The Business Rusch: A Short Post
Kristine Kathryn Rusch
As most of you know, my website got hacked last week. In fact, all of my websites–and I have a few–got hacked. So I’ve been busy, even though I don’t have a lot to show for it. Dean and I hired a website security firm to clean up the mess, and to clean up our other sites. The firm will also monitor the website every four hours to make sure it doesn’t get hacked again. We have hired a second security firm to do the same thing, figuring redundancy is our best option.
As of this writing, the warnings are still up that this is a dangerous website. The security firm assures me that the websites are safe. Ye Olde Website Guru has also looked and believes them to be safe. Other experts have looked as well and say the problems are gone. So the warnings are just a vestige of last week’s problem. I’m told that it will take most of a week for the warnings to come down. I hope it takes no longer than that, but as in all things, there are no guarantees.
Because of those warnings, I’m going to keep this post short. I don’t want to do anything big and have folks miss it. Many people simply won’t click through while the warnings are up, and honestly, I don’t blame them. I wouldn’t either.
Last week’s discussion got truncated by this hacker-caused emergency. Initially, I thought the problem was a direct attack on the website. When I write a tough post about traditional publishing, royalty statements, and agents, I usually get trolls, hackers, and once I got a denial of service attack. So I figured last week’s attack was an amped-up version of the same.
Instead, it seems to have been a relatively mundane Word Press incursion, taking advantages of weaknesses in the Word Press system. I never thought I’d be thankful for an average criminal attack, but I am. I prefer average criminals. They’re predictable. And predictably, I left a couple places open to attack. Not on this site, which was well defended, but on linked sites. I had no idea that could happen. Live and learn.
A lot of you responded to my initial cry for help with the blog. The post I put up last week is an important one, and I was worried that someone was trying to shut it down, particularly when it literally disappeared from one of my other websites after I reposted. A large number of readers with their own blogs reposted the original post, at some risk to themselves considering we thought it a directed attack at that time. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Ye Olde Website Guru lost all of his Thursday before he realized that he needed reinforcements in battling this attack. Thank you again, Website Guru.
Many of you e-mailed or contacted me on social media to let me know the site had been compromised. You guys helped me catch this early. I had no idea that it had gone down and was merrily working on something else when I learned about it. Thank you all.
And thanks too to the folks who continued to write kind letters and who donated during this mess. As a few of you noted, hiring these national security services isn’t cheap. I appreciate the help.
Mostly, though, I was and am cheered by the kind of support you all gave me. When I started this blog three years ago, I thought I would just be writing a book primarily for myself, with no readers at all. Together, we finished that book, which became The Freelancer’s Survival Guide. What I had planned as a 60,000-word book became a 200,000-word book due to your suggestions, insights, and ideas. The slightly revised 2012 edition came out in April, but I plan a more elaborate revision for the fall. I’ll be adding a section on estates which I had left out of the last one. I think I’d probably better update the posts on websites as well, given the security issues I encountered this year.
Instead of writing primarily for myself, I am now writing for literally thousands each week. The size of the blog attracted the malware hack, which is, as they say, a backwards compliment. I hope that the site is now secure enough to handle the expanded traffic. The fact that it wasn’t is on me, and I will endeavor not to make that mistake in the future.
Now, before I go, I’m going to point you to three places. First, Joe Konrath hosted a guest post from Ann Voss Peterson about her experiences with Harlequin. She’s talking money here, but she’s also talking contracts. I’ve discussed at length about the ways traditional publishing contracts can hurt writers in this new world of publishing, but she has actual facts and figures, mixed with her personal experiences. The Passive Guy, who vets Harlequin contracts in his day job as an IP attorney, says the clauses that she discusses still exist in Harlequin’s contracts, along with some newer (and nastier) wrinkles.
Speaking of the Passive Guy, he provided great support for me when my blog when down. He reposted the royalty statements post and hosted a discussion about some of the items in the post. He also encouraged others to repost, which I greatly appreciate.
Finally, I’m going to link to last week’s Business Rusch post. It’s an important update on last year’s royalty statement controversy. The comments that many of you made in the wee hours of Thursday morning got eaten by the hacker attack and I can’t reconstruct them. One comment did get through, and it’s an important one. So rather than repost, I’m just going to add the link here. If you were unable to read last week’s post, click here to read it now. And feel free to comment. I’d love to have the discussion that we missed out on last week.
I have added the donate button here in case last week’s doesn’t work. It seems to, but I’m not trusting any old link at the moment. Again, thank you all for the marvelous support both over this past week and in the past three years.
“The Business Rusch: A Short Post” copyright © 2012 by Kristine Kathryn Rusch