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publishing news


Today in disturbing publishing news

News has broken since yesterday that Ellora’s Cave has sued Dear Author, specifically over the post DA did here, talking about the publisher’s history and how they appear to be imploding now, and basically asking WTF. EC is suing DA for defamation. Jane Litte of DA, being involved in the suit, cannot really post about it in depth. But Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches posts about it here.

There is a great deal of WTF to be had here, in no small part because Jane Litte was reporting on Things That Actually Happened. This used to be called “journalism”. But if this suit has its way, it could now be called “defamation”.

I’m not an Ellora’s Cave author, but I do know folks who are, and who have been deeply worried about developments with that publisher. That there are EC authors who are not getting paid for the work even though their work continues to be on sale concerns me deeply. So does EC authors being afraid to speak out publicly about what’s been going on.

And now DA is being sued?

This is, in a word, bullshit. I know from following the Dear Bitches Smart Authors podcast that Jane is herself a lawyer, so she’s got background to understand the level of bullshit involved here. But I really hope that the Ohio courts will smack this down, and if Jane winds up calling for help with a legal fund, I’ll be throwing her what bucks I can spare.

ETA: I’ve been linked to! So here, if you’d like to see other links cropping up on this matter:

Her Hands My Hands stands up to join the Streisand Effect starting to spread about this.

The Digital Reader reports on the matter, including an explanation of what SLAPP is (note: Jane Litte reported a lack of anti-SLAPP laws in Ohio, which could prove to be a problem).

Vacuous Minx reports on how EC has bailed on a prior lawsuit before, and speculates on likely outcomes of this case.

And although this is a post from earlier this month, prior to news of this lawsuit, Writer Beware reported on the EC implosion and warned writers off of submitting new work to them.

Pete Morin has a link off to the actual complaint filed. Which I have now read, and it’s interesting to note that EC is specifically stating that the assertions that EC authors aren’t getting paid are false, and they seem to be trying to make a case for the DA post being a cause for EC authors having a panic rush–rather than oh, say, EC authors themselves reporting that this shit is going down and DA’s post reacting to that.

The Passive Voice has a post up also linking to the complaint, and some analysis of what will be happening now both in the post and in the comments.

More links as I find ’em, folks.


Regarding Kindle Unlimited

Amazon’s new Kindle Unlimited service, which is basically their attempt to do Netflix for ebooks as far as I can tell, has been getting a lot of attention in the publishing world. Reactions, from what I’ve seen so far, are quite mixed. (Mr. Scalzi, for example, has an interesting writeup on the topic over here.) So here’s mine.

With my reader hat on, I’m feeling right now like this service won’t be useful to me, since it doesn’t really address how I interact with ebooks. If there’s a book I want to read that I don’t want to put down money for up front, I already have a way to address that: the Seattle Public Library and the King County Library System, both of which are very friendly to ebook checkouts. Granted, this doesn’t always work, since there are some books that these two systems might not actually have and which I could in theory immediately grab via Kindle Unlimited if I were so inclined.

But here’s the thing. If there’s a book I want to read ASAP, chances are very high that it’s by an author who’s already on my buy list. In which case, if I want it, I’ll be buying it. If it’s not an author I know already, chances are equally high that said book is competing with the several hundred other things on my To Read list, and it’ll come off the queue when I get to it. If the library systems don’t have it, I can generally wait till they do.

And if I happen to become unemployed again, the service becomes even more superfluous. $9.99 a month isn’t much if you have a regular, well-paying job. But if you don’t, every new dollar adds up. And this would be one of the first expenses I’d drop if I happened to be a subscriber who suddenly lost her job.

Really, though, when you get right down to it, I’m perfectly happy to use the library for books I’m not sure I want to buy yet. And if it becomes a question of “who gets my money”, I’d just as soon donate to the library rather than blow $9.99 a month for access to books I will most likely not actually read in any given month.

Because I mean, seriously, people, there are currently over 1,200 titles on my Goodreads To Read shelf. Many of which I already own, and most of the rest of which I can grab from the library when necessary. I’m not seeing much need to blow $9.99 a month on top of that to get access to those books via some other mechanism.

Meanwhile, with my author hat on, my reactions are mixed. Whether my titles with Carina show up on this service is beyond my control. If Harlequin elects to deploy Carina titles to the service, it’s certainly possible that I might get a few extra pennies I might not otherwise get, which is fine. (Though at the level at which I currently operate, yeah, a few extra pennies would be what I’d have to expect here.)

And as y’all know, since I’m not publishing Faerie Blood exclusively with Amazon, that title certainly won’t be getting out there. So in regards to my self-published stuff, Kindle Unlimited isn’t a benefit to me at all.

How about y’all? Anybody out there going to sign up for this thing, as a writer OR a reader?


SFWA calls for input re: membership for self-pubbed authors

This just in: spotted on Twitter that SFWA is putting out a call to its membership for commentary re: opening membership to self-published authors. If any SFWA members are reading me and haven’t already seen this, check out the link for deets.

I for one am glad to see that SFWA’s opening this up for discussion, since RWA has already beaten them to it. And as I’m already a dues-paying member of NIWA, I definitely feel that there’s a need here that should be addressed.

I’m still a bit of a weird duck, what with my sales being tiny in the grand scheme of things from both my self-pubbed work and my stuff with Carina. Accordingly, I suspect that were SFWA to open membership to self-pubbed authors, the criteria would probably set sales figures too high for my current reach–but it would be nice to have that option eventually available.

Certainly I’d be willing to pay in at a lower level of membership, such as affiliate, as I’ve mentioned before.

Anyway, good to be able to post about something SFWA-related that isn’t schadenfreude! Well done, SFWA. Keep it up.


A few things make a Sunday post

John Scalzi has a good post up addressing the question of whether self-publishing has rendered Yog’s Law obsolete. Good commentary in the comments about this, and the importance of distinguishing between oneself as “writer” and as “publisher” when one self-publishes.

I saw this come up in the last backer update that went out to all of us who supported the Long Hidden anthology: an issue of whether it’s an expression of privilege when you dismiss the use of dialect in fiction. There’s a Storify link of the Twitter discussion here, and Insatiable Book Sluts has a thoughtful post up about it here. A lot of food for thought at both of these links, for both readers and writers.

Sad to hear that Angry Robot is closing a couple of its imprints. Scalzi has cogent commentary on this here, and I know this impacts several authors whose works I’m interested in. Notably, userinfomarthawells.


For tumblr users, Dara’s started a couple of extra tumblr blogs in addition to her main one. One is called Oldphemera and is for pics of old oddities that she finds. The other is Seattle–July 20, 1971, where she’s posting scans of a bunch of old bits of newspaper she found being used as packing material. It’s a fun glimpse of Seattle from that year, as seen in the newspaper.

Check ’em out!


Next weekend I’m going to have the pleasure of attending a house concert starring Claude Méthé, Mario Loiselle, and Pascal Gemme. Pascal is of course one of the three members of Genticorum, one of the contenders in the pitched three-way fight for Anna’s Favorite Quebec Trad Band! He’s recently released an album with Mario, and meanwhile, M. Méthé is another excellent Quebecois fiddler. They’re all on the way to Fiddle Tunes, and they’re stopping in Seattle to do their house concert.

VERY excited for another chance to hear Pascal play! And also excited about hearing M. Méthé–I’ve got a couple of recordings that feature him, and this’ll be the first time I get to see him in person.

I will report on the concert in depth. Stand by for that to come!


And one more music-related thing, this time on filk! This is an excellent little academic study on filk, which is NOT a sequence of words I’d normally think of putting together. The study identifies the various kinds of filk, and explores how male vs. female filkers deal with using material by others, and whether there are any differences between genders. Fun reading. I was particularly interested that this story got picked up by io9!


Last but not least, off to go see How to Train Your Dragon 2 this afternoon. All signs indicate it’ll be stupendous great fun. Hoping I’ll stay awake during it, since I’ve been recovering from dental surgery for the whole past week and I have to take antibiotics and painkillers right now. But for Hiccup and Toothless, I’ll do my best to stay awake!


Monday news roundup: Memes, Amazon vs. Hachette, and Jay Lake

I’m not quite convinced that participation in a meme still counts if you get tagged twice for the same thing–but that said, I’ve been re-tagged on the Writing Process one, specifically by M.M. Justus, who put up her post on the meme right over here.

And in case you missed it, my post on the meme went up in April, and you can find it here.


I’m continuing to see a lot of sound and fury bouncing around re: the Amazon-Hachette dispute. B&N is apparently taking advantage of this by doing a Buy 2, Get One Free deal on affected books. So just in case something from a Hachette author is on your personal buy list, you might check this out.

Meanwhile, I was pointed at this post on the matter, in which the author is quite well and firmly on Amazon’s side. I was asked for my thoughts, and can sum them up pretty much thusly: I feel that particular writer has some cogent points re: the good things Amazon’s doing for authors. But on the other hand, I’m still not cool about the strongarm tactics they’ve been using against Hachette. My overall point remains that at the end of the day, when entities as big as Amazon and Hachette go at it, the people who are ultimately hurt by this are still authors–who can’t sell their stuff via Amazon–and readers, who can’t buy the books they may want to get.

And as a general reminder, if you want to read ebooks, Amazon is not your only option. There’s B&N. There’s Kobo. There’s the iBookstore, if you’re an Apple user. There’s Google Play, if you’re Android-inclined. There are device-agnostic places like Smashwords, and there are all sorts of publishers and imprints who sell directly on their own sites–like, of course, Carina. But I also heartily recommend the good folks at Angry Robot, Book View Cafe, and of course savvy longer-term, ebook-reading SF/F fans will be aware that Baen was a pioneer in the DRM-free ebook arena. Likewise, many authors are publishing their own backlists (e.g., Doranna Durgin, highly regarded in these parts). And many small presses may well be selling their own ebooks as well.

Long story short, a judicious ebook-buyer doesn’t have to be constrained to any one device. Do a bit of research and you may well find something awesome you want to read, available in a way that will let you get more money into the hands of the author.


Last but not least, for those who may have missed the news yesterday, Jay Lake finally succumbed to his fight with cancer. The SF/F community will be grieving for him for a while, I think. I’m continuing to see people posting about him all over the Internet, which just goes to show that his impact on the greater SF/F community was deep indeed. I particularly appreciated commentary I’ve seen from people who’ve also been fighting cancer, and who found him to be an inspiration–and also, just from readers who are grateful that his works remain as his legacy. If a writer has to go, I think leaving behind a lot of fans who’ll miss you and treasure your books is a decent way to do it.

My own brief post about this is here, and I reiterate my condolences to all who knew Mr. Lake, whether as a loved one, a friend, or an author.


RIP Jake Lake

The science fiction world is grieving today with the passing of Jay Lake. I didn’t have the pleasure of knowing him, and I hadn’t yet gotten around to reading the works of his that are on my ever-mighty, ever-growing To Read list.

But I do know people who did know him. And I read people on the Internet who knew him. And I’m part of a fandom community that was definitely impacted by him, and who is now diminished by his passing.

I’ve posted before about not only my own low-grade fight with cancer, but also by the recent passing of my young cousin Phillip. When Phillip went into hospice care, that was the signal to me that his end was coming. And while I didn’t follow Mr. Lake’s posts regularly, I have seen several of them–and I’d seen the similar announcement on his site. I’ve lost two family members to cancer, and have had to fight it off myself. It’s a familiar enemy. So while I don’t have direct experience with the level of the battle that Jay had to fight, I have a pretty damned good idea. And I definitely know what it’s like to be in a family who loses a loved one to that kind of battle.

So yeah. Many, many condolences to all in the greater SF/F community who knew and loved this man, and to his friends and family.

Link roundup–because yes, big impact on the SF/F community:

Boosting the Signal, Carina Press, Other People's Books

Tuesday Boosting the Signal and general news roundup

Hi all! Was your Memorial Day weekend a good one?

Since we’re coming out of a long holiday weekend, I wanted to remind y’all that this past weekend I posted not one, not two, but THREE Boosting the Signal posts. If you happened to miss them, here they are:

Fraser Sherman

Danielle Ackley-McPhail

Kimberly Long-Ewing

Related to Danielle’s and Kimberly’s posts, I wanted to mention that while their two books are officially not released until September, you can in fact buy the paperbacks now. So the links I included for pre-order on their pages are actually viable purchase links. I’m told this is how Dark Quest Books operates, and that soft-launching books is helpful for accommodating reviewers.

And on a related note, I’ve got some more Boosting the Signal posts coming over the next few weeks. However, they’re going to get rather more spotty through June and July, because I seriously need to be in focused deadline mode for Victory of the Hawk. I will continue to post pieces as I get them, but they won’t be as common for a while. Your patience in advance is appreciated!

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Meanwhile, in the name of giving a bit of outside-of-Boosting-the-Signal signal-boosting to some of my Carina peeps, I’d like to call the following things to your all’s attention!

One! Jeffe Kennedy, one of my fellow posters at Here Be Magic, is dropping her first fantasy novel this week! She’s been marketed more in the past as fantasy romance, but this is the first of her books getting designated as straight-up fantasy. Speaking as someone who likes having her fantasy with a side serving of romance, I expect to be checking out The Mark of the Tala. Jeffe’s got a post up at Here Be Magic about her favorite fantasy tropes, too, if you want to go check that out.

Two! My fellow Carina author Kari Edgren turns out to ALSO be a fellow Pacific Northwest author. And her new Carina release Goddess Born turns out to be HIGHLY relevant to my interests–not only because it’s invoking Brigid from Celtic mythology, it’s also got a heroine who’s a healer. And y’all know how much I like me some healers. I’ll be buying this one, too.

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And, another post of mine from over the weekend that you may have missed: Amazon has been throwing its weight around again. I link off to some other posts about it, too.