Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Why, Hale, Why?

I read the long Guardian article by Kathleen Hale and posted the short of my opinion to twitter. I thought the topic deserved a blog post, which I am sure there have been plenty of since the guardian article shed light on this blogger/author debacle.

Mrs. Kathleen Hale you earned yourself a nifty twitter hashtag , a few rounds of twitter trending and a lot of press. I don't know whether this is good or bad for a first time author whose book No One Else Can Have You came out from HarperTeen in January 7, 2014 but it is a argument we will continue to discuss because of the issues it brings up with social media, privacy, trolling, stalking and bullying.

Some of you might or might not remember Kiera Cass's (author of The Selection series) run-in with her blogger. Cass and her agent got into it with a reviewer from Goodreads because they didn't like her review. In Mrs. Hale's situation, I find myself asking:

1. Why would the Guardian print this? It is awful, one-sided and somewhat rant-ty too. I can't believe both sides weren't given equal time in a matter that really pulls at social media issues. 

2. Isn't this the true definition of stalking? Did you not think that at any point during your research of your blogger?                                                                                                                                         

3. Why go this far? Why, why, why? You could have written a blog post about it, how it's unfair how public opinion affects people wanting to read books and people should read or try things on their own. You could have used your platform to shed light on a number of issues, let's say; public opinion, blogging, bullying, catfishing or the blogger/reviewer/author relationship.

4. Was it that serious for you to do #6 and #7 on my list? Seriously?

5. Were you trying to make enemies? Your response was so unprofessional and as a now published author could have been handled in better way.

6. $19 for an internet background check? Seriously? It truly doesn't matter who the person is on other side of the computer, yes there are people that listen to them in your case but you have people too because you got published by one of the Big 5 (counting Random/Penguin as one) and you wrote for the Guardian.
7. Really a rent-a-car? This is when you should have sought professional help. Why would you think it was ok to visit anyone after getting their address online. That doesn't make sense.

8. You called  (fan-girling-how did he sound?) Seriously though? If someone was catfishing you then you probably should report it and move on. Don't request to do a blog interview with them and then proceed to find out where they might live, call someone who might or might not be them and visit their possible home. LET IT GO.
9. Your visit was a "sort of" personal rock bottom? Sort of? Your choice of words baffles me- "sort of rock bottom," that's like a drunk saying their "sort of drunk". Be real with yourself. Admit you went to far, fix it and move on. Hopefully you can recover from your actions both personally and professionally. The Kiera Cass Debacle was off-putting but it made me want to read her book in order to form my own opinion. However despite mediocre reviews Kiera Cass has successfully published 5 books plus novellas (2014). And a caveat - Cass also apologized for her behavior and I think she meant it. Still I feel sorry for Wendy Darling (blogger extraordinaire) who continues to be attacked for her opinion.

10. DO NOT ENGAGE. Don't you wish you listened? Public opinions vary that is the beauty of us being different. This is advice I will take to heart. I wish there was a program authors could let bloggers read their books as part of editing process and then glaring issues could be addressed early. No - writers can't make everyone happy nor should we try to but if there are fundamental issues in a novel that a blogger could help with before publishing, I'd welcome the challenge.                               

Now in Mrs. Hale's defense I understand how one could go too far when looking at people's reviews and opinions online especially about something as personal as a novel. Believe you me I dread the day but also welcome the day when my novel is in the public eye. I feel that once you put it out there, you have to stop letting public opinion matter. This is where we take a page from the famous stars who get followed and hounded and talked about all day every day by the media and everyone else who has an opinion. Live your life and do what you an on other ends to make people still want to read your book and be interested in you.

Trolling, cyber bullying and stalking on the internet sucks. It sucks. People have killed themselves because of it. It is not a light or funny issue. Let me tell you how many hateful messages I have read about stars, novels, current issues, the president, races, regular people...

People hide behind the computer. That's technology for you - that's anonymity. I think technology protects and it also allows some really cruddy people to make hateful comments to people they don't know, it isn't fair. But life is not fair. I learned that from my parents repeating it over and over again and then through living life. Life is not fair, so don't expect the internet or the people on it to be.

DO NOT ENGAGE. Words to live by.



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Authors - Wondering who will accept you without an agent?

Who will accept your novel without an agent? 
Here is my list with links for all you authors out there.
Boy, I would have liked this list when I started researching.
1. This list is not a complete list of all the options.
2. I'd advise you to research ALL publishers on http://absolutewrite.com & other sites. Some publishers don't have favorable opinions/experiences recorded from some authors & bloggers on the web so bottom line - DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH.)

Small & Midsize Press Publishers
Chronicle Books since 1967 (Ivy & Bean children's series)
Kensington Publishing since 1974
Saddleback Edu. Publishing since 1982 (Won 2014 Moonbeam)
Algonquin Books since 1983 (Published Water for Elephants)
Blushing Books  since 1991
Quirk Books since 2002 (YA author Ransom Riggs)
Skyhorse Publishing since 2006
Spencer Hill Press since 2010 (YA/NA author Jennifer Armentrout)
Black Opal Books since October 2010 (Won 2014 Moonbeam)
Alloy Entertainment Collaborative since 2012 (Won 2014 Moonbeam)
Vamptasy Publishing since 2012 (author Kenya Wright)
Hot Ink Press since 2012 (Imprint of 2 aforementioned Pubs.)
Headline Books Inc. (Winner of IPPY awards from 2010-14) 

*Also check Published to Death blog for great info about publishers.


Send your query to HarperCollins Publishers in The Wednesday Post (Tuesday in the states) where
they accept un-agented authors:  

SWOON READS: Crowd sourcing publishing model of Young Adult books. You join, upload your novel, readers will read, comment and rate it and the big wigs publish only the books that people love. 

KINDLE SCOUT: "Reader-powered publishing platform that offers authors an opportunity to earn a guaranteed advance, a decision on publication in 45 days or less, the ability to retain print rights, and Amazon marketing for published books."

Digital Only or Digital First Imprints
Random House since 1995 - Flirt (NA), LoveSwept (Romance), Alibi (Mysteries/Thrillers), Hydra (Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror)
Ellora's Cave since 1997
Carina Press since 2000
Samhain Publishing since 2005
Pants on Fire Press (Award winning press) since 2007
Avon Impulse (Romance) and Harper Impulse (both HarperCollins imprints) since 2011
Curiosity Quills since 2011
Crimson Romance since 2012

Self-Publishing Options (25 Things You Need to Know)
Smashwords "Smashwords is the world's largest distributor of indie ebooks, publishing and distribution of ebooks to the major retailers."

KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) "Amazon's KDP is a fast, easy and free way for authors and publishers to keep control and publish their books worldwide.

BookBaby.com Ability to publish your eBook worldwide, at no cost, when you waive signup fee. Choose the option that makes the most sense for you and your book.

Lulu.com "Self-publishing for print-on-demand books, ebooks, music, images and custom calendars. Authors set their own royalties and control the publishing process."

Blurb.com "Self publishing/indie publishing platform, make your own book with Blurb's creative publishing platform, the best publisher for first time authors."

Vanity & Subsidy Press/Author Services Companies
                   Amazon CreateSpace (merged w/Booksurge)
Outskirts Press


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Internet Surfing

You click one link after another after another and so on and so forth and before you know it's four hours later and you have conceded that you probably won't accomplish much today. Well I had one of those days but it was very positive experience because I learned a lot. I was researching self-publishing. I came across the authors Brenna Aubrey and HM Ward who turned down traditional publishers to self-publish and of course their success stories intrigued and inspired me. More intriguing was the fact they broke down everything they went through. Their experiences and opinions on the subject prompted me to put together some more CONS about traditional publishing.
Signing with a Traditional Publisher CON list:
  1. Little to no control of rights for 35 years (print, e-book, audio, film, etc.) which means no control over re-print runs, movie/TV casting, scripts, budget, etc. Courtney Milan breaks down costs here.
  2. Little to no creative control/freedom (title, cover, edits, marketing and placement, pricing) which means you could end up with a cover you don't like or a marketing plan that does not work to your novel's strengths.
  3. Authors do not know the budgets and marketing plans "of any given book before agreeing to sign a contract" per HM Ward.
  4. Little to no control over release date/timetable, since you are working with publisher who has other books and priorities.
  5. Little to no advance for debut authors. Any advance is against royalties. Usually one half of the total advance is delivered upon author signing. The remaining amount divvied into payments distributed upon delivery of edited manuscript and again upon publication. Once you sell through advance the royalties diminish to about of 7% on print books and 25% of the net on eBooks.
  6. If there is an advance, you don't see any cash flow until the advance is repaid, this is a loan by another other name.
  7. Amount of royalties paid are very little with traditional publishing, especially for debut authors.
  8. Possible lower involvement in editing/revising of book.
  9. Non Compete Clause means that you cannot publish or authorize publication of any book-length credited under your author name. People have gotten around this by publishing under pseudo names.
  10. Require rights to print and ebooks which means you can't reprint excerpts on blogs or in articles without permission.
Bottom line is control here. Relinquish control for possible success and money? Or keep control for possible success and more share of money?
This is a personal decision of course.







Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Is Dystopian a Publishing Trend?

Does dystopian have staying power or is it a publishing trend that will soon come an end? First off, I think that vampires, demons/angels (supernatural), super-powered humans, werewolves, witches, aliens and zombies are trending themes in novels and on the screen. Some are "out" right now and some are "in".

On the heels of Twilight we had Vampire Diaries, True Blood and Dracula that were adapted on TV & the big screen. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was quite big too in its hay day too. However Vampire Academy, a popular YA series, bombed in the theaters so did Beautiful Creatures...and a slue of other book adaptions.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Humans with super powers is a reaching trend made famous by comic book adaptions. Comic books have been around for decades and this trend is here to stay.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     The Supernatural trend has been alive in the 10 seasons of Supernatural on the WB network. However Mortal Instruments totally bombed in theatres.
As far as I know there hasn't been a Werewolf book adaption to blow up this trend unless you count the old and new versions of Teen Wolf and Twilight. Shiver is a bestselling book series about wolves (I did not like) so maybe there is some traction there...eh...I hope not.        
Witches made famous by The Craft, Practical Magic, The Harry Potter Series, Charmed and now American Horror Story: Coven, Salem & Witches of East End, is a trend that seems to always stick around in my opinion. However The Secret Circle and I am Four did not do so well in their adapted forms.

Aliens - this is an ongoing trend in and outside of the YA genre: Ender's Game, X Files, The War of the Worlds, Zathura, The Host, The 5th Wave, Roswell, The Lux Series, The Last Year Series...all have helped keep this trending theme in the forefront.

That brings me to zombies which is alive and well I think, there is Warm Bodies, The Walking Dead, World War Z and probably some bestsellers I am forgetting.
My conclusion is...
There are over 60 novels (and probably lots more not on this list) that have had the film rights bought, some deserving some not so much and what will make money is really a toss up in the air. There is no cookie cutter formula to what is trending or if a trend will have staying power and adaption power.
Some publishers and agents will tell you that dystopian is a hard sell. When querying, 4 agents told me that it is. And it might very well be for them but I say, if a story is entrancing, well-written and captures the eye of someone in the position to move it along then there you go, it's not such a hard sell. People are still buying dystopian after Hunger Games and Divergent. There are bestsellers that support this fact Delirium, Matched, Legend, Under the Never Sky, The Selection, Uglies...I could go on and on.
I think the reason the dystopian genre has staying power in the YA market is because teens often feel marginalized and misunderstood. They feel like they are treated unfairly and in a dystopian society these elements are Omni-present.
I see the next trend that has staying power as "aliens" (but this is probably because I've been writing an alien/witch/supernatural story since 2011. Now run tell dat. (*Drops the mic and steps off soap box).