Category Archives: Technicalities

The final website move is done!

Champagne Clink (c) Roger Kirby

Champagne Clink (c) Roger Kirby

Yay! Thanks to massive amounts of help from my friend Patrick, my errors have been fixed and both websites (byericacameron.com and thedreamwarsaga.com) have been moved to my new servers! At this point, there should really only be design changes. I think. I hope. If anything else does change, I think it will be behind the scenes stuff that (hopefully) won’t be noticeable from the world wide interwebs.

In other non-website news, yesterday was pretty fun. I got my hair cut and re-dyed and it’s OMG RED now! I love it. It’s pretty fabulous. Also, ALSO, when I came home from the salon, there was a package waiting for me at home! I had absolutely no clue what it was since I didn’t remember ordering anything. And when I opened it up I saw why. I GOT MY FIRST SET OF SING SWEET NIGHTINGALE BOOKMARKS!

BookmarksThanks to my awesome publisher Spencer Hill for the surprise! I have so many pretties now and no idea what to do with them yet! EEK! Once I figure it out, though, I’ll let you know.

That’s all for now! Time to go back and work. On a book or on day job stuff, I’m not sure… but I know I have something I should be doing… šŸ˜€

Website changes. Again.

Sign 2 Men At Work (c) David E Guglielmo

Sign 2 Men At Work (c) David E Guglielmo

Okay. I’m going to apologize now. I’m messing with my website again and not doing a very good job of it. Like, at all. So I have to wait until tonight for my friend to come and fix the things I’ve messed up. You should still be able to find this post if you come directly to the wordpress site, but most of you won’t see it because I broke the link from byericacameron.com. Oops. My bad. Seriously. At some point in my life I’m going to learn to STOP MESSING WITH THINGS I DON’T UNDERSTAND. Maybe. I don’t know. It hasn’t happened yet, so… guess I shouldn’t get my hopes up.

ON THE PLUS SIDE, as soon as this migration is done, I should not have to EVER EVER move my website ever again! At least, not in any way that affects you. So, yay for that!

I apologize for the technical issues. My fault!

*hides*

Please excuse the mess.

I’m messing around with design possibilities, so the site may be a little wonky for a while. Sorry!

Hopefully it’ll work out in a day or two.

Just thought you should know!

Legalities: A Follow-up

Not too long ago, I wrote a post talking about the power-plays companies like Amazon and PayPal have been making in recent years. This morning I stumbled across more information on two of the specific cases I mentioned in that post.

Nathan Bransford talks about the DOJ investigation into ebook pricing on his blog, specifically how the decisions made in the case could impact the publishing industry as a whole. It’s an interesting insider look at the big picture and I highly recommend heading over to his blog to check it out. Jut in case you don’t have time to do that, here’s just a little bit:

Up until now, conscious or not, consumers have grown accustomed to the idea that e-books cost what they cost. The decision of what e-reader to buy or which app to read on has largely been driven by user experience preferences.

Do you like the feel of the nook? The ease of the Kindle app? The pretty iBooks page animation? Those are the decisions people have been basing their decisions on – the reading and buying experience.

But if the agency model is dismantled in whole or in part and Amazon and others can go back to pricing as they see fit, suddenly price is going to be at the forefront of consumer choice.

It doesn’t take a genius to see that Amazon and their deep pockets are going to have a big advantage in that environment.

And, just an fyi, he explains the difference between the agency and the wholesale model in the post.

In my previously mentioned post, I also talked about how PayPal was using its leverage against ebook distributors like Smashwords to ban certain types of erotica. Apparently, they’re backtracking fast. [[edited to add: article no longer up]] Their new policy is much more reasonable and will only refuse the sale of books containing graphic (and potentially illegal) imagery and anything hinting of child pornography. The new rules will also look at books on a case by case basis instead of making sweeping statements about entire genres or topics. Mark Coker, founder of e-book distributor Smashwords, said:

“This is going to be a major victory for writers, readers and free speech. They are going to build a protective moat around legal fiction.”

I have to agree with Mr. Coker. It’s fantastic PayPal was made to see reason because otherwise this could have been a dark day in the annuls of literary history.

Oh, and, in completely unrelated news, Ā 

THIS IS MY 200th POST!

Go me! šŸ˜€

Look for a giveaway of a bracelet I made to celebrate this milestone.

Publishing: The Traditional Defense Part Four

Before even beginning his final post defending traditional publishing, Steve Laube calls part five boring. Personally, I disagree. For people not already involved in the industry, the information presented here is probably the most enlightening in his series.

The publisher’s involvement does not stop once the books hit bookstore (or online) shelves. In fact, the post production part of their jobs may just be what makes it worth giving up more than half of your royalties. Most aspiring authors know their publisher or agent will deal with things like selling and managing foreign rights, but they don’t think about things like IRS laws and multiple state income taxes. Selling your book across state lines apparently adds a lot of complications to your tax return, fyi. Publishers have teams of people dedicated to tracking and verifying sales, standardizing prices across multiple outlets, and accounting for every dollar made by a particular title. On a global scale. Can you imagine trying to do that on your own? I don’t even want to think about it.

Foreign rights are their own legal and logistical nightmare. Did you know you have to sell the English language rights to different countries before they’re allowed to sell the book in their territory? Add to that the translation rights, audio right, movie rights, etc., etc., etc. and you have a puzzle with teeny tiny pieces and no picture to guide you.

What else do these behind-the-scenes teams do? How about protect you from piracy? Steve explains:

I attended a presentation last year on ā€œDigital Initiativesā€ made by very smart people from Hachette. They discussed their use of ā€œAttributor Monitorsā€ to scour the Internet for illegal versions of their book titles. I was shocked to hear that they discover and send out 1,500 take-down notices to illegal sites, every month (saying, in essence, take the illegal book down from your site, or else). Fifteen hundred! They get better than 99% compliance with the request, worldwide. (It is understandable that they would have that level of trouble since Hachette publishes the Twilight franchise.) I suspect that when a company like Hachette contacts the illegal site with their powerful legal team, the offending site owner is willing to comply. But if you tried to do it on your own, you would be ignored.

Ā Having the power of an experienced legal team behind you can give you a peace of mind you wouldn’t otherwise have in an age where digital piracy is the norm.

However, speaking of digital, that side of the market isn’t all about piracy. It’s also about metadata. For those who don’t know, metadata is one of the ways search engines like Google find you on the web. It’s also how sites like Amazon employ their “you might also like” algorithms. Bad metadata will bury your book in an avalanche of fiction titles–both self and traditionally published–and leave you mired in obscurity. By itself, this isn’t a daunting thing to learn for yourself, but added to all the other tasks ultimately part of the infrastructure of traditional houses and I know it’s something I don’t want to have to do on my own.Ā 

After all this, do I still think the traditional model has some major adapting to do if it’s going to succeed in an increasingly digital world? Yes. Am I still going to try to find an agent? Yes. Am I still going to have that agent submit my work to both traditional and indie houses? Yes. If after several books and years of trying that still doesn’t work, will I self-publish? Most likely, yes. Will I ever succeed at any of these? Who knows? Only time will tell.

Websites: Common Mistakes

Mixed messages are everywhere and the information coming to new or aspiring authors is no exception. One of the biggest of these involves self-promotion and websites.

Almost everyone recommends authors have a web presence through their own site as well as social media like Facebook and Twitter. The social media pages are simple to set up and most of us already make use of these pages in our daily lives. Setting up a website from scratch? Not quite as easy.

When I started my first website sometime in 2007, I used Microsoft Office Live. Not only did this service (at the time) offer free webhosting and free simple design software, they gave you a free domain name! It seemed perfect and, for a first website, it was. I attempted to have a blog on that site simply by adding text to a page with dates, but the format annoyed me pretty quickly. A few months after I started the website, I started a Blogger blog and, for a while, cross posted everything on both sites. Eventually I stopped cross posting and simply added notifications to the website that new content had been added to the blog. But then I dropped of the face of the interwebs for a while. When I finally resurfaced this year I looked at my website and realized I hated it. The webhosting was still free, but I had to pay for my domain name. The design software was still simple, but it was annoyingly limited. Then I looked at my blog. Most of my interesting content was already hosted on my blog and in the intervening year Blogger had added a really cool new tool called Pages. This featured allowed me to create static pages with whatever content I want. How awesome is that? It didn’t take me long to decide to scrap the Microsoft site entirely and bring my domain name over to Blogger.

For me, Blogger works as a site. In a few years once I actually have some books published and my promotional needs change, it might not work as well. For now, however, it’s perfect. I like posting content about writing because not only does it help whoever happens to stumble across the post, it helps me keep up to date on the ever-changing industry. There are a few people who have been following me ever since the beginning of the blog and even came back after my long hiatus, but for people who are just discovering my corner of the internet there’s a wealth of posts for them to browse through.

As easy and convenient as Blogger (and similar sites like WordPress) is, it’s not for everyone. If you don’t plan on posting much or find after you start that you can’t keep up the pace, having a blog-centered site might actually hurt your promotional goals: having no website is better than having a bad website. However, there is hope!

If you’re a die-hard do-it-yourselfer, there are a few websites you can check out that list the most common mistakes author websites make and how to spot and then avoid them. Jane Friedman talks specifically about Blogger and WordPress and the problems of using a blog-centered website. Designer Karin Bilich goes into detail about the design issues she faces working with authors on their websites. Last but not least, The Creative Penn hosted a guest blog by founder of Writing Forward Melissa Donovan about common mistakes authors make on their websites. All of these posts provide useful tools and tips that won’t hurt and may help your website.

If you don’t mind asking for help, there are a wide range of services available online from the cost-effective to the full-service luxury packages. Different designers will specialize in working with different hosting services, so if you don’t already have a site established, find a designer (preferably one who has worked with authors before) and listen to their input. That is, after all, what you’re paying them for, right?

Technical Issues: By The Way…

While browsing through a couple of other blogs, it came to my attention that Google will be discontinuing their friend connect widgets for non-Blogger blogs. Since my blog is hosted on Blogger, this doesn’t change anything for me, but it might for people who are using it to follow my blog. So, in the interest of fairness, I’ve added a secondary follower service through Networked Blogs. Anyone who doesn’t like the friend connect service, or anyone who won’t continue using it once the widgets go away in March can also follow Incandescent via Networked Blogs, by RSS feed, or by email.

Just so you know. šŸ™‚