Yog’s Law—It’s More of a Guideline

You’ve no doubt heard of Yog’s Law. It was coined by James D. McDonald and advises ‘money always flows toward the author.’

That’s generally good advice when you’re dealing with scam agents who want to charge ‘reading fees’ or vanity publishers with contracts that steal your rights and obligate you to buy thousands of dollars worth of your own books for the ‘privilege’ of publishing with them.

It’s also a relic of a time in distant memory when big publishers fully underwrote all the costs of publishing their authors—including promotion, tours, advertising, giveaways, and full-service editing. Nowadays, like the pirate code, it might be best to consider it more of a guideline, really.

(John Scalzi and John Hartness have already done excellent discussions on how when you self-publish, there’s ‘Writer-You’ and ‘Publisher-You’ and you pass the wallet back and forth. You can read those here and here for their […]

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What Kind of Reader Are You Part 2

Last time, I talked about publishing trends and the ways readers and their relationship with books might be changing. I also provided a link to a survey, and said I’d share the results.

So 100 responses later, this is hardly statistically significant for all readers everywhere, or all genre readers. But since those 100 come out of my social media reach and are likely my readers, it may say something about things I can keep in mind as I tailor outreach to people to read my books.

Q 1: How many books do you read in a year?

I wasn’t surprised at this one. 48% read 11-50 books in a year, 30% read 51-99 books, and 20% read over 100 books, leaving a measly 2% who read less than 10. I am scratching my head wondering who those 2% are!

Q 2: Thanks to Netflix, people ‘binge watch’ whole series […]

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What Kind of Reader Are You?

Reading seems like a solitary activity. You don’t usually pay attention to how other people approach reading, except perhaps for family members when you’re waiting for them to finish a book you want to read.

Authors and publishers, however, are keenly interested in how readers go about their reading, because it holds the key to the future of the industry.

Think about how consumer behavior changed movies. Used to be, everyone saw movies at the theater. Then, TV began running movies several years after their theatrical release, albeit with commercials and edits. VHS made it possible to watch movies whenever you wanted them. TiVo and VHS recording changed how we watched TV, too. Then came movie rental stores, which gave way to RedBox and Netflix. Now it’s not only possible to pretty much watch what you want when you want, but ‘binge watching’ is the new normal.

The music […]

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Climb Up On Santa’s Lap

Like pretty much every writer I’ve ever met, I grew up wishing for books for every present-giving holiday. Every birthday featured at least one book I desired (and often more.) A book was always nestled among the candy eggs in my Easter basket. Christmas was the same – Santa granted my book wishes every year. As a child I received the Marguerite Henry horse books, the complete Chronicles of Narnia, Nancy Drew and the Happy Hollisters. I can’t remember a Christmas that didn’t end with me lying on the floor under the tree, reading whatever story Santa had brought me, until I was forced to put the book down and eat lunch with my family. Reading and Christmas go hand in hand for me. It’s just not Christmas without a book under the tree.

I know not all of our faithful MW readers are not celebrating Christmas for reasons of […]

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Read Like a Writer

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.”

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

“Good description is a learned skill, one of the prime reasons why you cannot succeed unless you read a lot and write a lot. It’s not just a question of how-to, you see; it’s also a question of how much to. Reading will help you answer how much, and only reams of writing will help you with the how. You can learn only by doing.”

“I’m a slow reader, but I usually get through seventy or eighty books a year, most fiction. I don’t read in order to study the craft; I read because I […]

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It’s All In What You Consume

I have a terrible habit of guessing who the bad guy in within the first fifteen minutes of a mystery show. Or I suppose it’s not bad that I guess, but that I announce it out loud to the person watching with me. And because television is based on formulas, I’m most often right. (I have learned to keep my mouth shut in movie theaters, for which my husband is grateful. *laughs*)

The other night I started reading a new author, and within three chapters, I’d already guessed the bad guy and his motivation. Sometimes an author intends for his reader to know who the villain is right away, but this book is trying to keep it a secret until the big reveal at the end… and there I was, already nailing it. Which means that the author didn’t do what he wanted. The writing was solid, but the author […]

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It’s Been A Rough Week

On Thursday, we lost Sir Terry Pratchett. He’d been diagnosed with a rare, early-onset Alzheimer’s a while back, so it wasn’t a complete surprise. But he was only 66 years old (every year that passes makes that number sound younger and younger to me) and I don’t think anyone was ready for him to go. I’m grateful he never had to deal with losing his identity. I also admired his determination to die on his own terms, instead of letting the disease transform him into an empty shell of what he once was. I don’t know if he died by his own hand or not – they’re keeping the specific reason for his death very quiet – but I do know that the world of fantasy is a little less bright now that he’s moved on.

Within hours after hearing about Sir Terry, I got word that a wonderful man […]

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