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Fan Fiction, and Amazon

A few days ago Amazon announced their intentions to start a new line. Fan fiction… for pay.

This is unusual because fan fiction is usually skirting copyright by avoiding pay.

Basically, if you write fan fiction for “Vampire Diaries” or “Pretty Little Liars”, and it isn’t porn, then you have a chance of earning some money from the sale of that fan fiction. However, in exchange Amazon, and the original IP owners (in this case the studio producing that franchise) get to use your stories in whatever way shape or form they want to, and they don’t have to cut you in on the deal.

This is good, in the way that it allows some people who like writing fan fiction to write it, and sell it. To earn money they would not have been able to earn otherwise.

This is bad because if you do write the fan fiction, then the producers decide your fic is good and they want to make that into an episode… well they already have it. You aren’t getting paid anymore for it, no matter what you say or do. You don’t even get the regular writers fees for people who work on these shows.

If you write it anyway, maybe it is okay for you. But in all honesty I like Hugh Howey’s idea of fan-fic better. He encourages it, and lets you sell. He doesn’t care. He doesn’t even care what kind of fan-fic it is because it’s your work. He even advertises it on his website!

Fan fiction is an interesting beast all it’s own. I wrote it when I was younger. E.L. James wrote it then changed it up and made millions off “50 Shades of Grey”. Fan fiction isn’t going anywhere.

But I don’t agree with giving Amazon, or “Pretty Little Liars” the ability to use your work unchecked. If they want to hire you as a writer… great. If they want to use your work, license it. But don’t just claim it for a few bucks while they make millions.

John Skulzi had something to say about Amazon’s new world, and Neil Gaiman agreed with him. Here is Neil Gaiman’s opinion on fan fiction itself.

If you want to write it, and publish it, just know what you’re getting into.

 

NOTE: “Twilight Tales” will only be available for a few more hours, but if you did pick it up, and read it, please consider giving it a review. Reviews mean so much to new authors. Also, there are three more books available ranging .99 to 2.99.

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2013 in On Writing

 

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Update

A week ago I wrote about Garrett, Zack and Cristal calling me out to be the first to send a voicemail into their show. So… here it is: (the voicemail)

You should definitely watch the whole show. It was very interesting, and had a lot less spoilers then last weeks show.

“Happy little accidents” is from Bob Ross, a man who use to paint on PBS from who I learned a lot of my landscape painting skills, and mainly just to get out and enjoy the act of making art. (Bob Ross Remix)

I was never actually able to paint along with Bob Ross, but I did learn that sometimes the simplest things were enough to make art beautiful. It only takes a little bit of paint to get the point across.

Another concept cover for Osiren's Tears

Another concept cover for Osiren’s Tears

On that note, I have been really toying with the new cover of Osiren’s Tears, and I haven’t really liked anything yet. I am trying to convey a lot of information with it (fantasy, series, war, etc) and I decided to try something a little simpler.

I am not sure this is the final version, but I like this one a lot more then other versions.

The book was suppose to be at the editors right now, however… I got sick. She was nice enough to postpone it for a week while I catch up on my edits. I still have four chapters that I need to finish up before I can send it to her. A chapter a night and I should be able to have an actual publication in just a couple more weeks.

I really hate postponing yet again, but I honestly couldn’t move or stay awake while I was sick. So I am just going to have to put my nose to the grindstone again and get this thing finished.

I think you know you’re starting to get serious about something when your excuses start annoying you, even if they are valid excuses.

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2013 in On Writing, Updates

 

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Being called out

I’ve been trying to surround myself with people who believe in me, and who push me to do… better… to do things I am not comfortable with.

Alright, lets be a bit honest. I think I have a touch of social anxiety disorder. No, I haven’t been diagnosed, and I don’t think I have the full onset disorder. I just know that sometimes I have to retreat from everything, and everyone, and hide in a little space where I slowly breath and cry, and try so hard to forget there is anything outside my little head. Try to find a place that is safe, and secure. One where the world isn’t closing in on me.

I do this as a self preservation technique. I actually started it when I was in my teens, and during my marriage it got worse. Since my divorce it doesn’t happen very often, but when it does happen the moments can be almost more overwhelming. I think because it use to be a constant stress that I was holding my walls up against  and now that the stress is gone I have let most of the walls down, so when a sudden stress happens it gets closer to me. Closer to my core, and my identity. It hurts much more and I have a bit of a freak out. But I also recover a lot quicker then I use to.

So that brings me to today, and The Story Telling Podcast. Sigh, and YAY at the same time.

Okay, I really like Garrett, and I consider him a friend. An internet friend, to be sure, but a friend. He’s read one of my stories, given me a nice review, and said “KEEP WRITING” often. That means a lot to me. Oh, and he’s actually laughed at my jokes, which doesn’t happen much.

So today… Garrett asks for people to call in and leave voicemail, and he CALLS ME OUT! Okay, so I watch every episode. I tweet them during the show. I comment, etc. etc. I suppose I deserved it, but…

No one knows this. I’ve been trying to get the nerve up to do some audio recording. I’d like to record one of my own stories, or just a little mini podcast on my blog here. But every time I pull up the recorder I look down at the glowing red button… and… freeze… It scares the hell out of me.

I am so afraid of sounding like an idiot. With type I can change the words, rewrite, edit, and adjust things for a while, and then release it to the world. With audio it starts with the fact that I absolutely hate my voice, and ends with the fact that I can’t think of words when I am speaking. They just suddenly fly away into the surrounding air, unwilling to land upon my tongue. I have no idea why I don’t have that problem while typing, but with speaking… it’s a HUGE problem.

But, on this journey that is my life I am trying to improve myself. I am trying to do things that make me uncomfortable and doing more. Doing things to get where I want to go.

So yes, Garrett, I will send you a comment or question. I will be your “bathtub girl”, lol. I will be scared, but I’ll do it anyway… Because I can.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2013 in Commentary

 

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Have you hugged your favorite author today?

I don’t mean literally, of course. But have you sent them a note? A tweet? A virtual high five?

One of the best things about this day and age is how easy it is to contact people and let them know how amazing you think their work is.

When I was little I read “Dragon on a Pedestal” by Piers Anthony. I absolutely fell in love with Xanth, the magic, the creatures and the puns. But when I got to the end of the book and found the authors note where he acknowledged his fans, their contributed puns, and said he answered every single fan letter that he could… As a little girl I couldn’t write to him. I didn’t have access to stamps and delivery boxes, and I had no idea where to send it.

Last year I finally wrote to him. It was an email, and I had a reply in less then a week. Something that could never be done when I was a little girl.

I follow a lot of my favorite authors on Twitter, Tumbler, blogs and goodreads. I’ve sent them quick tweets, gotten replies, and sometimes conversations. I feel like I know many of them as individuals. And it just makes me want to read their books even more.

The best way to give your favorite author an internet hug is to give them a nice review on their book so others can find them as you did.

And if you are a writer, artist, photographer, filmographer, etc. Show your fans some love, too. It can only help your career.

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2013 in Commentary, On Writing

 

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What’s in a Sale Price (An open letter to Johnny B Truant)

In today’s Self Publishing Podcast Johnny B Truant said:

“A book is F*ing $3. As an artist I have a little bit of a problem with the idea that people would balk at that.”

I’ve been having a similar discussion with people regarding games. Specifically the idea that game makers, like Sony, want to curtail second hand game sales, like Gamestop, as they feel that used games are lost revenue.

Here the crux of the matter…. Even if you managed to stop every free/sale/used transaction for every single item in the entire world, producers of content still won’t make more money, for one really simple fact: we can’t all afford new.

Yes, you’re an artist. Your product is worth money. I get it, I’m a writer too. I want to earn a living off my writing as well. However, you are looking at it from the perspective of “this is my stuff, you’re getting my stuff, and you should pay me what I think it’s worth.”

Game developers also have the added incite of “this is how much it cost us to make this game, and this is how many we think we can sell this month.” So they slap a tag for $60 on it, and release it. They are absolutely right that the game is worth, from their perspective, $60 dollars.

Now, lets look at it from my perspective.

I’m a single mom of three. I love books and games. I am teaching my three children to also love books and games. I make less then $2k a month, and my bills alone suck up most of that money.

$60 is one bill. Or a car full of groceries  Or two pairs of shoes. Or two tanks of gas to get to work. Or three nice dates with my wonderful boyfriend.

So I wait till games are on sale, (got to love Steam!) or I wait till the price comes down. Two, three years after a AAA title has come out and grossed the company millions of dollars it might be available for $20 from the company. Maybe. If I’m lucky. Or I can hit a used bin and possibly find it for a little less. It still won’t be that cheap, but maybe I can finally play it.

It’s the same with books, only most of the time I have to go to the library. Sometimes, if i really love a book, or an author, I will splurge and buy their book. Maybe give it to a friend, or sell it back to Half Priced Books, more then likely just keep it on my shelf. Keep in mind I read about 50+ books a year. I can’t afford to buy all of those even if they are only $3.

Yes, you as an artist deserve to be paid for your work. I, as an upcoming author, deserve to be paid for my work. But not everyone is in the same place that you are. Not all of us are able to go out and buy every book/game we want.

I currently own over 23 of David Write and Sean Platts books. I got a lot of them for free, and then I started buying them. I joined Seans list and got this nifty little email saying “Thanks for joining, I’d like to give you a free book.” I turned it down because I already had so many of their books. I also own several Johnny B Truant books, and I bought most of them, but I did get several for free.

I try to repay in my way by giving reviews, and sharing the podcast with other writers, and by buying a few now and then when I have some extra money. But I keep a look out for sale prices of my favorite authors.

Steam is actually an incredible example of what sale prices can do. Summer sales, and winter sales on Steam can lower game prices up to as much as 75% off games, sometimes more. And what happened? Well I bought 80+ games this year. I know I’m not the only one. Steam sales more games during these sales, and they make more for the people selling games through them then any other time of the year.

When you lower the price a lot more people see it, and buy it. You make up for lower prices through volume.

Now, Steam has an amazing platform, they have sales specifically a few times a year, and a few games on sale each day. They can afford to do this, and they do it well. While books are a bit different  you shouldn’t discount the power of “free” through KDP.

TL;DR Remember that your buyers are made up of different kinds of people. We can’t all afford things at the higher prices, so giving us intensives (sales and freebies) will get us interested, and may get you future sales, reviews, and rating to drive future business. It’s about making a brand, not just making a buck.

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2013 in Commentary, On Writing

 

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PAX 2012

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This is Wil Wheaton… from the back of the theater. Now, if you’re at the back of the theater you can’t actually see the person talking. Not unless all the peoples heads in front of you line up just right and you manage to catch a glimpse in between heads.

The conference rooms aren’t really set up for this as far as I can see. And the audio is a bit low. But worth it? Heck ya!

Now, I am bias. I’ve been a Wheaton fan since I was 10 years old, watching Star Trek TNG and harboring my secret crush on the ultra intelligent Wesley Crusher. But Wheaton, himself, is incredibly funny and knows how to tell a good story. And his stories matter to the crowds that show up to see him because most of us were/are nerdy gamers who played a lot of the games he did, and had similar experience (minus the awesome Enterprise crew, though we envy that.)

Sadly, the Fawkes Guild comic that I had, wrapped in cardboard and safely stuck in my hard hard cover D&D book to avoid crushing, went unsigned. Being a brand new PAX goer, I was lost, and given bad directions. The line was closed before I got there. Maybe next year?

So many games, and so little time. I demoed about 20 of them, watched people playing several others. Watched people be the aliens hunting down space marines, and killed a zombie in Walking Dead after learning she was probably a little girls baby sitter. Got t-shirts, pins, and coloring books….

All in all PAX was amazing, and I’ll be going next year.

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2012 in Commentary

 

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Fan Fiction

Last month someone asked Neil Gaiman a few questions about specifics concerning the background of his characters. I thought his answer was beautiful:

“I think that is what fanfiction is for. Go and make it up, and learn.”

For years, many writers have argued about fan fiction. And here it is from one of the (imho) great writers of our time. “Go, make it up… learn”.

There are some great things to be said for fan fiction.

  • The world is already created.
  • There is a HUGE reader base already, much of the time.
  • You get to explore new ideas.
  • You get to use you imagination.
  • You practice writing.
  • You practice getting criticism.

What’s more, Fan Fiction gives the reader a vested interest in the world.

Remember all those little kids pretending to be Jedi, Power Rangers, or Transformers? Maybe you were one. Fan fiction is just the next step. It’s doing something you love, exploring a world you adore, and making it your own.

Legally, fan fiction is okay in most places as long as you don’t try to sell it. Some authors, like Piers Anthony and Gaiman, even actively encourage it. Why? Because they love their fans. And if you actively participate in their world through stories and art of your own you will be more likely to keep investing in it later by buying their books, or watching their (potential) movies.

Those kids that played Jedi in the backyard? They grew up to be adults who flocked to the theaters in droves when Phantom Menace came out. They still dress up sometimes and call it “cosplay“, only now they spend small fortunes to do it. (How much does a Stormtrooper suit cost?)

So, participate in fan-fic. Enjoy it. Read it. Write it. Then encourage it for your own fans. It’s good for the heart, the soul, and even some pocketbooks. But really, it just brings more life to a story, and gets people thrilled to read, and write. What could be bad about that?

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2012 in Commentary, On Writing

 

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