Today in stupid advice

I can’t even pretend to be polite about this. It’s ridiculous.

Yes, some of the greatest SF/F writers out there love to read SF/F, some don’t.

As a writer you should love to read. If you don’t read you … it’s hard to explain but consider it Furthering Education or whatever the devil that modern phrase for it is when teachers are required to go back to college every few years kinda thing.

But reading should be something you love.

This and it’s myriad copies (seriously, I find it both terrifyingly cult-like as well as exceedingly telling that these are always worded nigh identically) are phrased in a way that clearly implies “so you known what is selling right now and you can write that”.

I call bullshit.

Don’t believe me? Follow editors and they’re all wanting to see something new and different and lament all the agents who’re only accepting the tried and true.

Look at how many clones of Twilight failed to garner its numbers. The Harry Potter knockoffs. Too, look at the insane number of people of all ages who prefer YA because it’s where they can find something different … to say nothing of YA not actually needing a special genre tag for “this isn’t depressing, dark, etc”.

In short the people like Ms Dawson who say this are horribly out of touch.

You want advice on writing? Look to the successful writers: Ed Greenwood, Neil Gaimen, Terry Pratchett, Spider Robinson, J K Rowling, Saladin Ahmed, Jeph Jacques …

What do they all have in common? They didn’t look at their own genre for anything. Not really. Pratchett’s Discworld stuff started out parodying Dragon Riders of Pern which is a fantasy novel, but I’m pretty sure that is not what the Dawsons of the world mean.

In many cases they utterly defy genre. Ben Bova acknowledges that Spider’s stuff is not, strictly speaking (and doubly so back when Ben was editor of a major SF magazine!) SciFi, but where the hell else could Spider’s stuff find a home?! It definitely wasn’t Romance, Horror, Mystery, or Western. It could be called SF/F if you squinted and turned your head upside-down … so, what the hell! True, Spider reads SF/F … because he likes a good Heinlein, not because it has anything to do with his work.

Ed Greenwood is a librarian whose home is packed to the gills with tens of thousands of books, all of which he has read. So, okay, yeah he reads Fantasy … and cooking, and architecture, and biology, and mystery, and horror, and poetry, and … he just likes books. And that diversity of tastes influences his work.

The thing is, do your thing. Whatever that thing may be. Try to sell it yo an agent if you like, but agents are … no one’s sure why … a bit obsessed with finding the next big clone of the current hot trend; like it costs them anything to accept something great and just actually do their flippin’ job! But publishers won’t let their editors accept unagented stuff anymore. But luckily traditional publishing is really just great for an advance which is pretty paltry and for being distributed by Ingram which I probably misspelled and don’t care but is also pretty much the distributor for All Things Book for US audiences (sad but true, Reagan & Bush’s dismantling of antitrust laws was a Bad Thing … not that publishing much got enforcement of them anyway).

Still, as truly awful as they are (and words can’t express how awful they are) it’s as effective or more so to be available on Amazon which is easy enough to do. Though I’ll be damned if I’ll engage in the modern day slavery of Kindle Unlimited (exclusivity to Amazon and I make a piece if an arbitrary sized pie made of pocket change that Amazon sets?! Fuck that.)

But read what you like, read what you like. And remember: Ursula Vernon doesn’t read SF/F. But she writes it and can’t seem to stay off the bestseller lists 🤷‍♀️.

Advertisements

Happy holidays

81KX3TFsgwL._SL1500_I should have posted this sooner, but I’ve had a distracting week.  Some of it good, too much of it bad.

Regardless, Now & Forever is on sale for the entire month of December wherever it’s possible (which pretty much just means Not Nook, though some Amazon stores might not have marked it down properly either).71jhJo-DxUL._SL1500_

Regardless:  Where I could do so Love or Lust is FREE!  And Ready or Not is half off!

As always, this exclusively applies to the eBooks.  The way the print books are done gives me almost no promotional capacity myself.  Also, the books are sold at very little profit so promotions on the print edition would not go well.

 

Thoughts on piracy

The Pirate Bay logo

The Pirate Bay logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At what point is it okay to share the works of someone who is trying, or hoping to make a living at an artistic endeavour?  Is it once they’ve achieved a living by it?  When they’re rich by it?

With the internet, it’s certainly hard to fight it.  Fight too hard and, like Metallica, you just make it worse.  Don’t fight it hard enough and you’ll never get it to stop … assuming it’s even possible.  So there’s a certain futility to it all.

I know people who’ll pirate TV shows, movies, music, etc.  In some cases that’s the end of it; they have it and they’re not going to pay for it.  Some decide it was worthwhile and so buy the DVD, BluRay, CD, iTunes, whatever.  Some of the former would have bought it if a torrent didn’t exist, some refuse to ever pay for media.

Those who use piracy as a sort of library, I honestly have no issue with.  Or maybe you’re using it because you go to listen to your favourite tape, LP, or CD and discover it’s broken or ruined and it’ll be a few hundred dollars to replace because it’s out of print or something.  Seen more than a few people hunting down torrents of video games for that reason.

I don’t think file-sharing in itself is inherently bad.  As with most things, it’s intent.

Some people just share things because they can.  They don’t realise, or don’t care, that there are real people hurt by this.  Others do it as a sort of finger to capitalism and similar.  There are those who refuse to believe that data can, in some kind of sense, belong to someone.

I’ve recently found one of my books on several torrent sites.  And to get it down is very likely to require the help of a lawyer due to the rather convoluted policies on the part of both the DMCA and those sites’ interpretation of it.

On one hand, I almost feel happy:  someone liked my book well enough to share it?  And people want it badly enough to be downloading it this way?

On the other … I looked at the tracker statistics:  There’re twice as many people downloading that book as I type this than paid for it in the past two months.

I’m not so unrealistic as to believe that all of those are people who would have ever found my book to buy in the first place; there’re people whose personal Amazon is TorrentReactor.  I am not so unrealistic to believe that there are not some who see The Pirate Bay as a sort of lending library without due dates, or as a sort of free Netflix.

Still, it hurts.  It hurts personally that there are people out there who would enjoy someone’s hard work, but be unwilling to get it legally; unwilling to support that artist so that they might provide more work to enjoy.  I’ve seen musicians argue that, these days, don’t sell the music sell the merchandise – if they buy the shirt they get the MP3, according to an MC Lars song.  That’s fine and well for musicians.  What of authors?  What merchandise do we have?  That may work for some genres, but not all.  Too, I do have a bit of that; if you buy the print book from Amazon the e-book is free.

Thing is, with many arts, it’s a labour of love in the first place.  Many a musician, many a filmmaker, many a writer has to have a day job to pay the bills.  New York Times Bestselling authors who have to work to put food in the cupboards and pay the rent. Certainly those of us without that prestige … Now & Forever has two books out and both have hit the best seller charts in more than one country, not bad.  Amazon best sellers, at that!  Not sitewide, though.  Genre.  Yes, one of them did hit a point above one of the new big titles in YA romance.  Tally that against the statistics of how many people don’t read.  Best seller, in all but the most remarkable of cases; award winning, inall but the most remarkable of cases … these things do not mean well off, they don’t mean going through the dollars with a plow … they mean we make anything at all.  My writing pays my electric bill, sometimes.

The people who created the torrent of my book will probably never read this.  Even if they do, they’re as likely to troll in the comments as to take it down – the most likely is they’ll read it, shrug, and move on with no reaction at all.  I’ve no idea what I will or can do about the torrents; they exist, hundreds of people have downloaded them and the book (by-the-by, they used a terrible program to create the Kindle version put in there so it’s ugly … the ePub is one they got from one retailer or another) … I could get rid of the torrents today, and tomorrow, next week, next month … they’d be back.  With the sales lost, because some sales ARE lost, just no, not as many as the RIAA and MPAA try to claim, there’s no hope of ever affording the lawyer’s fees, to make it stop.  Maybe I’ll join the RWA, I think they offer legal services to members.

No I will not sue the people who want my book.  I’m not Metallica, I know a good portion of the downloaders are just kids, or the curious.  The torrent creators, they might get sued, but I know perfectly well how easy it can be for one to do these things without leaving any breadcrumbs … a little clever use of TOR or I2P and no one can find you unless you do something daft.  What?  Women can understand hacking and the internet, too.  Even those of us who prefer OSX and do our writing with ink and parchment; some of us just take an academic approach to it rather than a practical one.

I won’t ask you not to download the torrents; I will, however, beg you:  if you enjoy the book, consider buying a copy.  I have no magical power to know how many people possess a copy of my book, no magical power to know if and how much you enjoy it.  Reading a book does not support the author.  Tell your friends it exists, encourage them to read it?  That can, yes, though it helps if you do so in a way that at least some of them buy it; it certainly helps to nominate it for awards and to vote for it when it’s been nominated.  Leaving reviews, leaving ratings.  These things help.  That’s cheerleading, buying the product?  That supports the author herself; it’s money in her pocket.  If she’s with a big publisher, yes, it means you probably bought her the postage stamp she just put on her reply to a fan’s letter – sad, but true, though that’s no reason not to buy her book … if it doesn’t sell, and the publisher isn’t counting torrent tracker stats as sales by any measure, then they won’t renew her for another book.  If she’s self-publisher, you’ve probably bought her a cup of tea, a little nicer … but without a big marketing team, Ingram distribution, people whose job it is to ensure that the book is on Barnes & Nobles’ physical store shelves, etc … she gets precious few cups of tea as it is, don’t deny her another … she loves tea, it makes her happy, and a happy writer writes more books.

It’s all down to intent – don’t hurt the artists you love.  Like Boris Vallejo?  Buy a book of his art that has some of your favourites from that JPEG collection you downloaded.  Like Imagine Me & You?  It’s often only us$5 at Big Lots for the DVD (remember, used sales aren’t sales, you supported the store, not the artist(s)).  Love Arden Kaywin’s latest album?  Why not, at least, get your favourite tracks on iTunes?  Want to read Love or Lust all the way through, rather than just the sample, before you buy?  Fair enough, I completely understand that – too many books out there, big/small/self published where the editing and story telling are only good up to the end of the sample, everything from the next page on is a rough draft, and a bad one, at that; and of course you won’t take my word for it that I take more pride in myself and my work than to do that to people.  When you’re done, consider grabbing a copy from somewhere.  If you like having the ePub and the Kindle version, I recommend getting it from DriveThru Fiction or All Romance E-Books; I had no control over the Kindle file created by Smashwords and therefore cannot recommend it in good conscience, but all three will give you both formats in a single purchase and my lack of DRM means you can convert any retail source’s file to whatever format you wish, just don’t blame me if it doesn’t come out well.

[Weeping with joy] FINALLY!

Ready or Not (concept only)Ready or Not is available in print!

At this very specific moment only this store but it should be on Amazon by the end of the day at earliest, sometime tomorrow or Thursday at the latest.

Available to other places (BAM!, B&N, your local mom & pop’s ordering system, etc.) … well, really, they could be as early as for Amazon, but more likely they’ll start showing up around Friday and trickle in over the next week or so.

9781482631173 is the ISBN you’re asking for (yes, you can just say “Ready or Not by Jaye Em Edgecliff” or “What do you have by Jaye Em Edgecliff” or whatever, but this theoretically saves time and is really handy for putting in some search functions at some bookstores).

In any event, please enjoy.

Nominate your favourite indie author(s)

I hope, maybe, some of you will nominate Love or Lust certainly I do hope that some indie author or other has put a book out in the past year that has inspired or impressed you enough to nominate he or she.  You can also, by the by, nominate multiple books/authors.

Indie Author Land rgb-01

The 50 Self-Published Novels Worth Reading (2013/14)

Nominations Now Open!!!

We need your help in putting together a list of some of the best self-published books from the past year. Read something great? Nominate it. Written something great? Urge a fan to nominate it.

The interest our list has already generated has been phenomenal; in the three days since we opened up nominations it has already become our most popular post ever. That’s great for our ego, but more importantly, it means that whichever books make the list will get the exposure they deserve.

The Rules

1. The book must be self-published or published by a small, “indie-minded” house.
2. The book must have been published on or after 1 January, 2013.
3. The book must be available for purchase, in paperback or ebook format, from a large store – Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
4. Only nominations received on or before 21 April, 2014 will be considered.

Haven’t read a self-published book yet? Here are some we think might be worth your consideration.

facebook google_plus twitter
1px

Getting fed up with Amazon

Warning:  I’m highly annoyed, in a foul mood, and not much inclined to be remotely charitable to a certain major corporation just now.

Well, my 75% off sale is up and going. … except Amazon.

They were one of the first places I set the sale, but they haven’t seen fit to post the new price.

I contacted their support and, after an unprofessionally long wait (most others respond within hours if not minutes, Amazon typically is best measured in days) they replied … the price change page hadn’t loaded properly so a key step was missed. Lovely of then to finally say so this morning. Got it sorted, and it’s been almost 12hrs … still no change. Should I mention that the price hasn’t even dropped through automatic price matching yet?!

This is not my first issue with Amazon, and I imagine it will not be my last. Simply put, they can be decently professional to their consumers, to judge by anecdotes at work, if people need to return or exchange something, but in their inter-professional dealings they are, frankly, insulting. So much so that if they were not currently such a major bookseller that I sell more copies per month there than I do in all other estores combined in a quarter, I’d drop them.

They have the slowest response time when contacted for issues and their responses are less attentive to what was said. Their terms are among the worst in the industry. Their format is obtuse and needlessly complex; not to mention stiflingly proprietary. Their KDP site, while not horrible, is not so intuitive as others. Finally there is the treatment: you are a charity and potential customer, not a serious business interaction – you are inundated with offers for premium services you can buy and denied options afforded to larger publishing houses (pre-orders and certain options that Tor has without exclusivity that little ol’ me mayn’t have).

Why say all of this? Information is a powerful tool. Most people perceive Amazon and Kindle in a very positive light. Certainly they are not Satan manifest, but neither are they the greatest company on Earth.

For those who prefer companies that treat everyone interacting with them with equal respect and professionalism I recommend Apple, Kobo, and the group behind All Romance eBooks (all of whom carry my book).

I’m not saying to cease using Amazon nor to trash your Kindle … but if you are already feeling a bit dissatisfied, perhaps this is one more reason to look at that iPad or similar you’ve been eyeing.

5 more stars!

For those suspicious I’ve made this up, you can see it for yourself at Amazon here and here.

It really is lovely to see things like this.  It’s very heartening to see when the characters evoke something within the reader like this.

I may have mentioned the one from October already — I suddenly can’t recall.  I know I’d meant to, so I’m mentioning it now to be sure.

The newest one is something that is very uplifting to an author.  Just as with my three star review, I’m very proud of this one — not because of the rating (though I can’t say I’m displeased with it ;)) but rather because it’s nice to know that one has created something that really jives with certain people’s lives and experiences.

And yes, I know the story is a little hard to believe.  That’s the point of fiction, though, it’s always a little hard to believe; I mean you have to swallow a lot of coincidences of one form or another — but then again, life is full of those coincidences.  It’s why people say truth is strange because fiction has to make sense; trouble is, the odds don’t normally work out so conveniently in regards of both good and bad, so the job of a writer is to balance the amazing coincidences with the day-to-day expectations to make them ignorable, or to play magician and keep distracting you from them by sufficient waving of wands and flashing of shiny things.

For those awaiting Ready or Not will be happy to know that it is, so far, still on track for release between Easter and June.  I know that’s a frustratingly vague range, but I promise to do all I can to have it somewhat more specific date by the end of January.

5.0 out of 5 stars None, October 29, 2013
This review is from: Love or Lust (Now & Forever) (Kindle Edition)

Wonderfull book. I could not but i down. I have read it twice now i love it so much. Hopefully the next one come out soon. Can’t wait to see what happens next.

5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, December 8, 2013
By
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Love or Lust (Now & Forever) (Kindle Edition)

Great story even if it is a little hard to believe. This book really hit close to home while reading what “Pixie“ was going through. Just about every gay person goes through having those fears and freak out a as she did. I really hope their story does continue into another book. I know I’ll be watching for it.

Trick-or-Treat: Free books!

Well, book.

Love or Lust coverLove or Lust is free tomorrow through 4 November.

Now, there’re catches:

  1. I can’t make the print book free.  Seriously, I don’t have that kind of control over the pricing.  There’s a minimum, and the price is already not much above that.
  2. I can’t set it free in all eBook retailers.  Sad, but true.  Some will set themselves.  Amazon, for example.  I have no control of WHEN they’ll do so nor when they’ll set the price back.  Weird, but true.  As I recall Nook and Amazon were the only places, though.  Or was that Kobo and Amazon?  Oh well, if it’s 31 October and the price isn’t changed … that’s why.

That’s it.  It’s the same thing you’d pay us$3.99 (or various other prices around the world — I’m in 51 countries, give me a break here) for, just free for the Halloween weekend.  A gift to celebrate Samhain and wish everyone a fun fall, a happy (early or belated depending where you’re standing) Thanksgiving, and so on.

I hope you’ll take advantage of it.  Tell your friends.  Etc.

Another 5-Stars!

I was poking around on Amazon and discovered something:  A week ago today I received another 5-star review!

You can, of course, read it here.

It’s always nice to feel appreciated, and that the book is well liked.  I’m even happier to see that it seems to really … resonate?  Resonate seems a good word, we’ll use that.   Yeah, it resonates with people.  It’s warming to know that the characters are so endearing, or that the story itself is in some way moving or touching.

I’ve seen it said recently (it was a quote from another writer posted to The Indie View’s Facebook page, if I recall correctly) that artists are kind of schizophrenic.  At one and the same time we’re incredibly confident and full of pride, and nervous wrecks with absolutely no self-esteem.  It seems true — on one hand we feel as though our work ought to be shared with the world, so there’s your pride and ego; on the other hand we’re absolutely convinced (well, most of us, exceptions like Anne Rice exist — I’m not a fan, don’t ask about her books, I’ve never even watched Interview With a Vampire) that our work is awful and that we will be belittled and berated, stopped in the street and spat upon … well, okay, maybe not quite that bad, but some pretty terrible things and emotions do go through our minds and flood out through our mouths.  I’ve nearly got myself strangled by close friends I fretted so much ~blush~.

Any of you still waiting to buy the book, Kindle edition is 99¢ right now, and the iBooks version is free.

Oh, and for those waiting on a status report for Ready or Not: Delayed. Editor had some issues with her gall bladder. She’s feeling better now, but some other problems decided to come play “kick ’em while they’re down” with her so she’s still rather out of sorts. Things will hopefully get back on track soon and, with luck, we’ll at least have a release around the 1yr anniversary of Love or Lust … pray for a little luck and we might even manage a new years or Valentine’s release, but I wouldn’t suggest any holding of breath for earlier than Easter.

iBooks sales can happen now!

It turns out the issue I was having with setting up the labour day sale was a glitch in iTunes Connect.  C’est la vie, glitches happen in the best of software.  I’ve heard of Hello World failing to run correct for people.  Computers are semi-daemonic entities.

Well, tomorrow until Saturday Love or Lust will be $0.99 on iBookstore.  And lowered approximately the same degree in most markets.  No, it’s not free.  I might do a free weekend soon, again, for everything.  This $0.99 was an experiment so I could tell tech support if I’m still having trouble.  I’ve got an experimental free set up too, but I’m not saying when }=) Well … not yet.

This new sale is just for a few days and only on iBooks (unless Amazon notices and auto-matches).  But I promise another free that will, this time, include everyone (except Nook and Kindle, since I can’t actually force such sales with them) is coming.