Saturday, March 3, 2012

A bit of this, a bit of that.

Firstly, my February sales for Super held steady in spite of the dreaded mid-winter slump. I'm making gas money, but I'm not selling to friends and family who are contractually obligated to love me at this point, and that is amazing. That is something that I almost doubted would ever happen. (Eh, cynic at heart, what can I say? It means that good news is such a delightful surprise!) I have the fabulous MGShogun on Twitter and the incredible Alejandra Aponte on Wordpress to thank for this. Y'all's enthusiasm is staggering and humbling.


In news of the Super series, Fire with Fire is in the middle of its third draft and is still on schedule for an April release, though not April 1 as I had envisioned. I always hate the third draft and have to kick and stomp a bit before I get down to it, as that's when my beta readers take great delight in telling me everything about my baby that is ugly. The final edit, the copy-edit and typo search, is much less aggravating. As far as drafting goes, I cringe to say this, but...I've put Siren, Naomi's book, on hiatus at 38,000 words while I work out some other issues. I wasn't having any fun at all, and it was showing in the writing. Part of it was pressure from the series endgame revving up, part of it was structural issues in the book itself (which I think I have identified), and part of it was pressure from the day job seeping into me, but I was dragging along at about two thousand miserable words a day and calling it lucky to get that much. I've been writing a ridiculous PNR that I outlined in a day since then; it's been delighting me and providing a wonderful mental respite so that I can go back to the Super series with all of the joy that it deserves.


In news of the Smashwords censorship scandal, Mark Coker has sent this message out to all Smashwords authors:


Although erotica authors are being targeted, this is an issue that should concern
all indie authors. It affects indies disproportionately because indies are the
ones pushing the boundaries of fiction. Indies are the ones out there publishing
without the (fading) protective patina of a "traditional publisher" to lend them
legitimacy. We indies only have each other.

Several Smashwords authors have contacted me to stress that this censorship affects
women disproportionately. Women write a lot of the erotica, and they're also
the primary consumers of erotica. They're also the primary consumers of mainstream
romance, which could also come under threat if PayPal and the credit card companies
were to overly enforce their too-broad and too-nebulous obsenity clauses (I think
this is unlikely, but at the same time, why would dubious consent be okay in
mainstream romance but not okay in erotica? If your write paranormal, can your
were-creatures not get it on with one another, or is that bestiality? The insanity
needs to stop here. These are not questions an author, publisher or distributor
of legal fiction should have to answer.).

All writers and their readers should stand up and voice their opposition to financial
services companies censoring books. Authors should have the freedom to publish
legal fiction, and readers should have the freedom to read what they want.

These corporations need to hear from you. Pick up the phone and call them.
Email them. Start petitions. Sign petitions. Blog your opposition to censorship.
Encourage your readers to do the same. Pass the word among your social networks.
Contact your favorite bloggers and encourage them to follow this story. Contact
your local newspaper and offer to let them interview you so they can hear a local
author's perspective on this story of international significance. If you have
connections to mainstream media, encourage them to pick up on the story. Encourage
them to call the credit card companies and pose this simple question, "PayPal
says they're trying to enforce the policies of credit card companies. Why are
you censoring legal fiction?"

Below are links to the companies waiting to hear from you. Click the link and
you'll find their phone numbers, executive names and postal mailing addresses.
Be polite, respectful and professional, and encourage your friends and followers
to do the same. Let them know you want them out of the business of censoring
legal fiction.

Tell the credit card companies you want them to give PayPal permission to sell
your ebooks without censorship or discrimination. Let them know that PayPal's
policies are out of step with the major online ebook retailers who already accept
your books as they are. Address your calls, emails (if you can find the email)
and paper letters (yes paper!) to the executives. Post open letters to them
on your blog, then tweet and Facebook hyperlinks to your letters. Force the
credit card companies to join the discussion about censorship. And yes, express
your feelings and opinions to PayPal as well. Don't scream at them. Ask them
to work on your behalf to protect you and your readers from censorship. Tell
them how their proposed censorship will harm you and your fellow writers.


American Express:



Ebay (owns PayPal):


Starting Sunday, if our email systems can handle it, we will send out an email
to several hundred thousand registered Smashwords members who are opted in to
receive occasional Smashwords service updates. The email will combine Read an
Ebook Week with the censorship call to action. Let's start a little fire, shall

Thank you for your continuing support of Smashwords. With your help, we can
move mountains.

Best wishes,


He lays it out much better than I ever could. Even if you're not a Smashwords author, I highly, highly encourage you to contact Paypal, Ebay, and the listed credit card companies and make your voices heard. Ill-defined standards based upon emotion, historically speaking, really don't end well.

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