Pirates Ho! On Book Pirating


That's rather too gleeful a pirate illustration for what I want to rant write about today--book pirating. Galley Cat had a thought-provoking recent roundup of Why Readers Pirate eBooks , plus I've had a few writer friends talking about book piracy on Twitter and Facebook (they're against it, for the record).

But what really disturbed me was talking to a family member last weekend and in discussing our Kindles, he said, "I have like a thousand books on mine. All pirated, of course."

My jaw dropped and I stared at him, speechless, before I got out, "That's not the kind of thing you tell an author."

To make up for it, he said, "When I buy your book, I'll buy it from you so I'm not giving money to those publishers." The last word said with deep loathing.

"Hey, I won't get free books, so they'll still be getting their share," I countered.

Then we dropped the subject, because I was upset but I also know he's a "stick it to The Man" kind of guy. And it's obvious that's how he sees this--a way to hit the publishers below the belt. With very little thought of where the author falls in that metaphor. (eww, that sounded more lewd than I meant--you get my mixed metaphor, right?)

Plus, he said it like the publishers are stealing from, or taking advantage of, authors. But guess what: those of us who choose to work with traditional publishers know how much we're going to get when we sign that contract. It's a tradeoff, a gamble that the power of the publisher's name will get our book in more places than if we self-published. We may not like it, but if we absolutely don't agree with those terms we have that option of self-publishing. Or getting an agent to negotiate better terms.

I am currently looking for an agent, so I'm obviously choosing the traditional publishing route. But, I spend a  lot of time writing each week, and when I do eventually get my books published, I expect to get paid.

This family member happens to be a gold miner/prospector on the weekends, and I imagine that he would be pretty angry if someone came across his sluice and cherry-picked all the nuggets he'd just spent hours separating from the rock and sand. I'm not sure he would see writing a book and gold mining as comparable, but it's the same in that someone else is benefiting from your labors. Labors that you expected would give you a monetary return at some point.

It seems pretty obvious to me, but I've also seen writers who freely share their work and/or maintain a dialogue with pirates. It's obvious there is more than one answer. So where do you stand on book piracy?

Image source

Can I Get Your Opinion?

So part of the LA SCBWI conference next weekend is the Hippie Hop, a dance and social. I have two possible outfits that I can't decide on. Will you help? And note that the flower and peace symbol were added in Photoshop, but I have face and body paints for the real thing the night of.





OR





I think one is more striking, but the other would be easier to dance in.

Power to the people, and please vote in the comments!

RTW: Noooo--Not The Special Hell!



Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors and followers post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on their blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This week's topic: This Week's Topic, to prepare for our Bookmobile chat about INCARNATE with author Jodi Meadows next Tuesday, July 31:
If you could be reincarnated as any fictional character, which would it be?
 
I almost didn't answer this one, because my first (and short) thought was, "All the books I like have Very Bad Things happen to the characters--why would I sign up for that!"
 
And I definitely wouldn't want to come back as one of the characters in my books--I love to torture them. Not necessarily physically, but with all kinds of embarrassing situations.

And that got me thinking: do you think that's what Hell is like for writers? We're forced to live through all those plot twists we thought were so very clever when we wrote them? I hope not, because I'm really in for it otherwise . . .


Feel free to put a link to your post in the comments if you played along with Road Trip Wednesday. Don't forget to go to the YA Highway post and read all the answers!

Wowza


So as preparation for the LA SCBWI Conference, I'm trying to read a few of the books by the workshop presenters. I checked the libraries first (because if I'm going to buy them, I'd rather buy them there and have a chance of getting them signed) and the wait lists were pretty long.

Except for an e-copy of Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt, who is doing a workshop on Layering a Character. And honestly, by the description and out of all the titles and authors, this isn't the book I would have picked--but I would absolutely been shortchanging myself.

This is an incredible book, with so much going on both internally and externally for the character, and yet it never seems to be overdone or confusing. I'll definitely be including it in my Best Books roundup at the end of this month, but you can get started on it now if you want!

Here is a video Mr. Schmidt did while talking about his book, including a line that really resonated with me today:
"The more difficult thing is to figure out how the writing can fit into the cracks of all the business of your life."



Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors and followers post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on their blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This week's topic: When you need creative inspiration, where do you go?

I'm going to answer in a photo essay:


























Are you noticing a pattern? Not the watermark on all the photos, but the water in them. Even the moon-in-tree photo is on the cliffs at Salt Point. The last one was taken in my garden, though, and it's always good for inspiration.


Feel free to put a link to your post in the comments if you played along with Road Trip Wednesday. Don't forget to go to the YA Highway post and read all the answers!

Letting My Inner Teen Out to Play


My two nieces (12 and 13) came to visit from Texas a few weeks ago, and it didn't take long for my husband to discover he was actually sharing the house with three teenaged girls. Yep, scratch my responsible, middle-aged veneer and you'll find a giggly, squee-ly teen.

We went to see Brave, went horseback riding, and to the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary. All things I can (and do) without them, but so much more fun with someone who is as enthusiastic about those kinds of things as I am. We were even going to chalk our hair one evening since their mom won't let them dye it (note: I was 14 the first time I dyed mine) but it seemed like they needed some downtime with their Kindles too.

That brings us to what we talked about most of all--books! They each have a Kindle Fire, but apparently their dad has a rule that they can only get free books for it. And there are a lot of free books that are great, but unfortunately also a lot of substandard self pubs out there too. (notice I'm not knocking all self-pubbed books--just those titles that make the entire industry look bad)

So we bemoaned all the books I've purchased that don't have lending enabled. I have over 100 items on my Kindle, and I was only able to find 7 YA titles that had lending enabled. I know it's up to each individual publisher to decide that, but wow--that's a very small percentage.

As a consolation prize, I let them go through the YA books I bought to give as presents this Christmas and pick a few out to read now. They happily spent a few hours drowning in a pile of books. That's what aunties are for, right?

I would have liked to have spent more time with them, but was also pretty exhausted after just 3 days of them. How do you parents do this all the time? Granted, we went from 0 to teenager, but still . . .

The reason we only took them for a long weekend (plus joined them and my mom for a few evenings) was because I'm doing a big push on my WIP before the LA conference, and I'm not a super-fast writer. So that means more butt-in-chair. My one niece kept trying to coax me into camping with them, but when I said, "If I don't write the book, how will you ever get to read it?" she nodded in agreement.

My mom was more aggravating about it (she's mostly stopped bringing up ideas for jobs for me) and kept saying, "Can't you just not write for the week they're here?" What annoyed me is that she would not have said to my brother or my husband, "Can't you just not go into work for a week?" She understands that they have to do some planning and juggling of their work schedules to take time off, and even then may not be able to do it, but thinks that doesn't apply to my writing. Aargh!

Okay, apparently my inner teen can still get off a good "my mom just doesn't understand me!" rant, haha!

RTW: Book vs. Video

Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors and followers post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on their blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This week's topic: What movie have you seen that actually (gasp!) improved on the book?

Some interesting picks for this one in the road trip--some I agree with, and others made me say, "Whaaat?" That's what I love about these road trips!

My pick is Girl with a Pearl Earring; the book by Tracy Chevalier in 2001, and the film came out in 2004.



For the most part I enjoyed the novel and the very specific time and place it portrayed, but the writing was fairly passive and left parts of the story to fall flat. In truth, by the time the movie came out I'd forgotten about the book.

And then I started hearing about a new Colin Firth movie--and I didn't really need to hear more than that before buying a ticket! But this movie turned out to be so much more than Colinporn. I use that term for all Colin Firth movies, but what's so impressive about this film is that the onscreen sexual tension between Vermeer (Firth) and Griet (Johansson) is absolutely sizzling.

Some of that is due to their stellar acting abilities, of course, but also the film maker's choices, including the choice not to include any explicitly sexual scenes. The hottest scene in the entire film is about hair, for pity's sake! But I distinctly remember holding my breath through that scene, and having it whoosh out of me when the story moved on.

The other place where the movie outshines the book is visually. Tracy Chevalier did a great job trying to describe colors and shadows, and other aspects of creating a painting. But those scenes in the film do an even better job conveying the sense of wonder and hyperfocus I get while I'm painting, or looking at a truly great piece of art.

In the special features on the disc I have, they talked about how many of the movie's scenes are deliberate re-creations, almost tableaus, of the Dutch Master style of painting. The lighting, the colors and hues, the quiet, homey moments captured instead of pageantry. So well done!

Okay, now I need to go watch it again!
  
Feel free to put a link to your post in the comments if you played along with Road Trip Wednesday. Don't forget to go to the YA Highway post and read all the answers!


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I've seen meetups of YA bloggers for BEA and ALA and been writhing with envy (unless the writhing was because you really should respect the expiration date on salsa), but no more!


I'll be at the SCBWI International Conference in Los Angeles  August 2-5 and I'd love to meet up with some of my blogger friends and tweeps! (for any would-be burglars wanting to take advantage of my trip, know that my ex-drummer-in-a-metalhead-band husband will be home along with the cats--and if he doesn't get you, the black cat will) 


So are you planning on going? Leave a comment below and I'll create an email list and see if there's a time we can all get together! Even if it's just "let's take pictures of our kooky 60s outfits for the Hippie Hop Saturday night! Y'all are wearing far-out threads, aren't you?

Or email me at strikingnotes (AT) yahoo (DoT) com. YA Highwayers, Absolute Writers, Bloggers and Wordpressers welcome! Hope to see you there.

Help the Lucky 13s Celebrate

The group of YA authors/bloggers known as The Lucky 13s were awfully helpful with items for the Pens for Paws Auction, so I want to help spread the word about an amazing celebration and giveaway on their blog!



To celebrate us being halfway through 2012--and therefore, halfway to 2013--twenty members of The Lucky 13s are each giving away books that influenced their reading and writing lives. That's right, the winners will receive twenty books, guaranteed to change your life*!

To enter, go to their post announcing the giveaway, and follow the instructions for the widget thingy. I started to type "and may the odds be in your favor" but it sounded too much like I ripped that off from Effie. So I'll say good luck instead!



*Okay, no one made any such guarantee or promise, I was just really excited when I wrote that sentence.