If a content creator…..

In light of the new drama around youtube a friend replied to me:

And I say… A creator has to eat.

A couple years ago there was a big bunch of writers who talked about why they refuse to write for free. The overwhelming sentiment was “fuck you, pay me.” The reasons came down to a few simple things. An author needs to eat, and pay their bills. An author spends a lot of damn time writing. A good author also spends money on editing, cover design, and probably marketing to get their books read.

Does an author write even if they don’t get paid? I’ve been writing since I was seven, and I haven’t made much, but I keep writing. If I never make another cent I’d keep writing. But here’s the thing; if I wasn’t seeing progress in sales I would stop trying to publish. Or at the very least I’d quit spending money I don’t have on editors, cover designers, and everything else that helps to make the book GOOD. I’d probably stick my books up on a blog, forgotten, and rarely read.

I have also been seeing: “well, he just sits in front of a webcam and talks, he can still do that without funding.” People don’t realize what goes into the back end of a some of these channels. Equipment upgrades, and keeping equipment running. Paying electric bills, editing, hours (if not days) of research, and for Philly D he has a whole crew that he pays, as well as all the other things he does on top of it. The GOOD shows do way more than sit in front of a camera and talk. Even shows like Hank and John Green are well edited, and time consuming. How many people would be out of a job if these channels disappeared? Not just the main creator of the channel.

In order to write the books I have written I have to work a full time job. That job takes a lot of my time and energy, and sometimes when I get home I don’t have the ability to sit down and talk, let alone string two sentences together. Just imagine if some of your favorite youtube creators had to have a day job. How much time do you think they’d be spending making that content if they had to go to work at six am with a one hour commute? Do you honestly think they could produce hours of content every week for your consumption? For me I have a lot less time to write now that I have a day job again. I can’t keep up like authors I know who write full time. I wish I could.

Just because you’re passionate about something doesn’t mean you have the time and ability to make it. And you probably won’t be able to make the same quality of content you had before.

To every artist, every author, every musician who is doing their art full time… could you do it if you weren’t getting paid? Would it be as high quality? Would you be able to produce as much?

If I can’t do any of those things as an artist with a full time job why would I expect my favorite news show, or commentators, or sketch artists, etc, to go without pay? Artists deserve to get paid, damn it!

PS, I haven’t even commented on whether or not this is censorship, or any of the other issues going on with this subject. I just wanted to comment on why artists of any type shouldn’t be looked down on for earning money for what they do.


Publishing, Gender and Genre

Gender. It’s rarely as cut and dry as male and female in this century, but it still influences a lot of things, and people.

Right now the writers forums, blogs, and news sights are blowing up with articles and commentary about gender roles in SF and fantasy. Articles about women who hide their sex so they can break into the elite ranks of SF, and those that question if they are starved for great women authors, or just sexist. A Tor UK team member even weighed in on the matter, complete with graphs.

4SB4smI will be putting up “Small Bites 4” tomorrow which is Science Fiction. It is the first time I will be sharing my science fiction writing. I’m kind of nervous. I’ve done stories with horror, blood, torture, rape, abuse, and sex. I will never be as nervous about them as I am about something that delves into the science fiction (except maybe erotica).

Why? I chose to use my personal name on my books. “Crissy Moss” isn’t a pen name. It’s me. I kept it because I’m one of a very few people online with that particular name. And it is incredibly feminine. I can’t hide behind “Chris” and still be visible. I chose this.

It’s odd that the two genres that worry me are on complete opposite sides of the spectrum. I am afraid to publish in erotica because I don’t want people to judge me because I am a woman that likes sex. And I am nervous about publishing in SF because I know people will judge me for not being steeped in science enough.

Caring what other people think about us… man or woman, this simple foible is enough to keep people lost, alone, and unable to attain their dreams. This very simple fact is why I won’t sit back and let my stories sit on a hard drive collecting virtual dust. Accolades, comments, and compliments are nice, but being true to yourself is far more important. It’s worth risking one star reviews, flops, and hate mail.

I don’t pretend to know why women aren’t as prominent in the SF/F publishing ranks. I think it is a self perpetuating cycle. Fewer women try to publish in SF, so there are fewer SF books written by women. There are fewer SF books published by women, so fewer women see role models in the SF realm and don’t take the plunge.

I do know that it isn’t just about women. Male authors trying to break into erotica often have to use pseudonyms as well, and they usually have to be female, or non-gender names.

And it’s about readers, too. Readers sometimes wont get past the name on the book.

Gender is more fluid then we think it is. Anatomy doesn’t make us who we are. People can change sexes, or act in non-masculine and non-feminine ways, regardless of the equipment birth gave them. There are even those among us who have no affinity to either sex.

True equality… That’s going to take some time.

Some articles about the subject:

Is the book industry sexist or just starved for great women authors?

Women Who Pretended to Be Men to Publish Scifi Books


The best women authors of science fiction and fantasy

The Greatest Female Sci-Fi/Fantasy Authors of All Time

Around the Web

It’s long past due for an “Around the Web” list.

Here are some of the things going on around the web.

Judge says: Apple Conspired to Fix eBook Prices

Harper Lee, author of “To Kill A Mockingbird”, scammed out of her author rights, trying to get them back.

An Op-Ed piece on “state of publishing“. A very interesting read actually, and why the mega-publisher “Penguin Random House” isn’t good for readers or authors.

A great article about research showing that copyright kills books!

What Makes People Put Down a Book

TedEd talks, “If Super Powers were Real” including super speed, flight, and immortality among others.

22 Productive Tricks

7 things D&D Taught me about Storytelling

Is ANGST the secret ingredient in new adult fiction?



What if someone steals my stuff?

This is a really common question of new writers. They want feedback from other writers, but they are afraid some other writer will steal their idea.

The truth is there is a chance someone can take your idea, or use that name for their book, or have a similar protagonist. All of these can happen.
But it isn’t as important as some seem to think.

The truth is:

1. Someone already did it.
Think about the plot pieces that make up your story. Lost soul? Broken heart? Artifact? Magic stone?
Now think of all the movies, TV shows, music pieces, paintings, games, books, comics, and other media out there with the same theme, plot, story, or character type in it. A lot of them, right?

Very little comes out that is completely new and original. Many of the best movies are re-imaginings of past ideas, or franchises. Even “Avatar”, a block buster, was criticized for being a rip off of “Dances with Wolves”. “Titanic” drew from the sinking of a real ship, and the old “boy meets girl of a different class, can’t have girl cause someone else is in the way” story line. They just tweaked the stories, gave them beautiful backdrops, and let them go.

2. Writers already have their own ideas.
I have 7 novels, and 12 short stories planned for this year. That doesn’t include the others that are waiting for next year. I don’t need yet another idea to stack on top of all the others. And I bet most, if not all authors that bother with publishing, have a drawer full of ideas just like me. Why, then, do they need your idea?

3. Your stuff isn’t worth stealing… yet.
Okay, there is a chance that your prose are amazing, awesome, inspiring, and will bring readers to tears, encouraging them to shoot you to the top of the charts. But more then likely you need to hone your craft. Find all the glitches. Clean up the prose, spelling and grammar. And then, MAYBE, after all of that is done, then you might be ready for the big time.

If you are one of those rare people who have uber-amazing stories that are worth stealing, then why aren’t you publishing right now?

Lets be honest. It takes time to learn to write well, and not only technically speaking, but also to write stories worth reading. Worth stealing? That is a whole new level of greatness.

4. Art is Stealing
Romeo and Juliet has been remade, rewritten, and re-conceptualized, so many hundreds of times that each of us knows the story without ever actually reading the original work. Most of the adaptations don’t even bother to say “this is a rip off of Romeo and Juliet” anymore. We just know.

Why is this a good thing? Because it means you can do the same thing. Remake red riding hood, or some Greek myths. Re-imagine Aesop’s fables, or a 100 year old opera. Go to museums and make up stories to go with pictures you see. Write to music, art, etc. Etc.

For more on this go read Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

5. Ideas are a dime a dozen.
Here, have some:

  • Girl goes to mars and finds life that tries to eat her.
  • Guy meets girl, pisses her off, and has to win her back.
  • Group of friends are going off to college and make a last ditch effort to have the best summer ever.
  • Ancient god from Norse myth turns out to be an alien, and he’s back.
  • We are actually in a communal dream.
  • Kid finds out his parents are really wizards/aliens/superheros/etc and so is he.
  • Artist makes a beautiful piece of art and falls in love with it.

Seven ideas. All of which have been featured in several movies/books/poems/songs/etc.
Ideas are a dime a dozen, and you can’t copyright ideas. In fact you can go watch a movie, write down the key points, and create your own story out of it.

Basic story: Guy finds out he’s actually meant to save the world. Doesn’t believe it, but when he finally does amazing/horrible things start happening. This is the plot to “The Matrix”, “LOTR”, and “WoT” books, as well as several other franchises.
Now redefine a few things. Who is “the guy”? How will he save, or destroy the world? Why doesn’t he believe? What makes him believe? What can he do once he believes? Now you have a story all your own.

What does this all mean?
Stop worrying about your stuff getting stolen and go on with your life. Get on with making art.

Here is a real world example. Fashion designers can not copyright their designs because clothing is a utilitarian item. Here is a great article on how lack of copyright has actually made fashion design better.

And here is EASimCity, a great game. Suffering under 2800 one star reviews because they are so paranoid about copyright that they are killing their own game.

Here is what matters:
Make good art.
Make a lot of it.
Make it available.
Give it a fair priced.
Engage your readers.

If they like you, and your writing, then they will want to give you money so that you will keep making more stuff.

If you are so afraid someone will steal your stuff, then you’re not going to meet the fans who will love your work, either.


Most writers will eventually run up against copywrite at one point or another. This is both good, and bad. While copywrite does protect your intellectual property and allow you, and only you, to legally make money off of your work (be it art, video, music, games or the written word) it also has some unintended consequences.

Watch the short video below for a little explanation on how it started, and how it has been changed over the years.