HomeReviewsInterviewsStoreABlogsOn Writing
Dilemma of The Week...

I haven’t done one of these for a while, but I was inspired after a mini Twitter Kerfuffle yesterday. Also, I know that not many people read this blog now, so it’s a good place to posit this particular dilemma.

Scenario – You’re an author, you do ok, but nothing amazing. You have some hardcore fans who buy everything you write, but it’s not massive. You also work a full time job to keep a roof over your head and to feed your two children. Your ex left you, and he doesn’t pay you any child support, and none of your family have the means to help out. You struggle along anyway, and the money from your full time job and your writing endeavours is just enough to keep you afloat. You pride yourself on being a decent human being, you’ve always done things by the book, and as far as you’re concerned, you will continue to always try to do the right thing.

You then get laid off from your job, and all of a sudden the only income you have coming in is the money from the books you sell, and it’s literally peanuts. Your youngest child becomes ill, and you don’t have health insurance. The bills are mounting up, you can’t find a job, your rent/mortgage is due, your benefits aren’t enough to pay your bills, your rent, or the medical bills that are currently piling up. What do you do?

I’ll give you two options. Just these two options.

The first option is reaching out to your online community and other strangers on the internet, laying yourself bare to them, explaining your situation and asking them for money. You do this and set up a Go-Fund Me for people to donate. This is the honest option. The option where you forget your pride, because nothing is more important than feeding your kids. Some would say that this is the more selfless option.

The second option is that as a Kindle Unlimited author, you get paid by the number of pages that are flicked through. You’ve worked out that by adding additional material at the end of your books, you can make more money. You can ask your readers to make sure they read your books until the end so that you’ll get the maximum amount of money. This option is sketchy, because you know that anything you make means that other authors will lose out, due to how the KU system works. Authors who may be in a similar situation to you.  Some would say that this the more selfish option, how dare you do this to your fellow authors? How dare you ‘steal’ from them by taking advantage of a system that’s supposed to benefit everybody equally? At the end of the day though, nobody is more important than your family, certainly not a bunch of authors who you may or may not know. Also, there’s no way you’d ever beg for money from strangers on the internet, fuck that noise.

What would you do?

Sidebar, I’m not really interested in what you’d do, that’s between you and your God, but I thought it was at least a different way of looking at things. And now I’m really done, because I have way more important things to be dealing with.

Out of curiosity, I wandered over to author, Madison Haye’s website and found this message:

Except for a handful of big names, authors don’t make that much money. The recent explosion of pirate and file sharing sites has made it even more difficult to make a living as a writer. I am fortunate that I have a second career to fall back on. Alors, I have returned to my old job. Taking into account my current work load, I doubt I will finish another story.

…but it was fun while it lasted!

madison hayes

It made me a bit sad, I haven’t bought any of her books for years, however, she was one of the first EC authors I ever read.

I hate discovering that an author has gone back to her day job. Well, unless she’s Carol Lynne of course. *Jokes*

I admit it, patience is not my long suit.

I get frustrated when I see the same old bullshit brought up and touted as truth, the whole truth and the absolute truth. Honestly, how many time must these things be debunked for it sink in?

“A review that points out anything negative about a book is a bad review.”

No. A bad review is a review that doesn’t say anything about the book. Examples of bad reviews:

“This is the best book EVER!”

“Highly recommended!”

“You have to buy this book!”

“Don’t buy this shit.”

“It’s obvious the author can’t write, don’t buy his/her work.”

None of these tell the reader anything about the book, regardless of whether they praise or berate it. As reviews, they are useless. Useless review = bad review.

“A good review must contain constructive criticism. “

Not only no, but hell, no. Reviews are for readers, not for authors. If authors want constructive criticism, they should get beta readers and/or critique partners.

“Free speech protects authors as much as it protects reviewers.”

First, free speech is a protected right in the US–check your country’s law for other takes on it.

Second, what the hell does that have to do with a reviewer’s reaction and/or opinion on a book?

Third, while authors have every right to their feelings and reactions, common sense (that most rare of all senses) tells me that it behooves them to be careful with their professional image.

“There is no need to be ‘mean’ when reviewing.” “Why go out of the way to hurt the author’s feelings?” “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything.”

A good review needs to be well articulated and factual; the rest is style–the reviewer’s style. The rest of the above admonishments are bullshit intended to silence opinions that differ from those of the people uttering them.

* *** * *** * *** * *** *

(Most of KKB’s readers know what brought this up; the few who don’t can check here and here)

* *** * *** * *** * *** *

In other news…

I’ve been reading like crazy. Seriously, who needs sleep when there are books to be read?

Now I need to sit down at the computer for more than three minutes in a row and write reviews for at least a few of the two dozen books I’ve read in the past ten days…

From this conversation, I hope that we have all learned to think before posting, commenting or tweeting.

It has been said, ad nauseam, that all people should think before putting their thoughts up there in the internets for everyone, their pet parrot and their alien relatives to see. After all, it’s there forever, in one way or another (from Google cache to screen caps).

It has been noted that we eeeeeeeeeeeeeebol readers keep lists of authors behaving badly, and that we are not shy to share those lists with other readers whenever flaps like this latest break out.

It has been repeated all over the cyber-universe that, however unfair it may be, authors ought to behave in a different (wiser, more professional) manner than readers do–after all, authors are selling stuff to readers, and it behooves them to keep that in mind at all times.

Please note that I abhor piracy with a vengeance–as a reader, anything that will discourage authors from writing hurts me, and since it’s all about me…


Jane at Dear Author posted about some sort of harebrained idea by some novelists to expand the reach of copyright law to the sale of used print books.

NINC on the sale of used books:

Used book sales, particularly sales of used books through the Internet, have a significant negative effect on the income of publishers and, therefore, authors, as there is no remuneration to them for any sales of used books.

Ninc recommends that commercial used-book sellers be required to pay to publishers a “Secondary Sale” fee upon the reselling of any book within two years of its original publication date. A percentage of these fees would then transfer to authors in accordance with contractual agreements between authors and publishers, thereby reinforcing the Founders’ intent, as stated in Article I of the Constitution, to protect authors’ exclusive right to benefit from their work.

Oh really?

Many of the comments over there expressed my bewilderment over such a preposterous idea, but then there was this gem by Misi:

Well, one day there will only be e-books and all you’ll get is a license to read, not ownership, just a lot of software is now. You can’t even resell the disc (legally) under those terms. Well, you can sell the discs, but only if you delete the content.

The current copyright law is outdated. Again, used bookstores aren’t the problem. It’s the online places that have changed the situation. The law should be changed to.

I’m almost speechless here.

I mean, my mind is just a jumble of extrapolations. I guess we could say that at some point only the person who actually paid for the book should be able to read it, and that any other person reading the same physical book should pay royalties to the author for the privilege.

I ask again, what the fuck?

(stolen shamelessly from Shannon Stacy’s blog)

Anyone surprised that Angela James would write this? If you are, you gotta get out more around romance blogland, you really do.

See, every so often the online romance community is hit by all these shit storms—from Karen’s friends, the vindictive rhino and her bestest buddy, to the current slippery slope flouncing on and off at Dear Author.

And then we have the authors who behave professionally no matter what. Most recent examples for me are HelenKay Dimon’s email after I posted my review of Hot as Hell earlier this week:

Thank you for reading HOT AS HELL. I know you have limited time to get to all of the books you want to read, so I truly appreciate the fact you moved mine to the top of the pile. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it. Maybe we’ll connect better on another book. I hope so. 🙂

Have a good week.

And one of the funniest I’ve gotten since I started reviewing regularly, from Jill Shalvis, about my review for Get a Clue yesterday:

Okay, thanks for the link but I don’t think I’ll go look

… …

Okay I looked. It’s not as bad as I feared, bless you. 😀 You were very kind. Best, Jill

Seriously, neither of them needed to reply once I sent them the link, let alone the way they did. Yet here they are, both kind and professional.

Kudos, ladies! It’s people like you who provide the much needed counterpoint. Thank you!

(and special thanks for Mad/Fatin for the lil devil)

Apparently Holly Lisle is getting political on her blog, which annoyed one of her readers so much, that said reader, wrote her an e-mail telling her so.

I received this e-mail yesterday evening from a concerned reader. I have no time to paraphrase, so I’ll just post the pertinent bits:

Holly Lisle posted about some of the internet rumors going on about Obama, with links. Despite that it has been stated elsewhere that these are rumors and will be addressed by members of his staff, she said she was withdrawing her support for him and would be voting for McCain instead — and urged her readers to do so as well.

Now, a reader took exception to this and sent Holly a private e-mail, saying that she did not find it appropriate that Holly was using her influence in attempt to sway her readers’ voting choices with misinformation. She told her that she would be resigning from her mailing list and removing her books from her home, because she could not, in good faith, support someone who found nothing wrong with doing such. She sent the e-mail because she hoped that Holly would see that the way she was acting on her blog was actually losing her readers and damaging her career.

Holly re-posted this e-mail publicly, first in the comments on her original post, and then in a separate post on its own, calling the reader a “book destroyer”, continuing to defend the misinformation, and then demanding that she apologize. This resulted in Holly’s fans jumping to her defense, and calling the reader no amount of names.

(Ironically, Holly has threatened lawsuit against people who post her e-mails publicly.)

Here are the referenced posts:

Original Post 1
The second post
The third post by the reader’s friend

Here’s Holly, reposting the e-mail:

hollylisle Says:
June 11th, 2008 at 7:42 am
Waiting in my e-mail last night when the power came back on.

Holly, I know this won’t matter at all to you, but I’ll tell you anyway. I have been a fan of your work for a very long time. I’ve shared your books, helped build your fandom, respected and supported you. I’m not much of a joiner, so you don’t know me at all, but I’ve been there for you since 2000. I can’t respect you or support you any longer. You have a right to your opinions, but you don’t have a right to use your influence to spread misinformation.

Today your books went out of my house directly to the trash. After sharing your recent political blog post with others I know, I can tell you that my copies of your books aren’t going to be alone in the landfill. Because I once respected you, I ask you to please consider how much damage you’re doing to your career with your current direction. Ask yourself if it is really worth it. All the good you might do with your work is undone for me and a number of other readers. Is that really what you want?

So someone who has decided destroying the books written by someone whose opinion she disagrees with—and who is proud enough of her actions to announce them—has spoken. And it sounds like she’s putting some effort into encouraging others to destroy the books I wrote as well.

How, exactly, is that different than book-burning?

I see she totally got the point then. *g*

Shelly The Purple Goddess wants to know, so go tell her!

My example would be Nora Roberts, I love her like a fat kid loves cake.

I used to love her back in the day, then her books started getting on my tits. (Sorry Nora.) Her online behaviour has definitely led me to buy more of her newer books.

Oh yeah, and Eve and Roarke, are my fave couple evah.