Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I make my own fun.

So, I was butt-dialed earlier today. That's fine, crap happens (no pun intended) when you have an iPhone. I just listened to the background chatter for about ten seconds and then hung up. Then I got a text from the same number saying "Your dumb". Well, then. I either have a merry prankster on my hands or a person in possession of a sentient ass. These are both scenarios in which I must know more!

First Response: No u. Particularly as I don't know who you are. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship, spectacular rivalry, or both, nonny!

Second Response: Do you want to lose out on the merchandising opportunities? I don't! I could be the Loki to your Thor!

Third Response: In the interest of full disclosure, I'm kind of the Loki to everyone's Thor.

Bizarrely, I have yet to receive a response. I am eagerly awaiting a .pdf business plan or a .throughmydoor monosyllabic blond dude, however.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I believe this is what we call a "Go, Team Me!" moment.


Excuse me while I dance all about the room. *does so*

This was my first year attempting NaNoWriMo, and I'm super-excited to not only have won, but to come in early. I was nervous about this one, since the POV character is just so very different from me, but I'm pleased with the way it's turning out thus far. The theme's a little jagged here and there where I tried to force it, but the lot is surprisingly tight. I usually flail more.

And with that announcement, I go back to formatting. Y'know, I don't mind paying nominal fees for works that are out of copyright, even knowing that I could get them for free if I hunted a little bit, because I know that my money is going to pay the Lasik bills for those poor, poor volunteers.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I'm not much better than a raccoon, really.

Interactive book cover that changes as you drag your mouse over it.

I think that I'm one of the last five people on the planet who doesn't like touch screens, and I'm going to weep tears worthy of a Precious Moments child when RIM finally finishes circling the drain*. That being said, this is so cool. I can't stop playing with it.

Right, I'm gonna stop and get back to writing my NaNoWriMo now.

Okay, now.


Seriously, I gotta get out of here.

*A friend dropped her iPhone two feet from the driver's seat of her car. It cracked the screen. I fell halfway down a flight of stairs with my Blackberry in my back pocket and wound up with nothing worse than a Blackberry-shaped bruise on my ass. SAD, SAD TEARS.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Unabashed Happy Post

Mondays suck. I've been aggressively using exclamation points all day in an effort to compensate.

Firstly, Alchemy of Scrawl brought my attention to this super idea, Adopt an Indie Month! I don't have time to participate with NaNoWriMo entering its homestretch, but I'm super-excited to read everyone's interviews and blogs!

Books Read Recently:

Let's Get Digital: How to Self-Publish and Why You Should by David Gaughran. I particularly liked the segment on formatting (I can break a website by looking at it wrong, that chapter wouldn't stand a chance if it were possible to dog-ear an e-book) and the stories of all the self-publishing authors who are currently making it--not the three who get talked about all the time.

And again: True Porn Clerk Stories, with bonus thanks to everyone who RTed me on Twitter! Reading it again only made even happier to have rediscovered it. Given the books advertised around it (eep), I should have mentioned: it's not erotica. (With no disrespect to the romance writers I know!) I was seventeen when I starting reading the blog for the first time, and I didn't become a serial killer, but Davis talk fairly frankly about some of the covers that she saw over the course of the job. Chalk it up as a firm NSFW.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

...I actually just did the "IT'S SO FLUFFY I COULD DIE!!!" thing.

Complete with terrifying voice straight of The Exorcist. Yes, I did, and I do not apologize.

True Porn Clerk Stories used to be a blog called Confessions of a Porn Store Clerk chronicling the adventures, mis- and otherwise, of a woman who worked part-time in a video store to make ends meet while she was trying to get her feet under her as a freelance artist. She's a fantastic writer, frequently insightful and always screamingly funny. I was brokenhearted when the blog disappeared, and it's all that I can do not to do a literal Snoopy Dance of happiness right now to learn that she's packaged her experiences in book form.

Oh, and by the way: she's indie. :P

Nick Mamatas on JA Konrath, and I Still Can't Keep My Mouth Shut.

Mamatas' Post Here

Once again, my "don't be a jackass until you absolutely have to" goal is butting its head against my contrarian side. Okay, here goes:

The house slave analogy on the part of Eisler and Konrath was inappropriate.

The analogy comparing self-publishing gurus to the NuRight's strategy of convincing people to vote against their economic self-interests on the part of Mamatas, while inoffensive, doesn't work any better. There are two reasons for this, the first being that pursuing a traditional publishing deal is not actually in the economic interests of most writers. The vast majority of indie writers would be making no money from their writing without the invention of the e-reader. Now they can make a little money, with the (miniscule) potential for a lot of money. A little is still more than zero. Secondly, the NuRight seduces people into voting against their economic self-interest for the NuRight's own benefit. Rupert Murdoch doesn't give a damn about gay marriage or US immigration policy. He does care about selling ad time for as much money as possible and then keeping those profits through generous tax breaks. Mamatas is resting his argument on the charge that Konrath, et. al, are running a pyramid scheme by seducing unsuspecting writers into the glitter of indie ideology and then selling to them, that there would be no market for indie books if not for gullible indie writers. I simply do not see how this is possible when the full diversity of various genres and idiosyncratic tastes are taken into account. A fan of Amanda Hocking* might find that Amber Scott scratches the same itch, but I kind of doubt that Blake Crouch and Selena Kitt appeal to the same demographics.

Mamatas also shores up his charge that the indie market is fundamentally incestuous and unprofitable based on, um, people use signatures with links to their books on the Kindle Boards. Frankly, I think the way that he's construing conversations on those boards is deliberately disingenuous: authors talk about weightier topics all the time, as even ten minutes poking about readily shows. If saying cool, intelligent things so that people decide that you're a cool, intelligent person and try out your books is now off-limits, then every author using social media had better stop right now. That includes Mamatas on his own Livejournal. Forget the attempt to make "self-promotion is an unauthorized use of the boards" charge; it's irrelevant. It's a matter of forum policy, not an ethical charge. If the KB mods decide that signatures with book links in them aren't a violation of policy, then they aren't a violation of stinkin' policy. That's one of the most passive forms of self-promotion there actually is, anyway, so unless we're now extending the charge that self-promotion in general is somehow gauche….? I didn’t' think so. As to the notion that indie writers tend to read a lot of indie books: authors also tend to be readers. This is not new. Self-published books make up the lion's share of my Kindle purchases because they're cheaper and I haven't noticed an across-the-board quality difference. I'm not putting myself in the monetary hole trying to chase the cool kids, and I don't that any others are, either. (That kind of purchasing would almost certainly be required to sustain the income levels of the growing list of people getting wealthy off of indies if the market really were that incestuous.) There's also an attempt to pull the old "oh noes, Joe in Iowa** might taint the hallowed halls of literature!" argument strategy, but my only hope there is that Joe handles the fame better than Laurell K. Hamilton has after writing the same damned thing.

Do I think that indie publishing has some crazy zealots, and that the rhetoric has gotten way too heated? Yes, I do. There is no need to sneer at physical books as "dead trees" or backhandedly call traditionally published authors stupid for an accomplishment that they likely worked their asses off for years in order to achieve. It's not the tone argument to tell Konrath that "phasers set to jackass" is not a winning rhetoric style. (Am I still amused as hell by what counts as flame-worthy now? Oh, god, yes.) Neither am I going to pretend that a series of red herrings counts as an argument, though, because it doesn't.

*Since it's been brought up, yes, I am aware that Amanda Hocking took a very generous traditional deal earlier this year. I am also aware that 1) she has not stopped self-publishing (a new book went out just this week, in fact) and 2) her deal is $2,000,000 for English rights to four books, three of which are previously published works that she pulled down for reediting and new covers. (EDIT 12/12/2011: There appears to be some confusion as to whether the Trylle books are included among the four, or whether the Watersong series is a four-book contract in and of itself. I'm getting conflicting info, can anyone else clear it up?) So she landed a seven-figure advance for producing one new book and signing over the rights to three others that have likely hit their reader saturation point in the indie market, has a chance to acquire new readers towards the works that have already been produced and earn a 70% royalty rate, and doesn't have to stop self-publishing in the meantime. And she referred to this as taking a risk. That's hardly clamoring for the first wagon that could drag her out of the indie wilderness, s'sorry. I might also add that to hint that advocating for e-readers and e-books is classist while defending $30 hardbacks is just a tad ill-considered.

**The NuRight also finds fertile ground in large part because of subtle "lol redneck" classism on the part of a lot of liberals. IJS, and I'm one step away from being a card-carrying socialist.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How appropriate that this milestone is crossed on Hump Day.

Get yer minds out of the gutter. :)

Yep, that means that I am officially over halfway towards winning my first NaNoWriMo! A big achievement, even if the book itself feels as if it'll be more in the 75K-80K range. The book itself also had some exciting moments over the past week and a half:

1) The first time that my villain scared me.

2) The first time that my protagonist scared me.

3) The first time (only in this book, alas) I realized I might be just a bit creepy.

I'm going to hit 30K tomorrow, and after that I'll use my three-day weekend to see how much I can get written before my fingers fall off. For night, however, I'm going to lie around and not do one single thing to justify my continued existence. (Please ignore the fact that I made sure my dinner dishes were washed before typing that sentence.)

Monday, November 7, 2011

"Smart, sexy, and the women of the Otherworld."

Thus is the tagline for one of my favorite book series, Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld. Tara-Jayne at Basically Books is currently reading the series for the first time, which has spurred me to re-read it and discover all over again why I love it so. She writes smart, tough, multifaceted women with distinct voices and ethical codes--and she does it from first person POVs. (We're always most impressed in others by what we cannot do easily ourselves, aren't we?) The cover that I've embedded is a great example of her talent and skill. No Humans Involved is Jaime's book, and Jaime is not a character that I would normally have much interest in, but with Armstrong's magic (bad pun, I know, throw the easy ones back) she has become one of my favorite characters. I love her odd sense of humor, her ditz-fits whenever Jeremy is around (and how disconcerted they make her, since she's not a woman prone to fluttering otherwise), and even her love of shoes. That's the mark of a damned good writer, right there.

(Naturally, since you can't have "fan" without "fanatic", I also have my LEAVE BRITTANY ALONE!1!! character in Savannah. You'll find that my sanity level is inversely proportional to how much she's being picked on in any given scene. I make no apologies for this.)