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Posts tagged ‘Writer Beware’

Get Out Before It’s Too Late

Actually it’s never too late to cut out these associations, but the sooner you recognize them and do so, the less risk you run of getting hurt. Some of them can be damaging to your health, most of them to your career, and all of the ones I list will waste your time.

What? Oh, I’m talking about writers’ groups, of course. Those voluntary associations so many people encourage you to join. Your fellow writers, they say, will cheer you on when you’re experiencing an enthusiasm sag, will warn you if your story seems to be taking a wrong turn, will brainstorm with you over a sticky plot point, and – if necessary, which of course it wouldn’t be for any readers of this blog – gently explain the difference between imply and infer.

Oh, wait. I can take care of that last one right now.

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Beware. What’s that you say? Another one bites the dust.

It’s December and time for everyone to start panicking because the holidays are just around the corner and there’s still shopping to do and meals to plan and relatives to visit. It’s also a time when most of us seem to forget there are those out there who are more than willing to separate us from our money by whatever means necessary. No, I’m not talking about all those shops in the nearby mall. You know the ones I’m talking about: those that started playing Christmas carols the day after Halloween, completely skipping Thanksgiving. I’m not even talking about the fake charities that are willing to play on the increase in good will most of us feel this time of year.

Unfortunately, yet another scammer has decided to try to prey on authors terrified because they don’t have a broad enough public platform. Let’s face it, promotion is something most of us would do just about anything to avoid simply because we don’t really know how to do it and, frankly, because we’d rather spend the time it takes to blog, facebook, tweet, etc., writing. Promotion is one of those necessary evils we’ve had to undertake because publishers aren’t promoting books like they used to. Oh, if you are a “best seller” or “the next best thing”, they’ll spend the money to get better placement in a bookstore or to take out ads in the paper, etc. But if you aren’t, or if you are self-publishing, you don’t get that sort of promotion from a publisher. If you have an agent, you might be lucky enough to be mentioned on their blog or twitter feed, but just how effective is that?

So authors have been looking for alternatives to doing the promotion themselves. As a result, there has been a rise in PR firms dealing with promoting authors and their books. With a hat tip to Chris Kelsey for bringing this particular “misrepresentation” — if not outright scam — to my attention, I want to warn you against The Albee Agency. You can read a great breakdown of problems with this agency over at Writer Beware. But  the quick rundown is this: the Albee Agency claims endorsements from authors who have never used it and have not agreed to have their so-called endorsements used. That is enough, for me at least, to steer clear of them. Please, before considering this agency, read the write-up at Writer Beware.

Then there is this article from Slate, published last month, that basically says we aren’t reading if we read a novel on our e-book reader. You see, reading is something we do not only with our eyes and our mind, but with our bodies as well. If we can’t hold a book in our hands and turn a physical page with our fingers, we aren’t reading. So, following that logic, you really aren’t reading this blog. Yes, I am rolling my eyes and I am shaking my head and, yes, I’m laughing hysterically. I have a vision of the article’s author sitting in a rough hewn chair by a fire, an oil lamp at his elbow as he writes his article using a quill dipped into an ink pot. I guess he then attached the article to his carrier pigeon to be flown to the Slate headquarters where some poor clerk inputs it into the computer. After all, the author wouldn’t be writing an article for digital format to be read because, duh, that’s not reading.

Oh gawd, my head hurts now ;-p

All kidding aside, I still love my physical books. I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy reading on my Kindle when I first got it. After all, there is something about holding a book and curling up in a chair to read. Well, I can still do that with my Kindle. Once I’m into the story, it doesn’t matter if I’m reading a paper book or a digital book. The book itself disappears and I’m immersed in the world the author has created. THAT is all that matters: not the medium which it is presented in.

On the agency pricing model front, a third member of the Big 6, Simon & Schuster, has announced a new pricing agreement with e-tailers. This agreement is in response to the Justice Department’s price fixing suit. S&S is the third of the five publishers named in the suit, along with Apple, to reach this sort of an agreement. The other two publishers are Hatchette and HarperCollins. This agreement will allow retailers to sell e-books from S&S for a discount: a win for buyers because it means we can now shop around for the best price for a title. Yes, it might mean we’ll have to break DRM to do so, but that is possible for those who want to do it. However, in this day and age of tablets and smartphones, apps are available that will allow you to read multiple formats on your device without having to break DRM.

Whether or not Penguin and Random House will continue fighting the allegations by the DoJ remain to be seen. I have no doubt Apple will.


Links of Interest

Today finds my head firmly wrapped around things none-writing related. For four years, my son has lived in the Corps of Cadets dorms at Texas A&M University. The Corps has been an integral part of his college life and is now, at least officially, over because — despite the fact so many degree plans at TAMU are 5 year plans — students can only be in the Corps for four years. So, with the first summer session about to begin, the boy and some friends are moving into their first apartment. That means making sure they have at least the bare essentials until they can all go shopping for the “extras”. So, instead of something controversial or at least have some semblance of cogency, I’m going to leave you with some links to blogs and articles about the industry. I promise to have a functioning brain again next week.

Kris Rusch takes on the “Brutal 2,000-Word Day” and more. This is a must read for everyone, imo.

After all the angst and breast beating by several authors over the last week or so over how their stories had been edited and fundamentally changed by one publisher (a publisher that wasn’t even paying them in copies), Writer Beware has a post on editing clauses in contracts. Read it, think about it and read it again. Then, before submitting to a publisher, whether of short stories or novels, find out what they publish and read some of their work. Determine if that publisher is right for you before you submit.

Joe Konrath helps take some of the smoke and mirrors out of the pricing debate with this post. If you have any questions about the difference between the wholesale pricing model and the agency pricing model, check out what Konrath has to say.

While I don’t agree completely with everything in the list, here is a list of 10 things to do when proofreading.

And then there is the Los Angeles Review of Books’ Farewell to Novels by David R. Slavitt. Part of me understands what Slavitt is saying and why. But part of me looks at his post and shakes my head because he is among those who believe — or at least he appears to — that legacy publishers will get you reviews and other things that, on the whole, they simply don’t bother with any longer.

Any way, these are just a few of the links relating to publishing this week. Do you have others you’d like to share? What are your thoughts on the links above? The floor is now yours.