Word of the month:
quinquereme : an ancient galley propelled by five banks of oars
Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.
Cargoes, John Masefield, published in Salt Water Tales, 1902
The Big Issue
Last month, I linked to a series of posts from Kristen Lamb that boiled down to ‘pay writers what they’re worth’. Here are the links to refresh your memory:
The Ugly Truth of Publishing & How BEST to Support Writers, it’s follow-up post Pay the Writer Part 2—Blood Diamonds & Fair Trade Fiction and a third, exasperated instalment Why the Fighting? What World are We Creating for Future Readers & Writers?
Lamb has returned to the fray, publicising the story of Revolva, whose act caught the attention of Oprah (no less) who then offered Revolva a performance slot at one of the major ‘The Life You Want’ conferences she organises. No fee. Revolva would perform for ‘the exposure’. At a conference where the main performers would be commanding thousands and thousands of dollars, and the paticipants, up to 18,000 of them, would be paying upwards of $1000 a ticket. Revolva said no. Good for her for standing up for the principle that ‘exposure’ = ‘exploitation’. Lamb’s post is here: “A Culture Addicted to FREE—How FREE is Poisoning the Internet & Killing the Creatives”
You might think that was all there was to it. But within a day or two, another example of this insidious trend came to light. The online Huffington Post is a huge site, producing dozens of blog posts every day on political and social issues. I liked that site. I read it often (past tense.
I’d seen this post last year by Will Wheaton, in which they tried to tell him that their reblogging one of his posts would give him that much vaunted exposure : “You can’t pay your rent with “the unique platform and reach our site provides”
Then this, this week, from Stephen Hull, editor of Huffington Post UK: “… I’m proud to say that what we do is that we have 13,000 contributors in the UK, bloggers… we don’t pay them, but you know if I was paying someone to write something because I wanted it to get advertising pay, that’s not a real authentic way of presenting copy. So when somebody writes something for us, we know it’s real. We know they want to write it. It’s not been forced or paid for. I think that’s something to be proud of.”
Wow. They just lost a reader. The Wheaton thing wasn’t an aberration – they are *proud* to exploit writers. Because obviously they don’t value them.
Here’s Chuck Wendig’s response Scream It Until Their Ears Bleed: Pay The Fucking Writers
KJ Charles, a writer I admire greatly: In a Huff: why writing should be paid
Kirsten Lamb again: Shame on You AOL/Huffington! NO More Literary Booty Calls
And a lone voice on the other side of the debate (and by that, I mean only that I haven’t come across more yet, and they may be out there), Jessica Lawlor at The Write Life: 3 Times Working for Free Can Help Your Freelance Writing Career
I’m sure there’ll be more on this out there – share in the comments if you find posts you think will add to the debate.
My Top 12 Most Common Writing Obstacles a Writer Faces – Jordan Dale at The Kill Zone. Clunky title, but oh my, yes. These speak loudly.
A Trick That Will Tame Your Crazy Writing Stress – James Scott Bell at The Kill Zone with kittens. And popcorn. But mostly with adorable, bouncing kittens.
Dumb Mistakes That Will Doom Your Book – an amusing post from PJ Parrish at The Kill Zone, with some good advice. My eyes will never be the same again after seeing some of those covers.
Getting Out of the Dreaded Slump – Kate Moretti at Writers In The Storm, on writers block. And yes, it is a thing.
The Chuck Wendig section
The Pros And Cons Of Pro Cons (For Writers) – I’ve been to writers’ cons, where I’ve learned a lot but where many of the attendees were also writers so I wasn’t exactly making sales/fans, and also been to sci-fi cons where I did panels and managed to sell a few books but still came away thinking I’d wasted my time and money. I dunno. As Chuck says, cons are not necessary, and you have to weigh the gains against the expenses.
Scream It Until Their Ears Bleed: Pay The Fucking Writers – see above. Chuck on the Huff Post’s stance on not paying writers to write.
Simplicity And Elegance In Storytelling – Chuck being extraordinarily sensible on situations “where convoluted characters motivations and plots get in the way of a damn good story.” Good comments, too, where someone says “The characters are not puppets whose strings are being pulled in service to the plot. They’re interesting people with goals that align and conflict with each other, with consequences.” Sigh. Kicks dispiritedly at the Shield series…
Firewatch: What It Tells Us About Storytelling – a really fascinating post about what makes for tension in storytelling. I don’t do gaming – I never got beyond level 1 in Tomb Raider – but I love how we can find a lesson in *every* kind of writing, even that outside our normal experience.
Writing Tips and Skills
10 Tips to Writing from Multiple POVs – Aimie K Runyan blogging at Writers In The Storm.
Me or You? Choosing Between First and Third Point of View – Janice Hardy at the Fiction University. Except shouldn’t that be First and Second PoV?
7 Fight Styles Every Author Should Know – Tiffany Lawson Inman guesting at Writers In The Storm with a (necessarily) brief overview of appropriate violence.
The Most Important Moment in Your Story – Larry Brooks at The Kill Zone with an excellent post on the pivotal things that happens in your narrative.
5 Common Problems With Middles – Janice Hardy at The Fiction University on what I always think of as the boring bits.
A Kinder, Gentler Perspective on Story Structure – Larry Brooks at The Kill Zone on going with the flow.
Are These The 4 Most Neglected Pages On Your Blog? – These apply to your author website generally, which may (or may not) include a blog section. Tips from Mia Botha at Writers Write.
9 Author Website Trends You Need to Know About – I really don’t know why all these posts have to be *numerated*—is it a thing, these days? I mean, there are 12 links in this update alone that have 6 Tips or 5 Problems—but some interesting points from Diana Urban at BookBub
Marketing for Writers
98 Book Marketing Ideas That Can Help Authors Increase Sales – Diana Urban at BookBub. Gods, but that is one heck of a lot of work that isn’t writing your book.
29 Author Websites with Stellar Designs – a subjective list, of course, and some of those featured are so downright busy they make my eyes ache, but analyse them and see what you need to have: your books, front and forward. That’s what matters.
Let’s Address a Common Misunderstanding About Author Websites – Jane Friedman guesting at Writer Unboxed, with some thoughts on the role of a website in marketing. Some interesting, if naïve, comments on the value of publishing on your website.
Pinterest for Authors: A Beginner’s Guide – Kirsten Oliphaunt with some good ideas and links. I love Pinterest. It sucks me in like quicksand.
23 Authors Using Pinterest for Book Marketing & Inspiration – Pinterest is obviously dish of the day month. Diana Urban at Bookbub with illustrative examples of how Pinterest can help writers create.
Samhain closing its doors – The big, and sad, news in the LGBT publishing world is that Samhain, one of the larger presses, is closing down. Unlike the way other presses have handled this, Samhain at least appears to be trying to wind down with as little adverse impact on authors as possible. This is a great shame and calls into question the stability of many of the smaller publishers in the genre.
You Have the Right to Remain – James Tuck at The Fiction University with a short, but incredibly useful, overview of what publishing rights you should negotiate for a short story in an anthology.
What Rights Does a Publisher Really Need? (Part 1) – Susan Spann at Writers In The Storm
Termination Fees In Publishing Contracts: Why They’re Not Just Bad For Authors – I’m linking both to the original blog post (ß) by Victoria Strauss at Writer Beware, and to the discussion and commentary at The Passive Voice since that adds nuance.
Business Musings: Book-Shaming – Kristine Kathryn Rusch extending the usual definition (Why do you read that sort of rubbish?) to publishing-shaming, the attempt by the traditional publishers to denigrate small press and Indie publishing. Excellent read.