All About That Drama

Reddit is having a melt down.

If you don’t know what Reddit is you might not understand, or care about this. But to those of us who were avid Redditors this has been an ugly couple of days.

Reddit was a bastion of free speech. While our for-fathers had underground newspapers that fought against the status quo, we had sub-reddits. We took the phones to let the FCC know we would not stand for the destruction of net neutrality. We fought to hold back SOPA and PIPA. We had the world record for online Secret Santas. We sent pizza to a two year old cancer patient. And so many more things from helping kids with homework to donating kidneys.

Over the last few months since the new CEO, Ellen Pao, took over, Reddit has been plagued with troubles. There were a flurry of bans, and while many looked at the bans and worried it was just the beginning, many of us weren’t upset because the content was quasi legal anyway.  At the same time many of us wondered why they didn’t remove other subreddits that were equally distasteful. Then came another rash of subreddit bans, this time because the subreddits were accused of vote brigades and harassment of people on and off reddit.  While many knew about and disagreed with some of those deleted (like FatPeopleHate) others knew it would eventually cause issues, and many of us believed it was a political action as some subs with less than tasteful cultures were deleted while others who are notorious for harassing people on and offline were left alone.

Reddit was started by two college students looking for a great aggregate site. They delivered. And it got HUGE. So huge that a corporate entity bought it from them some time ago. At the end of the day, Reddit is a corporation, and they have the same bottom line as everyone else. Money.

The sad part is, Reddit was a fantastic place to get breaking news. Often they had better news about events then any of the major news networks. They had live reports from people in the middle of the action, photos from people at the floods, or fires, or tsunamis. Reddit had mega-threads for the devastating tsunami in Japan so we had one place to go to find out as much as we could. That, along with so many other things, made Reddit a wonderful place.

However, with corporate interests comes corporate censorship. It has been noted for quite some time that the default subreddits ban anything “controversial”. That means they do not allow anything that would upset their corporate interests into those default threads, the largest subreddits available with the most eyes seeing them every day. So as we were trying to fight TPP they were banning all discussion of it from anyone who might see it, and even banning people from the subreddits. The same spirit that helped us con conquer SOPA/PIPA and lead the fight for net neutrality is now banned from the most visible parts of reddit.

These six companies own 90% of all the media. ALL OF IT. What we read, what we watch, what we listen to. They tell us what they think is appropriate to watch and see. They spin it the way they want to, and they don’t care if we want to see something else. In tern these agencies are paid for, and controled by other corporate interests. If their sponsors don’t like something they will pull funding. Like the case of Monsanto forcing a Fox News affiliate to change their coverage over dangerous hormones in milk. Two reporters were fired, and the court held up the right of the news affiliate to spin the news as they saw fit (i.e. they could lie.)

More and more it seems that Reddit has becoming just another corporate entity. This is devastating for the freedom of speech. The freedom to get and share ideas. The ability to simply know the truth instead of what corporate money, and political interests want us to know. There is a reason propaganda is so predominant in this country. Even today.

I am sad to see Reddit falling to pieces. I am sure it will survive in some form or another, but I know that as long as leaders of reddit seem more interested in political correctness then I won’t feel as comfortable as I once did. I’ll always be wondering what they banned this week, or who they are shadowbanning to keep silent.


I’d like to teach the world to sing….

I had this conversation with someone today on reddit, and I’d just like to share it. After writing it I felt so proud to be part of the indie community. And if you are an artist, writer, story teller, or just someone chasing your dreams… you should feel proud of the community of creators we are building too.

It isn’t a contest. We aren’t at each others throats vying for the top. We are friends, and coworkers, helping one another because we are also helping ourselves.

************ the conversation ***********

In response to my assertion that “the arts are skyrocketing” and a person should follow their dream, another redditor replied:

I agree that we have a lot more avenues to express our creativity.  And, it is easy to reach a lot of people. I also believe that supporting local economies is good. But I wonder about ‘skyrocketing’. Is this a growing viable industry, is that what you mean by ‘skyrocketing’? Do most people make good money or even a living?  Or are most folks ‘starving artists’ that would be considered as hobbyists to the business world?

My reply:

I am mainly familiar with the self publishing book world since that is where I am working.

Ten to fifteen years ago, before Amazon opened up publishing to individual authors, the best a writer could do was sign with a publishing house. Most houses would pay 10-15% royalties on a book. They would miss payments, miss count, hide numbers, and basically the publishers made bank while the author made crap. A large portion of authors, way back then, had to have a second job because what they were making through the publishing company couldn’t really pay the bills. They were limited to one book a year. Often signed to contracts with “no compete” clauses so they couldn’t sell anywhere else. And a big part was that there were only so many publishers with so many open book slots each year, and more authors to fill those slots then slots available.

Then Amazon came around. They give their authors direct access to publishing, pay them 70% royalties, and let you do everything yourself.

There are MORE writers now that actually get books out into the world then there ever were before. And they are selling! Things no publishing house would touch because they were cross genre or off brand are now selling millions of copies. Authors, for the first time ever, have a real chance to make a living doing what they love.

I know several dozen authors who make a full time living from writing. They quit their day jobs. And now they just create art. I know about hundreds of other cases and there are reports of thousands of authors who all write full time.

Amazon, smashwords, kobo, and all the other platforms have opened up a world to people who were once hampered by what the publishing industry dictated.

And others are succeeding because we, self published authors, are succeeding. We hire freelance editors, illustrators, voice actors, formatters, personal assistants, and more. Just because we love to write, and people love to read.

Now a lot of authors are starting to hire graphic novelists, animators, and film makers….

Yes. from where I sit, the art community is sky rocketing. We are sharing the wealth. We are encouraging indie development, and teaching each other how to succeed. There are free podcasts, tutorials, and ebooks out there for anyone who wants to put in the hard work to become a self published artist, writer, musician, filmmaker or whatever. And we as an indie community understand that the more our fellow creators succeed, the more we succeed.

It’s kind of a beautiful thing, and I am so happy to be part of it.

A Challenge and a Review


A Challenge

A group of my fellow authors started a little challenge for the new year. The challenge is to be the first to write a million words for the year. Not just on books we might be writing, but also including things like blog posts, notes for world building, articles, or anything else we “write”, because ultimately writing is all about putting words on a page.

I am skeptical that I can do this. Sort of.

I write a lot each day. I write a bit on some stories. I do blog posts. I answer emails, and talk in forums about odd things I find on Reddit. But I can’t bring myself to “count” those words.

I suppose, if I wanted to, I could cut and past all those little snippits of words from conversations about the political climate in Washington, and weather or not the cute little otter running back and forth across the fence is really THAT cute, and shove them into a file marked “BLAH” and count them. But that feels like cheating to me.

And it isn’t that I’d be cheating the challenge, because the challenge specifically says “ANYTHING” I write counts. It’s that I feel I would be cheating myself.

Last year I wrote about a quarter of a million words, only including actually work on books and short stories, or blog posts. That also included a few ideas for future stories, but it didn’t count all the blog posts I started and never finished, or those I eventually threw out as a bad idea. It didn’t count several thousand words I threw away as something that would never come to fruitfulness. Maybe those things would be interesting to see.

I wanted to work myself up to 1000 words of story a day anyway, and that would get me close to 400k all alone, so perhaps with all this other writing added in I will get closer to a million. But I refuse to count posts on Reddit, Twitter, Goodreads, and other social media. THAT is where I draw the line.

A Review

FO-smSimon Canton was nice enough to do a review over on his blog for “Forgotten Ones”. It was a fair review, and…

Well, I don’t generally make it a point to answer reviews, or comment on them for various reasons, but I will say that I do have two more books planned for the “Eternal Tapestry” story-line. One will be a revisit of the “Necropolis” short story, and go back to the first time Jadina meets Maylin. The other is a story that comes after “Forgotten Ones”, dealing with another goddess that managed to survive the modern age. Because I agree with Simon that it would be much better as a full novel. So,… I’m working on that.

I find it incredibly interesting that so many people read my stories and their first comment is “I wish this was longer, I wanted to read more.” Which just leads me to think that I really, REALLY need to put out some novels so I can give people what they are asking for.

I’m working on it!

Some Updates

“Mermaids Curse”, my NaNoWriMo project, is now at 48k. It’s about half finished, maybe a little more. It also has a LOT more action then most of my books, and maybe a couple sex scenes just because they seemed to fit at the time. (That is, if I can write them. I’m still not that confident in writing a full fledged sex scene.)

That is my big project at the moment, but in between filling out those chapters I will continue writing short stories simply because I love finishing stories, and I love publishing things so people can read them. Since it takes me such a long time to finish a novel it just makes sense that I’d do a couple short stories a month too.

“Footprints” is finished, but I won’t be putting that out for a little while. Garrett Robinson is working on an anthology, and “Footprints” will, hopefully, be part of that. I am not sure if I want to put it up as a single before or after the anthology is released.

“Zombie Swarm” is the current short story I am working on. It is my first (and probably only) zombie story, and looks like it will be 5-8,000 words. It is a rather unique view of zombies, and I really can’t say anything other then that till it is released. Which, I hope, will be by the end of this month.