Monday, March 31, 2008

Amazon Open Letter

Well, it's official. Amazon are doing exactly what we feared. They have confirmed it with an open letter on their site.

We wanted to make sure those who are interested have an opportunity to understand what we're changing with print on demand and why we're doing so.

One question that we've seen is a simple one. Is Amazon requiring that print-on-demand books be printed inside Amazon's own fulfillment centers, and if so why?

Yes. Modern POD printing machines can print and bind a book in less than two hours. If the POD printing machines reside inside our own fulfillment centers, we can more quickly ship the POD book to customers -- including in those cases where the POD book needs to be married together with another item. If a customer orders a POD item together with an item that we're holding in inventory -- a common case -- we can quickly print and bind the POD item, pick the inventoried item, and ship the two together in one box, and we can do so quickly. If the POD item were to be printed at a third party, we'd have to wait for it to be transhipped to our fulfillment center before it could be married together with the inventoried item.

Read the rest here.

Oh, and for the record, this is utter BS about fast shipping. Our books are shipped with the same speed as any others, including the ones printed by Amazon/BookSurge. This is ALL about forcing suppliers to pay them instead of their own chosen printers. This is ALL about money.

So be it. But lets call it what it is.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

No Regrets!

I thought I might wake up this morning and regret the diatribe I posted last night. But no; I'm still annoyed as hell at this purported new policy of Amazon's. Gillian is annoyed by it too, and she had some interesting things to say about it.

I suppose it remains to be seen how it will all turn out, but we can hope that opposition will *encourage* Amazon to rethink!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Amazon ... and the horse they rode in on!

I am going to regret this tomorrow.

At present, however, I have liquid courage, courtesy of the delightful bartender at the Mad Crab in Coupeville, Washington, who makes the best dang margaritas in the whole state.

But I'm pretty sure I'm going to regret this tomorrow.

Because, right now, I have angst.

More importantly, I have ire.

I have ire and I have fire.

As DH says, "Fire in the hole."

As I said, after finishing that last margarita, "It may be time for me to write my manifesto."

The timid conservative side of my soul resists doing this, but -- you know what? -- sometimes, even the timid have to overcome their inhibitions and take a stand.

I guess this is my stand.

In case you're wondering what the hell I'm going on about (besides margaritas), here's a little hint from Publisher's Weekly:

BookSurge, Amazon’s print-on-demand subsidiary, is making an offer that most publishers would like to refuse, but don’t feel they can. According to talks with several pod houses, BookSurge has told them that unless their titles are printed by BookSurge, the buy buttons on Amazon for their titles will be disabled.

Angela Hoy of Writers Weekly gives an in-depth descripton of what's going on. Regardless of whether you are a reader, a writer, or a publisher, you should take a look at this.

"POD" has a negative connotation in the literary world. It is associated with vanity publishing. The problem is that POD has nothing to do with a particular type of publishing or publisher. It is a way of printing books. My company is using Lightning Source to print our books. They are not self published. They are not vanity published. We are a traditional, royalty paying publisher.

At present, the majority of our sales come from Amazon.

So, if something doesn't change, it's pretty obvious what this means to my company.

Curtains!

Except...

I just can't give up.

I've weathered too many storms. Real ones and psychological ones.

God dammit!

I. refuse. to. quit.

This IS my stand.

This IS war.

Pay attention, Amazon!

This is WAR!

We will NOT cave.

We will go to Barnes & Noble.

Exclusively!

FU** you, Amazon, and the horse you rode in on!

(Yeah; I admit it. I've always wanted to say that, only without the asterisks ...)

DH says I am mad. And you know what? He's right.

I am so freaking mad that you cannot believe it. I cannot even believe it.

I am generally pretty temperate these days. But not today.

No. Today I am out of my mind with anger.

i will NOT cave in to these bastards.

I. will. not. do. it.

If you love books from any angle, and if you value diversity, then you will NOT do it either. This is not just capitalism. I AM a freaking capitalist. This is a blatant play to establish a monopoly.

If you like historical fiction, you'd better listen up. Historical fiction is NEVER a bestseller unless it's written by a Michael Crichton or a Dan Brown. It NEVER is and the books you like are AT RISK as long as smaller independent publishers are at risk of being put out of business by this type of behaviour by Amazon.

If you CARE, you will PAY ATTENTION and you will NOT buy books from Amazon as long as they're maintaining this position.

Yep. This is my stand.

Thank you for your patience.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Gag Me II: Writing in Dialect

I've already brought dialect up on a mailing list (Yes; I know I'm a pain), so my apologies if you're sick of it, but I've been having real problems with written dialect lately -- as in, I hate it. And so I want to share a little something from an email I received from Scottish author Louise Turner:
I've been reading the reviews of all the 'Heiland Laddie' type novels that are being published at the moment, and they make me want to scream!! They all seem to run something along the lines of 'Gazing into her limpid violet eyes, the darkly handsome chieftain gasped, "Ach, but yer a bonny lassie.' "You'll noo talk to me like that!" the spirited young woman snapped, but when she felt his strong, manly arms about her, she swooned...' And so on, and so on, ad nauseam...
I LOVE this -- thanks Louise!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Gag Me

I am appalled. Seriously. I've been feeling too unwell to dip far into the query pool lately, but I decided to have a go at it last night. And what did I find?

Limpid pools.

Violet ones.

Limpid pools of violet.

~Shudder~

I am not joking. I did. I really did. And what's worse? This is not the first time I've had one of these in the last 6 months. Does this signify a renaissance of the tired cliché? I don't know, but I most certainly hope not.

For your edification, Google Books has provided me with a few examples of WHAT NOT TO DO when you're writing a book. Please take note!

Charlotte was struck by the girl's beauty; her violet eyes were accented by thick dark lashes, and a tumble of luxuriant black curls... (The Lady in Question, Judith Laik, p.160)

...she gazed up at him, her green eyes limpid pools of desire. (River Road, JoAnn Ross, p. 11)

Her eyes were limpid pools with the ability to take a man under and make him not care that he might never again surface. (Love with a Scandalous Lord, Lorraine Heath, p.71)

Jessye met his gaze, her eyes limpid pools of green...(The Outlaw and the Lady, Lorraine Heath, p.105)

These make me want to vomit. Heck, even violet eyes turn me off because I've never seen anyone with purple eyes, but every silly heroine has violet eyes or green ones. At least green is common enough to be believable, but violet? Really? And, of course, they're always framed with "thick dark lashes" because whoever heard of a heroine with thin sandy lashes?

If you're going to send me a query, I'd really appreciate it if you'd try not to make me sick...

And if you send me anything that includes "limpid pools" then I am going to assume you are, as my dad used to say, as dumb as a box of rocks!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Women's History Month

It's wonderful to celebrate the beginning of Women's History Month with women making history!



Women did this!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Sprung!

The sun showered down on us for a little while today, waking the slumbering giant that is Whidbey Island in the winter, and everyone and his dog hit the streets to celebrate surviving another dark season. Our happy dance took us to the garden center, where they had early spring plants and some blue-glazed pots that I really coveted. Some of the pots were empty, but some were already planted with artfully arranged selections of narcissus, violas, and primroses -- those were the ones I wanted.

I lingered and coveted so long that DH finally asked why I didn't get a pot and some plants for the front porch. Of course I was secretly hoping he'd encourage me to buy one of the pre-planted ones because I have a black thumb and I thought maybe my dead plant curse wouldn't strike if somebody else did the planting. But then I decided it would be even sillier to spend extra money for the pre-planted ones if the dang things were going to die anyway.

I got too many plants, too much potting soil, new gardening gloves, a bunch of seed packets, and I needed a new spade, and I ended up spending more than I would have if I'd just got an arrangement! It was, however, lots more fun playing in the mud while DH cut the grass and whacked weeds.

Here is my arrangement of paperwhites, violas, and some weird grass.



And here are the extra plants that wouldn't fit in the new pot.



My snapdragon seeds are now planted right here -- this will be a true test of the strength of the dead plant curse.



Here is my gardener. Love those glasses!



These are my gardening assistants. They are particularly useful for digging up things you'd rather not have dug up!



Here are my deer babies, who are getting into fighting shape for having a go at my roses.



Home sweet home.