lagilman: coffee or die (stop that)
Since everyone else has their .02 on the recent Tor/Puppies kerfuffle, here's mine from a purely (mostly) business perspective.
If you are not a corporate officer, or an acknowledged Corporate Spokesperson, you should not be presumed to speak for the company. If an employee says something that could hurt the company (negatively influencing a merger, causing stock prices to fall, etc) then they should be dealt with internally (NOT on the front page of your website). Merely expressing personal opinions on a matter affecting the entire industry? Is still free speech, for good or ill, unless said employee has signed an NDA/gag order, which to the best of my knowledge is not part of Tor's employment package.

And if someone complains about someone else's free speech? That's also free speech. That's how it works, however annoying it may become.

In my observation, Tom Doherty's reacting the way he did - while ignoring other comments on the topic, interestingly enough said by MEN - has caused more potential harm to Tor Books than anything any employee could have done.

(and this comes AFTER Tor Books allowed a reported sexual predator in their employ to quietly resign, without a similar public apology from Tom to those the employee had abused. Which...yeah.)

lagilman: coffee or die (happy go lucky)
HarperCollins and Amazon are at odds again. That means, as Mindy Klasky reminds us, that at any moment, all HC books could disappear off Amazon while they snit* at each other over contracts.

And now, that includes all Harlequin novels - including all Luna titles. Including, y'know...mine.

So if you're an Amazon customer, and were thinking about buying copies of..well, ANY of my UF novels, now would be the time to do it. Just in case.

(and if you weren't thinking about buying copies... *guilts you heavily about not supporting your hostess. guilt guilt oh my GOD the guilt* )

- did it work?-

*where by "snit" I mean have a very ugly battle over terms that would make people outside the industry blanch and ask how that was even legal....
lagilman: coffee or die (the general warned me...)

A reminder for everyone in the EU - if you've been thinking about buying an ebook that's already out, you might want to do it NOW, before the new VAT regulations force the prices to go up.

Because prices WILL go up (we've already gotten emails confirming this from Amazon, et al that they're passing the increase directly along to the consumers. So thank your governments for that).

So, if you want to pick up copies of MILES TO GO and PROMISES TO KEEP, or FROM WHENCE YOU CAME, one of our anthologies, or even Practical Meerkat's 52 Bits of Useful Advice.... now would be the time to hie over to Book View Cafe and buy them....

lagilman: coffee or die (meerkat coffee)
Mostly I'm staying out of this because there's so much posturing and BS on both sides, it's like having two mastadons butting heads/tusks while you're a wee burrowing mammal just trying not to get stepped on, but if you want a wee burrowing animal's take on it, Scalzi as usual has something to say...

And so does Walter Jon Williams.

And yeah, pretty much What They're Saying.
lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)
I've been working on my own post about this, to follow-up on my earlier one, but Catie pretty much sums it up.  So: ditto for DOGHOUSE, which will be out in July. If you can order Ms. Kornetsky's latest via a not-Amazon means, consider this my wish that you would.

And I WILL be doing an update on this, in my own words, RSN.

Originally posted by [ profile] mizkit at The Hachette Job

For those of you who have not been following along–and frankly, I have no expectation that the larger percentage of my readers will be, because it’s a topic that at best affects them from a distance–Amazon is trying to force publishing house Hachette to agree to more-favorable-to-Amazon contract clauses.

They’re doing this by:

- not listing Hachette titles

- setting Hatchette title prices at (sometimes extraordinarily) high price points to discourage readers from buying them

- setting shipping dates for already-available Hachette books at 3-5 weeks out, instead of making them immediately available

- suggesting other books when readers search for Hachette titles

This is not the first time Amazon has done this. (B&N has been known to do it too, for that matter.) And it’s not the first time that publishing houses and writers are the ones being hurt. Lilith Saint Crow spells out how writers are being hurt, and Harry Connolly writes about Amazon and an eye-opening experiment he ran regarding sales.

I hate this. I really do. Amazon is the biggest game in town; like Harry, 90% of my sales from self-published material comes through it. But for my traditionally published stuff, I have a favor to ask.

Don’t order SHAMAN RISES from Amazon if you’ve got another choice. A local bookstore is best by far: go in (or call) and ask them to pre-order you a copy of SHAMAN RISES. Or B&N, whether online or local to you, if there’s not an independent nearby.

And then–especially if you’ve cancelled an Amazon pre-order to do any of this–email Amazon and tell them you’re not ordering this book (or some other book, if you’re not looking forward to SHAMAN RISES (*sob*)) because their predatory approach toward publishing houses and writers gives you sufficient incentive to shop elsewhere. If enough people change their buying habits, even briefly, and tell Amazon why, it might get their attention.

Let me say this, though: if Amazon is your best available choice for whatever reason, please understand that I am *not* going to hold it against you if you keep shopping through them. It’s not like I’m going to stop *selling* through them, and I like to think I’m not quite that hypocritical. So really, truly: this is not a post to censure anyone ordering through Amazon. It’s just–if you can, this once, stick it to ‘em.

(but for god’s sake pre-order SHAMAN RISES one way or another so the first week numbers are bright and shiny! O.O :))

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)
I think we keep messing up with the use of "professional" vs "established." You can be (SHOULD be) a professional before your first sale. Because the sale isn't the marking point. The sale just says you found the right market for a story.  Your behavior is what makes you a professional.

That doesn't mean you should be a pushover, or a suck-up.  It means that you treat co-workers, peers, and especially underlings with respect (I say especially because the underling you're kind to today may be able to give your career a kickstart ten years from now). And it means that you hold yourself in respect, too.  Because you're the only commodity you've got to trade.

Yes, this is relevant to recent certain behavior by publishing professionals, but it's also a general comment to those starting out who have been told they're "not professional yet."

You're a professional the moment you decide to behave professionally.  Being published and/or established will come when it does.
lagilman: coffee or die (do I look impressed to you?)
Yeah, I'm not real thrilled about this, for various reasons including the "my work, my decision what gets done with it, not some random corporation."

If you wanted to draw the analogy with "my body my decision," you might not be too far off.


Originally posted by [ profile] mb_galleycat at Google Wins 8-Year Book Scanning Battle

googlebooksGoogle has won its controversial book scanning fight with the Author’s Guild. US Circuit Judge Denny Chin ruled in favor of Google on Thursday claiming that Google’s massive book scanning project, in which the online giant scanned millions of books and made them available through search without obtaining the permission of the copyright holders, to be legal.

According to Chin’s ruling, Google’s project makes life easier for research, makes it easier for libraries to obtain digital copies of books, brings old books to light and gives people who would not have access to books access. Here is an excerpt from the ruling

The sole issue now before the Court is whether Google’suse of the copyrighted works is “fair use” under the copyrightlaws. For the reasons set forth below, I conclude that it is.

We’ve embedded the entire document after the jump. continued…

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)
A while back, there was (another) move to boycott DragonCon, and drive it to bankruptcy, because of the (not defended by anyone here) actions of one of the founding owners, Ed Kramer.

At the time, several of us discussed why such a boycott would a) not harm Ed and b) do massive harm to many other people, including the city of Atlanta.

We also commented on the fact that the Board of Directors had not been "protecting" Kramer, but had in fact banned him from the convention, and were working to oust him in a legally defensible and legitimate manner (that would not open them to damaging countersuits or bankruptcy).

A statement has been released this week, saying the following:

The Board of Directors and Shareholders of Dragon Con / ACE, Inc., producer of Dragon*Con, Atlanta’s internationally known pop culture, fantasy and sci-fi convention, have agreed to merge the company into Dragon Con, Inc. (Dragon Con) in a cash-out merger. Led by Pat Henry, David Cody and Robert Dennis, ownership of Dragon Con includes five of the six founding owners of Dragon Con / ACE (the old Dragon Con). The effective date of the merger is July 8, 2013.

Edward Kramer, who has not had any role in managing or organizing the convention since 2000, was offered cash for his shares in the old company. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. “This decision only affects the ownership of the old Dragon Con,” said Pat Henry, President and Chief Executive Officer of Dragon Con. “Our members and others who attend Dragon*Con 2013 will experience the same fantastic convention they have come to expect from us.”

(via Bleeding Cool)

Did the threat of a boycott help force Kramer to accept a buyout?  I don't know, and neither do you.  But all the pressure in the world had to be built around a legal solution that Kramer was willing to accept, and that takes time and negotiation, not just outrage.

(this is the world we live in, which is BETTER for our legal agreements and contracts being protected, not worse.)

I am, needless, to say but I will anyway, relieved, and very much looking forward to attending DragonCon this year, and for many years in the future.
lagilman: coffee or die (truth to power)
Because all the writer-kids are doing it.

Amazon Publishing Introduces “Kindle Worlds,” a New Publishing Model for Authors Inspired to Write Fan Fiction—Launching with an Initial License of Popular Titles from Warner Bros. Television Group’s Alloy Entertainment

Like Kindle Singles and Kindle Serials, Kindle Worlds Adds a New Approach to Digital Publishing

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May. 22, 2013-- (NASDAQ:AMZN)—Today, Amazon Publishing announces Kindle Worlds, the first commercial publishing platform that will enable any writer to create fan fiction based on a range of original stories and characters and earn royalties for doing so. Amazon Publishing has secured licenses from Warner Bros. Television Group’s Alloy Entertainment division for its New York Times best-selling book series Gossip Girl, by Cecily von Ziegesar; Pretty Little Liars, by Sara Shepard; and Vampire Diaries, by L.J. Smith; and plans to announce more licenses soon. Through these licenses, Kindle Worlds will allow any writer to publish authorized stories inspired by these popular Worlds and make them available for readers to purchase in the Kindle Store.

Amazon Publishing will pay royalties to both the rights holders of the Worlds and the author. The standard author’s royalty rate (for works of at least 10,000 words) will be 35% of net revenue. As with all titles from Amazon Publishing, Kindle Worlds will base net revenue off of sales price—rather than the lower, industry standard of wholesale price—and royalties will be paid monthly.


This is all I know about the project, which is just now hitting the Internet-waves.  But the following is my initial reaction

1.  This is not going to be some free-for-all of fanfic.  It's carefully curated properties, which means probably most writers don't have to worry about it, one way or the other (alas or yay, depending on your take)

2. If Amazon is licensing these properties, and paying everyone involved, it's legal and even morally fair (for payment levels of fair).

3. Amazon is reportedly prohibiting crossovers and explicit sex.  80% of fanfic's not welcome.  :-)

4.  I suspect most readers will be "why should we pay for fic we used to get for free?  Especially if there's no assurance of quality?"
(welcome to the return of the Why Gatekeepers are Good argument.  But I digress)

5. Nobody's property gets put into play without their licensing those right (see #1), so it's opt-in, just like any other subrights deal.


7.  Fanfic writers too will learn that there are wolves in the world... and that they are bunnies.  Tasty, tasty bunnies. You sign Amazon's contract, make sure you understand what you're agreeing to....

and yeah, 8.  Amazon still isn't in this for anything other than their own profit, up to and including squeezing all competition out of the field in any way possible.

Short version: I'm not thrilled with the idea, but I'm not flipping like a mammal just yet.  Engaging wait and see mode.

EtA: and Matt Forbeck has blogged about what it means to pro tie-in writers...

lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)
Preface:  I am normally of the "it's none of your business how much I earn, any more than how much you earn is any of my business" mindset.  But... maybe this will help people understand.  Or not.  I don't know.

[ profile] mizkit posted about writerly income at a momentary reality check and I'm reposting here because, well, WHAT SHE'S SAYING.  Never mind Rowling, King, Brown, etc.  Ain't nobody 'cept those very few getting rich at this job.  Damned few of us are earning above the poverty line (Federal standards: $12-15k per household of 1, $23-25k for a family of 3).

Catie and I are on a similar track (well, substitute two needy felines for a kid, and remove the spouse), and we are among the fortunate ones, at this point in time, in that we can say that we make an actual living out of this gig.

Averaging the past five years, I'm making around $45k/year, after my agency's 15% commission but before taxes.  After-taxes would make you cry, no lie. Freelancer taxes are hell.  I write more slowly than Catie does, which means I have fewer opportunities to sell, but I have my editorial sideline (5-10k of that pre-tax 45) which is why I can (almost) afford to live in NYC.*

(EtA: I also have multiple streams of writing income, between NYC, BookViewCafe, and direct-to-market)

As a point of comparison, the median family income in 2011 (most recent official numbers) was $61,455.   There are benefits to this gig, but a fat paycheck is rarely one of them.

Keep in mind that writers (all freelancers) are not eligible for unemployment insurance if we lose our job, and every year that's a very real risk.  So every year you're also (hopefully, ideally) squirreling away for the inevitable Really Bad Year(s).  As they say in the financials, past performance is no guarantee of future results.

(everything that follows beneath the cut is Catie's original post.  or you can go read it here directly.)

*and before anyone says "oh but why do you live in NYC if it's so expensive?"... because this is my home, and where my family lives.

Catie's original post )

lagilman: coffee or die (truth to power)
with no book-shaped horse in this race, I'm still watching & taking notes - you should, too.

I’ve been reading a lot of responses to the “deal” proposed by Night Shade Books and Skyhorse/Start Publishing, and as pretty much everything has been leaked every which fucking way (kicked off, no less, by a stupidly inaccurate and ill-timed Tweet by one of Night Shade’s own owners, which should surprise no one used to dealing with them). Myself and dozens of others have collected a lot of information and shared it round with folks affected.
lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)
Over in his LJ, [ profile] kradical explains why he's going to DragonCon rather than boycotting it, as has been discussed in the blogosphere.

His reasons (both pro and con) are mine as well (we, in fact, discussed this seriously over lunch this week). So before you howl at me for attending, you might want to have a read. This hasn't been an easy question for years, it's not an easy question to answer now, either.

EtA: and in response to [ profile] marlowe1's insulting and shrill comments both here and in [ profile] kradical's post, I direct you to Keith's response.

Most of the discussion has been polite, reasoned and understanding of the complications. I'm not going to allow one bile-spewer to stop the discussion going forward.
lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)
At the end of last year, I made a very difficult, painful decision, and ended my association* with my agency of a decade+.

I'm pleased today to say that I will now be represented by Joe Monti, of the Barry Goldblatt Literary Agency. And yes, both he and Barry are fully aware of what they're getting into, and seem to be looking forward to it. :-D


I know that it's popular now for writers to decide to go sans agent, and handle their affairs on their own, or with a lawyer's assist (especially if they've been burned in the past). I'd never say "don't do that" because for many people that is the right decision. But not for me. 

Ironic, perhaps, since my previous career as an editor gave me the skills to go solo (I have no fear of negotiations, contracts or paperwork). But gaining those skills also made me aware of how much time and energy they eat up, especially when things drag out, or details (and people) need to be tracked down and brought back to order.  Over the long haul, that time and energy adds up, and leeches away from the writing.  Having a business partner who handles all that, promptly and professionally and with an eye toward my best interests, so I don't have stress over it?  Makes financial and emotional sense to me.

Plus, I really appreciate someone acting as a pro-level sounding board for projects, gently poking at the holes and commenting on the elements that could be stronger, while thinking not only of the story but potential markets/editors for that story.  
AND that person talks me down off the occasional writerly ledge?

For me, a good agent** is worth 15% of my income For you, for whatever reasons, it may not.

So when you hear people saying "you need an agent" or "you're better off without an agent," don't think about what THEY say.  Think about what YOU want, and need.

* she's a wonderful person/agent, we just weren't a good fit any more
**a bad agent - by which I mean one that is fraudulent, not giving good advice, or simply isn' listenin to you, is NOT worth it.  At any percentage.

So, yeah.

Oct. 25th, 2012 01:40 pm
lagilman: coffee or die (brain.  hurts.)
Today Pearson confirmed that the publishing company is considering “a possible combination of Penguin and Random House.”

Pearson had this statement: “Pearson confirms that it is discussing with Bertelsmann a possible combination of Penguin and Random House. The two companies have not reached agreement and there is no certainty that the discussions will lead to a transaction. A further announcement will be made if and when appropriate.

And twitter kind of exploded.  #RandomPenguin may have trended in NYC.

It will certainly take a lot of greasing and reorganizing to get through EU approvals, so I wouldn't advise anyone panicking yet.  But having been an in-house employee during the Penguin/Putnam-Berkley sqoosh, I do not envy my Random or Flightless Waterfowl friends, no matter what happens...

(and yeah, my third thought was "I wonder what this will do to my Pearson stocks...?")


lagilman: coffee or die (bitch)
Book Publisher Goes To Court To Recoup Hefty Advances From Prominent Writers

A New York publisher this week filed lawsuits against several prominent writers who failed to deliver books for which they received hefty contractual advances, records show.

I made the mistake of reading the comments in this, and was astounded (and yet not all that surprised) by the level of clueless entitlement in many of the responses, including a few people who should know better.

Folks, a contract is a legal document. It is binding on both parties. So before bitching about a publisher's behavior, read your contract. If you agreed to terms, and don't deliver your end of the deal (either by not-delivering or delivering something that does not match the terms of the deal, ex: was a fake) then in most every contract ever written, they have every legal right to ask for their end of the bargain (the advance) back.

This is not astounding. It is not unfair. It is business.

Traditionally, publishers have written off "bad" advances as the cost of doing business. They consider it the price of maintaining good-will, and weigh it against the cost of fighting to reclaim said advances. Tradition should not be taken for terms. If we're going to demand that publishers act like fiscally responsible businesses when it benefits us, we also need to accept that this may occasionally bite us on the (delinquent) ass. Especially when the economy is crap.

Don't like it? Don't sign the contract. Or, better yet, live up to your end of the deal. Get your book in. Within a reasonable timeframe of the deadline (where reasonable is defined by how much they want to keep you and what you can work out with your editor ahead of time).

We bitch about publishers, and rightfully so. But that does not make the author always the angel.
lagilman: coffee or die (Default)
Barnes & Noble and Microsoft Form Strategic Partnership to Advance World-Class Digital Reading Experiences for Consumers Newly Formed Subsidiary to Include NOOK® Digital and College Businesses

EtA: One take on it:
lagilman: coffee or die (Default)
Originally posted by [ profile] alfreda89 at Aspiring Writers Info: That Wonderful Blog Known as Writer Beware(tm)
Any aspiring writer looking for an agent or wanting to know who the potential bad guys are in the publishing game has two places I strongly suggest you keep up with -- Publishers Weekly and Writer Beware(tm).

Writers Ann Crispin and Victoria Strauss do a fantastic job discovering and documenting groups that just don't seem to play fair in the game of publishing. Ann & Victoria have many success stories, and consequently have earned enemies. The latest bad guy has decided to try to wage a disinformation campaign against Writer Beware and other anti-scam activists like, for example, the intrepid P.N. Elrod. The new group to be leery of is The Write Agenda. (Note that secure portal link.)

Up until now, Writer Beware(tm) has pretty much ignored the attempts of The Write Agenda to make mischief. But now this group has broadened their nasty guy poison pens to include any writer who so much as mentions Writer Beware (tm) in a good light, or does anything to warn fledgling writers about groups like PublishAmerica. They have created an author boycott list where you will see such fine writers and anti-scam activists as John Scalzi, James D. MacDonald, Amy Sterling Casil, and Sharon Lee. The list is ridiculous, and one writer got on it simply by interviewing Victoria on her blog. (Yes, that is an anonymouse link. Might be a good idea to read that list using anonymouse. I repeat, note that The Write Agenda link in the second paragraph is a secure link -- https:// . These people are paranoid and do know some things about technology. After all, they use it to give people false info.)

So we writers are all going to mention Writer Beware(tm) even more than usual, of course. If you would like to read the post Writer Beware(tm) did on The Write Agenda, go here.

Other useful links are to A & V's version of "2 Thumbs Down" lists for agents and publishers. These lists could use updating, so if you are currently looking, you might contact Writer Beware(tm) and request a new list of infamy. They have a bunch of great links on their blog, including supportive editors and agents.

One would hope that The Write Agenda has realized that going after SF and fantasy writers is like poking a stick into a hornet's nest. But it's possible that I, too, will earn their ire by pointing out that Writer Beware(tm) is a good, trustworthy service you should pay attention to. So if I end up on the list, be sure and tell me. It will be excellent publicity -- remember Mark Twain on the value of being boycotted. Everyone then needs to know what they've been missing!

Thanks to John Scalzi, who always keeps me up to date on industry news.
lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)
If this is relevant to your interests: Practical Meerkat’s 52 Bits of Useful Info for Young (and Old) Writers, week 31. In which Practical Meerkat discusses the idea of the long game, for writers.

I’m informed Mercury has gone retrograde, FUBARing our ability to communicate. I don’t believe in astrology, & yet after the past 24 hours…. yeah. I believe. Might be a good time to pull up the drawbridge and get some serious writing done. Of course, is there ever a BAD time for that?

This has been a week of moderate ups and significant downs, both work-wise and in the world around us. If I were less a jaded pro/practical meerkat, I’d probably be in a corner, whimpering. As it is…. All I can say is what I told fellow writers last night – you roll with it, and hope you don’t get rolled over.

And if you’ve got access to high-quality chocolate, now would be a good time to indulge.

Of course, there’s never a bad time for THAT, either.

originally published at Practical Meerkat: A Blog
lagilman: coffee or die (truth to power)
The Court rejects Google Books settlement w/ Authors' Guild:

(and via @rosefox) Here's a copy of judge's opinion in Google digital library case

I am... pleased by this. As the decision says, digitization is a good thing... but Google overreached themselves and infringed on copyright holders' legal right to decide what is/isn't done with their work (and then told us we were 'overreacting." As with most people who use that phrase, they really meant "don't take offense while we run roughshod over you." Well, we took offense).

And now, due to that overreach, they are no longer the only kids on the digital block, but have to share the market with other players. They've lost their advantage, and they've spent $$$ in court fees that could have been avoided if they hadn't gotten greedy/lazy.

"In the end, I conclude that the ASA is not fair, adequate, and reasonable....The motion for final approval of the ASA is denied, without prejudice to renewal in the event the parties negotiate a revised settlement agreement. The motion for an award of attorneys' fees and costs is denied, without prejudice."

And so back to the table everyone goes..

EtA: my new sig file: "A copyright owner's right to exclude others from using his property is fundamental and beyond dispute." - Judge Chin, 2011
lagilman: coffee or die (brain.  hurts.)
So this came up on my Twitterfeed:

RT @mightymur THIS IS WHY YOU READ BORING LEGAL CRAP (esp. in writing contests!) (read clause 13.

And so, of course, I went and looked.


this got a little long )


lagilman: coffee or die (Default)
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