Category Archives: Publishing

WTF? Amazon wants MY help?

You don’t know it, but right now there’s a war going on for the soul of the publishing industry. It’s been fought long and hard and there have been casualties: bookstores, newspapers, the hope that any doctor’s office would update their reading selection. All in all, it’s not gone well for anyone. But the war rages on and recently it escalated because two powers decided to mobilize everything they got at each other.

Uncle Amazon Wants You

It started back with that price fixing thing I was pissed off about a while back. Several book publishers had decided among themselves to fix the prices of eBooks so they could try to make sure that none of them had to actually compete to sell a book. They effectively made the rest of us look like assholes and idiots for running our book prices as low as we could while laughing and forcing the consumer to pay more for each copy.

I hated them.

But then they got busted and they started to fold pretty quickly. One of the chief forces behind this was Amazon, who realized that their ebook market was the most successful ebook market out there and that they were making mountains of cash off of it. So someone threatening those mountains of cash by working behind their backs just would not do. Amazon went after them and everyone started to play ball except for one publisher: Hachette.

Hachette huffed and puffed and refused to drop its prices like everyone else. So Amazon decided to just stop pushing Hachette books. They figured that Hachette would fold and that everything would start coming up mountains of cash again. But Hachette had a plan, they had a nuclear option that Amazon didn’t think to contend with: authors who actually make enough money to buy the GOOD ramen.


So Amazon panicked and did something that most people can agree was pretty stupid, they tried to mobilize their Indie Authors from the Kindle Direct Publishing. I mean, they were just standing around in line at the soup kitchen anyway.

“it’s a classic American novel, for $2.99”

So, seriously, WTF? Continue reading WTF? Amazon wants MY help?

Keep Moving

I’m not sure how many people that have reached this blog are actually writers. Though I devote a lot of posts towards the inner workings of the profession as I see them, from tropes to alternative mythologies, I can’t be sure who’s reading it. There is no survey that has you tell me your profession and I’m not entirely sure who does follow the links more often than not. Still, in my heart, I like to think that there’s at least a few of you out there who are writers and appreciate where I’m coming from. And I want you to know I appreciate you too.

Group hug time

Almost every writer I’ve ever talked to has had a similar problem in their life: feeling accomplished. Even Isaac Asimov, famous as he was, still feared the idea that he could be rejected with his next manuscript. JK Rowling started writing new books under a pseudonym so she could see if she could sell her writing and not just her name. Even the most successful of us feels they stand in a precarious position overlooking a pack of hungry wolves.

So where does that put people like us? Continue reading Keep Moving

WTF Wednesday: Publishers Price-Fixing?

Years ago, when the eBook market was just beginning to form, there was a problem that everyone faced: what the hell do you charge for digital content? To this day, we still don’t have an absolutely settled price-point and it’s hard for all of us to come to a decision just what our work is worth (especially for independents).

But then along came this strange stigma that made some sense in a way but in truth was a fabrication. According to conventional wisdom; if it’s priced low, it’s a shitty book that wasn’t ready for prime-time. This perception is guided primarily based on the fact that the higher-end authors came onto the market with books that were near or completely full-priced compared to their print companions. In essence, the stigma of the vanity press started to bleed into the image of independently published eBooks.

And it makes sense, doesn’t it? Obviously, those big names were offering their books at full price and managing to do really well despite competing against each other. The traditional publishers were right: quality material didn’t have to drop below a certain price to get a market shar-

Oh, they price-fixed the market and made back room deals so they wouldn’t have to compete with each other?

Well then… Continue reading WTF Wednesday: Publishers Price-Fixing?

WTF Wednesday: Twilight was GOOD for feminism?

So, let’s get it out of the way, you’ve read the title and you know what this is about. And, more than likely, you disagree with it. Most people do. But let me clarify something right away: I am not saying Bella Swan or the story around her is good for feminism, I’m saying the success of the series is good for feminism. No role that could accurately be portrayed by Kristen Stewart has the depth necessary to be good for anyone.

Btw, it’s still not funny she’s in an adaptation of 1984.

I know making that distinction isn’t quite enough since Twilight has been held up by some to be one of the most misogynistic things to have ever been written by a woman. This is accurate as the story is terrible and full of problematic elements. It’s the story about one of the weakest characters of all time being stalked by a man old enough to be her great, great grandfather. Over the course of the series Bella even goes so far as to try to kill herself in order to see him in her near-death hallucinations. The idea any of this could be good for feminism is enough to make just about anyone scoff – including myself from last week.

But recently Divergent came to theaters and the reviews came in. Many of those reviews were lukewarm, but one brief discussion about the film pointed out something to me that I had not thought about. Despite the fact the movie has had some rough reviews, everyone can see that it is a clear success as its opening weekend was damn impressive. And because movies like that continue to succeed, we’re going to continue to see more YA adaptations. And that’s where the revelation kicks in.

The fact is: YA adaptations are responsible for the casting of more female protagonists in big budget movies than any other trend in cinematic history. So, despite everything… Continue reading WTF Wednesday: Twilight was GOOD for feminism?

WTF Wednesdays: Another Book Deal For The Kardashians?

Haha, the news media is talking about there being a new novel from the “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” brood. Stupid media, they did that years ago, polishing up their lives with “interesting” bits and releasing it as a novel called Dollhouse. Yet you guys are acting like it just happened. We all know the Kardashians haven’t gone back to reading and writing since disagreeing with the dietary advice they got from “Green Eggs And Ham“. Man you guys are slo-

Oh crap, there’s more of them?

Who the hell is that? Jenner? What the hell is a Jenner?! And what do you mean they have a publishing deal for a book that releases next year? They look like they’re still in high-school!

Apparently, if you’re in that bloodline it doesn’t matter if your manuscript is written in crayon. Though it wouldn’t be the first time a member of the family managed to make a lot of money with only a 9thgrade reading level.

So WTF is up with…

Continue reading WTF Wednesdays: Another Book Deal For The Kardashians?

The Real Reason Shia LaBeouf Needs To Go Away

As many of you have found out in recent weeks and months, Shia LaBeouf is a prolific plagiarizer. It’s not just that he has stolen whole works, but, in fact, even takes quotes as his own in the midst of interviews. Even his attempts to tweet apologies for his plagiarism are stolen material. In fact, as far as I’m aware, the only thing Shia LaBeouf has ever done that is 100% original to himself is say his name.

And while I’m willing to forgive that… he has to go. Continue reading The Real Reason Shia LaBeouf Needs To Go Away

4 Tips For the Unmotivated Writer

One of the most frustrating parts of writing is having a project in mind but being unable to move forward on it. We run into that metaphorical wall and shut down before we can complete our thoughts. Some people are good at just taking a couple steps back and then vaulting that wall while the rest of us look on in jealousy. But for others, it becomes incredibly hard to face the inner turmoil of self-doubt and just general lack of motivation.

So how do you break down that wall?


Continue reading 4 Tips For the Unmotivated Writer

The Three Laws of Rob-Edits

As of this writing, it’s been about a week and a half since the end of NaNoWriMo and a little over a week before the #Pitchmas event on Twitter. Your editing should be getting along if you listened to me at all last week. But there are some aspects of editing that always gall writers to no end, even after they get that feedback from their readers. How do you know when to keep a scene and when to throw it aside?

The general rule of thumb by the writing community is William Faulkner’s quote “In writing, you must kill all your darlings”. But William Faulkner’s line being applied to editing is the worst advice that I’ve ever seen and it still confounds me to this day that people keep using it in these conversations. That’s right – the emperor has no clothes, damn it.

The reason why people use this line is because they’re trying to tell you to not be so attached to your work that you ignore the flaws. You may have loved a scene that just doesn’t work anymore. But the advice itself is so vague that it’s basically saying, “delete all the scenes you find likeable and see what you get.”

That’s incredibly stupid.

So when thinking of an alternative to this piece of advice I started to consider just how you would go about determining what scenes to keep and what to throw out. It’s hard to really know for sure what you can and can’t keep because there’s so many factors to consider. But then, my nerd side spoke up and told me: “Hey, Asimov provided a solution to the conflicting functions problem years ago!”

That’s right, I’m going three laws on you guys even though you’re all fleshy humans (for now). In a hundred years, when this blog is found on some lost archive and is viewed again by my future counterparts, they’re likely to be robots anyway.

Continue reading The Three Laws of Rob-Edits

5 Tips For Less Painful Editing

So, as of my writing this (December, though you may see this in the future, hi future!), the National Novel Writing Month just ended and you (the hypothetical you) have just spent the last month putting together the rough draft of your novel. Some of you might have done it for a laugh or just to prove to yourself that you could do it. But I know for a fact there’s a lot of you out there right now who intend to publish or try to publish what you’ve so painstakingly put together. In fact, I’ve heard from multiple sources that the first week in December is one of the busiest times of the year for agencies and publishers as they see a sudden influx of manuscripts.

This is a bad idea.

I understand, you’re incredibly enthusiastic about what you just put together. But, please, be aware that you wrote your piece in less time than it takes some casual readers to actually read the thing – you may want to edit first. And, actually, in the spirit of hyping internet trends that promote writing, remember that Pitchmas is coming.

Continue reading 5 Tips For Less Painful Editing

Motivation To Publish A New Book

So as some of you know, hopefully all of you, I came out with my second book. A Patchwork Soul, the second part of the Altered World series, was, aptly, released today on Friday the 13th so I could try to press my luck again. I’m excited about it, and terrified, because I have hopes that releasing this book and more like it will eventually build towards my one true goal. For those of you out there who are also writers, you know a pretty common question that people ask that a lot of us don’t really have a confident answer for:

So, why do you do this again?

Continue reading Motivation To Publish A New Book