Selah March

April 12, 2009

Amazonfail/Amazon Rank + review of YotC

UPDATE II: The LA Times weighs in.

UPDATE: Smart Bitches attempt Google bomb = Amazon rank.

So, how long do you think the Taliban-esque branch of the conservative right wing has had Jeff Bezos’ balls in their pocket? Check here for bits and pieces of the sad tale. Outrage is rampant, petitions are circulating, the media has been alerted. We’ll see if it does any good.

And incidentally, if the stated goal is to protect the kiddies, then WTF is up with some of the titles that still have rankings and searchability?  Check this list. Talk about lame. Seriously…if you’re gonna cave to the wing-nuts, at least be efficient about it. Nobody respects a half-assed effort at pandering and cowardice.

Also, Twitter is abuzz with the news. Or atweet. Whatever.

Happy Easter to those who celebrate. We’re Orthodox Christian, so our fast begins today and our Easter is a week from today. Less crowded grocery aisles! Cheaper legs o’ lamb! Rabbit-shaped chocolate on clearance! It’s a good thing.

I got an early gift from Teh Bunny in the form of a thoughtful, amazingly insightful review from Kassa for Year of the Cat. Just what I needed to warm me on a chilly, gray day.

March 30, 2009

Yes. THIS.

Kerry Allen has the last word on e-piracy. Everybody else – and that includes “industry professionals” who tell authors to quit bitching about being bent over and buggered without benefit of lube by scumbag thieves because it might “alienate readers” – can just suck on this for a while, yes? Yes.

Also, have you visited Romance Cooties lately?

March 16, 2009

Grrr. Argh. Plus! Actual content.

Filed under: Asshats on parade,blah blah blah,Industry,Reviews,shameless bragging — Selah March @ 6:48 pm

I caught a nasty undercurrent of that whole “authors need to keep their mouths shut lest they alienate readers” thing again today, and it made me a little sick inside – particularly since the conversation was about ebook piracy. Apparently, authors just need to suck it up, buttercup, because the last thing readers want to hear is that we’re pissed over thievery.

I don’t understand this attitude, especially coming from an industry professional whose livelihood is tied to the success of epublishing.

To paraphrase author Ann Vremont, alienated readers aren’t the problem, from a business standpoint – alienated BUYERS (and potential buyers) are the problem. Is a buyer/potential buyer going to be offended because I come out strongly against ebook piracy? Why? They’re willing to pay for the books they read. Ebook piracy hurts them, too, because it causes prices to rise, the same way insurance fraud causes premiums to rise. It’s caused at least one author to reconsider writing an entire series because the profit/loss margin was too thin. So buyers and potential buyers who are willing to pay me for my work should be just as unhappy about piracy as I am.

But if the readers this industry pro was talking about are the ones who steal books, well, then…fuck ’em. Let ’em be alienated. They’ve already alienated me, and no lame-ass justification like “but if I like what I steal, I may pay for it later,” is going to change that.

I know I can be offensive as hell, in that whole “if you don’t have anything nice to say…” way of women everywhere. I know it’s probably cost me a few sales. I know it’s made me a few sales, too. There are companies to which I’d never bother submitting my work because I find the comments and behavior of some of their employees off-putting. I have no doubt at least one or two of these same companies would reject my work only because it’s mine. So we’re all in agreement, and I’m good with the balance.

And digital thieves can still blow me.  🙂

***

New reviews:

4 Stars from BookWenches for Year of the Cat: “Selah March’s Year of the Cat takes the fairytale Puss and Boots and stands it on its ear. This is not the children’s story that many of us grew up loving; this is a much darker tale filled with anger and violence… For all its dark overtones and BDSM theme, this is a very well-done and enjoyable story about love and the transforming nature of sacrifice made in the name of love. Ms. March has done a fantastic and clever job of weaving a fairytale out of Year of the Cat. The tone is very matter-of-fact and “once upon a time,” even though the subject matter is a little startling. This has a distinct feeling of being the dark counterpart to the Puss in Boots tale, and I was thrilled to be able to pick out similarities in plot between the two stories.

If you are a fan of the fairytale, I recommend that you give Year of the Cat a shot. It will give you a whole new outlook on Puss in Boots that has nothing to do with cartoon tabby cats who sound suspiciously like Antonio Banderas. Well done, Ms. March. I look forward to your next offering!” ~B.D. Whitney

4.5 Stars from Reviews by Jessewave for Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: “I’m not a huge fan of mysteries or horror stories, but the very aptly named Whiskey Tango Foxtrot was an enthralling read that kept me wide-eyed and reading voraciously to find out what happens next. I’m looking forward to reading more from Ms. March.” ~emmyjag

Finally, I have a guest blog up this week at BookWenches on the subject of antagonists, villains and anti-heroes. I tried not to sound like my senior year English teacher. I suspect I failed.

April 19, 2008

Here’s the thing, as my new BFF Dakota would say.

Filed under: Asshats on parade,blah blah blah — Selah March @ 6:31 pm
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I’ve been surfing about, reading posts and comments here and there about the “wildness” and the “tackiness” and the lack of “professionalism” here at RT. And you know what?

~If you go to a Romantic Times convention looking to hold onto your dignity with both hands? You’re gonna have a shitty time.

~If you go with the intention of turning up your nose at behavior of others? You’ll find PLENTY of opportunity.

~And if you sit at home and troll the Romancelandia blogs to find evidence of Authors and Readers Behaving In A Manner Not Befitting A Lady so that you’ll have something to post about or comment on? You’re an asshat with too much time on your hands. Get a hobby why don’tcha?

RT isn’t RWA. This isn’t news. RT doesn’t want to be RWA, and I can’t tell you how many authors I’ve heard say, “…and thank God for that…” in the four days I’ve been here.

RT is a readers’ convention with a sideline of workshops for writers and booksellers. It’s not all that different from DragonCon or some of the other fan conventions that also hold a few workshops for artists in various media. So I’m asking… please… pretty-goddamn-fucking-PLEASE…
…could we quit with the comparisons? I’d really hate to have to break out the fruity analogies again.

For the record, I’ve never attended an RWA national conference and likely never will. As I age, I’m finding myself more and more allergic to the snobbery and the categorization and the asswipery inherent in organizations like RWA. (Are you PAN? Are you Pro? Should I pucker up to kiss your ass or turn around and bend over?)

I’m having a good time in Pittsburgh. I’ve met people I like – authors, readers, booksellers, cover models, waitresses, chambermaids and hotel desk clerks (in no particular order) – and I’ve never once worried that my dignity is suffering as a result of the fact that the chick next to me is dressed as a Domme vampire with bat wings and a quirt, and the hunk o’ beefcake on the other side of the piano bar is leering at my cleavage. I’ve done very little “professional networking,” but I’ve sold some books, given others away (major highlight of my week: the waitress that squealed like a schoolgirl when I autographed a free copy of SIN STREET for her, and then put down her pad and tray to hug me), gotten solid info from editors, visited with old friends and made a batch of new ones. I’m satisfied. If that makes me “unprofessional,” then bless my own tacky heart. They say water finds its own level. Mine appears to be the one without the stick up its ass.

Yeah, I know, my metaphors are big with the mixy. Bite me. But not too hard, as I understand my brand of “tacky” may be contagious.

January 13, 2008

Subtlety, thy name is PBW.

Filed under: Asshats on parade,blah blah blah — Selah March @ 4:59 pm
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Lynn Viehl has what I consider to be the final word on the subject of holding unpopular opinions* in the current Romancelandia climate.

There’s a reason I aspire to her level of sanity.

*Which is not the same thing as supporting plagiarism, for those still determined to confuse the two issues.

SelahMarch.com – Romance of Dubious Virtue

November 8, 2007

‘Atta boy, Clarence

Filed under: Asshats on parade,blah blah blah,Romancelandia — Selah March @ 8:41 am
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“She’d better keep her mouth shut or her sales will drop and her career will be in the toilet.”

That’s me paraphrasing something I keep reading over and over and over in various places using various sorts of language. But the thing is? In my case? Not so much, really.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but every time I let myself be weak and participate in a little Romancelandia free-for-all, my Fictionwise sales spike. This year’s post-RWA conference Battle of the Bloggers saw a rise of between 5% and 10% in sales of my work there. Which really? Isn’t saying much, because I’m hardly a bestseller on my finest day. But it does seem to point to the above statement being a crock of the ripest kind of bullshit.

So. I will continue to try to avoid this painful, pointless nonsense when I can, but not because I fear for my career. You know, every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings…

In other news, the countdown to the end of the first round of the Brava novella contest has begun. I’m trying to be very Zen about the whole thing. I’m failing. Hold me.

SelahMarch.com – Romance of Dubious Virtue

November 7, 2007

Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water…

Filed under: Asshats on parade,blah blah blah,Romancelandia — Selah March @ 7:13 pm
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A quote from a famously long-winded commenter on a busy-as-a-bee romance review blog (to which I will not link because that might besmirch its pristine rep, and we can’t have that, can we?) :

“So now I start wondering things like: where does Caridad Ferrer stand in all of this? Her blog is linked on Ferfe’s page and she’s March’s friend. I have several question marks like that, around authors and bloggers who haven’t ever publicly indicated that they’re not on board with the mudfest. Not that any of those authors or bloggers may care one whit, but I can’t imagine I’m the only one asking those questions.”

I’ll answer that question with a question: So now busy authors juggling multiple professional commitments are required to keep abreast of blog-wars in which they have no interest AND make sure all bloggers linking to them are on the politically correct side of any controversy?

SERIOUSLY?? Dude.

Get. A. Life.

Buy one if you have to. Put it on freakin’ lay-a-way for the holidays. Anyone with that many “question marks” around the idea that an award-winning author doesn’t have better things to do with her time is in serious need of a hobby.

A note to all authors in my sidebar: that target on your back just got bigger. Want me to de-link? Drop me a note, no hard feelings. It’s Amnesty Day here at Dubious Virtue, in honor of folks with too much time on their hands and not near enough common sense.

SelahMarch.com – Romance of Dubious Virtue

April 3, 2007

Channeling Mel

Filed under: Asshats on parade,blah blah blah — Selah March @ 8:20 am
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It isn’t much that would make me channel Mr. Mel “Notorious Anti-Semitic, Sexist and Homophobe” Gibson. But one of my crit partners is having fits over a particular plot point in her soon-to-be-released novella. It seems some folks — additional beta readers, and this is what she gets for showing her work to OTHER people instead of relying SOLELY on my ever-so-sage and insightful advice (that’s a joke, by the way…you can tell by the heavy use of sarcasm) —

ANYWAY, it seems that some folks are having difficulty with her hero’s behavior. He sleeps with another woman during the course of the story, you see. A woman who is NOT the heroine. The shame…the scandal…the INFAMY…

Of course, he’s only just MET the heroine. Doesn’t yet know she’s meant to be the love of his life. We’re not talking love at first sight here, by any stretch of the imagination. I dunno, maybe it’s me, but it does seem a tad unreasonable to suggest a man refrain from sex with his long-time mistress on the grounds that he’s met some random woman he finds vaguely attractive, if slightly annoying.

And as far as I’m concerned, the only thing a romance HAS to have is the happily-ever-after, just like the only thing a mystery HAS to have is the “whodunnit” and the solution at the end, the only thing science fiction HAS to have is fictional science, and the only thing fantasy HAS to have is some non-reality-based element that can be described as “fantastical.” Genre conventions are important, but not to the point where it limits our creativity. Where’s the unpredictablity? Where’s the opportunity for the reader to say, “Wow! I didn’t see THAT coming! I wonder how the author’s going to save this relationship/character/plotline?”

I’ve heard people say, “But this is a HUGE no-no, and the editors won’t buy it.”

Really? Back in the days of the bodice-rippers — say, fifteen to thirty years ago — heroes slept with women who weren’t the heroine all the time. These things are cyclical. To mix my metaphors in a shocking manner, the pendulum will swing again to more freedom in characterization and plot. Even the RWA — one of the more conservative voices in the current romance landscape — is only calling for a story about a romantic relationship with a “satisfying” ending.

And with Avon, a romance publisher with yet another decidedly conservative outlook, having recently released CLAIMING THE COURTESAN (Anna Campbell) which includes a scene that’s been described everywhere as out-and-out rape of the heroine by the hero, I’m thinking that these rules we’ve written for ourselves as readers and writers are more flexible than we think. If people are buying CLAIMING THE COURTESAN — and they are, and mostly having a “love it” or “hate it” reaction — then certainly readers will buy the idea of a man having sex with his longtime mistress after having only just met the heroine. (Note: this is not an endorsement of returning to the bad old days of “rape in romance,” wherein the only way a nice girl could enjoy a good poke was if the hero took her by force. It’s merely an example of how things shift with the times within the genre.)

Please, I beg you. Be not afraid to take risks. What do we constantly hear editors asking for? Something new. Something different. Something challenging. Something they haven’t seen before.

And here’s where I channel ol’ Mel, in what is perhaps his most iconic role, as William Wallace in BRAVEHEART….

….FREEDOM!!!

(blue face-paint optional, other offers do not apply, your mileage may vary)

SelahMarch.com – Romance of Dubious Virtue

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