I write like
Jack London

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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Busy, Busy, Busy

I've been overwhelmed with editing the finished books I want to get out this year, writing new manuscripts, and keeping up with my freelancers (who always seem to be light years ahead of me). On the good side, that means lots of stuff coming out under both of my author names later this month.

On the bad side, I'm not keeping up with any of my blogs (as I'm sure you have especially noticed here). So I'm cutting back on posting to Wednesdays and Saturdays only for the rest of 2015.

Well, I take that back. You'll get the occasional Monday Movie Mania post because there's lots of movies I want to see in the near future, starting with October 23rd's releases of Vin Diesel's The Witch Hunter and Jem & the Holograms: The Movie.

In the meantime, I strongly suggest Jane Friedman's condensation of what she got out of the 2015 NINC conference.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

What I Listen to in October

The Smiths' "How Soon Is Now" was featured in the move, The Craft, and was the main theme for the TV series Charmed.

Friday, October 2, 2015

When Trad Publishers Start Thinking Like Indies

Today's post is a little later than usual because I needed to really think about the situation I want to address. The main difference between trad and indie publishers is their marketing concept: the produce model versus the longtail.

The produce model consists of leaving a book on the brick-and-mortar book shelf for a limited period of time. It makes sense because the physical constraints of the bookstore can hold only so many paperback and hardback items. Trad publishers have view e-books the same way.

The longtail means leaving books (both e-book and POD books which makes sense for indie publishers because of the high cost of a print run and the waste of the return system) available on the virtual shelf forever because computing space is incredibly cheap these days.

Because of the produce model, the trad publishers have licensed rights to thousands of books that they aren't bothering to sell. And they finally noticed this.

Two weeks ago, Publishers Weekly had an article about Simon & Schuster's CEO Carolyn Reidy and her address at the BISG annual meeting. This is the quote that has me concerned as a rival publisher: "S&S makes its backlist title available to subscription services, she said, emphasizing that these services do not cannibalize print sales and that they also drive discovery."

It's not the subscription service part that worries me. It's the fact that she's noticed that S&S has thousands of books they can dump back into the market and not ruin their front list. In other words, a trad pub CEO has noticed the long tail and plans to use it.

Can S&S pump all these e-books into the market at once? No, not when they've cut personnel to the bone. In theory, they would also need to review contracts to see if they have the rights, which would also take time. Big corporations are more likely to put out the e-books anyway and tell the little, powerless authors to go ahead and sue them.

Even when/if a trad published author manages to get their rights back, it takes time to get their books into e-book shape. Kris Rusch has a good breakdown on how hard it is for indies to keep up with only five to ten books. She also points out that trad publishers are now competing with indies for ad space in places like BookBub., which a couple of years ago carried only advertised deals on indie books. They even emphasized in a recent blog how they preferred older books for their adequate reviews. (And I can't for the life of me find the page that I had thought I bookmarked. When I do, I'll add the link.)

And make no mistake, older books being reissued is happening. In today's Amazon Kindle Daily Deal, a book I've been searching used bookstores for ages popped up: Michael Moorcock's The Eternal Champion. $1.99 for the e-book of a novel that was originally published in 1970. The reader is me *SQUEED*. The indie publisher in me said, "Holy shit."

Granted, Titan Books, which has the reprint rights to The Eternal Champion, is a smaller publisher than S&S, but S&S and the rest of the Big 5 could do this eventually. If writers think the indie tsunami ruins their discoverability now, wait until the large publishers get their reissue machine chugging.

If they do. Just because a CEO has noticed a potential revenue stream, it doesn't mean that they'll take full advantage of it. But I really do think this is the last nail in the indie gold rush.

Does that mean we can't compete? Hell, no! But as I've repeatedly said, we have to be better than the trad pubs to get attention. To that end, I'm working on new covers for my books as we speak.

Indie publishing is a business; we have to treat it as such if we want to compete.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Back in the Saddle!

Things on the home front finally settled down last weekend. Our impromptu houseguest moved out ten days ago, and as of Monday, September 20, I'm back to working full-time.


Or it was. On Friday, we found out my father-in-law needed to go in Monday to have a pacemaker surgically implanted. Then Genius Kid came down with some bug Saturday night that required a trip to our doctor.

On the plus side, I got a lot done last week. I've prepped Amish, Vamp & Thieves for my formatter, entered the data for the paperback's ISBN, finished the front matter and delivered everything to her. Bless her, she had everything back to me on Sunday for review.

Next up is getting Blood Sacrifice ready for paper printing.

A Question of Balance is done, and is in what I call it's resting phase. That means I write something else before I start editing. Sort of like a palate cleansing. While I hope to have it ready around Sword and Sorceress 30's release date, I won't make any promise because I'll jinx the process. *smile*

So what am I doing to cleanse my palate? Zombie Goddess hit 27K last week. I'll work on it for the rest of September and October, keeping my fingers crossed that I get it done before NaNoWriMo starts. For this year's NaNo, I want to get the bulk of Ravaged, Bloodlines #7, done.

The 888-555-HERO series is currently on hold. My co-writer Laura Kirwan bowed out for personal reasons, but she released her rights to the story and characters and gave me her blessing for finishing the project. If I can get the other three books mentioned above written, edited and published by the end of the year, I'm hoping to pick it up again in January.

It'll be a busy last three months of the year, but it really feels good to be working again. Now, if I can only keep everyone healthy and out of my hair...

Monday, September 28, 2015

How Many Banned Books Have You Read?

Yes, it's Banned Books Week, and I promote it as a parent.

That's right. As a parent, not as a writer.

So many of the books that misguided parents and teachers try to prevent kids from reading are actually wonderful teaching tools. Why? Because they can help both kids and adults broach painful, difficult subjects.

First off, adults foolishly believe that if kids don't have access to these books, then they won't perform the actions depicted within. Unfortunately, our children are already facing these situations whether we like it or not. (Even those who are homeschooled. Don't kid yourselves. I'm a homeschool mom, too.) By talking with our children (not talking TO them), we can give them the skills to protect themselves.

Second, adults don't like depictions of people they don't approve of, and they think if they don't acknowledge these people, their children will never encounter them. I hate to tell these folks, but such encounters are hard to avoid in the modern world. All that happens is they infect their kids with their fear. Then they're shocked when it's their own son or daughter in trouble for bullying another kid because he or she is different.

Looking over this year's list, the only books I've personally read are Persepolis and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I highly recommend them for kids twelve and older.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Music I've Been Listening To

So how many cans of AquaNet did the Stray Cats use?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Happy Mabon!

It's the Autumn Equinox! The second harvest festival of the Wiccan calendar.

And boy, are the farmers harvesting! With the recent dry weather, they are pulling in soybeans as fast as they can in the fields surrounding our neighborhood.

Unfortunately, that means allergies. But give me drugs and Kleenex, and I'll keep working on Zombie Goddess!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Friday, September 18, 2015

Editing Nightmares When You're Trad Published

Last night I was reading the latest book in a series of a new writer I've fallen in love with. Well, she's new to me. I stumbled across a couple of typos. I'm not normally a grammar bitch, but one glitch in particular really threw me off. I had to reread the sentence a couple of times to deduce what word "rt" was supposed to be.

This is the same author whose last book in this series had a glaring copyedit problem. The heroine started a scene drinking her favorite hot beverage, but ended the scene drinking a totally different beverage. Not just a totally different beverage, but one that has been mentioned several times in the series as one the heroine hates.

This writer's particular series is published by DAW which is part of Penguin-Random House. Allegedly, one of the greatest selling points of traditional publishers is the extensive copy editing, line editing, and proofreading that a publishing house book goes through until it is released into the wild.

Except it's not happening.

I've been hearing from traditionally published friends (those still talking to me anyway) that they're not getting any editing. Or that they need to pay for an outside editor. Or they get the galleys back with more errors introduced than the original manuscript contained.

What's worse is if no one catches the mistake, it's never fixed. Quite frankly, the publishing houses don't have the money or manpower to do so. They're cutting costs like crazy, and guess who goes first when a corporation needs to trim the overhead? Yep, the people who actually do the work.

So, my new favorite heroine from my new favorite author is going continue drinking coffee, which she absolutely despises even if that particular book goes into its hundredth printing.

As I said is a previous post, I'm paranoid I missed something when my editor okays the final copy. My story in the anthology may be marred until the end of time.

Or until I get my rights back, and I release my own version. And honestly, that's one of the biggest pluses of indie publishing over trad publishing. I have the power to fix my boo-boo's.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Editing Nightmares when You're an Indie

First of all, let me say I wouldn't trade being an indie for anything. Nor do I hate editing per se. But like everything in life, there are times when certain bugs crawl up your butt, and they are itchy and scratchy and drive you insane.

The zombie meme that indies don't edit drives me insane. We do edit.

I've never needed an developmental editor. These are the folks who tell you how to write the story. Personally, I've never understood why I'd need someone tell how to write a story, but I'm not going to criticize people who need them.

Also, I can do my own copyediting. That's making sure I haven't accidentally changed a character's eye color or name. Or something even more stupid.

But when it comes to line-editing (aka proofreading)...ARGH!

By no means am I perfect. I admit I have a tendency to leave out articles and prepositions while writing. This usually means I add 10-15K words to my manuscripts during my first line-editing pass.

After I'd made my passes, I had five separate people line-edit Blood Magick, plus two beta readers and my hubby go through the damn manuscript. You'd think that nine people, with three of those nine being industry professional editors and another three being trad-pubbed writers, would find all the typos.


Typos still made it into the e-book version. Some sweet, clear-eyed readers pointed out a handful of them. I fixed the manuscript. Uploaded it.

And still didn't catch a few. Earlier this year, I went going through the manuscript again in preparation for sending to a formatter. Checked the e-version. Found a couple more. My lovely formatter fixed the e-version. Then she sent me the print version for proofing. And guess what?

Yep, still found another one.

So, anyway, I'll start copy-editing A Question of Balance in a week or so. In the meantime, I'll be going through Amish, Vamps & Thieves before its formatting is updated. Hopefully, it won't take an additional nine people and twenty passes to get the manuscript clean.