Archive for 'my opinion for what it’s worth'



What Stace had to say on Friday, March 5th, 2010
More thoughts on sales, and especially on libraries

First, I forgot to mention here (though I have put it on Twitter a few times) that I’m doing a chat at BookSmugglers and it lasts until tomorrow, and when you ask me a question you’re entered to win a complete set of the Demons books. So if you haven’t stopped by already, please do!

Second…well. My last post got considerably more attention that I ever anticipated, so that was quite a surprise. And I have some follow-up questions about it, but those I think will wait until another time. At the moment I just want to address one thing quickly, and another in a bit more detail.

First, as always, when you put things out on the internet and people see it, they’re going to react, just like when you write a book and put it out there people are going to react. And really, part of being a writer is learning to accept that and let the negative stuff roll off your back, or learn from it. It really doesn’t bother me anymore, and the comment I want to discuss didn’t bother me personally, I just find it’s indicative of what the whole point of my post the other day was.

I discovered, quite by accident, that apparently there are some people who feel that Moira and myself, and any other writer who shares our opinions, are simply kissing ass. I find this extremely sad, I have to admit. Is this what the world has come to, that when people see a wrong and speak up about it they’re immediately assumed to have some sort of ulterior motive?

Have we really reached a point where “Writers hate readers” has become the default position, so any writer who claims to actually like readers and want to see them treated well is automatically suspected of just being a big old liar, who probably spends their private, secret hours lurking in bookstores and tripping innocent readers as they pass by, just for fun? Or who runs around various reader blogs and sites leaving anonymous comments along the lines of “You’re all just thieves why don’t you go fuck yourselves you selfish bastards?” Seriously. Am I the only one who finds it really sad that we live in a world where a writer who says “I love readers, and want to please them, and want to see them treated like human beings instead of dogs,” must be an ass kisser, because the person making the accusation apparently can honestly not imagine any other reason why a writer might feel that way and express that feeling?
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What Stace had to say on Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010
On sales, promo, pressure and lists

I’m in a release day frame of mind lately, what with DEMON POSSESSED being released last week. See, it’s not just that that book was released, it’s also that it means UNHOLY GHOSTS will be out soon. Well, soonish, lol; three months.

And like any other writer with a book coming out, I’m thinking about promo. See, I want you to buy the book(s). I want you to get all of your friends to buy the book(s). I want to sell thousands and thousands and thousands of copies. I want to hit the NYT list, or the USA Today list, or the Publisher’s Weekly list, or Bookscan or whatever. Lists make writers happy, you see. And they make publishers happy, and everybody’s happy. Happiness is good.

And of course, I would hope that you guys, my lovely readers, would want to help me sell books or hit lists or whatever. Because we have something of a symbiotic relationship, you know, you and me. I write books, and you buy them, and when you buy them you encourage me to write more of them, and it’s all very cheering and makes me feel warm and happy inside to think that I’ve given you something you enjoy (I honestly love giving presents; I’m one of those weird people at holidays who gets more excited about the things I’m giving than what I might get).

But here’s the thing. While I would hope that you would want to help, I don’t expect you to. I’m surprised and thrilled and grateful whenever you do, but I don’t expect it. At all. Ever. And I certainly wouldn’t presume to INSIST you do, or berate you for not doing so. Or imply that you’re stupid for not purchasing my books in the exact fashion that I would prefer you to do so.

Sadly, it seems sometimes as if I–okay, I and several of my close friends–are alone in that feeling, that instinctive cringing when we see readers being treated like nothing more than open wallets whose sole purpose is to drive said writer to greater glory.

Do I want to hit a list? Of course, although I would never presume to think I have a real shot at it. Do I think it would be great if readers everywhere held off on buying my books until the day of release? Well, sure, I guess so, but see the aforementioned “I would never presume to think I have a shot at a list anyway so what does it matter,” answer. (Yeah, I know, that wasn’t the full answer, but it’s what I meant.)

Are there things readers can do to help a favorite author hit a list? Yeah, but not as many as you think, really. Sure, waiting until release day–or the day before, since books release on Tuesdays and sales are counted for the entire week, so buying on Monday is okay–helps. That’s a good thing to do, if you’re interested, but really that’s about it. It’s certainly all I would ever think to ask.

See…I work for YOU. I mean, yes, I work for myself, but I DO the work for you. You are my audience. You are not my slaves. You do not exist in order to feed my ego or allow me to add a shiny “List” pin to my vest. It’s not for me to tell you where you’re allowed to buy my books or in what format. I’m just amazed and grateful that you buy them at all.

I’ll be perfectly honest here. There are times when it feels as if the world of readers and the world of writers are at war. Readers want certain things; they have a right to want those things as consumers. But writers/publishers want certain things as well, and we have a right to want those things as content creators and producers. And don’t even get me started on copyright violations/piracy, and some of the justifications for those. Again, to be honest? There are times when I see discussions of it, or come across my books on filesharing sites, and have the sick, deep feeling that I should just give the hell up. I can never “win”–by which I mean earn a decent living consistently, when I’m being stolen from.

And it’s not just the financial theft, it’s the feeling that someone has literally reached into my mind and taken something from me without permission. It feels like I got drunk and told a deep secret to someone I thought was a friend, and that so-called friend turned around and told the world, and they’re all laughing at me. Or like a when a guy you really like sleeps with you and then never calls you again, you know? It makes me feel worthless, and frustrated, and lonely and sad. Sure piracy bothers me because of the money, sure, but really?

Piracy just hurts. It hurts to think someone is using you for entertainment but doesn’t think you deserve any compensation for that. It hurts to think you’re seen as less than human; as some sort of machine which exists for the gratification of others but is not permitted any gratification of its own. It hurts to feel that someone thinks they’re entitled to the fruits of your labor–the expression of the truth as you see it and the worlds and people you created and love–without paying for them. It doesn’t feel like a royalty payment was stolen from you. It feels like a tiny part of your soul was stolen from you.

That shit hurts.

And I imagine it hurts readers, too, when they’re made to feel–from being yelled at, lectured, or treated like they’re stupid–that they exist solely to provide the writer with titles and accolades. That just buying and reading and enjoying and talking about a book isn’t enough, that they now must buy it at certain times, in certain places, in certain formats, at certain phases of the moon, or whatever. Just as writers are not simply typewriters churning out words, readers are not simply notches on that big bestseller belt. They are people.

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this. Just that I think it’s wrong.

Do I want to sell a lot of books? Hell, yes!

But I don’t want to just sell a lot of books. I want to entertain a lot of people. I want to give them something. That’s what this is about, not numbers or lists. It’s about books and writing and reading and the way when we read a book we love we feel connected to that book, and those characters, and that author. And when we discover another fan of those books we have a connection with that person, and books created that connection, and it wouldn’t exist without writers, readers, and publishers.

So do I want to hit a list? Of course. Have I thought of various promotional things to do, fun things, that may help facilitate that? Sure.

Do I want to hit a list at the expense of readers, by berating them or nagging them, by treating them like my minions or like they fucking owe me that goddamn list, so they better get off their fat asses and do what I say?

No.

That’s not worth it to me. I don’t want it that way. It wouldn’t mean anything that way.

I may never hit a list. But I will always be grateful that people have bought my books, and read them and loved them and took the time to tell me. Yes, this is a business, and I want to succeed in it and make money. But not at the expense of readers, and not at the expense of my own soul.

So that’s it. Just some things I’m thinking of, and will continue to think of as we get closer to the summer and the release of the Downside books (finished copyedits on CITY OF GHOSTS last week, and am quite pleased, btw).

So…thanks.

ETA: Moira Rogers, who writes awesome books, has also done a post on this topic, and I highly recommend you check it out too. My response to it? Ditto.

What Stace had to say on Friday, February 19th, 2010
Winners and stuff

So, I’ve been sick all week, with a stupid cold, and so have mostly been offline completely. You know, I had a lot of episodes of CSI and Cold Case that I’d seen before but needed to see again, and all that.

Plus I’ve been watching a bit of the Olympics, which I’ll discuss in a minute.

First, the winners of the DEMON POSSESSED and UNHOLY MAGIC cover flats! I decided to pick two winners, because why not, right?

Amanda and Ria! Email me your street addresses and I’ll get those out to you asap.

Next, the winner of a free BLACK DRAGON download: Sarah! Email me and let me know what format you prefer!

So, the Olympics. I’ve watched a bit of the skiing and snowboarding, but honestly don’t really care about them at all. I’ve actually only watched them because of the stupid way NBC keeps forcing me to, by airing drips and drabs of figure skating in between so I’m afraid to change the channel.

Not that it matters that much. The figure skating on the whole has been disappointing and the judging more so. Johnny Weir got totally fucking robbed; he should have scored WAY higher than he did. And I’m sorry, I know it’s bad of me but I wanted Plushenko to win. He’s just so mean and cruel and awesome. One of my Twitter followers called him “the Bond villain of figure skating,” and he is. You have to love a guy who refers to his competitors as “enemies.” That’s what figure skating needs, IMO. More mean bad-assness.

Not to mention, men’s figure skating should be just that. MEN’S. They *should* be doing harder moves, and they should be doing those moves to rougher, thumpier music. All that la-la instrumental stuff was really getting on my nerves, to be honest. It was so asexual. Blah! Bring in the drums! Music with a little energy to it, a little threat. The last movement of Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique, for example. It’s probably been used a ton but it’s just an example. I know there’s stuff like that out there, so why–with the exception of one or two of them–wasn’t it on the rink?

Just very disappointing. Don’t get me wrong. Lysacek did a beautiful routine, and he deserved a medal. But I agree with those who say if he didn’t do the quad he didn’t deserve a gold. And I was disappointed by the way it seems only Plushenko was willing, or wanted, to be masculine on the ice. Sigh.

What Stace had to say on Wednesday, February 10th, 2010
Rules of the Blog

So a number of things have happened in the past few weeks/days that have got me thinking about this blog (No, relax. This is NOT a “I’m not blogging anymore” post). One, my decision to let the set schedule go. I’ve actually enjoyed blogging more lately, and if you notice, I’m still doing about two posts a week. The difference for me is I can now blog when something strikes me, and not hold back until it’s Blog Day or whatever. So I kind of feel rejuvenated as a blogger, if that makes any sense. I’m having fun with it again, and that feels great. So I thought this would be a good time to kind of renew my thoughts on the blog, and what its purpose is, and what I think about it.

I’ve seen a few times online in the last month or two people–people who should fucking know better, IMO–running contests where one of the ways to enter the contest is to post about the contest on blogs or message boards. In other words, don’t just promote the contest on your own blog or Twitter feed, but post about it on various message boards or in comments on other people’s blogs.

This is spam. It is spam, spam, spam. It is tacky and it is rude, and just as a general FYI–although I know none of you would ever do such a thing–it will not be tolerated here. I can ban IPs from this site, and I will do it.

Here’s the thing. This is MY blog. It’s MY website. And while I follow certain rules–which I’ll get to in a minute–the fact remains that at its most basic level, this site and blog are here to promote me and my books. Along with, of course, the books of anyone I mention in posts or invite to come do a guest post here. To “walk” into my blog and start dropping your own promo is the height of rudeness, akin to walking into my home and starting to redecorate without being asked. I don’t care what it’s for. Don’t do it. It’s rude to me and it’s rude to you guys, the readers of this blog, who do not deserve to be treated like rubes or fish in a barrel, just waiting to be led around by the nose.

As of this writing the blog gets anywhere from 200-600 hits a day, every day. On days when I post the numbers go up; no-post days, of course, have lower numbers (and some posts got much, much higher numbers, but those are obvious anomalies). And I’m aware that’s nowhere near the kinds of hits really popular blogs, really popular names, get. But they’re still MY numbers; you’re MY readers, and I’ve worked hard over the years to attract you and entertain you and get to know you a bit, even, and let you get to know me, and you and that work mean a lot to me.

If you have something to promote–be it a book or a charity–email me about it. There’s a good chance that I’ll invite you to guest post about it, or I’ll mention it. And if I don’t, it’s probably because I don’t think my readers would be that interested in it, frankly. And you know what? That’s up to me. because, again, MY BLOG. MY READERS. I owe them–I owe you guys–the respect of not being treated like some nameless, faceless gaggle of wallets.

Which brings me to the other thing. A long time ago now I did a post about why I don’t blog about politics, and the gist of it was, because I respect you all and think you’re capable of making your own decisions without my input. This is still true. But, as I believe I said in a follow-up post at some point, which I’m too lazy to hunt around for–there’s another reason, too.
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What Stace had to say on Tuesday, January 12th, 2010
It’s YOUR damn story

I could have sworn that I’ve blogged about this before, but I just did a search and nothing turned up, so I guess I haven’t. Or maybe I’m searching wrong. Anyway. (No, I did sort of discuss this before, in this 2007 post, but not with the same focus, so I don’t feel as though I’m repeating myself.)

Here’s the thing. Writing involves making up stories. Perhaps you’re a plotter, one of those bizarre creatures who knows exactly what’s going to happen in the story before you open a shiny new Document and follows your path as tidily as a ballerina with months of rehearsal. (In which case I seriously envy you, despite my snottiness. It’s fond, admiring snottiness, I promise.)

Or maybe you’re a pantser like me, and start with a character or two and a premise, and toss them into the document and see what happens. Maybe like me you have a few vague ideas of where the story will go; I tend to have some sort of idea of what the climactic battle will be like, and maybe a scene or two sort of lurking in the back of my mind waiting to be used.

But either way, you need to make up the story. It’s down to YOU; it’s your responsibility. Quite frankly, a fiction writer who cannot make up a story is not a fiction writer. If writing fiction is what you want to do, you need to learn and absorb the skill of Making Shit Up. Period.

Which is why it drives me insane when I see writers–or those who want to be or claim to be writers–asking people what they should do with their story. Should the hero and heroine get together now? Should the villain do this or that? How old should the characters be? Should the villain die at the end? Should the father be the bad guy?

Then there are the secondary questions, what I refer to as the “unfamiliar” questions. I call them that because the questioner is seemingly unfamiliar with either the genre in which they are writing, or with books in general. (They could also be called the “Is it okay” questions, since they tend to start that way. These are questions like, “Is it okay if the hero cusses? Is it okay if the heroine isn’t a virgin? Is it okay if the heroine kills the bad guy? Is it okay if the hero gets drunk? Is it okay if the hero has a kid?” etc. etc.

I’d say the latter annoy me more, but honestly, they both annoy me equally.

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  • What Stace had to say on Monday, November 23rd, 2009
    Harlequin Horizons is not a self-publisher

    So Friday night my friend Jackie Kessler and I were invited to discuss the Harlequin Horizons situation on a podcast TV show. We readily agreed. I can’t speak for Jackie’s motives absolutely but knowing her as I do I assume they were the same as mine: to let people know that HWHo was a Bad Deal, that it is misleading, that it serves only to pour money into HQ’s coffers on the backs of aspiring writers.

    Joining us were two other commercially published writers, Simon Wood and Paul Clayton, as well as the host and two other self-published writers.

    I was excited to have the discussion. I enjoyed it immensely. I felt it was a lovely, civil, and fun conversation, respectful all around, and that we all managed to agree that vanity publishing along the lines of the HQHo model–whereby authors are charged exorbitant amounts of money and fed empty promises in exchange was something writers, whether they are commercially published or self-published, should not countenance or participate in.

    Let me make something very clear, because I’m seeing confusion on this issue that frankly astounds me. The HQHo model is NOT a self-publishing model.

    I have, as I’ve said here before and as I said on the show Friday night, absolutely nothing against self-publishing. There are some excellent self-published books out there. There are a lot of writers who feel that this is the way they want to go, and is the wave of the future. And that’s fine.

    But let’s analyze the differences between what the self-published authors are doing, and what HQHo wants its customers to do. I’m going to use my Strumpet series as an example, because as I’ve said here before, I do have tentative plans to self-publish the thing one of these days.

    Were I to do that, I would go to Lulu.com. I would upload the document into their system, choose a format (or more than one; ebook and paperback, for example), and set a price; probably either at cost or maybe a dollar over it. I could remove the file at any time. I would be using my rights as the copyright holder myself. I would be buying an ISBN for it (if I chose to) myself, and would own that ISBN. I would design a cover, if I wanted. I could advertise the book as much or as little as I liked; surely I’d link to it on my blog and site, and when I get emails about it (as I still do) I’d direct those readers to the Lulu page. I’d be solely responsible for the marketing and advertising. I could, for example, choose to pay Kirkus Discoveries a couple of hundred dollars to review it.

    For this I would pay nothing. If and when people chose to buy the book, Lulu would earn the cost of producing that copy and I would make whatever amount was paid by the reader over that production cost.

    In short: I pay nothing, I control everything, and I keep all the profits. That is self-publishing. (It’s a tad more complicated than that, yes, but I’m trying to strip it down to its essence for the sake of clarity.)

    Now, what if I wanted to print the series through HQHo?

    First I’d pay anywhere from $600-upwards of $2000 just to get HQHo to agree to print the book. I would sign an agreement with them whereby I agreed to give them that money and at the very least, the rights to publish it. I’d pay more for them to design a cover. More for them to assign it an ISBN, which I would not own. More for them to list the book. More for them to send it to review sites–several hundred dollars over the cost of the review itself, in fact. Heck, if I wanted to, I could pay $20,000 for them to produce a “Hollywood book trailer”–a service other companies will perform for less than 1/4 that cost, and that I could do for free.

    If and when a copy of the book sells, I would get 50% of the net monies received; that is, half of the money after whatever expenses HQHo claims, which makes no sense since I have paid all those expenses up front.

    Here’s what I don’t understand. All of the self-published authors I’ve ever met are passionate about self-publishing and the benefits they feel they get from it. They want to have complete control over their work. They want to make the largest amount of money they can for that work. That is absolutely their right.

    So why, then, are self-published authors not condemning this vanity business model? Why are they not discussing that writers don’t need to pay thousands of dollars to a big corporation like Author Solutions in order to self-publish, that it can be done on their own, and that by doing it on their own they get to keep control and keep all the profits?

    I thought, in the discussion we had Friday night, that we were all in agreement that vanity publishing in this fashion was wrong, and that it mislead authors. I thought we were all in agreement that while self-publishing can be beneficial in some circumstances, and there is nothing inherently wrong with self-publishing (save the difficulties in distribution, etc.) vanity publishing simply cost too much and provided too little benefit. I thought we’d had a friendly and respectful conversation.

    Apparently I was wrong. Turns out, Jackie, Simon, Paul, and myself are simply scared that self-published books will put us out of business, in addition to being elitists.

    I don’t quote or link to that post in order to pick fights. I quote and link to it to demonstrate how incredibly disappointed I am, and how I feel I was lied to and misled.

    At this time, my long comment in response to Mr. Cochran’s post has still not been approved. In it I expressed my disappointment, and how had I known the purpose of the show was to debate the validity of self-publishing I would have altered my comments accordingly. I feel as though I was bait-and-switched; i.e. told I was discussing one thing, when really the discussion was about something else, and that I was deliberately misled so that certain conclusions could be drawn from my comments.

    Certainly I’m hurt on a personal level that my feelings on the topic of HQHo and its vanity press model, and my sincere desire to help writers, are taken as proof that I’m selfish, greedy, and jealous, and just want to keep those more talented than myself down.

    I’m sorry, but I don’t believe at all that NY publishing is so out of touch with real people that they are incapable of choosing books people like to read. The mere presence of NYT bestsellers and literary phenomenons like Twilight belie that statement. Sure, Twilight may not be your cup of tea; you may think it’s a lousy book. But you cannot deny that a NY editor read it, thought, “Readers will like this,” and was correct in that assessment.

    Just because YOU don’t like it, doesn’t mean other readers won’t. Publishing is a BUSINESS. That business is SELLING BOOKS TO READERS. Just because YOU do not like those readers’ tastes, doesn’t mean they aren’t entitled to have them or that publishers aren’t entitled to cater to them.

    Do great books get passed over every day because of the bottom line? Sure. Does that mean everything that does get published is watered-down same-same crap? No, any more than all self-published books are crap. No, I don’t believe self-publishing is best for everyone; remember, the average self-published book only sells 75 copies or so. But for some it can absolutely work, and I’ve never denied that.

    And none of this changes the fact that I would expect someone who has self-published, who has learned about self-publishing and is an advocate of it, to see that HQHo is NOT self-publishing, and to be just as concerned about educating new writers about the difference and how they can truly self-publish and not pay through the nose, as those of us who are commercially published. I would have expected that self-published authors and self-publishing advocates would be just as vocal as we’ve been in trying to educate writers, and not use this as an opportunity to play “You NY writers are hacks running scared from us.”

    But I guess that’s just my selfishness talking.

    What Stace had to say on Monday, October 26th, 2009
    Why can’t we all just get along?

    A little note in advance: I’m about to rant. I may rant at some length. I’m ranting about something other people have ranted about, as well. So be warned.

    So here’s what happened. Wednesday, the New York Times ran an article about the Kindle and how many Kindle owners are now buying more books than they used to. The end of the article contained the following paragraphs:

    Ms. Englin has linked her Kindle to the Amazon account of some nearby friends, allowing all of them to read books like “The Lost Symbol” at the same time — while paying for them only once.

    “I read much more, I tend to read faster for some reason, and I read a greater variety of things,” said Ms. Englin, adding that this is nearly the same as lending a physical book to friends. “We haven’t really looked closely at Amazon’s terms of service. But I do suspect we are breaking the rules.”

    Now. I read the original NYT article because it was linked to in Publisher’s marketplace, in the daily emails I get from them. I saw that last paragraph and, I admit, had a twinge. A moment of “Hey, that doesn’t seem quite right.” But then almost immediately after I thought two things:

    1. That this was clearly just a couple of friends sharing books
    2. That this is in essence no different from, say, a group of friends with low incomes or little disposable cash, who pool their money and buy books together to share. I did this a few times as a teen; mostly for hardcovers, but sometimes to get three books instead of one or whatever.

    And that was basically it. I closed the article and went about my day.

    Too bad some other authors didn’t do the same. I’m not going to name any names here. You can find them if you really want. But a few other authors also saw that article, either through PM like I did or because they get the Times or whatever. Those authors went on Twitter and began what I can only describe as a witch hunt, a name-and-shame campaign where they not only scolded Ms. Englin and called her a thief, but actually listed her Twitter identity in their tweets–her Twitter identity, which appears to be her professional identity, as her Twitter seems to be used almost exclusively for business (she’s in marketing or consulting or something like that).

    No, I’m not kidding. These people actually felt perfectly justified in naming and publicly scolding this woman, and in encouraging others to retweet their rants and join in berating her as well, in public, in front of her friends, family, clients, and potential clients.

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    What Stace had to say on Friday, October 16th, 2009
    I know, I know

    I came in here before with a big cheery post about how I would totally be around, and then I wasn’t. Here’s what happened (sort of):

    Found out while in Baltimore that I am going to LA next week, leaving Monday. No, it’s not big Film Deal stuff or anything like that, so don’t get excited. I’ll tell you about it after I return.

    Tried to upload photos of Baltimore–the few I took (I’m terrible at taking pictures, or rather, I never remember to take pictures)–and couldn’t get the camera to work with the Mac. So I needed to go to the old laptop, where the camera software is installed, and it’s just slow and frustrating and blah blah blah. I wanted to do a nifty photo post but it will have to wait. Also, the Poe body was indeed a wax effigy, which frankly pissed me off. Also, Baltimore is a cool city.

    Hubs left for NY yesterday. He returns Sunday. I leave for LA Monday. Wednesday my MIL arrives and I’ll be back in Atlanta Thursday. So the family time is pretty limited this month and we were trying to do Family Things.

    Last month my pal Pepper Espinoza emailed to ask if I’d be interested in contributing a short Halloween story (very short, less than 2k) for her new webmag, The Spooky Elephant. I, being me, said of course, and promptly semi-forgot until I was in Baltimore. I didn’t have time to work on it there so wrote it after I got back. I’m fairly pleased with the result, actually. You all know shorts aren’t my forte at all but this was just a little thing, so go see what you think. The story is called “What’s Below,” and it’s especially notable, for me at least, in that it’s written in (gasp) first person POV and segments of it are present tense. I know! Crazy, man. It’s also pretty much straight horror. And I liked a couple of the elements enough that I may revisit them in another project.

    Speaking of short stories, my longtime pal Writtenwyrdd is having , which you should totally check out and enter. First prize is a stuffed Cthulhu, which is just awesome.

    Oh, and since I’m linking to stuff, my eye was caught this morning–as I giggled at all the Gawker commenters’ comments about the balloon boy stuff–by a headline there about an advice columnist who pissed off a whole bunch of people. (It’s this story here.) And it occurred to me that I’ve always wanted to have an advice column. And it occurred to me that for quite a while I’ve been planning to do a funny publishing advice column over at the League blog. So. Here’s what I’m suggesting. Ask me advice in comments, anonymously if you like. Any publishing-related questions I will answer humorously at the League in the next few weeks (it may be after Halloween as we are of course doing Big Things there for the holiday); the publishing questions will get stupid and silly answers, just a warning ahead of time!!! Any others I’ll answer here. Just for fun, really, it won’t become a regular blog feature or anything like that, but we’ll give it a go and see.

    I may do some answers tonight and tomorrow night (if I get any of course). But again, next week I’ll be on the other side of the country so won’t be blogging much if at all. And since the good juju y’all sent for my Baltimore flights was so good, if you have more I’d appreciate it.

    What Stace had to say on Monday, September 21st, 2009
    If self-publishing is the future, it’s bleak indeed

    First, a couple of quick things:

    1. “The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance 2” has been released, containing stories by myself, Jeanne Stein, Jaye Wells, Caitlin Kittredge, Tiffany Trent, and Ann Aguirre. My story, titled “Trust Me,” is–I think–kind of a fun little yarn about Jack the Ripper, and is officially the Last Erotic Romance story I wrote (for now). So while I did tone it down a bit for the antho, expect lots of sexxoring.

    Shorts are difficult for me, in general; I have a hard time keeping myself from expanding and expanding and introducing subplots. But this was a story that really didn’t leave a lot of room for a novel, and the idea had appealed to me for some time (as with all mystery buffs and goulish people, I am fascinated by the Ripper), so when I had the opportunity to submit it for the antho I jumped at it. So rush on out and get it; my story is probably the weakest of the bunch, given the other names involved, but I think it’s kind of a sweet little tale nonetheless.

    2. Kari Stewart, my agent-mate and author of A DEVIL IN THE DETAILS, coming next summer from Roc, has written a great little series on writing series novels on her blog. You have to scroll down a few entires, but it’s well worth it.

    3. Charlaine Harris did an interview at Voice America’s “Mystery Matters” show on Friday, and guess who she mentioned as one of her favorite secondary characters ever, right around the fifty-four minute mark? Terrible, my big bad greaser from UNHOLY GHOSTS. Check it out!

    Now. To the point of the post. (Yes, I seem to be on a bit of a self-publishing kick. I promise I have not forgotten the Critique series. I’m just busy as heck these days and going through some other things I won’t bore you with.)
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    What Stace had to say on Monday, September 14th, 2009
    Self-publishing is not like punk rock*

    *except when it is. Which isn’t often.

    Lemme ‘splain.

    More and more lately I’ve been hearing this argument, or discussion, or comment. Self-publishing is just like punk rock! Because anyone can do it. Because self-published authors are taking the bull by the horns and doing it themselves! Fuck the Publishing Man! Rock on!

    And it’s something I’ve wanted to write about for some time, but it was this Genreville blog post in PW that finally inspired me to do so.

    Yes, there are a few similarities, or rather, there is one way in which they are alike. But for the most part they are vastly different, and this is what irritates me and makes me want to pull out my hair sometimes. Because the differences are vast and wide.

    Before I start, let me give you a quick run-down of my credentials to even discuss this topic. I was heavily involved in the punk scene for, oh, ten years or so. With an ex-boyfriend of mine, who was in a band, I ran a tiny punk record label; we sold records for a dollar each. I helped book shows; I had bands stay at my house; I slept on floors; I did a little touring; I watched recording sessions; I sang one line in a song that ended up on a Lookout! records compilation; I went to drunken all-night parties; I never paid to get into shows because I always knew somebody in the band; I traveled across country with the ex (he wasn’t my ex at the time) and his band to attend a three-day punk festival in northern California; I can play a few Ramones and Sex Pistols songs on the guitar; I started my own band with a couple of other girls, and we were getting ready to try booking a show when our drummer quit; and a whole bunch of other stuff I’ve forgotten. This was one of my favorite things about writing the Downside books, was being able to draw on those experiences and namecheck my favorite bands.

    I say this just because I want to make it clear that I do in fact know what I’m talking about; it’s not to brag or say “Look how cool I am” or anything of that nature (I readily admit I am not cool. Perhaps I was at one point in my life, but now I sit around all day writing and pouring juice for my daughters).

    The only self-publishing I can honestly and truly say is punk rock are zines. Zines are–at least they used to be–fully punk self-publishing. Handwritten pages (although now that we have computers it’s very possible they’re typeset or laid out using Pagemaker or whatever), usually full of personal essays, record reviews, jokes, show reviews, that sort of thing, photocopied and stapled together at Kinko’s or in your basement or whatever. Are you getting a sense here of what punk rock zines are about? Could it be, hmm, that they are about punk rock? (I haven’t seen a zine in a while, save some of my old copies of big ones like COMETBUS or SCAM. So forgive me if some of my zine info is a little out of date.)

    The rest? Not so much.
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