Thursday, June 24, 2010

eBook Piracy take 2`

Hmm this week seems to be the week of repeating earlier topics. Today I want to talk about eBook Piracy - again.

So I talked about how eBook piracy effects the authors - the bottom line if they don't make money writing they stop writing. Publisher's don't make money they fold. If you want to read that entry it's here.

Now to continue that theme. Not only are you taking money from the author and the publisher. I've heard the excuses "I can't afford to buy the books I read too many." "They're making tons of money (not true) so it won't matter if I download it." (Guess what you aren't the only one downloading the book there are hundreds of you. One author did the research and one of her books had been downloaded over 1,000 times.) "I just download to try it out if I like it I'll buy it." Yeah, yeah, yeah all us writers and our publishers are living in mansions and have servants to clean and it won't hurt if we get robbed - WRONG assumption. For my case I live off social security and disability - my royalty checks are enough to go out to dinner once and that's about it. BUT there are others that feel the financial effect of each and every illegal download. Folks you probably never thought about. Who? Copy/Content Editors, Line Editors/Proofreaders and Cover Artist.

Now in the big New York houses I'm sure those folks get a salary but for the sake of this entry I'm not talking about them. I'm discussing ePublisher staff. Each group gets a tiny percentage for their hours of work and/or expenses.

1. Copy/Content Editors - for their tiny percentage these wonderful ladies and gents read each story assigned to them, mark what can be made better, correct punctuation, and to make sure the house style is maintained. They do this not once but a minimum of twice and some books take three or four or more times. That's HOURS and HOURS of work.

2. Line Editors/Proofreaders - now some publishers pay these ladies and gents a flat fee and that's great... but some don't. The Line Editors/Proofreaders are "fresh eyes" that check the story for things the Copy/Content Editors and Author missed because of having read the story too many times.

3. Cover Artist - I bet you're wondering why this is highlighted, well I'll tell you. In the ePublishing world the artist purchases the images that are used. The images range from free to $15.00 each and each cover has usually 2 or more images. Then they put together the images and make the text fit the book. Not every cover any artist does is an OMG! cover and yes, some are ick. But no matter WHERE the cover fits on the spectrum they are out that money. Then you come along and upload the book with the cover they spent hours on, covers they paid for the images out of their own pockets and the poor artist gets nothing. Not Cool!

So now you have slipped your stingy, greedy, self intitled little hand into 5 peoples wallet and stolen from them. I know, if you're a pirate you are rolling your eyes at me. But think about this... I walk into your job and take whatever I feel like and walk out without paying. How would you feel? Just remember that's exactly what each publisher, author, copy/content editor, line editor/proofreader and cover artist feels when you push that "Download file" button.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Research is important!

In addition to writing I also line edit. Recently I was given a manuscript to line edit. Within the first chapter I found several factual errors. Things that a modicum of research could have corrected. So I decided to post another blog on doing your "homework".

Remember you never know what your readers experiences are.

1. If you have a character who is a doctor and he/she makes a diagnosis - you better have researched that disease until you know every symptom, what the usual presentation of it is and what could be a really unusual presentation. You need to know the test that are used to diagnose it, the treatment for it and if you can find someone that has a loved one with or has the disease. Nothing better than first hand knowledge.

2. If you are writing a soldier with TBI or PTSD make sure you know the differences, the treatment, the prognosis, the VA disability rating percentages and the pension they recieve for it. Talk to a soldier, or your local VA office or VA psychologist.

3. If writing an artist - learn about the field. What are the different techniques, the different disciplines, the different materials. Take a drawing class or go to your local college and talk to an art professor.

4. If you are writing a student - go by your local college's registration office and ask for a bulletin that will have the requirements for every major they offer. It will also give you the summary of each class. If you decide that you need a scene where the character is in class find out when it's offered and approach the professor about sitting in on a class one session.

5. Writing a police officer? Talk to one. Pick up the "Howdunit" series.

6. Writing something where a character uses a sword? Go visit stores that sell them. Feel the weight or if you can afford it buy one then hold it for five minutes. Feel the burn it puts on the back of your arm, your wrist.

7. If you write science fiction make it believable.