I write like
Jack London

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Monday, July 28, 2014

When You Find Out Your Heroes Have Feet of Clay

What do you do when you find out your heroes aren't as perfect as you imagined them to be?

I've followed Dave Farland (aka Dave Wolverton) for a long, long time. I love his style of writing. And considering he survived a stint in Hollywood with his morals and sense of humor intact, I thought he was a man of integrity.

Until I clicked open his latest Kick in the Pants e-mail this weekend. The second paragraph started:

"I've had a number of readers ask about the Amazon-Hatchette debate. As you may know, they're involved in a massive lawsuit."

Lawsuit? What lawsuit?  Amazon and Hatchette's last contract expired in March, according to an Amazon press release which Hatchette has not disputed. The disagreement is over new contract terms.

Neither side has filed a lawsuit because there's NOTHING to file a lawsuit over. Neither side has been legally wronged by the other at this point. They are trying to hammer out new terms because the old ones expired. (Okay, one party may be trying a little bit harder than the other, but that's between the two corporations.)

When I read that second paragraph of Kick in the Pants, my eyes stung. Why would David lie? Then in the third paragraph he admitted to having a contract with Hatchette UK. The rest of the statement went downhill from there, including jabs at everyone's favorite whipping boy, Hugh Howey. I was shocked by David's attitude since he's done his fair share of indie publishing. I clicked the window shut after reading it, and I took my anger and disappointment out on the old kitchen tile I'm removing.

You'd think that at nearly fifty years of age and a solid twenty-five years in American corporate and legal culture I wouldn't be this fucking naive. But I guess I am.

Maybe that's why I write. I can't deal with the world as it is.

Note: David's Kick in the Pants columns are normally posted on his website, but the site's been down since the wee hours of Saturday morning when I read my e-mail. I'll link to the post when I can.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Best New Show You Should Be Watching

No, I don't have a geek girl crush, but I may have OCD. I can't stop watching this show.

P.S. SyFy has not renewed TWWP yet. If you want more Wil, contact SyFy today!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Will the Hatchette Insanity Ever End?

You know how last Friday I mentioned the abnormal number of hits from French IPAs? Later that afternoon, I suddenly had two sales on Amazon France, the first books in the Bloodlines and Seasons of Magick series. Was it someone defying her government's cultural edicts and trying a bold indie writer's work? Or was it someone at Hatchette looking for works to prove that indies write crap? Inquiring minds want to know.

Meanwhile back in the States, THE Authors Guild issued another screed claiming they represent the interests of ALL authors, including non-member indies.

Um, no.

And several indies, including me, told them so until they shut down comments about noon yesterday. Hey, if you're going to claim to represent us indies, maybe you should listen to your alleged constituency.

As several folks at The Passive Voice pointed out, THE Authors Guild's latest moves smack of desperation to be relevant in this rapidly changing world. To me, it shows that TAG is clearly in the back pocket of Hatchette and the other BPHs. If you're going to claim to represent ALL writers, then you need to be working for ALL writers, not just the one-percenters like King and Patterson. Because let's face it, those guys get an entirely different deal than Sharon Sala or Stephanie Bond.

Oh, wait. Sharon and Stephanie went indie. *snicker*

Angry Sheep signing off to go sniff paint fumes...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

NSFW and It's All Angie's Fault

During a conversation, Angie turned the subject of Star Trek: The Original Series to Mark Oshiro of Mark Reads fame. Since I'd never heard of him, Angie recommended his ST:TOS commentary as well as a reading of a John Scalzi short story.

But it was Mark's reading of portions of Fifty Shades of Grey that nearly had me peeing my pants. Seriously, folks, this is definitely NOT SAFE FOR WORK!


Monday, July 21, 2014

What Editing?

Like it or not, the publishing world has changed. Traditional publishers say they offer still value, such as editing, but do they really?

The last three books I've read that were traditionally published have not been edited. If it wasn't for the skill of these three writers, the tomes I bought would have been thrown across the room. I'm not going to name names because I actually respect the three writers in question, and it was very obvious that somebody at the publisher dropped the ball.

1) Last winter, I bought the e-book edition of a hardcover I purchased nearly fifteen years ago. It was one of those literary books I like to re-read occasional because I always discover something new in this writer's work that I missed the first time.

Except this time the discovery was so many typos! Which means the publisher scanned the original hardcopy with some sucky OCR software and didn't bother to double-check it before offering it for sale.

Dear Publisher: Lazy. Lazy. Lazy.

2) I bought the latest hardcover of one of my favorite authors last year, and finally carved some time to read it. This author has a known reading disorder so you'd think his publisher would make an extra effort on his books. Nope, not a chance, or at least, not this time. Read on his blog recently that he's paying for an editor out of his own pocket because he got skewered in reviews for the typos.

Dear Publisher: Charging $30 for a hardcover with that many typos makes you look bad to other writers, not just to readers. Very, very bad.

3) A week ago Sunday, I broke down and bought the latest mmpb of a series I absolutely adore. Started reading it last night in a minor celebration of getting some house painting accomplished this week. Page 69, heroine at restaurant drinking hot chocolate. Page 70, heroine still drinking hot chocolate. Page 71, heroine abandons her coffee to confront bad guy.

WTF? This gal rarely does coffee, and only when she's desperate and no other caffeine is available. Went back to the beginning of the scene. Yep, heroine definitely ordered hot chocolate and waitress delivered said hot chocolate.

It'll be interesting to see if there are any more copyediting mistakes along the same lines.

Dear Publisher: Let me guess. That thing in the Bible about Jesus turning water into wine was a typo your copyeditor missed, wasn't it?

Lesson of the Day: If you want a contract with a traditional publisher because you think you're precious baby will be edited, think again. Two of the writers I mentioned above have been NYT best-selling authors for more than two decades. If they can't get their publishers' time and concern over their books, what makes you think those publishers will give a rat's ass over a newbie like you?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Best New Show You Should Be Watching

Yes, I'm making you watch the second episode of The Wil Wheaton Project!

P.S. TWWP needs your support! Please contact SyFy and tell them you want more Wil!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Hatchette Is Spying on Me

Sure I've been talking about the Amazon-Hatchette negotiations (if you can call them that). Find someone in the publishing industry who hasn't. But my posts on the topic have gathered an unusual interest from France.

On a given week, I get a handful of hits from the home of gay Paree. Literally, a handful. As in five. Probably from the same two people who have followed WW&W for the last three years.

But over the last week? 179 total hits from France. And I doubt if my two French buddies suddenly told all their friends to watch Wil Wheaton (which you all should be, by the way).

Nope, the majority came from that last two posts about Amazon's second volley in the two corporations' war (55) and my rant about the Author's Guild president claiming she represents indies in the war (81).

So if any Hatchette executives are reading, I hate to tell you, but you fucked up. You fucked up big time.

1) You illegally conspired to price fix. You got caught.

2) By your company's own admission, you haven't been negotiating with Amazon in good faith.

3) You allowed yourselves to rely on 3 super-retailers in the U.S. over the last twenty years. One of them crashed and burned three years ago, and the second is on life support, changing the products they carry from books to knick-knacks.

4) You've pissed off your suppliers, and those who can are leaving your warm, smothering embrace.

5) Then you dragged indies, who weren't part of the fight, into your PR games and are now suffering the backlash.

So, dear Hatchette employee, you can click on my posts and whine about how unfairly everyone is treating you, but you brought this on yourselves. If I were you, I'd be polishing my resume about now.


Monday, July 14, 2014

I Don't Think I've Ever Called Amazon Sneaky, But I Will Call Roxana Robinson Arrogant

Last Friday, someone typed the following search criteria in Bing (yes, kids, there are other search engines beside Google):

"Amazons latest sneaky move in the hatchette"

Um, I don't recall ever calling Amazon sneaky. In fact, they're pretty much in your face when it comes to business strategy. So I clicked on the search criteria to see what comes up in Bing.

Well, I'll be damned. The number two website was this blog. Specifically, my post from the end of May in regards to Amazon's first public response to the Hatchette propaganda machine.

*sigh*

If only Hatchette's authors and the Author's Guild had left the indies out of the equation, they'd still be getting their journalist buddies to tout the party line. But, no, you just HAD to drag us into this fucking mess.

Now, Author's Guild president Roxana Robinson says:

I've been in touch with other people at the Authors Guild. We're trying to represent everyone, which includes those authors who are self-published and trying to protect them as well. And we’re looking toward the long-term; we want the best arrangement possible for writers in the future.

Guess what, sweetheart? I'm not a member of the Author's Guild. I don't pay any dues to your organization. And you sure as hell don't represent me or my publishing company!

Your statement is the ultimate in power-grabbing arrogance, Roxana. So go hang out with your millionaire buddies in the Hamptons and leave working writers like me out of your power games.

This sheep is officially pissed!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Best New Show You Should Be Watching

Okay, enough teasers. Here's the very first episode of The Will Wheaton Project!

P.S. TWWP needs your support! Please contact SyFy and tell them you want more Wil!