in mind all of the book data about sales for all sides are severely hampered by what distributors are on the sales list. We don't have clear and accurate statistics about either traditional publishing figures OR ebook sales. There's always someone excluded when it comes to sales.

Back on topic.

What concerns me about these comments is the unspoken message about a writer's business. As an entrepreneur, we have a duty to keep up with the publishing business, and all of the avenues there-in. Some will work for us. Some won't. But bashing one side or the other without an understanding of what each type of publishing brings to the table is limited thinking. Ultimately, the health and longevity of your career should drive these decisions, not what we've been spoon fed by any one side.

As an entrepreneur, you're in control of your business. An employee is someone who gives up their control in return for something - money, benefits, etc.

So which are you - an entrepreneur, or an employee?

Having a writing career is a choice. A choice to have your own business, and be as engaged in your work as you desire. When you choose to sell your rights to a publishing house (yes, I said rights, because that's what you're selling when you sign that contract), that is YOUR business decision. Is it the best decision for your business? Is it worth the time and money to get a good editor, make a good cover, and do your own advertising?

Only you know the answer.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Waxing on About Them Price Fixers

In continued updating on the ebook price-fixing lawsuit, three of the companies have agreed to settle, and their settlements have been accepted by the DOJ. Although the NYT is a nice short bite, a better assessment can be found here at Techdirt.

It should be very interesting when Penguin Group USA, Macmillian, and Apple go to trial next summer for the suit. I don't know how they possibly think they can win, given the DOJ doesn't bring up a suit unless they have irrevocable evidence to support their accusation. The DOJ literally cannot afford to do so otherwise.

Unsurprisingly, Publisher's Weekly has called this settlement acceptance stunning. I suspect it's only stunning to those who are so into the traditional publishing koolaid that they forget the person being jerked around by price fixing are the very consumers who aren't willing to pay $12.99 for a book. I've had countless friends of mine (readers, not writers) complain about the ebook prices soaring. And they're quite happy about the change.

I don't know why people forget that less cost means more books purchased, but it's the basis for why so many cheaply priced books get picked up over higher priced books. Readers don't care who published the book. They don't care if the author is an award winner or a first time novelist (at least, it's not their first basis for picking a book). They pick a book up based on recommendations first and foremost - friends first, reviews next. Then we start getting into such things as marketing and other cold-call tactics.

Marketing does have its place, it's just not as much of a place as a friend saying "Hey, read this book!"

And in the end, that is what writers need to keep in mind. Their ultimate market is readers. Not publishers, not other authors, but readers. It is with them, the consumers of our books, that we must take careful control over our own stories. They're our products.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The eBook Price-Fixing Fiasco and You

I find there's a lot of confusion about the price fixing litigation for ebooks that has come out in the past few months. Specifically, people ragging on Amazon for something that's not their fault.

Amazon did not choose to engage in illegal activity. Ergo, they didn't get hit with the DOJ lawsuit.

This is a good discussion on what happened and why it was illegal.

While I'm hardly a legal expert, I am a consumer, and price fixing is something that is illegal for a reason. It's something every consumer should be wary of and regard with the utmost suspicion. Because if a company can screw you on the price, then the consumer is the one missing out.

There's been a lot of crying out about how the book publishers are special, and they deserve the right to price fix. Don't believe me? Take a look at the responses sent by the Publishers, and the DOJ's counter responses essentially saying their complaints are invalid. This link on Passive Voice has not only the official court documents, but some excerpts highlighted and good discussion on the topic.

In other random news, What sort of reader are you? This gave me a chuckle.

Monday, August 27, 2012

A'Rambling I Shall Go

This week, I'm headed off to the US for a six week blitz tour. Looking forward to seeing friends, old and new, and getting some more writing work in.

And reading, of course! I have so, so many books to read. I always find more interesting ones when I dig. So much to read, so little time. :) My Goodreads Book challenge was 50 books this year. I think I'm going to double that number at this rate.

Maybe. We shall see!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Moving Overseas and Unexpected Pitfalls

Just had my latest article come out: 

For those who've moved overseas, there's some emotional aspects that no one really mentions, and which become the focal point of your life for awhile. I hope these help others who move know what they're experiencing is normal.

It's funny how even a small change can render such huge emotional tolls on a person. Sometimes we focus so hard on the practical stuff, like money and securing employment, that we forget there's an emotional part to moving.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Editing a Novel: Not Just About Copy-edits

When I started editing my first novel, I felt like an astronaut in free fall. Yes, my novel had problems. Some of them big, some of them small, but mostly workable. The problem was, approaching it with a list of fix-its wasn't always helpful, and was, at times, a back-fire, because it meant I only approached edits with my critical, logical mind rather than letting my writer's brain have a say.

Part of the reason it's so hard to convey how to edit a story is because 1) we all have our own process and 2) I don't think people care to put down the emotional aspect of how to look at a story. So when I found this article by David Farland about your character's feelings and how your book portrays them, I was thrilled.

It's another good way of looking at edits. Here's a small quote from it:

Ultimately, with every pass, every rewrite, you need to ask yourself, “Is this the right choice of words, images, and scenes to make the reader feel what I want? Have I selected the right details?”