Amazon as a retailer can do this. Not saying they can't. But I have a couple of points to make.
1. This is Amazon: their entire brand is based on the idea that they sell *everything.* Anyone surprised by this probably hasn't followed Amazon closely over the years.
2. I don't believe for a second this has anything to do with free speech. They also sold a rape simulation game from Japan last year but eventually pulled it. So why keep the pedophilia books? Because the rape game wasn't produced by them. These books are published through Kindle and CreateSpace and, as previously mentioned, Amazon's brand is that they sell anything. If they were to go back on that, I think they worry about losing potential self-publishing customers. (Not that self-pubbers are out publishing pedophilia BUT "We publish everything but...X, Y, and Z" suggests they're gatekeeping, and we all know how everyone hates teh ebil gatekeepers.) And doing any kind of vetting for subject matter would start to get expensive since they'd have to REVIEW their slush pile instead of publishing it. This is completely about their bottom line and nothing more.
3. Someone pointed out to me that Amazon stands to lose a lot more if they don't pull these books. I don't believe that either for two reasons. This first is that so many people own Kindles now that they're likely to just keep going back to Amazon for their ebooks. Yes, you can load other books onto your Kindle, but a whole lot of people who buy retailer specific ereaders (I know a few Nook owners who are the same) only know how to buy and load books through that retailer. Many can't be bothered learning how to shop and load elsewhere. Many, many readers will just continue shopping at Amazon because outrage is never as strong as familiarity/ease of use.
Second of all, Amazon has pulled all kinds of stupid shit over the years and the people directly harmed by them STILL shop there. Remember when they threatened small pubs and said they wouldn't offer their books for sale anymore unless they used BookSurge--which was, at least at the time, more expensive and produced poorer quality? Remember when they pulled their ebooks so they could make more money selling their own ebook line eventually? Remember when they did that with audiobooks? Tons of small pubs and authors who were directly harmed by these moves STILL SHOP AT AMAZON.
Again, moral outrage is never as strong as familiarity/ease of use.
So, in conclusion, a) don't be surprised by these things, b) don't expect them to stop doing these things, c) don't suppose this is motivated by anything other than profit, d) if you don't like it, follow through by shopping at local indie stores or other outlets, and e) don't be surprised if 99% of the people also outraged by this still shop there.
Now if you'll excuse me, I think I need to watch Hard Candy to get the taste out of my mouth.
Two links for you tonight, chickadees, 'cause I'm busy busy busy and I've got miles to go before I sleep. (My instinct is always to follow that up with "Did you hear me, Butterfly?" because I've watched Death Proof way too many times.)
WIP Forsaken is at 81K and I'm taking a break before heading into the final stretch. I can't tell if it needs longer to gel in my head 'cause I'm missing something or 'cause I'm avoiding writing the stuff I know I have to write. Either way, I'll get it done eventually.
A few people mentioned on my Twitter feed today disliking the backlash against NaNoWriMo. The article in question raised some excellent points that I've thought about as well--such as the push towards selling to writers instead of readers, and how we should be celebrating readers since they're the reason we can pay the bills and all--but it was wrapped in something that seemed to irk a lot of people. Apparently my F-list at least didn't appreciate their process being criticized, and their sentiment was "who the hell cares if people enjoy NaNo?"
I've talked about advice before when it comes to writing and how to deal with it when everyone contradicts one another. And I'm going to speak about advice again:
Do whatever the fuck you want.
Seriously. And I'm going to take a page from Michelle on this one (because I've already mentioned the parallels to be drawn between becoming a competent eater and using the same skills as a writer). This is the only advice I, or anyone else, is qualified to give writers with regards to their process.
Write words. Ones you like. As many as you want, whenever you want.
NaNo is a great time for writers to come together and just enjoy writing. It's a great way to get in the habit of writing daily. It's a great way to encourage students to jump into the fray and promote literacy.
Yes, it's stupid to submit a NaNo book that hasn't been edited. But you know, stupid people are going to do stupid things regardless of whether or not there's a month dedicated to novel writing--I know this because I work in slush. Yes, people who aren't writers and are never going to be writers are going to try to write a novel during NaNo and it will probably be an unholy travesty that should never see the light of day else it causes the universe to implode. THAT'S OKAY.
What I like about NaNo is that it, IMO, separates writing from publishing. Because those two things ARE separate. Not every book anyone writes, regardless of the month they write it in, should or will be published, even among professional writers. And you know what? Being a writer doesn't mean you have some universal obligation to ever seek publication for your work. I have a few finished NaNo books that were a total blast to write that likely will never be published, but I don't care because they were fun for me. Sometimes, some people *do* need time to celebrate the act of writing and not think about publishing it, not think about who is going to read it.
And other people don't or else they don't want to in November. And...that's cool too. It's okay if the quick bursts of writing aren't your thing. It's okay if you like to go back and revise as you write instead of spitting out a really rough first draft in two weeks.
When it comes to structure, pacing, characters, plot, dialogue--those are all areas where it's good to listen to people to improve your work. And publishing, well, obviously, "Do whatever the fuck you want" isn't going to yield positive results 99% of the time.
But when it comes to process, no one can tell you what is going to work for you. Find out how other writers do it, try everything on for size if you're just starting out, be prepared for your habits to change over the years, but at the end of the day, your process is YOURS and yours alone. Writers, don't ever let anyone make you feel bad if you find a way of producing work that makes you happy and leads to better writing.
So there you have it, chickadees. NaNo if you like. Don't NaNo if you like. Do the hokey pokey for all I care. Don't feel ashamed if other people are telling you you're doing it wrong--as long as you're writing consistently and enjoying yourself, it's all good. Find what works for you, do it, and tell everyone else to fuck off.
* I've given myself a major deadline this weekend to finish up stuff day job related (but not actual day job stuff), so I'll be buried all weekend, looking longingly at the Disarrano because apparently it's not a good idea to drink while working on OTHER PEOPLE'S stuff. (This doesn't mean you can't send your favourite editor a bottle of vodka, however. That's always a good idea.)
* I've hit the 40K word slog on the WIP (am at 43K, more precisely, and while I know what happens next, I don't know what happens after THAT, so I have to let it percolate awhile), which seemed like the perfect time to use the weekend for working. If I'm a good little bunny, I'll maybe take half of Monday off. But only if I meet my deadlines.
* My inbox is down to 83. Amazing how much less stress I feel when it's under 100.
* Please check out the It Gets Better Project, which was created to remind LGBT youth that while they're being bullied now, it WILL get better. Whether you're an LGBT adult or hetero/cis ally, I think we should ALL rally around this cause.
* Lili has some fabulous posts up about her process and, as always, her advice is practical with all kinds of great wisdom. Part One was posted last week and this week there's Part Two. IMO, a must read for writers.
* I'm going through a "must listen to beloved 90's music" phase (again). You're welcome.
* Finally, I have a question: Every time I tidy up my apartment and, specifically, actually make my bed, my mum gives me a sly look and asks if I'm having company. I just realized this is going to be less of a question and more of a plea: PLEASE tell me someone else has a mother who does this. Please? *sigh*
The funny thing about working both from home and in a job that, to many, seems shrouded in mystery is that people get awfully cranky quick and don't understand what "busy" looks like from my perspective. 'Cause it's just me sitting on my ass all day, right?
Ages ago I did a post like this but it's changed significantly, so I thought I'd revisit what a day looks like in Skyla's "office."Read more
Quick hit tonight, bunnies--hopefully I'll be back with something a little more substantial over the weekend.
For now...here are tonight's thoughts.
1. All submissions from June/July were held because I was in the process of moving. Boss dumped the slush on me to sort yesterday so after I reject a whole lot, I'll have to scare up the readers again and get everything caught up (and yes, including from the last open period--we had quit a few that were split down the middle decision-wise and slush got thrown to the side while I moved). Something I noticed this time around...
I'm not looking at the slush with glee, ready to find a few gems and get my snark on at the rest (I know it's bad of me, but I always got *such* a giggle over the truly atrocious books that I kinda looked forward to them). No, it's more...like the life has been sucked right out of me. It's dread, all heavy and hard in the bottom of my gut. Because I know how it'll go: I'll see the same mistakes and keep shaking my head, I'll get angry letters back when I reject... Until you've read hundreds and hundreds of cover letters and manuscripts, you can't fully appreciate how it really starts to mess with your head after awhile.
2. What I DID see among the slush were some in house submissions from authors I adore, so yay! They go on the top of the list.
3. I've been quiet all day (Wed) and probably will be Thurs/Fri too, keeping my head down and working but avoiding most people. Why? Crazy is in the air.
Crazy is always in the air somewhere, but sometimes you see it more than others. The normally fun, eclectic occult blogs and forums that I follow for research have exploded suddenly with this insane drama and clash of occultists. To clarify, it turns out one side is tres crazy--I was a little shocked at what happened. And then of course, yes, when "the death of publishing/every should start vanity publishing" conversation comes up somewhere, things go nuts and we all just mutter "Publishing is dying? Must be Tuesday" but people have gotten really heated the past couple of days. Normally nice, quiet peeps are revealing rather sharp tongues, and I watched a rather entertaining author/reviewer train wreck over the weekend.
It's not the normal crazy--it's kinda like the filter went away and people are either saying what they're thinking or getting really defensive about what others are saying.
Aside from my piracy meltdown, which isn't really out of the ordinary for me, I kinda just threw up my hands and said, "Okay, this would be a good coupla days to just NOT talk to anyone." I tend to breathe conflict without even meaning to so when everyone is going nuts, it's not a good time for me to join in.
4. Normally I love a good fight and would be all over the above, but I've just been kinda sitting here thinking... I'm tired. I'm tired of he said/she said, I'm tired of people arguing over publishing methods with their own agendas and not even listening to each other (or yelling at someone who is mostly fair and agenda-free), I'm tired of the high school social politics and shit among some authors and reviewers, I'm tired of writers and their attitude with my staff...
What I'd kinda love is to just go move to a tiny house out in the country, grow my own food, and keep to myself. Just wave bye-bye to the drama, unplug, and disappear for awhile. And that's not remotely feasible, but it remains my dream.
What I probably need to do is work on constructing a safe space I can retreat to (like I am with food on the advice of my nutritionist, who is now on Facebook so you should "like" her). But I'll continue having my little dream world where I don't have to deal with online...or offline...people for awhile.
5. I hit the This Book Will Not Die stage of writing Wounded--I have maybe 10K or so left to write and I'm actively cleaning the apartment and putting extra kms on the treadmill to avoid it. I'll just keep stabbing away though...I know eventually it'll end.
I also keep stabbing at Chapter Seventeen of CotA but I'm all jumbled around 'cause stuff is happening that I didn't plan for, and now I'm trying to rethink WTF I'm doing. I should have finished the chapter over the weekend but pirates derailed me and now I keep seeing readers on the CotA site looking for the chapter. I alternate between feeling bad and thinking, "WTF? Why does no one just scroll down on the main page where I said 'IT'S NOT DONE YET' rather than refresh the TOC a bunch of times?" Le sigh.
6. I was a little tipsy-while-tweeting a few days ago on Twitter and made a bet with the awesome Heather Petty, who is attempting to finish her WIP this week. Suffice to say, it looks like I'm going to have to go grocery shopping to prepare a meal for someone...
The moral of the story is wine + Twitter = WTF did I get myself into?
If you read Wolfe, you know there are a lot of loose ends. This is because I never saw either book as being remotely about plot--both are purely about the main character's arc. And I realize this bugged some people. But I did, ultimately, see where things were headed (her "destiny" as is alluded to repeatedly in both books), and figured I'd wrap this up in an anthology of shorts.
I called it Changed, for some obvious reasons and some not-so-obvious reasons.
(This paragraph is for River/Wolfe readers) The set up of the antho had one main, present day story, divided into multiple parts. In between were short stories from different character POVs in different points of time. I'd written two already: "Rebellion" was from Daryl's POV and took place the night he bit River, while "Doe, A Deer" followed Jewel Doe about two weeks prior to the start of Wolfe (if you've read it, you know what her condition was by the end of it and might guess what the story was about). Other shorts involved Kia and Noah from Wolfe, Danielle from Wolfe (as a possible love interest for Charlie), Gray and Rick Nacy from years before the start of River, as well as one short that followed the young hunter River runs into towards the end of Wolfe. I also wrote the opening for the main, present set storyline and plotted out where it was all going.
I'm putting the rest of this behind a cut because a) I'm posting an excerpt from Changed and there may be people who might not want to read it, and b) I'm tying this to a larger issue that you can probably guess about by looking at the tags for this entry. But if you do keep reading, please know that I deeply appreciate it. Read more
Back in May, I wrote about why I do my job and how one of my first acquisitions really changed the way I look at what I do. Today, the author mentioned in that post is visiting. She graciously agreed to answer some questions and at the end of this post, I'll be giving away a prize!
1. In case people haven't read your other interviews, please tell us what Thief is about, either in writing or in a badly drawn stick-figure comic.
(Click to enlarge.)
This is why I’m not an artist.
(Skyla's Note: Sevy saying "I'm feeling stabby!" might be my favourite thing ever.)
2. I remember when this book first came across my virtual slush desk, I fell in love with the heroine Sevy immediately. She's not traditionally likable, however. Did you ever worry readers wouldn't connect with a self-described bitch like her?
To quote my dad, “Why does Sevy have to be so mean all the time?” I knew that there was a chance that some readers wouldn’t be able to look past all the awful things she does to see the lonely, wounded soul on the inside, which is why I felt it important to include the character of Revik. Even if people don’t connect with Sevy, I think they’ll be able to with Revik. He’s kind, charming, adventurous…a more traditional type of hero. And it doesn’t surprise me in the least that I’m hearing that he’s becoming a favourite among readers.
3. I love hearing about the music my favourite writers think of as their book's "theme song" or what they have on their unofficial soundtracks. What music do you play with Thief? What theme songs do you have for Sevy or the other characters?
I listened to a lot of depressing, alt rock while I was writing Thief. It helped me get into Sevy’s frame of mind. As for theme songs, I have a few:
#1 Crush by Garbage
Bonnie and Clyde II by Martina Sorbara
Creep by Radiohead
Full of Grace by Sarah McLaughlin
Demolition Lovers by My Chemical Romance
Empty by The Cranberries
You’re Beautiful by James Blunt
Who Knew by Pink
4. We both have a love of zombies and making zombie survival plans. Now I'm curious: what would Sevy's zombie survival plans include?
Sevy would be awesome in a zombie outbreak! Girl could use a good stress reliever, and what could be better than slashing through countless undead? I could see Sevy holing up in the Bloody Heart, getting hammered on Vipin’s piss poor ale until she needed to go out to get supplies. And then watch out, zombies! Eventually, I’m sure Revik would come for her and she’d go with him back to the Ullydrans where the zombie count would be lower and the chances of living a semi-normal life would improve. She could earn her keep by keeping the mountains zombie-free.
5. Eloria, where most of Thief takes place, is a very clear setting. Dark, urban, dangerous, where gangs rule and people--like Sevy--often slip through the cracks. How important do you feel setting is in fiction? Did you draw inspiration from real places for the settings in Thief?
Creating a realistic setting is just as important as creating realistic characters. A person’s environment is the driving force behind a lot of their decisions. Would Sevy have behaved the way she did if she had grown up in the quaint fishing village of her childhood? I doubt it. She would have still been a brat, but she never would have sunk to the level of depravity that she does thanks to her time spent on the streets of Eloria.
When I picture Eloria in my mind, I see an amalgam of 18th century Europe and the modern day slums of Rio de Janeiro. I wanted to create a setting where people were poor, uneducated, and had to resort to some pretty awful things in order to survive. Morality doesn’t really come into play when you are always at risk of being robbed, murdered, or starving or freezing to death. I wanted Sevy to feel isolated and vulnerable because I think that does a lot to explain why she becomes so obsessed with the first person to show her a bit of compassion.
I remember one of the members of my writing group speaking about Eloria, and asked me if there was anything good about the city. I’m sure there is, but because the story is told from Sevy’s point of view, readers don’t really get to see that side of it.
6. What has influenced your writing the most? Any particular books or movies?
I’ve always enjoyed books/movies with darker, depressing themes, most bordering on the macabre. I also enjoy stories which feature antiheros. Perfectly perfect people don’t appeal to me. I like stories that blur the lines between good and evil, and that really make you think about moral relativism. Growing up, I enjoyed reading the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King, and Anne Rice, and I think that these early influences can still be seen in my writing.
But what I think has influenced my writing the most is my university education in anthropology. Not only does it help me with world building, but it also provides me with a wealth of new ideas that helped me to move away from the traditional Lord of the Rings type of fantasy.
Which is cool, because I’m glad that considering I’m working in a field completely unrelated to anthropology (I’m a vet tech), it’s nice that my degree was good for something other than racking up massive amounts of student loans.
7. What's one piece of writing advice you heard before you were published that hasn't been true for you at all? Conversely, what advice turned out to be accurate and helpful?
I read that the only way to get published was to get an agent. Perhaps that would have been the case if I had wanted to get accepted by big publishing houses, but I was able to find a great publisher on my own. Now that’s not to say that I wouldn’t like to land an agent one day, but I found out that there is more than one way to accomplish my goals.
The advice that turned out to be the most helpful was an article I read about the importance of creating a website even if you didn’t have a single thing published. It helps to build your online presence (creating a brand like Skyla has blogged about) and to show prospective publishers/agents that you are professional and capable of attracting an audience.
8. So what question should I have asked you? And what would you have answered?
Hmmm, how about “If Thief were ever made into a movie, who would you want to play Sevy?”
Well, as it happens, there is this cool new site I was invited to join where users can create their ideal cast for their favourite books. You can check out my cast here
9. Finally, you love cats. I love cats. My readers--since they are awesome attractive people--also love cats. Please find the most ZOMG adorable picture you have of one of your cats and I'll post it.
Behold the cuteness!
(Skyla's note: Sarah-Jane sent me two photos and told me to pick one. But...HOW CAN YOU PICK JUST ONE?? So I give you both because I'm awesome like that.)
Thank you very much for dropping by, Sarah-Jane!
Thanks for having me!
Now for the prize!
Want to win a paperback copy of Thief? I'll do a random draw Wednesday at noon. Ish. I might sleep in...but it'll likely be Wednesday, July 7, noon-ish EST. The more things you do, the more times you'll be added to the draw.
* Tell me in the comments why you want to win Thief. 1
* Retweet this post on Twitter. 1
* Post a link to this page on Facebook. 1
* Ask Sarah-Jane a question in the comments here. 2
* Post a cat picture in the comments. 3
* Blog about Sarah-Jane and Thief. 3
* Share with us your zombie survival plan in the comments. 3
Have you already bought Thief in eBook or paperback from Mundania Press? By golly, I think I might love you. If that's the case, either forward me your receipt (skyladawncameron[at]gmail[dot]com) or send me the name/email address you purchased it with so I can double check the order. You'll get your name tossed in the proverbial hat ten more times...and if you win, you can pick any book out of the Mundania store (or the coming soon page--in that case, you'll get it when it's out) as your paperback prize.
Okay, da rules: limited to US and Canada. I know, I know, that sucks, but paperback shipping can get costly. BUT if you're outside that area and want to participate anyways, I'll totally love you for it. Also, for retweeting and blogging, either leave links in the comments or email them to the email address in the paragraph above. And it's really helpful if you leave your name/email address when you comment so I know how to contact the winner. Don't want to win a prize? That's cool too--RT, facebook, blog, and comment just to show your support, if you like. :-)
Well, I’m settling back into work and am nearly caught up. Redid the schedule (kept it mostly the same, but cleaned everything up), am double checking all edit statuses, and other really boring sounding stuff. I have a whack of email to answer all over the place, and I might tackle that tonight before writing time.
The swirling black hole of depression has been creeping up, mostly because—I believe—I feel so disconnected sometimes. I know three people in town, one of whom is my mother, and it’s kinda hard to get out and “do” stuff outside of the apartment when I don’t actually have any hobbies or things I want to do. I don’t even really dig shopping. Woe is me. But then this time, I didn’t really bother with the CBT...I think sometimes it’s good to be kinda depressed. To leap into the abyss and float for awhile. It’s useful. And I know I have resources available to me to pull myself out again—like CBT and strawberry daiquiris—so it’s a little less scary and feels just a little less permanent.
I will have some book related news to share with you perhaps in a few weeks. Or perhaps not. BUT I’m doing some other writing which is awesome, even if the words suck and there aren’t many of them. Baby steps, bunnies. Baby steps.
Also, today is my grandpa’s birthday. He’s 96 and lives on his own still. I think that’s pretty awesome.
* Sarah-Jane Lehoux in the newspaper! Go SJ! BTW, Ms. Lehoux is visiting the blog tomorrow and there will be interview questions, cat pictures, and ZOMG PRIZES! So drop by tomorrow for more.
* Horror author Owl Goingback isn’t allowed on Facebook without showing proof of his identity because they think his real name (First Nations) is fake. I think Facebook fucking sucks. Here’s the group.
* Of course there have been lots of awesome Lili Saintcrow posts in my absence. I’m still catching up. Most recently, on how we need our alone time as writers. I always worry, though, that I have TOO much alone time and I’m too disconnected. But the people in my head are just so much preferable to real ones...
* via Lili, a post on sick systems (part one, part two, and part three that really spoke to me. The author’s blog might be hard to read because the articles were so popular, she exceeded her bandwidth for images. BUT...highly worth the read.
Okay, so yeah, I write a column here called How Not To Be a Douche Bag Author 101. And I participated in the second #queryfail (renamed #queryday). And I regale people with tales about diva authors, psycho writers who harass me, and the general frustrations of working this job. I mean, let's face it--all that stuff is wildly entertaining if you're not the subject of those discussions.
I seem cranky and frustrated 99% of the time, always threatening to run away from home and join the circus, and frequently tweeting about the staff mood being red for homicidal.
So why do this job? Not just me, but all of the publishing staff out there? Because let me tell you, a whole lot of the time, people would love to close up shop and go home. It's certainly not the pay and we don't get any health benefits.
Now I'd like to introduce you to Sarah-Jane Lehoux and a book called Thief...Read more