“Click ‘Like’ on my book on Amazon, and I’ll ‘Like’ yours!”

So somebody posted a link to my Dieselpunk vs Steampunk post yesterday, and suddenly I had literally twenty frelling thousand page loads in a half a day. Reading the comments has been interesting – there was a lot of disagreement, but interesting discussion, and lots of thoughts I’d like to elaborate on in the future. And of course, if you ever write anything, naturally you’re going to be misunderstood by someone. Someone even got upset that I had trashed Waterworld, when I wasn’t at all, I liked that movie. I’m only surprised I didn’t get trashed harder. The great unwashed of the interwebs have not lived up to their reputation for mindless trolling! (Not complaining, mind.)

Anyway, elaborations for another day. On to today’s topic.

I’ve taken to very seldom buying a book off the shelf these days unless I’ve heard it recommended by multiple people, or read at least one review. I don’t have time to waste on stuff that isn’t worth my time, and lately I’ve been wanting to try out new authors, rather than going over the same old authors that I haven’t quite read everything they’ve written yet. So reviews, and things like Goodreads, has been where I’m going to look for new books, and I appreciate the number of resources online, and honest, thoughtful reviews.

Also, I’ve been reviewing books on my own website, and recently, with Blightcross, was, for the first time, asked for a review. I was honoured to be asked, and strove for honesty in my review. If there was something that bothered me in the book, I feel as a reviewer, I’m honour bound to say so in the review. After all, who’s going to take me seriously as a reviewer if I give a glowing review to a shitty book?

I saw this posted on Facebook today:

This is IMPORTANT………..

So Important I am posting this again….

If you are an author OR BUYER on Amazon… please pay attention…

They “recommend” your book to consumers based on two things:
1) Tags
2) Likes and Reviews

You MUST log into Amazon and create either a “real name” or another name and tag your book… meaning categorize it.. for example I tagged mine as chick lit, romance, rock and roll….

Next we ALL MUST go to each other’s books and click the like button…. why.. it is FREE PROMOTION for all of us….

To do that, do NOT like THIS post….

Click the link below and when the book comes up right under the title there will be a like button… click it (you MAY have to log in)

Then PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE… post the link to your book below so we can all reciprocate………….

Okay. What I see here is a blatant request from one author to another, to assist them with cheating a system intended to draw readers attention to good quality fiction. The author of this note is not saying, read my book and click like if you liked it. They’re not even actually asking you to read the book.

Seeing things like this leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It’s the same as the follow-me-on-twitter-and-I’ll-follow-you-and-we’ll-retweet-all-one-another’s-tweets thing. Or the you-buy-my-book-and-I’ll-buy-yours thing, and we’ll make a living that way. Only, this is just a little bit worse, because it’s dishonest at it’s core, both for the author making the request, and the others participating.

I don’t know really what else to say about this, but that I resent having to compete with people doing things like this, rather than doing *real* networking, and *real* review solicitation that I see other authors doing, and when I’m not willing to compromise my own ethics, as minor as this is, to join them. Even if I don’t have a book out yet – I will, and I’m sure I’ll resent it even more when I do.

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Tor/Forge going DRM free

I don’t normally post more than once in a day, but there’s been some pretty huge news in publishing today. I heard talk about it being a possibility – Amazon is all about trying to eliminate the middle man, and I keep thinking, wait, isn’t Amazon the middle man?

Cory Doctorow, an activist for copyright law has some thoughts:
http://boingboing.net/2012/04/24/tor-books-goes-completely-drm.html

And so does John Scalzi, who’s published by Tor and directly affected by it:
http://whatever.scalzi.com/2012/04/24/torforge-to-go-drm-free-by-july-immediate-\
thoughts/

As a customer, and an e-reader owner, I think this is great. From the beginning, my biggest reservation in buying an e-reader has been that I didn’t want to be pigeon holed into a single reader, and not be able to share a book with my husband. I mean, if I buy a paperback, I read it, then my husband reads it – that’s legal – but if my husband buys a Nook and I have a Sony e-reader, I can’t put that book on his e-reader. We’d have to buy another copy, and if they’re charging just as much for an e-book as a paperback, that’s just unreasonable, imho.

As an author, I think it’s cool too – my own future potential customers will get more bang for their buck – there’s no reason to pay the same for a different format if you don’t get the same rights over it. I understand charging the same for an e-book as a paperback – there are fixed costs of editing and formatting that go into both a paper book and an e-book, and my understanding is that the cost of producing the two isn’t that significantly different. But if the customer doesn’t get the same value from the end product, that’s not right.

As far as piracy – DRM is a joke. DRM has never stopped piracy, it’s too easy to strip. If people are going to pirate, they will pirate, and a bit of software isn’t going to stop them. That, and not having DRM on your work doesn’t invalidate your copyright. There are those who’s defense of DRM consists of “I want to make sure people really know that they shouldn’t be stealing my work.”

They know. That defense is assuming that people downloading illegal content don’t know that they’re doing something illegal, or they do, but the message hasn’t been made clear enough. I think it’s dangerous to start implying that an author who’s work is not protected by DRM has less of a claim on the copyright than one who’s work is DRM’d. Because it absolutely is. It’s equally illegal to share copyrighted material whether it’s DRM protected or not, and Tor has made it clear that they will be going after violators just the same as they always have.

Because DRM isn’t about piracy. It’s about locking customers into a reader made by a particular middle man provider, so that they can’t go buy books from someone else. Tor/Forge doesn’t make e-readers, so they have no vested interest in forcing customers to buy products locked into a particular device. They just want to sell books.

So I’m hoping to see this become a trend.

I really don’t understand how some people can be so stupid

I heard this on a couple of blogs today, and am still shocked to hear what horrible people people can be over something so stupid.

Short version of what happened – publication date for the next novel in the series is march 6th, but Amazon, for whatever reason, by accident, I hope, decided to put it on sale and start shipping it a week early, so then, of course, Barnes and Noble goes, oh crap, we’re gonna lose sales to Amazon, and they put it on sale early. this screws the author over because the success of her book is judged on the first week of sales, which starts March 6th, so she and the publisher are frantically trying to fix that.

But here’s the really sick part: the author (author, who has no control over the situation, not Amazon or Barnes and Noble, not even the publisher) receives emails from angry customers calling her horrible names.

Why?

Because the paper copy is for sale, they think they should be able to get the e-book.

These people are what’s wrong with the world. This is on the same level as the people who yell at me over the phone at work (cable tv tech support) asking me what they’re supposed to do with their kids while their tv isn’t working.

Dear God and Goddess, I hope if I get published, these guys aren’t my fans, ’cause holy hell, I don’t need their money.