Archive for 2012

Librarians are Nate Silver. Publishers are the GOP party leaders.

Friday, November 16th, 2012

I subscribe to the DBW (Digital Book World) newsletter. One just landed in my inbox, with this headline:

Shocking News from Libraries [sarcasm intended, I believe] in which the email blurb talked about how library borrowers buy a lot of books after discovering them in the library and that libraries have been saying so for ages. The email blurb went on to say this:

We have no direct knowledge of this that we can share, but it’s our guess that publishers have heard the message. So, here’s a message from DBW to libraries: Those publishers are our readers (along with many librarians) and they’re smart folks. They’ve heard your message and have evidently not yet done what you want them to do in regards to ebooks. So, try another strategy, a different message.

Is wide-spread library ebook borrowing an inevitability? We don’t know. But it’s not happening any faster because of yesterday’s study.

Well, there’s not much I enjoy more than an idiotic article that is WRONG, so of course I clicked through to this article

The article sets out all the ways in which libraries drive book sales in significant numbers. Then actual article says this:

Publishers worry that if readers can borrow their ebooks for free and easily, they won’t buy them, cannibalizing their business.

Take a minute. Absorb the blurb text and article text.

In what universe can these two things be true?

1. Publishers are smart and have heard the message about book borrowing leading to book sales.
2. Publishers are afraid eBook lending will lead to lower sales.

Let me re-write that blurb for you, DBW!

We have no direct knowledge of this that we can share, but it’s our guess that publishers have heard the message. So, here’s a message from DBW to libraries: Publishers are living in a world so paranoid and closed off to the facts that their reality distortion field is cutting off the oxygen to their corporate brains.

There all fixed.

Librarians are Nate Silver. Publishers are the GOP party leaders


Publishers, do you REALLY want to be Karl Rove insisting that you have worked too hard and spent too much money to lose Ohio even though the math proves you did?

Do you really want to be Fox News, the GOP and the Romney campaign all rolled into one on November 7 wondering what the hell happened to their comfortable, warm illusion of the world?

Is wide-spread library ebook borrowing an inevitability? We don’t know. But it’s not happening any faster because of yesterday’s study.

1. Yes. It is. Clinging to the past does not mean BetaMax lives on.
2. Why the hell not?


Things and Stuff, For Lack Of A Better Term

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

I’ve been thinking about things and doing stuff.

Oh, like what, you ask?

Well, I’ve been hard at work doing NaNoWriMo and writing the 5th My Immortals series book.

I thought for sure this was the year I would win at NaNoWriMo, but I got on a jury (very interesting!) and now I’m jamming in day job stuff around time I would normally be writing so I am behind… I’m also doing a paper read through which, of course, kills the word count. Reading on paper (several times) is an important step for me, as it’s often where I find out parts I thought were awful aren’t, and the parts I thought were good aren’t, and other parts surprise the hell out of me because they are fantastic. Or not at all fantastic. I often use up an entire red pen…

I have also been reading, as I have found I can go pretty dang fast on the treadmill while reading. I have a rant lurking in my draft posts…

Self-publishing is amazing. I love that writers can do this, I really do. What I don’t love is crappy, sloppy thinking that leads to crappy, sloppy writing. Editors, copy-editors, and proofreaders can all be hired. Not just can but must.

In related news

Here’s a translation gone wrong:

[Name of fancy French product omitted] fragrances make a dream come true through their unique composition gathering natural, rare and rich essences.

I think the author of the book I was recently mocking while on the treadmill (My shouting was scaring the dog) has a job as a translator.

Seriously. Some of the sentences made about as much sense. That kind of thing makes me crabby, and you guys know I’m never crabby.

And now, back to work.


Monster Mailing!

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Today, I bought mailers and took all the books that needed to be mailed to the mail store:

100 copies of My Wicked Enemy
10 copies of Not Proper Enough
10 copies (total) of Not Proper Enough and Not Wicked Enough for the RITAs
A miscellaneous other number of books that are embarrassingly late getting mailed.

My local mailing store is awesome because if I didn’t get the right number or kind of shipping materials, they will supply them. They will take care of everything. All I had to do was drop off the books and supplies.


If I owe you a book, it will be on its way soon!


Punctuation~ Its You’re Friend: A Rant

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Twitter is dangerous, I’m telling you. I’ve heard about (and then bought) more great books on Twitter than are good for my budget. A quite fair number of them have been self-published. I’ve blogged about a bunch of them here.

I’ve also ended up buying some books just to see if they’re as bad as stated. Usually, the answer is yes.

Today, I bought a self-pubbed book that was the topic of a heated Twitter discussion. The complaints were about characters and plot developments and I figured, what the heck. I’ll take a look.

I should have known the minute I saw the cover. Said cover was amateurish in every dimension. Bad image, bad font, bad layout. Bad everything.

The first paragraph was OK and I thought, well! Maybe this will turn out okay. I do like to see authors push the boundaries. By the second paragraph, all was not well.

Let’s eat, Gramma!

Let’s eat Gramma!

People, there is a reason for punctuation. A writer who messes up on the colon or semi-colon, well, I can forgive that. I can forgive the omission of the Oxford comma even though I believe it’s required. But a writer who does not care to follow or learn the rule about punctuation in dialogue?

When I’m writing fast, I stick in apostrophes where they don’t belong, but I fix them, if not immediately, then later— because I know they’re typos. And I know they’re typos because I KNOW THE RULES. For my self-pubbed stuff, I hire a copy-editor to fix all the stuff I missed. Because I know there’s stuff I missed.

My problems with this book were not just punctuation abuse. My problems were legion and they are almost all craft issues. Other writers have worked at this and worked and cared and keep working and caring. They care about the use of words and, oh, say the correct spelling of a world famous person’s name.

Good writers have studied and read book after book after article about the craft of writing fiction. They get their work out there for critique and they take that to heart and they learn and study some more.

If you chose a first person narrator, then you have made the choice to limit your narrative voice. You cannot give a five year old character the reactions and insights of an adult woman. If you need a way to foreshadow adult sexual awareness, you’re going to have work at it. A writer in control of her craft can do this.  (Virginia Wolff, James Joyce, Toni Morrison, hell, Lisa Fucking Kleypas! Take a look at Sugar Daddy if you want to read brilliant genre fiction where the protagonists start out as minors.)

Ludicrous situations that can’t withstand even a second of cursory thought.

Criminal meetings often take place in pumpkin patches.


What?????? Are you kidding me? There is no gritty universe where criminals routinely meet in pumpkin patches. That point could have been high comedy or farce, but it wasn’t. The author seriously wanted readers to believe that this was true in her tough reality world of gangs. It’s insulting.

Criminals need meeting places year round and guess what? Pumpkins have a limited growing season. When it’s not pumpkin season, farmers are growing a different crop. And really, what kind of gang thinks meeting at a pumpkin patch is a good idea? <-- This is sarcasm. Indeed, it's MOCKING sarcasm. In case you were wondering.

I swear to you right now, I can’t figure out whether to laugh or cry, and it hurts my soul. it really does.

Fucking criminal meetings in pumpkin patches.

My last point, though I am leaving out so very many, is this: straight quotes do not belong in an eBook. Straight quotes are a typographical crime. I don’t care if you have a personal opinion about straight quotes vs. curly quotes. The straight quote or straight single quote are distinct typographical characters that have a specific use and connotation. Typography arose from centuries of study about of what makes text readable and, in the case of digital texts, nearly 20 years of study about readability.

When you are using a proportional font then you must use curly quotes. If your text is a mix of the two?


I can’t even.

Good writers know they need editing, copy-editing and proofreading. If you’re self-publishing, it’s a cost of doing business. Authors like the author of this book are going to have a hard time finding good help because very few of the people who are good at any of these tasks are going to want to take on work that is this deeply flawed. It wasn’t just an error or two a page, but errors in every single sentence. Worse, the work is structurally and logically unsound.

There’s a reason English majors often do well in the working world, and in jobs that have nothing to do with their major. They’ve been taught to think about meaning and the ways in which words change meaning. They understand subtext and use it to their advantage. I refer you to my thoughts on Tamara Webber’s Easy in which I was briefly reading the book with the belief that it was something other than what it was. (Erotica vs. NA fiction) The use of language was so solid and deft that I soon realized the problem was me.

Writing is hard. It’s hard to do this well. And it’s insulting to readers and other writers to put out a product that is shoddy on every level. It makes people point at self-publishers and say, See? They’re all crappy like this. But they’re not. They are not.

I’m pissed off that I paid money for this crap. I’ll never buy another book by this author.


Books! Lotsa Books!

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Cover of My Wicked Enemy by Carolyn Jewel, couple embracing, flames at the bottom. But they are not on fire. I have 100 copies of My Wicked Enemy to give away. I’m posting this elsewhere, too, of course. It would be awesome if you wanted a few copies to give to friends you think might like it, or to give away some copies yourself. Any ideas about ways to spread the free book joy would be much appreciated. Leave a comment with ideas, suggestions, requests, and the like.

I’ve had one person say she’ll give a copy to her local library, so that’s a great thing to with one or two of the books you request.

Giveaway ends when all 100 copies are spoken for. No purchase necessary.
This is the first book in my paranormal series with Demons and witches and the like. You can find out more at my website.

ETA: 0 copies left.  (There will be another, quite similar giveaway in the not too distant future…)


Thanks to everyone who agreed to take copies off my hands!


Authors and Book Reviewers: Together we CAN do it!

Friday, October 19th, 2012

It’s a known fact that when book reviewers start blackmailing you for swag, you are a made author. MADE. Effing made in the goddamned shade. It means the USA Today and the NYT lists are just around the corner. Once that happens, triple digit reviews on Amazon are about to explode on your books like a nest of vipers on a bully who just stepped in it. Over at B&N, the Warrior Cats will stop talking about Glitter Cat and Moonkitty and they will buy your book.

I have never been blackmailed for swag. Not one single book reviewer has ever said Carolyn, we would be SO excited to review your book. SO EXCITED! Please send it immediately, but first, we need to have some swag from you. Without that, I’m afraid we’ll accidentally post-date our review to 1977.

No one has ever said, psst. hey you, author nobody ever heard of! Give us a job at your company and we’ll review your book!

God, it’s just SO UNFAIR.  No book reviewer will blackmail me.

In order to get around this, I am prepared to to offer you book reviewers swag you can’t get anywhere else. The images are extra-large so you can really take a look.

A 4 star review will get you anything you want from my junk drawer. You’ll notice it is chock full of swag. The gift card has $3.49 cents left on it. For that much money you could get a $3.00 coffee and leave a .49 cent tip. You could buy three .99 cent eBooks and have money left over! That’s my son’s report card over there in the upper left. He got an A+ in Honors Physics. A little white-out and your kid is in the college of his or her choice.  Got a pet? Check out the pet brush! The nail clippers are fully functional. Need a pen? You’re covered. Possibly not for long, but hey.

First come first serve.


Picture of Carolyn's Junk Drawer

Pick the Swag of Your Choice


But here’s something BETTER. For a 5-star review I will let you in on this deal:

screenshot of spam email

Exciting Opportunity!

Mr. Andrew Liu from Hong Kong is loaded and I am the only person who can help him! This is totally going to work. Wire me $100,000 US and I will contact Mr. Liu on your behalf and send you half the money, less a convenience fee.

Authors and Book Reviewers. Together, we can do it!

Reserve your swag now! Leave a comment.


3 Copies of Not Proper Enough Up for Grabs at Writerspace

Friday, October 12th, 2012

I have a guest blog over at Writerspace where I’m giving away 3 copies of Not Proper Enough. Leave a comment to enter!

Right now, your chances are 100% since there are no comments yet!


Oh, hey, About MY writing!

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

I have been very busy working on My Immortals 5. It’s about Harsh Marit and I’m about halfway done. That means I have (whether I know it yet or not) all the elements of the story down. Everything is subject to change at this point, but right now, I’m loving the story that’s developing. Harsh’s heroine is a warlord, so yeah, there’s some shit going down.

Still, I do enjoy editing and revising a wee bit more than getting the first words down. . .

I don’t even have a working title yet so any suggestions are welcome.


Carolyn Does The Coffee Math

Saturday, October 6th, 2012

Right. The new Book Valuation system is to equate the price of a $6.00 coffee that takes 3 minutes to make with a $4.99 price of a book that takes 12 months to write.

Let’s do some math!

So, now, 3 minutes of time results in a $6.00 cup of coffee.

Divide that $6.00 by 3 minutes… that’s $2.00 per minute of coffee making time.

So, if the book were equivalently priced, how much would a book cost?

Well, there are 525,949 minutes in a year.

The Coffee/Time cost factor is $2.00 per minute.

Which means, a book that takes a year to write should cost $1,051,989.00

You’re welcome and good luck selling your book!

Edited to Add This:

Let’s be fair and find out how much your $6.00 coffee should cost using Book Dollars:

$4.99 = 525,949 minutes to write the book. That comes out to $0.00000948761192 per minute.

3 x 00000948761192 = $0.00002846283576.

I think that means you round up to free coffee in book dollars.

Well. But as you know, we writers think $4.99 is too low a price for a book. Let’s say the book should really be priced at $9.99. That works about to $0.00001899423708 book dollars per minute.

3 x 0.00001899423708 = $0.00005698271124

Yay! That still rounds up to free coffee!

Also, good luck with that stupid argument about the price of a cup of coffee having anything to do with the price of a book.


10 Copies of Not Proper Enough up for grabs at Goodreads!

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Not Proper Enough by Carolyn Jewel

Not Proper Enough

by Carolyn Jewel

Giveaway ends October 23, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win