Sunday, December 13, 2015

#notchilled Ellora's Cave vs Dear Author case settlement and contract warnings to authors


I've been holding back on posting this because I wanted to see if anything else came out of it, like an official settlement, but since it appears the settlement terms are confidential, we likely won't hear everything, so I'm not going to wait for the final to show up.

Dear Author Update on the EC lawsuit

Jane at Dear Author posted an update and a few...curiously and precisely worded "corrections." Corrections that, frankly the way I and others are reading them, are in my opinion coming off more as things to soothe a certain EC principal's ego than anything else. But there has bee NO "proof" provided to counter all the sworn filings. Contrary to what one of EC's ill-informed supporters has posted on Facebook, no, Jane was not "ordered" to make the statements. It was a SETTLEMENT. It was NEGOTIATED. There has been no court order issued on this matter. That means they agreed to the terms.

One thing to remember: Patty Marks, Ellora's Cave's CEO, reported both to the RWA and in an e-mail to the biz loop that they were behind on payments to authors and getting caught up.

She admitted to Publisher's Weekly in an interview that their sales dropped.

They had a MASSIVE staff layoff.

*cough*

Deirdre Saoires Moen has an excellent wrap-up post about this.

Lisa Hendrix put together a Storify timeline of Courtney Milan tweets with excellent points.

And we are still waiting to see what happens with the Ann Jacobs motion. This lawsuit is not "finished" yet.

Now some more brave individuals are coming out and speaking about their experiences with Ellora's Cave, in additions to the ones who spoke out before and during the process.

Kate Sherwood

Kelly Jamieson

Jane Leopold Quinn

The one that will make you sick to your stomach, however, is this one by Nina S. Gooden.

I've heard one of the principals of EC lambasting the authors who spoke in this case, accusing them of lying just to get their rights back.

Helllooo, even PATTY MARKS admitted they were late paying authors. They laid off staff. Authors are reporting that e-mails go unanswered.

I saw a Facebook post where the once principal (she who shall not be named) was crowing about the things she bought for people, someone gushed over being bought a puppy by her.

Bet those authors who are STILL claiming they're owed money (follow the #notchilled tag on Twitter) wish Ellora's Cave would pay their bills.

I'm also seeing that same principal say some pretty nasty things about writers instead of admitting to the facts of what happened. I seriously cannot believe that all those people who filed SWORN affidavits in the case were risking perjury to file about their experiences. I just don't.

Law of averages.

Someone can shrilly scream as loudly as they want that allllllll these authors are lying.

Why would they lie?

Why would a LARGE group of authors and editors all say pretty much the same thing? If this is some sort of "conspiracy," why not go after them? Oh, wait, we have proof in the form of the e-mail and the RWA SWORN affidavit in the lawsuit that Patty Marks admitted they were behind.

Frankly, in my experience and in my opinion, I've NEVER seen large groups of authors speak out so vehemently against a publisher en masse.

EXCEPT...

Noble...Silver...Triskelion...Dorchester...

Hmm, what do those publishers all have in common?

That's right, they imploded. And in the time before the final implosion occurred, you had authors speaking out, reporting problems.

You draw the correlation.

So forgive me and others who are willing to listen to the authors, because in the past we've seen this EXACT SAME PATTERN play out before, and the authors were always proven right. I refuse to participate in victim shaming when literally I've seen this play out before. Multiple times. With other publishers.

Will you have a couple of discontented authors at any given house? Sure. But WHY would a huge group of them start requesting rights reversions or asking people to not buy their books and be reporting that they either haven't received timely payment or they doubt the veracity of the numbers?

I, personally, have NEVER seen that scenario play out at a publisher where overall the authors are...oh...happy.

If you have ONE person screaming that a group of people are lying, and the group of people is producing evidence showing that the ONE person is wrong...who do you tend to believe?

Law of averages.

It's pretty bad when authors are ASKING readers not to buy their books from a certain publisher because they haven't been paid (or feel they've been paid inaccurately) and want their books to revert back to them. It's REALLY bad when it's because of signing a bad threshold sales level contract.

Oh, heh, here's a news flash, Laurann Dohner, a former EC heavy-hitter, is now self-pubbing a new series. Hmm. (Yes, I've already pre-ordered the first book.)

My opinion remains unchanged: I cannot in any way, shape, or form at this time recommend an author submit a book to Ellora's Cave, especially considering I'm seeing reports that they still use sales threshold contracts.

One of THE worst things you can to do yourself as an author in this day and age is sign a contract without a finite, limited lifespan, like 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, whatever. That way, there is NO way a publisher can screw around with extending the contract. They have no control over the calendar, so at least you'll know that you'll get your rights back on X date, even if the publisher goes under and you're unable to secure a formal ROR form from them.

DO NOT sign a contract that has "life of copyright" as one of its terms. PERIOD.

DO NOT SIGN A PUBLISHING CONTRACT THAT USES THRESHOLD SALES LEVELS AND DOES NOT HAVE A REASONABLE FINITE EXPIRATION DATE.

Also, DO NOT sign a contract that doesn't clearly specify WHEN sales periods end and when statements and payment will be rendered. For example, my publisher specifies that payment will be rendered quarterly, and that the quarters end on December 31, March 31, June 30, and September 30, and that payment and statements will be issued no later than the 30th day of the month following the end of quarter.

If there is NOT clear language in the contract specifying those kinds of payment periods, DO NOT SIGN IT.

Do I wish Ellora's Cave could turn their rep around? Absolutely, I do. But unfortunately when I see social media posts from one of the company's principals lambasting authors and people supporting those authors, instead of trying to productively work toward fixing the problems, it leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. And how many times has that same person tossed the words "misogynist" and "bully" around when describing the people speaking out about what's going on? Lots of times. (We could make a drinking game about it.)

Here's the thing: Doesn't matter if the company is run by a man (Silver) or by a woman (Ellora's Cave) if a publisher is NOT living up to their contracted obligations, then they shouldn't be shocked when people start speaking out about it and warning other people.

I can tell you, the mentality some take of denning up and hoping it blows over and that they won't be affected does NOT work. Never does. The culture of silence only hurts new authors who sign on and get sucked into a bad situation. That. NEVER. WORKS. Didn't work in Silver, didn't work with Noble, not working now. I've seen assorted comments from principals at EC stating to the effect that if people would just shut up, things would be fine.

Uh, no, they won't. It just means no one's calling anyone out on the problems.

I'm sad for the few people I'm seeing who are blindly defending Ellora's Cave and when you ask them points about the lawsuit, they haven't even read the filings, the evidence. They're taking one person's word as law instead of independently doing research.

ALL the filings are available.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/11698292/ecda/index.html

Important takeaways from the Ellora's Cave fiasco:


1) EC did NOT "win" the lawsuit. There was a confidential settlement (that is still not finalized with the court as of this writing) and while Dear Author had to post some "corrections" (and if you read their very particular and precise wording, you'll see an interesting pattern) but the original blog post still stands.

2) There are even MORE EC authors coming out now, in light of certain EC principals crowing that they "won" when they didn't, and reporting their experiences (some of them horrendous) with EC. Including a former editor. LISTEN TO THEM.

3) This is a VERY valuable lesson: DO NOT SIGN threshold publishing contracts. PERIOD. Do NOT sign "life of copyright" contracts. Only sign contracts that expire after a clearly set timeframe (3, 5, 10, whatever years). That way, regardless of what the publisher does (or if they go out of business) YOU have a set timeframe of when that contract expires and you can get out of it. Publishers might be able to fudge sales data, but they cannot change the calendar.

4) Make SURE the contracts specifies EXACTLY when royalties and statements will be paid. No loosey-goosey "3 months" or "quarterly." Make SURE the DATES are specified. In my publisher's contracts, they specify that the end of quarter is December 31, March 31, June 30, and September 30, and that statements and payments will be issued by the 30th day of the month following end of quarter.

And, oh, guess what? They've NEVER BEEN LATE paying me. EVER. Evvvveeerrrrr. And they have hundreds of authors.

5) DO NOT SIGN a contract you are not comfortable with. If there's something you want changed, ask for the change. If they refuse? Walk away. Do NOT be so desperate to sign a contract that you regret it later.

6) RESEARCH RESEARCH RESEARCH. If there are ANY hints of trouble at a publisher, don't sign with them because you "really like" one of the people there. This is YOUR book, YOUR intellectual property. Don't let yourself sign it over just because someone's really nice, and, "Oh, that'll NEVER happen to me!" (Yes, it can and will.)

7) I have NEVER seen an "organized conspiracy of authors" gang up against a publisher who wasn't having problems. The ONLY time I've seen authors speak out en masse was in instances like Noble, Silver, Triskelion, and Dorchester, when they started having problems (and eventually folded). If LOTS of authors are speaking out, it means that things have hit critical mass and people are upset. You will always have a few discontented authors at ANY house, but the ONLY time you see LARGE numbers of them all speaking out is when there is a HUGE problem. Law of averages, folks. If one shrill person is screaming that EVERYONE is a liar, and everyone else is calling that shrill person a liar...do the math. Seriously. Just do it.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 28

#NaNoWriMo Day 28


Feeling a little worried are we, sunshine? But some darned good ideas might just be springing up for your story in the midst of your desperation, huh?

Get used to it. Sometimes, that just happens. Some people work better when under a tight and pressing deadline. However the magic has to work for you, that's what you need to do. Working under a variety of situations will help you grow as a writer and find what works best for you.


Friday, November 27, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 27

#NaNoWriMo Day 27


There's a reason we have "rules" in writing/storytelling. Wanting to break the rules is fine, but if you are clueless about the rules to start with...there's your starting point. Too often, writers want to "break rules" without understanding the true reasons the rules are THERE or how they work in the first place. Sometimes what a writer sees as visionary is, in retrospect, a pretty dumb decision that can negatively impact the reader's experience. (Not what you want to do.)

Example: There is a reason the "three act" structure works, and has worked literally for a couple of thousand years in storytelling. Because it WORKS. Trying to usurp that structure without first understanding WHY it works is like trying to build a house without understanding important principles like load-bearing walls and foundation requirements.

In other words, don't "fix" what isn't broken. Instead of trying to rewrite "rules," learn the rules and then learn how to make your writing sparkle to the point that it renders the rules irrelevant.

I mean, really, if you had a teenager who said they wanted to "reinvent" how people drive, would you turn them loose with your car, or wait until they showed enough maturity to understand that the "rules of the road" are there for a darn good reason?

Exactly.


Thursday, November 26, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 26

#NaNoWriMo Day 26


Instead of beating yourself up because you're "losing" NaNo and not making the word count you wanted, how about feeling thankful that you are able to do this in the first place. Perspective. Beating yourself up for what you don't accomplish does no good at all. Celebrate what you have done, and strive to keep moving forward.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 25

#NaNoWriMo Day 25

It writes the words upon the page, or else it gets the hose of...rage...

I know it doesn't make sense. But you're in the homestretch. It's so close you can TASTE it, right? Remember that when you finish this book, that puppy gets EDITED, NOT uploaded to KDP/Kobo/Nook/Smashwords/etc. Right?

RIGHT??

Don't make me get the hose, kiddies. Don't make me get the hose. Writing your book is the easy part. Seriously. Don't let that discourage you, either. You've done something most people who "want" to do never even start doing.

But don't rush it.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 24

#NaNoWriMo Day 24


Do all your characters "sound" the same? While writing in convoluted dialects is generally frowned upon because it's, well, annoying as frak to read, you can still make your characters sound different from each other. If you take away all dialogue and action tag attributes, can you tell which character is speaking from "listening" to them? No? Fix that. Remember that dialogue absolutely should NOT be "proper" English, unless that's really how the character talks. (And that can be part of their personality.) Real people speak in contractions, incomplete fragments, made-up words--they don't sound like an English Lit thesis paper.


Monday, November 23, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 23

#NaNoWriMo Day 23

Still hanging in there, aren't you? Just 7 more days. Don't panic! Remember, just because you don't get your book "done" doesn't mean you've "lost." If you got SOMETHING done, that's still more than the people who say, "I want to write a book...someday," and then never get started. You've got a start. That's HUGE. Keep going!


Sunday, November 22, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 22

#NaNoWriMo Day 22

In all the craziness that is NaNo, don't forget to take care of YOU. A car can't run on an empty tank. Take time to read, watch something on TV, take a long shower, whatever. Are you eating well? Are you drinking enough water? Exercising or at least standing and stretching? Walking around? Don't forget that YOU are the machine. Take care of it.




Saturday, November 21, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 21

#NaNoWriMo Day 21


Are you stuck in your plot? Does it feel boring? Does it feel soft and mushy like a banana your toddler got hold of in the grocery cart? Yeah, that's normal. Just write through it. Sometimes, that's all you can do on a first draft. Remember, the mission is to get it DONE, not get it perfect. You can edit the snot out of it later. Just keep writing.

Friday, November 20, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 20

#NaNoWriMo Day 20


Are you stressing over your word count? DON'T. As long as you're making progress every day, that's all that matters. Just keep writing!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 19

#NaNoWriMo Day 19


Don't give up. Writers write. Even if you think it's utter shite that you're writing, KEEP writing. Don't give up. Pick a different spot in the book and try writing that scene. Anything. Forward momentum. Keep. Writing.


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 18

#NaNoWriMo Day 18


Turn off Twitter, Facebook, and the Internet in general. Set the timer on your phone for 15 minutes and WRITE. You'll be surprised how much you can get done in a 15-minute sprint!


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 17

#NaNoWriMo Day 17


Some editing time later can be saved if you keep this tip in mind: think vividly. Instead of writing, "He came into the room," substitute something else for that weak word came. Walked, strolled, ran, snuck -- words that will more accurately portray what you mean. Also, watch out for sneaky little words. "He stood up. She sat down." Instead, "He stood. She sat." The direction is obvious. It tightens your writing.

Monday, November 16, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 16

#NaNoWriMo Day 16


Don't worry about what you think you "should" do in your book, follow where the characters take you. Too many "stuck" plots are due to the writer ignoring their characters. On the flip side of that, don't be so worried about "breaking the mold" that you write a hot mess, either. There's a reason the three-act, rising action-climax-falling action pattern works and has worked for literally a thousand years. Instead of worrying about your own expectations, simply listen to the characters, to the story, and follow them.


Sunday, November 15, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 15

#NaNoWriMo Day 15


Guess what? You're HALFWAY THERE! Keep up the good work! Even if you don't meet your word count, remember this is more about forming a writing habit to help you meet your long-term goals. If all you do is sit down and write a couple of sentences a day, that's still more than any person who says they want to write a book "some day" and never do it. Good job, you!


Saturday, November 14, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 14

#NaNoWriMo Day 14


Don't worry if your story isn't "perfect." There is no such thing. It's one of the lies your subconscious tries to tell you to sabotage your progress. If you have serious doubts about something, just insert a marker--I use a [[ because I'll NEVER organically use that within a book--to flag it. Later, after NaNo is done, you can do a "find" search on it and go back to it and figure it out. Don't let it derail your progress because you're obsessing about it.


Friday, November 13, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 13

#NaNoWriMo Day 13


If you're writing a mystery or a suspense book, or any other kind of story where the plot has some sort of central mystery/problem/issue to solve/resolve, start with THAT. Even if it's only to sketch out the problem in outline form. Know what caused it/who did it, what fixes/resolves/solves it. Summarize it. (Heck, you can even count it as part of your NaNo word count. I won't tell anyone, I promise.) If you don't know how the issue works itself out, you'll get stuck and write yourself into a hole every time, or waste countless hours trying to figure out how to resolve it. Once you know who/how/what takes care of the problem, you can work backward, at least mentally, to try to resolve it. Don't argue with me about you can't write out of order. I'm not telling you to do that. I'm telling you to make sure this big THING is worked out in your plot before you get to that point. Otherwise, you'll find yourself sitting there and scratching your head. (Which is now completely bald because you ripped your hair out.) Play the story forward in your mind like a movie or TV show. "Watch" it happening. Once you've worked the massive plot THING out, you'll find your writing goes a LOT easier. Although, if you're like me and can write out of order, write your ending/problem/mystery resolution and work backward.


Thursday, November 12, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 12

#NaNoWriMo Day 12


Does a scene appear weak or missing something to you? Change which character's POV you write it from. Even if it's a first-person book that only happens from one POV. You don't have to keep it later, but it might give you valuable insight to what's going on that you can use to rework things for your "final" version.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 11

#NaNoWriMo Day 11


There is no such thing as writer's block. Pick a different scene and start writing. Write your ending. Write a love letter from your main character to his or her main squeeze. Forget the bullshit about "being blocked." You can write SOMETHING. Even if you end up not keeping it later, just KEEP WRITING.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 10

#NaNoWriMo Day 10


Word count met or not, you are a third of the way through this month. You should celebrate that fact, even if only with a quiet, "Yay, me!" at your desk. Many people never get as far as writing down a single word. You're WRITING. That's a start, and a damned good one. Keep it up!


Monday, November 9, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 9

#NaNoWriMo Day 9


Your characters are not you. They might not make the same choices you'd make, or even ones you like/want them to make. You need to follow your characters and stay true to them, not shove them into plot constraints just to fit your plot.


Sunday, November 8, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 8

#NaNoWriMo Day 8


If you're stuck on a scene between characters. write NOTHING but dialogue. No stage direction, no action tags, no exposition or narrative, just dialogue. Follow the characters and write down whatever they say. Sometimes, the characters will go in directions you didn't expect and tell you stuff.


Saturday, November 7, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 7

#NaNoWriMo Day 7


You don't need to write your book "in order." There is no law saying you can't write the scenes you see the most clearly in your mind before you write the rest of the book. Sometimes, the easiest way to write a story is to write the strongest scenes and then fill in the middles.


Friday, November 6, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 6

#NaNoWriMo Day 6


Have you backed up your work lately? Not just to a cloud service, but to redundant external sources, like thumb drives or hard drives? Also, find out if your writing software has a CTRL+S or similar keyboard shortcut and use it. A LOT.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 5

#NaNoWriMo Day 5


Remember that even the most evil of "bad guys" in a story is the hero in his own narrative. Cardboard characters are as flat as the cliches you base them on. Likewise, "perfect" protagonists are harder for the reader to love. Give them flaws, but don't make them assholes.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 4

#NaNoWriMo Day 4


If you get stuck writing your story, imagine THE worst thing that could happen to the character, no matter how fantastical or incongruous it might be to the plot. Then multiply it by a thousand, and do THAT to your character. Be sadistic and twisted. You might not keep it later, but it could also give you a totally different direction for your story that you never considered. If nothing else, you might find out something about your character that you didn't know before.



Tuesday, November 3, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 3

#NaNoWriMo Day 3


Thou Shalt Not Compare Thyself to Other Writers and Their Progress

Every writer writes at their own speed and in their own way.

That being said, if you have a DVR, hit PAUSE right now and write three sentences.

That's it. Three. If you have to, type it into an e-mail on your phone and e-mail it to yourself.

There, see? You DID write something today. Good job, you!


Monday, November 2, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 2

#NaNoWriMo Day 2


You will NOT edit your NaNoWriMo project while you write. Repeat after me: I WILL WRITE THE WORDS.

Editing comes later. Much later. After it's shoved away in a drawer and congealed.

ONLY once you get to that point do you get to edit.

And for now, I present to you Chuck Wendig and editing. (But remember, do NOT edit it NOW. WRITE it NOW.)


KUBLER-ROSS MODEL OF GRIEF ASSOCIATED WITH EDITING AND REWRITING
Image Courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

Sunday, November 1, 2015

30 Days of #NaNoWriMo - Day 1

I'm going to try to blog once a day something to help my NaNoWriMo peeps out. (This should be interesting.)

#NaNoWriMo Day 1


Bob Ross wasn't just a painter, he was sort of a Zen master in many ways. Here are a bunch of great quotes that aren't just applicable to painting, but to writing and even to life in general.


Here Are 50 Bob Ross Quotes That Will Make Today Better


Fitbit for Wordage #NaNoWriMo

The whole point of NaNoWriMo is to get you into the habit of writing. Like walking and exercising and all that. So think of these as Fitbits for your writing.

If you're doing NaNoWriMo this year and looking for some word counters, here's a list of some to help you out:

http://www.tracylucas.net/13-free-writing-tools-meter-tracker-word-counter-widget/606

Happy NaNoWriaaaaAAAAAGGGHHH!


I blogged about NaNoWriMo over on my blog today.

http://tymberdalton.com/happy-nanowriaaaaaaaaggghhh/

Friday, October 23, 2015

Taking care of yourself - writing-related ouchies.

Some writers find that after a number of years of doing what we do that we end up with repetitive motion issues, especially if involved with an "evil day job" that requires them to be on a computer all day long anyway.

My writing is my evil day job, but I also have fibromyalgia and arthritis to add to the mix.

Ouch.

I have a few things that have (so far) allowed me to keep the repetitive-motion pain to a minimum, as long as I stick to my routine.

I use IMAK arthritis gloves to start with. They're short-fingered gloves, and even though I have really long fingers, I take an extra-small in these because my hands are fine-boned. Check the sizing chart carefully and if you fall at the lower end of the measurement scale, think about taking a size smaller than you think you might. These gloves REALLY help me especially in winter when I cannot seem to keep my hands and fingers warm (even when it's warm outside). Product Link (Note that's for the x-small size, find the size that will work for you.)

The nice thing about them is I can wear them under the other wrist braces I use. And since I'm a touch-typist, I need gear that won't slow me down there.



I'm a righty, so on my left hand I use an IMAK universal computer glove (it's definitely large on me even though it's a "one size"). Product Link



On my right hand, I use the IMAK SmartGlove, size x-small. What I like about both of these is that they have the "beads" in the heel of the palm area to cushion and keep pressure off the nerves. This one is reversible. You take the soft splint out of it, flip it inside out, and it fits the other wrist. Product Link That's the link to the x-small, so again, check your size carefully.


So that's for while I'm working. I use sports braces a lot when I'm not working (they're difficult to type in). For that, I prefer the McDonald 454 wrist braces (they come in left-hand and right-hand, and they are NOT reversible, so be careful what you order). Product Link (That link is for a right-hand one.) They have a removable metal splint so you can hand-wash them. (I hand-wash all these things in the bathroom sink with some Woolite.) I have purchased these at Sports Authority before, so if you have one of those available, try that. If I'm fairly diligent about using them when I'm not writing, I can keep away the worst of the pain.

At night I use an Ace sleeping brace on my right hand only. Product Link Sometimes you can also find these in Walmart or Walgreens. I have used other Ace carpal tunnel wrist supports before, but I've kind of gotten away from those in lieu of what I'm currently using. So far, the current blend has really helped me a lot. Plus I have conductive gloves on order to use with my TENS unit, so I'm hoping that will help even more this winter. In addition to that, I have a small electric hand warmer I picked up at Target a couple of years ago during the Christmas season. It's basically a very small electric heating pad with a pocket in the cover. When it's really cold I keep that in my lap and tuck my hands into it on a regular basis.

That's not all. I also have handwarmers I've crocheted, which are basically fingerless gloves. They're large enough to fit over everything else, so that if I need the extra warmth, I've got it.

I don't wear the McDonald wrist braces all the time, only when I've been working a lot, or have a lot of pain, and sometimes not even on both hands if my left feels okay. I play it by ear.

I hope this is helpful information for anyone who is looking for non-surgical ways to help ease pain and prevent injuries.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Ellora's Cave vs Dear Author: Not with a bang, but a whimper.


Well, there was a settlement today in the Ellora's Cave vs Dear Author case. Unfortunately, the terms are confidential, so all the rest of us can do is speculate. Considering there was a flurry of filings yesterday afternoon, it's interesting to note that the original blog post (as of this writing) is still up on Dear Author's site.

Make of that what you will.

After over a YEAR of this bullshit that never should have been filed in the first place, it's done. I'm happy for Jane, because I know this had to be a strain on her. I'm also happy there were finally some sworn statements by brave people willing to go on the record and file affidavits about their experiences with all of this, including that they are owed statements and royalties by Ellora's Cave.

All I know is that Ellora's Cave avoided opening their books and short-circuited anyone else filing sworn statements in Dear Author's defense about the case (like the one filed by the executive director of the RWA, Allison Kelley, swearing that Ellora's Cave admitted problems to them, which led to the RWA instituting restrictions against them).

There is a lot of speculation that can be made in this case, but unfortunately, we'll just never know. Either side can claim a "win" but the true losers in the long-term are editors, cover artists, and authors who claim they are still owed statements and royalties, and readers who lost entire libraries of books (some for a second time) when Ellora's Cave instituted their "site upgrade" back in July and apparently lost all on-site sales records despite Patty Marks swearing in an e-mail on 2/16/2015 that they had multiple and redundant backups in place.

It also means that Ann Jacobs will now have to file her own lawsuit against Ellora's Cave.

Also, interesting sideline to note, Ellora's Cave author Laurann Dohner announced recently on her Facebook page that she's starting a new series and apparently self-publishing it. (Feel free to correct me if I've got my facts wrong there.)

Keep following the #notchilled hashtag on Twitter.

UPDATE: Deirdre Saoirse Moen has also posted an update with relevant asides from some of the filings.

No boom today. :/

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Effective Facebook promo tips for authors so you stop looking like an annoying idiot.


OMG 5 SMOKING STARS FROM USERANONEEMOUSSE ON AMAZON THIS TALE WILL BLOW YOU AWAY! &&^^^%%%%~~ ARE YOU READY FOR SOMETHING AMAZING...

*gag*

How many times have you see author promos on Facebook that look something like that?

Worse, if you are GUILTY of promos that look like that, go stand in the corner for an hour. I'll wait here.

Back? Good, let's get you straightened out, then, so you can EFFECTIVELY use Facebook and not be a douche in the process.

These tips are geared mostly for Facebook (also see my previous posts on Facebook for authors: Thou Shalt Nots for Writers, Pages are a Losing Game, How NOT to use Facebook if you're a writer.) but apply to other social media as well.

1) DO NOT USE ALL CAPS! For starters, it's the Internet equivalent of shouting. Secondly, it's more difficult to read. Thirdly, it's annoying as fuck. Caps should only be used for emphasis or sometimes for the book's title. (I prefer not using all caps for the title.)

And stop with the curly emojis and all that other crap. Because I sit there thinking, how did they create those, instead of looking at the book information before I start scrolling again. (Hint: That's a marketing FAIL.) Anything that distracts from your book's title and blurb is a FAIL.

Also, keep in mind that many people are reading on their phones or other mobile devices. The more barriers you put between them and direct information to your book and what it's about means less clicks. The LONGER a post is, the more likely Facebook will truncate it and put the "read more" click link on it. If you bury the headline, so to speak, after all the floofly crap, you won't sell jack shit to people. (Unless your book is about creating all those odd and ornate characters in Facebook posts. If so, well-done, and carry on. But since most of y'all's books are NOT about that, knock it the fuck off.)

2) Do NOT (See? Caps used as emphasis.) post chapters or long excerpts, meaning more than a few lines, in promos you're posting everywhere. Put those on YOUR website, YOUR Facebook group. (Again, see? Caps for emphasis.) You want to draw readers to your online space. If they see a really long wall of text, they will not read it. Seriously. Also, use line breaks between paragraphs. The human eye needs that white space.

3) When you "share" something, check the permissions. If you have the original post set to friends only, or in a group where only members can see the posts, the only thing most people will see is an "Attachment Unavailable" box for your share and they'll scroll on past. Also, when sharing an original post, don't forget to put text in the post for people to see, like your title, pen name, etc.

4) Check the promo rules for a group BEFORE you post in it. I have one group where we ONLY allow promo in the daily admin-started promo thread. There is a pinned post with rules. There is even a warning in the description AND on the banner image for the group. People STILL try to post promo outside of the correct thread. I have another group I run specifically for BDSM books. I had to change it to approve all posts first because people were posting non-BDSM books.

It is NOT the admin's job to chase your ass down to correct you. This is not kindergarten. You are an adult. Start fucking adulting like one.

Which brings me to...

5) Hashtags. With Twitter using them, they've even become popular on Facebook now, too. People use them as a quick reference to what they're looking at. So tagging your book #amazing #5stars #floofy is NOT helpful. Tagging your book #BDSM #wolfshifters #PNR #MMF #menage is helpful.

Also, ONLY tag what it is. Don't be a douche and tag it with other popular stuff. Readers will hate you for that shit. And use as few tags as possible. More tags is NOT better.

6) Do NOT add people to your Facebook group (or any group) without asking them FIRST. DO NOT DO IT. I don't CARE that Facebook LETS you do it, do NOT do it. It's douchey. Post/share the link to the group.

7) Headlines matter. Start with the basics. Here's the text of an actual promo that I use:

Now Available: The Strength of the Pack (Suncoast Society 30, MF, BDSM). This is a direct sequel to Vulnerable (Suncoast Society 29, MM, BDSM) by Tymber Dalton.

Kindle: http://amzn.to/1KWTHo4
BookStrand: http://www.bookstrand.com/the-strength-of-the-pack
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/the-strength-of-the-pack-2

Eva’s world collapsed when Leo announced he was divorcing her. She believed an imperfect marriage was better than none since Leo protected her and their daughter. Then she quickly came to love Jesse, Leo’s new husband, and realized their “pack” is better, for all of them.

Nate Crawford practices acupuncture and enjoys helping people in his clinic and at Venture, the BDSM club. Family is all to him, because he raised his little sister as a single parent. He thought Leo, Jesse, and Eva were a triad, until matchmaking Tilly gets involved. Their only barrier to long-term love is whatever dark secret Eva keeps deeply buried.

When a confrontation finally forces the truth out, Nate and Eva are able to move forward, with Leo and Jesse’s blessings. But the worst day of Nate’s life pales in comparison when an unexpected crisis forces him to rely on the strength of their pack to carry him through a nightmare he can’t escape.

This is clear, concise, and basic. The title, the series, the KIND of book it is and the romantic pairing (if applicable), my pen name, and in this case that it's a direct sequel to another book. Followed by buy links and the book's "blurb." If you don't have an effective blurb, then it's time to change that, dontchathink?

#duh

WHY is this important? Because, hopefully, people might share your stuff. If you don't have the title, your pen name, the genre, and the romantic pairing (if applicable) at the TOP of your post, NO ONE WILL BUY IT. That's like someone saying, "Hey, here's a book." Well, who wrote it? "I dunno." What's the title? "I dunno." What's it about? "I dunno." Why should I buy it? "I dunno. But it got five stars somewhere and a picture of a hot chick having her hair held in the picture." Is that what the book is about? "I dunno..."

8) Quit telling us about what other readers say. Honestly? We don't give a shit. We really don't. If we want to look up the reader reviews, we will look them up on OUR site of choice. Think about it from what you read as a reader. Do you honestly care what readers say before you learn what the darn book is about, or are you interested in what the book is about? If I as a reader have to hunt for the genre and romantic pairing and blurb, you've lost me already. If you feel you have to include that stuff (hint: you do NOT) then put it AFTER the other stuff. Your blurb should be a hook to pull readers in. Shoving all that other stuff in front of it is like using the world's tastiest, sure-fire bait and then sitting there and smacking the water to scare the fish off while your hook is in. And frankly, most of us are at the point now where we really don't trust most reviews. We get our recommendations from our friends. So save yourself the time and save our eyeballs the scrolling.

9) QUIT using graphics that are NOT your book cover. For starters, I've seen plenty of authors use images they downloaded off the Internet and don't have legal permissions to use. Remember, just because you found it on the Internet does NOT make it "public domain." Use YOUR BOOK COVER. (See? Caps as emphasis.) You are SELLING YOUR BOOK. So why would you want a picture of a woman or a cartoon on your promo graphic for it? If you don't like your book cover, that's a problem you need to resolve ASAP. But you risk getting yourself into serious legal shit if you use graphics you don't have a legal right to use.

While I'm on the subject, make sure people besides you can actually READ the graphics you create. Cutesy fonts and low contrast are NOT going to make someone stop scrolling. Especially if they're viewing it on a TINY PHONE SCREEN. And even if you post a graphic, don't forget to post TEXT with it! Because a graphic is NOT a direct buy link, which leads me to...

10) Post your freaking buy links! I cannot tell you how many people I've seen post on Facebook something like this: "My book, Amazeball Book, is now available!"

That's it. No link to their website, no link to the book, no link to ANYTHING. Um, yeah. TOTAL fail. If your book isn't out yet, post a link to your website, your Facebook group (you should have one of those if you're an author and no, do NOT force-add people to it), a link to your publisher's page, ANYTHING.

But to post no links is basically like walking into your hall closet, shutting the door, and telling your winter coat you have a book out. It's literally THAT effective. (Meaning not at all.)

11) Again, another one I can't believe I have to say, but PROOFREAD your promo. No, I'm not going to click on your links if you use text-speak in your promo, or if your promo and book blurb are rife with errors. I just won't. Because I assume if you can't put together a short, cogent, typo-free promo for your book, then your book is probably full of the same kind of crap, and life is too short for bad books.

12) Do NOT post your promo to other people's walls without permission. When someone friends you, do NOT post promo to them as a "thank you for friending me" reply. DON'T DO IT. STOP IT. In real life, when you meet someone, do you say, "Hey, thanks for shaking my hand, I'm a mechanic, would you like to come in for an oil change next week because here's a coupon, I can make that appointment for you right now..."

STOP IT.

So those are the biggies I see. Go forth and promo properly, peeps. Your bank account will thank you.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Amazon's love/hate with erotica.


Okay, so Amazon's at it...again...with shuffling erotica books off into the non-searchable "adult" Nethersphere of...something something OH MY GODZ THE CHILDREN!

Look, it's Amazon's sandbox, they can shit in it if they want, they can let only the cool kids in if they want, they can do whatever the hell they want, because TOS, yo. (Once again, NOT censorship, because they're not a government agency, they are a business and can sell what they want.) It makes them a shit-ton of money that they sort of quickly wave behind them so they don't have to admit it makes them a shit-ton of money.

Another good reason NOT to be exclusive with their KDP program.

So here's the thing, ALL authors with books on Amazon should make SURE to go in and claim their author pages and that all their books are added to the same author page. (It does NOT happen automatically, especially with adult titles. Make SURE to go into the Author Central dashboard and that they appear there. If not, get the ASIN and add it. All versions, Kindle, print, and audio (if available).

Route customers to THAT link. That way they won't miss any of your books. (And keep you author info updated for people to find your site.)

If this has happened to you and your books are now unsearchable behind the "adult filter," stop and calm the fuck down. Don't get your britches wound into a knot. It won't help your blood pressure any. Just make a list of your ASINs, write Amazon, and keep hammering at them to move your books. If enough authors start doing that, this will become a MAJOR pita for Amazon and likely they'll back off. Be POLITE. But be persistent. Keep escalating it. I've got a shit-ton of books that I'm going to have to wrangle with them about.

If vast numbers of authors politely go after Amazon and give them a headache, chances are they'll back off. No, not a given, but let's be honest here, who honestly wants a shit-ton more work coming up into their BUSIEST FREAKING TIME OF YEAR?

Probably not them.

Use the excuse that Fifty Shades of Grey and other books are HELLO, erotic, and THEY aren't whacked behind an adult filter. (I think that'd be a hoot, frankly, if we got FSoG knocked behind the adult filter, though, in the process of trying to win Amazon back over to our side.) And don't be a douchey dick. If your books ARE flat-out erotica, do NOT go trying to game the system. Those erotica writers who have repeatedly gamed the category system with Amazon are--frankly--assholes, and are the reason the rest of us who write romance/erotic romance are now getting dry-fucked up the ass without lube.

So thank you, fuckheads.

But be polite with dealing with Amazon CS and remember the faceless drone on the other end of the e-mail/chat box is NOT the one responsible for this and isn't out to get you. They're human, too.

Unless they're a Terminator. Then you're just fucked, sorry.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Historically based non-con romance? DO. NOT. WRITE. IT.


I honestly cannot believe I have to say this in this day and age:

DO NOT TAKE HISTORICAL EVENTS AND TRY TO MAKE NON-CON/DUB-CON (or any other kind of) ROMANCE STORIES OUT OF THEM.

The latest in this face-palm movement is a m/m story about a white slave owner and his black male slave, set in the historic US Southern slavery period, and basically white-washes (pun intended) the horrors of that time.

*excuse me while I throw up in my mouth*

NO.

Just NO.

"But but but but TYMBER, FIRST AMENDMENT! CENSORSHIP! WE WANT OUR POLITICALLY INCORRECT FAP-FODDER!"

I am only going to say this once: Shut the FUCK up and go back to your hole.

It is NOT okay to take historical events, be they Sally Hemmings, be they slavery, be they SS/Jew Holocaust situations, and turn them into "romances."

It.
Is.
NOT.
OKAY.
EVER.
EVVVEEERRR.


Now, before you blast me, I'm going to (once again) tell you all what I tell people in the BDSM 101 classes that I teach: What makes BDSM okay? It is a CONSENSUAL POWER EXCHANGE. The person on the "bottom" is GIVING the person on the "top" certain powers. In the US and elsewhere, it is ILLEGAL TO OWN A SLAVE. SO, *gasp* those slave "contracts" you read about in BDSM stories? Literally not worth the paper they're drawn up on.

LITERALLY.

If you want to write non-con/dub-con stories, knock yourself out. I am NOT against them AS LONG AS they do not try to misappropriate or misrepresent HISTORICAL EVENTS and rewrite them into "romance."

No. Just NO.

STOP IT.

Write sci-fi, write fantasy, write ANYTHING that's NOT taking a REAL-LIFE EVENT and "sexing it up."

STOP IT.

You are not only being insensitive, you're being OFFENSIVE by doing so.

Just because you CAN write something does NOT mean you SHOULD. I call you out, every last goddamned one of you fuckers, who think that is okay. It is NEVER okay.

Let's reframe this. Would you sex up an ISIS fighter in Syria abducting and raping a white female aid worker? Why not? How about an ISIS fighter abducting and raping a 12-year-old girl? Hmm? Why not?

Just because it happened, whether now, or 50, or 100, or 200 years ago does NOT mean you can sex it up.

STOP IT.

White people nonconsensually imported slaves from Africa and elsewhere to the US to work as NONCONSENSUAL SLAVES. They raped them, they sold them, they ripped families apart, they murdered them. They kept them in inhumane conditions, they forced them to work, they stripped them of any and all rights.

WHAT IN THE FUCK IS SEXY ABOUT ANY OF THAT?

WHERE IN ANY OF THAT DID THEY CONSENT TO THIS???

Where did Jews in Nazi Germany and elsewhere consent to what happened to them?

STOP IT.

FUCKING STOP IT.

Just because you want to romanticize something so it's more historically appealing to you doesn't give you the right to do it. It makes you a FUCKING DOUCHEBALL.

And I call you out on it.

#notchilled Ellora's Cave vs Dear Author: More filings (10/14/2015 update)


There were more filings yesterday in the Ellora's Cave vs Dear Author lawsuit, Defendant's Reply to Opposition to Motion for Summary Judgment.

Of particular interest is the main filing, page eleven (as labelled at the bottom of each page, not the e-filing numbers at the top) and footnote 9 on that page.

I'll let you go look for yourself. Much more amusing that way.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/11698292/ecda/71-main.pdf

No comment. I mean, seriously, no comment. I am unable to formulate the words. The footnote, as filed, stands on its own.

Also, two other updates I posted on my main site:




Look, here's the thing. When I teach a BDSM 101 class, one of the points I HEAVILY STRESS is safety issues and avoiding predators. And I always say the same thing--when you have ONE person who is making claims and calling a BUNCH of other people liars, and ALL those other people are 1) reliable sources and/or 2) have proof to back-up their claims, you don't start assuming ALL the other people are lying. You look at the ONE standout that everyone else is pointing to and you ask tough questions and you ask for proof from them to their assertions to counter what EVERYONE ELSE is saying.

If you hear 30+ people make similar complaints about a doctor/mechanic/daycare/veterinarian, are you going to use that professional, or are you going to assume that ALL those people are engaged in a vast "right-wing conspiracy" to defame?

I'm not talking about anonymous Yelp complaints or Amazon reviews. I'm talking when you meet individuals who are speaking out, EVEN IF IT'S TO THEIR DETRIMENT TO SPEAK OUT, whether it's fear of reprisals, or fear of lawsuit, or fear of some other retaliation, people who can PROVE their claims, or who are, at the very least, reliable sources with obvious first-hand knowledge that frequently matches up with reports from others whom they don't even KNOW.

Law of averages, folks.

Do I hope EC fails?

NO. In fact, I've called for people to report good and bad customer service issues over on my main site, and have received a good customer report about dealing with a CS rep at EC. And if the court rules against DA in this case, I'll be reporting that as well.

Do I know the full "truth" of what's going on at EC?

Of course not. I only have what's now part of the public record in court filings, author and other blog posts and e-mails, and things people have told me in confidence for years.

What do I base my personal conclusions on? I see a clear pattern being presented by the evidence being filed in this case, patterns that match up to things I've been told by unrelated other parties for years.

Do not base YOUR conclusions on just what I or any one other person is saying. Look at ALL the statements and evidence being presented. The entirety of the body of evidence and statements.

When I see authors and editors standing up and filing legal witness statements, under threat of perjury, and stating that what they say is true, to me, that gives weight to claims being made. When I see a company official swear up and down in an e-mail that they have redundant backups in place and then just a few months later a site migration supposedly wipes all customer data out in direct contradiction to those earlier statements, I scratch my head in confusion.

I don't want to see ANY author lose access to rights. I HATE like holy farking hell to see authors or anyone else NOT getting paid, especially when many of them NEED that money.

I don't want to see a company that was once an industry leader go down the drain. Absolutely not.

HOWEVER.

When authors who feel they have no other options left finally do speak out and then are publicly referred to as "bad apples" simply for wanting their contractual rights to be met as laid out in the document they signed, that pisses me off.

I want authors to feel empowered to take control of their careers and not worry about being "blackballed" if contractual obligations by another party aren't being upheld. Why is it that we wouldn't hesitate to sue a contractor if they screwed up our house, but if a publisher doesn't uphold their end of the bargain, writers (especially women writers) get all worried and hush-hush and feel like they have no agency or power in the matter?

What the FUCK is up with THAT??

This is a BUSINESS TRANSACTION. Call your book your baby, call it your art, call it whatever you want, but do NOT fool yourself. Once you sign a publishing contract, that "baby" becomes a "business asset." You are now in a contractual agreement.

Do you think your bank would hesitate to come after you if you breached the terms of your mortgage by not paying? Or would they sit there and wring their hands and say, oh, well, we don't want to make waves...

FUCK NO. They would SUE your ass for cause.

So why is it that writers--yes, especially us women writers--treat the PUBLISHING BUSINESS as anything other than a BUSINESS???

Why do we feel that just because it's a book involved that we no longer have any rights to pursue a redress of grievances if the contract isn't being upheld by the other party? Why do we feel we don't have a right to speak out and ASK QUESTIONS to see if there are others being affected by it as well? Why is there this culture of SECRECY about publishing when there pretty much isn't about any other industry, except maybe the military and certain religious institutions???

Yes, that's a lot of farking question marks.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I don't care WHAT your opinion of Dear Author is. I honestly don't. I'd be this pissed off if a publisher sued Publishers Weekly for the same damn thing. I really would.

The culture of silence in publishing needs to END. You know who else uses a culture of shaming and silence?

ABUSERS in RELATIONSHIPS.

*rant/out*

Also, just for the hell of it, take a look at some of these links. They are interesting reading and help illustrate some of what I mean about my point of looking at the whole instead of the one.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Putting descriptions on a diet.


HA! A blog post that has NOTHING to do with the Ellora's Cave vs. Dear Author lawsuit! Didn't think I could do it, didja? LOL

Actually, yeah, I'm pretty swamped but have been wanting to write this post for a while.

Ever come across a passage in a book that looked something like this:

He walked into the living room. The mauve, floral wallpaper stretched from floor to ceiling and complemented the furniture, carpeting, and other decor. The carpet was a delicate, interwoven vine pattern of various hues of green and gold and fern and avocado, with a dense, short weave of the type commonly manufactured in Karachi in the spring. The velveteen couch was covered in chintz with a peach base and dainty little roses dancing across it, a cute satin fringe emphasizing the woodwork. Dark oak stain on the legs and arms, of the kind made in the custom furniture factories of North Carolina. His uncle had worked in one of those, once, and said that he forever associated the smell of sawdust with bologna sandwiches from his lunchbox. Which was nothing like the ornate crystal decanter set on the end table...

*RIPS KEYBOARD FROM YOUR HAND, SHOOTS IT WITH A SHOTGUN, AND THROWS IT OUT A 37TH FLOOR WINDOW*

For the LOVE of the GODDESS if you have WRITTEN something, anything, that resembles the above?

RIP IT FROM YOUR MANUSCRIPT.

He walked into the living room. From the chintz to the velveteen, it was obvious she lived in another century where current decor had no place.

TA-DA!

Holy farking shitballs, seriously. I got bored just trying to write that sample piece. I get it. I do. Kill your darlings isn't just some bullshit that Stephen King spouts, but it's also not just referring to literally killing off characters. I cannot tell you how many times I've read a book and started skimming because there was SO.

MUCH.

DESCRIPTION.

Seriously, there comes a point, after about the second or third thing, where attention starts to wane. I mean seriously farking wane.

I have a saying: You don't have to say the dog didn't bark unless it's IMPORTANT that the dog didn't bark.

That means okay, yes, you need a little flavor. But if HALF your darn manuscript is DESCRIBING stuff in achingly BORING detail, you're going to lose your readers. I mean it.

This is NOT to say you don't use description. You do. Sparingly, and with purpose. You can use dialog action tags and little things sprinkled here and there to describe a character even better than you can page after page (after FARKING PAGE) of descriptive narrative.

Especially important to remember that if you're writing something like a thriller or a mystery where the pace needs to be faster.

You cannot hold a reader's attention if you bore the crap out of them.

Use it at the beginning of a chapter to set the scene. Or as a transition between a section of dialogue, maybe even interspersed with internal narrative/monologue from whoever the focal character is for that chapter. Or if it's highlighting something important.

Otherwise, cut out the boring shit. See your book as a movie, and remember that if you leave the lens focused too long on one particular place, then you'll bore the viewer (reader). Pick out a couple of key elements that speak directly to what you're trying to do, and use that. Do not drone on and on (and on).

I will smack you with that chintz throw pillow. Don't think I won't.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Writer Beware: Ellora's Cave vs Dear Author lawsuit update 9/16/2015


Whelp. Things are starting to heat up, and more stuff is getting filed in the lawsuit. Most interesting is an affidavit from the executive director of the RWA saying that they'd been aware of problems at EC and had an admission from them of late payments of royalties. They first contacted Ellora's Cave in AUGUST of 2014, and Jane's blog post was in September of 2014. Meaning rumors and problems PRE-DATING the blog post. And they've suspended EC from "certain privileges" in the RWA.

http://www.courtneymilan.com/ecda/allisonkelleyaffidavit.pdf

Looks like there were rumblings long enough before Jane's article for it to cross the RWA's radar, meaning Jane wasn't the only one aware of issues and she wasn't making it up out of thin air.

I wish that'd been part of the public record sooner. It means people knew about problems at EC BEFORE Jane posted her article that prompted the lawsuit. (I know, sky blue, grass green, it was THE worst-kept secret in publishing. There have been rumors for years about problems at EC.)

http://www.courtneymilan.com/ramblings/2015/09/04/a-big-messy-ec-v-da-update-part-1-of-lots-notchilled/

http://www.courtneymilan.com/ramblings/2015/09/15/big-honking-ec-update-part-2-of-notchilled/

http://www.courtneymilan.com/ramblings/2015/09/15/ginormous-ec-update-part-3-discovery-issues-abound-notchilled/

Deirdre Saoirse Moen of course has the totally kick-ass full listing of all the documents:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/11698292/ecda/index.html

She also has an interesting side-note on a DOT notice she found about EC, which might add up to nothing.

http://deirdre.net/elloras-cave-an-interesting-usdot-finding/

Now, also in this latest edition of stuff that got filed is the exhibit composed of a HuffPo article published in MAY of 2013 (pre-dating the DA article by well over a year) that is an interview with Tina Engler (who, remember, technically isn't a personal party to the lawsuit, but it was one of the points that EC brought up in their lawsuit) where she talks about shopping for her new West Hollywood house that she'd bought. (Again, one of the things that EC was fighting against.)

Huh. Looks like Jane didn't make that up out of thin air, either, hmm? Guess Tina Engler deleted all her social media accounts for nothing.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/11698292/ecda/55-5.pdf

Still no word on whether or not Ann Jacobs will be allowed to join the suit as an intervening party. If she is allowed to, she's claiming damages in the neighborhood of $193k in unpaid royalties on the part of EC.

Another side note, Ellora's Cave readers are up in arms that the EC "site redesign" they did a couple of months back wiped out their libraries of books, and EC is basically telling readers too bad, so sad, no receipts no books.

Um, WTF? What the hell kind of publisher does that? Wipes out their COMPLETE customer database and libraries without backing them up?? Unless...

Well, there is plenty of supposition on my part as to the timing and the why's of how it (the "site redesign") happened, and my bet is squarely on those suppositions, which I suppose we'll have to wait to find out as the lawsuit progresses to see if I'm right or not.

Word of warning: If you're going to sue someone who exercises their right of free speech and has evidence to back up what they're saying, make sure you think it through reeeeeallly well first.

Don't fuck with the First Amendment, yo.

“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Writer Beware: EC vs DA lawsuit update 9/2/2015


(Ellora's Cave versus Dear Author lawsuit update 9/2/2015)

You reeeeeaaallly want the popcorn for this one.

For starters, one of my previous blog posts, a compilation of reports about the EC vs DA lawsuit, was listed as exhibit 52 by DA's lawyer (who, IMO, is a First Amendment ROCKSTAR!). Am I amused? Greatly, because irony much for various reasons. The biggest of which is that, forever, "Write Your Ass Off" will forever be part of a federal case-filing. LOL

Okay, if you're behind on the news, Deirdre Saoirse Moen has done a kick-ass job (along with Courtney Milan) of parsing out the goings on and WTFery.

Deirdre, however, should get ALLL the cookies for having done a huge compile of documents and the filings...

WHICH CAN BE FOUND HERE.


A very long and telling read is EC's deposition of Jane, where EC's lawyer (imo) makes himself to look like a raging douche, and Jane's' lawyer basically makes him look like an idiot.

Pages 44-46 are highly amusing. Randazza is Jane's attorney, and Mastrantonio is the attorney for Ellora's Cave.



"...and Jade will lose her mind on you."

"Yeah."

Um, would that be an admission by EC's own attorney that his client might "lose her mind" over something?

Would this be referring to the same person who for a time used a picture of herself flipping the bird as a social media profile picture? Said person who made claims that any reasonable person would perceive meant she was the head of Ellora's Cave?

We don't know for sure, but that's interesting, isn't it?

Unfortunately, there were also some chilling moments, like when Mastrantonio asked for information like the name of Jane's child (who is TEN FARKING YEARS OLD) and about her dog.

I'm sorry, but that's outside the scope of the lawsuit and is in no way germane.

#DOUCHEBAG

Frankly, I hope people read this deposition and see the kind of depths that EC is willing to stoop to. But the biggest moment came when Randazza informed Mastrantonio that they're going to be auditing Ellora's Cave's books.

#HOTDAMN

#PASSTHEPOPCORN

Don't forget to follow the #notchilled hashtag on Twitter, if you use Twitter.

I'm glad that it looks like people who've been saying things for years are finally close to being vindicated. I'm sad (and fucking pissed off) that people had to get jerked around, however. I was approached twice by an EC editor, and I'm SOOOOO glad I said thanks, but no thanks, to the offers at the time. I dodged a MASSIVE bullet, it looks like. (Can you imagine someone with a big mouth like me not calling bullshit when I saw it and raising a stink? HA!)

Stay tuned... 


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Utilizing Amazon Kindle links for all countries.

If your books are available on Amazon, you should make sure you're correctly linking to them on all the available Amazon sites. (Yes, I'm guilty of that, too, and need to add the additional sites to my own listings. Right now, all I have listed are the US and UK stores.)

There is a quick and easy (and free) way to do this. The different stores each have different suffixes. The main US store is amazon.com, of course. And the UK store is amazon.co.uk.

Etc. There are (as of this writing) 13 Kindle stores.
  • US: www.amazon.com
  • UK: www.amazon.co.uk
  • Canada: www.amazon.ca
  • Australia: www.amazon.com.au/
  • Japan: www.amazon.co.jp/
  • Mexico: www.amazon.com.mx/
  • Brazil: www.amazon.com.br/
  • Germany: www.amazon.de/
  • France: www.amazon.fr
  • Italy: www.amazon.it/
  • Spain: www.amazon.es/
  • India: www.amazon.in/
  • Netherlands: www.amazon.nl/

If you are the one who published/self-published the electronic version, then you can log into KPD and get the e-book links right there on your dashboard, in Bookshelf.

If you are only the author, but not the publisher, keep reading.

Every item on Amazon is identified by a number, an ASIN. For example, my book, Hot Sauce, is B0125JNWYO.

So here are what the links for this item look like in the various stores:

  • US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0125JNWYO/
  • UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0125JNWYO/
  • Canada: http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B0125JNWYO/
  • Australia: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B0125JNWYO/
  • Japan: http://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B0125JNWYO/
  • Mexico: http://www.amazon.com.mx/dp/B0125JNWYO/
  • Brazil: http://www.amazon.com.br/dp/B0125JNWYO/
  • Germany: http://www.amazon.de/dp/B0125JNWYO/
  • France: http://www.amazon.fr/dp/B0125JNWYO/
  • Italy: http://www.amazon.it/dp/B0125JNWYO/
  • Spain: http://www.amazon.es/dp/B0125JNWYO/
  • India: http://www.amazon.in/dp/B0125JNWYO/
  • Netherlands: http://www.amazon.nl/dp/B0125JNWYO/
So when you start creating your buy links on your pages for your books (you have those directly linked on your website/blog, right? Riiiiggghhttt???) you can include ALL the stores. (Double-check your links to make sure they're correct when you post them.)

And it's that easy. You can make yourself a blank template for your buy links, so that once you have the ASIN number, you can simply drop it into place and then post it to your website.

Don't forget, you can also claim your author page on many of those foreign stores, too, making it easier for foreign readers to find all your books in one place.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Tuesday Compendium of Crumbles From teh Interwebz

Yeah, yeah, I know. Bad blogger, no cookie, it's been a while since I posted here. I've been too busy writing to write about writing lately, plus a massively bad fibro flare over the winter that left me barely able to complete my must-do things on the Massive Whiteboard From Hell (MWFH) that make my publisher happy so they put money in my bank account, and which I promptly use to buy food and pay my mortgage and keep the electric company happy.

*sigh*

Adulting is hard work, yo.

So here are a few writing nuggets from here and thar to whet yer writing whistle.

Chuck Wendig is that profanely profound penmonkey of the Terribleminds blog, and I heart him so hard I would totally tie him up in my basement (if we had basements in this part of Florida) and feed him tequila and Krispy Kremes until I soaked every last bit of writing wisdom out of him. If you aren't subscribed to his blog, you should go bang your head against the nearest wall, hard, and then go subscribe to his blog.

Chuck also has some kick-ass writing books you should own. As in go clicky-click. Right-the-fark-now, clicky-click.



Kristen Lamb is another brilliant purveyor of writing wisdom. But since she does kick-ass Brazilian jujitsu ninja stuff, I would start with trying to bribe her with gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate cookies. (Hey, does this rag smell like chloroform...?) No, but I'd love to sit and pick her brain for...ever. Again, if you haven't subscribed to her blog yet, WTH? Go, do it, now. And it's not just writing advice she dispenses. She has some mental jujitsu crap going on, where she peels back your skull, looks inside, and writes about THAT, about real life. (Well, it feels like she's doing that to me, anyway.) She shows it's not all about perfection and daisies, and I don't know about y'all, but I NEED to hear that other people are going through real-life problems, too, because then I don't feel alone.



AND, she has an AMAZEBALLS book you MUST read if you're a writer.




Here are a few other writing posts for you to peruse today.

Enjoy!

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