clhollandwriter: (Default)
Nothing on the new project this week, but I have written a couple of other short pieces, drafted a new poem, and got my submissions up to date. Short things, flash and poetry, seem to be all I can manage at the moment. Anything longer requires a sustained level of brain power I just can't manage after a day at work, certainly on the days I finish late. Being on a rota sucks.

The competition special issue of Writing Magazine is out this week, so I updated my deadline calendar for the rest of the year. As always there seems to be an increase in competitions for very specialised age groups - women over 40 or 60, or under 25, for example. It's a bit of a wasteland if you're anywhere in between. I wonder why organisers don't seem to consider that the rest of us might need support or encouragement. Maybe they think we're all too busy off having babies or something.

There's an increase in contests requiring ridiculous levels of fees, too - upwards of £12 in some cases. While I understand the need for contests to charge a fee so they can pay the judges and the winners, some of them seem to be plainly taking advantage. I'm a firm believer in Yog's Law - money flows towards the writer - and if it's flowing in the other direction there had better be a good reason. That's why I won't submit to regular markets with submission or reading fees, and if I'm entering a contest I set the fee I'm willing to pay at 2% of the prize unless winning is particularly prestigious in itself.

My writing books have all turned up now.

Although, to be fair, The Observation Deck was ordered before Swanwick and turned up without the deck (which is presumably why it was so cheap, although it wasn't mentioned in the product description). I'm working my way through them, and it's nice to have a collection to dip in and out of when I want to get my head into writing. It's also nice to know I can buy them without worrying about having to move house with them - and that any I decide not to keep will easily find a new home at Swanwick next year.
clhollandwriter: (poppy)
Writers would have to have been on Mars this week to miss Amazon's latest bad behaviour, but readers might not be so aware of it beyond some bizarrely long shipping times for certain books.

The short version: Hachette (a publisher) and Amazon (an evil behemoth) are in contract negotiations. Amazon wants more money from Hachette; Hachette doesn't want to give Amazon more money. Which is fair enough - businesses are there to make money so it's reasonable for both of them to want a bigger slice of the pie.

What isn't reasonable is what Amazon did next.

They started giving three week dispatch times on books by Hachette authors. That's not "we'll ship it and it'll take three weeks to get to you", that's "we'll ship it in three weeks even though it's in stock". Yes this is hitting Amazon's profits, since customers might take their custom elsewhere, but given the size and global position of Amazon this is hardly going to affect their bottom line. It's going to hit the smaller Hachette much harder.

And it's going to hit their authors.

The next thing Amazon did was remove the preorder buttons from Hachette titles - as can be seen in a screenshot in this blog post by the New York Times. This might not seem like a big deal, but it has a massive impact on authors since preorders are one of the ways in which publishers decide whether to buy more books by their authors. It's entirely possible that mid-list authors are going to lose their careers over this.

Last night I saw the following Tweet from Hachette author Nalo Hopkinson.
Which would suggest that Amazon is well aware of who's taking the brunt of their strong-arm tactics, and have decided to kick them even harder. Maybe they're hoping the authors, fearing for their careers and royalties, will pressure Hachette to cave.

That's not what's happening. Instead indie bookstores (who are also hurt by Amazon's increasing market share) are promoting that they can get readers Hachette books faster than Amazon can, and they're doing it at a discount. Authors and readers are sharing the links, and the articles condemning Amazon's practices, and asking people to shop elsewhere.

I certainly will be. Pretty much everything on my wishlist are things I can buy elsewhere. Except for the Kindle books, and I'm really regretting the Kindle as my choice of e-reader right now. I can go to Smashwords for some of the indie and self-published books, but for titles from larger publishers I'm stuck with "buy the paperback" (which I bought an e-reader to avoid doing) or "don't buy it at all" (which also hurts authors).

It also puts me in a sticky position as a self-published author. My books are currently available on Amazon. If I take them down I could be hurting myself in lost sales, and I'm denying readers the choice of where to buy in the same way that Amazon is. If I don't, I'm supporting an exploitative company that, when it's finished taking on the traditional publishers, will probably turn on indie authors too.

For the moment the books and links are still available. This may change. I'd personally rather anyone planning on buying the Kindle edition of one of my books does so through Smashwords. You can download in multiple formats, which is handy if you want to change e-reader too.

Amazon has deep pockets. It's going to take a lot to make them notice that people are upset with them. Customer experience is apparently their core ethos: what will be telling is if they continue to behave like they don't care.
clhollandwriter: (Marvin)
So this morning, I discovered a note on one of my forum posts accusing me, and another member, of misogyny.

The exchange in question was one where I made a joke about someone accusing me of whoring my reprints around (not the term this person had used, I was being snarky) rather than letting them make money from selling it themselves. Someone else made a joke about my joke, and we were were accused of "using the language of misogyny".

I really don't appreciate being judged, especially not by someone who played no other part in the conversation and made no attempt to do so. And I can't help but wonder if their problem came from the fact that the other forum member was male, and that I go by my initials on that site because it's the name I write under. Maybe she (and I'm assuming from her username that she's female) assumed I was male too. Because what woman would used such a loaded term as "whore"?

Well, I would actually.

I used the word in the sense of somebody selling a good or service for money. Men can be whores. They can also be sluts, the other word used in the exchange. I've known a few of those. I wasn't aiming the word at anyone, merely saying I'd been implied as being one myself for choosing to make money from my intellectual property.

Perhaps I should have used the word prostitute instead, although that seems to me like semantics and reeks of the kind of questions we're seeing over the use of the word vagina in American politics. I don't appreciate other people telling me I don't have access to my own language because it offends them. There is a world of difference between using a word to offend and using a word that others incidentally find offensive. It's like telling homosexuals they can't use the word queer, because it might offend others of the same sexuality. Likewise anyone using a term traditionally used against them.

Women can reclaim words too, just like the LGBT community and people of colour can. I'm a woman, and I'll say someone accused me of being a whore if I want to. That doesn't make it okay for a man to call me a whore, and that doesn't make it okay for anyone to try and silence me.
clhollandwriter: (Marvin)
A cautionary tale for anyone thinking about submitting to Undead Press:

Unprofessional in so many ways I don't know where to start.

clhollandwriter: (marchin)
There’s a lot of fuss being made about a film coming out, Anonymous, that claims Shakespeare didn’t write the works of Shakespeare.

Now, I know academics like to create new literary theories, and in fairness pretty much everything must have been said about Shakespeare already, but does it really matter?

If Shakespeare is outed as a plagiarist, there isn’t a single wrong that will be righted. It’s far too late for it to matter to any of the parties involved. In fact, it might actually damage the face of English literature as we know it.

Shakespeare’s works are famous because some of them are great, and because of the sheer volume of them. The Complete Works of Shakespeare is a hefty book. But in truth there are some pretty mediocre works in there too – Anthony and Cleopatra is like a badly written soap, and I once upset a lecturer of mine by saying I felt some of the sonnets overrated. This is forgiven because, well, it’s Shakespeare.

If the works get reatributed, there won't be a complete works of Shakespeare. There might be a complete works of whoever they thought really wrote it (In this case Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford) or, more likely, a handful of scattered works attributed to several other playwrights of the day. And then people will start to forget about them. Shakespeare is famous enough that people not into literature might well sit down to watch a movie of Macbeth or Romeo and Juliet "because it's Shakespeare". If it's some nobody they've never heard of who's going to bother? The lesser known works will start to disappear because they won't have the weight of Shakespeare's name to keep them around, except in university courses dedicated to the works we once thought were Shakespeare's. And that would be a real shame.

What about the rest of you, do you think this is something that should be dug into or best left alone?
clhollandwriter: (Default)
So, to jump on the bashing-the-NaNo-bashers bandwagon: why is it that some professional writers see others having fun and decide they have to spoil it? Sure NaNoWriMo produces a load of crap, but anything that gets people writing is a good thing, right?

Anyway, several writers a making good points about why sometimes the NaNo process helps to produce decent novels, and since it's only a tool in the process anyway bashing it is a bit like killing kittens. And they're published writers. With novels and everything.

From my own point of view, NaNo isn't about writing publishable prose. It's about writing. It's about telling the crappy year I've had "screw you" and getting back into the habit of writing every day. It's about rediscovering my love of the process, and about proving to myself that I can write more than I do. After a month of NaNo - whether I win or not - it renews my motivation and gets me working on other potentially publishable things. Then, when I start to flag and my productivity tails off, it's back to NaNoWriMo again to recharge the batteries.

My non-writer, long-suffering boyfriend understands all this. He positively encourages me to do NaNo, because he knows I'm happiest when I'm writing regularly. If he can understand this - as someone who regularly glazes over when I start talking about writing - then how come other writers can't?

By the way, I'm up to 18,393 words now. So there.
clhollandwriter: (Marvin)
Apologies for lengthy URLs, but the formatting's still broken.

For those who haven't already heard the news doing the rounds of Livejournal, Amazon in all their wisdom have decided to remove the sales ranking from anything they deem "adult". This will make it harder for people to find the products. However, while a lot of things in the erotica section have had them removed, various LGBT novels and collections with little or no erotic content - including YA novels - have also been affected. All this while while heterosexual "adult" content like Jackie Collins, and Laurell K. Hamilton's fairy porn still have their rankings.

I'm not sure if it's heavy-handedness or downright homophobic bias, but it still sucks.

More info here:
clhollandwriter: (Default)
Mark Chadborne on the Write Fantastic LJ said that all writers should read this

He was right.

March 2019

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