Bed Bugs In Your Beloved Print Books; Five More Reasons To Self-Publish by Sherri McInnis; Straight Guy Gets Hit On By Gay Guy; Alleged Gay Homophobic Cruise Ship Death

Bed Bugs In Your Beloved Print Books

Even though I seriously never expected to hear something like this, it’s just one more reason why I’ll never go back to reading print books again.

WILMINGTON — A few bedbugs have been snuggling into the pages of Delaware’s library books.

Six to eight months ago, librarians at downtown Wilmington’s main branch started noticing the bugs in books that were returned to the library, said the director of the city’s library system, Larry Manuel. The bugs went away for a few months, but returned in the past week.

The rest is here. I actually heard this on the morning news on TV. The fact it that most large public places…especially hospitals…deal with bed bugs all the time and they don’t even tell you.

I don’t think you can get bed bugs in an e-reader. But don’t quote me on that 🙂 

Five More Reasons To Self-Publish by Sherri McInnis

Here’s a candid post written by a traditionally published author, Sherri McInnis, who talks about why she decided to go indie.

Here’s an excerpt. When I read this I felt as if I’d been transported out of my body. That’s just how honest it is. The same exact things (and more) happened to me with publishers. I’ll comment a little below.

Even the marketing department gets in on things. For instance, the marketing people didn’t like the original title of my first book, so the publisher changed it to Devil May Care. Bad luck for me because at around the same time another ‘devil’ book came out. But you probably heard of that one.

 The Devil Wears Prada was so popular, people didn’t just confuse the titles – they actually thought I was Lauren Weisberger! One bookstore manager was so excited to meet because my book was “just flying off the shelves!”  

You can’t imagine how disappointed we both were when I got to the store and he had a huge stack of Prada waiting for me to sign. 

Remember there are lots of people who get involved in publishing your book – and as the author, you aren’t the one with the most control. 

You can read the rest here. I highly suggest it because it’s written by an author who knows the difference. And I can back her up on everything.

Here’s one “control” reason that brought me to indie publishing. And it’s just one. You know my Rainbow Detective series, the one I’ve been working hard on this year? That series started out, at the publisher’s request, as something completely different and they demanded that I use a pen name. So I told them to choose the pen name and I would abide by it. I didn’t like the idea, I didn’t think it made sense, but I didn’t have a choice. I thought it was a waste of time. But they released the first two books in the series under the pen name “Dale Bishop.” The books tanked. Plus, they wouldn’t allow me to use The Rainbow Detective Agency title at all, which I thought was a huge mistake. So I listened and kept my mouth shut because that’s what writers under contract do. And when it was time to get the rights back to those books I ran with my original idea, self-pubbed them under my own name, and I have no regrets. I’m finishing up book 8 this week and I’ll be releasing it this month in time for Thanksgiving weekend.

And that’s just one example. I have plenty more for another post.

Straight Guy Gets Hit On By Gay Guy
 Recently, a gay guy hit on a straight guy at a wedding and I think it shows how much things are changing.
I was at my cousins wedding reception and had just sat down from dancing. It was nearing the end of the night at this time so I was pretty secluded from everyone. A man walked up to me who I hadn’t seen before and nervously said “what’s your name?” I replied, “Chad, what’s yours?” He said “Shane, I just wanted to let you know that I have noticed you all night. I wanted to leave this with you before I left.” He handed me a piece of paper and quickly walked out. It was his number. Without knowing if I was straight or not he had built up the guts to put himself out there. I thought it was extremely brave and I know it’s something I wouldn’t be able to do. I’m sharing this to remind everyone to live their lives without regrets. Almost all of my regrets come from the things I didn’t do, not the things I did. I will be living my life more like this man and I suggest you all do as well. Good night.

My only comment here is that I’ve had the exact opposite experiences at straight weddings…all of my life. I have never once been to a straight wedding where some straight, horny, drunk married man with kids and a wife didn’t try to cruise me. I don’t know what it is about weddings that gets them going, but it always happens there. I’m too lazy to search for it now, but I’ve even posted about this right here on the blog.

And, it’s always been my experience that so-called straight guys are always a lot more aggressive with gay guys than the other way around. 

Alleged Gay Homophobic Cruise Ship Death
I’ve been following this one all week because I’ve never actually known cruises or cruise ships to be homophobic…in a general sense. I know a lot of gay people who’ve gone on many cruises without incident.
However, THIS horrible thing happened:
Elbaz, aged 31, went overboard last Friday at around 1am after having a heated argument with staff over the use of ‘homophobic slurs’, according to a lawyer acting on behalf of his family. He is presumed dead after coast guards failed to recover his body.

Elbaz was aboard the ship with his husband, Eric. The two were married in New York state in 2014 and the cruise they took was part of Eric’s 34th birthday celebrations.

There’s more here, with a couple of videos that might be the most disturbing you’ve ever seen in your life.

Fangsters: Book 2

Gang Bang Fangsters

A New Venture: Glendale E-Pub Services; Danny Pintauro’s Oprah Interview; James Pianka’s Underpants

A New Venture: Glendale E-Pub Services

When I first posted about getting into indie publishing here on the blog in March of 2012, I had no idea what to expect. Frankly, I wasn’t even sure I really wanted to do it. At that point in time I was still heavily invested in working with e-publishers and I liked what I was doing. I had no complaints. It’s just that I was curious about indie publishing.

However, not too long after that, one e-publisher I’d been working with for about ten years announced she was shuttering the press and reverting all rights back to authors. This floored me. I had over 40 titles with that publisher, I’d worked hard for them for years, and I didn’t want my e-books to just disappear forever. I couldn’t fault them for going out of business, but I wasn’t going out of business and that sucked. So I republished them all as indie books and most of those books are still selling. And it was thanks to the experience I gained from publishing that first indie novel, Chase of a Lifetime. It was, indeed, a very humble venture.

In the past three years, indie publishing has allowed me the ability to take control of my work and experiment in ways no publisher would ever have allowed me to do. I’ve posted about how I’ve released one indie book in two versions: one with erotic sex scenes and one without sex scenes. I’ve also had other rights reverted with other books and I’ve been able to re-release them all as indie books so they don’t disappear forever. In one case, I actually removed all the sex scenes because I was never happy with them and so far the most recent review seems to suggest I did the right thing in that case. Bottom line: I finally got to control my own work.

When e-publishing started out I don’t think anyone ever thought their e-books would wind up being taken down and disappearing forever. I never expected to see that. I always thought that once an e-book had been published with a reputable publisher it had found a home forever. That’s not the case anymore. I’m not even going to mention the e-publishers out there that have shuttered without even giving their authors advanced notice. One ran off to South Africa last I heard. Many authors haven’t been paid, and some never will. It’s been both sad and frustrating to watch so many authors left out in the proverbial cold with nowhere to turn.

I’m not anti-publisher and I still work with a few small e-presses. I have wonderful relationships with them and I hope that continues forever. This post isn’t designed to knock anyone or to draw any conclusions. It’s simply an announcement about another humble venture we are doing that may or may not help a few authors who are interested in indie publishing but don’t know how to go about doing it…and without spending thousands of dollars to indie publish. You don’t have to be a tech genius either. In the past year I’ve noticed more than a few authors who claimed they would never indie publish announce that they’ve changed their minds. In almost every case, it’s for the same reasons I decided to indie publish.

In any event, here’s a link to Glendale E-Pub Services. The web site has already been up for about a year but I haven’t been actively promoting it because the goal is to keep it boutique…small. At this point, it’s only us running things, with the help of a few sources I’ve worked with in the past with publishers. The clients we’ve worked with so far have all come through me, and they’ve been return clients who contact us months after publication to either publish something new or to make changes to something that already has been published. Yes. You can do that with e-books. If you don’t like something about your book cover you can change that a few months later. You make your own rules this time and you control your own rights.

We’re not a publishing company or a literary agency and we make no promises to sell, market, or promote books. Another reason we started Glendale is because I’ve seen far too many rip off e-publishing services that make claims I know they’ll never be able to live up to. The author retains his/her rights and we’re simply acting as a service…a means to get that e-book out there for you at an affordable cost. We focus only on e-books at this time because that seems to be where authors can save the most in up front costs, and because it’s been my experience that e-books with regard to the indie markets usually bring in the best returns for authors. If someone else has had a different experience, good for you. We’re not getting into print book publishing or audio book publishing simply because I’ve learned through working with e-publishers myself that print books and audio books don’t sell as well as people would lead you to believe. If they did sell you’d see far more of them out there with small presses. It only stands to reason.

Everything you need to know is on the web site at the link above. You don’t have to query us. We aren’t judging anyone’s work and everyone is welcome to contact us. We don’t censor and your content is something you control, not us. In other words, we’re not rejecting anyone on content. We’re simply working on a first come first serve basis and everyone is welcome. What you publish, or what genre you are concentrated in, doesn’t matter. We’ll help authors e-publish anything from Christan self help books to the most erotic literature out there. If there are literary agents out there interested in getting client back list titles up in digital, we welcome them, too.

I’ll post more about all this in the future from time to time. As I said, everything’s fairly simple at the web site, and we’re still working on it and making small changes as we go. I think every author’s situation is unique and that’s not something we take lightly. If you have any questions you can always e-mail me here: or contact us through the web site. Please make sure you put something in the subject line about Glendale E-publishing Services so I know it’s not spam.

Danny Pintauro’s Oprah Interview

Former childhood star, Danny Pintauro, came out as gay a while ago, but he recently did an interview with Oprah Winfrey and spoke openly about being HIV positive.

However, the 39-year-old’s secret which will likely have the bigger impact was saved for the broadcast when Pintauro shared that he tested positive for HIV 12 years ago.

“I was living in New York at the time and completely clueless to the idea that I was positive. I went in for a regular checkup. It was just regular blood work. You go in, and you sort of waited two weeks on pins and needles — or at least I did, because I was just terrified of the idea of getting HIV.”

There’s a lot more to read, which you can do here.

The comments go even deeper than the interview. Some aren’t too thrilled with the way Pintauro handles a few things. And you can’t blame them. There are millions of gay men out there who have taken all the precautions and they aren’t HIV positive. They deserve credit, too.

James Pianka’s Underpants

Well, here’s another thing I must have missed when I was absent from gay school that one day. It’s about this dude I’ve never heard of…James Pianka…and his underpants. Yes, underpants. Or course it’s an advertorial for “The Underwear Expert,” so we aren’t supposed to take it seriously. But I love the way they portray it as “gay” news…more tired cliche.

James Pianka models six pairs of casual underwear in our exclusive photoshoot below, each with simple and effective designs that stun without ever trying too hard. These underwear styles are more modern than the common boxer brief, and will always provide a more flattering fit, thanks to their silhouettes.

It’s nice underwear. James Pianka has an ass. That’s all you need to know.

You can get there from here.

New Release 

Full Frontal Nude Craig Parker; Anne R. Allen Collectives; Noah Lukeman The First Five Pages

Full Frontal Nude Craig Parker

Someone who knows I find the lack of male full frontal nudity in films interesting sent me a link to a full frontal nude of actor, Craig Parker. He’s from New Zealand and he’s been in films like The Fellowship of the Ring and Spartacus.

From the way it looks, Parker is taking a selfie in a shower, with full frontal that doesn’t get much more detailed than this. And it’s times like this I wonder why we rarely see much full frontal in films. The photo is actually something I would consider more artistic than erotic. I guess that’s subjective, though.

You can check that out here.   I can’t post it for copyright reasons. The photo above of Parker is from wiki commons, link on photo itself.

Anne R. Allen Collectives

There’s a post over at Anne R. Allen’s blog that discusses an interesting concept: author collectives. From what I gather what this means in a general sense is that several authors form their own indie publishing collaborative and they all work together instead of working alone. It’s not actually like working with a small press, and it’s not the same as going totally indie because the authors have the collaborative experience. The books and authors don’t necessarily have to be in the same genre either.

The author collective offers a way to have the best of both worlds. If you’re a “team player” who wants the control indie publishing offers, but you don’t want to go it alone, the collective may be for you. But you do need to choose your team carefully, and dedication is a must, as you will see from Liza’s story.

I have to admit I’m intrigued by this, and not just because I’m a fan of Allen. I’ve worked with many small presses over the years and I’ve always preferred working with them over indie publishing because I get that collective experience. All of my books published by presses have been a collaborative effort from a developmental POV in every single case. In other words, when I did the Virgin Billionaire series, the concept was born through the publisher, we brainstormed about it more than once, and we continued to collaborate right down to the cover. The only thing I actually did alone was write the books.

I love indie publishing, too. But with all my indie books everything from developmental editing to cover choices I did on my own without any collaboration at all. I hired people to execute my ideas for the cover. I had a copy editor. But the entire concept was mine and frankly I’m not always that comfortable going it alone that way. It’s hard to be objective about anything creative. And I actually crave the creative input.

In any event, you can read more here about author collectives on Allen’s blog. I think I’ve actually been doing some of these things without even knowing it with other authors all along. Behind the scenes we talk about covers, look for input, and just this week I helped another author decide something more developmental.

Noah Lukeman The First Five Pages

I think I’ve posted about this before, but I wanted to mention it again because I see so many new writers all the time searching for how to do the right thing. And there’s so much information on the Internet it’s often hard to choose what’s right and what’s wrong. Those who read this blog often know I’m not anti anything and I hate to give advice. I support trad publishing as much as I support indie publishing and everything that comes in between those two extremes. I also think it’s important to work with a great literary agent if you’re lucky enough to land one because it will usually help your career move forward. I never actually signed a contract with one agent in particular. But I have worked with an agent in the past, we have always had an off-the-record agreement, and I wouldn’t do anything significant with my career unless I contacted her first and got her on board. Although most of my e-books have been sold by me without an agent, the times I’ve garnered work through this agent have been very productive (a publishing deal with Alyson Books for An Officer and His Gentleman). And one of my dearest friends in the world whom I’ve known for almost twenty years has been a NY literary agent for almost forty years. Our friendship happened through coincidence and the fact that he has a weekend home in New Hope. We’ve never actually worked together and we never will because you don’t mix friendship with business, but I sometimes ask him advice off the record, too. So I don’t think it’s even possible to explain how much respect I have for good literary agents.

There’s also another agent who changed my entire concept/outlook on publishing. I’ve never met him or even contacted him, but I read his book, The First Five Pages, and that book changed the way I thought about publishing and querying agents. His name is Noah Lukeman and he blogs here (regularly for the most part). The blog is great, but it was the book, The First Five Pages, that helped me most. Though it was written about a decade ago and many things in publishing have changed since then, it was his advice on how editors and agents look for material that helped me the most. It’s hard for me to explain in one short post, but the book taught me what not to do when querying or pitching by showing me what most editors and agents look for at a glance. The key phrase here is “at a glance.” They get so many queries they learn how to look at them fast and it’s the writers that do things right that get attention. It’s the little things like whether or not the narrative is balanced with the dialogue. If there’s nothing but dialogue (or nothing but narrative) at a glance it could hurt an author’s chances. I know all this sounds very technical, and it has little to do with actual storyline. I also know every writer has a different voice and style. But when you’re querying an agent or editor the goal is to hook them fast, at a glance, and draw them into the book with what often turns out to be just the first five pages. Think audition: if the first few lines of the song you’re singing on stage suck, they’ll call you, don’t call them.

After I read Lukeman’s book several times I had that proverbial “Ah-Ha” moment and it all seemed to click for me. I’d already been published in many books with LGBT publishers by then and I’d been working as an editor for small publications as well. But for some reason I just didn’t understand I wasn’t getting replies from agents. Once I read Lukeman’s book and I reworked the first five pages of the books I was querying I started to see immediate results. It’s not an art, but it is a science and there is something to how a novel is crafted in a traditional sense. Editors and agents know what they are looking for, in this technical sense. So if you’re having problems querying and you’re not getting replies at all, you’re doing something wrong and The First Five Pages might help. As I said, the book is a little dated in some respects, but everything writing related in the book can be applied to e-querying agents and editors today. As an editor of several anthologies I can state that I’ve turned down more than a few short stories because I didn’t like the way they looked at a glance. I had so many submissions for The Women Who Love to Love Gay Romance I had to look at the stories this way otherwise it would have taken over a year to get that book out. I didn’t have the time to go through each story that was submitted to me in detail at the first sitting. And the stories that made all the mistakes from a technical POV were the ones I rejected first. Those that looked the best at a glance were accepted. And I wasn’t disappointed when I read them in detail. The authors knew what they were doing. I also knew I wouldn’t have any creative issues with the authors because they knew what they were doing.

The other reason I’m bringing up The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman is because I saw another literary agent slam the book this week, and she did it in a way that suggested she didn’t actually read the book. Unfortunately, this particular literary agent blogs, too, and I’ve seen some questionable advice on her blog. I don’t want to get into that in detail because it’s not exactly bad advice. It’s just questionable and it rarely ever changes. But more important, Noah Lukeman has a few big books to his credit. The agent who slammed Lukeman doesn’t. I’d rather take financial advice from Donald Trump than Joe at the barber shop. I feel the same way about the advice I get in publishing, too. Which is also the number one reason why I don’t give advice here. I just offer suggestions from my experiences I think might help. You might read The First Five Pages and nothing will happen for you. But it might also change the way you think about querying and making pitches. Most of the Amazon reviews seem to agree with me.

To show you I’m not full of crap, there are 220 reviews for The First Five Pages.  131 are five star reviews. 12 are one star reviews. (The link to Amazon is above)

Here’s one quote from Amazon. There are 64 more reviews similar to this. And take into consideration that most people who’ve read the book didn’t even leave a review. I didn’t leave one.

“I highly recommend this book for any writer who aspires to be published.

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.

James Franco on Broadway; Janet Reid on Self-publishing; Almost Gay Bishop in UK

James Franco on Broadway

In addition to a long list of film credits, an impressive academic career, and a list of published writing credits, James Franco is now heading to Broadway.

Leighton Meester has signed on to join James Franco and Chris O’Dowd in the upcoming Broadway revival of “Of Mice and Men” this spring.
Meester, the “Gossip Girl” star whose film credits include “Country Strong,” will make her Main Stem debut in the production, as will Franco and O’Dowd. She’ll play the role of Curley’s wife, the woman who figures into the tragic ending of the well-known John Steinbeck tale.

You can read more here. You have to wonder how Franco does so much and switches gears so fast. I work on deadlines all the time. I only need about three or four hours of sleep each night and I work at least six days a week. Franco seems to have found that extra day in the week I’ve been looking for all my life.

Janet Reid on Self-publishing

Literary agent Janet Reid recently posted about self-publishing and made a few strong remarks. No comment from me. You’ll have to figure this one out alone. (This is one of my shortest posts in years.)

You can read (not Reid) more here.

Whatever you do, if you’re planning on querying Reid, spell her freaking name right and don’t send anything to her from that new-fangled place called Amazon. You’ll be sorry if you don’t get these things right, you evil young e-book reading whipper-snapper.

Almost Gay Bishop in UK

Among so many negative news items these days about anything LGBTI, I found this one so uplifting I had to post about it and share.

The Church of England was one vote away from appointing its first gay bishop.

The openly gay Dean of St Albans Dr Jeffrey John was one vote away from becoming the newest Bishop of Exter, according to The Times, replacing the Right Rev Michael Langrish.

You can read more here. And my comment now is that I’ve been telling Tony we need to get to the UK. I’m serious about that. I have friends there, I love my UK readers, and I hear so many excellent things I’m curious now. I may have mentioned this in the past, but when I was in college my university, Fairleigh Dickinson in Madison, New Jersey, had a campus in Wroxton, England. As an English major I could have gone but opted not to go at the time. It’s one of my few regrets in life. I think I would have loved every minute of it.

This is part of the article is interesting, too.

The Church’s evolving attitudes also include the possible appointment of female bishops by the end of 2014, after an overwhelming majority of the Church’s governing body voted in favor of dropping the 20-year ban.


Self-Published Authors Big Sales; Baker Scorns Gay Cakes

Self-Published Authors Big Sales

I’ve been saving this to post because I wanted to read it over first. It’s interesting because it’s the first time I’ve seen something like this, and I never actually thought I would (in my lifetime). Things are changing, and fast. If it’s accurate, and I have no reason to believe it’s not, one quarter of Amazon the top 100 kindle books are self-published.

Orna Ross, director of the Alliance of UK Independent Authors, said this:

“We are in the middle of a major change. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we reached a situation where the majority of the top books are author-published. I don’t see what would stop that,” Ross said.

That’s a strong comment I don’t think I would have made at this point. But she could be right. Who knows?

The article goes deeper into why this is, and explains a few things with examples. I would recommend reading it if you are interested in self-publishing, if you have already self-published, or if you are still a snob about self-publishing and think that your small start up e-press is going to make you look better. I’m not being snarky about that. I’ve seen small writers with small presses turn their noses up at self-published writers more than once and I don’t think they are getting the full impact of why we’re starting to self-publish. I’m going to write a longer post on this and give a few more reasons why I was forced to self-publish very soon. And I’m not saying that lightly. I would prefer to work with a publisher at all times. However, things came up that left me no alternative but to self-publish, and a good deal of that was because of my readers. Different authors work in different ways. I’m more of a reader oriented author, and my readers come first. The publisher doesn’t. And I expect certain things from publishers, big or small, that I don’t often see.

In any event, you can read more here.

Baker Scorns Gay Cakes

A Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay ceremony was ordered by a judge they have to serve the gay couples. Judge Robert N. Spencer ruled the baker will face fines if he doesn’t follow the law.

 An attorney for Masterpiece Cakeshop did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Shop owner Jack Phillips had argued that making cakes for gay wedding ceremonies violates his Christian beliefs.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint against Phillips with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission last year on behalf of Charlie Craig and David Mullins. The couple was married in Massachusetts and wanted a wedding cake to celebrate in Colorado.

Tony recently had a cake made for our anniversary and to celebrate our upcoming marriage. The baker was so excited he made it his top priority. Why we live here instead of there. And if a bakery in New Hope were to pull something like this, they’d be out of business within six months.

You can read more here.

Brooke Warner & Self-Publishing; HarperCollins Takes Back Publishing; Rugby Jocks

Brooke Warner & Self-Publishing

This past week I had a nice e-mail exchange with a new writer whom I met through discussing something blog related. After we finished discussing the blog related issue he mentioned something about self-publishing a book and how he plans to go about doing it. The book sounds fascinating and it’s LGBT related. But when I saw what he was looking into with regard to self-publishing I had to send him a few links to show that there are a few questionable things out there and writers…especially new writers…should really do a thorough fact check before handing over large sums of money to self-publish. But there are also some great ways to go about self-publishing with some services, and using a service that provides advice and the creative collaboration most writers need.

It’s often hard for me to remain objective about self-publishing because when I did it with my first novel, Chase of a Lifetime, I came to self-publishing with years of experience. I already had over 100 books out with publishers and I had contacts that ranged from cover artists to good copy editors. My partner, Tony, handles all the tech details and distribution. So I knew exactly what I was getting into and I knew how to get a book out thanks to past experience. But when I write posts like this I’ve learned I have to step back and think like a new writer who is learning all these things for the first time. And when I read this article about Brooke Warner, a writing coach, I thought I’d share for any new writers who might be interested in self-publishing but also need a collaboration.

From Galleycat…

My number one tip for self-pubbed authors is to make sure they have a team. Self-published authors need an editor, a designer, and a marketing and/or publicity person. When it comes to self-publishing, authors shouldn’t go it alone, nor should they try to reinvent the wheel. There are so many good experts out there who will help ensure that you have a beautiful finished product. Don’t try to do it all yourself!

If you have never been published before and you are thinking of self-publishing, it’s a good article and you can read more here. As I said, I tend to be a complete control freak with my own self-published books, but I’m not doing it completely alone. I do have a team that I outsource on my own. But I already had the contacts and I knew exactly where to go.

In the same respect, I’m not saying it’s impossible to self-pub a quality book all by yourself. One of the self-published non-fic authors I admire most is Joe Mihalic. He’s not just another pretty face, far from it. I’ve posted about him before, here, several times. Joe wrote No More Harvard Debt and he did it all by himself from what I gather. He maintained popular a running blog with the same title you can read here. He even gets into his self-publishing experiences. And he did it alone at a minimal cost. He also wrote and pubbed several damn great books. Other self-pubbed authors have done this, too.

So it’s really up to the individual. In some cases, writers like Joe Mihalic can produce a quality book that helps people without the help of an e-publishing service. But not everyone works the same way and there are some people who do need some kind of collaboration. I think what Brooke Warner has to say is interesting and I don’t mind linking to her, which I don’t do often. Her web site is professional, I didn’t see any red flags that would make me wonder, and she seems to be all about the writer. I can also tell you this from experience. Even though I outsource when I self-pub, I still feel the heat when it comes down to the final release. And I often wish I had the same collaboration (I miss it and crave it) with my self-pubbed books that I always have with books I have out with publishers. It gives you piece of mind.

Back to my original point, there are things out there with self-publishing that are questionable, and nice people are getting ripped off all the time. I wouldn’t share anything I wouldn’t seriously consider myself.

You can read more about Brooke Warner here at her web site.

 HarperCollins Takes Back Publishing

This next piece to which I’m linking talks about Charlie Redmayne, new boss at HarperCollins, who wants to aggressively take back publishing from the pioneers of digital publishing. I think this includes e-publishers and self-pubbed authors.

Now three months after returning to HarperCollins to become its chief executive, Redmayne will deliver a brisk message at an industry conference on Thursday, warning publishers against letting digital rivals steal their role – storytelling.

Publishers have allowed competitors to jump in, he says, whether they are startup companies producing apps or authors publishing their novels on Amazon. Now they “need to take that space back” by producing content for games players, tablet computers and other devices.

It’s an interesting article, but it’s slanted in some respects. It makes it all sound like these evil self-pubbed authors and start up e-presses we’ve been seeing in the past ten years have been trying to take over publishing. And that’s not the case at all. What’s been happening is that writers who would never have had the chance to get published ten or twenty years ago have found a readership and careers through digital publishing. And readers, most of all, have been able to find affordable books when big publishers were sticking it to them with digital book prices that ranged from 9.99 to as high as you want to go. I paid full price for a non-fic autobiography two years ago, $14.99, in digital format. It sucked, the author has a new book out with a large publisher, and I’m not spending that kind of money again.

But more than that, while those in trad publishing with big publishers were still taking summer Friday’s off and trying to keep publishing known as the slowest industry in the world, the pioneers of digital publishing have been working seven days a week to produce quality e-books for readers at a fraction of the cost. I price my self-pubbed novels at .99 for readers, and I will continue to do that for as long as I can. My e-publisher prices my full length novels at $4.99 on the web site. I just finished reading and reviewing James Franco’s new novel. I paid $5.99 for the digital version. It was published through Amazon. So if HarperCollins wants to “take back” publishing they’d better start looking at more than one issue, including book prices.

You can read more here. In any event, it does sound like Redmayne is going to make a few well needed changes, and it should be interesting to see the results a few years from now. I’m not anti-publisher, not by any means. I’m hoping big publishers do start making changes. But I don’t think it should be about taking publishing back. I think it should be more about figuring out why the pioneers of digital publishing have left them shaking their heads in wonder.

Rugby Jocks

It seems as if everyone’s making a calendar this year, and with nude young jocks in locker rooms.

Thought Dieux du Stade’s calendar was the be-all, end-all of hot rugby calendars? Then you haven’t seen Britain’s Sheffield Hallam University jocks. These more amateur, less-styled fellas hit the showers, the bar, the lounge, and the streets to bring you their goods. Appreciate them, won’t you?

You can read more here. It’s worth the trip. There are photos.