Posts Tagged ‘authors’

Patreon Rights Grab?

I got a disturbing email from one of the other authors I follow, Holly Lisle, this morning, concerning Patreon.

We all know Patreon, right? It gives people the ability to give some amount of money to creators (musicians, artists, writers, etc.) they like to help them continue to be able to make creative content. I made a page myself some time ago, though I have been very bad at it.

So Holly, in her email, said she was cancelling her Patreon because of some troubling wording in the Terms of Use.

The wording is:

“By posting content to Patreon you grant us a royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, sublicensable, worldwide license to use, reproduce, distribute, perform, publicly display or prepare derivative works of your content. The purpose of this license is to allow us to operate Patreon, promote Patreon and promote your content on Patreon. We are not trying to steal your content or use it in an exploitative way.”

While Patreon says in other places that 100% of your content is owned by you, and it doesn’t use it, the fact that this wording exists (and there’s no way for a creator to take permission away from Patreon if they change their minds in the future) is problematic.

There’s more on this here.

I do have some questions. How long has this wording been there? Is it as bad as it sounds? I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV.

But I did think I would cancel my page until I had a better idea of what this means, and it turns out that it’s not live anyway. Har. Apparently I went to edit it at some point and did not publish the changes, and so it’s just sitting in some weird limbo.

(Good job, Kit.)

But, anyway, I thought I’d put this out there, in case other people have Patreons and would also like to think about what this means for them.

Aside from that, I hope everyone is having a pretty good Thursday.

Interview with Adrienne Monson, Author of Defiance

It’s my pleasure today to be hosting Adrienne Monson, whose second book in her Blood Inheritance Trilogy, Defiance, came out in February. The Blood Inheritance Trilogy tells the story of two warring races–Vampires and Immortals–and a woman trapped in between them. The trilogy was started in 2013’s Dissension.

Defiance Cover

Defiance Cover

What can you tell us about Defiance and the Blood Inheritance Trilogy?

It’s book 2 of the trilogy, and there’s more character development to prep readers for book 3. It also takes things up a notch, so be prepared for more intense scenes. (Still PG-13)

When can we expect the third book?

I’m still waiting to hear the release date from my publisher, but he assures me that it will be in 2016.

What was your inspiration for the trilogy?

Just a vivid imagination, I guess. I just start writing and go where the characters and plot take me!

Any plans for what you’ll work on next, or anything you’d like to try in the future?

I have a demon novel almost finished. I’m also starting a series where each book is a retelling of a fairy tale. They’re definitely not like the ones we’ve heard as kids!

What’s your favorite book that you’ve read recently?

So many! I really love Styxx, by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Amazing!

What’s one thing you’d like to share with other authors about your publishing journey?

There’s always ups and downs. One day, you’ll feel like you’re on track to being a hugely successful author, and the next you’ll wonder what’s the point of continuing in this thankless career. But if you love it, you’ll never give up!

Adrienne Monson author pic

Adrienne Monson is the award winning author of the Blood Inheritance trilogy and a paranormal Regency novella, Eyes of Persuasion. She resides in Utah with her husband and two children where she works on more stories to share with the world. She also enjoys reading, kickboxing, and cooking.

Fiction in the Foreword

Forewords are odd bits of a book. You don’t see them a lot in fiction works, but when you do, it tends to be in books where the author is purporting to have “found” the manuscript somewhere and, through whatever means, is now sharing the manuscript with the masses.

Let’s take The Princess Bride. Excellent movie. Better book. If you read the book (which I highly recommend), you are treated to a long introduction by William Goldman about how his father (who was from Florin himself) used to read the story (written by one “S. Morgenstern”) to Goldman when he was a child, and he got his own son a copy but his son said it was boring, and when Goldman went to read it himself, he discovered his father had only read him the good parts. So The Princess Bride is just the “good parts” of Morgenstern’s story.

Except, of course, Morgenstern, his story, and the country of Florin don’t exist. (The deception actually goes deeper than that. Wikipedia informs me that Goldman doesn’t even have a son–just two daughters.) Goldman made it all up to enhance the story.

(He does it quite masterfully, too. I was pretty sure neither Morgenstern or Florin existed, but the longer he went on the less sure I became, and I did eventually take to the internet to make sure I wasn’t crazy.)

Goldman is probably the best example. I’ve read other stories where people attempt to do the same thing–make up something in the forward to enhance the story–but usually it doesn’t work as well. Sometimes it reads tacked on, like the author didn’t bother to put enough thought into it to make it at all believable.

All the examples I can think of involve “found” manuscripts. I read the first book of a mystery series starring Jane Austen, where the author said she found the “diaries” among some correspondence to Jane’s sister. And I recently finished The Legend of Broken where the author had “found” the manuscript and some accompanying notes by some 18th century historian or some such. (He actually had extensive end notes from this historian, explaining word etymology and historical customs and blah blah blah, and it made it read like a textbook. I had to bypass them completely to enjoy the story, and I felt bad because he put so much work into it, but honestly. Bleh.)

House of Leaves is another example, though at least the narrator’s story eventually blends into the found manuscript.

Most of the time, I think making up something in the foreword reads like a gimmick, or doesn’t ring true. How do you feel about it, Squiders? Any really good or really bad examples you can think of?

(But, seriously, go read The Princess Bride.)

Following Authors Across Genre

I was, for some reason, thinking about J.K. Rowling this morning, and wondering if she’s disappointed in the sales for her latest book, The Casual Vacancy. Sales for it have been decent, more than decent, really, but 120,000 copies in your first week when your last book sold 2.6 million copies its first week is quite the difference.

I haven’t read it; I probably never will. Its plotline and genre do not appeal to me, so even though I enjoyed the Harry Potter series rather a lot (as you can see by reading the re-read posts and various other Potter-related bits that have popped up here on the blog over the years) and think she’s an excellent author, exceptionally skilled, especially in foreshadowing and characterization, she’s lost me as a reader on this particular book.

This reminded me of a conversation we had on my writing forum a while ago, about whether or not you’d follow an author across genres. Like, say, your favorite fantasy author starts writing political intrigue set in rural England.

The answer seems to be…maybe, but it depends.

Most people pick what to read based off genre. They read mostly romance, or science fiction, or mystery. There’s elements of the genre that appeal to that person, and they stick to what they like. Reading is supposed to be fun, after all. Sure, occasionally people will pick something up that’s out of their comfort range for whatever reason, but that doesn’t tend to be the bulk of their reading.

If someone especially likes an author’s work, it seems like a reader will follow them to related genres, but if the author strays too far, the reader will normally stop following them after a while. In my own personal experience, the works of Jennifer Crusie have done this. I love Jenny; I think she’s witty and brilliant and I would like to grow up to be her. She writes primarily romance, with some romantic thrillers or paranormal romance thrown in. Lovely. But in early 2010, she and Bob Mayer (who had collaborated together before, and I really adore Agnes and the Hitman) put out a straight thriller, and as much as I love them, I wouldn’t follow them there. They’d gone too far.

Asimov wrote fantasy too, but no one really ever talks about it.

What do you think, Squiders? Would you follow your favorite author no matter where they went, or is there a point where you think you would stop? Have you stopped? What was the line that could not be crossed?

The Trend of Using Authors As Characters

I was tempted to have this post’s title rival Tuesday’s, but then I got lazy.

Recently, I’ve noticed a trend of using real people – authors particularly – as characters in novels. I guess it was only a matter of time. Once you get past some of History’s most iconic works and characters, people start to fantasize about the people who created them. And from there, it’s a very short step to writing novels about said people.

Admittedly, we’ve stolen historical figures for our own uses for millennia, but this whole authors as book characters thing feels very meta to me. Yo, dawg, I heard you like books, so I put books in your books in your books and so forth. It is both creepy and awesome.

Creepy because these were real people who managed to create wonderful stories and characters that have stuck with us for generations, and we’re just using them to suit our own needs. Awesome because hey, we’ve got some pretty good storytellers of our own, and it’s neat to see what they do with our treasured ancestors.

Mysteries seem to do this more than other genres. Hey, so-and-so was awesome, but you know what would be EVEN BETTER? IF THEY FOUGHT CRIME. The caps were totally necessary. Jane Austen solves mysteries. Oscar Wilde solves mysteries. They get entire series! And we read them because we love their work and we like to pretend that they had wild, exciting lives.

But I’ve seen it branch out more now. There’s a MG fantasy series starring – who else – JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, and Charles Williams. So now, to go even more meta, we have genre stories using authors as characters in the genre that said author wrote.

Say that five times fast.

Aside from series, there’s also individual books – The Dante Club springs to mind, which is a lovely mystery/thriller about Longfellow and Co. translating The Divine Comedy into English and having to solve a series of murders that are using Dante’s work as inspiration.

What’s your take on this phenomenon, Squiders? Any series/books that you’ve read that you’d recommend? Do you think it’s weird or awesome to use real people as characters?

 

Aging Authors

I don’t know how many of you caught my post at Turtleduck Press mid-February about how I believe that we are not only a product of our experiences, but also what we’re exposed to, and how important books can be to a young child.

What brought on such introspection was the death of Brian Jacques, author of the Redwall books, which I was in love with when I was little.

And this past weekend, Diana Wynne Jones, one of my literary idols, passed away.  (Patricia Wrede has a lovely post about Ms. Jones at her blog.  It warms the cockles* of my cold, dead heart to know that my two favorite authors were friends with each other.)

I took my mother to see Lois Lowry (Of The Giver and Number the Stars fame) give a talk at a local bookstore on Monday.  When she came in, my mother leaned over and whispered, “She’s getting so old,” to me.  Ms. Lowry is 74.

Life happens.  People die.  But I admit it’s a bit like losing family.  A good book is like a dear friend, always welcome to visit, and by extension, I can’t help but love the people who bring them to me.

And I can’t help but wonder about the stories that go with them, that the world never gets to see.  As a writer myself, oh, the stories.  They are never-ending.  I will never be able to write all the stories in my head.  What characters did the world never get to love?  What places did they never get to visit?

There will be new authors, new books.  But I can’t help but miss the ones that have given me so much over the years.

 

* The dictionary informs me that a cockle is a type of mollusk.  I am not sure where this expression comes from or why it exists, but you all know my love of invertebrate sea creatures, so I continue to use it, usually inappropriately.