Friday, September 30, 2011

Should I Leave Agents on My Blog Wall?

Have you read this blog post by Janet Reid?

Yeesh!  I respect Janet, or at least I did, until that load of self-serving crap was dished out.

I'm sad.  I'm disappointed.

And personally, I'm tired of the anti-indie stance that agents and publishing houses have taken.  Why are they so fucking worried when allegedly, we indies weren't worth taking on as clients to begin with?

*sigh* Is there something in the air this week?  Between Kris Rusch, Passive Guy, Joe Konrath. . . Wait, nevermind, Joe always rants.  But you get my drift.

The dinosaurs are dying, and they're blaming us cute, fuzzy mammals.

Yes, Traditional Publishing!  Zombie Hamsters will have you for lunch!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Robin's Rant

After my blow-up about the stupid censorship-disguised-as-trademark-infringement and waste-of-taxpayer-money lawsuit by TxDOT, fellow paranormal author Robin Badillo added her two cents over at Sealed With a Kiss.

She found even more interesting "trademark infringements."

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

More on TxDot Versus Christie Craig

TxDOT is lke the dog with a chew toy that just won't let go. Discovery has started in Case No. 1:11-cv-726.  Apparently, Judge Sparks pointing out in his ruling on the TRO and permanent injunction that a romance writer can't really harm the state fell on deaf ears.

Nor did reality sink in when the state's attorney ADMITTED IN OPEN COURT that NONE of the state's trademark registrations APPLIED TO BOOKS.

In the original complaint, TxDOT's biggest objection was that Christie's book "contain numerous graphic references to sexual acts, state of arousal, etc."

Okay, TxDOT, if you're that worried about sex, why do you sell these?

Yes, this thong is available for sale by the great state of Texas.  And people wonder why I think the lawsuit against Christie is really an attack on women's rights.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Is Traditional Publishing the New Vanity Publishing?

If you haven't read it yet, go read Kris Rusch's rant of what constitutes a professional writer.  She warns against her, um, vulgarity.  Really, it's pretty mild.  But then, I can and have made Marines blush during my rants so my POV is a little skewed.

Seriously, go read it now.  I'll wait.

Here's what scares me me:  the way traditional publishers are treating mid-list writers is very reminiscent of how the old vanity model works.

Unfortunately vanity publishing and self-publishing got wrapped up together in the blanket of bad ideas, so let's differentiate.

Self-publishing is exactly what a lot of us are doing right now.  We either subcontract certain jobs or do them ourselves in addition to writing the books.  This includes cover art, back cover blurbs, actual printing of the book, etc.  Any marketing anad retailing is the responsibility of the writer.

Vanity publishing is a scam that preys on naive, uneducated writers.  They present themselves as a legimate publisher and make a lot of promises.  But then they ask for money from the writer to actually publish the book.  These sums can easily hit five figures.  The vanity publisher then often produces a badly formatted, unedited tome.  They sometimes require the writer to buy a minimum number of copies.  They do not market the book to retailers, despite insinuations to the contrary.  By the time, everything's said and done, the writer has blown the kids' college fund or his 401K for a garage full of books he can't give away.

From the incidents I've been reading and hearing about, traditional publishers are starting to act like vanity publishers.  Locking naive writers in unteneable contracts designed so that the publisher get all the money and the writer has nothing.  Threatening legal action if the writer protests the unfair treatment.  Verbally abusing the writer if the writer questions anything regarding the process.

And what does the writer end up with?  Well, this time they don't even get a garageful of books.

I'm not saying all publishers are bad or that all publishing deals are bad.  But seriously, talk to an IP attorney BEFORE you sign on the dotted line.

And if I were you, I sure as hell wouldn't talk to Kris AFTER you've signed one of these atrocious contracts.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Songs I've Been Listening to a Lot Lately

I indie publish 'cause I've been Searchin' My Soul.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Summer is DONE!

Okay, I typed that title and realized today is Mabon, the Autumn Equinox, the first day of Fall.

So, Happy Mabon, everyone!

What I meant was that I'm done with the initial editing of Seasons of Magick: Summer. Finally! And it's been sent to critique partners and a beta reader for review.

In the meantime, the first 2500 words of Seasons of Magick: Autumn have been banged out on Isabella the laptop.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that no other incidents or family traumas will interfere. And I'm doing a pretty good job of saying "No!" lately to a lot of requests for my time.

All-in-all, I think I'm back on track.  Yea, me!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Status Update - September 2011

Currently reading - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (MMPB)

Here's the numbers for all four of my books available for the month of August:

Amazon - 16
Barnes & Noble - 6
Smashwords - 15
XinXii - 0

Total books for August: 37
Total books for 2011: 122

Please note that all Smashwords downloads were for Creating a Business Plan for the Indie Writer, a compilation of a series I did for Pitch University.  It was available for free with the coupon code available at Pitch U. 

So for actual books sold, the real number is more like 22.

As I said in the My Big Mistakes post last week, I seriously dropped the ball in several aspects of my business. Bad Suzan!

Can I fix it? Yes, by returning to my original business plan and putting in some elbow grease.

P.S.  If you too want a free copy of Creating a Business Plan for the Indie Writer before the coupon expires on September 30th, go to Smashwords and enter coupon code EW59P at check-out.

Monday, September 19, 2011

I'm Not Here Right Now. . .

Today, I'm guest blogging over at Everybody Needs a Little Romance. [Editor's Note: Oops! Link has been fixed.]

The subject?

Breaking the Mental Cycle: Or Why I'd Rather Be a Bitch in a Lap Pet World.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Songs I've Been Listening to a Lot Lately

I indie publish because there's Room at the Top.

Friday, September 16, 2011

My Big Mistakes

When I started documenting my indie publishing journey, I said I'd share my disasters as well as my triumphs. In that spirit, here's three of the biggest mistakes I've made in the last three months:

1) Not making MY business top priority

Women in our society are socialized to put others' needs before their own. Despite my general bitch-ness, I've found myself helping friends with their projects instead of working on my own this summer. As a result, I'm way behind on the schedule I put together at the beginning of the year.

2)  Underestimating my time

When I was a computer consultant, I could estimate to the hour how long it would take me to complete a project.  As an attorney, I could do it within a half day. Unfortunately, I'm still getting the hang of estimating my time when it comes to writing. The difference is working in an office versus working from home. The only time I may not get interrupted is when I'm writing at one of the survivng local coffee shops.  And even then, I often get interrupted by men who don't have a clue.

(Seriously, guys.  Just because a woman is overweight, middle-age and in front of a goddess-damned computer doesn't mean she's desperate for your attention.)

3) Underestimating the need for marketing

Some marketing of your product must be done at all times.  I really dropped the ball on that one because of Items (1) and (2).  I thought I had plenty of promo work over the summer to drift for a little while, but it apparently wasn't enough from the drop-off in sales since the end of August.

Right now, I struggling to get back on track with my schedule. So if you see a red-head in a coffee shop with a Star Trek t-shirt and a laptop, for your own safety, I wouldn't approach her.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Guest Blog by Robin Badillo - Overcoming Obstacles

I'm a sucker for a vampire story, so I was ecstatic when I met fellow paranormal author Robin Badillo. Robin's one of the people that you can't help but be impressed with. Once you hear her story, you'll understand why. Take it away, Robin!

Thank you so much for inviting me for a visit, Suzan.

As an author in the public eye, I could talk about my books all day and probably never take a breath. But talk about myself? Uhh, not so much.

What is there to say?

Okay, I guess I could tell you about my three story mansion and latest whip, (that would be of the luxury “car” variety), or about my indoor pool and private bowling alley. I could also mention the tennis/basketball courts and private theater where I often preview new movie releases before their public premiers. (I usually invite Bobby Di Nero, George, Brad and Angelina over for popcorn on those nights)

I’m sure you would be dazzled by my state-of-the-art kitchen, personally designed by Martha Stewart or I could show you photos of my designer wardrobe…but if I did I would not only be a writer of fiction, but a magician as well.

Needless to say, I have none of that stuff… with the exception of Bobby and the Gang on speed dial… Yeah, right!

The truth of the matter is I’m just a country girl with a high school education and average intelligence at best. I’ve slung burgers, waited tables, changed diapers in a daycare or three, bussed tables, operated a drive-thru cash register and done just about any other blue-collar job one can think of.

I’ve worked in education and at one time was even trained to give parenting classes for our local school district. What were they thinking?

Along the way, I managed to get married, had a couple of kids, adopted a couple more, vacationed, paid bills, became a member of a typical two income household… all while trying to live the American dream.

Things were chugging along at an even pace until my husband of fifteen years had a massive coronary due to an undetected blood clot and passed away in his sleep. Forty-two years old, in the prime of his life and he was gone in the blink of an eye, leaving me behind with four kids, a stack of bills and not a freakin’ clue.

What did I do about it?

The only thing I could do. I pulled up my big girl panties and survived!

Writing had always been a therapeutic outlet since my teen years. What once had been a love of poetry and rhymes had soon morphed into journal entries and writing short stories. Most were written as personal reflections of day to day life and how I saw the world around me. More often than not, the entries were a bit on the cynical side with a smidgen of tongue-in-cheek humor.

In 2004, just two years before the loss of my husband, I penned my first full length novel, a cougar story, written in long hand because I had no typing skills and had no idea how to create a document on a computer. Sad but true.

Flash forward a few years and there I was with four kids, still no skills to speak of and fresh out of ideas of finding employment where I could still be a full time mother and keep a roof over our heads. It wasn’t long before a friend called saying that a few teachers I used to work with had suddenly found themselves without childcare and hoped I could give them a hand.

Poof, I was in the kid business once again, and still NOT back to writing.

In 2009, my daughter asked if I would rent a little movie called Twilight. The idea of a romance with vampires sounded interesting enough having always been a fan of the genre. I hadn’t read the books, but my son, who was in high school at the time, said all of the girls he knew were really into the saga.
I ran out, bought the first one and jumped right in. By the time I was on book two, New Moon, my daughter was all about Edward Cullen and ready to put an ad in the local newspaper seeking her very own sparkly vampire…not a good idea for a thirteen year old.

My best friend and I often discussed the books, not realizing the things we talked about were slowly but surely igniting my imagination in ways it had never been sparked before.

One afternoon, while driving home down our long, curvy road, my mind began to wander. It’s a miracle I didn’t crash as my thoughts drifted to a dark alley where a young woman in her early twenties had awoken confused, dirty, disheveled, without a hint of memory as to how she came to be there and not a clue that she was now… a vampire.

I couldn’t get home fast enough. I called my best friend, excited and out of breath and relayed my vision to her.

“Why are you on the phone, wasting time with me?” she asked.


That was all I needed to hear.

Sydney Chance was born and the rest is… well you know how that goes.

Paranormal romance is now a major element in our lives, complete with worlds where anything goes and if I can dream it, a story can be told. I’ve had so much fun learning and sharpening my writing skills and goodness has my craft improved, not to mention the heat levels have cranked up a degree or two. *insert gas here*

I now have two vampire trilogies under my belt, with a single title, Midnight Beckoning, due out in November. But if I have learned anything over the last few years, it would be not to limit myself or my potential.

On September 15th, my first ever contemporary romance will be released and let me warn readers…there isn’t a fang in sight!

Flesh Wounds will bring this writer back to her roots with some good old fashioned, down home, Texas lovin’. Now, that doesn’t mean the hero is a cowboy, but he’s definitely one hell of a good ol’ boy.
I hope you’ll follow me on this new journey of uncharted territory and stick around to see that the stars have in store for me next. Who knows, my sexy vampires just may get some competition from other fanged creatures.

Now wouldn’t that be something to howl at? *wink wink*

After five years away, Julia Benson has finally come home. Facing the painful memories awaiting her in the small Texas town is nothing compared the mess she’ll make when she gets there. Dealing with the ripple affect leaving caused the ones she loved is just as hard as dealing with being abandoned by a father who wasn’t everything she’d believed him to be.

Dylan Banks was the boy from across the street who’d loved Julia since they were twelve. She was the only girl for him and the only one he couldn’t have. Unable to repair that broken part of the girl he loved so much from afar, he now had a second chance to fill the void the only way he could… love her until she got it through her thick skull that not every man was like her father.

Can love really repair all that has gone wrong in Julia’s life or are some wounds just too deep to heal?

* * *
For more information about the ravishing Robin Badillo and her books:

Blog- Sealed with a Kiss:
eXtasy Books:

Monday, September 12, 2011

If You Choose to Go Traditional . .

. . . and you need an agent, take a good look at Janet Reid.  Here's why: she understands that potential clients are also current client's potential customers.

Too many agents and editors in the Big 6 absolutely CANNOT connect these dots.

I wish Janet represented urban fantasy or erotica.  *sigh*

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I Remember

[This is the first post I wrote for 9/11. It runs every year on this date.]

On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, I watched nearly 3,000 people die on live TV while sitting in the treatment chair at my dentist's office.

When I got home, there was a message from my friend, Lanelle. "Don't bother coming to the office. They're shutting down our building and the Galleria."

I called DH. "Get GK and come home now. It's bad."

The rest of the day we listened to fighters out of Ellington Field fly patrols over Houston. In between the passes, an eerie silence blanketed the city.

Have things gotten better? Yes and no. We heal, but we cannot forget.

Songs I've Been Listening to a Lot Lately

I indie publish because I want to be the one in Control.

Friday, September 9, 2011

TxDOT Still Going After Christie Craig

TxDOT isn't giving up on their campaign against women (because frankly that's what it comes down to). According to the article in the Sunday edition of the Houston Chronicle, the TxDOT spokeswoman refused to answer whether the department will sue Rick Perry for using the 'Don't Mess With Texas' slogan in his campaign. No answer in politician speak means they won't. But TxDOT refuses to drop their frivolous lawsuit regarding Christie Craig's book Don't Mess With Texas.

Here's the Chronicle article.

I'm asking all Texas citizens to file a complaint with TxDOT in regards to this lawsuit. Heck, even if you're not, feel free to let our public officials know how ridiculous they make our state look.

Here's the complaint form online.

I already filed a complaint with TxDOT, and as a Texas tax payer, I asked for the specific amount spent on the original request for the original restraining order (which TxDOT lost, by the way). I received a response from the Office of General Counsel stating that no money had been spent, even though TxDOT would have had to pay filing fees for the first lawsuit and they hired outside counsel to represent them in federal court in this matter. If you would like a copy of the repsonse I received, please e-mail me privately.

Because this is ongoing litigation, Christie cannot comment on any of this. Please respect her in that regard.

But as a Texas citizen, I'm very angry about the rampant sexism in our state and the waste of state funds in this economic climate.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Times Are Changing, But Are Attitudes?

Currently Reading - Baby, Come Home by Stephanie Bond (MMPB)

[I'm on Day 6 of my numbers fast. Almost broke down and checked last night, but managed to hold myself back. Is there any correlation between not checking sales and writing over 3300 words since September 1st?  Yeah, I thought so too.]

Part of the whole indie movement is writers getting paid what they're worth. I may not sell as many copies as folks who trad publish but I make more per book.  (We've talked numbers into the ground so I won't rehash the calculations.)

Now, folks in traditional publishing are taking a hard look at what we're doing. Some of the scrutiny is good; some not so good.

The Good
If you've got experience with editing, formatting, covers, or marketing, then SF&F author David Farland is looking for you. He needs a publishing assistant, like now! Go to David's website and sign up for his newsletter for more information on what he's looking for. And he's willing to *gasp* pay his assistant(s)!

So why am I not taking advantage of this fantastic opportunity you ask? Because I'm the quintessential Scorpio who doesn't play well in someone else's sandbox.  I want my own sandbox, damn it!

Seriously though, I've been approached about publishing support positions over the last few months and said no because I want to focus on my own writing and publishing.  It's one thing  to help a friend.  It's another to work for someone else.

The Not So Good
If you're going to work for someone else, then you need to be paid.

Except some folks are trying to do end-run-arounds in the guise of a "favor."  I've sqawked enough about my opinion of agents acting as publishers (as in it's a serious fucking conflict of interest).  Yesterday, a trad pubbed person I know contacted me on behalf of her agent for information on how to upload to Smashwords.  This is the same trad pubbed person who literally spit on me back in February for daring to self-publish.

Look, folks, if you want to pay an agent 15% to publish your work, that's your decision.  (I still think it's stupid, but it's your career.)

But for the love of Djehuti, people!  Make sure your agent knows what the fuck he/she is doing!

Oh, and if the agents needs help then THEY should be paying out of THEIR OWN DAMN POCKET!  Not having their writers asking their indie acquaintances for "favors."

- The Angry Sheep signing off

Monday, September 5, 2011

AA for Indie Writers

Currently reading - Baby, Come Home by Stephanie Bond

It happened.  It's the risk you take when you have real-time data for writers.  The rest of my c.p.'s didn't have this problem as traditionally published writers.  They simply didn't have access to the numbers.  Numbers were totally the purview of the houses.

Hello, my name is Suzan, and I'm addicted to checking my Amazon numbers.

I knew I had a problem when I started checking three times a day.  I knew I was on the way to the harder stuff--viewing my numbers on an hourly basis. I knew I needed help when I was only writing 100-200 words per day because I was worried about the FUCKING NUMBERS!

Addiction is a problem in my family.  I've always known this, but self-publishing wasn't alcohol or prescription drugs or tobacco.  Checking Amazon shouldn't have been a problem, right?


I'm on my fourth day without logging onto Amazon KDP or Author Central.  DH is acting as my sponsor, and he's keeping me accountable.  Let's see if I can make it to the end of September.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Songs I've Been Listening to a Lot Lately

Don't like indie writers?  Maybe you need to Free Your Mind.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Being E in a Print World

Currently reading - Baby, Drive South by Stephanie Bond (MMPB)

The mass market is shifting from print to digital slowly but surely, but there are still people who equate 'writer' with 'a bound collection of paper in my hand.'

Apparently, word is circulating through DH's hometown that I have books out. This is good news. Folks are asking family members where my books are available for sale.  Also good news. Then they find out my books are currently only available as e-books, they want to know when they'll be able to buy them in print.


This situation illustrates one of the main problems of being indie--I don't have enough frickin' time in the day to do everything.

Since I haven't tried formatting a print book yet, I already know it will be a labor intensive/serious learning curve problem.  I'd love to hire a professional book designer, but my funds are severely limited right now between GK's braces and my everyday car coughing its last breath on our driveway Wednesday.

So what's an indie writer to do?

For right now, I'm sticking with my business plan--edit and upload the next two Bloodlines novels; edit and upload Seasons of Magick: Summer; and write, edit and upload Fall and Winter.

Then I'll study up on formatting for print while I work on the next wip.  After the holiday insanity at the Day Job.  Which means January of 2012 at the soonest.

DH jokingly refers to my path as a previous president's decision to "Stay the course."  I look at it as following my business plan until it makes sense not to.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Nations of the World

Think I can make GK memorize the nations using Yakko Warner's song from Animaniacs?