Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Lot to Think About

I planned to blog earlier, but I got busy with things and totally forgot about it. So here it is, 3 am on Saturday morning. I'm so glad this Black Friday crap is over was seriously getting under my skin. Every where I looked there were all these news stories about psycho bitches pepper spraying people so they could get merchandise, and/or cops beating down the slow moving elderly and body slamming grandpas into comas for trying to protect their grand kids from stampeding shoppers.

I swear to Christ I have never needed ANYTHING from Walmart that fucking bad. Seriously, people. There is a saying that what you give to the poor is what you take with you when you die. If you count yourselves among the people who would body slam grandma for a cheaply made, imported Wal-mart television, you're getting what you deserve, both in this life...and hopefully in the next life, too.

Because of stories like the ones I've been forced to look at all day, (which are everywhere and you can't escape them no matter where you go online, or heck, even in your own living room) I will never go to another Black Friday event. Ever. From now on, I will forgo shopping in store for my holiday purchases and do my shopping online. End of rant.

On to happier topics, or at least topics that make me feel less homicidal,  I've patched both gaps in the erotic horror WIP, and managed to boost my word count by about 4k. I'd still like to add another 2k, but if it won't go, I won't force it.

As it stands, the story is ready for a round two read-through and markup, which I'll worry about in the morning. So far, so good. I'm really loving this story. It's dark, twisted, and a bit disturbing. Which is a good thing. I'm sure some people will get their knickers in a twist, especially if they don't realize it's an erotic horror, but I've decided not to hold anything back. I hope my publisher feels it will work for the line, because I'd like to send in few more stories like this one. We'll see.

It will probably take two more thorough passes on this book before it's ready to go out - which will make four passes in total. I'll probably be good and sick of the story by then, but at this rate, I'm thinking I should have it ready to release into the wild by Wednesday. Cross your fingers for me.

Late late late Friday night, I filled out my registration for the 2012 Written in the Stars Conference in Shreveport. I'm hoping that Oldest's basic training graduation doesn't overlap it, but since I only have a generic date for his graduation, I'm not going to worry about it for now. Instead, I'm gonna wrap up the short stories on my plate (there are two with some importance), and from there I've got to start looking at my September Experiment story, which is what I'll be pitching at the conference.

If I start revising the September Experiment in December, I'll have roughly three months to pull my package together for conference. This time, I plan to take at least a partial manuscript in to the pitch session with me. Not that I plan to shove anything across the table at someone, I may not even get a nibble of interest, but I want to at least be prepared just in case. The last time, an agent asked me for chapters right across the table and I didn't have any. Never again.

Topic change again... A couple of days ago, one of my best writer buddies called me up. She's been having a money shortage (who isn't these days?) and she was really disturbed to see that there was a weird discrepancy in her Amazon sales figures. She had checked her self published sales figures earlier in the month, and it showed that there was about fifty to sixty dollars in monies made. About half way through November, that amount dropped to about five dollars. A loss of roughly fifty dollars in royalties. While that isn't a lot of money to a lot of people, for this person in particular, it would have bought groceries, put gas in her car, or paid a bill. Her family is hurting for cash, and fifty dollars is a lot of money when you're broke.

Sure that there was some kind of error, she emailed Amazon to ask what was up with her sales figures, and after days of waiting, she got her answer and called to share it with me. She was very upset, and very close to hopelessness when she told me that Amazon claimed she'd had a significant amount of returns. The news floored my writer buddy, who had no idea Amazon is allowing returns on eBooks. Sadly, I told her that it's true. You can indeed return Kindle content for a refund.

I don't know the all the finer points and details of Kindle content returns, but I'm definitely aware of the policy. I've listened to other authors panic and rant over it. They can see what they're making through the month, then suddenly that figure drops without explanation. Although I don't have anything self published through Amazon, I  have to admit I was a bit surprised and alarmed when I read about the current return policy. I'm sure on some level Amazon is aware that allowing eBook returns is going to hurt authors. Particularly self published authors. People like my writer buddy, who right now, could use fifty bucks to keep her family afloat.

What gets me is that people are allowed to keep the books for up to 8 days before returning them. That's time for them to read the book, to copy it, and to redistribute it somewhere. Heck, they could simply read the book and return it because it wasn't cheap enough for their taste. It's easy enough to lie about the reasons. And I'm crying foul over that. Especially when an eBook is 99cents, as is the case in my friend's book. I've bought books for ten bucks that I didn't think was worth the paper it was printed on, but I didn't take it back for a refund. I'm so disappointed with this whole scenario, it hurts. That window of return needs to be greatly shortened from 8 days to something more along the lines of 24 hours. And that's the very least Amazon could do.

With all the publishing industry douchebaggery going on right now, I'm sad to see Amazon putting the crunch on authors in this way. I know returns happen. Yes, I get that. And I can see how allowing returns might benefit the Amazon Prime program. I'm also understanding when it comes to allowing print-book returns, or allowing returns if pages are missing in an eBook. But seriously, this system as it stands is ripe for abuse. From fifty bucks down to five...all because of returns? Holy shit, yanno? Maybe the book sucks. I don't know. I don't even know which one it is, but that is an awful lot of returns for a cheap book. And this isn't the only author I've heard complaining about this kind of a situation. Am I the only one thinking this policy needs amending?  Is anyone thinking about publishing their books elsewhere because of the return and/or lending policy? Curious minds want to know.

That's all for now. It's already 3:30, and I've gotta get to bed. Forgive any typos, plzkthnx. I'm too tired to go back and hunt them down. Night, night, everyone.

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