Category: HIVplus magazine

Gay Jello Wrestling; Steven Zacharius Self-Publishing; Free Use Photos

Gay Jello Wrestling

In this interesting link to HIVplus Magazine there’s a video worth watching that involves jello and wrestling. The video (and message behind the video) is socially responsible in that it’s encouraging people to get tested for HIV.

RFSL Göteborg, the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights in Gothenburg, really knows how to get some attention. Their newest campaign, which encourages HIV testing among men who have sex with men features eight nude men, smeared in different colored (and flavored?) gelled product (Is it jelly or Jell-O? Who knows) wrestling each other. We think it’s about being strong, staying healthy, knnowing your status, and well, turning us on, but who knows.

You can read more here, and view the video yourselves. NSFW warning.

Steven Zacharius Self-Publishing

I thought this was a good article on self-publishing in a general sense. Steven Zacharius is CEO at Kensington Publishing and he posted some thoughts of his about self-publishing. He nailed most of the extremes spot on, from the huge success stories in self-publishing to the author who only sells ten copies if he/she is lucky. He mentions .99 e-books, and even how the cost of self-publishing can go as high as $1,000.00. I agree with all of his points completely…except he missed one thing I rarely ever see mentioned in any of these articles about self-publishing.

Some of us went into self-publishing because we didn’t have any other choice. We would prefer to work with publishers, but it doesn’t always work out that way. There are authors like me who have been career freelance writers for over twenty years and self-publishing has not only opened up a new world for us, but for our readers as well. Kensington Publishing has published many LGBT books and they’ve always been gay friendly. I used to query them all the time while I was getting published in as many anthologies I could get into with LGBT presses like Alyson Books and Cleis Press. But back then it all came down to one thing in publishing: the luck of the draw and who you knew. I came very close to getting several books pubbed with Kensington over a decade ago, however, there were only so many print titles an LGBT publisher could publish back then and I wasn’t one of the lucky ones. I didn’t have the right connections. And, I didn’t have an agent. Keep in mind this was still pre-ebooks, which Zacharius doesn’t mention either in his article.

Then e-publishers like Ellora’s Cave and Ravenous Romance started popping up with digital first or digital only releases and they started giving Kensington and all trad publishers more competition. It wasn’t self-published authors creating the competition. It was digital publishing and digital books drawing more and more readers each year and trad publishers not paying attention to this and thinking digital books would only be a trend that would soon die. And when genre specific authors like me found digital publishing, we jumped at the chance to work. And that’s what it call came down to for me. To work. That’s really all writers want to do.

Self-publishing is something most of us would never even have imagined ten years ago. I know I wouldn’t have thought it possible. But what Zacharius fails to mention is that there are many self-pubbed authors who aren’t part of the extremes. We don’t claim the fame and fortune of  HRH Joe Konrath, and in the same respect we’ve been able to build a readership through self-publishing for various reasons that are almost always pragmatic. The M/M romance community is a good example of this. Publishers like Kensington ignored M/M romance completely. And self-publishing is nothing more than an extension of e-publishing. I would never have released any of the e-books alone if the publisher hadn’t gone out of business. But with self-publishing changing in so many ways, I was able to retain my copyrights, re-publish each book, and keep them from being orphaned forever. And I did this at a minimal cost that didn’t come even near $1,000.00. I have no reason to lie about this. And it’s not hearsay.

Self-publishing has brought about huge benefits to serious readers now more than any other time in history. Just this month alone I was able to self-publish a Christmas novella for FREE as a holiday bonus to my readers. And I wouldn’t have been able to do that ten years ago either.

What I’d like to read once in a while is how publishers like Kensington are moving forward and keeping up with what’s happening in publishing instead of commentary about self-publishing that leaves a lot of information to the imagination. But I also like what Zacharius said here:

Now don’t get me wrong. If I thought I had a story in me that I felt strongly about, I wouldn’t hesitate to self-publish it either. In fact, Kensington and all major publishers looks to e-book originals to find new talent. We have a handful of 2014 releases written by authors whose work impressed us enough to offer them contracts for new books. But these are the exception and not the rule.

As I said, this is a great article to learn more about self-publishing ( I worry about some who are spending too much on e-publishing services and marketing/public relations liars) if you don’t know much at all, and it’s also a great way to see how the CEO of a publishing house like Kensingtion is thinking and moving forward. The article is by no means negative. I think we’re still at a stage where no one can predict anything about the future of publishing and there are still a few more surprises in the future. You can read more here.

Free Use Photos

You know how I’m always talking about how I’m terrified to post any photos here on the blog unless I know for certain they are free to use? Well this next article is interesting because the British Library recently uploaded a million images that are in the public domain and are free to share.

The British Library has uploaded one million public domain scans from 17th-19th century books to Flickr! They’re embarking on an ambitious programme to crowdsource novel uses and navigation tools for the huge corpus. Already, the manifest of image descriptions is available through Github. This is a remarkable, public spirited, archival project, and the British Library is to be loudly applauded for it!

I couldn’t agree more, especially in these greedy, litigious times where every small time hack of a photographer with a cell phone thinks he/she has a photo worth something.

You can read more here. The photo above is from the uploaded images and it states this: No known copyright restrictions.