Month: January 2012

Another Agent Going Digital: Nelson Literary Agency

Last July I wrote a post titled, Are Literary Agents Going Country? Basically, it was about how literary agents are not only embracing digital books now, but how they are actively getting involved in digital publishing themselves.

And now the Nelson Literary Agency just made this announcement. They call it evolving. Sounds to me more like another one went country.

I have no strong comments to offer. It’s an honest post.

I don’t even have a huge opinion to offer. I believe authors need to take responsibility for themselves and make their own decisions. But I do know this: if you are an author and you want to get a back listed book out in digital format, or you are an author and you want to self-publish a digital book, you don’t need an agent to do this for you. You can skip the fees and do it yourself.

In fact, I have a very good friend who has been self-publishing his own books on Amazon. He used to be an editorial client and I had to stop editing his books because I didn’t have time. But I may start a series of blog posts about his experience in self-publishing through Amazon, and I won’t charge a dime for it…and I won’t ask you to sign anything so I can get a commission. I may even make this a top priority for this coming year. Evidently, a lot of authors don’t know much about self-publishing, including me.

Jonathan Franzen Claims E-Books "May" Be Bad for Society


First, the article to which I’m linking sounds as though it almost wants Mr. Franzen to hate e-books. But after reading his comments in full I didn’t walk away with that impression. His comments and opinions read more like what I hear from many people about e-books: they just aren’t sure about them yet.

This is understandable. I felt the same way about e-books five years ago. Because I couldn’t hold a tangible item in my hands…a physical print book…it didn’t seem as relevant to me. From what I hear, this is allegedly a huge problem with book pirates in Russia. They can’t hold and feel the digital books so they think nothing of pirating them to see if they want to buy the print books.

Oddly enough, Jonathan Franzen’s FREEDOM was, indeed, one of the last print books I read, and might possibly ever read. I’m not joking when I say this either. The thought of going back and reading a print book, especially a huge print book like FREEDOM, makes my stomach tighten.

Here’s a small excerpt from the article with Franzen:

“I think, for serious readers, a sense of permanence has always been part of the experience. Everything else in your life is fluid, but here is this text that doesn’t change.”

Once again, I thought along these same line, too…at one time. But the moment I bought my first digital reader, a Kobo basic e-reader in e-ink, I was absolutely amazed at how much it felt like a book. In fact, for me it was almost an old fashioned experience. And, for the record, Kobo does not pay me to endorse them.

I now read everywhere and take my entire library with me. After having published over 84 works of fiction, I’ve experienced eye strain and can’t see a thing without reading glasses. I’m forty and I worry about the future of my eyes. My e-reader made a world of difference. I can adjust the print to suit my needs. I don’t have to strain anymore. Since I switched to digital books I’ve read in medical offices, hospitals, car dealerships, on public transportation, and on the beach. Before digital books, I had to set time aside to read, which always bothered me because I don’t have that much time to spare.

Here’s another comment by Franzen those who are unfamiliar with e-books often make:

“Maybe nobody will care about printed books 50 years from now, but I do. When I read a book, I’m handling a specific object in a specific time and place. The fact that when I take the book off the shelf it still says the same thing – that’s reassuring.”

People will always care about printed books. I still do. They are just going to care in a different way. I fully understand the feeling of holding a printed book in a specific time and place. However, when I started reading my first e-book on my first basic e-reader, it shocked me at how this feeling remained the same. I didn’t feel cheated. I didn’t feel as if what I was reading was anything less than if it had been printed in hard copy. And the fact that I didn’t have to take it off a shelf reassured me even more, especially when I grasped the magnitude of the fact that I can, without hassles or sitting in traffic, buy any book I want with just one simple click. I like this power as a reader. I like knowing I have this power. I also like knowing I don’t have to suffer through the screams and yells of kids running around large brick and mortar bookstores that sell toys and stuffed animals.

Franzen added this:

“Someone worked really hard to make the language just right, just the way they wanted it. They were so sure of it that they printed it in ink, on paper. A screen always feels like we could delete that, change that, move it around. So for a literature-crazed person like me, it’s just not permanent enough.”

Once again, I “get” it. This is something I would have said, with both pride and attitude, five years ago. And at that time, I was actually writing digital books. You can imagine my own personal dilemma. Here I was writing them and getting them published and I didn’t know the first thing about how people were reading them. After reading the quotes in this article by Franzen, I have to admit that I do take a small amount of satisfaction in knowing I once felt the same way he feels now. In other words, I can’t blame the guy. (But this could also be due to the fact that I love his work so much he can do no wrong.)

I’ve read both FREEDOM and THE CORRECTIONS by Franzen. I posted about FREEDOM, here, last February…almost a year to the date I’m writing this post. I loved both books. I love the way Franzen writes. I’m not going to get into anything else because this isn’t a review. But the one thing I regret is that I didn’t read FREEDOM in digital. I would have enjoyed it more because I wouldn’t have had to deal with a huge bulky book in my hands. I did, however, buy the digital version for my digital library at a later date. I might not read it again for a long time, but I know it’s there and I can whenever I want. I now have three digital reading devices that range from e-ink to a tablet. They are all hooked up together and I now have three digital copies of FREEDOM. I can’t take them down from a shelf; all I have to do is press a button.

I have no regrets about joining the digital age of publishing, as a reader or a published author who’s been around for a long time. It’s only improved the quality of my life. But I would have argued that point to the bitter end five years ago.

Cheaterville: A Web Site for Adultery


Someone told me about this web site called “Cheaterville,” and I figured I’d post a link. I don’t know much about it, so I’m not commenting one way or the other.

Except for this: Last week I linked to a post written by this guy who not only knocks the romance genre, but also feels as though he’s somehow above it. I’m not mentioning his name in this post. I don’t want to give him that kind of attention again. But check out the post, and below is a quote from his post.

After my last post about, not only the dreadful writing associated with romance novels, but the often deadly message they bring glorifying everything from adultery to incest,

Once again, I find it interesting to read something like this, especially when most romance novelists and readers stay away from books with adultery.

In any event, check out “Cheaterville.” And if you know someone who is cheating on his or her spouse/partner, you might want to examine it even further.

Someone once asked me if gay couples consider it cheating if they’ve been together for a long time and they aren’t legally married. I had to laugh, as if being legally married is where the line is drawn for cheating. I replied with the question: Do straight couples who aren’t married and consider themselves in a monogamous relationship consider it cheating when one of them has an affair? What about engaged straight couples?

Unless there is some kind of an open relationship with an agreement where everyone is happy, it works just the same way for gays as it does straights. The sad fact is that people who cheat were wired that way from birth. Most go to their graves this way. I have no problem with open relationships and anything you want as long as both parties in the relationship agree to it. But I have very little tolerance for cheaters and sneaks.

Things Authors Should Know About Social Media


I ran across an interesting blog post titled, 25 Things You Should Know About Social Media. You can get there from here.

I agree with most of the things in this post, especially this one:

Writers are content creators, and so it behooves us to share what we love. You’re generally better off showing positivity rather than sowing the seeds of negativity. For the most part, the Internet is a monster that thrives the rage of countless disaffected white people, so I don’t know that it does a writer good to be a part of that noise. Your audience cares more about what you’re into rather than what you’re not. After all, I don’t particularly care for a lot of things. Most things, really. If I spent all my time talking about them, I’d be little more than a septic social fountain spewing my bitter froth into the world.

I’m going to add my own comment here. In some cases, I have seen writers get immediate attention with social media by being extremely aggressive, insulting, and negative. I’ve seen them get into flame wars and bitter confrontation…in public for all to witness. And yes, they do get attention for a while. But I’ve also seen that after people listen to them rant long enough, they grow tired and forget all about them eventually. I have never once seen anyone who does things simply for shock value survive. One of the things authors need to know is that you’re in this for the duration, at least you’re supposed to be. And if you attract a huge following in the beginning based on shock value and negativity, you might wind up regretting it in the end.

And for me, one of the biggest turn offs is when I see authors discussing politics too much…unless of course you have a viable political platform. But if you don’t have a political background or platform, I don’t care which end of the political spectrum you’re on. Niether does anyone else.

This is a good one, too. It’s well put, in plain English:

Show the World You’re Not a Raging Bonerhead
The Internet is like hot dogs: it’s made of lips and assholes. A writer does well to set himself aside from all that and use social media to reveal that he is, indeed, not a giant bucket of non-contributing human syphilis.

Here’s another link, titled The 18 Most Annoying People on Facebook. This one is a little more difficult because we’ve all probably been guilty of one or two of these things in the past. But that doesn’t mean we have to continue to make the same mistake time and again.

Cover Preview: Unmentionable: The Men Who Loved on the Titanic


I just received the cover art for my new historical with Loveyoudivine.com, Unmentionable: The Men Who Love on the Titanic.

Here’s a a blurb, below. And here’s a link to read a preview excerpt. I’ll post more about the release date soon.

One hundred years ago on April 14, 1912, the RMS Titanic hit an iceberg on its way to New York. Though it had been considered unsinkable by all standards, it went down in the cold waters of the Atlantic, taking with it stories of love and romance that weren’t discussed openly in those days. This was especially true with stories of love between two men. One of those hidden stories of the Titanic dealt with the unyielding love and strong romance between a young man named Liam and his older lover, Oliver. Because Oliver was a wealthy business man in America with a great deal of notoriety, the only safe way to bring Liam aboard the Titanic was to dress him in fine women’s clothing and claim he was Oliver’s shy, distant cousin returning to America for the first time in many years. They finally begin to relax when they realize that everyone on the ship believes Liam is a woman, until that fateful night on April 14th when destiny intervened and changed their lives forever.

NYT Article on the Conditions Under Which Apple Employees Work

I posted about how I’m not the biggest fan of Apple for various reasons, earlier this week, here.

Here’s a link a friend told me about. It’s an article in the NYT about how Apple employees are treated in China and the conditions under which they work.

Employees work excessive overtime, in some cases seven days a week, and live in crowded dorms.

Interesting how a company with such huge earnings could treat human beings this way.

In the last decade, Apple has become one of the mightiest, richest and most successful companies in the world, in part by mastering global manufacturing. Apple and its high-technology peers — as well as dozens of other American industries — have achieved a pace of innovation nearly unmatched in modern history.

You can get there from here.

Interesting Article on How Gay Men and Straight Women Write M/M Erotica


I pilfered this from Lori Perkins’ facebook wall earlier today. I wanted to “share” but sometimes they won’t let you do that on FB. Before you click to the link and read the article, take into consideration this is a clinical piece and it’s written from a clinical POV. I agree with some of it, in the sense that newer writers tend to do these things…both men and women.

But what the author of this article is leaving out is that writers, both men and women, grow with time. I have never seen an author who writes now the same way he did ten years earlier. They expand and get better with practice and they don’t like to repeat themselves. This is especially true for prolific authors. I’ve been in publishing a lot longer than this guy has been doing clinical studies and I’ve seen the way writers grow. So it’s hard to pinpoint any of these concepts as fact unless you know and understand the genre of m/m erotica fully from an author’s POV.

It’s an interesting article anyway. You can get there from here. And I’ll post an excerpt below.

For many years, psychologists presumed that gay male sexuality was similar to female sexuality. Both gay men and heterosexual women like men, of course. But are there other similarities? One way we might approach this question is by comparing erotic stories written by women and gay men.