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PSA: Magnets Are Not Good For Your Computer

My computer tower is on my desk instead of the floor, thanks to toddlers, dogs, and my slackitude when it comes to vacuuming under my desk. This gives me a smooth clean surface perfect for post it notes. There are eight on it right now. Character names and thumbnail descriptions, questions for my friend in the army (color background for a story), list of blogs that I’d like to have review my book, books I want to read, that kind of stuff. The kinds of details I’d remember if I didn’t have a small child who does not sleep, and for the love of kumquats, the next person who suggests sleep training DIES, okay, because seriously, do people really think I’d have NOT CONSIDERED THAT after two years of not sleeping? If it worked on my particular kid, wouldn’t I be sleeping more? Anyway.

So I swapped pictures of this computer, bristling with post it notes, with a friend on Facebook who claimed to have the a better collection of notes than I did.

He did. Kind of. Two of his notes were attached to the computer case with magnets.

Y’all… don’t do that. Yes, it’s probably safe. The type of magnet that erases hard drives is much stronger than the “refrigerator” kind of magnet. But you can still do damage to other components. And if you’re a dork like I am, owning a rare earth magnet or two is not unthinkable. If you’re in the habit of sticking stuff to your computer, and you use that magnet because you’re muddy brained from not sleeping or whatever, you could really ruin your day.

It hasn’t happened to me, because sometimes, I can see the trap before I step in it.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,

PSA: Publish America…

March 11, 2010 2 comments

…is not a publisher in the sense that you would be considered published if you used their services. From an agent blog (the post is old, but I have a reason for bringing it back up):

“You told me that you were previously published by someone like PublishAmerica… and meant it. This is akin to telling me that you would consider yourself previously published if you had Xeroxed pages of your manuscript and stapled them together.”

This applies to Author House as well.

Self-publishing is fine for some purposes. That’s where you retain all copyright, get 100% of the royalties, and do all of the work. It’s a straightforward transaction – you pay to have the book put together, and then if any books are sold, you get all of the money. This sort of thing works well if you want to do a cookbook of Grandma’s recipes and get a copy for everyone in the family. It also may work for established, business-savvy writers with a following and a backlist to reissue. If you are brand new to writing with no established reputation, your average sales numbers will total less than a hundred copies. You don’t have to believe me. This is public knowledge.

Please note that if your one and only book was self-published through Lulu, you are not “published” in the sense that most people mean the word.

Vanity publishing is when you pay the “publisher” for editing (which is optional – they’ll publish anything you write) and what have you, and they pay you a percentage. Typical sales are still under a hundred copies, but it cost the writer more money up front, and he’ll get less from what he does sell.

I’m a little frustrated about this today. I was looking up local writing groups, hoping to find one to join. One group that meets quite near my house has their member bios on the website. I checked the credits of the authors listed as published.

All but one was “published” via vanity publishing. That last one had her first novel “published” through Lulu.

I’m sorry. None of those writers are published, and I can’t imagine spending hard-earned money to join a writer’s group that would think that way.

I have spent years researching the publishing process, agents, professional organizations, and more. I know there is quite a bit of drama over some elements of publishing – for example, I recently learned that my sale to Carina doesn’t count as being professionally published in the eyes of some people because Carina doesn’t pay advances, just royalties. (I’m trying not to rant about that one, though I’m tempted!) I know what the scams are, and I know some basic rules. But when it comes to publishing, what I don’t know would fill a very large library.

It is *my* responsibility to learn. I owe it to myself and to my career.

Giving someone money just so I could say I was published would be pissing all over my dream.

PSA: Bated Breath

February 17, 2010 Leave a comment

Not baited. If your breath were baited, you would accomplish nothing besides being attractive to fish.

Categories: Editing Tags: