ideatrash

Writing, publishing, geekdom, and errata.

Being Transparent About Finances: More About Alliteration Ink's Print Price Increase

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Over the weekend, I announced (via both the e-mail newsletter1 and then the blog) that Alliteration Ink's print prices will be going up by a dollar on 3 October 2015.

There's a couple of things I wanted to take a little more time to unpack in detail here.

How the money is going to the authors and editors

In all cases, the editors get royalties directly from sales of the books, and in many cases, the authors get the royalties directly as well. This is especially true of the earlier books I've published - the authors only get paid via royalties for about half the books I've published.

There are some exceptions - and it's those that I want to talk about.  I've historically been running things so that if Alliteration Ink breaks even, it's a success. That's great for starting out, but I've reached the point where in order to offer the kinds of pay rates that I want, I have to turn to crowdfunding.  (I mentioned this about two months ago.)

But even that has issues... because while all of my Kickstarters have succeeded, I cannot guarantee that they'll succeed. And I am asking editors and authors to do work based on that promise.

What I'm doing now with Alliteration Ink's earnings is stockpiling them to be able to guarantee a minimum rate to authors, giving them more stability and security in a time when US authors are making less than the poverty line.

Or in short:

All profit that Alliteration Ink sees goes back into making more books and paying authors, editors, and artists.

Digital Book Pricing

I'm not going to change eBook prices at this time, because it simply doesn't make sense to. There's three reasons for that.
First: I've been keeping prices so that the average net profit2 is the same whether it's a print book sale or eBook sale.

Second: when I look at other small presses, my eBook prices are right in line with theirs.

Third: I'm a reader as well. I like the convenience of digital books, and I like purchasing books and supporting authors. Right now I can keep all my digital titles about the price of a cup of fancy coffee - but they'll give you far more enjoyment.

And I'll still be able to give the authors and editors the same amount of support.

That's pretty awesome.

Finally: I am an active partner with Shelfie (previously known as BitLit).  That means that if you buy a print book I've published - even if you bought it years ago - you can use the Shelfie app to get the digital version free.  I've been working with them for a year now and have been very pleased with their service. I'm finally revamping the print books to include the bookplate to make getting the bundled digital version even easier.

I hope this explains some things; if you have any questions, hit me up via e-mail or in the comments.


1 A side note: if you want to know what's going on first, sign up for the newsletter at http://eepurl.com/blMdOv!)
2 If you're unfamiliar, the net profits per print book vary wildly depending on how it's sold. So yes, if you buy a book directly from me, more profits go to the authors... but that's not how most people buy the books I publish.

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In Memory of This Is My Jam

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I really liked This is My Jam, which just went into "archive" status.  As they put it:
 This is an archive of the music community This Is My Jam. From 2011 to 2015, every song posted here was someone’s favorite.
From hit releases to rare finds to old gold, Jam is home to over two million carefully hand-picked songs. All jams, no filler.
Explore the archives and browse the song collections of the members who made Jam what it was. Get every collection as a Spotify playlist, like this.

It had problems. It was sometimes hard to just... listen.  And sometimes it was a real trial to be able to find an audio or video version of the song you wanted to post that allowed embedding.

But.

Aside from cool things like the posterwall of my jams, there was something deliberate about This is My Jam.  Sure, if you're interested in what I'm listening to, you can follow me on last.fm (hint: lately it's been VNV Nation. A LOT of VNV Nation), but sometimes what I'm just playing isn't quite the same as what I'd choose to represent "my jam".

And looking back over the last few years of my jams, there's a story there.  (If you know, you can see it pretty clearly.  At least, I can.)

So I think I'm going to be posting jams every week or so over on my tumblr with the #thisismyjam tag.  Just because.

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Doing the Dark Theme

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Yup, that's a busy (dual monitor) desktop.  And more to the point, it's all dark. Finally. For once.  DoubleCommander, Firefox, Xresources, Tint2, Openbox.

For the most part, it's based off the dark version of the Solarized palette.  If you're interested, it's based off of Stylish scripts and GTK resources - you can check 'em out (and as I tweak them) from this GitHub repo: https://github.com/uriel1998/dark_gtk_linux

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What possible reason could there be for an eBook to cost more than a print book?

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Back in 2011, I expressed some puzzlement about why a digital book and print book would be offered at the same price

So imagine my annoyance when I saw this last month with a new release I wanted to buy:

One of my theories about the eBook pricing in 2011 was this:
Print books are being propped up by keeping eBook prices higher. Digital publishing costs less and can, at the same time, get more money to content creators. But digital publishing seriously disrupts the existant business model - for good or ill. (Think about all the jobs that are no longer needed.) I suspect that left to their own devices, novel length eBooks would be distributed in a normal curve around the $5 price point. I further suspect that more people would read digitally if they saw price savings over print books. Regardless of the motivation, I believe that keeping eBook prices the same as print book prices slows the adoption of digital readers.
About the same time, there were a plethora of articles stating that eBooks would effectively replace mass market paperbacks (example, example, example). It became common knowledge.

And yet at the end of 2014, Publisher's Weekly reported that mass market paperback sales weren't dropping as much and showed signs of stabilizing.  The prices at the end of that article are pretty comparable to the price points I am seeing now for paperbacks.

This isn't one isolated example (though it seems to happen less frequently with genre fiction), nor is it solely because a book is a new release.  Take these screenshots from 27 Sept as a rough example:




So there's really only two explanations that I can think of: 

1. These large publishers are wanting to simply maximize profit and think the convenience of the eBook will be sufficient to charge a higher price and get away with it.

2. These large publishers are trying to shape demand and keep the mass market paperback market going longer than it otherwise would.

Neither of these make good amounts of long-term business sense to me; then again, I'm also a publisher who is making digital copies bundled with all print books through Shelfie.

Michael Kozlowski over at Goodreader thinks something even more sinister. In his post (which I stumbled across just as I finished writing this) he spells out a theory that it's not just to lift sales, but a deliberate attempt to destroy the eBook market.

What do you think? 

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Writing Music: Papo and Yo

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I have to admit that I have not yet played Papo and Yo. (Though after rewatching the trailer, I might just fix that right soon.)  But I have listened to the soundtrack an awful lot.

The game is atmospheric and slightly strange:
Papo & Yo is the story of a young boy, Quico, and his best friend, Monster.
Monster is a huge beast with razor-sharp teeth, but that doesn’t scare Quico away from playing with him. However, Monster has a dangerous problem: an addiction to poisonous frogs. The moment he sees one hop by, he’ll scarf it down and fly into a violent, frog-induced rage where no one, including Quico, is safe.
And yet, Quico loves his Monster and wants to save him. As Quico, you will get to know Monster by solving puzzles together and adventuring through a magical, dream-like world. You will learn to use Monster’s emotions, both good and bad, to your advantage if you want to complete your quest for a cure and save your pal.

The soundtrack by Brian D'Oliveira captures this sensibility and provides a slightly surreal world beat style of music that's both energetic and calming, otherworldly and grounded.

You can check out the soundtrack on Soundcloud (embedded below) or pick it up digitally from Amazon.  And check out the trailer for the game itself!




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A Simple Idea That Would Improve Every GPS App Out There

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Step 1: Input starting location.
Step 2: Input ending location.
Step 3: Tap on map for when you want voice prompts to start.
Step 4: Tap on map for when you want voice prompts to end.


Because really, when I'm back in Dayton, I don't usually need directions from the interstate to my house.  I often just need GPS to get me to the interstate (or from the interstate to a location).  And I'd love to have it shut up during the times I don't need it.

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Book Review: Zer0es by Chuck Wendig

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Zer0es' blurb does a decent job setting up the premise:

An Anonymous-style rabble rouser, an Arab spring hactivist, a black-hat hacker, an old-school cipherpunk, and an online troll are each offered a choice: go to prison or help protect the United States, putting their brains and skills to work for the government for one year.
But being a white-hat doesn’t always mean you work for the good guys. The would-be cyberspies discover that behind the scenes lurks a sinister NSA program, an artificial intelligence code-named Typhon, that has origins and an evolution both dangerous and disturbing. And if it’s not brought down, will soon be uncontrollable.
But there's at least one big twist - and one that makes a good degree of sense - that awaits you in this book. Like most of Wendig's work, the book is fast-paced, full of action, and just enough wry and nasty humor for a nice seasoning.

The degree of forethought and twists reminded me of Donald J. Bingle's work - in GREENSWORD, Forced Conversion, and Net Impact (full disclosure: I published Net Impact).  In these near-future thrillers, the tech is new enough and the turns logical and surprising at the same time.

Zer0es does have a lot of protagonists, though, and while Wendig does a good job differentiating them, the sheer number of them left me trying to keep track of who was who in the first third of the book. Wendig's habit of switching between using both first and last names in the narrative portions of the text made this harder.

A good fun near-future sci-fi read.

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But I Can Pretend

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http://imgur.com/0WF27tW

Click the image to see the full two-page spread.  From Sandman: Brief Lives.

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Compersion: The Skill You Absolutely Need In Your Relationship(s).

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If there's one thing that the polyamorous community does that everyone needs to adopt, it's compersion.

Here's the definition, from morethantwo.com:

A feeling of joy when a partner invests in and takes pleasure from another romantic or sexual relationship. Commentary: Compersion can be thought of as the opposite of “jealousy;” it is a positive emotional reaction to a lover’s other relationship.
I've talked about morethantwo.com as a great resource if you're dealing with  jealousy, but the above is really the biggest thing... if you spin it out a little bit further.

Because while it's great if you can use it in the above sense (like this HuffPo article illustrates) I think compersion isn't just being happy about your partner's other relationship.

It's being happy about your partner's successes...whether or not they involve you.

And that's something that you absolutely should want in your relationship with your SO (significant other).

SO makes more than you?  GREAT!
SO gets a promotion when you don't?  GREAT!
SO gets accolates when you don't?  GREAT!

This gets to perhaps the best definition of "love" yet, as paraphrased by Heinlein (and also by Paul in Ephesians 5):
the word "love" designates a subjective condition in which the welfare and happiness of another person are essential to one's own happiness.

This is not something that you have to be "born with", though as with any skill some people seem to take to it more naturally than others.  But it is a skill you can learn.

Here's the secret to compersion: You have to be able to separate out your own desires from the desire to see those you care about be happy.

It's that simple.  And that hard.

Start with identifying your own desires and separating them out from whatever else is going on. I'm not always great at reducing my own desires, which leads to a bit of mental whiplash, but I sure as hell can be happy for those I care about and love.

Once you've been able to separate your own desires, it frees you1.  You can express your own desires and fears completely separately from the desire to see those you care about be happy.

Learning the skill of compersion might not make the pang of them falling for another person, or getting the promotion you wanted, or whatever else go away.

But it will let you be able to feel both that and the joy you want to feel for other's success in any area.


1 For some things and people this is far easier than for others. Do not feel bad if you require support in the form of friends or a therapist; you're doing what you need to do!

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The Battle of Aftermath: Identifying the Empire and the New Republic

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Let's note up front that you might not like a book regardless of the social issues presented in it.  Okay? Okay.  Because we are not talking about those people here.

I posted my review of Chuck Wendig's book Aftermath yesterday on Amazon, as well as a version of it here on my blog.  (It was removed without notice or notification, which is interesting.)

But here's the interesting thing:  my review got several responses before someone abused the "report" button.

W. Smith said:
...are you the person Wendig goes to for his silly descriptions of scenes. The book was bad. If the characters were all straight it wouldn't matter...the book would still be bad. 
 Spartan085 said:
Another "you are all homophobes review"
And I probably deserve that. I went out of my way to be provocative.  But as you can see here, there's a perception that any positive reviews are sockpuppet campaigns for Wendig (which isn't something normal for just disliking a writing style):

Which is ironic, since W. Smith (seen above slamming me) and others has been putting negative comments on positive reviews:


And that's what I want to address here.  As I mentioned in the first review, there's not exactly a plethora of gayness in this book.  There's lots of action, fun, and generally a good time... something that was missing from the prequels.  But yet folks like this guy:


literally CANNOT tolerate any mention, no matter how oblique, in a Star Wars story.

Let's look at this one in particular for a moment.

Kevin can't "escape" unless all the characters are like him.

This reminds me of the reasons why Dr. King convinced Nichelle Nichols to stay on Star Trek.

Because yes, I'm a straight, white, cisgendered male.

And I know I'm not the only type of person out there.

I'm not bothered by characters who are different than me.  I don't need all my protagonists to be Mary Sues for me.


I know there will always be a character out there who has the same race, orientation, and value set as I do.   Always.

But bigoted assholes like the ones above, the ones who are not only trying to destroy the ratings of Aftermath but to harass those who enjoyed the book, are trying to make sure that no other point of view is represented but theirs.

Screw. Them.

Here's the thing with the so-called "culture wars".  One side wants everyone to do their thing and be included.  Another side wants ONLY their side represented, mentioned, or allowed.

Which as Mr. Wendig quite cogently pointed out, is kind of the Empire's gig.

Screw that.  I'm with the New Republic.  As is Aftermath.

“This is democracy,” she says. “It is strange. And it is messy. It’s not about getting it right. It’s about trying to get it right. Yes, it’s a bit chaotic. Certainly we will get some things wrong. The Empire? They cared nothing for democracy. They valued order above everything else. They wanted to be right so badly that anybody who even hinted at getting it wrong or doing it differently was branded the enemy and thrown in a dark prison somewhere. They destroyed other voices so that only their own remained. That is not us. We will not always get it right. We will never have it perfect. But we will listen. To the countless voices crying out across the galaxy, we have opened our ears, and we will always listen. That is how democracy survives. That is how it thrives."

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WHO PUT TEH GAYZ IN MY STAR WARS? A review of Aftermath by Chuck Wendig

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So I finished reading Chuck Wendig's Star Wars novel Aftermath.

And let me tell you, there is TEH GAYZ all up in this novel.  I mean, there's a mention of a character's two married aunts... and they serve tea!  Another character in an interlude thinks about their two fathers!  And finally, one character points out when hit upon that they! are! not! interested! in! women!

I mean, sure, there's all sorts of spaceship chases rendered so well that they practically show the scenes in your mind's eye.  And there's blaster fights that make anything in the original trilogy look like poorly-choreographed silliness. And there's Wedge!  And characters who survived the Battle of Endor with real consequences!  And sure, there's intrigue, and he even manages to make battle droids cool.

But teh gayz serve tea!  THE HORROR.

Seriously, folks, if that's the biggest thing you take away from Aftermath, then you really are reading books for the wrong reason.

Because this is a rip-roaring novel that captures the essense of Star Wars in a way I've rarely seen.  It's like watching one of the movies... except well done.  Highly recommended.

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In Memoriam: Grandparent's Day, A Little Late.

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Last weekend, Facebook thought it'd be a good idea to greet every single user with a banner about Grandparent's Day.

Whether your grandparents were alive or not.

I wrote this essay over a decade ago; I republish it here for those of us who felt pain when they saw that banner.



I saw the last dead leaf fall off the massive oak tree in my backyard.  It slowly spiraled towards me, brown dry body gently tossed by the wind.  A brief jaunt upward, another lazy loop downward.

It took five minutes to fall five feet.

With a final melodramatic swoop, it landed at my feet with a nearly inaudible crunch.  It was curled inward - explaining the parachute-like descent.  The tip was reaching towards the stem in an unconscious dying mockery of humans being born.  The body of the leaf was dead and brown; parts crumbled off of it when I tried to pick it up.  It was rough, dry, like her skin.

Especially the skin on the back of her hands; she's been trying to work around the house since he died, keeping herself busy, and hasn't bothered to take quite as good care of herself.  Her hands are rough and liver-spotted; it would be easy to imagine that it was a natural camouflage to help her hide.  Not from predators, but from her own thoughts, the ones that she can keep in check until late at night, when she turns and he's no longer there.

She sent me some of his clothes, calling to insist I try them on to make sure that they fit.  It was strange, to wear a dead man's clothing.  The fact that the dead man was my grandfather only intensified the emotion.  

They arrived in a box not long after he had died; I honestly hadn't expected her to deal with it so efficiently.  I am still not sure whether or not that was a good thing.  Sorting through the clothes she sent, some were obviously worn, but others - others came intact with store labels and price tags.  

They were, unsettlingly, exactly my size.

In recent memory his limbs resembled sticks; his cancer-inspired thinness were an anorexic's dream.  These clothes are not that old; at some point not long ago he must have been as large as I.

"You're going to die eventually," the waitress says, putting the pizza on our table.  "Everybody dies sometime."

Normally I would relish this kind of conversation, but it's just too strange.  I know too much; the shirt I am wearing was his, and had no tags, implying he had worn it at least once.  I am suddenly, uncomfortably aware of the virtual certainty that there are still some of his skin cells in the shirt despite having gone through the washer.  My reaction to this awful understanding is worsened by guilt over being repulsed by, essentially, some of the last remnants of my grandfather's body.

"Nope," I say, paraphrasing a line from a comic book.  "I figure everybody dies because everyone else is doing it.  Not me.  I'm strange like that."

It doesn't work.  Not well, anyway - she goes away, but her thought lingers in my mind, feeding on my thoughts.  The connection in size between my grandfather and I is too hard to ignore; he grew - if that is the right word - to be thinner than I.  At some point, we were the same, and I cannot ignore it.

Blissfully ignorant, my son eats a slice of pepperoni, and I wonder.  Will someday my son's child parse through boxes and papers?  Will they take the time to sort out a life from among the detritus that ends up in Goodwill donations and massive yard sales?  It wouldn't bother me so much if I knew that the markers of my life would not just be someone else's trash.

Sometimes I'm not even scared of dying; I dream of running up to the Divine - a little boy again - bursting with the things I've seen, the things I've done, the things I've learned, the beauty and agony of the world.  

Just like my son, when he tries to tell me about what he did at school today.

As I bow my head, my son asks me why I'm crying over my pizza, and I cannot draw breath enough to tell him.

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Miss the 'Verse? Wearing your brown coat? You should probably check out Killjoys. Like now.

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Okay, look. I saw this promo image too:

This image? Goofy as hell.  And totally unfair to the show.

You want something a bit more representative?  Try the official trailer:



Want more of that fight scene with the spider bombs? Here you go:



I decided to watch this show after reading the Mary Sue's review of it

And gorram it all, my droogs, it is shiny.  Shiny and chrome.

If you have cable with a provider, you can watch it online.  Or buy the season on Amazon or Google if you don't. .  Because, my droogs, this show is worth your hard earned credits. Or joys. Or whatever you want to call it.

It's fun. It's smart... but not too smart to lose sight of the fun. I'm 2/3 of the way through the first season, and completely hooked. The characters are fully fleshed out, the storyline is complex enough without being opaque, and there's always some good eye candy regardless of your preference.

Oh yes, my lovelies.

Does it have the usual flaws of television sci-fi?  Some of them.  The sets are a little ... earth-like at times.  But overall, the production values are high, and the actors - especially the supporting cast - are pretty bang-on.

Well worth the $17 for the season.  Well worth it indeed.

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Revising my contracts

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Contracts are vital for authors and publishers (and yes, self-pub people as well, because there's some strange stuff in distributor contracts sometimes.)  I wrote a big compendium post about contracts two years ago, but I've been making some tweaks to my own sample contracts over the years.

With SFWA recently releasing a new model magazine contract (which is of particular interest to me at the moment), I decided to spend part of my Labor Day (appropriately) making sure my contract templates were in line with SFWA's guidelines.

You can see the updated contract templates over on github at https://github.com/uriel1998/ainkcontracts, and you can see a full changelog of what's been changed and when with the commit log.

As always, I offer my contract templates up freely under the MIT license (e.g. you can freely use and derive works from it; I'm not liable for anything and don't claim they're good for squat). The goal of sharing these contracts is to improve the knowledge of authors, myself, and hold publishers (including myself) to a higher standard.

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Unlearning helplessness in the virtual world

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First, I recommend you listen to the "How We Learn and Unlearn To Be Helpless" episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast.  (Or if you're short on time, read the article.)

But here's the bit that blew me away:  After about an hour of talking about how easy it is to teach helplessness, they mentioned that it's also possible to unlearn helplessness as well.

As they (rightly) recommended getting professional help if needed, they also mentioned creating situations where you succeed in small goals and actually overcome obstacles.

By doing so, you are essentially re learning that you can do things, that you're effective, and you have an impact on the world.

When I heard that, something clicked for me.

See, when I'm depressed, when I'm feeling low, when I'm upset, hell, even if I'm stressed, I'm probably going to be playing video games.

Not just any video games, though.  My current go-tos of choice:





In both of these games, I have control.  When I'm in a situation where I'm being taught helplessness, I unlearn helplessness in a virtual world.

Playing these games wasn't wish-fulfillment or escapism.

They were medication.

It would be fascinating if these games - or something similar - can be utilized in a professional manner to help others.  In the meantime, I've got to build a defense against those stupid creepers.

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Imaginarium! Louisville! 11-13 September! Be there!

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http://entertheimaginarium.com/

Next weekend I'll be at Imaginarium in Louisville.  I'm glad that Imaginarium is really getting together and becoming a strong convention; last year was a great starting point, and I'm looking forward to seeing the improvements this year.  You can see the full schedule on EventBase.

I'll be there on Friday, though I don't have any panels (EDITED: YES I DO); for the most part during the rest of the weekend I'll be around the convention.  If you're going to be there and would like to make sure we get together, I've got a Calendy scheduler for just that purpose.

My (currently scheduled) panels are:
    
   Facebook Marketing
   September 11, 4:00PM - Perry

   Hero vs. Antihero
   September 11, 8:00PM - Shelby
    
   Breaking the Cycle
    September 12, 01:00 PM - Madison
    
    What Editors Expect of a Professional Author
    September 12, 08:00 PM - Hancock
    
    Troll-Free Promotion
    September 13, 01:00 PM - Perry
    
    Contract Negotiations
    September 13, 02:00 PM - Madison




I look forward to seeing you there!

http://entertheimaginarium.com/

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Sometimes it's more complex than a Twitter exchange: Free Speech, Sexism, and "Tournament of Rapists"

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TL;DR: Yes, free speech. But it's not just about free speech, is it?

Yes, I just now heard about this book that got published over the weekend:

Yes, that's right, it says "Tournament of Rapists".  It got published on DriveThruRPG on Friday.  And when Jessica Price from Paizo called out DriveThru, she had a ... less than satisfactory response.  You can read her story (and I encourage you to) at her blog:  http://jessicalprice.tumblr.com/post/127951942358/games-sure-are-classy

Let me just go ahead and note here:  Twitter ain't the place for a complex discussion of ... well, anything.  The medium inherently reduces thoughts to soundbites, and that never helps reach understanding.

Was the response of DriveThru staff helpful?  Um, no. Not at all. Did it make things worse? Yeah, yeah it did. Did they mean to make things worse? I'm going to go out on a limb here and say, probably not.

The publisher of the above book has also responded.  Their response is here:  http://otherversegames.blogspot.com/2015/08/my-least-popular-book-ever.html .  The key bit I'd like to bring out is this:

What I think most people don't realize is that the participants in these tournaments are the *BAD GUYS* that the PC's are supposed to kill!  Most of the "stat blocks" are for monsters/creatures for the PC's to fight!
...
If a novel with this title was written and Jim Butcher, Anita Blake or Jack Reacher were going after the bad guys it might be a best seller.  But Chris makes it a game supplement and everyone who just reads a title assumes that it's about the players to run around sport-raping people for XP?
I've not read the book. Apparently since it's been taken down, I can't read the book to verify this one way or another.  I do know that the provocative title (and that publisher) got a hell of a lot of free publicity from people complaining about it though.  (Yes, even though you used DoNotLink.)

See, here's the thing: There isn't much of a vetting process once you're an established publisher with them. They presume, once you've managed to get a couple of titles up correctly, that you're not going to be a douchebag and jack things up.

This bit DriveThru in the ass - at the very least, because the book wasn't appropriately tagged "adult". And maybe there does need to be a mechanism for that - or sufficiently large penalties for any publisher who doesn't correctly do so.

And while I understand how that Twitter exchange went down - because I've said similar things in the past when I was that well-meaning white guy - I hope that future responses from DriveThru folks will be a bit more thought out.

I'm not in favor of making decrees of what others should or should not publish. (Though I'll gladly do so for what I publish.)

And yet, I'm writing this from a place of privilege. And everything above this sentence reflects that.


One gamer friend of mine (who asked to just be referred to as Julie) commented privately to me:
The point of sourcebooks and expansions are to create a world for the characters to play in, and sometimes the source materials are darker than others.

This book (I say without having actually read the material or played it) strikes me as some weirdo's rape fantasy written out, but hastily justified with "and these people are all bad bad bad and you need to kill them".
As another gamer friend, Elizabeth Bauman, put it in a comment thread on Facebook: 
In the end, the entire thing just makes me feel resigned and sad. Like, what's the point of even TRYING to make gaming more accessible and welcoming for me? Sure, they'll take it down and make sounds about how they're going to get a different policy, but it'll be the same story in a week with some other disgusting product and some gross dude telling me that I'm being an insensitive SJW who wants to censor the world into oblivion.
And it's the above that makes this more than just a free speech issue.

In case you somehow missed it, gaming (and genre fiction) isn't just about me - and people like me - any longer. While there have always been women gaming and in genre fiction, it's only been recently that those of us who create the works for these pursuits have actively been considering other viewpoints...and how the works we create impact the audience that we have.

And when you title a work "Tournament of Rapists", it (and the blurb in the screenshot) sure as hell implies exactly what Jessica Price thought.

I realize that sexist results do not require conscious, sexist intentions to happen. In this case, though, it seems like the publisher rather deliberately, through the title and blurb text, decided to provoke a response to get attention.

And it did get attention.

But it did more than that. It reinforced the message - sometimes subtle, sometimes overt - that women aren't welcome.

And we - as publishers, authors, gamers, and readers - have to be better than that.


As you may have noticed, Alliteration Ink titles are at DriveThru sites (DriveThruFiction and DriveThruRPG). As a (very) small company as well, I understand that there's not always someone on staff and standing by to respond. I hope that now that PAX is over, the staff of DriveThru will create a good, comprehensive, and inclusive policy so that all gamers can feel welcome visiting their site.

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