lilfluff: On of my RP characters, a mouse who happens to be a student librarian. (Default)
Hey everyone, I'll be off the net for a bit today, unless the horrible wifi signal has improved in the past month), and have some time without specific tasks. So, would anyone like to suggest some writing prompts? Stuff for my existing settings, Qs for characters, random prompts, demifiction ideas, whatever...

For anyone planning to do NaNoWriMo, the site StoryBundle has a 2017 Nano Tools bundle. I'm still debating whether to pick it up but I've liked the contents of some of the past year's nano bundles. This year the book on writing injuries is looking the most enticing to me, but there are also books on Excel for writers, story structure, scrivenor, etc. Not an affiliate link, I don't get anything if you buy, but I did think some of you might be interested.

Speaking of that, there's still about a week left to pick up the SFWA Fantasy bundle. Multiple books in it look good and I'm only somewhat biased in recommending it (I've read a little of Rowyn's The Moon Etherium (you might already know Rowyn from A Rational Arrangement or from right here on Dreamwidth) and I'm looking forward to sometime soon sitting down and completing it).
lilfluff: On of my RP characters, a mouse who happens to be a student librarian. (Mouse)
Hola all,

Today I thought I'd provide some links to Good Stuff.

If you aren't following [ profile] haikujaguar's LJ you might not realize she's been posting a serial story Spots the Space Marine. One small outpost, one alien science advisor, and a horde of deadly alien crabs bent of bringing The War to the outpost. (BTW, today's her Birthday, a new reader and comments from the same would be a great gift, yes?)

I may only have written a few bits of mostly incomplete fanfic, but I've enjoyed listening to Writing Excuses and I've heard published authors say good stuff this podcast. What is writing excuses? It's a podcast about writing done by Brandon Sanderson (several books, and the author selected to finish The Wheel of Time), Dan Wells (author of "I Am Not A Seriel Killer"), and Howard Tayler (of the webcomic Schlock Mercenary). Or maybe I just like their tagline for the podcast, "Fifteen minutes long, because you're in a hurry, and we're not that smart."

Speaking of comics, at this year's Phoenix Comicon I picked up a copy of the Little Vampires little book. They're vampires, so surely they're scary. Then again they are only a few inches tall so only scary if you're a blood orange (shh, don't tell them it's not actually blood). Look at that page, are they not cute? Have I mentioned I have a weakness for cute stuff? Or that growing up we had a Blood Orange tree in the back yard?

Woo! And Wen Spencer just posted that she's got a contract for another Tinker book plus another fantasy.

I'd heard about the Bordertown series of books but haven't yet read any. That's going to be changing. There is a new Bordertown book coming out and Emma Bull read part of her story at this year's LepreCon. Now I just need to hunt down the earlier books...

Speaking of Emma Bull and having earlier mentioned a story being released serially online, take a look at Shadow Unit which has been described as "the best science fiction television show you aren't watching on TV". Shadow Unit is a television series about a special unit of the FBI, only while it was prepared as if a television program, has seasons and episodes, it's actually produced as written fiction posted to the Shadow Unit website. Here's a link to Emma's explanation of the origin of Shadow Unit

Oh yes, and my user icon? Done by Tod Wills, who I have mentioned before. He writes and draws a webcomic called Ekwara, works with Virmir on Crimson Flag and is even doing an adaptation of Dracula. And with all he is doing, he finds time to do Icon Days when all you need do to get a free icon is post a request before deadline (although using the paypal tip jar is certainly a Good Idea).
lilfluff: On of my RP characters, a mouse who happens to be a student librarian. (Default)
I was writing a reply to [ profile] seawasp's post about this matter and realized it had become long enough it ought to be a post here instead...

I think that the important question for publishers and authors is not, "Oh hell, how do we stop people from people from pirating our books," but, "Oh wow, people who are interested in us, how do we get them to willingly send money our direction?" (to give a short version of [ profile] haikujaguar's post yesterday on this matter)

Emphasis on the word willingly because no matter how many layers of DRM and DMCA style law are used, short of a total collapse of society and loss of technology, it is only going to get easier for people to copy things. And yes, that includes physical objects as well as digital data. Ten years from now (if that long) we'll get to see if companies that have invested in design patents on household items will react to tomorrows version of the Rep-Rap any more intelligently than the RIAA did to Napster.

(Which they are still in denial about screwing up. I read an article at some point in the past month where one former RIAA person insisted that the fault in Napster going away was entirely due to Napster refusing to come to the bargaining table and that the RIAA would have been willing to make a deal if Napster had... That's funny, if I recall correctly Napster offered a billion dollars and potentially partial ownership, plus a percentage of profits, plus unfettered access to usage statistics, as a settlement deal, and as I recall the RIAA's response was, 'We'll be more than happy to talk to you once you are dead, dead, dead, you [the following five minutes of ranting censored to protect children, pregnant women, and those of delicate disposition] so we hope you have good lawyers, no settlement! See you in court!')

I won't claim to know what the final answers will be (I don't believe it is going to be one single model), but I do know what the publishers and authors that don't ask that second question will be called. Forgotten. I do suspect part of it will involve relaxing control, because trying to maximize control will simply annoy potential readers (aka customers, aka patrons, aka your source of money) at a time when it will be even easier for them to find alternatives.

Additional note: Publisher's take note, this issue is even more important for you to figure out than for the authors. If the three sides in this issue, the authors, the readers, and the publishers, you the publisher are the most replaceable. The money flows from the reader towards the publisher (and we hope at least some of it makes its way on to the writer). The books flow from the writer towards the readers. We have publishing houses because so far the combination of publishers and book stores has proven to be the most successful in bringing the two together. But that doesn't mean any one publisher or bookstore, or even the two as concepts are not replaceable.

Yes, readers can like publishers, I personally have a liking for Baen when it comes to fiction. But why do I have a liking for Baen that gets me to regularly check their list of upcoming books? Part of it is Baen's company personality. They don't screw the reader. Their website is more than than a collection of blatant advertising, their forum has actual conversations on it (perish the thought!), samples of upcoming books are available to read (whoa, you mean they are confident enough in the books they thing I'll still be interested after the first five chapters?), ebooks aren't delayed (and are not made defective with DRM, and are made available in multiple formats, and are even given a sliding with increasing amounts available prior to the print release).

But you know what? If Baen did something that ticked off the authors and they all jumped ship for someone else, that past good will wouldn't mean all that much if I wasn't seeing authors I liked sending books in for Baen to publish. I would be checking to see where they went and heading in that direction. Fortunately I doubt I'll have to worry about Baen. They seem to be one of the few publishers in any genre to be reacting with anything other than, "Quick, grab some sandbags, guns, and a phone with our lawyers on speed dial!"
lilfluff: On of my RP characters, a mouse who happens to be a student librarian. (Default)
No? You're sure? Well, what if I buy the hardcover how about th--*SMACK!*

"Lynch him! String him up! How dare he give us money! Hey publisher, show that dastardly reader who is boss and delay the next ebook until after even the paperback is out!"

Exaggeration? Perhaps. Not what the people at Writer Beware intend as a message? Probably.

Is that how the response looks to this reader? Pretty much.

The short version is that someone wrote into the New York Times Ethicist column saying that --
A: He bought an ebook device to read books on while traveling
B: he really wanted to read the new Steven King novel Under The Dome, but
C: the publisher has decided not to release the ebook yet (apparently as part of the recent "Oh noes! We must drive away customers in order to support hard cover sales! Darn them for wanting to pay us for books in ebook formats!" movement among publishers), so
D: Really wanting to read the book but not wanting to feel like a gosh darn dirty thief for downloading a pirated ebook copy without having paying the publisher or author... He went out and bought the hardcover like the publisher wanted,
E: Having then given the publisher and a book store money he went to the internet and downloaded an unauthorized copy in a format compatible with his ebook device and used that to read it.
F: The Ethicist columnist says, Hmm, Illegal, but you paid the publisher so I'd say it isn't unethical.
G: People start frothing at the mouth and saying, "How dare you, how dare you!" to the columnist and reader.

I think I agree with
[ profile] haikujaguar who on seeing this decided to do an impromptu addition of the Three Micahs (her new series on the intersection of business owner, independent marketer, and artist for artists of whatever stripe (author, painter, whatever)). She noted that the response on Writer Beware amounted to, "Bad reader! Bad!" With comparisons to outright stealing print copies without ever paying and nary a glance at the publisher that nearly drove away a sale.

I figure if I found this interesting enough to comment spam [ profile] haikujaguar's post on the topic, then it is an interesting enough post to give a pointer too.

More and more I'm reminded of the late Jim Baen's comment on the Baen Bar that business practices that got between a customer and the customer wanting to pay for Baen published books, were obviously evil. (Although I recall that it was worded in a less wordy and much snappier fashion)

(Edited to actually include a link to the article)
lilfluff: On of my RP characters, a mouse who happens to be a student librarian. (Default)
I have been off and on grabbing a stack of manga (and a few assorted trade paperback editions of other stuff) and entering them into a linux app called Alexandria. It's not perfect (in fact the current version seems to have a few stability issues -- however it only ever takes itself down, and seems to do so without taking out any records), but it has some nice features.

* I can do ISBN lookups, and if it finds the book it will enter in the details for me
* Including automatically snagging cover photos
* I can export the records in a variety of formats including on huge web page or a csv file.
* It will spot attempts to enter duplicate records
* Like most other such apps it has a book loan feature that will let you see when and to who you loaned a book
* You can give books an 0-5 star rating
* You can also record random notes for any particular book
* In theory I can enter a books information manually in a form, but that's one of the unstable parts right now
** However, the record for each book is stored as a YAML formatted text file. Which means that when I discovered that Runaways volume two in paperback does not exist according to the automated Amazon lookup, I was able to take care of the issue with a text editor, a single cut&paste from an existing file, and a few quick edits.

Here for example is what I saved to create the entry:

--- !ruby/object:Alexandria::Book
- Brian K Vaughan
- Adrian Alphona
- Jo Chen
edition: Paperback
isbn: 0785114157
notes: ""
publisher: Marvel Comics
saved_ident: 0785114157
title: "Runaways Vol. 2: Teenage Wasteland"

Yeah, the penciler and inker get recorded as authors. The program's original intent was for recording regular books not comic books (of whatever genre, style, or national origin).

The records being formatted plain text means a low barrier to playing around with the database. It also means that if I decide to switch to another program it shouldn't be too difficult to transfer the existing records. One of the other major linux book collection programs looks to be Tellico, which will happily slurp up Alexandria records. Or I could decide to roll my own php/mysql web app and without too much trouble pull over the records (including cover images).

But in the end just getting a decent list of what I have will be enough of an improvement. It's rather annoying to go into the bookstore and stare at the shelf thinking to myself, "Okay... Just what volume of Bleach did I leave off on anyway..."
lilfluff: On of my RP characters, a mouse who happens to be a student librarian. (Default)
I know some of you out there are keeping track of your books on your computers. May I ask what software you're using? I have a few hundred several hundred maybe a few thousand books that really need to get inventoried. I've spotted a few duplicates and in the last two months ended up buying at least one duplicate for certain and have another that may or may not be a duplicate.

Maybe if I can get them organized I can even in the process divert a few into a give-away or sell pile.
lilfluff: On of my RP characters, a mouse who happens to be a student librarian. (Default)
Everyone seems to be doing this, and I was curious enough to go look. I understand it's based on some books, may have to check them out...

So, anyone around here read the books and have an opinion?
lilfluff: On of my RP characters, a mouse who happens to be a student librarian. (Default)
The promo commercial for the Dresden Files television program on SciFi has been put on YouTube by some kind soul...

Dresden Files TV

Most nifty!
lilfluff: On of my RP characters, a mouse who happens to be a student librarian. (Default)
Gah! This is driving me crazy. Somewhere I ran across a book where a character had something declared "Tippy Top Secret." I seem to recall that it was a female character, who was exercising some newly received authority. My sister (who has a good memory for this kind of thing) thinks I read her the scene around Summer 1997.

Now that it's popped into my head I'm going bonkers not being able to track down this reference. Even using google hasn't helped (why Google, why fail me now!), nor has using Amazon's book search, so apparently they haven't scanned whatever book it happens in.


lilfluff: On of my RP characters, a mouse who happens to be a student librarian. (Default)

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