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On oct 15, the daughter of a dear friend got a call no parent ever wants to receive. Her precious daughter had fallen down the stairs at her auntie’s house and was in emergency surgery for a ruptured spleen. Little Naomi passed away, and her mother, grandmother and the rest of their family and friends are in shock. I’ve known the family over ten years and *I* am having a hard time wrapping my head around it.

If you, dear readers, could share the link I’m going to post, to help their family cover the funeral costs and maybe light a candle/say a prayer for Courtney (Naomi’s mother). She was trying to get herself on her feet to take care of her darlings. My heart is breaking for her. And when you have, please, if you have children of your own, hug them close and let them know you love them. You never know what tomorrow may bring.

 

 

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So a dear friend, J.A. Marlow, does some really awesomesauce covers. Since my life has recently exploded in my face, she was kind enough to whip up a cover for Elemental Truth.

Elemental Truth Cover

**squees**

**cough**

SO, fellow writers, if you need a cover, her rates and other examples of her artwork are over here. I highly recommend her.

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My daughter got this great opportunity to attend National Youth Leadership Forum: Explore STEM;

About NYLF Explore STEM

The National Youth Leadership Forum (NYLF): Explore STEM is a six-day Envision program that introduces high-achieving middle school students to innovative and rewarding academic experiences and careers in science, engineering, medicine and technology.

Cutting-edge STEM fields – based on science, technology, engineering and mathematics – are the fastest growing areas of study and STEM professionals are in high demand in the United States and throughout the world.

When you attend NYLF Explore STEM, you will discover your passions through hands-on experiences that will put you on the path to success in high school, in college and in life. You will learn how to apply your science and math skills to join the next generation of leading doctors, scientists, software developers and other analytically minded professionals.

We’re immensely proud of her and I’ve enrolled her in it. However, due to unforseen events, we’re still struggling to scrape the funds together and the deadline is fast approaching. We need about $1000 more to get her there.

Please, if you can help her out. this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. If you can’t give, could you please boost the signal? I don’t know what else to do.


 
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I don’t usually participate in twitter chats much, usually because I find myself chasing short people into bed around the same time that the chats are taking place. Somehow, tonight, I managed to slip into the #indiechat with the topic on Hugh Howey’s Author Earnings report thingy that has, apparently, whipped up a frenzy of deniers and what not.

Now, while I did read the report itself and heard writer pals talking about the panicky, accusatory anti self pubbers who attacked it, I really don’t pay much attention dramaz going on. I’ve got my own rl dramaz I’m dealing with, and following the naysayers and the yeahsayers and everyone in between isn’t going to pay the rent or water bill. Anyway, I sat in on the convo, figured I’d learn a thing or three. Hugh showed up and the whole chat trended. It wasn’t as in depth as I would have liked. But it was fascinating to see the perceptions and views expressed.

It was fun, stimulating, and thought provoking. I went back and reread the report (over here if you want to look at it) and then, since I missed the dramaz, went over to PG to see what he was sharing. And it’s…

You know what? go see for yourself;

The Passive Voice just start reading and going back. You’ll find some interesting views, some I agreed with, some I don’t. It’s educational, and (imo) very interesting.

It think, when it’s all said and done, JW Manus summed it up fairly well (emphasis mine):

……It’s really not about the money…. Money is very nice and pays the bills. But every real writer I’ve ever met (and by real, I mean the passionate, even hypergraphic wordsmiths and storytellers who love nothing more than bringing mere words to life) will write and tell stories even there is no money in it. Their real goal is not money, but readers. Because without readers a piece of writing is incomplete. It exists, it is tangible, but without readers it is dancing on an empty stage in a closed theater or singing in the shower. Readers complete the connection.

 

Go read the whole post over here, I was nodding and agreeing all the way through.

~*~

SO, I’ve been kinda MIA these days. There are reasons, some have to do with unexpected house guest staying for a time, some are health related, mood related and digi art related. Yes, digi art. My other obsession. I’ll get to that in a moment.

I’ve been caught up in some very not cool things that have had to be dealt with. We’re still trying to get the fires put out, and it might be a few weeks before things start looking back up. In the meantime I’m plugging away at Bastard Prince and trying not to feel guilty for not having as much done as I wanted to. The tentative release date is April 12th, but depending on the current RL issues, I may have to push it back a month.

I started redoing covers, starting with The Magic Maker and have hit a wall. I know what I see in my head, but doing it is another thing. I’m worried (I always worry) that it is too dark. Here are two examples. I have a third I haven’t rendered yet, but I’m not too sure I’m going in the right direction with these.

testcover      testcover1

There was something else I was going to mention but I’ve forgotten. -.-  Remind me, I owe yall a post on digi art, but now, it’s late, I’m behind on words and I need to get to bed. Hope yall are having a great Febuary.

**waves**

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2013 is almost over, and I have to say, writing-wise, I didn’t do as much as I’d planned. But what’s done is done and I’m not going to beat myself over the head about it. I’m still writing, and that’s a lot more than a lot of ‘writers’ these days. I’m putting together a 2014 business plan atm, will post it as soon as it’s more than a vague idea.

Dean Wesley Smith has a 2013 wrapup over here which I thought was very interesting.

I hope you all have a great Christmas (If you celebrate it), Yule, Winter Solstice, etc.

 

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Reading

May. 8th, 2013 04:40 pm
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I finished the Elemental Wars outlines last night and picked up Rae Carson‘s The Girl of Fire and Thorns, it was about 7:30 or so when I picked it up. 12:20 when I finished it. As I told my hubby, it’s nice to just sit back and read and not worry about the fine details of writing. I haven’t just read a book in a long time. Partially because of not having glasses partially because I was trying to wrap up certain projects and I hate reading books while I’m writing my own. I sorta want to do a review but I’m not very good at reviews tbh. But here it goes :P

Now I have a lot of reader quirks. For a long time I would avoid 1st person like the plague. And I’ve never ever cared about present tense. Never seen it done well. TBH the first paragraph of the book made me put it to one side while I wrestled with my inner ocd. It is written in first and present tense.  After a inner battle of me tying up the ocd and chucking it in the dungeon with the inner editor, I picked the book back up. And read it. And after the first page I didn’t even notice that it was present tense. I just noticed that Rae did an awesome job with this story. So awesome I lost about 4 hours and would happily do so again for this series. The characters were very vivid, the worldbuilding is fantastic. I love how she glazed over the journey sections. (I struggle with those personally :P ) I had tears in my eyes in three spots and laughed, and snickered throughout it.

I don’t want to give spoilers, but here’s the breakdown; The book is about a princess secretly wed to a king and thrust into a world of intrigue and danger. Not knowing who to turn to, who to trust, she finds herself even further from familiar as the book progresses. I love the buildup through the story, more than once I was wondering how in the heck would she get out of [spoiler]. The end was resolved nicely and unexpectedly. And when I finished it I felt like I do after eating on thanksgiving. Full and content. I think I stared at the ceiling for about 20 min just enjoying the post novel ‘ahhhhh’.

As a parent, I have absolutely no problem handing that book to my kids and saying “Read this one, you’ll love it!”

So I have book 2, The Crown of Embers, sitting here and I have a huge eyestrain headache so I’m not sure I’ll start it today or give it another day or two. I definantly want to read it soooooooon.  Book 3 is going to be out Aug 27th. I’m really looking forward to it.

If you haven’t read it yet, you’re missing out on a great story.

 

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I now have a new short story out. River of Souls appeared in the 2012 Forward Motion Anthology and is now out as a single short for $1.49.

Riverofsoulsv004bn

A chase beyond the Palace walls…

Princess Chandra’s little companion dog loves to get loose at the most inopportune times. To keep him from being chained up permanently, she
chases after him and into a world of danger outside the palace walls.

Book is available at Smashwords, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo

This short story is a part of the Avaria series and has a cameo by a character in the Zander books (though Zander himself doesn’t show up). This is kinda a big deal for me, though. This is an Avarian story. Timewise it takes place years after the events in Bastard Prince, and is sorta an in between story. Hope you enjoy it.

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Ok so the lady who had brain surgery to remove a tumor has survived the operation, has been sent home, but has some very, very bad news. It is called Gilioblastoma multiforme and is the worst (iirc) form of brain cancer a person can get. And if that’s not bad enough, there’s more bad news. As the wiki article states;

Median survival with standard-of-care radiation and chemotherapy with temozolomide is 15 months. Median survival without treatment is 4½ months.

 

The family has no insurance. They fall in the cracks, making too much for state aide, not enough to be able to afford their own insurance, and she’s not old enough for medicare to kick in. While they have found assistance for the chemotherapy, they have not been able to find assistance for the radiation therapy and without the radiation therapy, the chemo won’t do any good.

Here is the blog post from my dear friend, and mentor J.A. Marlow on The Mother Hen “String Weaver” Project which lays it all out on the table. This is a rough time for them. I know things are rough for all of us, but this…this is just… Please share this, lets give dear Mother Hen a chance to live a bit longer than the grim estimates.

The fundraiser over here: Help for Mother Hen, to try to pull together the money for the radiation therapy. Or go over to Star Catcher Publishing and maybe purchase one of J.A. Marlow’s books (The Salmon Run series is GREAT!). Or just link to it, spread the word.

I’m scrambling to try to come up with other fundraising ideas to help out. To be honest, when I think of Mother Hen…damnit she reminds me so much of my own mom (even to the RV and artist thing) that it just brings me to tears.

Keep them in your thoughts and prayers at the very least. Thanks.

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Simon Batt, a fellow self pubber and dear friend of mine, has a tendency to come up with the most absurd, the silliest and yet brilliant ideas for stories. I find myself looking forward to chatting with him, because we (myself and other chatters) never know exactly what will get him going. His outlook is so refreshing in this age of dark, morbid negativity.

You might want to check out some of his titles, (no he doesn’t know I’m telling you all this :D ) and for a taste of his writing style check out his Flash Fiction Friday.

Smiling is good, absurdity is fun. It’s refreshing. And in honor of Absurd Sat, I present

Googly Eye Art!!!

2013-03-16 10.29.06

 

Have a wonderfully absurd Saturday!!!

Some Links

Feb. 19th, 2013 05:40 pm
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So I’ve been crusing through the web to see what might be of interest to people haven’t found much sadly as I am also handling RL stuff. And some of the links I’ve found…well I prefer to leave politics off my website*.;

 

Did you hear about the guy who couldn’t afford to get his dog out of the shelter?  There’s an update over here. It makes me very happy.

I have followed Illona Andrews, the team who writes the Kate Daniels books since shortly before the first one came out. Recently they had issues in their kitchen. It has turned into a mess with Home Depot. We are discussing a possible bathroom remodel and were trying to decide Lowes or Home Depot. That post, and her situation, have marked Home Depot off the list. ye gods I feel bad for them.

Just this past November the first Anthology for Forward Motion for writers was published. Well they are accepting works for the second one over here;

Forward Motion for Writers is a free online website for the writer who wishes to move forward in their writing career, whether pursuing traditional or Indie publishing options. The website has offered forums, chat, workshops, and other resources for over 12 years. It is a resource we do not wish to see go away.

Some do not have the finances to donate directly. Some donate in the form of conducting workshops and classes, or helping their fellow writers in other ways. There is something else we can do: We can also use our skills as writers to help by donating a story.

 

The post lists out the details. The 2013 prompt is Cat Eyes and I’ve heard there have already been submissions to it. Deadline is Aug 1, so if you sign up and be active in chat or the forums for the next three months you’d be able to submit.

For those curious about the last one, you can get it at Amazom, Smashwords, and B&N. All proceeds go back to Forward Motion for Writers to help keep the site running.

 

And now off to run errands. Have a good day folks.

 

* If you have something of interest that you feel I ought to include in Next week’s link lineup, email me at neciaphoenix@gmail.com Subject Title; “Tuesday Links” and I’ll check it out. I can’t guarantee that I’ll use your offerings, but you never know.
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First of all, this dude wins. Just…he wins.

Slave Leo

 

Read it look at the pictures, He’s not bad looking at all. Go him. And the worksmanship is just awesome.

 

Writing;

Disclaimer: I am still on vacation. **nods** Really, I am.

I was part of a conversation between two friends of mine about goals and characters. The one has been struggling with character issues for a story for a while. The other has ten or eleven books written/pubbed traditionally and has won awards and stuff. I will have to ask her permission before I drop names. but suffice to say she has a LOT of experience, and is someone I HIGHLY respect. Her books are fun too.

She talked about problems with some of her stories and one in particular that had a goal that wasn’t strong enough to carry the whole book. She talked about her methods of finding a better goal and in the process the mc focal point of the story changed. It’s fascinating, and very educational. I was listening, munching on popcorn and thinking about my own books, My own stories and the struggles that I have had with them. And taking notes, checking goals.

We’ll get back to that in a moment, because the night before I was chatting with some of my OTHER pals and we were discussing release dates, serials and stuff like that. And we talked about trilogies.

There is a line of thought, that I encountered years ago, that trilogies are cliche. That they are outdated. No one likes them yadda yadda yadda. At some point a long time ago I got it into my head that writing a trilogy is BAD. I decided I would never write a trilogy.

So we were discussing reader habits. and trilogies. and a little whisper in my head reminded me that years ago, BP and Crossroads was supposed to be a trilogy. I shoved the idea down. No. Not gonna go that route.

Woken up, though, the thought, the urge to make it a trilogy just wouldn’t go away.

Then I sat in on that other conversation. And it hit me. The goal thing. Bastard Prince  covers about 17 years. The goal is hard to define. But if I break it up… I can see two very distinctive goals, possibly three, which would hold their own in their own novels, but smooshed in that time frame, they get lost. Bastard Prince can become a trilogy.

Let me say it again (It’s making the lazy inner writer scream in horror)

Bastard Prince can become a trilogy.

And the mind opens up. Scenes that were blank are filling in in my head because I am giving myself the permission to go more into depth on Zander’s years in the Northern Empire. Because those scenes were just the tip of the iceberg  The conspiracies, the interactions with people. The culture which captured my imagination…

It feels right.

It means a lot more work. BP is roughly finished and I’ll just keep writing on it in one chunk.

So where does this leave my other projects? 

Well that’s a good question there. I have a lot and sometimes it really gets overwhelming trying to pinpoint which one I need to work on next. And there’s the whole vacation thing.

I’m supposed to be backing away, taking a break. Taking a breather. So I am just going to get the Angel thing ready for a late May release. Other work will be decided on after that.

Health

Tony Horton, fitness trainer and creator of the P90X workout system, has a saying ‘Do your best, forget the rest.’

It’s become my mantra in many areas of my life lately. Working out is challenging, especially with toddlers underfoot. Sometimes I mess up, sometimes I have to stop and chase kids. That’s ok. I am working on doing my best. Working out with intensity. Nothing matters. I’m doing my best. It is very liberating.

I feel much better without stressing or feeling guilty for making mistakes.

That said, turbofire beckons and so does the kitchen.

Hope you all have a great Wednesday!

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I shed several tears watching this. Awesome. I am not familiar with the program he’s referring to, but wow, how awesome is this?

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A few years ago I started reading a blog/serial by  M.C.A Hogarth (I knew of her first via  livejournal) though I’ve been pretty sporadic on LJ lately, I liked seeing her progress with her projects.

So in December when she announced that Amazon had yanked Spots the Space Marine because of a supposed trademark issue I was a bit concerned. IF it could happen to her, it could happen to others. And dear gods don’t get me started on the claim that Space Marine ‘belonged’ to Game Workshop. There are others who were far more verbal about it, and more knowledgeable about the situation. I had never heard of Game Workshop before this started.

M.C.A. Hogarth protested it, after all, the term Space Marine is a common one in the Science Fiction genre (dare I whisper the word ‘cliche’ even?) and the term first came into being in the 30s/40s. Hells bells the stupid that Game Workshop displayed with this, and the bullying they pulled made me see red. (that was the day the website was offline, in retrospect I think that was a good thing. I can be very incoherent when furious.)

So when a friend shared this, announcing that Game Workshop backed down after a slew of people getting on twitter, facebook, reditt, and other venues posting about it  and M.C.A. Hogarth contacted the EFF, I bounced, cheered and startled my kids by my hooting.

Yes I just went and bought a copy of Spots the Space Marine

Just because M.C.A. Hogarth is a self pubbed author doesn’t give anyone the right to tromple over her books. This issue is sure to come up again. We need stay vigilant and get mad and do what we can to help fellow authors/artists stand against bullying of this nature.

Congrats M.C.A. Hogarth! Thank you everyone who got mad and spread the news.

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I wanted to put up a list, but I’ve been dealing with sick kids. Again.

No, wait, there IS one.

Jim Hines has, for some time now, been mocking the sexulized covers with women on the front. He’s featured in an article over here.

Now I’ve only read one of his books, The Stepsister Scheme, which I think is just an AWESOME book. I’ve read his blog off and on for some time.  I like him, I liked the one book I read of his and I plan on reading more in the not so distant future.

Ok, now to disinfect the house. Take care all!

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  • I want to try this, a mind jar to help kids learn how to calm down. I need to do this at my house. A Mind Jar
  • Oglaf  is a over 18 adult web comic I read. New posts every Sunday. Explicit, adult content. Funny as hell but very very crude humor (which explains why I love it :P )
  • The Zombie Hunters If you like zombie stuff, I HIGHLY recommend taking the time, start from the beginning and read this comic. New posts every Monday and Thursday and let me tell you I am riveted.
  • For those who follow my blog who are interested in going trad, I saw this link on twitter this morning and thought I would share it here. Tor UK has announced accepting submissions from un-agented authors.
  • Kris Rusch has a post on Editorial Revisions in which she is teaching how to work with an editor in both the Traditional AND Self-publishing industry. This is a MUST read, MUST bookmark because it applies to ALL writers, Self or trad published ones. Kris, thanks again for the info you share.

 

And that’s the tuesday linkage.  Hope yours is going as great as mine is!

 

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Folks, please if you can help do so, and if you can’t give, please pass this on.

I’ve followed Jay Lake for a couple years via his blog posts and his twitter. This is the overview of the situation. The full page is here. If in a small part we can do something, lets.

Jay Lake is an award-winning American author of ten science fiction novels and over 300 short stories. He is also one of more than a million Americans who have colon cancer. Diagnosed in April, 2008, Jay’s cancer has progressed from a single tumor to metastatic disease affecting the lung and liver, recurring after multiple surgeries and chemotherapy courses, and multiplying from single tumor presentations to multiple tumors presentations. Jay is now in his fourth round of chemotherapy, but it’s not clear that it’s working, and his doctors have little to go on in terms of advising further courses of treatment for him. In short, things are not looking good for Jay. Not at all.

 

Please boost the signal, lets try to do what we can, shall we?

 

Here is his blog, in which he has detailed this years long fight with cancer. Jay Lake’s Blog. You want to know what a person fighting cancer goes through? Read it. With a box of tissue.

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So, I am taking the 30 Push challenge put out by Chalene Johnson http://www.30daypush.com*, (she’s the gal who does Turbofire, Turbo jam and a whole slew of others) which is a 30 day organize and achieve your goals program. This woman is crazy busy and crazy organized. She teaches a little bit day by day how to create and maintain a to do list.

The reason I bring this up is because far too often I find myself running in circles trying to figure out what the heck I am supposed to be doing next. Sometimes I remember, more often I forget and that’s how I burn food, lose glasses of milk, misplace important papers, forget about laundry loads in the washer and so on.

And I know I am not the only one.

Sometimes my writing is inhibited by the nagging feeling that I’m forgetting something. That there’s something I HAVE to do, but I just can’t remember what it was.

By keeping a to-do list, on my smartphone no less, I am finding I am getting things done and when I think of something I need to do I take a moment, put it on the list in the right catagory (today, this week or SOOOOOON) and things are getting done! If I feel like I’m forgetting something, I check my phone (I have a widget on the home screen that lists off tasks that haven’t been done) and can get reminded…oh yeah, I need to switch out laundry and get another load in. Oh yeah I need to get dinner on, oh yeah I need to call the dr office about X’s appoint and so on.

We actually remembered an appointment today that I would have totally missed if I hadn’t entered it into my phone.

Starting tomorrow I’m going to add a daily wordcount to the list. Next week, editing. Part of being a writer, part of being a writer in the business of writing and selling his/her own books, is being able to keep track of your business. Which means getting a grasp on organizational skills.

There are many methods out there, some focus on housecleaning, such as Flylady or  Unfuck Your Habitat, and I do believe there are a couple others who focus more on other organizing time but I can’t remember what those are. If you know of one, please list it in the comments. These are ways that have worked for many people in getting their lives, all areas of their lives, in order, so they can keep from wasting time and running in circles and do things they want to do, like hobbies, spending time with important people/pets that share our lives & so on.

Often times we are so caught up in trying to get shit done, that we forget to take a moment to sit back, breathe, think through, and then write out what we need to do. Whether it’s writing or any other aspect of our lives. I firmly believe that sitting down for about 15 min every day and figuring out what needs to get done, how important those tasks are to the overall goals and priorities I have, how soon those things need to get done, will go a long way in moving my life more in the direction I want to go. I also believe that this sort of thing can help other people in achieving their goals and be more productive in their lives.

I have a long way to go, I’ve got areas of things that I’ve neglected/forgotten about that I absolutely MUST get under control and soon. But I’ve got this to-do list, it’s on my phone which I’m constantly checking anyways… and I’m starting to get a handle on those things.

What methods help YOU keep yourself on track? Or are you one of those awesome folks who manage to just do it naturally?

*you can still sign up, and do it. It’s free and is, for me, a great set of skills.
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Short and sweet, my sales sucked. I am not bothered by this in the least, for several reasons. The biggest being I knew 2012 was going to suck. Hell, I made a major move, and everything has just been nuts and it still isn’t exactly squared away.

Now I am still on ‘vacation’, I’m just recouping and taking time to get RL squared away. I am thinking on what I need to do with the businesses I run. Something has to give, I know what is going to be dropped. No, writing isn’t on the table. It’s safe and secure, I couldn’t live without writing.

I’m just not hell bent on driving myself into the ground.

Here‘s a great end of year numbers post from Kristine Rusch, you can see my comment down at the bottom (I always read the comments on her blog, they’re fascinating).

I have work to do, I may add about an hour a day into my schedule to get some writing business stuff squared away. I have a lot to think on and decide, from what to do about the shorts, larger projects, covers that need to be updated, whether or not I’m going to stick with smashwords & B&N and so on.

I need to stay focused with my health stuff. Changing diet and cutting out frivolous foods and drinks. I need to get into the habit of getting to sleep sooner. I do so much better with sleep.

I think the biggest issue of 2012 was lack of proper, consistent sleep. Without rest, I’m just a vegetable.

ohohohoh

 

Over at Forward Motion they’re offering a free 2 Year Novel course. Because I’m a dork, I went ahead and signed up (I *think* it’s still possible to sign up). You start with a basic idea and build it up to writing and ready for pubbing, whichever way you decide you want to publish. The first few months are, in all reality, very slow, so I figure I am not breaking my vacation if I’m only working on something once a week. **nods**

because, you know, I feel guilty if I am not writing in some format.

 

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Amazon Wipes a customer’s account and remotely locks her kindle ; I’m sorry but when I pay my HARD EARNED MONEY on an  ebook, I expect it to be there. Yes I sell my stuff through amazon, but I don’t like it. I don’t care for their ‘customer service’ or their Kindle. My books are all DRM free because I firmly believe when my readers purchase my story it thus becomes Theirs, to read, share or delete as they see fit.

 

I know it was posted on the 9th of this month, but I’m behind on my blog reading so bear with me. Dean Weasley Smith’s post on Promotion is a good one worth reading. And the followup one is good; Maybe you wrote a Good Book. Go read. I usually learn a ton from his blogs, even if I don’t always agree with him.

 

Kris Rusch is another blog I read and she has a set of excellent posts called Why Writers Disappear.

Read them in order, take your time and read the comments(especially in the first post). It is truly eye opening.

 

David Gaughran has a post I thought was interesting  about Filling the Shelves, and how we can help fill bookshelves in underfunded public schools.  Check it out, what a great thing to help with.

 

 

So those are links I remembered to save :P

 

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Originally published at Necia Phoenix. You can comment here or there.

I have this space operaish idea and this piece of fiction is set on the ship Nausica.  Hope you enjoy it;

Flash Fiction Friday #3

© 2012 Necia Phoenix

“Catch it!” Amber screamed. She and Jake dove after the flash of bright green and pink that vanished behind the boxes in the hold. They moved boxes and bags, trying to be careful but not lose sight of the rare and expensive snake.

“Where’d it go?” Jake demanded after they’d cleared the corner. They stared at each other in horror. It was gone.

Amber looked around, heart pounding. “It’s got to be in here, somewhere.” Linz, the captain of the ship, was going to kill her. Slaughter her. No live cargo. That was the rule. And Amber broke the rule. For a snake. Linz hated snakes. Not even an exotic, bio-engineered snake that glowed under a black light would be allowed.

“She’s going to kill me.” Amber whispered.

“Lets not jump too conclusions. Lynz isn’t that bad.”

“Bullshit.” Amber whispered.

“Think. The doors are closed, we put the mesh over the vents, where else could it have gone?” Jake appeared to be about as panicked as she felt.

They’d rearranged the cargo hold in a panic, looking for the creature when they realized it got loose.

“We have to find it.” Amber whispered.

“I know.” Jake pulled a flat com unit and slid his finger across the screen. Lights flickered and he lifted it up, turning in a slow circle. “Huh.”

“What?”

“No heat signature.”

“Oh no.”

“Check the crates, make sure it didn’t get into one, and..”

“Are you looking for something?” A deep voice asked. Amber cringed, glancing over her shoulder. Second in Command, Gabriel, stood just inside the door.

“Shit, get out of the doorway, let the doors close before it gets loose!” Even as Amber spoke, she saw the flash of green slide between Gabriel’s feet, out the hold door, and into the hallway beyond. Jake was moving all ready, swearing as he went.

“There it goes!”

“What the hell was that?” Gabriel eyed Amber.

“Gabe, my project,” she faltered. “We have to catch it before Linz does.” She pushed past him. Jake was halfway to the control room. He stopped at the doorway, looking back at Amber.

“Linz is downside for another hour.” Gabe leaned the wall, arms crossed. “If you find it before she gets back, I might not mention this in my report.”

Jake jabbed the control panel, sliding through the doorway before the door finished opening.

“You gonna help us look?” Amber asked Gabe.

He grinned at her. “Nope. It’s your project.”

“Jerk.” She muttered, and followed Jake inside.

“He’s an ass.” Jake whispered. They crouched, looking under the large command desk and sidebar table.

“”As long as he doesn’t tell Lynz, I don’t care. Where the hell did it go?”

Jake pulled the scanner again and searched. “Not here. Vents. Crap. Two uncovered vents here,” he pointed. “And here.”

“It could be anywhere in the ship.” Amber slowly stood, defeated.

Jake gritted his teeth and left the room. Amber followed him. What the hell was she going to do? She’d spent a pretty penny for that snake. Almost two whole paychecks. If Lynz found it…

“Can the computers do a full scan of the ship for heat sigs?” Jake asked Gabe.

“It can, but there might not be enough time to make the adjustments.” Gabe was already moving towards the bridge. Amber had to half run to keep up with him. Leigh and Kurt were both on duty when they entered the bridge.

“Kurt I need you to do a full heat signatures scan of the ship. Amber’s project got loose.” Gabe said going over to his station.

“What kind of project?”

“Just do the scan Kurt.” Amber said. Kurt shot her a disgusted look, but his hands flew over the controls. On the small viewing panel next to him, the schematics of the ship flashed by, level by level, with the heat sigs of the crew in bright reddish orange. On the last one, the officers quarters, a pale white mark pulsed.

“That’s the captain’s quarters.” Kurt looked up at Gabe “What is that?”

“Trouble.”

“Even more, Captain’s signal is coming through.” Leigh announced, tone amused.

Gabe nodded towards the view-screen. It flared to life, Linz’s face dominated the room.

“Gabe, I need you station-side.” Linz said. Amber caught sight of two men behind her, heads together and talking.

“Problems?”

“Guy named George says he knew mom.” Lynz glanced over her shoulder. “I need an assessment of these guys.”

Gabe nodded. “I’ll be there shortly.”

“Be ready to ship off when we get back. I have a feeling things may get a bit exciting.”

“Aye.”

The screen went black, and Amber took off. She rushed out the door, down the steps and hall to the officer’s quarters. Her hands trembled as she worked the access code. She was maintenance, had the clearance. The door slid open and she crept into Linz’s tidy room. Larger than the standard rooms, the Captain’s quarters came equipped with a bathing chamber and observation window over the bed; sheer luxury. And curled up on Linz’s large, fancy pillows was the snake.

Amber hurried over to the creature. It’s got to be a girl. She likes luxury. Amber thought as she picked the snake up, whispering to her. She didn’t try to slither away as Amber carried her to the door. Gabe stepped into the doorway with crossed arms, and a scowl.

“Captain ain’t back yet.” She said, trying her best little girl voice.

“You’ll have half an hour to get that thing in your quarters, and get the holds fixed and ready to go.”

“Consider it done.” Jake said, patting the taller man as he dashed down the hall.

“Gabe,” Amber hesitated.

“Make sure it can’t escape, again. Understood?” He didn’t wait for an answer, he, turned and left.

Amber slipped from the captain’s quarters, secured the door and regarded her pet with a smile. “So now, back to what we were discussing, what am I going to name you?”

 

###

Go here to enjoy other flash fiction pieces! :D  There is some great stuff over there.

Have a great weekend folks!!

 

Links

Sep. 18th, 2012 07:25 pm
necia_phoenix: (Default)

Originally published at Necia Phoenix. You can comment here or there.

Links Listing

The Business Rusch: The Writer You Want To Be

Dean Wesley Smith; The New World of Publishing: What Should Indi Publishers Be Called In all honesty, in my opinion, you’re wasting your time by OCDing over what term is ‘correct’. Get to writing instead. Better use of your energy.

Joyously Prolific; What I do best in Writing
I don’t entirely agree with Zette here, writing is writing, sometimes there are no ‘endings’. Sometimes to improve your skill you MUST learn to write smaller snips, scenes, gain the skills you can use later with larger projects. Not finishing everything is not a sign that you aren’t a writer, rather you are growing as a writer. But that’s MY take on it and it really deserves a larger post.

Daniel Lieske‘s website. This artist has art and stories up available to whomever wishes to view them. OMG Gorgeous art!

________________________

Muse Interrupted

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?

Smashwords | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

necia_phoenix: (Default)

Originally published at Necia Phoenix. You can comment here or there.

Interesting, I know there are folks who will be interested in this;

Unagented Submission Call by Harper Voyager

Harper Voyager has launched an international talent search, with aspiring writers invited to submit their un-agented manuscripts directly to the publisher.

 

 

necia_phoenix: (Default)

Originally published at Necia Phoenix. You can comment here or there.

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.

 

necia_phoenix: (Default)

Originally published at Necia Phoenix. You can comment here or there.

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!

Click Here to Go To PayPal.

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

 

 

necia_phoenix: (Default)

Originally published at Necia Phoenix. You can comment here or there.

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.

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!

Click Here to Go To PayPal.

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

 

 

necia_phoenix: (Default)

Originally published at Necia Phoenix. You can comment here or there.

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, this is an attack and given the nature of her it makes me think that maybe someone wants her to stop posting.

 

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.

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!

Click Here to Go To PayPal.

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

 

 

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Originally published at Necia Phoenix. You can comment here or there.

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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Originally published at Necia Phoenix. You can comment here or there.

There are many things I could say, but it is being said elseware.

This is the entire speech “I have a dream”. We listened to it this morning, my children and I, and discussed the changes in our world since this man gave that speech. The irony of the current political situation and the protests around the world*. To understand the reasons for the “I have a dream” statement you have to hear the entire speech. To gain deeper understanding of what came before, listen to the whole thing then dust off your history books. Though, warning, history books often feed my plotbunnies, they may do the same with yours!

 

~*~

Dr. King did not just hop up one day and march up on Washington to give that one speech, he had others as powerful and potent as his “I have a Dream” speech. Here are other quotes of his.

*I aim to avoid political talk on this blog, just fyi.
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Originally published at Necia Phoenix. You can comment here or there.

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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Originally published at Necia Phoenix. You can comment here or there.

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! :D **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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Originally published at Necia Phoenix. You can comment here or there.

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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Originally published at Necia Phoenix. You can comment here or there.

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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Originally published at Necia Phoenix. You can comment here or there.


Oh man that is just plain cool.

 

 

Ok NaNo marches on. The story is fun and difficult and challenging and I think I have GOT it, you know?

No snip today. I’m sorry, suffering from “Oh god these words suck!”

Maybe tomorrow.

 

 

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Originally published at Necia Phoenix. You can comment here or there.

Also could be called writer fail, or maybe tech fail. Last night, as I was working on the outline, I gripped the corner of my laptop to scoot it up my legs. It blue screened. I threw my handsup, reading the warning wondering wtf I did, then it restarted. I was a bit pissed a bit upset and all the while wondering if I squeezed the computer too hard and cause a hardware malfunction.

It is at this point this conversation between me and my amused hubby occured:

Him: What did you do to it?
Me: I swear I don’t know!
Him: You are hard on computers!
Me: **explains the moving and squeezing the corner theory as the computer boots up normal**
Him: You go through computers like everyone else goes through toilet paper.
Me:…..

at which point I got the giggles, because it isn’t far off the mark.   I assured myself that the outline file worked and that I hadn’t lost stuff then headed to bed. Still giggling.

As a writer I am constantly on the computer, I am always making backups. I AM hard on the computers I own.

Today I plan on working on the outline. If I can rally the kids to clean.

Oh, and for those wondering, here is the link to the BBC program Lost Kingdoms of Africa. It is offered trough Netflix streaming and you can purchase it at Amazon.com for about $50.00 here. I am going to invest in this one, I think it is totally worth having.

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Originally published at Necia Phoenix. You can comment here or there.

Those who have followed my livejournals for the past few years probably remember me starting and stopping the Zander/Avaria series. I would start, go gung ho,then ram into a wall and flounder before determining that I needed to set it aside and let it marinate. On and off, repeatedly. I have written the book Bastard Prince two or three times, and its sequel Crossroads at least twice. Both times they lacked something. Between my insecurity and frustrations at what agents/editors wanted (UF overload anyone?) I didn’t write the story I wanted, rather the story I thought I might sell.

About a week ago, as I was beating my head against a wall trying to figure out why I am having issues with Elemental Truth, I took a break and watched this four part series on the Forgotten Kingdoms of Africa. I was floored, I didn’t know about these kingdoms, I didn’t realize the rich and vast culture and history that was simply ignored by school-teachers. As I was watching,I began to have inklings of worldbuilding ideas. But not for E1, no these ideas had to do with the Avaria series, with the world that my cracktastic character Damien Zander lives in.

I fought it, which was about as successful as trying to get a brick to dance. But finally decided that maybe a way to get a handle on that story was to try to write up an outline. Now I have done outlines, I have gotten bogged down doing them and never fully finished an outline. So I wasn’t too optimistic. Breaking it all down into chapters and scenes… So overwhelming.

So I started to list of the scenes. Not chapters. and then I went back and expanded those a little here and a little there and I found myself sittingon a 12 page outline of Bastard Prince outlined from beginning to end. The whole damn thing. I was shocked and very proud of myself. I am still adding and fixing things, finding innaccuracies and plot holes and I am finding something even more amazing; outlines can be a very useful tool.

Outlines are a tool. For those who can write them, who use them, they can help you pick up on the things that will possibly give you issues. I thought I couldn’t do outlines. But I had to find out how to write it effectively for ME. I don’t know how others outline. But I know if I try to do chapters then scenes I get hung up. But going scene by scene works very well.

**shrugs** not everyone does outlines, I don’t know how well the writing of Bastard Prince  will turn out until I get to it, but we’ll see. NaNo starts Tues and I am stoked!

I had thought I would do CoB and E2 (was E3) for NaNo, but no, I think I am going to write out Bastard Prince for NaNo. Aiming for double (or possibly triple) NaNo with this beast.

I feel ready. I feel like maybe I am there. there are other stories in this series that I want to write, but I can’t because Zander’s story is the foundation for all those other ones.

So where does this leave my elemental stories? For right now, E1 is set aside. I will focus on BP, then possibly dec or Jan I’ll pull it back out and have some space to see what needs to be fixed.

I do have a short story I need to sit down and format and put up.

Is anyone interested in my progress with Zander’s story?
During NaNo would anyone be interested in seeing shinys?
Or just in general does anyone want to see snips here?
Ticky?

=P

 

Take care all, be good and Happy Samhein/Halloween!

 

Betas

Oct. 8th, 2011 03:55 pm
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Originally published at Necia Phoenix. You can comment here or there.

This post brought to you thanks to Sue’spost over here: http://suelder.livejournal.com/62299.html

Beta readers are, imo, essential to a good story. It is great to have a fresh pair of eyes to pick up things that we have gone blind over, because we are so close to the story. Here are a few questions and my answers.

Why have beta/first readers? Because no work is perfect. Plotholes, characterization issues and all sorts of things happen. What a first reader can do is help find those things and often give input on how to fix it. Sometimes they are spot on. Sometimes they can come up with ways to fix the problems, methods to straighten out issues. Beta readers are awesome to have around to bounce ideas off of at a later date. Because they know your style and your storyline, they can better see where you are going with the idea. Sometimes they see it better than you do too!

Having extra eyes to help you fix your work and make it worthy of your readers is important. You want to give people (whatever your goals are) your best side, betas and first readers can help you achieve that.

Where to find those first readers & betas?  Writing communities online are a great place to start. However, you should always begin by offering to crit/read over other people’s work before asking for someone to read yours. There ARE sites where you can upload your work and recieve crits for it based on a point system. The more you crit the more you can post:

Online Writer’s Workshop and Critique Circle are two point based ones that I have used with great success, though I haven’t been active at either in a long time. OWW has a huge list of writers who have used their site who have gone on to great things. I think Critique Circle does too, but it has been a long time since I was over there and I am not too sure.

Over at Forward Motion for Writers, a free forum for writers that started in ’98 by Holly Lisle and currently kept going by Lazette Gifford, is a roving crit board where you can post a short piece and get immediate feedback on your work and can crit others. There is also a chat room which allows for insta interaction between writers. I have made dear friends in that chat.

Absolute Write is another free forum which is very large and full of good info, though they have in the past been negative towards self pubbed authors, there are crit areas, advice areas and a large database of publishers and agents. I would highly recommend using their info before sending your work off to an agent or publisher. I have made several awesome friends and found a beta reader from frequenting this site, though, again, I haven’t been cruising forums much lately.

So what do I look for in beta readers? Firstly I look for people who read what I write. Sending a fantasy to a person who prefers true crime might not work well. Another thing is asking yourself what kind of input do I want? Some folks are great with the technical stuff and not the plot, character, worldbuilding, some folks prefer to give a reader’s opinion, while others love to do the red pen dance all over the story. It can all balance out (I have a couple folks who give the reader’s opinion and a couple who are more in depth which usually give a good overall view of my work), and often if you have all your betas having an issue with the same thing, chances are you need to fix it.

Some betas can be over-zealous, and not understand that the goal is not to rewrite the story based on how they would do it, but to make it closer to how you want it. Just as a word of warning. Carefully weigh what betas say with your vision of your story.

One beta picked out, within a page or so, the reason I was having trouble with a certain story. She was right, painfully so, and though I cringed mightily, I know what what I need to do to fix that issue. Her input has been priceless.

That brings me to another mention; thick skin. Getting the blunt truth back about one’s work can be uncomfortable. It is flawed, it is always flawed. There are always ways to fix it. Understanding and accepting this gracefully is important. How many times have we heard of an author who flips out on a negative reviewer? How unprofessional of the author!

When you hand your work to a beta you are asking them to pick apart the story, to look for problems, and to hand it back with a list and sometimes recommended ways to fix said problems. Flying off the handle at them when they point out that they find your main character a wimp, is not a good response, to put it mildly. Remember you ASKED for it. It doesn’t mean you have to take their advice, but if you get the same issue cropping up with more than one beta chances are you need to do something to fix your work.

When I recieve a crit or response from a beta I have a moment which I center myself, take a deep breath then plow through it. Yes, it can be uncomfortable, it can be tear inducing, but in the long run looking at a beta’s pov can benefit your story and your level of professionalism.

When you hand your work out to an agent, a publisher or self pub, you are putting it out for the public, and the public is not exactly kind if there are flaws and mistakes (or if they perceive things that they consider flaws and mistakes). And they will let you know how awful they think it is, often in a very unkind and condescending manner. To maintain a level of professionalism, keeping a clear head is probably the best idea. Thicken the skin, expect to get your stuff shredded sooner than later. ;)

Back to betas, be nice to your betas. Do for them what you hope they will do for you. Open the ears and listen to their input. It can greatly help your story in the long run.

And as a open message to my betas; thank you so much for pointing out when I messed up. :D

 

Take care all, be good, be safe.

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I went to the library to pick up the 3 books on hold. I thought, hell since I am here I might as well look at the books on religion. I am doing worldbuilding for the Epic thing. OMG, for a small library they had a good selection. Books on mythology, a couple on Buddhism, a couple on what Muslams really believe, which I thought would be enlightening considering the Islamaphobia in our country. Taoism, Shinto, Egyptian mythology, a book on Russian Myths and legends…

 

Plotbunny fodder!! :D

 

Religion in Fantasy seems a bit limited. I have noticed in many fantasy books there seems to be one main religion and no other.

Not so in my Epic-thing, I am working on a minimum of five religions, getting ideas from religious practices here.

Some story random:

I know that the villain will be part of some sort of death cult or something. Working on the details here.

The FMC will be part of a group that is nature oriented, I keep thinking/envisioning something either Druidic or Celtic like. Some more research is needed though. but I know that it is nature based.

I know there are two types of strictish organized religion, think Catholic/Latter-Day Saint type of belief structure.

The final religion is inspired by Shinto, the? Japanese religion which I am going to have to read more about before I can give a good rundown. I have an image in my head, of the characters passing through a town where they are holding a festival. The villagers are carrying around figurines of their household gods so they can be part of the festival too. It was inspired in chat when a friend related an actual experience like that when visiting a town in Japan (if I understood it correctly, it was busy in chat).

I am excited about this project and am trying to decide if I should work on it for NaNo this year. I was going to work on E3, but E3 can’t be written until E2 is, and E2 is on hold while I figure out some stuff with the heroine.

 

Now another thing, lately I have noticed a trend of people coming back to the realization that writing for themselves, instead of others, makes for a happier writing experiance. **pssst I told ya! :P **

One of my pals over in Livejournal land has setup a community called 16weeksofjoy which is geared towards setting personal goals and writing at YOUR pace. If you have a livejournal you might want to look into it, or set up a livejournal so you can participate.

Now I need to get some more headache meds, light some incense, and get to work while I can.

 

Be good folks, or at least be careful. :)

necia_phoenix: (Default)

Originally published at Necia Phoenix. You can comment here or there.

There is a series of erotica stories about werewolves over at Circlet Press. I’ve been reading and loving them! They are free, though I will warn you they are explicit and a bit bloody, after all they are werewolves and these are vicious ones. And sexy. Oh man are they :D

Every full moon is a new story This month’s installment is Desert Flower

OMG, I love this short. It is dark, bloody, intense and sexy. Mouse and Wolfie are both captives in a twisted medical facility. She on one side of the bars, he on the other. Any more and it would give it away.

Wolf Moon: Scent of Tears

There is one more I cannot locate,

These ARE erotica so be advised that there is explicit adult content.

So go over there, read and comment and BEG for more!! :D
And yummy :P

necia_phoenix: (Default)

Originally published at Necia Phoenix. You can comment here or there.

I love music, all sorts of music, from ethnic, to Death Metal and everything in between. I try to keep an open mind and listen to everything at least once. I found this this morning in my youtube wanderings as I was looking for something a little different while I edit this novelette? Long short? Whatever, hopefully if I can get the cover right I’ll have it published this weekend, but anywho I am in cello heaven.

 

So being the Final Fantasy geek that I am, I found this:

GAH! sooo cool!

One more, I hunted this one down because I love it.

This song fits several of my stories. **sigh**

Ok back to work, rl needs to be handled too.

Happy friday people!

necia_phoenix: (Default)
Two new posts at the wordpress site, can't seem to figure out how to cross post from wordpress to lj
I know there is a way. Until I figure that out here is the site. Which is still under construction.

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