A while ago I got this email from a teacher:
I teach 10th grade English to students with learning disabilities, mild cognitive disabilities, and emotional disabilities. It is close to impossible to find a novel that all are interested in and will actually participate in discussion about. I begged and begged my director and she was able to purchase me a class set of your novel, The Compound. It's such a pleasure to teach this novel! ALL my kids listen while I read and have much to discuss, which never happens. They even groan and complain when we have to stop reading or class is over. I've even had two of my copies come up missing and two students who checked it out of the library for their parents to read. I wish I could convey to you how unusual this is! I teach the core curriculum, the same standards, as a general education class and it is very difficult for my students. They are now working on these standards and don't even realize it because they are so excited about his story. THANK YOU!
A few weeks later, I had a library event in her city and she came to see me. She was so sweet and I hugged her and offered to Skype with her students. Here’s the thing: I reserve the right to charge or not charge for my Skypes. This gets me into trouble with other authors, but would you be able to get a letter like that and then not do the Skype simply because they don’t have a budget? I’m not that person and I never will be. So today was the Skype. And those kids were great. They had a million questions and made me laugh, and I made them laugh too. I was so glad I took the time. And then I got this email:
Thank you so much! Of course, after we hung up they started talking a mile a minute. They're such good kids and this is the first time many of them have finished a book or even liked reading. Our system's superintendent and assistant superintendent were here also. The assistant superintendent said she'd have to get us The Fallout so that we can read both next year. I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone!!
I can't thank you enough for the excitement you have brought to English class. This will be a lasting, good memory for my kids who have so few things to be excited about.
So yeah. That was pretty much a really good use of my time. And it reminded me of why I do what I do.
Also, here's my Twitter feed. I link it here, because the odds are very high that I won't be doing any blogging - just snapping selfies and other assorted shenanigans, and uploading it all for your amusement.
So! Tune in, show up, be amused. That's my suggestion.
And for now ... I'm outta here!
[:: zoosh ::]
The town of Belmar started construction on its new boardwalk in January. Today, I was invited by the library to attend the grand opening of the new boardwalk - all 1.3 miles of it have been rebuilt, stronger and better than ever - and to read At the Boardwalk to some of the schoolkids on the beach after the ceremony was complete. (All of the school children from the public and Catholic school in town had been bused to the beach, wearing their "Tougher Than The Storm: Belmar/Belmarvelous" T-shirts.) There on the right you can see Mayor Matt Doherty, Governor Chris Christie, and Senator Bob Menendez cutting the ribbon to make it official.
I was extremely fortunate that my friend John Rowen decided to make the trek from Pennsylvania to take pictures of me during the reading. He did a really great job, and I'm just going to share a few of the photos with you below.
Here I am getting ready to read to the kindergartners on the beach. With an airhorn.
Here's me, reading to the kindergartners. You can see the ocean in the background.
Here I am again, from another angle. That's Liz Cole from Belmar Elementary holding the book.
It was a privilege and an honor to be asked to attend the grand opening of the boardwalk and to share my book with the kids from Belmar Elementary School. My thanks to the good people of Belmar, and to John Rowen, for a really wonderful day.
- Current Mood: good
- Current Music:Somewhere Over the Rainbow (brainradio)
But Monday I couldn't write, because I was involved as the representative writer in my granddaughter's middle school career day. (yes, I almost lost my voice, again)
And Tuesday I couldn't write, because that same 13-year-old had several asthma attacks and I had to take her to the Dr., get medicine, get her to take it, etc., etc., etc.
So today is Wednesday, and I'm realizing that I need to send several pieces of writing to Vermont College of Fine Arts for the writing workshop that happens every day there. (Luckily, I've already chosen to send two half-done picture books, so they're ready -- I just have to reformat them and remember to send them.)
Writing is on my mind and therefore I have a couple of more writer links for you who read my blog.
Firstly -- Do you outline before you write? Or does the outline simply develop later? Carol Brendler discusses her own version of Outlining on the blog, Emu's Debuts. She calls it, The Trouble with Outlines.
Secondly -- How about Trilogies? Do you like them? (as a reader or a writer) How does a trilogy happen? Janni Simner talks about her new trilogy and how it came to be on the blog, Through the Tollbooth.
So, Alloy is licensing some of its properties to Amazon, so Amazon can allow writers to publish legal fanfic and get paid for it. They’re calling it Kindle Worlds.
Now, I’m not gonna lie– I’m an old fandom queen. I have back in my day stories (we made vids by linking up two VCRs and editing manually! Zines under tables at cons!) and I have fandom queen reservations (people already get fanfic for free, there’s no reason to pay for it, furthermore fanfic is one small part of a fannish community that revolves around a particular media. It is not the sole purpose for fandom, and fanfic isn’t written for the benefit of the media property. And many other things, grr, argh.)
But as a published author who 1) loves fanfic 2) loves fen 3) loves getting paid, I really feel like I need to say something here. The terms that Kindle Worlds are offering are BAD, bad terms.
First, the royalties you get for each sale. 35% as long as your story is over 10,000 words– but on the sale price. Whatever they sell your story for, 35% is yours. So if they decide to give it away free (and experience with their exclusive Amazon promotions says that they want to give stuff away for free a lot) then you get 35% of nothing.
But that’s not all! They get to license your work right back, forever, for nothing! Your cool idea for Vampire Diaries? They can use it on the show. They can hire authors to write whole books about it. They can create a whole new series based on it. And you get nothing, because the agreement for Kindle Worlds says so.
They also want to control the content. There will be writing guidelines. So this becomes less and less licensed fanfic, and more and more work for hire in which Amazon and Alloy have a disproportionate amount of control, both creatively and financially.
They’re asking authors to essentially give up all their rights for a sum that may well be a percentage of nothing, so they can then turn around and use that work any way they like. Content for their websites, new books, new shows– the sky’s the limit.
There’s no outlet in the entire universe that should reasonably ask for- and get- all rights to your work, in perpetuity, for the low, low price of potentially NOTHING. I don’t care if you’re a fan author, an indie author, a traditionally-published author, a small press author, it does not matter: If a publisher cannot offer you MORE than you can do for yourself, run away.
Because I started out as a fan author, I know there’s some appeal in being part of your show. The fantasy of contributing, of being valuable to TPTB and leaving your mark on something you love. I really, really get that. But I don’t think that Kindle Worlds is the way to do it. They ask for too much, and give you too little in return. And look– as a fan, you’re already doing the most valuable thing you can to help your show, your book, your fandom: you spread the word.
You write stories, you talk meta, you Tumbl’ all the gifsets there are to Tumbl’. You’re spreading the word, bringing in new viewers, and if you’re anything like me, you are buying so much schwag. You already conttribute to the media you love. It’s unfair, unreasonable and frankly, downright ugly for them to ask for more.
Fen, you are valuable. You are important. And you deserve better than Kindle Worlds.
The Daily Dot – The problem with Amazon’s new fanfiction platform, Kindle Worlds
Command presence is all about being at the top of the game. Taking a few minutes to be sure your shoes, badge, and brass are polished goes a long way toward projecting a positive image. So does wearing a clean and neatly pressed uniform. And let’s don’t forget regular trips to the folks who cut hair for a living. All these things make an officer look sharp. Think about it…who would you have more confidence in, the officer with the dirty, wrinkled clothing and shaggy hair, or the officer who looks fresh and sharp, and projects a solid air of authority?
The two professionals in the above image, Cold Case and Bloodstain Pattern expert Dave Pauly and The Mayberry Deputy (David Browning) are two shining examples of people who display a natural confidence. The Deputy also reminds us that Barney Fife even went as far as polishing his one bullet.
Crooks size up officers the same way you do. They just have other things in mind when they do the sizing. They watch, looking for the weak ones, and those are the officers who’ll most likely be dealing with escape attempts, lies, and other criminal tricks.
Officer tips for a better command presence
- Be professional at all times. And that includes updated training. A cop who knows his job inside out projects more confidence. The same is true with physical training. Stay in shape and know and trust your defensive tactics. Remember, cocky and obnoxious are not good traits.
- Good posture is important. Someone standing straight and tall has an advantage over the officer who slouches. Poor posture sometimes comes across as a weakness, especially when confronting an aggressive suspect. So heads up, eyes intent and focused.
- Always make eye contact when speaking to someone.
- Maintain control of your speaking voice, even during emergency situations. A large man whose voice raises to an octave similar to Mickey Mouse’s when he’s involved in a frightening situation (I call this the Mickey Mouse Syndrome) does not come across as someone who’s in charge of the situation.
- Honesty and consistency are vital traits. The bad guys will quickly learn that what you say is what you mean, each and every time. Treat everyone fairly and consistently.
- First impressions only come around once. Make it your best impression. If a suspect’s first impression of you is that you’re weak, well, expect to have a rough day.
- Walk with confidence and with purpose. You know where you’re going and why you’re going there.
- Size up everyone. Always be aware of who and what you’re dealing with, and stay one step ahead of the person standing before you. Remember, that person may want to kill you, so be prepared to do what it takes to survive. And I mean to do this each and every time you come into contact with someone. You never know which person is the one who plans to do you harm.
Most importantly, believe in yourself. Have confidence in what you do and who you are. All the shoe-shining and training in the world will not help you if the image you project is one of weakness.
So have the hero in your story wear the badge proudly, stand tall, and do what it takes to go home safely each and every night.
By the way, civilians in authoritative positions should also exhibit a command presence, and many do so instinctively. Command presence also applies to public speakers, including writers when appearing at conferences and book signings and readings. One of the best in the business at the command presence game is author Lee Child. The moment Child enters a room you know he’s confident, poised, and in full control of each word spoken. He looks sharp, acts sharp, and, well, he is sharp. And it shows.
Another fantastic example of someone with fantastic command presence is author/former prosecutor Marcia Clark (yes, that Marcia Clark). Clark comes across as a take charge person, always in control no matter the situation.
Both Lee Child and Marcia Clark are confident in what they do, and it shows, but their personalities are also warm enough to transform even the largest iceberg to a puddle, even at a homicide scene (shallow grave workshop at the 2012 Writers’ Police Academy).
So, you see, having command presence does not necessarily mean a person has to be tough and gruff, but can be when the situation calls for it.
After all, even the toughest of the tough have their tender moments.
GTCC/WPA instructors Stan Lawhorne and Jerry Cooper
Poor lad. He looked so sad, with his little face staring out from inside the stretchy head bandage they used to hold the icepacks to his cheeks. I just don’t have the heart to post the picture I took.
Amazon announced Kindle Worlds today, describing it as “the first commercial publishing platform that will enable any writer to create fan fiction based on a range of original stories and characters and earn royalties for doing so.”
I didn’t know this was coming, but I’m not surprised, exactly. Amazon has been a very successful business, and if they see a potentially profitable area they can branch out into, they’re gonna do it.
I found out about this through Chuck Wendig’s post here, wherein he talks about the press release and proceeds to fragment his own brain into tiny, shiny pieces.
I’m still digesting and processing this, and I suspect some of it will boil down to having to wait to see how it all plays out. But some of my initial reactions are…
- This isn’t a free-for-all. Amazon has licensed these rights from the rights-holders, and it’s for a specific and limited list of properties.
- But wait, if they’ve licensed the rights, is it really fanfiction or is it an open call for licensed tie-in work?
- They’ve got a no porn rule. Fair enough. If anyone’s going to write 50 Shades of Blue: A Goblin’s Erotic Awakening, I think it should be me.
- My understanding of the fanfiction community is that there’s a strong value on not profiting from your work. This seems like a potential culture war between Amazon and the community they’re trying to court.
- That said, no community is perfectly homogenous, and as a writer, I have nothing against getting paid for your work, so long as it’s done legally, which this would be.
- Also, as someone who isn’t a part of that community, I could be TOTALLY AND EMBARRASSINGLY WRONG ABOUT THIS PIECE.
- Who decides whether to license a work, the publisher or the author? Can DAW license Libriomancer fanfic without my approval? Can I do it without theirs?
- Amazon takes all rights to your fanfiction story. Which isn’t entirely unreasonable in a work-for-hire situation, but will make a lot of folks uncomfortable.
- Why would people pay for fanfiction when so much is available online for free?
- Then again, why would people pay for licensed tie-in work when so much fanfiction is available online for free…
- Should prolific fanfic writers look into getting agents? I’m not sure the benefit of an agent in this situation, but I also cringe at the idea of writers who aren’t very, very business-savvy signing contracts without someone else looking it over.
- Does this mean fanfic could now qualify for SFWA membership?
- Waiting for various heads to explode at that question…
- Finally, Amazon is not pro-author, nor are they pro-reader. They’re pro-Amazon. (This doesn’t make them any worse or better than most businesses, by the way.) When Amazon’s interests overlap with those of readers or writers, great. But don’t lose sight of their bottom line, because I guarantee that’s what they’re watching.
I’m sure there will be many, many discussions and arguments about this, and I have no idea how it will all play out or whether or not it will work. But I do think it’s a fascinating step in the ongoing evolution of the industry.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
This just in: Amazon is going to start selling fanfic, with royalties to be paid to both the author and the world-creator. Color me… bemused? Uncertain? Confused?
Like many authors, I have an uneasy relationship with fanfic. Although my first serious-to-me writing effort was a sequel to The Lord of the Rings (drafted when I was thirteen years old), I’ve never been serious about fanfic, and I’ve never participated in any of the many online communities dedicated to the craft. As far as I know (and that’s the way I’d like to keep it), no one has created fics in my worlds.
As a lawyer, I’m not as rabidly anti-fanfic as most. I understand the difference between copyright and trademark law, and the defense of estoppel (which applies to the latter, but not the former.) While trademark owners can lose their marks if they don’t enforce against infringement, the same standard does not apply in copyright law.
Mostly, I just don’t understand the allure of fanfic. I invest a tremendous amount of time, effort, energy, blood, sweat, tears, angst, etc. into creating my fictitious worlds. I don’t understand the craving the pour all of that into someone else’s world. It feels … like a cheat? Like a waste? Like… A bunch of things that sound really negative, but I don’t actually mean them that way. What I mean is, I don’t have the resources to do my writing and fanfic writing, and I don’t understand the investment some people make.
So. I suspect that Amazon’s program is going to open the door for a lot of public discussion about fanfic. It’ll add a lot of pressure to authors who have publicly demanded their work not be ficced. It’ll raise some questions about plagiarism and continuity and, and, and…
Maybe I’ll go pop some popcorn.
Mirrored from Mindy Klasky, Author.