Gold mining is often asociated with getting rich fast. Writing is also often associated with this as well. The average Joe, Jane and Dick think that writers in general are rich.... that writing a book in and of itself is a way to get rich quick.
I think the real reason I like Gold Rush is not gold, but how hard the people work. There's also a gamblers element to the work, something I think every writer can understand. We are all estentially rolling the dice, playing for a chance at the big time.
However, reaching the big time rarely comes without struggle. And whether it e mining for gold or writng stories, tears will be shed. Perhaps the most interesting part about it is, is not the pursuit of riches, but the pursuit of a dream.
Gold miners don't quit their job because they struck it rich. In fact they reinvest almost all their earnings back into mining. Why?
I think it's the because the pursuit is more rewarding than the destination. In other words, life's about the journey. Remember smell those freaking roses... or diseal fumes, horse manure, or old glue bound books. Smell it and weep because it's rarely about the money.
In July, I sold The Color of Sunshine to silverthought. There are actually three versions, each of which I liked too much to choose. The paranormal version is the one that was published.
Updating my sales page was something I had planned to do. As it turns out I planned to do it so much, that I thougth I had done it.
Now it sounds like I find posting sales to be a chore. No, no. I'm a member of the Two Headed Turtle Society. Never heard of us? You will once we stop procrastinating long enough to get organized.
On August 25th, the New York Times ran an article on Book Reviews for Hire. As always I'm a day late and a buck short on keeping up with the news.
To short of it:
A man by the name of Tod Rutherford charged authors $99.00 for one review, $500.00 dollars for 20 reviews and $1000.00 for 5o reviews.
To get some perspective. Kirkus changers about $500.00 for one review. The difference is Tod Rutherford, guaranteed positive reviews and Kirkus charges for the review but you are not buying the reviewers opinion.
Eventually Amazon caught on to what Tod was doing and removed his reviews. His website Gettingbookreviews.com was blocked by Google and he now sales RV's somewhere in the Midwest. He does not hang his head in shame.
I understand the ethical issues but what is the difference between paying MR. Rutherford $99 dollars for his opinion on your book and lets say paying Joe Namath to promote Noxema. Well, there are two differences: Joe got paid a lot more and his review was via commercial. It's the latter that probably matters. People know that when they seen a commercial that it is an add. That the celebrity is being paid for their opinion.
Well sort of. If you ask most people if they believe x product that y celebrity is selling is a good product, they'll say yes. They'll say they trust in the celebrity's opinion.
And of course we have infomercials which are commercials disguised as purveyors of information. Testimonial of testimonial will be given by members of the audience who will also oo and ah over the product of the hour. And this is a legitimate form of advertising. Take away the commercial, and you have left is a bunch of bought reviews.
So what really is the difference between a review given freely and one paid for? It comes down to customer expectation. Customer reviews have largely been written by actual customers where commercials and infomercials have not.
What do you think? Is it unethical for writers to purchase opinions in order to sell books?
For the last couple of years the publishing houses have been duking it out between each other and the heavy weight of all things e-commerce Amazon.
Before the Kindle, there really wasn't much of an eBook pie to divide. Amazon that there never would be an e-Book market without an easy way to consume the content.
(There really wasn't much internet shopping going on before Amazon taught people to shop online so this is an old party trick of Amazon's.)
None of the publishers and few book sellers thought that e-Books would ever have a market, but once there was one, the gold rush was on.
A few years later and six of the big houses publishing houses are under investigation by the DOJ for price fixing along with Apple. Each of these companies are giant's in their own rights, but they claim to be victims of "predatory pricing," which is a euphemism for free trade.
The author's guild has thrown their hat into the ring, choosing to focus on Amazon who is NOT part of the DOJ lawsuit. Their most recent attempt to tar and feather the internet retail giant named Publish America as one of Amazon's victims.
If you don't keep up with these things, Publish America is currently involved in a class action lawsuit for defrauding authors. The result has been that many authors have serious questions as to whether the Author's Guild is serving writers, especially their members who have been encouraged to partake in a program to publish their back lists to royalty rate of 15%. Smashwords for example, gives author's a royalty rate of 70%.
Is the Author's Guild acting on behalf of authors are has it become a modern day Captain Ahab in pursuit of the white whale? What do you think?
There's been a buzz created amongst writers by the Atlantic's recently article about woman dominating YA. What people are noticing is the disparity in female to male writers of almost every other genre.
It's a well documented fact that the differences between men and women go beyond our physical bodies. Here are some states:
Women still 30% less than men.
Women still are responsible fore 97% of child care with men contributing approximately 3%. (This is up from the longstanding 1%)
Men are more likely to have a good job (52%) than woman (37%).
There are many ways more to compare, but I want to keep this short. There's a plethora of information on the internet to satiate those who want more, because this is a long way to say I use my initials instead of my first name because of the genres I write most in.
Thanks for submitting "The Slave" for our consideration, and for your interest in LORE. While I enjoyed aspects of this tale, we are going to pass on this particular effort -- narrowly. This was good, to be sure. I hope we shall see something more from you in the future. Good luck in your ongoing endeavors.
First, I want to point out I've never posted a rejection online before. I can't say it won't every happen again, but I don't do it for a thousand reason, the biggest one being that this was a private conversation. I have the utmost respect for Rod Heather over at Lore and not just because he sent me this very nice rejection. Lore Magazine is chock full of fantastic fiction that I'd be proud to be part of. There's a reason why I put this here and posted my reviews from Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award. (Vine 1, Vine 2, Reader's Weekly.) Nor is it easy for me to put up my reviews for you to see my warts -- you'll notice I allowed my pride (footnotes in Meathead) to shoot myself in the foot. I'd been told before to delete them. But I ignored that advice and annoyed the reviewer. I'm also embarrsed by the comments about editing as well.
Moving on. I've been wanting to write about the nature of selling fiction for a while. I had hopped to have made another sale by now for one thing. I was feeling pretty high on the hog after my sale to One Buck Horror. A pro sale meant... means a lot less than you'd expect. When you haven't sold anything, when you're querying and getting nothing but rejections, your first personalized rejection is a milestone and a Pro sale the holy grail. This could be my 5oth personal rejection. I stopped counting. That doesn't mean it isn't meaningful. I really appreciate it when an editor takes the time to give me a few kind words. When I feel low, I pull them up and read through them. I let them wash over me and remind myself that it takes years and years for an overnight success-- not every writer is an overnight success. But I think you know what I mean.
So I have two pieces of advice:
Enjoy your milestones. I mean really, really enjoy them. Exalt yourself, your skill, your creativity, the genius that makes up all of you. Daydream about the big sale. Let your ego off it's leash. (Don't worry, there's a rejection around the corner that will put it back in check.) But most of all, celebrate your perseverance. Without it there would be no milestones, which all too soon they become part of the landscape.
Don't fret. Just write. I haven't sold anything in a long time and I'd be lying to say that isn't eating at me, but fretting over it isn't productive. I have to keep circulation the stories I've finished and keep writing new things. And maybe you haven't sold anything. Maybe you don't get personalized rejections yet. Don't fret. Keep writing new things and you will.
Anybody who knows my writing, knows proofreading is my weakest skill. I get better at it all the time, but as compared to other writing skills, I'm still riding this short bus. So, I've been looking for to hire an editor to proofread before I release my short story collection.
I tried EFA and quickly became overwhelmed. EFA doesn't defined memberships by experience: pro, semi-pro and entry level. In contrast, to have a pro membership with SFWA you have to meet certain sales criteria. I started sifting through the profiles, looking for a bargain, probably a semi pro with good rates. What I found were a lot of entry level editors at pro rates. I suddenly realized it was going to take a while of going through profiles and interviewing potential editors. I'm fairly confident in the quality of the stories I'm releasing, so the one thing I know I don't want is a paid critique partner.
After searching on EFA for several days, I did a google search on how to find an editor. This led me to a thread on Absolute Write. The writer suggests I try Elance. Hat held in hand, I posted a job saying this is what I can afford to pay. Within minutes the bids started rolling in. At first I was delighted. Then, overwhelmed. Then suspicious.
I discovered many of the offers were like those Sale signs in the windows of electronic stores here in Korea. There's never a sale. Many had bid low, but actually quoted pro rates, or bid low and asked me to describe the project only to give me a different quote. About 70% of the freelancers wanted more than pro rates. Most of these acted like they were doing me a favor for discounting it so much. (On a side not, it's never good to go into a business deal where the person you're paying, thinks they're doing you a favor.) Even so, I found a couple who looked like a good match, one was highly rated. And I sent them a sample page of a published story with some intentional typos. They dug into it like a critique partner. One missed the typos and the other added enough commas to make my eyes bleed. A third, rewrote the page.
A quick Google search for Elance scam (which I should have done before signing up!), turned up a plethora of complaints. I want to state that Elance isn't a scam in and of itself. However, the biggest complaint against Elance is the lack of skilled workers. The second is the number of loopholes freelancers have to work the rating system. I decided to close the job.
Because I hadn't found an editor and I really want to get Midday out, I asked if anyone in my critique group would swap. Ambrose said he'd just do it. What I got back was a meticulously proofread manuscript, with a handful of suggestions that were stylistic, but in a way that was true to my voice. So in the end, I found what I was looking for. I offered him a job as I have a few other projects. We're working out how to manage our friendship and business relationship.
I don't want to come off as a writer who is resistant to changes. But there are a couple of editing dos and don'ts. A do is where the editor sees a better way to say something while staying true to the author's voice. A don't might be, the editor injecting their voice into the story while writing out the author.
I had this happen to the extreme last year with 'They're All Called Bob.' A magazine accepted with a few "minor" changes which turned out to be significant rewrites. I felt like I had been replaced! I questioned a lot of these changes when I should have declined publication. I didn't quite have to guts to just walk away from an acceptance. Newbie mistake! The editor replied with a strongly worded letter, telling me what my characters were thinking and doing. I realized he had changed so much of the story, that he saw the characters as his. I learned a lot about myself as an author through this experience.
When writers start out, it's hard to tell the difference between help and being replaced. Partly, because new writers don't have a voice yet. We start out emulating others. Hiring an editor isn't just about words. It's about making something great while preserving one's individuality. I think back to two years ago, imagine myself trying to find an editor. The truth is I probably would have paid too much, gotten a poorly edited story, and thanked the editor for it.
Do you know the difference between an editor and a critique partner? If not you might pay for a Ferrari and end up with a Renault.
Everybody is talking about potential lawsuit by the DOJ against six of the ten top publishing houses. Everybody is talking about self-publishing versus traditional route. I'm not really too concerned with what happens-- it's a gonna happen with our without me. So I don't really have a dog in this fight other than to say, I'm glad I have the option of self-publishing. Still, I can't help but speculate a little. I think it comes with the nature of writing. Today, I sat down and made ppt. about my speculations for the future of publishing. ( It took about 45 minutes. )
See the file below. So, what do you speculate the future publishing industry will look like? Do you have a dog in this fight?
Yesterday. I mentioned I was working on two collections of short stories. I've actually had my nose to the grindstone on these projects for months. I've got the covers done last week and sitting on them has been killing me. Anyway, I've decided to make it official. Midday Musings will release on March 4th with Midnight Whimsy to follow.
Two years ago a friend of mine was staying at my place. She had to catch flight from Incheon Airport. I was living in Wanju at the time, about two hours by direct bus. She got up at Six A.M.. Because of insomnia, I sometimes don't sleep for weeks at a time. When it's at it's worst, I might get an hour an night. Falling asleep can take hours and sometimes not at all. If I do fall asleep, I'll wake up in as little as thirty minutes. It makes me grouch and irritable and not myself. When I agreed for her to come stay with me a month prior, I was getting about five hours a night. By the time she came, I was in a rough patch, not having slept more than three hours a night for two weeks. As would have it, we stayed up late chatting and around one, I fell into the deepest sleep I'd had in months.
As you can imagine, I was not particularly happy to be woken up at 6 A.M.I didn't get up to see her off, which resulted in her slamming things. We hadn't seen each other in a while, so she'd kind of come for my company as much for convenience. Well, I don't really know how a two hour bus ride to the airport was convenient. I wasn't being a good friend-- I was awake by then, but drifting in and out of sleep -- and knew it. But I was too exhausted to drag myself out of bed. I remember telling her there was some fruit in the fridge. I think it was apples. It was a sad peace offering.
"I brought my owned damned tangerines," she barked.
"I know," I barked back. "Refrigerators don't generally make their own fruit."
I fell asleep and by the time I woke up, she had gone. We made up later. In the meantime, I had a great idea for a story. In it, the refrigerator would produce fruit. The story was first called "Don't Eat the Fruit." I later retitled it, "Irresistible."
I'm particularly proud of this story. At the time, I hadn't done anything remotely like it. You could say it's my first real story. Today, it found a home with Bards and Sages Quarterly.
M.R. Jordan is a writer, editor, sporadic blogger, and lover of beer. Lives in South Korea with her two cats, Bear and Geumbi.
Bear (Gom in Korean) then (above) now (below)
Geumbi (Gold in English)... then (above) and now (below).