Not All Agents and Editors are Honest

Business Musings: Writers, Scam Artists, Agents, and More by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

I’ve been following Kristine for many years. She often has a lot to say about the writing business, writers, agents, publishers and everything else regarding the publishing world. This post is no different. We may enter a relationship with an agent, editor or publishing company thinking this is the best thing ever only to learn months or years down the line that it was the worst thing ever.

Here’s what Kristine writes…

Just when I thought it was safe to get back into the water…

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I’m editing a lot these days. I only edit short fiction projects. Anthologies, anthology series (Fiction River), the occasional nonfiction book, and some magazines. I’m also consulting with the fine folks at WMG Publishing, because they’ll be handling the contracts for the revival of Pulphouse next year. Dean’s vision for Pulphouse includes reprinting some of the older stories, which means we have to deal with estates.

Too often, estates mean agents.

But even some lazy-ass living writers give their agents control of everything. It took me one year—one year—to get my hands on a non-fiction reprint that I wanted for a project of mine. The centerpiece for that project was an editorial written more than 20 years ago by a writer who had forgotten they had even written it. This writer, a friend of mine, doesn’t do email, and mostly stays off-line. (I know, I know.) I didn’t know about their tech phobia when I started into this, and had sent five different emails before I asked another editor friend how to reach this writer.

The editor advised snail mail.

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Constructing Nonfiction Paragraphs

Constructing the ideal paragraph can be difficult. That’s why teachers start discussing the mechanics of it in elementary and continue right on through to grade 12. Solving the mystery behind paragraphs is a vital step in writing books.

A paragraph contains one subject only. This one subject is introduced in the first sentence, supported in the body and concluded in the final sentence.

  • The introduction sentence introduces the topic in a general manner.
  • The supporting sentences are where the meat of information is located. It contains specific facts.
  • The conclusion sentence wraps up the idea and summarizes the topic of the paragraph in a few words.

An Exercise for Creating a Nonfiction Paragraph

First Sentence: Introduce subject by answering: What is a chicken?

Points to Cover in the body of the paragraph:

  • Chickens are domesticated birds that lay eggs.
  • Female chickens are hens.
  • Male chickens are roosters.
  • Hens lay eggs.
  • What do they look like?

Last Sentence: Conclusion: And that’s what a chicken is.

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Amazon’s New KDP Print Feature is Bad News for CreateSpace Users

The first news I heard about KDP Print was in an email from Amazon on February 15th. Since then, I’ve read articles, blog posts and comments about it and watched the praise given by Amazon for this service dwindle quickly.

In the email, Amazon announced they were making print book publishing easier for writers. They stated, “KDP prints your book on demand and subtracts your printing costs from your royalties, so you don’t have to pay any costs upfront or carry any inventory.”

That’s what CreateSpace does. Sort of. I believe CreateSpace takes the cost of the printing of the book from the sale price, then takes a cut of the royalties. Until I see the numbers and do the math, I am unsure which service will offer a better financial deal for authors.

The message also stated, “It also enables you to receive consolidated royalty payments for paperback and eBook sales. You can view combined reports and manage your print and eBook publishing from one website.”

Except, I’m okay with visiting two sites to get my sales reports. In fact, I prefer CreateSpace’s sales report much more than I do Kindle’s. Kindle’s is not straightforward and too clunky to find answers quickly.

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Halifax Chronicle Herald Buys Transcontinental Newspapers

This afternoon, I was informed Halifax Chronicle Herald purchased 28 publications (including one online) owned by Transcontinental. The CBC online article stated it bought all of their news outlets in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

As a genealogy columnist for The Citizen Record, Amherst, NS, I’m unsure of what the future holds for me and other freelance columnists.

During many changes years ago, Transcontinental presented columnists with a new contract that, if signed, would make their original contract with the publication null and void. I ignored the new contract, and they didn’t pester me to sign it. To this day, I work under the original contracts I signed when I began Roots to the Past in 2005. The purchase by Halifax Chronicle Herald may force me to do the unthinkable: end the column. That is, if they try to force me to sign a bad contract.

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Canadian Authors and the Public Lending Rights Program

If you are a Canadian author with books published in Canada, you should ensure they are available to readers through the public library. There are many reasons why but in this post, I will focus on the Public Lending Rights (PLR) program and how it benefits Canadian authors.

I first learned about the Public Lending Rights program almost a decade ago from the late Jay Underwood. Although I had been writing for about a dozen years before that time, I had never heard another writer speak about the program and the benefits to authors.

What is the Public Lending Rights program?

From their website: “Each year millions of Canadians access books from their public libraries, free of charge. This free use we enjoy means that authors potentially lose revenues from sales of their books; readers who might otherwise buy a book can instead consult or borrow it from the library.

“The Canada Council’s Public Lending Right Program helps to address this inequity. Each year it distributes payments to authors to compensate them for the presence of their books in public libraries. The Program has grown steadily since it was established in 1986 and last year over $9.7 million was distributed among over 17,000 authors registered in the Program and the average payment to a registered individual was $568.”

What does it cost?

It is free to register books in the PLR program.

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Writer’s Income from Access Copyright

It’s that time of year again. It’s time to brush the dust off everything you had published in 2015 and claim it at Access Copyright.

Haven’t heard of Access Copyright? If you are a published Canadian writer, you should know about it.

What is Access Copyright?

From their website: “Access Copyright is a collective voice of creators and publishers in Canada. A non-profit, national organization, we represent tens of thousands of Canadian writers, visual artists and publishers, and their works.

“Through agreements with sister organizations around the world, we also represent the works of hundreds of thousands of foreign creators and publishers. This rich repertoire of content is highly valued by educators, students, researchers, corporate employees and others who need to copy and share content.”

What do they do?

Again, from their website: “We license the copying of this repertoire to educational institutions, businesses, governments and others. The proceeds gathered when content is copied, remixed and shared are passed along to the copyright-holders.

“These investments help to ensure the continued creation of new and innovative works.”

What does it cost?

Affiliating with Access Copyright is free.

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HalCon Review – Author Panels

On Saturday November 5th, I attended HalCon, the biggest, geekiest sci-fi convention in Atlantic Canada. There were many wonderful demonstrations, vendors and author displays. There was also author signings, autograph sessions and endless streams of characters.

Shortly after I arrived, I sought out the room for the Editing and Formatting panel session. The speakers for the event included

The description of the session stated: To Oxford Comma, Or Not.  This and other questions about editing formatting will be answered.  If you’ve ever wondered about cutting parts, proper structure or when not using proper grammar is okay, then this may be the panel for you. Continue reading