Get out the pitchforks and torches, it’s that kind of day…

So, there’s been some brouhaha in the book-reviewing world. Mostly, it’s been yet another edition of Authors Behaving Badly, and I’ll just point you at Cleolinda’s rundown and my own hoary old advice. Of course writers shouldn’t respond, positively or negatively, to reviews. Of course it’s wrestling a pig in mud–the pig loves it, and you just get dirty and look like an idiot. Of course. Of course.

But.

Look, it would take the patience of a saint to put up with some of this shit. And writers are most definitely not saints. Neither, dear Reader, are you.

In any group of people, X% are going to be assholes. It’s like the speed of light–it’s a fucking constant, so let’s get used to it and go on from there. Even those who are not assholes as a matter of course can sometimes act in an asshole manner, given the right conditions. Sometimes, we’re all assholes. You, me, that guy over there, everyone.

I have to tell you, though, sometimes I just don’t blame authors as much as you’d think. There are “review” sites that only serve to aggrandize their owners’ precious little pretensions, and there are “review” sites that should have a sign attached saying “LOOK, JUST FEED MY ENTITLEMENT COMPLEX BECAUSE OTHERWISE I’LL BADMOUTH YOU!”. Then there’s Goodreads–which I use myself, as a means of tracking my reading, and to be available, to a certain degree, to fans. Which is all fine and good, but just like EVERY OTHER SOCIAL NETWORKING SITE, there are some corners of Goodreads that might as well be 4chan. That’s all right if you like 4chan, and of course, if I claim the right to say whatever the hell I want here on this corner of the Internet that I pay for and maintain, I can certainly allow it to “review” sites that appear to be someone’s shallow little reproductions of high-school cliquishness. C’est la vie, c’est la guerre, c’est the fucking marmalade.

A lot of times, however, when I see an Author Behaving Badly On Teh Interwebs–I’m not talking about harassment, I’m not talking about plagiarism–I see a writer getting mad at some deliberately provocative pieces of horseshit. There are “review” sites that keep waving red flags and waiting for the moment a writer, any writer, will snap. They get a charge off this, and I don’t precisely blame some writers for responding. It turns into a situation that only ends well for the petty little provocateur, because they end up getting the emotional charge and the hit count. It never, ever ends well for the writer.

So while I don’t precisely blame the writer sometimes, I do wince. And I do sometimes privately agree with the kernel of some of their rants. I am, and plenty of other writers are, in the position of not being able to offer agreement publicly or professionally, and I think a lot of “review” sites and Mean People on social networking sites bank on that. It’s like the Speshul Snowflakes who decide to be rude to retail or food-service workers. They get the emotional charge and get a kick out of being the “injured party” or merely the Stirrer Of The Shit, and their stink spreads far and wide.

The point of all this is, sooner or later a writer is going to be tempted to respond. If the idea of taking the high road and behaving professionally isn’t enough to stop you, just think about what it means to descend to the level of the jackass who’s trying to taunt you into reacting. Is it worth being just like him or her? Is it truly worth it, when you know you’re just going to end up covered in shit while they laugh at the fact that they made you respond while basking in their brief Internet celebrity? Is it seriously worth it?

This isn’t to exonerate every writer who behaves badly on the Internet. It’s just to say that sometimes, you know, I don’t exactly blame the ones who do snap under the provocation. There but for the grace of God goes anyone, really.

It would do well for us all to remember that.

Over and out.

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lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Jan. 9th, 2012 11:12 am)

Hear that? The gargling sound? That’s the sound of one of the worst weekends in recent history swirling down the drain. I am not sad to see it go, either. This morning’s run was a pounding away of stress, frustration, anger, sadness, you name it. It was only four miles, but both Miss B and I were much calmer at the end of it. Funny thing–I was told Aussies get very attached to their owners, but I didn’t realize until this weekend just how attached Miss B is. She was up with me all night Saturday, corralling and helping me handle another very sick animal, and every once in a while she would give me a low, soft, consolatory woof! and a sideways glance, clearly saying “I’m right with you, Mum. Just tell me what to do next.” All damn night, and she was up with me all day Sunday dealing with fallout and cleanup. When things had finally settled down and I patted the bed last night, telling her she had earned (again) the privilege of sleeping on the Big Soft, she settled down and groaned a little, flipped an ear, and was out like a light. And this morning, she was antsy because I was needing to work some of the stress off, so we hit the pavement and went for it.

I can’t talk about the rest of the weekend, because dealing with other people’s thoughtless cruelty just works me up into a ball of frustration. A lot of why I write what I do is to understand. But no matter how much I can paint a picture of it, I just don’t get it. It doesn’t make sense to me. The frustration of my own incomprehension is very large. I keep aiming to have some sort of compassion for assholes, but it’s very difficult when I simply don’t get it. Suffice to say the animal is in good hands and resting comfortably, and everyone here is very glad of it.

Anyway, it’s Monday, and the dread beast of Revisions is nigh. I finished the proofs for Iron Wyrm and am now hard at work on revising Bandit King. I’ve hit the point where I have fully realized that my editor, bless her hard little heart, is right about pretty much everything, and my ego, while staggering under the blow, has accepted it and moved on. I have to go back and tweak what work I did manage to get done through the hustle and bustle of the weekend, for I suspect I was too agonized to think clearly.

So, yeah. Any work I did in the past two days is suspect. I might as well have just lit it on fire, for all the good it’s going to do the manuscript in the end. Which is a big pile of argh, but it’s something fixable, something I can do, and something I understand the process behind.

I suppose I’ll take what I can get.

See you around…

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lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Oct. 12th, 2011 09:34 am)

Last night, the Topeka, Kansas, city council voted to decriminalize domestic violence.

I can’t say it any better than Jim C. Hines does: “To the folks behind this mess, congratulations! You not only fail as decent human beings, you also suck at math.”

As Erik Scott deBie remarked: To paraphrase Kansas govt: “Down with the wimmins! Yays for abusers! LOL!” http://bit.ly/pwZ1a4 #ugh #electricshockneeded

So, yeah. In Topeka, beating your spouse is okay. Unless someone will foot the legal bills, in which case, it’s wrong.

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lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Oct. 11th, 2011 10:43 am)

Some tidbits for your consideration:

* Dina James’s new book is out! Dina is my Evil #1 over at the ELEW, and a lovely person.

* A call to action against a serial plagiarist.

* Topeka, Kansas, is looking to decriminalize domestic violence. To, erm, save money. (If I halt to comment on this, there will be a whole day’s worth of ranting. I’ll just skip it, and you can fill in your own.)

The kids are at school, the houseguests are gone, my street is empty, and I can hear the ticking of the cat clocks on my wall. Archibald Clare has a man in knee-deep Londinium sewer water, and has a mouthful of blood besides. I can feel the rest of the book calling me. Plague pits, sorcery, potential zombies, and a mad art professor beckon, and the hunt is afoot again.

I’m swamped.

See you guys around…

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lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Jun. 30th, 2011 09:34 am)

I broke my best speed for running outside today–five miles, 54 minutes 24 seconds. I’m pretty damn proud of that. Yet one more funny thing about stress, cortisol, and adrenaline–I can feel it burning off while I run, and and I can smell the flat mineral tang of my body metabolizing the stress hormones. At the same time, stress forces me to push and run faster, so I end up going faster or longer or both. Plus, getting back into the swing of five miles four or five days a week does things to my appetite–I start craving lean protein and not wanting so many sweets or junk. (Well, there’s choco–the more I run, the darker I want my chocolate to be.) The ankle is holding up fine; I think it’s pretty much rehabilitated.

I think we’ve found a winner for the Stupidest and Most Blatant Plagiarist of the Year Award, and it’s only June. Bonus points for the woman’s website About page, where she says “I love to write I just started do this January of 2011 and have grown a lot where it comes to my books.” (See for yourself. Caution: Twilight wallpaper ahoy.) It’s been a week for stupidity–you probably heard about the “writer” who decided fake kidnappings were a great way to get an agent’s attention. (Hint: IT’S NOT. And the “publisher” he finally got to take his book? POD or vanity? You make the call.) I think these two are neck and neck for the “Ways To Destroy Any Chance You Ever Had Of A Writing Career” prize this year, too. It’s been a busy week.

If you need an anodyne after that, the JFK turtles are back. Their Twitter is hilariously cute, too.

With that, I’m off to go bouldering. Play safe out there.

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Look out. The writer is cranky today. Yesterday she killed a protagonist. (You’d think they wouldn’t line up to have her tell their stories, the way she mows them down.)

That’s enough third-person, but you get the idea. Today’s like a perfect storm of Things That Piss Lili Off. If it’s not hormones it’s the short workout (Wednesday is my easy day, only three fast miles instead of the endurance-burn of five) or the appointment to talk about Financial Stuff (doesn’t piss me off, just stresses me out) or the fact that I’m on the last third of the current book (yep, the one I just killed the protag in, bastard had it coming like you wouldn’t believe) and everything that pulls me away from writing earns resentment. Or the Creepy Whistling Dude who thinks that a jogging woman in exercise gear with a working dog in saddlebags clearly has time to stop and pay attention to him. (Miss B. does not like him one little bit. Maybe it’s the fact that I don’t either.) Or it could be the weather (though actually, I like the cool and rainy summer we’re having), or a couple other things happening behind the curtain of my personal life. (Don’t ask.)

Every once in a while, one just has a day where the sharp edges are out. It’s time to throw away the scabbard and take no prisoners. Of course, I do have to play gentle today–there’s children, and I’ll be in public for a short time. But other than that? Just throw some choco through the bars and thank your gods I’m on this side.

Over and out.

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Too much to explain. Let me sum up.

* An interview with me, and a giveaway, over at CJ Redwine’s place. I am interviewed by a were-llama. Also, part 2 of the giveaway next week involves JEWELRY. Trust me, you want to be in on this.

* The Wall Street Journal went concern-trolling for pageviews again. Dame Jackie responds a lot more politely than I would have, Diane Duane hits it out of the park, the Guardian weighs in, and #YASaves hits trending. I thought of posting my own response to WSJ’s pearl-clutching idiocy, but in the end Jackie and Diane did it better than I ever could, and I don’t want to link and feed the troll more pageviews. So there it is.

* Kristen Lamb on training to be a career writer:

Athletes who compete in decathlons use a lot of different skills—speed, endurance, strength. They walk this fine balance of giving an event their all….without really giving it their all. They still must have energy left to effectively compete in the other events and outpace the competition.

We writers must learn to give it our all….without giving it our all. The better we get at balancing our duties, the more successful we will be in the long-run. Writers who fail to appreciate all this job entails won’t be around in a year or three. They are like a runner who sprints at the beginning of a marathon. They will fall by the side of the road, injured and broken.

So today when you have to squeeze in that 100 words on your break from work, think I’m training. When your kids hang off you as you write, picture that weighted sled. Play the soundtrack to Rocky if you must. (Kristen Lamb)

* Want to see me climb? We’re recording ourselves on routes so we can nitpick our performance. (By “we” I mean “me and ZenEllen, my bouldering partner.”) Here’s some from today: an inglorious failure at a bouldering route, then a second attempt where I stick the damn thing. I’ve been working this route for a few weeks now. You can also see some of my tats, and the Official Belt Of Urban Fantasy. (Long story. I had to buy one, after that.)

And now I’ve got to spend the first half of my writing day in alternate-Renaissance fantasy France, and the second half in contemporary paranormal YA. The braincramps are fun to watch–my face squinches up when I shift gears and go from one to the other. Good times, man. Good times.

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lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( May. 6th, 2011 02:55 pm)

I was out earlier today with my writing partner; we pillaged a local Powell’s. (We looked for Genevieve Valentine’s new book, didn’t find it, will have to order it.) I scored a book on the Beast of Gevaudan, which I actually happy-danced in the aisle over. So I’m late getting to the table today, so to speak, which is a shame because I have a veritable garden of Friday links for you.

* First, the shameless self-promotion: I’m over at SmartPop with an interview. There’s an excerpt from Defiance there too, and on Monday there will be a giveaway.

* Look, it’s not just me who has trouble with squirrels. I’m just sayin’. (Hat tip to Elaine Corvidae for the link.)

* A peek inside famous authors’ homes. Honestly, I expected the Hemingway one to have more booze. But I suppose Papa wouldn’t have left any behind, now would he. Also? Norman Mailer was freaky. But I guess we all knew that.

* The Rude Pundit (hint: don’t click if you can’t take adult language) is looking for stories. No, not that sort of stories. If you or your kids have been damaged by the public education system, he wants to hear about it. Go tell him.

* Speaking of damage by the public education system, gee. How about getting a whole town to beat up on a rape victim? That’s got to be some sort of record.

Just how lacking in compassion does somebody have to be to humiliate a teenage cheerleader in front of the community instead of speaking with her in private with an advocate present? A team of psychiatrists has done work with brain scans trying to determine whether psychopaths are physiologically different from normal people. One thing they note about psychopaths is that they understand right from wrong but have no empathy for their victims. Forget about Silsbee or the Hardin County criminal justice system ever holding any of the people who retaliated against the victim accountable.

I had an exchange with a reporter for The Silsbee Bee in which he was vigorously defensive about how the outside world had, in his view, so unfairly criticized Silsbee. He claimed to have seen the case file in its entirety, and also claimed that anybody who saw that file would stop criticizing Silsbee. I told him to publish the whole file on The Silsbee Bee site. He stopped responding. Do not hold your breath expecting residents of Silsbee to examine their consciences and then to clean out the stinking cesspools that make up their collective moral sense. (politicsusa.com)

…Yeah. If this makes you sick, it should. If this makes you angry, it should. It’s still not safe to be female pretty much anywhere on the globe. Half of humanity, the mothers and sisters and daughters all around you, have to deal with shit like this, even in fricking America. Just think about that for a little while, I dare you.

* And in case the above story makes you want to go postal, here’s some cute puppies. Get that blood pressure down before you decide what to do.

See you on Monday…

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He has been scrutinized for months now, his accuracy questioned and his decision to return to school second-guessed. He has never bristled, showing the kind of composure that any coach would love to see in the pocket.

There have been fun moments like the ESPN feature with former NFL coach Jon Gruden and his famously intense film study. There have been awkward times, too. Like the interview question from a team that threw Locker for a loop: Would you give your 16-year-old daughter birth control.

“It caught me off guard,” he said. “Maybe it was to see how I would respond.” (Boston Herald)

Well, yes. That would catch one off-guard, wouldn’t it.

This is a guy being drafted into a football team. He will be playing a made-up game that glorifies violence and aggression, and probably be paid very well for it. That’s his choice, I have no problem with that. I like rock climbing, he likes throwing a pigskin for imaginary points. One man’s meat, and all.

Here is what mystifies me: why the hell are “they” (I presume this is a team he might be drafted into) asking him a question like this? The underlying assumption is that he would “give” or “allow” his daughter birth control. Well, if the alternative is a teen pregnancy or an STD, such a move might be considered responsible parenting. Parents are here to teach their children to be adults, and to help kids in the years before their ability to understand consequences is fully developed. (If you even try to trot out the old canard about abstinence education being effective, just stop right there.) I’ve written before about the pervading and pervasive cultural assumption that women are property, passed from their fathers to their husbands in no unequivocal terms. Is this question an outgrowth of that assumption? That troubles me on a meta level, but what troubles me even more is that this is a throwaway line in the middle of a piece of reporting*, obviously considered of little consequence except for its “entertainment” value. (I actually got the link from a Mental Floss tweet.) It’s considered no big deal. The indifference is breathtaking.

My answer to a question like that would be, “What? Why the fuck do you think that is your business? It’s my family’s business, and beyond that, it’s my daughter’s business, and what is a collection of men doing asking about this?” I’m fairly sure I would give whoever asked such a ridiculous, repugnant, invasive question a stinging verbal dressing-down before leaving the room determined never to do business with them again, in any way, since they are capable of (and have no qualms about, apparently) such inappropriate asshattery. This is what I immediately thought, “What the hell is this guy doing, sitting there calmly while a bunch of jerks asks him this?”

He’s a college player, so it’s vanishingly unlikely that he has a 16-year old daughter, or that he will for quite some time. You could argue, I suppose, that they wanted to “provoke” him to see how he would respond on the field. My reply is: bullshit. This man is going to make a living playing a violent game that encourages, facilitates, and rewards violent behavior. A question this stupid, phrased this casually, especially when it’s totally irrelevant because the guy is what, 20?, is not going to give you any goddamn idea of how he’s going to behave after you finish another few years of rewarding the type of behavior football requires and endorses from its players. It’s like asking a llama how it feels about tap dancing–it just doesn’t even fricking apply.

And, I reiterate: the whole thing is just thrown into the middle of a “news” article, like it’s no big deal. Wink wink, nudge nudge, isn’t this funny, the important thing is this guy can play this made-up game and might be invited to play this made-up game somewhere else for a lot of money.

It just boggles the mind.

* However much sports “reporting” can qualify for that name, that is.

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I’m over at Bitten By Books today, along with the rest of the crew from the Those Who Fight Monsters anthology. There’s a contest, too, tempty-tempty.

Now for the not-so-pleasant. Oh, tax time. You know, as a single mother, maybe I shouldn’t be penalized so heavily. And really, if I have to pay this amount in taxes, why can’t I have better schools? Better roads? And universal health care? Oh, that’s right–because I exist only at the pleasure of the corporations who are people now. And because the super-rich have managed to ram through a budget that cuts social safety nets to ribbons so they can feed the war machine. We can afford wars, but we can’t afford to relieve some poverty. The commie poor might get ideas above their station, after all.

I wouldn’t mind paying goddamn taxes if the cash was spent on infrastructure, education, and a social safety net instead of corporate welfare and the goddamn war machine. Oh, don’t mind me, I’m just bitter. Jesus. ANYWAY.

It’s a nice day, sunny and beautiful. I’m shifting between Bannon & Clare and a separate project I can’t announce yet. (So exciting.) Miss B., after a morning walk in which she was absolutely full of all sorts of vinegar and baking soda, is now sacked out at my feet and evinces absolutely no desire to go outside. This will change once the Little Prince comes home from school, I fancy.

One of the things I’m struggling with while writing now is just how much verite to put into a sort of alternate-historical fantasy. I am playing fast and loose with Londinium and with history. No doubt there will be a great deal of screaming. No actual cities are ever harmed in the making of these books, but plenty of electrons are terribly inconvenienced, to mashup a phrase.

Anyway, it’s time to turn to the Sekrit Projekt and do some pen and paper work. I can barely sit still, it’s so exciting. This is another Year Of Doing Things I’ve Never Done Before, and I’m terrified enough to think it’s grand fun. Off I go to get into more trouble…

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lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Mar. 14th, 2011 11:23 am)

I left the house without having coffee today. This was perhaps a mistake, but I was going so fast (long story, suffice to say I had shit to get done before 11AM) I didn’t have time. I chose a workout instead, which was probably a good thing. Anyway, I reached my last stop–a grocery store with a Starbucks–and decided to have someone else make me coffee.

I have rarely wished so hard for a taser in my LIFE.

When you’re got a line three people deep behind you at a Starbucks in a grocery store, you don’t start stacking sixteen different one-liter bottles of soda pop on the counter one. at. a. time. You especially don’t pause between each one to tell the poor girl behind the register what you like about the goddamn pop. You don’t insist that she ring them up in a specific order. And for Christ’s sake, when she’s trying to fix your bathtub of an iced drink, don’t lean your massive gut ON THE COUNTER and stuck your ass out while you root around in the pen cup by the register that’s clearly for employee use only. WTF, dude? Then, when she’s finished making your drink and clearly trying to call me over so I can get some goddamn caffeine in me, you should further not park in front of the register with your cart, attempting small talk with everyone, staring at her like you want to ask her out on a date. Here’s a clue: she’s not interested, neither am I, and a Starbucks line is possibly the most dangerous place on earth to pull these shenanigans. The people behind you are ADDICTED. You are between the junkies and their fix.

Hence, my wish for a taser. I kept muttering “No jury in the world would convict me.”

Of course, the fact that I was on semi-emergency footing, had a List of Things to Accomplish, and am a breath away from finishing a round of revisions on the last book in a series probably did not help. Today, my mantra is “Okay. Let’s get this bitch to Mount Doom.” (Which, by the way, is one more line to love Sarah Michelle Gellar for delivering so well.)

You don’t have to keep stepping backward. I’ve had some coffee. Really, I’m okay. *twitch* I’m not going to hurt anyone. *twitch twitch* Really, I’M ALL RIGHT.

Over and out.

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lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Mar. 2nd, 2011 08:01 pm)

Well, my first attempt at a podcast is up. The first bit of it was recorded in mono, the last quarter or so managed to make it to stereo. I’ve finally fixed the problem, and if this turns out to be something you guys like, why then, I’ll do more of them, and they will turn into something a little more finished. (Now that I’ve made a bunch of mistakes with it.)

Oh, you say you want the feed link? I see. Here it is, twelve whole minutes of me blathering away like a big blathering thing. I have horrid stage fright and was terrified during the entire recording process, but the editing was actually kind of fun. I can even see putting my Write Like You Mean It lectures on the Web this way; assuming, that is, that this stirs any interest.

I spent a lot of time today doing some patient advocacy, so I’m wiped out emotionally and physically. I do have good news, though–tomorrow, if my ankle holds up, I am allowed to take my first run in three weeks. I can’t wait. Attempting to just get by with walking has so not cut it. I need my endorphin rush! I am literally fiending for a run.

I wish I could come up with something witty to say, but revisions are eating my head and I can’t wait to finally crawl into bed tonight. So, off I go.

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There’s freezing fog here, frosting every edge. It’s very pretty if I can just sit inside and watch it. Venturing out into it, however, is a whole different ball of wax. Losing a lot of weight means I have very little insulation, and even with four or five layers on the wet chill just goes right through me. I have never been so glad for the heater sitting next to my writing chair.

So…buckle your seatbelts, darlings. Here goes.

One of the current Internet sh!tstorms revolves around this post “Beware of Unprofessional Reviewers.” Of course there was a lot of pearl-clutching over this.

On the one hand, immature and nasty behavior among book bloggers is rampant, and the sense of entitlement from plenty of people who slap together something they call “reviews” is massive and stunning. (This is human nature, and not worth bemoaning more than tangentially.) There are great review blogs out there, but they are sadly more the exception than the rule. And there are some great review blogs that have devolved into masses of self-gratification and one-upmanship. In other words, it’s just like the entire Internet.

On the other hand, naming the actual blogs the author had a problem with…probably not a good move. I might not have done that, but you know what? You write reviews for public consumption, you had better be prepared to be called on your behavior. Put on your big girl panties and deal. Also, it’s the author’s blog, she can say what she wants. She thinks someone’s being a shitheel? Well, she can say so. Period.

There’s a real sense among review blogs that authors should just not say anything other than a gushy “thank you sir may I have another?” no matter how the review bloggers act. Which is just not going to happen, any student of human nature can tell you as much. And seriously, I’ve read plenty of reviews (not even of my own work, thank you) where it’s obvious the reviewer was responding to something personal in their life rather than to the book itself. Or it’s equally obvious the reviewer is engaged in tearing down something they’re jealous of. Expecting authors to not care about that is just pure-d foolishness.

Review blogs do serve a number of necessary purposes. They’re a way for readers to band together and discuss things. They build communities. They serve and fulfill social needs. They can occasionally serve as a facilitator between the writer and readers, which is downright awesome when it’s done right. They can even (sometimes) provide feedback for authors, though this is not (and should not be) one of their prime goals.

But review blogs do not get to tell writers how to act. They can have opinions about how writers should act, sure, but those opinions are not given a lot of extra weight by the fact of them being “reviewers.” Anyone with a laptop can be a reviewer, there’s not a lot of quality control, and one’s opinion as a blogger is not worth a lot until you’ve consistently shown why it should be. This isn’t just on the Internet, it also functions this way in real life. For example, lots of people have opinions about how I should act. Many of those opinions are just not worth a fart in a windstorm to me personally. The people whose opinions I care about–the people I love, or whose judgment I’ve been taught I can trust–are not The General Public. Also, lots of people have opinions about how I should/should not write my books/finish a series/write a character. At the end of the day, I may listen politely, but the decision is still mine. The judgment call is still mine, because I am producing the content. I’m where the buck begins.

So. Yes, the post about “unprofessional reviewers” named names, which is to my mind the only problematic part of it–but it’s not very problematic. You want to act like a three-year old on your book review site, or produce shoddy reviews? Go for it. But do not expect that the behavior will always go unremarked or unchallenged. It’s the Internet. It’s public. Deal. You’re not in the fricking Witness Protection Program. You’re a blogger.

I personally do not respond to reviews one way or another, for reasons I’ve given elsewhere. But writing a post where one takes issue with specific behaviors, offers illustrations, and proffers advice to one’s fellow writers isn’t a crime. It isn’t even worth the pearl-clutching that ensued, even though anyone with two synapses to rub together could have seen the pearl-clutching coming. It’s not going to be a post people who produce book review blogs are going to like, certainly, but just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s not valid, and just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean someone’s committed a huge sin.

So, there it is. You all know the comment policy. That being said, go for it. Discuss.

ETA: I see that the post I pointed to has seemingly been modified to take down the names of two specific book blogs. Thanks to Carmen below for pointing that out.

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I’ve received a deluge of email after yesterday’s rant. The vast majority is supportive, and I thank you kindly for it.

The small proportion left over, well…I’ll give you a sample. This one’s representative, both because of its phrasing and because of a self-serving justification for stealing I hadn’t noticed much before. We’ll go point by point.

So, this is from a certain S.E.P. He starts out with his main thesis.

I find it extremely hypocritical talking about “stealing” e-books, when your not making sure people can actually buy them.

Oh, my. Well, if they’re there to be stolen, perhaps they’re also there to be bought? And how am I “not making sure” people can buy them? I’m not going door to door with cases of them? But wait, he explains further.

I have no way of legally obtaining your e-books by paying for them.

Let me repeat that, I’ve no way of legally paying for your e-books due to your stupid publisher. Your not loosing money by me obtaining your books without paying, because there is no way for me to pay for your e-books as your unwilling to sell them Internationally.

What? Just…what? In the first place, I AM losing money by you “obtaining my books without paying”, for fuck’s sake, and in the most fundamental way. You just shot yourself in the foot and didn’t even notice.

In the second place, I am not unwilling to sell my books internationally. Neither are my publishers. In some cases we are unable to do so.

This particular canard is related to the argument that you are justified in stealing because the ebooks don’t come in a format that fits your e-reader. Both are something I, as a writer, have as much control over as, say, the weather in southeast China. (Which is to say, none at all.) The correct people to talk to about this are the original publishers, so you can find out if foreign rights have been sold to a publisher in your country and then, ask that publisher if there are plans to release in ebook format. You can also talk to your distributor and let them know you want X book in their format. They’ll listen–it means taking your money, after all. They like that.

Regardless, saying you’re entitled to steal because of foreign unavailability, or because a certain distributor doesn’t have my book in their format, is hogwash.

I like the Korean pop star Rain. Unfortunately, I can’t get hold of most of his stuff unless it’s import CDs for a hellish amount of money. This is an inconvenience to me, but I manage to avoid STEALING and torrenting his music. I refuse to steal, and I either wait until I’ve saved up to buy the import CD, or I go to Everyday Music and check their International section, or I go to Ebay. If I still can’t find it, well. Rain doesn’t get my money, and I don’t get his music, and that’s sad. It’s a goddamn tragedy.

It is NOT a justification for fucking STEALING.

Do I wish everyone in the world could read my books? You betcha. Do I wish it was easier for people in different countries to read my books? Sure do! But this is an imperfect world, and there are things I have no control over, and those two issues are picture-perfect examples of things I have little to no control over. Not only that, but those issues are not justification for taking without paying. Because taking without paying is STEALING. How many times do I have to repeat that basic fact before it sinks in? Or, wait. It’s sunk in. you know you’re doing wrong, otherwise you wouldn’t be attempting to justify so damn hard.

The basic assumption here is that you are entitled and someone is infringing on your entitlement. You are mistaking an inconvenience for a violation of your rights. When you’re three years old, you think you have an absolute right to have what you want whenever you want it. By the time you reach adulthood, you are supposed to realize that this isn’t so. But some people apparently don’t get it. They feel entitled, and so they steal. You are inconvenienced by the fact that the logistics of international law stand in your way of getting an ebook, and it’s easy to steal, and then you have the unmitigated effrontery to write to me justifying it when I publicly ask you not to steal from me?

I am inconvenienced every damn day too. I am inconvenienced by a long line at the grocery checkout, but that is not a justification for taking my groceries without paying for them. I am inconvenienced by the price of diamonds, but that does not justify stealing them. I am inconvenienced by the fact that there are certain countries my ebooks aren’t sold in, and there are certain things I love, like J-pop, that I can’t indulge as freely in as I’d like because of logistical difficulties.

I manage to refrain from fucking stealing.

As far as I know my bank converts the money into $ before transferring them to you, so what the hell is wrong with my money since they aren’t good enough to pay for the books, just because my credit card and bank is in another country?

This has nothing to do with anything. The publishers would love to take your money, and I would love to have them do it because I get a chunk of it. My books are sold in several foreign countries, by foreign publishers–Brazil, France, Russia, to name only three. Those publishers would probably love to take your money too, if you asked them. In the countries that remain, if enough people asked them to carry my work, they would be all too delighted to.

This is 2011, The Internet connect us all, so stop being stupid and prevent people from paying for stuff.

I am asking you not to steal, jackass, not “preventing” you from paying.

The Internet makes it easy for people to steal and gives them the illusion that they can get away with it. (And as Laura Anne Gilman noted yesterday, “Information wants to be free” means “Information wants to be unrestrained,” not “unpaid-for”.) I don’t think the Internet has made people more likely to steal, I think it’s made it easier and removed perceived difficulty and risk, much the same way cars removed perceived difficulty and risk for bank robbers in the twenties and thirties.

You’re not justified in stealing my books. You’re not fricking Jean Valjean, you’re a jerk who thinks he can get away with stealing and blaming the victim of the theft when she publicly asks you not to do so.

Believe it or not, this letter was actually one of the more coherent I received out of the small proportion classified as “I’m going to edumacate you in WHY I’m justified in stealing and it’s all your fault anyway and how DARE you ask me not to!!onety!” (As well as the one with the least typos. The mind boggles.)

I’ll bet, now that I’ve shot down the more common justifications for e-piracy, that the emails will only get more venomous and more exotic in their attempted justification of theft. The thing that comes through most clearly in this letter is that S.E.P. believes he is entitled, even though he knows what he’s doing is wrong. This Speshul Snowflake of Entitlement is very, very common, and the Internet makes it easy for such people to steal.

If you steal ebooks, it means less stories for you. It’s that simple. I will continue to ask, publicly, that you don’t steal my books. In a perfect world I wouldn’t even have to ask you not to steal my books. We don’t live in a perfect world, but I am not going to stop calling piracy what it is–theft–and publicly asking those engaging in it to just goddamn stop.

Over and out.

ETA: It is a common misconception that ebooks “cost nothing” to produce, or that the price of ebooks is padded excessively. This is not the case. Ebooks are not cost-free, and here’s why.

Comments closed, once again, for the same reasons as yesterday. My comment policy is here. Comments will reopen on tomorrow’s post, probably, and my Hammer of Moderation is ready and waiting. Just so you know.

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

So that rant I was thinking about yesterday…well. One more straw was added to the camel’s back, and I’m going to go there. If you have a problem with four-letter words, don’t read any further. Go find some rainbows or ponies or something.

Here we go.

Why do I have to keep explaining to people that stealing is wrong? You’d think that should be a given. You’d think people wouldn’t argue.

To the person who sent me a little note about a “just-released study” “proving” that ebook piracy actually “helps” me: number one, I’m pretty sure that “study” doesn’t say what you think it does, and number two, how can I put this politely…

Oh, I can’t. I can’t be polite about this.

Fuck you.

E-piracy is “not a black and white issue,” you say. FUCK that. Taking without paying for is called stealing. Piracy is people stealing my fucking books, and it doesn’t get much more black and white than STEALING IS WRONG.

Even if that study says what you thought it did, you would still be asking me to believe that potential sales (which I can’t see and nobody has any way of proving) are somehow equivalent to the thousands of downloaded copies I can see people STEALING. If you even try to pull out the “well, maybe those people stealing it wouldn’t have bought it in the first place, so you should be grateful”, I will only repeat, fuck you very much. This is like saying car theft increases brand visibility, so nobody should be worried or upset about it. It’s just plain ridiculous.

The other thing I’ve had thrown at me lately–once when I politely asked someone to stop stealing my books, and again when someone on Facebook was trying to justify piracy–is that I shouldn’t be writing for the money anyway, implying that I’m somehow “lesser” because I expect people not to steal books I’ve written. I’ve already written about that canard. I don’t write “just for” the money, and even if I did it wouldn’t make me any less of a human being who doesn’t deserve to have her work stolen. Trying to say you’re justified in stealing my work because I shouldn’t be writing for money is so incredibly stupid, I can’t even talk to you if you’re going to be that willfully, obstinately stupid.

“But Publisher X GIVES AWAY ebooks and it HELPS THEIR SALES!” you wail.

Publisher X chooses to offer some of their list for discount or free, for varying reasons. They have a choice, and the content creator (the person who spent the effort to write and revise it in the first damn place) is part of that choice. This is not in any way, shape, or form an equivalent to people fucking stealing. Why do I even have to explain this?

I have a suspicion of why: because e-pirates know what they’re doing is wrong. They dress it up in silly stupid arguments like the above because they are trying to cover up theft with a pretty name. It’s not a new human behavior, (for lo, theft and greed in their many forms have been with us from the beginning) but it’s not one I have to condone either.

It’s very simple.

Piracy is stealing. Stealing is wrong. Pirating my books means I can afford to write less stories for you. If the first two sentences of this paragraph aren’t enough to stop you, maybe the third will be.

Comments are closed because I will not listen to one more idiot bleating about how epiracy is somehow beneficial to me, or how I should really be grateful to the jackasses stealing my work, or how it’s not really stealing because everybody feels like they deserve something for free and that’s what the Internet is about, or any of the other red herrings, false equivalencies, downright lies, or self-serving idiocy that one or two assholes always have to throw into the pot every time an author objects to people STEALING his or her work. (ETA: Like another one I just noticed, the “publishers charge too much, so we’re RIGHT to steal, because we’re customers!” OMG. There just aren’t words for the stupid.) Today I am just done with explaining. If you didn’t learn in elementary school that stealing is wrong, I doubt I’m going to be able to teach you now over the Internet. But even that doesn’t make stealing any less goddamn wrong.

Over and out.

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Dec. 17th, 2010 10:19 am)

Crossposted to the Deadline Dames.

G’morning! I’ve updated the Strange Angels page for Defiance, and added a page for Taken, my Harlequin Nocturne coming out in February. I’ve been a busy little bee this morning. (I do hope to get a newsletter out by the first of the year, but don’t count on it.) There is all sorts of fantastic news I can’t share yet, but I can say that the busy will not abate. Which is good. I’m happiest when I’m working.

The alternative just doesn’t bear contemplating.

So here I am on another Friday. There’s a lot of work ahead of me today, I can’t stay long, so here’s Three Things That Hopefully Make A Post (two of them questions I’ve been asked lately):

1. How do you make a reader care about a Bad Man/Antihero/Almost-Villain? Well, first you have to be absolutely clear on what the Bad Man’s motivations are. You have to know what his glass of water is. You have to know why they are doing what they’re doing. Then, you need to figure out what the most effective way of getting that why across to the reader. Half the work in making a Bad Man (or Woman, I should add) is getting that understanding; understanding breeds compassion, as I kept saying to a certain Coyote until I was blue in the face. Once we understood Vader was Luke’s dad, a whole lot more about Vader started to make sense and he became much more than a cardboard villain. (I am not even referring to those movies with JarJar. Just…no.) Sit down and make a list of why your Bad Man does the things he does; then decide if you want the reader to care, or to loathe, or both. Then you can write him (or her) effectively.

2. What if you run out of ideas? Look, the world is a smorgasboard. There are stories waiting all around you, just aching to burst into your consciousness. I don’t believe there is any such thing as writer’s block, and I have always seen the world as literally CROWDED with stories. Every car you pass on the freeway, every person on the bus, every light in the city at night, every person you see at the mall or at work or ANYWHERE, has their own story. Thinking “What if?” and “Why?” when you observe the people and things around you is fabulous creative fuel. I will never run out of ideas. Some ideas will not be plausible, some will not be ones I can pull off in novel or short story form, some will be unable to bear the weight of story structure, some I’m just not interested in telling the story around. But running out of them? Nope. Won’t happen.

3. This isn’t a question I’ve been asked, it’s just a thing. I don’t do arbitrary. There isn’t room for arbitrary in stories. You curl your fingers around your swordhilt, you draw and make your cut, and you are either victorious or dead. I do not “throw in” romance because a particular genre “has to have a romance in the book.” I write the story first and worry about what genre it sticks in later. If I’m writing to spec, I pick stories knocking around in my head that tally with the specs. (There’s never any shortage–see #2.) But I do not arbitrarily put stuff in my books. If something’s there, it’s there for a reason. Sometimes that reason is just that I’ve made a choice, simple as that. But it’s not arbitrary. I rather resent the implication that I just throw shit into the books without any care or thought. (As if you couldn’t tell.) Right next to piracy (don’t even get me started), this is a major irritant.

And that’s three things that hopefully make a post. The current round of revisions is eating my head, and the proof pages I’ve got to get done this weekend (days off? What are those? Do they even exist?) are chuckling at me from their pile. Time to strap on the flamethrower and the red pencil and get to work.

Over and out.

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

The winners of the Heaven’s Spite contest are now posted.

I know I promised a Friday writing post about process, but I’m afraid you wouldn’t get much of any use out of me yesterday or today. I’m having one of those weeks where I question my chosen career pretty hard. If it’s not piracy (Heaven’s Spite hasn’t been officially out for more than a week and the torrents are popping up like mushrooms) or plagiarism it’s someone implying NaNoWriMo is a waste because it encourages the plebes to write. Plus I just paid some taxes, and had a dentist appointment last week and other Life Shit piling up, so…yeah. I’m not an uber-happy little camper right now, and if you asked me to write about writing, what you’d get would be a pile of bitterness.

I’m not up to a bitter screed right now. (For once, yeah, I know. Call the press.)

So I’m just going to say this.

If you love to read stories, great. Don’t pirate them, because the end result of pirating is less stories for you. Write if you want to. Understand that making a living by writing is not easy and calls for professionalism and hard work. If you’re gonna do it, do it, and let me be the first to congratulate and support you. If you’re not, that’s okay, I wish you luck. Either way, brush your teeth, get enough sleep, hug the people you love and tell them what they mean to you. Watch out for ninja terminator squirrels.

And have a great weekend. See you Monday.

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

Crossposted to the Deadline Dames, where there is oodles more writing advice, neat giveaways, and just generally a Party All The Time. Check us out!

First the news: Escape Between The Pages has the cover art for the next Jill Kismet book, Heaven’s Spite, which is due out in November. It’s shiny and pretty, and honestly I can’t wait for this book to come out, because it’s going to just kick everything we know about Jill right in the pants. I can barely contain myself, the glee is so awesome.

Moving on to our Friday writing post…

Pride, like laudanum and other poisonous medicines, is beneficial in small, though injurious in large, quantities. No man who is not pleased with himself, even in a personal sense, can please others. -Frederick Saunders, librarian and essayist (1807-1902). Ganked with thanks from AWAD

I have a confession to make, dear Readers. It’s not pretty.

I am pretty savage, in my own little way, when it comes to Speshul Snowflake writers. The thing is, there’s a continuum of Speshul Snowflakery. It goes from the all-Speshul, all the time, to the occasional burst of Speshulness from even the most polite and well-adjusted person.

Nobody’s perfect.

Not even your humble Narrator.

A couple days ago I was bitching and moaning to my writing partner. (Hey, Nina!) I waxed pretty indignant, and cranky to boot. And Nina, bless her cotton-picking little heart, was very kind to me. She finally said, “Look, treat it like spec work. You can do that, you’re good at it, it pays the bills. Come on.”

Which brought me up short. I realized, in one horrifying moment, that I had been indulging in venomous Speshul Snowflakery.

Yes, I do mock the Snowflakes among us. But here’s the thing: everyone will have at least one Snowflake moment in their lives. This is a conservative estimate. If you have one a year, you’re damn near a saint. I suspect most reasonable, well-adjusted writers have one Snowflake moment a month, or even a week.

And that’s OK. No, really. It is. I’ll just wait a second here, so the surprise of hearing me say that can pass. *makes face*

All right. It’s OK. I swear. Because it’s not about having the Snowflake moment, it’s about knowing how to handle it.

This falls under the heading of “professional behavior”, and if you expect to make a living as a writer you need to start from the very beginning with a professional attitude. At one point or another, you’ll shoot yourself in the foot and make a withdrawal against that bank of goodwill. Everyone does. But it doesn’t have to be fatal.

First, accept that nobody is perfect, and you will have a Snowflake moment or two. Get used to the idea. Writing is an incredibly personal art, and writers are judged six ways from Sunday by every single person who claps eyes on their work. But if you know that sooner or later you are going to lose your temper, you are going to have a Snowflake moment, you ARE going to have that response, you are already three-quarters of the way to solving it.

Once you realize the possibility exists, you can try to pause when you’re angry (a hard but eminently learnable skill) and take a deep breath. Soaking one’s head in a bucket of cool water may also be necessary, or a good stiff drink. Whatever gets you there. It is hard, but it is possible to short-circuit the Snowflake moment so that hopefully, nobody but you or your best friend knows you’ve had one.

Here are a few rules I’ve made for myself to avoid the temptation to Snowflake out. You can, of course, leave your own strategies in the comments, where I (and others) will no doubt steal them shamelessly.

* Do not respond to reviews. Ever. Even the positive ones. I’ve covered this in detail, but I think it bears repeating. Responding to even positive reviews ups the chances that you’ll get all het up over a negative one and think it’s a good idea to explain/justify/attack the reviewer/whatever. This leads straight to an Internet Boondoggle and makes you look like an asshat, even if you’re right/justified/whatever. Just don’t do it.

* Don’t respond to emails that piss you off for at least 12 (ideally, 24-36) hours. It’s publishing, not triage. Nobody’s going to die if you take a few hours to make sure that rage pounding behind your eyeballs and cranking your blood pressure doesn’t come out in whatever response you choose to make. This will save you from many, many Snowflake moments that have the potential to shoot you in the career foot and bleed you dry.

* If you must blog about it, lock the post for at least two days. Sometimes you just HAVE to write it out. I’ve done it. And then, two days later, sanity has reasserted itself and I’ve deleted the damn thing no matter how funny and righteous it is. The risk in putting this sort of shit on your blog, even private-locked, is that now it is out of your control, on servers you have no control over, and you will be tempted to unlock it before you’ve cooled down. So if you have just GOT to blog about this huge injustice or whatever is pissing you off bigtime, lock the post up hard and go have a drink. Let your agent/writing partner/best friend know you’re considering putting up a post about X, and see what they say. (See next item.)

* If you are lucky enough to have at least one friend who will gently tell you to STFU and quit being precious, LISTEN TO THEM. This friend may be your agent–occasionally an agent will help you not shoot yourself in the foot. (Beware of expecting your agent to read yoru every diatribe, though. That can sour a relationship right quick.) More often this is going to be a writing partner or friend whose calm and judgment you trust. I’m lucky to have dear Nina, who is collected in the extreme, as well as practical and capable of unhesitatingly telling me when I’m getting my panties in an unnecessary wad. My job in those situations is to listen, and to at least agree to a moratorium on saying anything publicly until I’ve calmed down.

* Get away. Take a walk. Use Freedom to cut off that tempting Internet capability for a while. Push yourself away from the computer and go clean the kitchen or something. Just get away from that thing that’s bugging you. Hopefully, distracting yourself will give you enough breathing space for perspective to creep in…and it will save you from having a public Snowflake moment.

* Decide take the high road EARLY, and stick to it. This is useful at conventions–everyone is tired/stressed/excited/onstage, and behavioral brakes are weakened. Make the decision to treat the convention like it’s not going to make or break you–because it won’t. Remember that the hard sell doesn’t work, your time will come, and you’re there to ideally have fun and NOT make an ass of yourself. Also, staying classy on the Internet makes you the exception rather than the rule. You will never be ashamed of being polite and taking the high road. Getting into the habit of reminding yourself to be polite will help you when crunch-time comes, you’re tired and stressed, and that bitch on the panel has just interrupted you, or that jerkwad commenter/reviewer has called you a hack, or that editor has messed with your Precious Verbage for the last fucking time. You have a chance to not do something you’ll regret. That chance, that possibility is all we get. It’s got to be enough.

* Learn to let it go. One book doesn’t set the world on fire? Let it go and write another one. One reviewer goes on and on about how s/he hates your genre/your books/you because it’s all trash? Let it go, because if you respond it’s wrestling a pig in mud. An editor asks you to completely excise X, then in the next revision pass tells you to put X back in and they don’t know why you took it out? Realize they’re human too, scream into your pillow, and let it go. It’s not that these things don’t matter. It’s that you have to deny them the power to dictate your behavior.

This is an imperfect science for an imperfect world. Human beings are messy, they make mistakes, and they get angry and have bad judgment. However, the Snowflake moments we’re all prone to don’t have to be fatal, and you can make plans to minimize their impact. This isn’t to say that you won’t sometime, somewhere, have completely justifiable rage and you will let it loose in public in a way that will make the world a better place. Those rages and moments, however, are the exception, not the rule, and it’s silly not to plan for the other 99% of the time, when you’re just going to be falling prey to being human and excitable.

I was saved a rather embarrassing Snowflake moment (because I had vaporous dreams of a blog post that would be funny and explosive and would SHOW THEM ALL, DAMMIT) by dear Nina. I’m unendingly grateful, and I know how lucky I am to have her. Which means that next time we get together to dish about writing and the industry, I’m buying drinks. All things considered, that’s the cheaper alternative.

So remember: everyone has Snowflake moments. The professionals just know how to gain that critical few minutes of perspective that stops them from indulging them in public and turning their career into a mudpit.

Over and out.

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about some things, so I might as well do a blog post.

* Every time I say “trunk novel”, someone asks what that is. A trunk novel is a term for a novel that won’t ever escape the inside of a trunk. It’s a piece a writer works on solely for his/her own gratification, one that stands little chance of every being published, mostly because the writer understands it’s horrible. It’s the writing version of junk food. I love my trunk novels. (Yes. That’s plural.) Often I work on them during breaks from other books. They’re sort of dry runs, practice to keep me in the game. It can also mean a trunk novel that gets published after a writer is famous, or famous and dead.

* OK, guys, let’s get serious. Lots of you are emailing me telling me that various e-book distributors are protesting publishers’ move to agency pricing by pulling my books. You invariably ask me to “talk to the publishers” and solve this problem.

I cannot do that. Furthermore, I will not even consider it and the very thought makes me cranky.

First, the publishers have little control over whether the distributors carry their books. Publishers and distributors are two separate companies and make their own decisions. Second, I would not dream of coming down on the side of the distributors on this issue, for the simple fact that the publishers’ interests in this case align with my own. The agency pricing model gives writers a better deal, and it keeps the books around for longer. The distributors want to profit at the expense of the writers (who produce the content) and the publishers (who invest in quality control and on the chance that the content will made the money back for them).

In short, THE PUBLISHERS ARE NOT THE ENEMY HERE, AND THE WRITERS ARE NOT THE ENEMY EITHER.

It is perfectly natural for the distributors to want to maximize their profits, or to keep going with business models that benefit them at the expense of the writers or publishers. They’re businesses, maximizing their profits is what they DO. But neither I nor the publishers should take the rap for it. Because it is also well within publishers’ rights to say, “We invest in bringing this content to the marketplace. We pay the advance, we provide the editing and quality control, we provide the art and marketing, and we will set the price for it as we see fit.” And in this one case, the publishers’ views align nicely with the rights and views of the writers producing the books in the first damn place. Professional writers are OF COURSE going to support their publishers in seeking the pricing and policies that grant them a living wage (or a close approximation of one). Or, to be more precise, that maximize the chances that a writer can afford to continue writing because the financial rewards are enough to let them scrape by. (This is where I go off on my “just because you’re published doesn’t mean you’re rich” rant. I’ll save that for another day.)

The distributors’ response–yanking certain publishers’ goods in order to pressure them into dropping the agency pricing model–is greedy and short-sighted in the extreme. Brick and mortar stores, e-book sites like Fictionwise, other sites like Amazon, are DISTRIBUTORS. The whole purpose of these companies is to distribute the goods that people want to buy, in this case, books. If they do not distribute, people should get annoyed and find somewhere else to shop. Distributors shoot themselves in the foot in these kinds of situations, despite their PR working overtime (usually through their customer platforms) to convince customers that someone else (the big bad publishers, the writers) are to blame.

I understand people contact the writers because we are the “face” of our books. People write to me about all sorts of things I have zero control over, like cover prices or font sizes or distribution to foreign countries or or or…you get the idea. It irks me that there are problems I can’t solve for the readers or to facilitate their enjoyment, but that’s life.

But please, please, dear Readers, don’t jump on me because a distributor is kicking and screaming over the e-book pricing model that may very well make or break an author’s chances to keep bringing these books to you. (Although, really, e-books are such a small part of total book sales…even though it doesn’t seem like it to people on the Internet.) Don’t jump on my publisher, or THE publishers, either. The publisher wants me to keep writing as much as you do; the publisher wants you to have the books as much as I do and you do. It’s the distributor who doesn’t want agency pricing because it gives the publisher and writer a bigger slice of the profits (profits that distributors have grown accustomed to in the last five-ten years or so) that deserves your ire. They are the ones you should be demanding an answer from–an honest answer, not “the big bad publishers are picking on poor little us, waaaah!”

Honestly, if it was the publisher being an asshole, I’d tell you. If it was me being an asshole, I’d admit it.

In this case, it’s neither. We’re not the assholes here, and filling up my email inbox with rants about how I need to get on the publisher and yell at them do not help. I know you’re frustrated. I’m frustrated too, as you can probably tell. I have no choice but to sit tight and wait for it to all shake out, since there is literally nothing I can do. In this case, the publishers are going into battle on behalf of writers. Well, it’s on behalf of their own profits, but it’s benefiting writers. Fair enough.

Now I’ve got to go hop on the treadmill and work all this adrenaline anger off.

See you around.

PS: Behave in the comments, please. Thanks.

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

The Muse, again. Taking the story through a bootlegger’s turn, and now she’s sitting on her red velvet fainting-couch, selecting bonbons from a beribboned cardboard box, and thinking through how she’s going to tell me to fix this thing. I can’t go any further until I figure out how Character A has received the information he’s going to impart to Girl Friday. I know there’s a solution, it’s on the tip of my brain. The goddamn Muse is sitting on it.

Some days she’s like that.

I am just going to keep throwing bonbons at her until she takes pity on me or until the solution wriggles out from under her and into my head. In the meantime, I’ll be working on another project to make this one jealous. Making books jealous of each other is a good way to jolt them free. If I’m not working on one thing I’m working on another, and that’s what’s saving my sanity.

Such as it is.

So. I’ll be shoveling bonbons and working on the homicidal-fae book today if anyone needs me. If you see the Muse, throw some choco at her or kick her pretty little derriere, willya?

Thanks. You’re a pal. I couldn’t do this without you.

*exits stage right, hands fisted in hair, muttering*

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

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