Posts Tagged ‘business’

So Crazed

This morning, I have:

– Written two freelance articles for publication
– Done an in depth analysis of user trends on a product
– Completely forgotten about the report I write every Monday before my kid wakes up, and I can hear him waking up now

What I have not done this morning:

– Put any words into at least one WIP. I try to do 250 words every morning. My real writing time is in the evening, but getting one manuscript page complete each morning sets such a good tone for the rest of the day.

What I wish I was doing:

– Reading the copy of Gwenhwyfar I got for Mother’s Day.

I’m only a chapter in, and already I’m so excited. I cut my fantasy teeth on Valdemar, and loved it more than anything, and I know I’m not the only reader who started feeling a bit… disappointed. Like the well had run dry and someone was still making Mercedes Lackey throw down the bucket. Her “romance” series for Luna made me feel a lot better, because they were great reads. Still, there was sometimes a sense of automatic pilot. But this Arthurian book is the good stuff, the vintage Lackey but now with all of the craft and power an author with years of practice can command.

I used the word romance in quotes there because it’s a freaking fantasy series, but it was branded as a romance, which irritated… huh. There’s a whole pile of assumptions to be examined right there. I’ll get to that one of these days when I’m not so crazed.


The Long Wait

Someone on a writer board where I hang out recently heard back from the publisher he really wanted… after a year. And after that long wait, the answer was “revise and resubmit.”

Okay, R&R is a good thing, not a bad thing. But a year? I know publishing moves slowly. I know things take time. I know an editor’s focus must be on contracted books, not slush.

But a year?

That’s… disrespectful. If your own guidelines say four months (which is already completely insane), and you realize you’re going to miss that mark, maybe… close submissions? Hire interns? Do something that acknowledges the value of the writer’s time?

The usual choice is even more rude to the author in the long run, and that’s to not accept any but agented submissions. The writer must find someone who will take 15% (and I am old enough to remember when it was 10%) in return for… well, still waiting for months to hear if a book is going to be bought or not. 15% of potential future earnings in return for what amounts to a foot in the door. The talented will still get through, but circus poodles have to jump through fewer hoops.

And at the same time that I’m completely disgusted with the sheer rudeness of it all, I am reminded of a quote from Terry Pratchett. When I first read this, I was still working in theater, and I laughed out loud in recognition. I find I laugh even harder now, and it’s very difficult to be disgusted and laugh at the same time. I prefer laughing.

From Maskerade:

“The money in the chorus isn’t very good, is it?!” [Christine] said.

“No.” It was less than you’d get for scrubbing floors. The reason was that, when you advertised a dirty floor, hundreds of hopefuls didn’t turn up.

If You Pirate My Book, You Could Be Ending My Career

April 30, 2010 1 comment

There is an argument, oft-made by pirates, that by offering an artist’s work for free, that artist is gaining wider exposure and possibly more paying fans than might have otherwise encountered this artist.

I have made the argument before that the only thing an artist gets from exposure is death by pneumonia, but I will say that in the realm of music, this argument has proven to be at least somewhat true.

Here’s why I don’t think it applies to books. If you get a bit of a song in your head, you’re going to go looking for the rest of the song. And then the rest of the album. Songs are discrete elements, complete in and of themselves unless we are talking about Pink Floyd concept albums. A single pirated song could well serve as bait on a hook that, if taken, will result in the listener going out to get the album.

The parallel case in books is not pirated books – it would be single chapters or other kinds of excerpts. And those do work quite well as bait. My book contract specifically says I can use nearly a quarter of the whole book as an excerpt, just to make sure you as a reader reeeeeeeeeeeally want to pay the three bucks to find out how it ends. But no pirate site *I’ve* ever seen does chapters. No one is getting a sample of writing that inspires them to go buy the writer’s book. They’ve got the whole book, right there.

Does that possibly lead to future sales for that writer? It might. But here’s the problem with that for first time writers – if you pirate a first timer’s book, there won’t be a second time.

Sales figures are watched very closely. If someone’s book doesn’t sell, it’s an easy call for the publisher to not extend another contract. But most writers fall into a gray area. Not a runaway success, but not a failure.  There’s a line, not a hard and fast one, but definitely a line between someone whose sales aren’t quite good enough and someone whose sales are nearly there.

The hundred pirated copies might have made the difference between a second contract and oblivion.

In conclusion, please don’t pirate my debut novella, or the kitten gets it.

My Cover: Her Heart’s Divide

April 26, 2010 1 comment

If you are not a friend of Carina Press on Facebook (or of me/my page), then you haven’t seen my cover. My beautiful, beautiful cover:

If you do follow CP on Facebook, then you already saw my comment.

If not – look at the dude on the left. That looks EXACTLY the way Jack looked inside my head. Now look at the guy on the right. Yep, looks exactly like Ryan. Ryan has a hairy chest, but hair on covers is not fashionable. Still, I like men with secondary sexual characteristics, so I’m glad they didn’t twink the model out. Plus the back turned to the viewer looks so protective and sexy to me.

The woman looks like Lila, but Lila is a jeans and bandanna country girl, and would only wear that much makeup to the office party.

The river represents the New River, in southwestern Virginia where our tale takes place.

The swirly thing is the gateway to the parallel universe, the one that poor Jack accidentally steps through. I say poor Jack, because in Jack’s world, he’s married to Lila. In this world, Lila is married to Ryan. In both worlds, Jack and Ryan are best friends…

Overall, I could not be more pleased. I really feel like the artist nailed the cover, a real home run. Also, it proves that artists are better at covers than writers, because the fact sheet I turned over talked about afternoon sunlight, even though the climactic (no pun intended) scene happens by moonlight out on the deck overlooking the river.

I can’t freaking wait for launch! I don’t know how I’m going to survive two more months.

Two months? Well, that’s what it says on the ad banner they gave me:

Of Dogs and Fleas

I love DA’s industry news links. I especially love it because I am completely slammed between work, writing, and family (like, um, well, most of the authors I’ve met lately, so it’s not like I’m special). The roundup from Wednesday contains a lot of news important to both readers and writers, and it saves me the time tracking it all down myself. It’s not all serious – I mean, the bit about librarians and how many of them find nookie in the book stacks was pretty hilarious, and hey, that gives me an idea… NO, NO MORE IDEAS UNTIL I WRITE UP THE ONES I HAVE.

Anyway, one of the tidbits was how Barnes and Noble is advertising their Nook on a pirate site. It may not be intentional in that the ad went out to any site on the ad network. It is intentional in that B&N can exclude sites by keywords (like “file sharing” for example) and is getting a report from the ad seller showing the breakdown of results by site.

I’ve bought and sold online advertising. Here’s what I posted to DA:

“…one of the (admittedly minor) considerations is how the placement of the ad will affect the brand. Someone made the conscious decision to link the Nook with reading digital files however those files are acquired.

Now, I’m one of the people who said if Bob buys my future hardback, I don’t care how Bob “acquires” my digital file. But B&N isn’t Bob, and doesn’t care that most of the fans of a site like that don’t think like Bob.

“By any means necessary” is not acceptable doctrine when we’re talking about a luxury device. A more apt cliche is “when you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.”

I’ll have a bit of a rant next week about piracy and first time authors. A topic that is very near to my blackened heart.

Categories: publishing, Thinking Tags:

My Logo

I got no writing done last night, because my husband was drawing something for me.

Specifically, he was drawing a logo for my future author site. He was trained as a graphic artist, although he now in a related field and doesn’t do much logo design anymore. But I have seen him do them as freelance jobs, and when he offered to help me, I said “Hell yeah!”

Now, I’m a scrapbooker, so as the veteran of many, many title bars, I know there is much more to a header than picking a nice font and typing out my name and tag line.

But good lord, I never knew how many steps were involved, or how much communication has to happen before what is in my head comes out of his Wacom tablet.And my original idea turned out to not be doable, so we had multiple iterations on the concept before we reached something that looks good. The final complication is that my contracted book is contemporary, as are the two out on submission. However, the WIPs are steampunk, and there’s a bit of a sci-fi flavor in about half of my work to date. We needed to design something that would work for multiple types of stories, even though all of them are technically erotic romance.

I don’t know how I could have afforded this process with a professional billing by the hour. Man, can I pick a mate or what?

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , ,

Why Good Consumers Become Bad Pirates

All the talk about how publishers attempting to charge hardback book prices on ebooks, plus the frustrations of DRM, plus geographical limitations put on digital books (?!) equals frustrated customers who are tempted to create and patronize BookNapster? It reminds me of an image my husband, a devoted movie lover, sent me a few weeks ago:

Yep. That’s about the size of it, right there.

We buy movies and books in this household, but let me tell you something. I bought a laptop from Craigslist last year, and when I told the seller I’d be bringing a DVD to test the drive, told me not to worry about it, he had one he’d throw in with the computer. I met up with him, tested everything else, and then hit play on the DVD program.

A movie that had opened that day started playing. Arr, me hearties. I still bought the computer – he had original discs and reg codes for the software.

But I didn’t throw out the pirated DVD. Actually, I forgot about it until my little guy figured out how to start the movie on my laptop, and then he got interested. Now it’s one of his favorites, and I swear I meant to buy a legit copy. But something bad happened. When my kid wants to watch one of the movies we’ve bought, it can take up to ten minutes – TEN MINUTES – to get the stupid thing playing. When my kid wants to watch the movie the nice Craigslist pirate gave us, we press play. I have four different jobs, and I don’t have a nanny. That ten minutes can be the difference between a deadline met and a deadline blown.

I won’t say I’d pay *extra* to be able to cut straight to the movie – a DVD is already twenty bucks at Best Buy – but I’d make a point of buying from a company that let me skip everything that wasn’t the movie.

I’ll post more on this topic eventually, but for now, I’m just going to say that I bitterly resent the fact that content companies, be they movie, book, or music, have gone so far around the bend trying to keep people from stealing (that’s what piracy is, stealing) that accessing and sharing your own material is a giant hassle. I honestly think Carina’s lack of DRM is going to help me, not hurt me, as an author.