ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's a great essay about diversity in publishing, especially young adult books. My favorite quote: “The publishing industry looks a lot like these best-selling teenage dystopias: white and full of people destroying each other to survive.” Wowch, nailed it.

There's a problem when an industry lacks diversity: “None of these agents look like me,” she said, “and they don’t represent anyone that looks like me.” ... “What if they don’t get what I’m doing?” While it's possible for people to reach understanding across cultural lines, it is much easier for people to understand each other when they share a lot of common ground. Lack of diversity among gatekeepers (agents and editors) therefore undermines access and representation.

Now here are two quotes from advantaged people in the industry: "I think the change is going to have to come from within those who are affected,” and Another agent, when asked why less than 1% of her submissions were from people of color, captured what seems to be the publishing industry’s general attitude in just 10 words: “This seems like a question for an author to answer.” Both of those are right. In order to work, social change must incorporate the views and needs of the people affected; top-down solutions tend to be offensive and ineffective.

However, that doesn't mean everyone else can just abdicate all responsibility. You have to look for the part of the problem that lies within YOUR reach. In this case, it means engaging a conversation about unmet needs. The industry should be asking, "If people of color don't read or buy books, why not?" (They have less access to education, fewer books starring characters like them, less disposable income, etc.) And then ask, "What would help fix that?" If a question is for authors to answer, then agents and editors should in fact be asking authors that question, and listening to the answers.

And here it is in the essay: The question industry professionals need to ask themselves is: “How can I use my position to help create a literary world that is diverse, equitable, and doesn’t just represent the same segment of society it always has since its inception? What concrete actions can I take to make actual change and move beyond the tired conversation we’ve been having for decades?”

Of course, there are many issues in publishing, as in society. Most people will pick one or two favorites to focus on. Maybe they want to deal with sexism or classism rather than racism. Maybe they want to focus on books that will hook people who rarely read. Everybody doesn't have to deal with every problem, but every problem should have somebody working on it.

Me, I'm weird as usual; I'm the one waving a broom and shouting, "Fight ALL the oppressions!"  What am I doing?  Sure, I write characters from all different cultures, because I'm a mix.  But I also promote  projects by a wide range of creators.  Word of mouth advertising is really, really important.  I may not have a lot of money but I make one hell of a barker.

This is an area where crowdfunding can help.  You can support creative people of color.  You can ask for ethnic characters or plot structures.  You can look for projects to fund a book for distribution.  Yes, there's a filter, but we don't have to go through that bottleneck anymore.  We can go somewhere else.  The market is a lot more diverse than the dinosaurs believe.  They're standing in the breach?  Fine.  Let them have it.  Go somewhere else, go where there are people, and get their attention.  There are niches with almost no representation and therefore minimal competition.  Go fill them.  People are starving for stories about characters similar to themselves.  Feed a cat, gain a cat.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's an article about how you don't really own ebooks

The problem is that this is fraud.  People think if they are clicking a "buy" button online, what they pay for belongs to them.  If someone then takes it away, they feel robbed, and rightly so.  Saying "buy" implies ownership of the product; it's a contract term.  If the fine print says "you don't really own this" then that deceives people, causing them to make different decisions, and the results can be negative.  This does not just harm Amazon's reputation; it damages the reputation of ebooks in general.  It makes customers feel that ebooks are unreliable, perhaps even undesirable; and that makes people less willing to pay for them.  This is an incentive to copy them from unofficial sources, because the authorities can't burgle what they don't even know you have.  It also makes life difficult for anyone who really IS selling ebooks on a "you pay me, and this thing belongs to you" basis.

Just in case you're wondering, that's me.  You pay me for an ebook, and that copy is yours, just as if you pay me for a paper book that I mail to you.  Robbing people's libraries is an abomination before the Lady.

And this is one of many reasons why I dislike ebooks, but even if I liked them for every other reason, such behavior would kill my interest dead, at least for anyone doing business on this basis.  It can be hard to tell who's playing straight and who's fraudulent, though, so a few bad experiences and the whole product line gets crossed off.  The risk isn't worth the reward.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's a detailed essay on tipping.  

The four factors are time, effort, salary, and service.  Of those, I prioritize service, followed by effort and time.  I am easily charmed by discreet yet attentive service and a sweet personality.  I also have one hell of a competence kink.  I will tip accordingly.  Conversely, I feel entitled to lower or omit a tip for shabby service.  If you diss my fat friend, or insult my queer friends, or whinge about my dietary requirements, I will leave two pennies on the table so you know  I didn't just forget, I am actively penalizing you for acting like a dick.  And I won't go back to a place with lousy service or quality or a tendency to jerk people around.

I really resent the salary factor.  It is the employer's responsibility to pay every employee a living wage.  Not doing that abuses both the employees and the customers.  A tip is supposed to be extra for a job well done.  It is not supposed to be anyone's livelihood.  I won't discount salary entirely, because we're stuck with a society that allows employers to abuse people like this; but I rank it last, because it shouldn't be my  responsibility to take care of some moocher's employees.  If you can't be arsed to take care of your people, then you shouldn't have any, you should be in a business that doesn't require that.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
See a map distinguishing more from less developed areas of America, graded in the same way as countries in Africa.  Notice the huge swath of squalor across the South.  That comes from a combination of racism, classism, and foolish policy making.  Those problems then become everybody's problems when the people who make them go to Washington.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's a look at book authors as product brands, and what contributes to success. 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
More and more online booksellers are practicing censorship.   This directly harms writers by preventing them from selling their work; it directly harms readers by preventing people from spending their money as they see fit.  

Some people say that this doesn't count as "real" censorship because it's done by corporations rather than government.  But it has exactly the same effect on your ability to write, read, sell, and buy what you choose.  Look around.  Corporations are doing a lot of destructive things that the government was forbidden to do because those cause problems, only nobody forbade corporations because nobody thought that businesses would ever have  the power to do government-type things.  Now they do, and it's a disaster.  

When a small business makes personalized decisions, it has a small impact; but when a megacorp does, it has a government-sized impact.  That makes it not okay anymore.  If you're going to function in an area where you control most or all of the market, then you have an obligation to serve ALL of that market, not cherry-pick just the customers you personally like and freeze out everyone else.

If you think this is only happening to erotica, it's not.  That's just a genre where it's relatively easy to catch people censoring content.  People who think that censorship is okay will manipulate everything according to their -- usually awful -- worldviews.  So there's probably censorship in other areas such as politics, religion, sexual health information, current events, etc.  It's a new bottleneck between creators and customers.

This is becoming a huge issue in books, videos, music, all kinds of cultural entertainment.  It's a problem with online money handlers who think that they have a right to tell you how you can spend your money.  Shopping in niche markets can be fun, but it's less efficient and effective than shopping in a few large places.  It wastes your time and causes you to miss some stuff that is available but out of easy reach.  

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
This is the freebie for today's fishbowl, prompted by [personal profile] corvi. It also fills the "presumed dead" square in my 1-2-14 card for the [community profile] trope_bingo fest. Read about the curse of Fáfnir.

Read more... )
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Here's a thoughtful analysis of how publishing underrepresents women, not just at one point, but throughout the process.   On the bright side, this means you can pick any of the leaky points to address, depending on where you have access.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Here's a good discussion of gender disparity in publishing. More books by men get published and reviewed, compared to women.

If you want to change that, you need to figure out why it's happening ...

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Bend over and kiss your ass goodbye.

I hear you, bro.  I've been saying many of the same things, since I was a wee toddler in the 1970's.  Nobody ever fuckin' listens.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 Here's a detailed discussion of author earnings in book publishing.  Ebooks and self-publishing make an excellent showing.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

This poem came out of the February 4, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from Anthony Barrette.  It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette.

Read more... )

ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
 Here's a discussion of poverty wages and the problems they cause.  I feel that if you're working but still poor, then someone is cheating you of fair pay for your hard work.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
If you make $1000+ per year from writing, then you are doing better than the majority of aspiring, self-published, or traditionally-published writers; and better than about 40% of hybrid-model writers. 
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Movies with more female characters make more money.  Use your folding vote, folks.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
Folks are talking about what's wrong with publishing and how to fix it.  In this case, it's publishers printing stuff people don't want to read, instead of what people are asking for.  

As Business Manager Micah says, "Losing money ... as we speak ...!"

Crowdfunding avoids this problem.  Wanna thingie?  All you have to do is watch for a prompt call and ask; somebody will make you a thingie.  Wanna sell thingies?  Launch a project, preferably offer some free samples to get people addicted attract an audience, post some stuff for sale, and there you go.  Of course it depends on making a connection between fans with funds and creators with good material, but if you hunt around, that is very doable.

So we're no longer stuck with somebody else's selections.  We can make and buy whatever we want.  That is a lot more diverse than what a handful of people in New York want us to want.  

As heartbreaking as it is to walk past the dark shell of a dead bookstore, it is almost as woesome to walk into a brightly lit zombie shell and find nothing worthy taking out.  I cannot express my horror the first few times this happened to me.  Eventually I started to think ... "Wow this urban fantasy slutfest fiction really sucks.  I want to go home and make P.I.E." or "This science fiction is all the same with its boring cookie-cutter aliens.  I want some sociological SF ... time to look for a prompt call."  If I'm shopping for one of my top-favorite products, and your entire store bores me, your fail has reached epic proportions.  I do not have to put up with this shit.  I can go home and publish queer SF or something else awesome.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

This poem came out of the January 7, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired and sponsored by [livejournal.com profile] ideealisme.  It also fills the "silver and gold" slot on my 12-8-13 card for the Genprompt Bingo fest.

Read more... )

ysabetwordsmith: (Fiorenza)
Here is the linkback perk for the January 7, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl and the January 21, 2013 bonus session.  If you link to the fishbowl, make a comment and include the URL to reveal a verse of this poem.  If you link on different services, you can get multiple verses.

This poem came out of the January 22, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from Dreamwidth user Chordatesrock.

All 21 verses have been posted.  Linkers include: [livejournal.com profile] siege, [livejournal.com profile] janetmiles, [livejournal.com profile] rix_scaedu, [livejournal.com profile] wyld_dandelyon, [livejournal.com profile] thnidu, DW user Perfectworry, [livejournal.com profile] mdlbear, [livejournal.com profile] technoshaman.

Read more... )
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
I had this weird, creepy idea about why so many rich people go crazy and become evil.

Money talks.  Each bit of money has its own tiny voice.  If you're not rich, this isn't a problem.  You rarely notice it.  But if you have a LOT of money ...

... then you hear these voices in your head.  They tell you to hurt people.  They tell you to destroy the Earth.  They tell you that it's okay to do whatever you want, no matter what harm it does.

Most people don't seem to last very long once they start hearing those voices.

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