My Thoughts on Wonder Woman

So, as usual, I’m not going to really give much away. Actually, I’ll give away as little as possible, because my recommendation with Wonder Woman is that you should definitely go see it if you’re a fan of comic-book films.

Seriously. Wonder Woman is a good DC movie. And good movie in general. Really good.

How good? This film is up to Marvel standards. That good.

Am I going to spoil it for you? No. You will see some fantastic acting by Gal Gadot and Chris Pine both. You will see some excellent scenes of camaraderie between the cast, some great scenery shots, and some awesome realism.

Yes, realism. In a comic book movie. One of the things I did enjoy about this movie was that people and clothes got torn up and dirtied up … unlike a lot of films where characters just somehow stay looking perfect through the whole thing.

The fight scenes are also quite good. They could have been better, actually, and this is one of my criticisms. One of the early trailers actually showed a single-shot fight scene that, for whatever reason, was cut into a number of cuts in the final movie, which took away from it.

But even with those minor criticisms, the movie was just great. Good characters, awesome action, nice story … Like I said, it felt like a Marvel movie.

Do yourself a favor and just go see it. It’s great.

Oh, and as a side note: If Colony ever becomes a film or a show, Anna versus anyone else would end up looking a bit like Wonder Woman versus regular folks in this film. A dangerous, very capable Amazon.

Where Amazon Can Improve for Authors and Readers

Well this post has been a long time in coming.

No, seriously. We’re currently on Topic List IX, right? This post was a considered topic back on topic list VIII. Or maybe it was VII. I only started keeping track of carry-over topics with list number IX.

Point being, this one’s had a while to stew. It wasn’t a proper topic for Being a Better Writer, which meant that it needed to get it’s own posting on a day that wasn’t Monday, and so … well, after a few months of looking for time, here we are.

So, to the task at hand, then: Where Amazon can improve. I’ll warn you now, if you’re one of those readers that bears a solid dislike, or a powerful grudge against Amazon for some reason, this probably isn’t going to be the post for you. Likewise if you’re one of those convinced that the rise of Amazon will be the downfall of all that is holy about books and the publishing industry. See, while no company is perfect, from my perspective Amazon’s entrance into the publishing industry, along with its associated push in favor of ebooks and a more open publishing sphere, is a good one. Not perfect, but good.

Of course, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement, and that’s where today’s post comes in. See, I’ve been published on Amazon for several years now, and while I do like their service … it’s not perfect. No, far from it. There’s actually quite a bit of room for improvement, quite a few flaws that really could be fixed up to make Amazon’s publishing—and specifically, their Kindle service—not only more appealing, but easier and simpler to use. And I worry that since Amazon has entered a position of dominance as far as indie publishing goes, they’re simply going to do what they have been doing—which is rest on their laurels—rather than really looking to improve their service on both ends. Because as a platform that I sell my products on, I want my readers to have the very best experience. And if Amazon doesn’t improve, well, that leaves it open for someone else to sneak in offering services and advantages that, quite honestly, Amazon should have added years ago.

Right, enough beating around the bush. To put it plainly and simply, Amazon has stagnated. The only reason that they’re still on top is that no one else has come along offering anything better in large enough quantities to entice Amazon’s authors and clientele away. But the truth is, it’s only a matter of time until that does happen. Anyone who’s used Amazon’s Kindle service has undoubtedly looked at it and thought “You know, this would be so much better if …” and inevitably, the someone who thinks that is going to be in a position to do something about it and create something better. At which point a lot of authors might jump ship to the newer, better service.

Customers, too, because what you’re about to look at is not just a collection of what improvements Amazon needs to make for authors. No, customers need improvements as well … and Amazon isn’t delivering them. Again, they’re resting on their laurels, content for the time being to simply do little or nothing to improve their service. And that needs to change.

So, let’s talk about customer improvements first to Amazon’s Kindle and Self-Publishing services. What needs to be improved that’s fallen drastically by the wayside?

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Lilith Saintcrow On Piracy

This one came across my feed this morning. I’ll warn you before I post the link: severe language warning.

Why? Because this author is angry. And you know what? I understand their anger. I really do. I’ve seen some hard numbers on the Piracy of my books. One site (just one, mind you) kept track of how “popular” piracy of my books was. If I sold half the copies that were pirated, I wouldn’t need my second job. I could be writing full time.

But I have to have it, because some people can’t wrap their heads around the concept that they should have to pay for other’s hard work. In their minds, the only hard work that’s worth monetary value is their own.

These justifications that you can read about in Saintcrow’s article? I’ve heard each and every one of them. Some to my face. These are real things said that even a low-selling author like myself hears about frequently.

So what Saintcrow’s reply is? I understand it. Oh, do I ever. I’ve thought about quite a lot. If people won’t pay authors for their work or support them, the author will stop producing. Inevitably but surely. You wouldn’t work your job, after all, if your paycheck was something your employer and all customers considered optional.

Saintcrow is right. There are dozens of justifications for this behavior, but every one of them is flimsier than a tissue-paper retaining wall. None of them hold up for more than a brief second, and many of them could be refuted by a kindergartner.

Right, that’s all I have to say. You can read Saintcrow’s rant here. Again, language warning, but she’s made some very valid points.

Don’t pirate, people.

The May Patreon Supporter Post is Now Up!

Heads up! If you’re a supporter of mine over on Patreon, you should know that the May Patreon Supporter Reward Post is now up! What is it this time? A retrospective actually, digging into the history and creation of my first book: One Drink!

It’s a pretty heft post, actually. Almost 4,000 words worth! All about the creation, the backstory, etc of One Drink. When I wrote it, where the ideas came from, how and why certain decisions were made … if you’re curious at all about my first work, well then, head on over to my Patreon page’s posts section and take a look! You’ve gotta be a supporter, though. That’s how bonuses like these work.

That’s all for the moment! Have a nice night!

Happy Memorial Day!

As is the usual, there will not be a Being a Better Writer post today because “Hey! It’s Memorial Day!” Instead of reading on writing, go enjoy the holiday. Though, if reading about writing is one of the things you wanted to do to enjoy said day, there is a solid backlog of old, awesome articles here on the site.

Of course, if you’re just looking to read rather than read about writing, you may be pleased to hear that Dead Silver is now, as of last Saturday, three years published! As a result, it has seen its final price-drop in honor of its heroic status. You can now pick it up for $2.99! New Mexico, silver mines, chupacabras, missing persons … You can’t go wrong!

That’s all for now. Enjoy your Memorial Day, everyone!

Fisking an Anti-Amazon Article From the New Republic

Oh boy. I woke up this morning to see this article on the front page of r/books, and you  know … I’ve never fisked anything … but this piece couldn’t be ignored. For those not in the know, a “fisking” is when someone replies point by point to the salient points of an article, offering a piece by piece rebuttal. I’ll let you read the original article first, so you can get it in your mind, but it’s just part of the continuing—You know what? You be the judge. Read the article, then check this rebuttal.

The quoted article bits are both quoted and italicized. My responses are the normal text.

So, let’s get started.

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It’s a Jungle in Here

So, Thursday update …

You ever have one of those moments where you’re all gung-ho to do something, and then you sit down and your mind goes blank? Yup, that’s me at this post right now. So I suppose I’ll just go with the basics, starting from the top.

First, don’t forget about the Birthday Sale! Seriously. Even if you’ve already bought my books, April 19th (which is now just six days away) will be a great day on which to share one that you particularly enjoyed on Facebook or another site or what have you. So please do, as it would be really helpful.

No, it really would. Right now it seems the biggest wall I’m running into is just getting my name out there. Which, in today’s very crowded world, isn’t easy.

Anyway, that’s my pitch. Please share a book when April 19th hits!

So, on to other news: This month I have been working my tail off. See, the last three months I’ve come in just below my quota every single time. And that’s a reduced wordcount quota of about 60k-70k, on account of me having this other job I have to spend time at. And quite frankly, while I’m fairly tired of that job, I’m not so tired that I can’t do the math and see I’d be homeless without that little income (it’s risky enough and I cut far too many corners even with it).

In any case, I decided that this month I was going to get things back on track. Saturday is no longer a break day, for starters, and I’ve become a lot more stringent with my time. The result: I am keeping up with my quota this month. Which means a quicker turnaround for some of the newer stuff down the line.

Speaking of which, the update on that.

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