Ryan Field Press; Steve Jobs Video; Russian Sports Minister Wants Calm

Ryan Field Press

I’ve been seeing chatter all over the Internet about how authors are starting their own publishing houses…and when I use the term publishing house it is for lack of a better term…and it’s created a lot of questions and curiosity, which is perfectly normal. So I thought I would explain what I’m doing with Ryan Field Press, and what my immediate goals are at this point in time.

To back track, I ventured into indie publishing almost two years ago with the Chase of a Lifetime series because I was curious about it and because I wanted to see what it would be like to have complete control over my work. I also have over twenty years experience. However, I didn’t predict this situation. This past spring I posted about one of my e-publishers shuttering its doors, which left me with over thirty orphaned back listed titles. Fiction I had worked hard to write and edit, some were historicals that had taken a great deal of research. I could have shopped them to other small e-presses, but after the experience of one small e-press closing with only on month’s notice I decided to take advantage of my experience in publishing with Ryan Field Press and re-release the back listed titles on my own. And although I had not predicted I would ever be re-releasing these back listed books alone, it is what it is and small e-presses are not always run the way I would like to see them being run.

In other words, when you submit your work to a publisher…any publisher, large or small…you don’t expect your work to disappear a few years after the books have been released, and after all that hard work. Especially with e-books, because they just disappear into cyberspace. But it happens. In my case the publisher got sick, but hadn’t thought ahead and hadn’t set up a business plan in case of illness. And sometimes that’s just called life and you do what you have to do. This time I chose to indie publish the back listed titles alone. I know that I can trust myself without a doubt. If I get sick, I have people I can trust to continue what I’ve been doing. That’s called running a business and having a business plan.

In spite of my frustrations, many positive things came from this experience. For those who follow this blog I’ve written a post as each book has been re-released. Best of all for readers, I was able to price these books at .99 instead of 2.99 or higher, which is what they had been priced with the publisher. I even left the original covers, in spite of wanting to change them, so readers would not get confused and think it was something new in case they’d already purchased it and read it. I had issues with contests I’ve run because readers have already read the books offered in the contests and I’ve had to go back and forth with them until we found a book they hadn’t read. And most people remember book covers…I hope.

This hasn’t been simple, mainly because the books were already pubbed and re-pubbing is harder than pubbing something original in a tech sense. Logos have to be removed; permission has to be granted from Amazon; proof has to be provided and triple checked that I’m the author and I own the rights because the book is already in the data base. But it’s also been worth the effort because now I know these books will always be around and I’ll always hold the rights. No one can ever come to me again and tell me, “that’s it, your books won’t be for sale anymore next month because I got sick.” At least not in this case, or with my indie pubbed novels I’ve released in the past two years. I can’t predict the future of other small e-presses, but I have learned to expect anything in life. And I wanted to be prepared this time with my back list.

I’ve also been posting about a new release I have this month, an anthology titled, The Women Who Love to Love Gay Romance. This book will be pubbed with Ryan Field Press, and I will maintain control over this book…which ultimately means I won’t be going out of business and the book will be around as long as I’m around, and my heirs are around. The same thing goes for past Ryan Field Press releases, and all future Ryan Field Press releases. In the same respect, the authors who contributed to The Women Who Love to Love Gay Romance will retain their own rights at all times. This means they are free, according to the contract, to shop and sell their stories, or self-publish their stories, as stand alones whenever they want.

At this particular time, I have no intention of acting as a small publishing house with Ryan Field Press, or as a small e-publisher. If this changes in the future, I’ll announce it. But right now Ryan Field Press is a business vehicle that I’m using to indie publish my own back listed books, a few new releases, and the occasional anthology. In the future, I might get into e-publishing *services* because I think there’s a need for affordable e-publishing services that aren’t scams. I will be doing this with one of the authors that contributed to The Women Who Love to Love Gay Romance, and this author will retain all rights and I will not be acting as the publisher. I’ll be the e-publishing service; the author will maintain all control. I also think we’ll be seeing more authors do things like this in the future, because having that basic sense of security is extremely important.

And, my advice to anyone signing with any small e-press right now would be to find out about the future and where you will stand in case something happens. In other words, make sure they have a long term business plan in case of illness or death or run out of funds (or get bored), and if they don’t make sure all rights revert back to you if they shutter and fold. You want your books to be around for a long time, not just a few years.

Steve Jobs Video

Last night a friend sent me this Youtube link to a Steve Jobs video that was supposedly put together by Apple. It’s really very nice, and one of the few tributes I’ve seen to Jobs that says it all in a short amount of time.

You can get there from here  I didn’t see a share for blogger.

Russian Sports Minister Wants Calm

In what sounds like it could be hidden concern that the LGBT community just might gain enough support to actually boycott the Olympics thanks to Russia’s laws that highly discriminate against LGBT people, the Russian Sports Minister, Vitaly Mutko, wants us to all calm down.

Mutko said “the athletes can come and compete” and the chase for medals should be their primary concern.

“This is a sports forum,” he said. “This is a sports festival and we have to talk only about it.”

I don’t know what he’s missing about why gays are so passionate about these anti-gay laws in Russia, but he’d better come up with something better than that, because this is about a lot more than a sports festival. And when Russia passes a law that states they can lock LGBT people up just for being gay, we’re getting into quality of life human rights issues and I think that trumps a sports festival. And if this were any other minority I wouldn’t even be discussing this now. Can you imagine if Russia decided to treat people of African descent, or Jews, the same way they are treating gays?

“I don’t have the feeling there is a problem whatsoever,” IAAF President Lamine Diack said. “There is a law that exists. The law has to be respected. Some things have to be respected. We are here for the world championships.”

No. We don’t have to respect that law. And I’m taking this to mean screw everything else, even human rights, because world championships are more important. There are some people who just shouldn’t say anything at all. This is the sort of thing that can get worse in time if we don’t do something about it now. The world ignored Hitler for far too long, and millions of Jews were locked up and killed as a result. Shame on us all if we ever let anything like that happen to anyone ever again.

Steve Jobs’ Yacht Is Like Good Tight Fiction

When I saw this article I wanted to post about it because I think it’s the most wonderful ship I’ve ever seen as far as design goes. I’ve seen a lot of negative comments from those who don’t know any better and never will, but no matter how many times I look at photos and see the intricate, yet simple, design of this boat I’m amazed at how elegant it really is.

You either get it or you don’t. Plain and simple.

It’s the most perfect example of minimalist modern design I’ve seen in years, and I think it’s going to become a classic. I like to think of fiction writing that way: tight, clean, sleek, and without the messy said bookisms and adverbs (He mumbled longingly; She grumbled lovingly; He barked loudly…ick, ick, ick). Unfortunately, this kind of tight fiction is not popular in the romance genre, and frills and ruffles that aren’t needed are often inserted and people think that’s good writing. I’m talking about word economy without frills: first page; Great Gatsby. That’s what writing fiction is all about for me. And it takes years to develop. I’m still working on that kind of perfection and probably always will be.  

For those who don’t know, Steve Jobs was so obsessed with minimalist design he only wore black mock turtlenecks. And he didn’t own any furniture for years because he couldn’t find anything he liked…or what he thought would work from a design POV. As the true perfectionist, he wouldn’t settle for almost as good. It had to be just right, and perfect. This followed through in every aspect of his life, which is why the iPad you’re using now looks and feels the way it does. The technology was important to him, and so was the design. I have an iPhone 3, and I don’t know if I will get the iPhone 4 or 5. Whenever I see someone use one of the newer versions I can’t help noticing how the design has suffered since the beginning. They don’t even feel the same to me, and I can’t help wondering if we’ve seen the last of that kind of exceptional minimalist design for a long time.

In any event, here’s part of the article about the yacht that was just launched.

The Venus is a sort of iPhone of yachts — minimalist in design, aluminum hulled, not cheap at a reported cost of about $138 million to build, and equipped with the latest in Apple technology.

Jobs’ influence is all over that yacht. If you’ve studied anything at all about him, and you’ve read about how hard he worked toward that kind of perfection, you’ll see the artist in him surpassed the businessman more than once in his life. And it’s a shame we don’t know more about this, because it’s not usually what we see focused on when he’s talked about now.

Apple Wanted Readers to Pay More for E-books?

I’ve posted about the DOJ lawsuit before, and about literary agents writing letters because they feared a settlement would be “onerous” to publishing as we know it.

And now I’m linking to an article by Manufacturing.net that talks about how Apple allegedly wanted readers to pay more for e-books.

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote noted in her written ruling that Jobs had made statements that agreements between the publishers and Apple Inc., based in Cupertino, Calif., would cause consumers to “pay a little more” and that prices would “be the same” at Apple and Amazon.com.

The judge noted that Jobs told the publishers that “the customer pays a little more, but that’s what you want anyway.”

I’m sure there’s more to come from all this. And it sounds as if Judge Cote isn’t buying any of it.

Apple’s Big Announcement…

Of course this is all still conjecture, but from the truncated versions I’ve read about the announcement Apple will soon make, it looks as though Apple is heading into the textbook market.

While I’m not surprised by this announcement, what I find most interesting is that it was mentioned in the Steve Jobs biography. In fact, making textbooks digital was one of Steve’s biggest goals with Apple.

I have no idea how publishers are going to react. Many still haven’t accepted digital books; some still think they are a passing trend.

In this NYT article, Apple Aims to Take On the Textbook Market, you can read more about the big announcement and what it involves. As always, Apple is grandstanding. But I don’t look for any new devices coming out soon. This time it appears to be all about going after the textbook market.

The event will showcase a new push by Apple into the digital textbook business, but will not feature any new devices, according to a person close to the company who did not want to be identified talking about it before it occurred.

What does surprise me is that Steve Jobs is still actually working posthumously. This concept, according to his bio, was something he cared about passionately. And thinking back to when I was a college student, schlepping huge heavy textbooks from one end of a huge campus to the other, I think it’s about time textbooks went digital. I just hope they can keep the costs down, unlike what they’ve done with digital books priced at 9.99 or higher.

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

This might be the shortest book review in history. But that’s because I want to make it simple for readers to decide whether or not they want to read Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. And, Steve Jobs was the epitome of minimalism.

I enjoyed it. I gave it five stars on goodreads. But I also like/love all the techinical, business oriented information that was so detailed in the book.

In other words, if you’re looking for a book that talks about Steve Jobs’s personal life and his relationship with family and friends, this might not be the book for you.

But if you’re interested in reading about a man who made history and changed the world, you will, indeed, enjoy this book. I couldn’t stop reading it…especially the parts about how he changed publishing. In fact, I had a little too much fun reading those parts.