Posts tagged ‘Daverana Enterprises’

Sword and Sorcery at Goodreads

A bit of good news for me.  Periklis, one of the mods at An Earthier sort of Fantasy: Sword and Sorcery group on Goodreads recently invited me to join and gave me my own spotlight. My Chimquar the Lionhawk stories were widely published in the late 70s and early 80s. Wildside brought out a print collection of the tales under the title In the Darkness, Hunting, which is also the title of a novelette published by the Dragon Magazine from TSR in 1981. I have not posted anything yet, I’m way too tired to do it justice, but once I get a good night’s sleep I will be jumping right onto it. So watch this spot tomorrow.

Advertisements

Phoenix Fire: How to make enemies and create adversaries

Tabetha Jones and her cohorts arrived on my blog and created an amusing furor .

I stand by my statement that Phoenix Fire is run like a vanity press. They expect the authors to pay all of the costs up front. The established norm for a traditional publisher is that the publisher assumes all of the costs and gambles that the book will earn out its expenses. I am hoping to eventually be able to afford to pay a token advance to each author so that even if the book does not earn royalties, they at least have something to show for having published with Daverana.

“..,it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” said Shakespeare’s Macbeth.  And such it is for what happened on my blog. So this becomes an article about what not to do.

I raised my daughter by the Socratic method. I turned arguments into questions. The Athenian philosophers confounded the Romans by arguing one side one day and the totally opposite on the other.   When facts are presented to back up statements, they carry weight and can make for a lively and interesting discussion. This is NOT what happened with Tabetha and her cohorts. They came in guns blazing. Their arguments were not backed by facts. For instance, I was told repeatedly to go speak with various unnamed people to support her claim.

Tabetha’s comments, and those of her cohorts, were filled with irrelevant statements and endless insulting non sequitors.  My questions to her were never answered. I got the usual reactions that are more appropriate to the famous “butthurt report form.”

Let’s start with her “60%” royalties. I asked her to tell me how she figured them. Traditionally, the author is given a fixed percentage of cover price. That does not vary unless (in print cases only) the book is remaindered or reduced in some other way. Trouble arises when the author is promised a percentage of the net. The net is what remains after all costs are covered.  Hollywood and the music industry are famous for their creative accounting practices that can reduce the net to almost nothing. The author should not have to wait for their money until the costs are covered. That is not how it works.  The author’s royalties should come off the top.

The publisher does not own the book. The publisher is renting the book. That is basically what a publishing contract is. The author sells the publisher license to publish. There are other forms, but I’m not going into them here (such as book packagers). The publisher assumes all costs. That’s just how it is.

Another old saying, “You catch more flies with a spoon of honey than a barrel of vinegar.” Tabetha needs to have that tattooed to her forehead so that every time she looks in the mirror she is reminded of it.

There is a huge difference between fame and infamy.  Intelligent people will know what I am talking about.

Time and again, an author or publisher or artist gets criticized for what they are doing and the result is that they make a laughing stock of themselves by throwing a fit. That is infamy. No one ever takes them seriously again. At least no one of worth does.  Now, I’ve put my foot in my mouth at times and had my cheeks burn for a week or more over it. But I did not repeat the error.

Tabetha continually repeats her actions expecting to have a different result.

Dog poops on the floor and instead of punishing him directly, you pat him on the head and “ooooh, honey, it’s not nice to poop on the floor. Mommy doesn’t want you to poop on the floor.”  What does the dog do the next day? He poops on the floor.

The very first thing that a publisher, a writer, an artist needs to learn is to separate themselves from their work/company/whatever. A criticism of the work or the practice is not a criticism of the publisher/writer/artist as a person. The work and the actions stand alone and must speak for themselves. That and only that carries weight.

Another old saying (I’m in one of those anecdotal episodes, so bear with me) is “Actions speak louder than words.” So in this case we have two kinds of actions to weigh. First is the fact that she has not denied that the writer pays for everything. That makes her a vanity. There is no getting away from it. Second is that her behavior is childish.

So what is she saying about herself?

What should we take away from her example?

Well, you have to remove your ego from your work. Yes, positive reactions and reviews are wonderful and they fill us up with fruit of validation.

However, they do not teach us anything. What we learn from is the negative. We learn deeper and more extensively from what we failed at. That’s when we pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off and vow never to make that mistake again.

I believe in triangulation.  I don’t know if shortwave guys still do this or not. If anyone knows, please let me know. But anyways, they have hunts. They have one member hide and let out a signal. Then three or more of them try to get a fix on it from different angles and finally the signals cross right and the hiding member is found.

Flaws in writing, actions, and art  often can be revealed if enough negative feedback occurs and you start to see a pattern. I found a serious plot hole in My Sister’s Keeper (Journey of the Sacred King book one) when three readers had basically the same complaint. I was able to narrow it down and fix it. That’s the authorial blindspot, but that is also for another discussion.

What I am illustrating here is that both Lindsay Anne Kendal (Tabetha’s cover artist) and Tabetha herself could learn from the fact that they are getting this many complaints and negative observations here. They could fix the trouble. I have more hope for Lindsay than I do Tabetha.

Next point: I never allow the author to choose the cover.  That is for me and the editors because most authors would shoot themselves in the foot in terms of marketing decisions. They don’t have enough experience or knowledge of what sells to make a good decision. The cover promotes the book.  That is the first thing reader reacts to.

The publisher does not own the cover. Nor does the writer. Now, an artist can sell all rights, at which point the artwork becomes a stock image for the company or individual who bought it. However, normally the work is rented. The publisher acquires only certain rights and not complete ownership. These are spelled out in the artist’s contract. I mention this because Tabetha thought that having the author pay for the cover, which Tabetha commissions, is really quite novel and wonderful. Well, what do the authors then expect to do with the cover if they leave Tabetha’s company for another one? The new company is not going to want their edition (which might have been given a brand new edit and revision) to have the same cover the previous edition did. That’s just not done.

Well, you can’t eat a cover.

Anna Loobly posted the following comments.

“…attacking the authors title of their work is awful. What a rude man.”

“If the authors wants that as their cover that is up to them. It must have meaning to them.”

Let’s address it from a marketing stand point.

Authors want their books to sell. This is not entirely a point of vanity. If a publisher allows the author to have a cover and title that fails to catch the interest or, even worse, offend a reader or confuse one, then the book will not sell and in the end a disservice has been done to the author. It is a good publisher’s responsibility to prevent an author from shooting themselves in the foot.

Another good thing NOT to do is to add super glue to your foot once it is in your mouth.

Sometimes you have to swallow back the ugly comments you wish to make and suffer in silence. Or fix the situation after admitting you were wrong. It takes a big person to be able to sincerely admit they were wrong.  That makes people like Tabetha about the size of Thumbelina.  Please, if you hope to have a successful career or hobby, leave the super glue in the cabinet and your foot in your shoe.

Amazon wins and it makes no difference

Victoria Strauss tweeted about this article in PW.

Months ago the Department of Justice ruled against the Big Six publishers and their attempt to force Amazon to sell their books at a higher price. The ruling stated that the publishers were committing restraint of trade violations. So Amazon was able to sell the ebooks they published at lower prices.

The irony of the whole mess is that nothing changed. Lower prices did not alter which books went onto the  best seller lists and apparently did not increase sales on those titles.

The one way that all of this bothered me was not in the pricing loss or victory. What Amazon HAS done is to make those books more competitive with the small press. For years, the small press was able to compete with the majors simply because we priced our books lower. If lower pricing from the majors becomes the rule across the breadth of distributors like Amazon, B&N, and others, then we might have to slash the prices on our own books down to the bare bone. We are not as visible as the majors. We do not have huge teams of publicists and money to toss into the ring to gain attention.  With the death of places like Fictionwise, the Indies are losing a lot of the outlets they counted on from the get go.

 

 

I have no skeletons in my closet: they're all hanging from the yardarm

The day started with a post from Nicky to my Daverana Page. He revealed that one of my employees was secretly accessing files on the main company computer and then sending them to him.  So I checked the logs (I’m the only one who can access those) and the most recent person to have a look at my Nicky files was Bob. He had also tried to pry into sections and documents that I had passworded.  I may never know whys of it all, but I am appalled by what I do know.

I had a big fight with Bob and then he threw a link in my face and called me a ‘bitch.”

The link was to a new page that Write Agenda has up on me. I tried several times to make my screenshots larger enough to be easily read.  So, in case you cannot read<a href=”"Photobucket"” target=”_blank”> this one, I’ll post what it says beneath my name in tiny type:

Protected: T.W.A.N.G.: Janrae Frank Dossier Project

In Accountability, Alcohol Abuse, Alternative Lifestyles, Cocaine, Drug Abuse, Emotional Instability, Gay Lifestyles, Hollywood, Illegal Drugs, Incitement, Interviews, Intimidation, Investigations, investigative journalist, Janrae Frank, Journalism, Journalist, lawsuits, Legal Issues, Lesbian, Lesions, Polio, Poliomyelitis, Propaganda, Rehabiltation, Sex Change, Spinal Column, The Washington Post, Therapy Sessions on November 9, 2011 at 10:10 pm

They got all of this off my blogs and put some spin on it to make it look like I”m mentally ill. It seems that having been trapped in an abusive marriage for 15 years and developing PTSD as a result of that abuse makes me all kinds of crazy. What does this say about their opinion of other abused women who found the strength to escape dangerously abusive marriages like I did? What does this say about what they believe about women who have survived male violence (as I have) and come out of it battered, but sane?

If people who have had PTSD and dared to talk about it are disparaged as “emotionally unstable”, how does this reflect our returning soldiers? Are they saying the ALL of our returning soldiers are to be treated badly and subjected to their derision?

I may have abused alcohol at times before I got meds for depression, but I was never an alcoholic. I was laughed out of my attempts to join AA. You see, all of the true alcoholics could recognize me as a normie with just a single question. “If you had some money and no groceries to feed your child, what would you spend it on? Your child or booze?”

Sovay never went hungry once I escaped from her father.

I have talked openly about my experiences with meth and cocaine and how I went cold turkey off it in 1988, because I wanted to show others that it was possible to stay clean. I have been clean since August of 1988. But they want me punished for ever having done it.  They want to turn my victories — and by extension all those like myself who overcame their addictions — into defeats.  Guess what, Write Agenda? It ain’t going to happen.

My ex is a transsexual and out of the closet. But by putting that one word there, it suggested that my c-section scars don’t really exist.  If any of the voyeurs reading this want pictures, feel free to ask.

No, I’m not a Lesbian. I’m bi-sexual. There IS a difference. I’m the B in GLBTQ, not the L.  So apparently they are homophobic also. Like the good people who are going around burning queer folks alive and dumping their remains on street corners.

And let’s take a look at how they mention my polio as if that made me mentally ill and of questionable worth.  Are they trying to insinuate that by having had polio at age eight I ought to be condemned?

The only one this reflects badly on is them. Not me.

The Write Agenda is Wrong

I could not lodge a reply because of a time limit, so I’m putting my rebuttal here. And then I will cross post it across all of my other blogs, including myspace.  Here’s what they had to say:

The Write Agenda has not questioned the fact that Writer Beware has helped numerous individuals over time. They have without question. Somewhere along that positive history something has run afoul. The claim that “American Book Publishing has been the subject of at least one police investigation” is a primary example of how Writer Beware has forgotten its original mission and responsibility to provide true information.

This gist of this is that a single bit of information that they are trying to challenge is worth all of the over the top reaction that includes multiple nearly identical blogs and websites.  Clearly, they were one of the scammers that Writer Beware caught with their pants down.  At one point they even had books out on Smashwords repeating this garbage. I posted a note on Mark Coker’s (the owner of Smashwords) facebook to alert him to what was going on and he banned them for TOS violations.

Had I not known otherwise, I would have thought this was all the work of an angsty hyperactive adolescent. But, no, these are adult(s).

The real “intimidation” is the fact that Victoria Strauss, Ann “A.C.” Crispin and Writer Beware have posted this information, refuse to delete it and refuse to provide documentation that proves the claim. This is neither a grand jury investigation nor an investigative newspaper report. Both of these examples are not entitled to the protections of confidentiality and would be not be deemed privileged information; not to mention the fact that Victoria Strauss is not a professional investigative journalist and would not legally be permitted to claim these privileges to protect herself. The Write Agenda’s request has nothing to do with protecting police investigators. Police investigators could not remotely be claimed as “sources” as Janrae Frank would have you believe. Think about it, don’t individuals go “to” the investigators? Don’t “investigators” write police reports? Isn’t it not true that police reports are assigned incident numbers?

I never claimed that police investigators could be claimed as sources, although a lot of major columnists (New York Times, The Washington Post, et al) have done so.  Government officials speak with anonymity to reporters and columnists. That’s how it is done. What TWA were demanding were the names of people who had complained about them. American Book Publishing had it written into the contract that any author complaining about them would owe them $10,000 in damages.   

Good way to keep the victims silent.

Contrary to Janrae Frank’s unfortunate “smoke screen,” the information contained within any “police investigation” is subject to discovery, available under the Freedom of Information Act, has an incident number and is not subject to any protections under the law (assuming that it actually exists). The fact here is that there never was a “police investigation” conducted against America Book Publishing. Victoria Strauss, Ann “A.C.” Crispin and Writer Beware know this and they cannot produce 1) an incident number; 2) what was American Book Publishing Investigated for; and 3) the name of the investigating police agency. This is true “intimation” and a it’s scam that has been perpetrated by Victoria Strauss, Ann “A.C.” Crispin and Writer Beware. Now, Janrae Frank has made the personal choice to attempt to deliberately cloud this further; that’s very unfortunate.

Unfortunate? Are you threatening me?

Now let’s take a look at the Freedom of Information Act.

How fascinating. The Freedom of Information Act only applies to the Feds.  Guess that means that The Write Agenda could never have used it to harass the state and local officials.

Janrae Frank, who is a well-respected American journalist, knows for a fact that “police investigations” are subject to discovery under the Freedom of Information; it is the most commonly used tool of any investigative reporter. Considering that Ms. Frank chose  to weigh in here, without any appreciation for the actual facts, it appears that she is more interested in participating in this viral controversy as a means to help her slumping book sales. Self-serving conduct? It appears to be. Her current Amazon Sales Rankings range from 315,555 to 3,405,977.  As an industry standard, an Amazon Sales Ranking of 100,000 equates to 1 copy every 5 days; 2,000,000 equates to 1 copy every 1000 days. (We’ll track this and see if her strategy works.)

Hey, Stupid! Guess what? The majority of my sales are through Smashwords, not Amazon. We quit using Amazon months ago. Check the dates on those books up there and then compare them to what is out from Smashwords!  HAHAHHAHAHAHAHA. My book sales are going great, just not through Amazon. HAHAHAHAHAHA!

The Write Agenda then lists a kitchen sink full of officials who would not be affected by the Freedom of Information act. That act is for politics, not local law enforcement. The only way to get information from law enforcement like that would be to file suit against them.

Furthermore, criminal suits as well as civil suits are matters of public record.  There would not be a reason to invoke the Freedom of Information Act in the first place. Just call the county clerk’s office. Or go down and look it up for yourself.

I think that about covers it.

Oh, wait a minute. Clearly they are not familiar with the little thing I wrote seven years ago: The Curmudgeon’s Creed.


Free Reading

Every Tuesday I will be posting a new addition to my free online novel, Sins of Innocence.  This is the first book in my key series, which brings together all the threads left dangling in the other series, (Dark Brothers of the Light, Lycan Blood, Lycan Pride, and Journey of the Sacred King).  Everything will link up and become perfectly clear.

If you like what you see, please consider buying my inexpensive kindle editions or, if you require a different format, going to smashwords.  You can find the links on the books page of this blog.

Never Trust a Prophecy

It was the Bible that first intrigued me regarding a problem in translations.  The modern versions of the Bible are, largely, translations of translations.  That includes the King James version.  Each translation should be viewed as a filter.  Greek to Latin to English to modern English without going back to the original language.  One of the best known errors in the filtering of translations occurred  thusly:

If you take the Ten Commandments, you have that one that we generally say “thou shalt not kill.”  That’s pretty comprehensive and would demand that we never kill anyone, even in self-defense.  However, if you go back to the original language, it is revealed to be “Thou shalt not commit murder.”  That’s a huge difference.

The prophecies in my novels are usually translations of translations, which means they have lost some essential meanings.  In some cases, they have become very twisted or even lines have been dropped.  The clues to the missing parts or the ways they could have been mistranslated are all through the novels.  I play fair with the reader.

However, it is up to the readers to discover all the clues and piece together what the prophecies might have been saying in their original languages.