The Plague

Jan. 6th, 2017 06:56 am
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Originally published at Necia Phoenix. You can comment here or there.

We’re sick here at Casa De La Phoenix, myself, the monkeys and the spouse type person. The posts I was hoping to write got pushed aside in a fit of coughing and hacking up lungs. blech.

Work has officially ended, I am back in the ‘unemplyed/self employed’ catagory. Gotta love that seasonal stuff. I had a blast, made some great friends, and am now debating my next move.

The patreon is live! I am super excited about it. There is so much to the Avaria stories, I’m almost bouncing in excitement. For those of you new to my blog/site/thingy you can peek at the planned book list over here. It’s a huge list, this stuff needs to get set free.

I hope you are all recovering from the disaster that was 2016. Time for me to get back to writing, and being ME.

 

~NPhoenix

 

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I’m going to be going through the website over the next couple of weeks and cleaning up bad links, broken links, and may possibly redo the theme completely. I’m also working on a schedule for the website, not too much cause, hey, I have a busy life. I’ll also be trying to fix tags (my last few posts I didn’t tag at all) and other stuff.

Elemental Truth.  Ok so the serial is still ongoing. I am currently working on the next couple chapters which have had to be completely rewritten. I do love this story, and since life seems to be slowing to a managable rush, I’m trying to refocus energy in that direction.

 

NANOWRIMO  I have always loved NaNo, some years it’s been an impossibility. This year might be one of those years. The biggest reason is that, if things work out right, I’ll be returning to school in nov. I’m not sure school and nano will work. We’ll see. Either way, I’ve been so exhausted for so long, I may just stand on the sidelines and cheer everyone on.

 

Have a great week, and hopefully things will be back on a schedule next week.

 

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Happy Early Ostara to those who celebrate it! (Or Mabon[I think] if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere)

So there are some things I’m having to change. Plans schedules and whatnot. First of all, because of some things one of my kids is going through, I’ve had to prioritize him and his needs over everything else. Now that he’s where he’s getting the help he needs, I’m able to readjust my schedule and reorganize my plan for 2015.

Elemental Truth.

I sat down a few days ago and did a full read through of E1, from the front to back. And I discovered something sorta distressing about the back end, which I’m working on right now. It is nowhere near where I thought it was completion wise. There are several things I need to rewrite/fix to make it a rounded tale. So where does that put the serial? I thought I’d get it done and have it up for sale by the first. And tbh if I didn’t have other things going on in my life, I would have. But it wouldn’t have been what I want it to be. It wouldn’t have done justice to the story I’m trying to tell. It wouldn’t have been the best I can do with it. I don’t want that. My readers don’t deserve a half assed attempt. I went with self-pubbing so I could control my schedule. I need to remind myself of this.

I’m going to cut the serial postings to once a week. I know, I know, it’s been sporadic as it is, and for that I apologize. Reducing my stress level is a big thing for me right now. So I think I’ll be posting chapters around Tuesday or Wednesday.

When it is done, it will be offered up for sale on the usual sites and I’m planning on going through Createspace to do a print version also.

Blog

It has suffered from neglect. I admit that. I’m working on putting together some more posts to get back on a schedule. I would love any suggestions for topics.

Other Projects & this year’s writing/pubbing plan.

I decided that this year is the year of the series. What that means, to put it simply, is that my focus is going to be on getting my series written and up for sale. The Avaria series, the Elemental series to start with. I have a lot planned. It’s time to get them done.

Flash Friday. I haven’t done that in so long, and I want to get back to doing that too. ATM it would be sporadic though, E1 is my main focus with the Zander tales on it’s heels ready to be finished. I’m not sure I can spread my attention that far.

ATM I don’t have dates down for when stuff will be out. I am going to be trying to guesstimate that this week, and put up the announcement or somesuch next week.

Real Life

To give you a rundown, and I feel I owe explanations to my readers. My 14 year old got caught up in a very bad situation last summer. What followed was lots of court stuff, him being in juvie, and then at home monitoring, and trying to get to the bottom of what seems like a 180 degree change in attitude. Currently he is in a special inpatient program which is helping him address his issues (drug & alcohol and mental illness such as depression & PTSD) and we are doing our best to cope with the fact that the kid we knew is not who he is now. It’s a tough thing to accept but we are doing our best.

Thoughts, prayers, candles lit, Buddha’s belly being rubbed are all appreciated. I worry that his bright star will be forever dimmed by this. Then again I am a worry wort, so I may be over-stressing.

Hug your families. Hug your friends. Let people you care about KNOW that you care about them. You never know what might happen tomorrow. Don’t put it off.

NPhoenix

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Ok, so last year was not the easiest year I’ve ever had. This year is going to be better. I refuse to believe otherwise. So here are a few things I’ve got on the plate.

2015 Writing/pubbing lineup

Elemental Truth;

I am not going to dwell on it. I’m working on it daily. I’ll post chapters as they’re ready. I’m hoping that by the end of this month it will be ready to be pubbed. I’m also going to be releasing it in print, though I’m not sure when it will be ready.

The Bastard Prince, The Sarukai Lord, The Dragon Gates & Crossroads

I love this story. and I hate it. Which makes me sad to say. Once I’m done with the E1 edit/publishing, I’m diving into the Zandercrack and it’s going to be published. This year. Even if it kills me XD.

Those projects could easily swamp me this year. But here are other things I’d like to try to check off the list;

The Fallen. Two maybe three scenes and it’s DONE. >.<
Zombiestuff  –  I have more storires set in this world I want to tell.
Crown of Bones – Fantasy Adventure series, with female protags.
Space Opera
PHFR (prehistoric-fantasy romance)

 

There are other things but right now I have to focus on E1 & Zander. Those have been sitting for way too long. It’s the year to dare to be bad I have to. My sanity depends on it.

I’m also hoping to take one of Dean Wesley Smith’s workshops (you can find them over here) because I want to improve in many areas. Anyways, there’s more on my mind, but I’ve been catwaxing all day. Time to finish the typo sweep and post the next chapter of E1.

NPhoenix

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In short, we’ve been struggling as a family. My son has been fighting addiction and it has dragged our whole family & routine down the drain. I’m working to find a balance between family, writing and other endeavors. I’ve found a stress easement with some new pets (ball pythons) which have helped with the general out of it I’ve been fighting.

I am sorry. I failed getting E1 up and posted on time. I probably lost what readers I have. If any of you are still around, light a candle, rub buddah’s belly, pray, whatever that y son can get a handle on his issues and that I can help him.

I’m working on the next couple chapters. The edits needed are minor, just a few tweaks and it should be done. I’ll try to get them scheduled this week. Again, I’m sorry. Life derailed me horribly and sometimes you just have to refocus.

NPhoenix

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Hello!

We have moved, and are getting settled, and I should be on track here in a couple days. Sorry about this delay. Hope you are all having a good September so far.

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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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So I’ve been waffling on this for a while now, but I’m taking a jump here. Starting next Tuesday here and, possibly Wattpad, Elemental Truth will be posted as a serial. Two chapters a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays until it’s done. Once it’s wrapped up, I’ll do a final edit pass then it’ll be available as an ebook & a POD through either Createspace or Lulu (I’m still looking into the details on that). This is an experiment, I’m not sure if I’ll serialize the other Elemental books,we’ll see how things go. One step at a time, right?

 

Ok, off to do a final edit sweep and try not to dissolve into a pile of twitching nerves.

 

 

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Planning

Apr. 14th, 2014 02:02 pm
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J.A. Marlow gave me this project planner back in Jan, but I kinda forgot all about it. Sat night I dusted it off and started planning out projects, setting dates and OCDing on what I want to get done this year. I may have overloaded myself :P but I have a clear cut idea of what I want to get done over the next…two years 0.0.

You read that right, two years.  Just take a look at my Series List and you’ll see I have more than enough planned stories to write XD (Yes J.A. Marlow, this is ALL YOUR FAULT!!!  **shakes fist**)  :P

The rest of this year needs to be an Avaria year, and next will be the dragons. I’ve also got smaller projects that I want to put out in between the larger ones. I need to get this ball rolling. I’ve pushed The Bastard Prince back to September at the latest. I have the project The Fallen staring patiently at me waiting for me to finish the edits and put it up for sale. The plan is to do that for this May.

I also have some digi art plans, and plans to do a really awesome computer build (think alienware, but homemade, it is going to fucking ROCK!) so there’s a lot to think about, aside from the family shtuff. I am still around, have just been drowning in life stuff.

Hope yall have a great Monday!

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Re-Release

Feb. 26th, 2014 08:44 pm
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One of the greatest things about self pubbing, is if you need to change something, you can. If you don’t like the cover, you’re not stuck with the pubbing co going SOL.

The Magic Maker is one of my favorite stories, and the first of what I hope, many set in that world. To date I haven’t been able to really dabble much with it but I plan to. I redid the cover, and did a skim through to correct things (typos, misspellings, random commas etc) and have gotten it back up.

The Magic Maker

In a corrupt city, Tia struggles to keep her small family together. She finds herself caught between a sorceress and local crime lord, and to top it off, an unknown voice begins begging her for help. With time running out, can she escape the city with family and sanity intact?

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords
Kobo

In other news, I’ve had to push Zander back 1 month due to personal reasons. Mid may is the new target.

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Still here

Jan. 28th, 2014 03:28 pm
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I have been sick, still trying to get writing stuff handled. Zbk1 edits are in full swing, shooting for an April 12 release (my birthday). I have some awesome betas who are giving me great input. Have a mini snippage:

 

Valen handed Zander a small sphere with odd indents and markings on it. Zander frowned and looked up at his friend.

“What is this?” He whispered.

“A charge.” Valen grinned, lifting up another one. “Push down here,” he tapped a raised, circular impression in the middle of it. “Till it clicks, then toss it at enemy, and it goes boom. Big explosions. Sometimes messy, always loud.”

“Fun.”

“You have no idea.”

 

Hope yall are doing okay. **waves**

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The series is done, for now, and compiled into a complete collection.

cover

 

Inside The Author’s Mind is a collection of shorts written from the
point of view of the story elements. From characters, to ideas, to
muses, and editor, these have previously been sold singly and are
now put together. The collection is approximately 6400 words, 25
pages, and includes The Shiny, Redshirts, Muse Interrupted, Editor In Chains, 
Daydream Paradise Beach

It is available at:

Smashwords
Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

Now on to the next project!

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A new year, new goals. I’ve made up a tentative publishing schedule for this new year, starting with the goal of one new publication (large or small) a month with three large releases for the year. We’ll see how it goes. Goals are dreams with a date on them they say. And I’ve even taken into account the usual grueling summers I have.

There are plans to move to another house sometime in late spring early summer which may disrupt things.

The big releases, the first three Zander books, are slated for April, ?June?, and September/October. The final book, Crossroads (which *might* be 2 books) *might* be ready by December.

I’m still dabbling with the idea of E1 up as a serial, but I’m not sure with everything else I have on my plate, that I have the mental capacity to to that atm. I might do something like that over the summer since E1 is, for the most part done.

Other smaller projects will be released through the rest of the year, hopefully on a monthly basis. I’m not hinging all my hopes on any one project. As a writer who plans to be around for a long time, my larger goals are long term, not hinged on any one book. A career isn’t built on one book, rather multiple projects. I’ll refer you to Dean Wesley Smith for more on that particular viewpoint.

I also have the goal of doing a Friday Flash fiction every week this year. Lofty? Maybe. I’m gonna try to do it though.

Last year’s sales;

With the lack of new material up for sale, sales were fairly non-existent. I haven’t pulled up the actual numbers yet, but I know they were spotty. There are a number of reasons why, ranging from pricing, covers that need to be improved and just lack of new material to keep my name up at the top of the new release lists and whatnot. Last year was fairly brutal for me. For a number of reasons and that impacted me finishing and releasing stuff. In short; sales sucked and I’m the reason why.

That was last year. This is a new year, new opportunities, new information to learn. This year. I want to write more. I need to write more. I need to get a better handle on covers, formatting and get back in the game so to speak. The paralyzing that halted me over the past year and a half, seems to have melted away. While there is a touch of anxiety, it isn’t halting me. Onward and upward! I’m ready! Are you?

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This past week I landed myself in the ER.

It threw my whole schedule off just a wee bit. There have been tests, and phone calls. I don’t know yet what exactly is going on, I’ll be making more phone calls Monday to various financial and dr offices to get answers for multiple questions about how the hell I’m going to pay for continued care (we’re in-between insurance coverage for me, tho the kids and hubs are all covered. I left myself off). I am not on death’s door. I’m just very fatigued.

Today I’m working on wrapping up the Inside the Author’s Mind story collection, writing (there are only a couple more stories to write to wrap it up) and formatting it. Tomorrow I’ll put together a new cover and hopefully sometime next week I’ll have it up for sale.

Have a great weekend folks.

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Well writing wise that was slightly disappointing. But I do tend to expect too much from myself. I think, starting next summer, I’ll just suspend big writing goals during the summer. There’s just too much going on.

The kids have been in school for a week, I’ve been catching up on housework and stuff. And wrapping up a badly overdue story (I’m sorry DC!!!). One thing I have managed to do is finally jump and start studying Russian. Why Russian? Why not? I love it. I really do.

Self Pubbing:
I haven’t put out a new project in months. I haven’t been focused on it. For multiple reasons. It’s time to jump back in the saddle so to speak, which means I have some catching up to do. What I was doing a year and a half ago might not be the best methods to get it done (I’m talking formatting here). I have some things I need to wrap up(stories/editing/books), and I need to update covers. I need to overhaul the web-page, put together a reasonable (and do-able) publishing schedule. I love the possibilities we have these days, even if it’s a touch overwhelming.

In the next week or so I’ll be working on research, cover-updates (mainly with the earlier ones) and wrapping up the Inside the Author’s Mind series, and figuring out what needs to get tackled next.

Have a great Labor Day Weekend (If you’re in the USA)!

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Holy Crap

Aug. 21st, 2013 06:06 pm
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Where has the summer gone?  That was a rhetorical question, no need to actually answer LOL.

So I’ve thinking. Lots of thinking, and I realized I need to sit down and re-plan everything. From next projects, to releases, to covers, even to this website. It all needs an overhaul. I feel like I need to ‘Go back to the beginning’  and re-learn everything. There have been changes to the self pubbing world and I need to catch up.

I have many projects, some would say too many, and my writing tapered off a bit over the past year because of that dreaded real life thing. Last post I listed off my To-Do list.  So here it is again:

~Get the Inside the Author’s Mind collection together. By sept 1st running out of time on this. have a couple more stories to go write up for it. may push the date back to the 15th.
~Write up SOMETHING for the FM Anthology; By Aug 15  Still working on this. I have idea, just getting it down. Yes the deadline passed. It whistled loudly as it went by. **sigh**
~Finish Zander BK1 (before Oct?)
~Finish The Fallen
~Finish editing E1 and start putting it up either here and/or Wattpad. Still debating this one. On one hand I think it would be really cool, on the other…. i dunno.
~Write Zander bk2
~Finish E2
~Write up the Zombie christmas thing before christmas THIS year :P
~Write up E3 – E7
~Write Zander bk 3-5
~Write CoB series
~Don’t forget the Friday Flash stuff
~Breathe

Adding:
~Overhaul covers do a typo check in works already up (I’m paranoid)
~Re-organize website & blogging schedule

I need to rethink summers. In this house, with as many kids as I have, writing just doesn’t happen. I think next summer I’ll just go on hiatus for the summer. Stressing about writing on top of everything else… it just isn’t a good situation.

There’s more, but I’m drawing a blank. Hope yall are doing well. School starts next monday. I’m a mite bit excited. :P

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On the 26th, my monkeys will be returning to school. I love them, I adore them, I love that we are a happy (big) family. But I will admit we are all looking forward to school starting.

This summer has been filled with surprises and unexpected events. Good things, but things which have thrown me WAY off.

I wanted to submit a story to this year’s FM Anthology and while I have a few vague ideas, I don’t have anything really concrete. I may pull out my mind mapping app on my tablet to figure it out. While the deadline was pushed back to the 15th, that gives me 10 days. Not sure, with back to school stuff in full gear, that I could manage it.

I also have things to prepare for a September releases, which include compiling the Inside the Author’s Mind collection. I’ve got three more stories to scribble up for it and I just haven’t had the presence of mind to do it.

Zander story is sitting at 37k. I love this incarnation of this tale. Last week was, in a word, brutal. So I didn’t get as many words in it as I wanted/planned to. But life happens, and there’s always tomorrow.

E1. Ahh, so what the heck will I do with this one? See, I have a lot of projects planned. When I work on one, say, E1, I get to feeling guilty for not working on Zander. When I work on Zander I feel guilty for sitting and not working on E1 which is mostly finished.  Or Fallen, which needs one or two added scenes to it. I really want to get past this silly guilt thing. I also need to decide on titles for the whole elemental series.

The Plan (haha) as it stands now. (I should add, some of these aren’t dated and aren’t necessarily a list for the ‘rest of the year’ just a list of what’s next on the list);

~Get the Inside the Author’s Mind collection together. By sept 1st
~Write up SOMETHING for the FM Anthology; By Aug 15
~Finish Zander BK1 (before Oct?)
~Finish The Fallen
~Finish editing E1 and start putting it up either here and/or Wattpad.
~Write Zander bk2
~Finish E2
~Write up the Zombie christmas thing before christmas THIS year :P
~Write up E3 – E7
~Write Zander bk 3-5
~Write CoB series
~Don’t forget the Friday Flash stuff
~Breathe

Breathing is important.

As you can see only three things have actual deadlines on this list. And at least one of those might not happen. I refuse to feel guilty about it.

Website stuff; Heads up, there was an issue with the payment thing for the website. It will be resolved Friday, but in the meantime the website might go poof until then. Don’t panic, it’ll be back. I promise. Now to get to rl stuff so I can get to writer stuff. Have a good week folks.

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osho

 

 

~*~

I’m planning on starting to put the first elemental story up either here or over at wattpad. A chapter or two a week. Still working on editing it. Thoughts? Suggestions? Opinions?  Bueller? Ferris Bueller? ;)

Have a peaceful sunday.

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Changes

Apr. 25th, 2013 05:30 pm
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I’m going to be tweaking with things on the website. While I do like this theme I want a bit of a change. So bear with me as I fiddle with stuff.

I’ve added a page/section called Serial Stories. I’m prepping a finished project for serialization, which will probably launch in May or June, I’m not sure exactly when but it’ll be near the beginning of summer.

Ohohohoh AND

I finished The Fallen!!! **does crazy dance**

That said, it’s draft 1, it’s rough and thin. Skeletal almost. It needs a good read through, scrub and expanding. But It’s going to sit for a week or three first. I have other projects I need to attack, outline and plan. I use the term outline loosely.

Outlining for me usually means listing together some scenes, and thoughts on what is going to go in the story. I use the term ‘scene listing’ and ‘outlining’ interchangeably but in all honesty it’s not really outlining, not as most people imagine it.

Anyways, time to catch up on the housework that fell behind while I was trying to finish The Fallen. 

 

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I’ve been thinking and writing and thinking. I think I’ve been thinking more than writing, but yanno how it goes.

I’m nearing the homestretch of The Fallen. the ‘short’ is now past 15k and I’ve got a good 5 or 6 scenes left to write. And I always write thin, so when I edit it, if it says under 30k I’ll be surprised. I like my twisted little fallen angel story. There’s something very… morbidly funny about it (in my head).

I’ve been considering doing a serial. I’m doing some research, I need/want to read over other serials to get an idea of how to do it. I have E1, all finished, waiting for some edits. The thought struck me, perhaps I could post it as a serial, say one or two chapters a week.

I’ve been thinking about it for a while now. Why? Well… Why not? I haven’t decided. I need to finish The Fallen first so I can totally focus on the Elemental Wars series.

And I need to write up a few flash fics so they’re ready to go when friday rolls around.

I’ve also been practicing drawing, taking a ‘class’ over at WetCanvas.com. I discovered something kinda cool… I CAN draw a straight line! There’s this desire, this longing to do some of my stories as a comic/manga style thing. But again I’m not quite sure how I would go about doing that, and my drawing skills are not there yet. But seriously that would be cool.

Health and Fitness stuff:

We have a zoo membership, and I went twice last week, I went on Mon and I’m considering going tomorrow again if the weather is nice. I walk the perimeter  letting the little ones enjoy themselves while I trudge up and down hills pushing a stroller with twin toddlers who each weigh about 30lbs. Along with our change in diet and doing my resistance training, I’m working hard on getting healthier. My scale broke so I’m not sure where I sit weight wise.

And now I go to rally the troops to do their chores. Have a good day folks, friday isn’t far off!

 

 


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

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

I have been fairly busy. Kids, stuff, it’s all nutty here. Then with Mother Hen’s situation, I haven’t been paying attention much to things happening in the writing communities. So I got sent an update on a post Holly Lisle made voicing teh evil of the contract pubit/nookpress was offering.

Her post on it is over here. As I am no expert on contracts and haven’t actually had the opportunity to read said contract I’ll make no comments.

On going over to pubit, a little flash notice popped up telling me about this wonderful new platform they’re preparing to launch. The official Press release is here, the notice they gave is here;

With NOOK Press, you can write, edit, format, and publish your manuscript all in one place, collaborate with friends and editors, and get your questions answered quickly by our live chat support staff—all at no cost. It’s easy and improved and offers the same great terms as PubIt!.

While you can continue to use PubIt! for the time being, we will be phasing out the platform in the months to come. Sign up for a NOOK Press account and include your PubIt! login details to easily sync your account, title, and sales information over.

 

I can see this now, n00bs and naive writers are going to upload their only copy of their work and something is going to go wrong, B&N goes under and all those authors are left wringing their hands and wailing over their lost words.

But yanno, copy and paste works well. ;)  What bothers me, what really sets my teeth on edge and makes me want to do a complete two year old tantrum. Silly as it may be… when a company tells me that they’re going to be phasing out the pubit site and I have no choice but to jump ship… well you should have seen the letter I sent Photobucket when they forced their stupid crappy platform on their users. -.-

Perhaps its a leftover from the teenage rebellious years, maybe it’s because B&N hasn’t really been worth my time. But other things have come to light in talking with several writing buddies.

A friend of mine pointed out that there is no way to update your files on the nook press site. I haven’t gone over there yet to verify this, but I don’t doubt her. When it comes to epubbing, she knows her stuff.

She also had another problem  with it, which is slipping my mind.

The Passive Voice has two posts up about it here and here. The second link is a post on stats Nook had touted in their press release. The comments are interesting, people sharing how their sales have dropped off over the past few months. Worth reading.

Holly Lisle posted another post on changes made to the contract over here.

She suggest printing out the contract and going over it. I think if you’re not already doing that you’re asking for trouble as a writer and as a business person. If you don’t have a hardcopy of your contracts with various distributors, and you’re not familiar with what is IN those contracts, you’re going to find yourself in a very bad situation. It’s common sense.

Now the new Nook Press site is over here in case you wanted to take a gander at it. I’m planning on taking a look over the contracts and refresh my memory on Smashwords, Amazon and Kobo’s contracts just so that I’m up to date with what is IN them.

So what are MY thoughts?

  1. I would love to see Kristine Rusch do a post on it. I know she’s busy, but her insight would be very nice to see.
  2. As I haven’t read the contract I won’t comment on it. I do have concerns but I need to read the actual contract before I voice those.
  3. I am sitting here waiting for my new release to go live at Pubit. I have a post ready to go, but without the Barnes and Noble link. I uploaded it last night. Smashwords, even with their meatgrinder didn’t take as long as this has taken. Amazon went live shortly before 3am when I went to bed. Kobo went live shortly before Amazon. **taps pubit** helloooo??? What’s the hold-up bub?
  4. If I can’t upload/update my work, as many in the comments section of PG’s posts stated, I really don’t see that that is a good idea. No matter how many times a person goes over it, you’re going to see errors. I’m unimpressed
  5. Someone in the PG post’s comments mentioned the site isn’t working right and that it shouldn’t have been rolled out just yet. the word Beta comes to mind.
  6.  In two years of epubbing I’ve made exactly 3 sales through B&N. THREE. I’ve been considering dropping B&N completely. Is it worth my time? 3 sales in 24 months. hmm… I think for now I’ll stay. At least until they try to force me to switch over. then **shrugs** I have better things to do that wait for them to get their thumbs out of their asses and put my stuff Live.

 

I think it’s something to approach cautiously, and go with your gut and know exactly what you’re getting yourself into.

 

 

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I’ve got some sort of respiratory thing again, sorry I missed the sunday serenity post. Just not feeling well.

IT will pass. It always does.

So it’s a monday, I lost my voice, and I’m trying to force myself to take it easy.

This week’s agenda;

Get back to my workouts – kinda fell off the wagon (again) when I started getting sick and dealing with sick kids.
Finish the Angel story – seriously this should be done already.
I would like to finish the Inside the Author’s Mind series of shorts, there are three more I want to write then I can get to formatting, new cover and have them ready for release. In Sept I plan on packaging all of them into a collection, but I need to finish them first! 3 little shorts, probably less than 3k each.

I’ve been debating posting the release schedule I worked up, however some changes to RL stuff means I need to rework it. But here are two things I’m positive are on the board;

The Fallen – post apocalyptic fallen angel thing – Late May, early June
Inside The Author’s Mind Collection – Six stories of what it is like to be a character/story element. There are three out right now, I need to write the other two – September

There are more plans but right now a lot of that hinges on RL stuff and the fact I AM on vacation.

Hope you all have a good week. Will try to update again thurs or friday depending on life stuff.

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I will start by saying this is a rant, brought on by one too many people shoving the idea that if you don’t want to be published you’re not a ‘real’ writer.  I’ve heard it in multiple places, from multiple know-it-all asses.

I call bullshit on that.

BULLSHIT!!!

Do you write blog posts, journals? Private journals? Stories that are your precious, secret things that you just can’t bear anyone seeing? Poetry? Songs? Limericks? Guess what? You’re a writer.

That’s right. You are a writer. Do you know why? Because you write. It’s just that simple.

Repeat after me; if you write, no matter what your ultimate goals are FOR that writing, you’re a writer. If you have trouble remembering it, scribble it on a post-it note and put it on your mirror, tattoo it backwards on your forehead. If you write, you’re a writer. Period. And don’t believe anyone who says otherwise.

Got it?

Let it sink in and we’ll move on to the next issue that has completely, 100% pissed me right the hell off.

**takes a deep breath**

There is this idea that if you need emotional support as a writer you shouldn’t be writing. This idea is so asinine, so blatantly stupid that it makes my head hurt. I’ve seen it often, usually spouted by someone who doesn’t have a real strong grip on reality and human interactions. Sadly I see it spouted on social media where gullible new writers could and do stumble on it.

You see as a writer we communicate with each other. Often for emotional kickback. I tell someone I’m not well, I get hugs. I get the emotional kick that someone gives a damn about me, and though I still might feel ill, I emotionally feel better knowing that someone cares. Humans communicate and often it is laced with emotion. When I write, or read, I am going on an emotional journey.

I am, last I checked, human. Humans are social animals. Most of us want to be around, or in contact with other humans on some level or another. It is how we are put together. I remember in Stephen King’s The Stand, the character Glen(I think), talked about how people after catastrophe would gather together in groups. It always stood out to me, because it rings true. Many people want to be around people.

We want to share experiences, we want to be acknowledged. When a friend got a rejection letter on a project, myself and others rallied around her, gave her ehugs and encouragement. When another friend lost someone in his family, again there was emotional support for him. It’s the human thing to do. It’s natural. It’s good.

Writers often write about people, people who catch our imagination. We are moved emotionally in one way or another towards characters. Ever seen UP? The first 15 min is almost exclusively without words, yet it is a poignant and emotional journey. I have not met anyone yet who has not shed a tear while watching that part.

We, as writers, have an obligation I guess you could say, to give the reader an emotional connection with the characters. I read Neil Gaiman’s Neverware, not for the main character (he annoyed the shit out of me) but because I wanted to know what happened to a minor/sidekick character. I was emotionally caught up in HER story (I would LOVE to see a sequel, because there were a lot of unanswered questions about her).

Having an emotional support group as a writer, can be a GREAT THING. Being able to interact with other writers often gives a writer an opportunity for learning, growing, and expanding as a person and as a writer. I’ll admit, not everyone needs it, not everyone desires it, that’s OKAY. I’m not saying you HAVE to find an emotional support group. But to spout off that if you DO feel you need it, that you shouldn’t be in the writing business, is arrogant and self-defeating. Spouting it on a social network platform; facebook, livejournal, blogger, twitter or any of those… well it makes me wonder about a person’s IQ.

Every person, every writer is on their own journey. And with writing there is no ONE WAY to do it. Just because MY way isn’t YOUR way doesn’t mean I’m better than you, or that you are better than me, it means we work in different ways. But I WILL object to you spouting off that YOUR way is the BEST and ONLY way and acting like you know it all. You don’t. I don’t. I’ve heard authors, who have been in this business for DECADES, talking about learning new things. You should never stop learning as a writer.

If you’re naïve enough to believe you know it all, I think you’re going to be in for a huge shock. I worry about the new writers who come so full of hope and dreams only to be crushed under the wave of arrogant ‘advice’ out there by people who don’t have a fucking clue what the hell they are doing let alone telling OTHER people how to do it too. I’ve seen too many new writers get jaded and overwhelmed by that sort of ‘advice’.

Go write, whatever it is that moves you, that you feel pulled to write. You’re a writer. No matter how many shoulders you need to lean on, or how few. No matter if you want to get published traditionally, self publish or a hybrid of the two, or keep your writing to yourself in a secret drawer. You are a writer. And don’t let anyone, ANYONE convince you otherwise.

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

I meant to post something yesterday but totally forgot.  It has been a rough week for me, a lot going on.

Weight; I’ve lost 18 lbs and overall 4 inches since I started Turbofire last July. Now I have NOT been consistent with my diet or following the exercising, yet I’m still losing weight. **YAY**

I’m currently two weeks into my consistent workouts and eating right, I haven’t weighed myself since Tuesday and I’m not going to until next tues. I feel better, I can feel the changes. Just need to work on getting to bed early.

Writing: I’ve been working on the fallen angel thing. Yes, I am still on vacation ;) but the story is very loud in my brain. I blame J.A. Marlow for it. Yes JA I am publicly blaming you for it!!! :D  Seriously though  I am very happy to be working on this thing, so I shouldn’t complain.

I am putting together my business plan and release schedule for the next year. There is a lot to think about and now that things are settling down, I think I can start re-focusing on my writing business.

Overall; Life is good. Next Sat we will be celebrating 1 year out from Oklahoma. Hubs and I were talking about doing a celebration or something. I love where we’re living, and though this past year has been brutal, it has been worth it.

 

 

~*~

Help Never Came

Life in the post-zombie-apocalypse is full of nasty surprises and many unsolved mysteries, such as old diaries and teddy bears. After saving some fellow survivors Chris and his team find themselves stuck on the wrong side of the river with surging hordes of Zombies moving faster than normal. Worse yet, home base isn’t answering their calls.

Smashwords | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

 

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

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 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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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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I meant to post the other day, but I was in a food coma. Sorry.

This year has been a very difficult one, for writing, for living, we made a major move, have had some fairly serious situations come, then go. I’m thankful for the fact that we have overcome most of those and have moved forward with getting ourselves established. Writing had been in fits and starts, and pubbing this year has not been my priority.

There’s always next year, right? I am working on a 2013 business plan, figuring out a pubbing and writing schedule and…and….re-do covers and…

yeah, lots to do.

 

ohoh, the Forward Motion Anthology is out now. I do have a story in it, which is humbling because there is some really awesome writing included.

17 authors, 17 different stories, and one prompt.

A Princess, A Boatman, and A Lizard…

Seventeen authors took up the challenge and responded with works ranging from silly to dramatic across genres such as fairy tale, steampunk, science fiction, fantasy, Native American tales and more.

The 2012 Forward Motion Writer’s Anthology is an annual showcase of the multi-national writing talent at the venerable writer’s group. The 2012 edition includes an active table of contents with works by:

Princess Of The Mountain Forests – Susan Petroulas
Soul of Insurgence – A. Shelton
That Troublesome Bar – Gera L. Dean
A Present For Cynthia – S.E. Batt
The Warning – C. M. Clark
Convoy – Val Griswold-Ford
The Terrible Bedtime Story – Tobe Ornot
The Prince of the North – A.J. DeVial
The Adventures of Orville Bramson Esq – Catrin Pitt
Freedom of Wings – Jordan Lark
Predators – Jim Francis
Drought’s End – Connie Cockrell
The Dancing Moons – Lane Decker Davis
Bowl the Lizard – J.A. Marlow
The River Of Souls – Necia Phoenix
Six Bullets – Linda Adams
The Princess, the Lizard and the Boatman – Lazette Gifford

I’m still reading through it, I haven’t been disappointed. These are some great authors and it is an honor to be listed among them. It is available at;

Smashwords
Amazon
Kobo

Halloween,

Oct. 22nd, 2012 05:27 pm
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Or Samhain, is right around the corner. And I thought I’d remind people that I do have a Zombie story Help Never Came, which is a post apocalyptic zombie tale. It’s one of my personal favorites to read, too. And also a ghosty story called Playing for the Dead, about a girl who has to play a magic harp to soothe the distressed souls of a nearby cemetary. Another story I enjoyed writing, and re-reading. And yes I do re-read my own work. Hey, I write what I love to read!

 

Life in the post-zombie-apocalypse is full of nasty surprises and many unsolved mysteries, such as old diaries and teddy bears. After saving some fellow survivors Chris and his team find themselves stuck on the wrong side of the river with surging hordes of Zombies moving faster than normal. Worse yet, home base isn’t answering their calls.

Available At

Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords
Xin Xii
Kobo

~*~

 A hundred years after a catastrophe changed the order of things, Lizbae is sent to take her turn to play a magic harp to soothe the restless souls of the departed. To protect her village, and stay alive, Lizbae must find the courage to face the night. 

Available at:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Smashwords
Xin Xii
Kobo 

If you’ve read them already, please leave a review.

Oh and I will mention here and now I have another zombie story in the works, a christmas Zombiething.

And Playing for the Dead is set in the same world as The Magic Maker and the Island Fluff stories (which are in edit/revision mode)

~*~

I am scrambling to finish Bastard Prince which is now sitting at just over 65k. My goal is 90k, but I suspect the story won’t be done under 100k. I need to finish it. It’s been in the works for way too long. Time to get it DONE!

Time to get to writing. Take care all. :)

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Have a snippet of an anthology story I am trying to finish. **flails**

~*~

Chandra turned, looking frantically for anything she could use as a weapon. She wasn’t going to let those things eat her dear companion! All she saw were pine cones. She grabbed a pine cone and chucked it at the creature. It fell pitifully short of its target. Everything went still, though Sir Morion was still barking and growling. The lizard creatures pointed towards her, their movements jerky. Chandra picked up another pine cone, aimed, and threw. It clattered against stones, nowhere near the lizard men. They made a sound, not clicking, not anything she’d ever heard before. They were laughing! At her! She scowled and straightened.

“You leave us alone! This is royal property. Begone!” She made a dismissing motion, similar to what Grandmother used when dealing with peasants. The creatures went quiet.

“You are out of your territory, hum-aun.” The tallest creature said, his voice grating on her ears. He pulled his sword, a craggy, crooked looking thing, nowhere near as fine as her Grandmother’s guards wore. She could see the nicks and dents. Chandra shuddered, stepping back as the thing leveled it at her. “You are fair game.”

“Oh blast.” Chandra whispered.

 

~*~

Have a happy Saturday!

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

I’ve been thinking about doing a serial. I’ve considered putting E1 up as a serial, say every Friday or Sat, one chapter at a time, to be put together as an e-book and POD when it is complete.  I’m still researching the idea.

I’ve seen people run serials very successfully, from crowd funding to doing auctioning of stories. and was wondering what other people’s takes on the matter was.

Anyone? **peers around**

 

 

_________________________

The Shiny
A story from the idea’s point of view.

The idea was Shiny and New and ready to be written. Unfortunately, The Writer had other ideas…

Available at;
Smashwords | Amazon | Barnes & Nobel | Kobo

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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.

 

 

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Whoa, we are in Sept now?!?

With back to school and other RL stuff I’ve been all over the place getting stuff done. Writing? Minimal. I missed the flash fiction fridays, I apologize, we’ve been hammered on the homefront with back to school stuff. Unfortunately.

I gave myself a two week extension for finishing BP, and have spent the past two days listing out scenes that need to be written, tweaked, tossed and rewritten and what needs to come next. This…this will be a door stop. :D

I read over this story, and I keep thinking, damn I love this story. I really do. Then I worry other people won’t love it as much as I do. **sigh** :P

ok, trying to get the troops cleaning, so gotta do the mom thing.

 

 

Forgetful

Aug. 13th, 2012 01:40 pm
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We are ramping up for Back to School here and so life is a bit nuts. I was playing with the timeline yesterday and got sucked up making sure everyone and everything was aligned right in Bastard Prince. The story covers about 17 years and certain events with other characters have to be figured out correctly. I love the way it is coming together. I do see areas which I’ll need to expand and improve on. But that’s all part of it. I tend to write lean first drafts anyways.

I also realized I forgot about Flash Fiction Friday **hangs head** I didn’t even put up a notice. :( Well it is now in a reminder in my phone >.>

 

 

 

Things

Aug. 8th, 2012 02:23 pm
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Originally published at Necia Phoenix. You can comment here or there.

I have been writing away on Bastard Prince, finally feeling like I have this story in the bag, if you will. Besides that I have been busy busy busy. If you follow my other blog, you’ll know we had a plumbing catastrophe last week and I spent a couple days bleaching my kitchen. **shudders**

Bastard Prince is sitting at 42k, and going pretty well, I think I should be able to wrap this draft up in about 95 – 100k and tackle Crossroads. Now, Crossroads is mostly written, I will have to make adjustments for the changes in the timeline I made in Bastard Prince. I like how Crossroads reads, I like how the characters interact.

I can feel how close I am to finishing these projects, and it gives me goosebumps. In other news, I have branched out to Kobo, who opened their doors to self pubbers recently. I’m still learning their site and once I figure out where my stories are listed I’ll link to it.

And now to go get stuff done. Take care all.

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I’ve bounced around on my projects since we moved, trying to get my head back in the right ‘space’. I’ve been slowly getting things settled. So I’m taking a look at the last half of the year. There are two big projects I want to finish (1st drafts), Bastard Prince and Crown of Bones.  I have three smaller (short story size) projects; the FMAnthology, The Christmas Zombie thing, and another ‘from the author’s POV story’ and I have 5 months…

Bastard Prince is sitting currently at 29k and I think 60k should wrap it up. I am going to be doing Aug Camp nano and I am fairly confident I can get that in Aug. Sept might be a rest up, do little projects, then (maybe) tackle COB again in oct/november. I wanted to have COB  finished (rough draft at least) before oct, but I have to say I don’t think it will happen.

There is something I’ve been missing with COB, and I haven’t had the time to sit down and just LOOK at it. Maybe I’ll do that in Oct. Well see.

I also need to do the next pass on E1, I’d like to have it pub ready before the end of this year.

so the line up is;

In Aug;

Bastard Prince I will finish this gods be damned story, dang it

In Sept

~ Shorter projects; 

  • FM-Anthology (submission call is over here for those interested)
  • Christmas Zombie-thing
  • Inside the Author’s mind story

In Oct

~ Final Edit round on Elemental Truth and possibly start formatting?

~ Do the cover for Bastard Prince Crown of Bones, Christmas Zombie  and Elemental Flame

plotting/worldbuilding for Crown of bones.  I need to sit down and just work out what is bugging me about this project.

~Plotting on Elemental Flame (E2)

In November

Crown of Bones

~ If COB doesn’t pan out I’ll work on E2

 

In December

~ Publish the christmas zombiething

~ publish E1(?)

~ Put together goals list for 2013 (dear dog did I just write that? o.O)

 

As usual, this list is subject to change (or be totally ignored) depending on how my RL goes.

There is a lot going on, on the internets, a lot that I have been thinking and mulling over. I just don’t have the words quite right in my head just yet.

Have a good day, folks. Happy Monday!

~*~

Bonus link;

Jay Lake posted at his blog a thing of dialog tags over here. Well worth reading.

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

I am so awful at posting over here, I am so so so so sorry folks. In good news, I am writing, lots of writing. And getting interesting feedback from betas. I am working on a short story that ties in with Bastard Prince (sorta) and thought I’d share some of it with what few readers I still have here ;)

~*~

Chandra crouched behind the large tree, heart pounding in her ears. She could hear the baying of the hounds, the yelling of their handlers. She turned, scanning the rocky terrain. Two paths cut narrowly through the underbrush.  One path led to the river, one to the mountain. She gripped the hilt of her long knife and for a brief moment could almost hear her old mentor’s voice. She closed her eyes, listening .

“Hold the dogs back, she wants her alive.” A rough voice, harsh from years of yelling echoed. “Come out, little princess, we need to escort you home.”

Chandra slowly pulled the knife, staring at the curved blade, the rahauk inscription in the shiny metal. Her father had insisted she and her sister learn how to defend themselves. She never thought she’d have to use it, against her own grandmother’s people.

“Give my regards to grandmother. I’m not returning.” She called. She stared towards the path, she didn’t have time to shift to her otherform, the men would see, and the dogs would be on her before she could get her bearings.

“I can’t do that, Chandra, you know that, I know that. You need to return home.” He sounded a bit too eager.

Chandra nibbled her lower lip, glanced around the tree at her pursuers. Four men, the fifth was holding the ties to the dogs. Grandmother didn’t want her harmed. At least not outwardly. What could be concealed by her clothing, didn’t bother the old matron. And those men knew it.

“And you think you’re going to make me go along with you?” She asked stepping from behind the tree. The man sneered at her. He towered over her, though his smile faltered when he caught sight of the naked blade.

“You come along, like the good girl you are.” He motioned her to follow. So sure she would follow, two of the other men began making their way back the way they came. Chandra glanced down at the blade. What would her father do? What would her mentor do? They’d stand their ground. Could she? Could she afford not to? Her sister’s life was at stake. Chandra swallowed, letting her training calm her racing heart. The man stepped closer, frowning.

“Come on!” He roared at her. She sneered.

“You want me?” She lifted the knife, taking the defensive stance as she’d been taught.  ” Come get me.” 

 

~*~

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

Zombiething, whose true name is Help Never Came  has been sent off for the masses to enjoy, or hate, whichever they prefer. It is one of my favorite stories, even if it is so not what I usually write.

 

 

Life in the post-zombie-apocalypse is full of nasty surprises and many unsolved mysteries, such as old diaries and teddy bears. After saving some fellow survivors Chris and his team find themselves stuck on the wrong side of the river with surging hordes of Zombies moving faster than normal. Worse yet, home base isn’t answering their calls.

 it is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and XinXii

I feel really good, having gotten this finally out there. Time to finish the E1 edits.

I’ll update this post once the B&N and XinXii go live.

~*~

Over the past few months I have been fighting the negative whispers and self doubt. Perfectionism raised it’s head and everything I’ve been working on has been tainted by this little voice whispering in my head that I’m no good.

I hope I have gotten past it. I think I have. I feel better than I have in a long time.

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

I was reading Kris Rusch’s latest post and… well you know she made me cry. She really did.

 

When you strive for perfection in your writing, you’re dooming yourself to perpetual failure.

 

Go read her latest post. Then go write. :)

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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.

 

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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.

 

 

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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!

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“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.

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!

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“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.

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.

Smashwords

Mar. 5th, 2012 03:45 pm
necia_phoenix: (Default)

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

Smashwords is doing a week long promo Read an EBook Week,  in which many authors have put their books on special with coupon codes listed on the book page. I signed mine up also, and the first of my Inside the Author’s Mind series, The Shiny, is actually free with the coupon!

There are a lot of good reads in that catalog which is over here. I suggest you take a look and go through it, you might find some stuff you’ll enjoy.

 

In other words, I did a add up of the sales from last year, a total of 22 between Amazon and Smashwords. Ok, doesn’t look too impressive. But think about this, it is 22 sales I would never have made if I left those stories unwritten/on my computer. And that was just between Aug and Dec 31st. With little, if any marketing. It looks like The Magic Maker seems to be my best selling title. So far.

I consider this as an ongoing success. It makes me happy to know I’m doing this.

Now to editing and figuring out what next.

Happy Monday.

necia_phoenix: (Default)

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

I have been battling rl stuff (move preparation and kids with the flu) so my writing and editing, as I suspected it would this month, has ground to a halt. This morning, in between sanitizing my house post some upset stomachs, and making some mad dashes to the bathroom (yes, I know my life is soooo glamorous) I went over to Dean Wesley Smith’s* site to see what posts he has done since my last check in (about a week ago I think). His post was short, but linked to Kristine Rusch’s post on Bestseller Lists, and Joe Konrath’s post The Myth of the Bestseller.

Now I’ve heard, for quite some time actually, that the bestseller lists were not entirely accurate portrayals of who/what is selling well. Kris breaks it down very well (IMO) and the commentors are as informative as her post itself.

I’m not too familiar with Konrath’s blog, I’ve found his manner a bit brusque at times in the past, and the swearing does make me cringe (which is weird because I am worse than a sailor when it comes to swearing) but he’s very informative and well worth taking a read through his posts if you don’t already.  I don’t totally agree with his delivery ;) , but that’s personal preference. That said, his post was exactly what I needed to read and I suggest you read it too.

Any writer who puts food on the table with their writing is successful. It doesn’t matter if it is a box of mac and cheese, or caviar and champagne. Taking your career into your own hands, giving it your best shot, striving to do better… that’s the American Dream, baby.

 

Are the bestseller lists important? I can’t answer that. For the brownie points, for the thrill of saying “I made it! Looksee!”, well if that what geeks you out then sure, they’re important. I can’t comment on the money side of it as I, personally, do not know authors who are on bestsellers lists and are willing to discuss their finances with me.  I have however read about bestsellers who are still struggling to pay the bills.

Are the lists important to me?

I don’t honestly know how to answer that question. In the past I wanted to see one of   my stories on the NYT Bestseller’s list. Why? Because I erroneously thought  that would show that I was a success. But lately it doesn’t seem to matter because those lists rarely contain books I actually would want to read. Now?  It would certainly feed my ego to say “I was #____ on the NYT Bestseller List”, I won’t lie, that sort of thing would have me grinning for a month. But I don’t need that list to validate me being a success.

I AM a success. I have written and I continue to write, and I have published my work. It is up, available. And people seem to like it, I’m selling a bit. And what is really cool is it will be available to readers. For as long as I choose it to be.  If I don’t sell a huge amount in the first week of putting it up, I won’t have to worry about my publisher not picking up my next story. I’m not going to fire me. :P

I’m putting mac n cheese on the table man! :D

As always, your thoughts and opinions are welcome. And thanks to Dean Wesley Smith, Kristine Rusch and Joe Konrath for sharing their experiences in publishing with the rest of us. Have a great day peoples!

ooo  Bonus link: 25 Things Writers Should Know About Agents.

 

 

 

*I try not to spend too much time reading blogs. I read Dean and Kris’s, and I skim over my livejournals which I have rssfeeds of other blogs. Other than that I just don’t have the time.
necia_phoenix: (Default)

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

I put together a new cover for Muse Interrupted yesterday, which has me chortling as much as I was when writing the story;

 

This is cute, I don’t care what you say it made me giggle. Still does. :P However for some reason Amazon, though I have changed the cover, isn’t showing the new cover. I need to go see what’s up with that and maybe re-upload it.

Since I had the program open anyways I went ahead and fiddled with a cover concept idea for the still unnamed zombie thing, though the more I think about it the more I lean towards the title “Help never came

This one: then this one

 

I like the creepy of the first one but not the colors, white bear didn’t fit in that color scheme at all. When I put brown bear in the setting with the house it didn’t look right, i didn’t even try to render it. The white bear stands out more in this. Still fiddling with it while I try to get rid of the plague I seem to have caught. I need more sinister in this I think, though every one seems to think the eyes are still freaky.

What about you, interwebs? Which of the two seem to work better? Or is there another background I ought to try. The teddy and the gun are going to stay… hmmm I do need grass….

What is your agenda for the day?

**putters back to the digi art**

necia_phoenix: (Default)

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!

necia_phoenix: (Default)

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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