Business Musings: Knowing What You Want (Agents/Negotiation)

In the late 1980s, some functionary at a record label fielded a call about a song called “Private Idaho,” by the B-52s. The song was never a major hit, although by the time that phone call got made, the B-52s were topping the charts with a song called “Love Shack.” The caller wanted to use the song in an upcoming movie written and directed by […]

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Recommended Reading List: July, 2018

I turned off the TV much of the month, and decreased my consumption of news, out of necessity. I can’t watch the images of my country doing things I so deeply hate. I do read about these things on my phone (thank heavens for notifications!) so I’m not uninformed. I’m just not losing myself in the imagery, which is probably good for my mental health. […]

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Business Musings: Over Capitalization and Hamster Wheels

Well, you see, I’ve still been noodling the question I asked last week about the writers trying to game Amazon’s algorithms and seem to have lost the heart of their writing. What motivates them?

I know a lot of real writers—and you probably do too—who are still trying to game those algorithms. Those are the people I’m trying to figure out.

And Chef’d and MoviePass helped explain them to me.

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Business Musings: Sometimes I Just React…

I don’t get it. I really don’t. You’d think they all started out wanting to tell their own stories. You’d think they identified themselves as writers first, not book stuffers or algorithm gamers. But I have no idea, really, and I’ve been part of the indie movement almost from the beginning. You see, at lunch today, I finally had a chance to read Sarah Jeong’s […]

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Business Musings: Taste (or Blaming The Writer)

When I teach craft workshops, one of the things I work on the hardest is teaching writers the difference between taste and “good fiction.” I put “good fiction” in quotes, because there seems to be this belief among most writers and readers that “good fiction” is something quantifiable. Certain books are “good” because they have elements that professors approve of, or elements that the culture […]

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Business Musings: Blip or New Reality?

A lot of times on this blog, I deal with the problems in publishing. Bad problems, like agents embezzling, traditional publishers not paying royalties, income going down, or sales not up to expectations. In the early days of indie publishing, I would also blog about the problems of success. In our workshops and classes, we call them problems you trade up for. Just because a […]

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Business Musings: Own It

It took me a long time to learn that negotiation is all about strength. If you say, My agent or my lawyer too many times in the middle of a negotiation, the person on the other side of that negotiation won’t want to talk to you. You’re not the one with power.

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Business Musings: Outside The Box

While Dean was running one of our webinars on the morning I wrote this post, I decided to work in one of the nearby cafes. As I came in, a beautiful little girl wearing a flower in her hair and a sparkly unicorn t-shirt with pink shorts ran up to the counter. She tried to peer over it, failed, and then looked at her parents, […]

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Business Musings: Licensing Opportunities

I think the moment writers dream of being published, they have the same wish. They want to write the books of their heart. They want those books to reach a vast audience, and they want someone else to worry about doing all the things that turn a book from a rectangular object on a shelf into a vast global empire a la Harry Potter. Most […]

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Business Musings: Learned Helplessness

I was in the middle of a long blog post about writers licensing the rights to their work when the news broke about Donadio & Olson embezzling from their clients. I stopped what I was working on and wrote a different post, because I finally had public proof of something I’d been saying for years: that important, well-known literary agents mismanage and/or embezzle the monies […]

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