What to do next?

I want to start by admitting I overslept this morning and that is one of the two reasons the post is late today. The second is because my brain is still on vacation after two weeks of very long and demanding days. All I want to know is why you guys haven’t shown me the secret handshake, taught me the special knock or whatever it takes to be admitted into the club that lets me have the writer’s life Castle does. VBEG.

Seriously, for the first time ever, my family and friends saw what it is like to be a working writer. I was faced with a hard deadline and there was no pushing it back. That meant everything else had to be dropped or postponed or whatever until the deadline was met. It meant eating with one hand while editing with the other, working much longer hours than I usually do (I try to keep to a standard work day). It meant Amanda sometimes because a grouchy writer who most definitely did not want to talk about the grocery list or just about anything else.

They are also seeing the fallout from such an extended session. Usually, when I finish a book — not the rough draft but the editing, rewriting, final read-through and cleanup — I can take a week or so to just sit and recharge the batteries. This is whey I get some of the major work around the house done that’s been put off. You know what I mean: painting, plantings, etc. It is when I catch up on movies I’ve missed and reading I want to do. In a way, it is my vacation without going anywhere.

This time, I didn’t get to do that. I had a freelance editing gig I had to do and there was a drop dead date on it as well. In most circumstances, I wouldn’t have accepted the job. I did this time because I have worked with this particular author before and know the quality of his work. I also did so out of curiosity because he had warned me another editor had seen the work and had done a butcher job on it. Since I’ve only seen that happen a couple of times before — oh, I’ve seen many instances where I’ve wondered what an editor was thinking when they’ve changed a sentence or recommended a word that made absolutely no sense — I wondered if he was exaggerating. He wasn’t. What should have taken maybe a day wound up taking close to a week of full-time work to do. Believe me, if I ever get permission from this author, there will be a post with examples. All I could tell him was never hire that editor again and then I considered sending a note to the so-called editor with the definition of what a content editor is as opposed to a copy editor as opposed to a proofreader as opposed to someone who couldn’t find their ass from a whole in the ground — and that with radar, a map, a guide and a tracking dog. Guess which classification I think this so-called editor falls into.

Anyway, under most circumstances, I would take this week to rest and recover. Not me. The creative brain might be a bit dead but the rest of it isn’t. Besides, as I think I noted here earlier, we are in perpetual ready mode right here as we wait for the call to come in telling us a heart has been found for a very close friend (who am I kidding? He and his wife are family by choice.). It is sort of like having someone in the household being pregnant and starting to have contractions. You don’t leave for the hospital right away but you are on edge, timing them and waiting for that moment when the doctor said you are to go NOW!

So, while I’m not going straight into my next project (Dagger of Elanna), I am going to finish the work necessary to have the print version of Honor from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 3) ready to go live shortly after the e-book. I am also going to finalize the proofs for the other books I haven’t gotten around to doing print versions on. Somewhere in all that, I also need to call the dentist and see if I can’t get in today or tomorrow since I woke up with a tooth that is threatening to go nuclear.

Ah, life, can you please go bother someone else for a bit?

In the meantime, if you aren’t reading The Passive Voice, you should be. It is probably the best, at least in my opinion, site for authors who want to keep up on what is going on in the business. It is at the top of my daily “must read” list. Because I am still pretty much brain dead this morning, I’m going to shameless steal — er, borrow — some links from TPV that I think you guys might find of interest.

Several weeks ago, author Eilis O’Hanlon talked about discovering how one of her books had been plagiarized by “Joanne Clancy”. Once O’Hanlon and her co-author learned what had happened, they took all the appropriate steps to contact Amazon about the problem. Even though there were some bumps and even more frustrations along the way, she reported that Amazon had removed not only the book in question but, if I remember correctly, all books “written” by Clancy. Amazon canceled Clancy’s account and prohibited her from ever publishing through them again.

But that left the question of what would happen to the thousands of dollars Clancy made on the plagiarized version of this particular novel. We aren’t talking about a small amount either. Not at all. We’re talking about a five figure number.

In this article, which I found through The Passive Voice, O’Hanlon reports that Amazon will pay the authors of plagiarized books for those books sold IF the author can prove the plagiarism. In O’Hanlon’s case, that was easy because Clancy admitted it. So I am assuming O’Hanlon and her co-author will soon be seeing the monies in their accounts. At least I hope so. But they were lucky. As O’Hanlon said in the article, if Clancy — whoever she (or he) really is — had stopped and thought a moment before hitting send, she never would have admitted to the plagiarism. That would have put a very heavy burden on O’Hanlon and her co-author to prove their case. It is, unfortunately, a situation other authors find themselves in.

Another post I found this morning through TPV is this one about Amazon Sales Rankings. The one thing it confirmed is something our own Dorothy Grant beat me over the head with when she realized I had put Ashes up for pre-order as early as I did. I hadn’t realized until then that pre-orders are counted the day the order is placed, not on release date. In my author-muddled mind, I had somehow convinced myself that it was the other way around. So that has me reconsidering whether to put anything up for pre-order in the future. I certainly won’t do it for an extended period any longer.

The last post that I saw at TPV this morning is this one. I think we have all been involved with discussions, whether in-person or online, where one or two voices basically shut down the entire discussion. In this particular instance, the discussion had been about tFifty Shades (3 Book Series). The discussion had been pro and con about the books with, from what I can tell, a lot of folks talking about how they had not liked the books and why. Then along came a single commenter, uninvited to the discussion as is often the case online, who accused the rest of them of “shaming” her. This person continued to accuse them of “shaming” her and said they were making her feel bad for liking the books.

They apparently did what most of us would do. They told her it was fine if she liked the books. They weren’t trying to stop her from doing so. However, they were discussing their opinions and why they held them. Like most internet trolls, this person didn’t discuss why she liked the book (at least the article doesn’t make it appear that she did). Instead she continued with her claims of “shaming” and hurt feelings and she did what she probably meant to — she shut down the discussion.

I don’t know about you, but that smacks of the “shamed” one being nothing more than a bully. She claimed victimhood and used it to push her privilege to feel as she wanted to the exclusion of everyone else. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Anyway, as you can see, there is a lot of fodder for thought as well as a lot of information about the profession we need to be aware of. So bookmark TPV and make it part of your daily reading.

26 thoughts on “What to do next?

  1. Gentle amused poke – “find his ass from a whole in the ground” after complaining about editing is either masterful sleight of hand or a typo worth fixing. 🙂

    1. Doug,
      Is the fifth edition heresy going to be compatible with 0-level funnels?

      1. Probably best to say that there’s nothing inherently *incompatible* about the rules changes, which are largely detailed in that Hit, Miss, Armor, Shield blog post I did.

        Still – out of respect to the topic being discussed here, it would be best to take the question and answer to my own blog. Hit me up on the latest update on the Heretical D&D project with this same question, and we can discuss what your core expectations are of a 0-level funnel.

  2. Preorder is a good tool when used with intent and forethought. I wouldn’t abandon it any more than I’d suggest you toss a set of vice grips for tearing up the chromed surface of a faucet. (Strap wrenches work better, there).

    How long you set a preorder for needs to be dependent on the size of your audience, the amount of release (and pre-release) notification you’re doing on the title, and what other promotions you have lined up for the rest of the series.

    And guess what – if you’re simply too tired and overwhelmed to put a lot of preplanning into it with this book… you’re indie. It won’t sink your career. Rule of thumb for indie audiences – it generally works best at a week at most, 3 days on average, and I guess I’ll have to do a post later explaining that in more detail, won’t I?

    1. I’d almost think a single day before release pre-sale might work, just to get that add-half-yesterday’s-sales to your first day’s rank. Maybe talk it up a few days ahead of that. Hmm, I’ll have to ponder this.

    2. I know. I just hadn’t thought about how it would hit the rankings — and I should have, as you reminded me. I tend to forget to look at the business end of it when I’m in the creative mode. It is something I have to work on more.

      And I’m not giving up completely on pre-orders, just on doing them for more than a week. Unless, of course, I go brain dead again and forget this. VBEG.

      And, yes, you do need to do a post about it. What? You didn’t realize I was hinting for just when I wrote the post?

      1. I remember reading a bit about that from another author. I can understand not having it out there months in advance for electronic copies (For paper I’ll assume it can be useful for planning) but a one week presale should be calculated on the release. Doesn’t really make sense otherwise. Part of why I am trying to think of whether I should even consider presale on Amazon vs other avenues once I finish revision and release.

    3. Yes, please. I don’t know where I got the idea that all pre-orders counted on the day of release, but I did have it firmly fixed in my head.

      1. IIRC, and oddly, that came to me via TPV. It was in a linked article where a trad-pub author was tangling with Data Guy over his sampling methodology – and claiming the numbers were skewed towards indies because pre-orders all counted on release day. (Release days are not a random thing at all, for someone paying attention to marketing.)

        Thank you, Dorothy, for clearing that one up, because I wasn’t left all that sure myself. Maybe that post can include why release days are not random, too, pretty please?

        1. That’s probably where I got it. I read TPV fairly regularly. Or, it could be something Amazon changed recently.

          It does help me decide that I will be putting book 1 of my series on sale just the week before book 2 comes out.

    4. Just include some electrical tape and the vice grips will work fine. I use them a lot for work on ARs.

  3. I was wondering, after I read the TPV post on shaming, why that conversational group didn’t just do what trolls hate: ignore her, and act as if she had not joined the conversation. I think that would be a better reaction: “Go play elsewhere, dear. The grownups are talking.”

    A few PMs would have coordinated a gentle effort, the troll would have gotten bored eventually, and the group could have continued. But that’s just me – and you have to be pretty sure of your other friends.

    1. I wondered that too, unless there was a dynamic in the group the OP didn’t mention. Or the troll refused to quit and no one wanted to block/ban them (or they could not block/ban for some reason.)

    2. or “Shame is what you feel when you don’t live up to your own standards, dear. Not on us; bye.”

  4. Tangent: 50 Shades was mentioned above, which made me think of the coloring book I saw at a steampunk convention this past weekend. The book was entitled 50 Shades of Brown and subtitled something like “for those with only one color of crayon” and was indeed filled with shapes that could legitimately be colored brown. 🙂

  5. Amanda, you are a true friend indeed.
    I know some of the back story on that free lance edit, and you went over and above the call of duty to help a friend. Bless you for your efforts.
    Based on what I’ve heard that wasn’t just bad editorial practice, sounded to me more like actual malicious intent by an editor trying to sabotage an author they had taken a disliking to.

  6. > next

    “So let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job, and then I get paid.”
    – Captain Mal, “Firefly”

    “In my experience, what every true artist wants, really wants, is to be paid.”
    – Terry Pratchett, Soul Music

    “…but remember aspiring authors, the important thing is that you GET PAID.”
    – Larry Correia

  7. ” Instead she continued with her claims of ‘shaming’ and hurt feelings and she did what she probably meant to — she shut down the discussion.
    I don’t know about you, but that smacks of the “shamed” one being nothing more than a bully. She claimed victimhood and used it to push her privilege to feel as she wanted to the exclusion of everyone else.”

    I’d say: no “probably” about it. She meant to use her sham shaming and hurt feelings as a bludgeon to shut down contrary discussion with. I’ve seen the tactic hundreds of times in forums.

    I’ve found that in my observation, most people online are far, far too nice in situations like that and in dealing with people like that, which is what leads to them being able to shut down an entire discussion with their poor widdle hurted fweewings.

    Once it becomes obvious that the person isn’t arguing in good faith and doesn’t have anything but disruption in mind, generally, a simple “Good. You should be ashamed. Now p*ss off and go to sleep with a dry cleaning bag over your head,” isn’t very nice, but it tends to shut down the forum weasel, rather than the group.

    Followed if needs be by a rational moderator with some sense of professionalism stating “You’ve had your fun. Goodbye,” and booting them.

    And yes, I do know that rational moderators and professionalism are in short supply these days. So are common sense and good judgement.

    (I was a mod and admin for a long time. I was never ever successfully accused of being “nice.” I was effective, which is something else entirely.)

  8. “Instead she continued with her claims of “shaming” and hurt feelings and she did what she probably meant to — she shut down the discussion.”

    The interwebz are filled with people like this, indeed there are entire sites dedicated to it. One of which has a host which trawls other people’s comments sections looking for things to be outraged about. They are only happy when everyone else has been made to shut up.

    They -should- feel ashamed. I help them in this regard when the mood strikes me. 🙂

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