Sunday, June 21, 2009

For your viewing pleasure...

I am in a place we writers fondly call "deadline hell" it's those last few days/hours before a book is due when we haven't washed our hair, done dishes or left the house and instead we sit at our desks working until our fingers (and perhaps eyeballs) begin to bleed. It's a scary place, though probably more for our families than ourselves. We're used to it, we've been here before, it's familiar (though the panic always feels new and different) and we're just working as fast as we can to get out. 

Normally I'm not an end of the wire kind of writer. I like to turn things in early, not weeks early necessarily, but at least a few days. It makes me happy to beat my deadline, as it were. But with this one, that's simply not possible. You see in the midst of writing this book we were packing our house and putting it on the market and then moving across the country. And did I mention that for the time being (while we're waiting for said house to sell) we're living with my parents? It's just temporary, but needless to say, things have been hectic and disorganized. So I'm running behind on my normal writing schedule. 

All this to say I'm cheating and not really blogging today and instead sharing with all of you my gorgeous book trailer. Seduce Me hits stores July 28th! 

Friday, June 12, 2009

Yo-ho! Yo-ho! A pirate's life...

Piracy is the hot topic on a lot of romance writer bulletin boards lately, and I don’t mean the kind where swashbuckling knaves make off with feisty heroines.

With books available in electronic format, it’s easy to share files, swap novels, and basically steal content without authors receiving a cent for their work.

Well, as you might imagine, though there are some authors who figure it’s no big deal, a lot of authors are up in arms over this, mad as hell at the pirates who are rampantly ripping them off.

I have a different attitude. I think it’s important that authors get paid for their work, but I think the bill should fall, not on the consumer, but on the internet providers who charge for the availability of this content in the first place. Would you pay $30 a month for your internet service if it DIDN’T come with any intellectual property? Think about it. No music. No video clips. No newspaper articles. Nothing that was created from the brains of artists, musicians, journalists, authors? Not even the photos I’ve included in this blog entry?

I don’t want to bore anyone with the details, but for decades, the music industry has had a brilliant model for this in ASCAP and BMI. These performance rights organizations charge nightclubs, restaurants, theaters--any venue where music is delivered to the consumer--a fee for that right, which they then distribute to the creators of the music, based on a sampling of what songs are being played.

Why can’t we do that with books? The internet providers pay a small fee for the content they’re delivering (research says that approximately $5 per month per IP address would be sufficient), and consumers can then enjoy unlimited downloads of any creative content they want! It’s sort of like cable TV or an all-you-can-eat buffet. An independent writer’s organization then does a sampling of what’s being downloaded and pays authors and publishers according to what books are most popular.

With that model, the current pirate sites would become amazing resources for distribution and the authors’ and publishers’ best friends!


Sarah McKerrigan...
Stories to keep you up all night!
LADY DANGER - Riding to the rescue April 2006
CAPTIVE HEART - Coming for you October 2006
KNIGHT'S PRIZE - Stealing your heart April 2007
DANGER'S KISS - Flirting with trouble May 2008

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Suffering from Chicken-Without-A-Head Syndrome summer actually here? The weather here certainly wouldn't attest to that! It's cool and gloomy, and it has been for weeks. Here in California, we call it June Gloom, but I wish it would dry up and warm up. Summer is my favorite season, and I want it now!

My first book for Grand Central, A HINT OF WICKED, released on June 1. My kids got out of school on June 5. My son's baseball team had playoffs the week of May 30-June 7. June 7 was my daughter's preschool graduation performance. I'm giving presentations to two different RWA groups on the second weekend of June. I'm at the tail end of a blog tour. My column in my RWA chapter's newsletter was due last night. My critique partner is on a tight deadline and I'm trying to help her. My kids' new school needs about 100 pages of paperwork turned in to them by Wednesday. My mom is in town, and my grandmother is ill. I have edits due on book two by June 20...

See what I mean? I'm suffering from too much to do, too little time. One of my friends just gave me a card that said, "I know 100 languages, but I don't know how to say no in any of them..." So true. I'm so bad at saying no. But I've already said yes, and now I can't renege! I have to get all this stuff done.

I know I'm not the only one who's busy. Almost everyone I know is in the midst of a million things to do. It seems that being over-extended is a common ailment in this day and age.

I'm looking forward to June 20. I'll turn in my edits, and then I'll have a few days to recover & enjoy summer before I'm on to the next thing. And hopefully this June Gloom will have disappeared...

What about you? Are you busy too? How do you manage it so that you find some time to enjoy life in the midst of all the craziness?


Monday, June 01, 2009

In Praise of Public Libraries

So I was recently at the RT Book Reviews Convention mongo author booksigning and a reader came up to me and told me she'd read all of my books and loved them. Believe it or not, authors really enjoy hearing this kind of thing so I beamed at her and said something like, "I'm so glad!" Then she turned a little red, sidled closer, and said that she'd gotten my books from her local public library in the tones most would use to confess to a mass murder. I probably would've laughed at that point, but the reader was explaining why she had to use the public library--her husband had been laid off--so I was serious as I told her how sorry I was to hear that.

Then I said something like this:

Listen, there's no reason you should ever apologize for checking a book out from the local public library. Yeah, I may not have made my 8% royalty on that particular book at that particular time, but the public library did pay for it with your (and my!) tax dollars. Libraries in America account for a huge percentage of the books sold. Many readers "test" new authors at the library and, if the author proves to be good, buy her next book new. I figure it's a win-win situation.

Besides, if I'd condemned that reader for using her public library, I'd be a hypocrite. I love the public library! Every time my family has moved one of the first things I do is find out where the local library is and go get a card. Linda Howard, Amanda Quick, and Elizabeth Lowell are just a few of the authors I discovered by reading dog-eared copies of their backlist (and subsequently buying new.) Using the public library when your personal finances are tight just makes sense.

Now, here's something else I told that reader at the RT bookfair: if you do use your local library, make a point of requesting your favorite authors' new books. Why? Sadly, libraries' budgets are getting pretty tight. They may not buy an author if they don't know there's interest in her books--this particularly pertains to new authors who don't have a following yet. I have to confess that I always felt awkward requesting a romance book at my local library, despite my librarian's urging. I figured, who was I to decided what the library should buy? Well, I was a romance reader who'd been reading the genre for 25+ years (at that time) that's who. Duh! I had (and I bet you have) a really good idea of who the hot romance authors were, authors that other romance readers would like to read as well. And although I loved my local librarian, she didn't read romance (though her SF/F section rocked.)

So remember: use the public library with pride--it's once of the best benefits of living in the USA--and be sure and request authors you enjoy.

Go forth and read!

Elizabeth Hoyt