Thursday, December 29, 2016

Prophecy

It's become more difficult to be an indie author. On the afternoon of December 28, 2016, Lori James, owner of All Romance eBooks, sent out emails that she is closing her storefront. She cited the reason as being the company would post its first financial loss for 2016. 

I have questions. Many, many questions. I'll let that go for now.

As always, it's the authors who end up with the real loss. We've lost a valued (and we thought trustworthy) source to market our books. We are now pushed even farther into Amazon's loving embrace. 

Amazon is not the author's friend no matter how benign it appears on the surface. 

There's been discussion for many years that sooner or later Amazon will be the only game in town. With the closing of ARE, it's one step closer to being a reality. 

Be careful what you give away for free. Free is not without cost, and that cost is the authors themselves. I know a handful who are dropping out, too exhausted to continue. Those voices have been silenced, and that's too high a cost to bear.  

Rayne

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving in new ways


The "holidays" bring a set of expectations to the door. We all get the yearly visit. While the particulars vary, the overall similarities are part of the American culture. We celebrate and give thanks with family, friends, and food.

The gatherings of my youth are but fond memories. The older generations, those people who passed the family name down, are gone. What remains of my parent's generation is fractured by death and ill health. My generation is equally scattered on holidays, busy with the younger generations of children and grandchildren. I have no biological children. My father has been gone for many years. My mother has Alzheimer's. The sister of my heart moved away. I am, for all intents and purposes, alone on this day, without blood relatives who share my memories. 

That's not to say I don't have people around me. My online posse is far-flung but wishes for a happy day arrived. My partner is the oldest of his siblings and we have an unconditional welcome at his youngest sister's house all days. 

Life goes on in different directions. We had a traditional Thanksgiving meal at the care facility with my mother. Afterward, we had traditional Thanksgiving dessert at his sister's house. 

So while the day didn't unfold as in year's past, it was nonetheless a good day. I could be morose that the beautiful memories of yesteryear will not be re-lived, but I'm not. This is what I have now, today, and I count my many blessings. 

Now that my partner and I are finally home again and into our comfortable old clothes, it's time to call a few of my cousins. It's time to embrace a new normal and make it my own as I go forward in life. I'm sure it will provide a new set of Thanksgiving memories, and Thanksgiving opportunities to enjoy and to be thankful for. 

Rayne
rayneforrest.blogspot.com




Wednesday, November 2, 2016

They stole my story!!!


The Insecure Writer’s Support Group

There you are. It’s a rainy evening and you’ve written over one thousand words in the current work-in-progress. You’re winding it down for the day. A little surfing at your favorite online bookseller is in order. You can download a new book and tottle off to bed to do a little reading.

Not so fast. There is YOUR cover on someone else’s book! 

Okay, okay. You know everyone and their sister is buying cover stock from a very limited available pool of quality stock. You just have to grin and bear it and remember you bought that cover stock because the guy is pretty sexy. 

So you scroll a few more pages and then it happens. Holy crap! SOMEONE STOLE YOUR TITLE!!!  

Well, it’s not exactly your title. Your title’s The Alpha’s Broken Finger and this - this - this THIEF used The Alpha’s Broken Toe. And you can't copyright titles and names. But dammit! That’s awfully close. And both stories are about how his mate, be that mate male or female, saves him.  

What the heck is going on?? Is this something serious or did we simply inspire another writer? Haven't we all gotten inspiration from someone else somewhere along the line? Who hasn't read a story and been blown away by a particular turn of a phrase and then had it creep into our usage? 

Plagiarism is a risk we all take when we publish a book. While I wrote the above tongue-in-cheek, the theft of intellectual property is no laughing matter. The honest among us have all seen covers and stories so similar to our own that the hair on our arms raises in alarm, disgust and anger. It’s not a good feeling. So what do we do about it?

The serious among us view our work as both creation and business. There are steps we can take if we’ve been pirated (DMCA letters) or suspect plagiarism (an attorney versed in the applicable laws).  One of the sad truths about this business is it’s stacked against the author. We do the work of creation and everyone makes a profit on our backs.

I could let the ugliness of theft stop me from writing, but I won’t. I could put my money into lawyer fees (and if seriously pissed off I will). I submit DMCA letters albeit in a lazy fashion. For better or for worse I’ve accepted the risk because I believe Karma exists.

If we accuse another writer of plagiarism and it turns out to be a weird coincidence, we’ve gained an enemy, one unlikely to ever forget. And do we want to apply the stigma of plagiarism to someone else who may have simply had a similar idea? How would we feel if we were unjustly accused of such a thing?

I know that sooner or later savvy readers will catch on and avoid suspect “authors.” The problem of deliberate, premeditated theft is so pervasive that even with a hundred thousand keyboards raised against it, it’s not going to go away. And that’s not right and that’s not fair.

The best thing I can do is put my energy into writing the next story and not dwell on the inequities of this business. I could allow it to discourage me, but I won’t. I do what I do for the honest readers and there are enough of them left to keep me going. And that will just have to be good enough until karma kicks butt.

Rayne
rayneforrest.blogspot.com

(This is a modified version of a post that was written for another venue in 2015.)

Across Time is now available at All Romance eBooks. 
www.allromanceebooks.com/product-acrosstime-2040618-343.html

Science fiction romance
Time travel romance

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Drop back and punt

Being a list maker, I had a plan for today. But life is hectic. On top of the day job and my partner's health, my mother is now in a care facility. 

Sooooo....... I'm going to refer you to the Between the Keys blog today. 

Stop by and see KC Kendricks for this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group. The topic is email etiquette. 

Maybe not standard operating procedure, but some days you just do the best you can and move on.

Rayne

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Sustainability (IWSG)

Sustainability is something authors must strive for if they want to achieve the creation of a body of work. It's something I struggle with as Rayne Forrest. When I began, it was easy. Now it's not. 

I still have the desire to write, but I'm no longer willing to spend hours sequestered with the computer as my only company. There are simply too many other things that require my presence. 

At this writing, I have seven books that need to be published as second editions. I didn't set out to be an indie author, but there's really very little choice these days as I no longer trust publishers. Based on sales numbers, I even wonder about the last one I was with. That's number of units sold, not dollar amounts, by the way. 

In less than five years I plan to "retire" from the workforce. That doesn't mean I'll sit on my ass all day. I'm looking forward to some traveling, expanding the work on my genealogy, and applying for DAR membership. And yes, being able to write. Until then, I fear I will continue to grapple with sustainability. 

I can't change much of what is happening in my life. I can only ride it out and make time when I can. But what I can do, and will do, is not whip myself over those things I can't control. 

Perhaps that's the real key to sustainability. Accepting the ebb and flow of life and time, and making the best of every opportunity. 

Rayne
Rayne's bookshelf

Across Time - sci fi romance available at Amazon

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

IWSG: Voice

Insecure Writer's Support Group

The writer’s voice. We read about it, talk about it, angst over it, and yet we struggle to define exactly what it is. I once read where voice is a literary term that describes a writer’s style (style being defined by the use of character development, dialogue, syntax and diction).

I’m a simple girl. For me, voice is where the ‘telling’ of the story and the ‘showing’ of the action blend. The more seamless the blend, the better the finished story. Voice is each author’s unique and individual style of bringing the reader inside the story to the same place as the author.

A writer’s voice will show some of their inner character and personality. The characters created often reflect some of the writer’s attitudes. How can they not? Laying yourself bare for the reader isn’t easy. It’s a gradual process, one you can move through at your own pace.

When a writer is just starting out, everyone encourages her/him to develop their voice. The only way to do that is to write so the voice can emerge and develop. The time it takes to do that is another reason aspiring writers get so frustrated with the industry. It takes as long as it takes, so be patient. Remember - there are no worthwhile shortcuts to success.

Over the years, my voice has matured. I see it as a matter of gaining confidence - I’m no longer afraid to sound like myself. Having the reader come and sit in the same spot from where I wrote the story is no longer scary.

Whether it’s conscious or not, everything we do as authors strengthens our voice. Making each story better than the last is ingrained in our psyche. We constantly strive toward that goal, collectively and individually. We nurture our voice, and our ultimate reward has nothing to do with money.

It’s reading a book and, at the end, saying, “Wow. I wrote that.” 

Rayne
rayneforrest.blogspot.com

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

IWSG: We Must Respect Our Own Worth

http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/
The Insecure Writer's Support Group

When I first got into this crazy business of publishing, as opposed to writing, I was stunned by some of the ideas put forth as “truths.” But being a newbie, I ducked my head and kept writing. It didn’t change the real truth, one that too many writers either forget or never figured out. One very serious problem I’ve witnessed over and over throughout my years of being a published author is that too few of us realize our own value. This must change - and it is changing.

There is no one more important to the publishing world than the author.

The entire publishing industry rises and falls with those authors willing to publish their intellectual property. 

Without the author, there are no stories.

Without the author, there are no books.

Without the author, there are no readers.

Without the author, there is no publishing.

Each and every one of us is absolutely vital to our industry. There are no exceptions.

Each and every one of us has something so unique to offer that only the individual can provide it.

Each and every one of us is deserving of the respect of our peers and our publishers. We are created equal and that equality has nothing to do with sales numbers.  

Each and every one of us is entitled to the protection of copyright.

It’s 2016. Publishers need authors far more than authors need publishers.

Let us always remember: Authors are the publishing industry.

We must respect our own worth. 

Rayne
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