Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wait no! Stop! Please don't write!!!! PULLeeeeeease!

*Ahem*

Have you noticed lately that there are a bunch of people going on about how ebook authors need to write less, or perhaps not write anything at all anymore? Seems kind of strange, doesn't it? I mean when the failures at traditional publishing were doing it, you just kinda laughed and moved on. When people who have managed to get at least one book traditionally published, you start to wonder (but still point and laugh).

But when people who are considered 'successful' traditionally published authors get out there and naysay you have to wonder if they're being told to do it, (Possibly) or just overheard their master's lamenting about how they're in trouble financially and decided to do it on their own (more definitely).

Look, the fact is, traditional publishers are going out of business. Oh, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but definitely a lot of them will be dead and gone in the next few years, unless they wise up. Not that it will be a bad thing though, because most traditional publishers treat writers like their personally little slave-bitches. And I mean that in the worst way possible.

A lot of authors only get 5K for anything they submit nowadays. That's it, a $5000 advance, and then they never seen another penny. Meanwhile, the people working at the publishing house take down nice six figure salaries based off of that work they just paid five thousand dollars for. Of course, as they never EVER let anyone examine the financial books, you have no idea how much money your little book really earned, but I don't see those six figure salaries sagging, yet I HAVE seen advances go from thirty thou, to ten, and now just five.

Maybe we need 'fair trade' publishers like we have 'fair trade' coffee, huh?

Sixty percent of all the books sold in the last year were ebooks. Forget what those liars over at the New York Slimes said, they left out the indies, because they're a publishing company in league with the other New York publishing companies, and they hate the indies. Because they're being made redundant by them.

I mean think about it, you can get five grand for a book you wrote from a traditional publisher, who will NEVER tell you how many copies it sold, leaving YOU the person who created the thing that they are selling driving an old broke down junker and living in a cheap apartment, while THEY drive a Cadillac and live in a mansion...

-OR-

You can self publish and become an indy, and if your book is any good, you'll make that five grand in a couple of months. Yeah, it may take longer, it may take a year, but guess what? You continue to sell, rather than never seeing another dime because they either pulled your book, or they claim it isn't selling. And as you keep writing, and getting more readers, you'll make more and more money. If you keep at it, you'll eventually make enough money that you may even be able to live off of it! What a concept!

So, when you see the naysayers, ignore them. If you want to be a writer, write! Learn your craft, get out there and do it. Improve, tell your stories, find your audience.

After all, you have nothing to lose but your chains.

Now, this isn't to say that all of the traditional publishers out there are bad, just most of them seem to be, and lets be really honest here, if they're on the up and up, they'll pay you a worthwhile fee for your book, they won't lock you into an unfair contract that holds onto your rights forever, and they won't be doing everything they can to shoot down ebooks, which are the new horizon, the future of publishing.

And beware of the many writers organizations out there that claim to represent the writer, but which really represent the publisher, and who have a great many members who haven't written anything in ages, and when they did write, they only wrote the bare minimum to qualify.
Beware the organizations that rant against the very places that are paying you good money, and yet defend the publishers who are screwing their authors over.
Beware the people who want to control what you write, who you sell it to, and how much you are paid.

And again, beware the naysayers. They aren't doing you any favors, they are in fact trying to do themselves a favor by killing off the competition before it can even get started. They are the drowning man trying to pull down the others, hoping to stand atop your body, killing you so that they might instead live. But it won't work, because they are doomed and they know it.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Two maps from Portals of Infinity are now up.

Yes, I finally redrew two of my maps (they're still not very fancy, I'm not much of an artist) to make them a bit larger and a bit nicer. They can be found at my homepage:

http://www.vanstry.net/vanstry/index.html

Click on the 'Portals of Infinity' link in the left side bar. You can click on the maps for an enlarged view. I'll try to get the map for Hillshire done in the next few days, but that one will have very little detail to it really.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Back from the Air Races

Just got back from the Reno Air Races, and it was actually one of the best years for racing in a very long time. There were no accidents, serious or minor, and the airplanes that had to pull up out of the race due to mechanical problems were remarkably few. There were also very few 'infractions' during the races (cut pylons, too high, too low - which is pretty hard).
But that wasn't what made it one of the best, what made it good was that there was a lot of hard racing going on, and a lot of positions were contested in the different classes, there were a lot of very close finishes, some of which only a few feet made the different between 1st and 2nd, or 2nd and 3rd.

Some years are definitely better than others, and this year, racewise, was one of the better ones. It will be talked about for years to come.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Nearing the Halfway Point

Well, the first POI book about Nikki is almost halfway done, normally I'd be hoping to wrap the first draft up next week, but next week is my one vacation a year (and it's not even a week long!) when I go to the Reno Air Races, from Thursday to Sunday. We used to go on Wednesday, but for some reason I don't recall, we stopped going on Wednesday a few years ago.

I may get some writing done back at the hotel, but I don't really want to count on it, I do very much want to have this book finished before the end of the month so I can start on POI #6 asap. I'd like to get #6 out around the end of October, but it may slip a little bit from that. The target is to have it out prior to Thanksgiving, but I'd like to beat that a bit.

I'm not sure how the story on Nikki is going to be received, I'm hoping people like it, because I'd like to write a few more stories about her, to show off some other aspects of the whole 'universe' as it were. I'm also debating writing a few short stories, about characters we know about, and perhaps a few you don't know about yet. There are some aspects I wanted to explore, that I haven't put on a storyline yet, so I just have to see what works out.

As for the Shrean stories, yes, they're not POI, they are written for a different genre, and have a bit of a different thrust. I wonder if I should have put them out under a pen name, especially as the main characters in the next one are all under twenty.

I am curious as to how my POI readers, in general, feel about the Hammer Commission, and if they'd be interested in any more stories there. I will eventually put a second one out (I've mentioned that elsewhere I believe) and I'm wondering if any of you will find that interesting.

As for POI, once #6 is out, I'm going to spend a little time thinking about how I'm going to approach the next one. #6 is going to wrap up one of the current arc, so moving forward from that I need to think of how I want to approach the following stories so people can jump right in, if they want to (I believe I've mentioned that before). I am curious as to what the rest of you think, would you rather see, 1) more stories of Will in the near future, 2) more stories of Will, in the far future (after he's moved on from Fel), 3) stories about a new protagonist, 4) stories about others you already know about.

Let me know, I'm curious.

-John

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Trigger Warnings are Censorship



Yes, they are. All those people who will tell you they're just there to protect a small handful of people who cannot control themselves if they see or hear something upsetting are lying to you, or they're lying to themselves, but in either case, they're lying.

Are there people who are so sick that when they see a word they lose control? I'm sure there are, and I'm also sure that we shouldn't be changing society to protect this incredibly small minority. We also shouldn't be changing it to protect that larger group of fakers and whiners who claim that certain words 'Trigger' them. That later group should learn to shut up and grow up, and we should pay them no heed at all. Actually we should all disparage them, because they deserve it, for using the mental issues of those who really are ill, as a trick to force their worldview on others.

Look, there are things out there that upset all of us, in one way or another. But you don't see the vast overwhelming majority of people in the world falling down and screaming every time they see or hear something that 'Triggers' bad feelings or memories, do you? No, because they're grown up adults and they know that the whole 'Trigger Warning' fiasco is just that, a fiasco based on lies.

Of course there are those people who will claim 'It's only Voluntary!!!' Yeah, I'm sure the Nazi's told the Jews that the camps were 'only voluntary' as well (oh noes! Godwin alert!! Yes, I used Nazi's on purpose, are you triggered yet? No? Guess I'll have to try harder). Oh, and yes, they did.

The problem with any 'voluntary' standard is that sooner or later (usually sooner) someone always comes along and makes it mandatory. Go look around, try to find some cases where this hasn't happened (yet). Oh, I'm sure there are a few, but the fact is, they're so few that you'll have to really search to find them. The first thing that always happens is social pressure. In one debate I was a part of recently, the person in favor of 'Trigger Warnings' accused one of the opposed to being favor of rape. "How can you be opposed to putting Trigger Warnings for rape on a story, unless you are in favor of rape!" They said.

I'm not kidding, they actually said that, they actually made that accusation, and then for two weeks the discussion fell silent because none of the others who were opposed wanted to be branded a rapist.

And that is what will happen if everyone starts giving into 'Trigger Warnings,' if you as an author don't, you'll be silenced by being accused of the most heinous crimes imaginable. And if you do give in and start putting them on, well, do you want to be putting such 'tags' on your story as 'Rape, Murder, Mutilation, Incest, Assault, Battery, Theft, Robbery, Violence, Curse Words, Religious Overtones,' etc, etc, etc? No, of course not, so you'll just stop writing instead.

BTW, I just described almost every Greek and Shakespearean play ever written, as well as 90 percent of most classic literature. There probably isn't a book on the NY Times best seller list that doesn't contain 80 percent of those 'Triggers'.

Trigger warnings are the foot in the door for the speech and thought police, it is not something being done to help people who you shouldn't be worrying about in the first place. It's solely a method for those that think they are better than you, and know better than you, to control what you say, what you think, what you believe, and what you read. And if you don't see that, you are a very foolish person who has no understanding of history, or human nature.

Trigger Warnings are an attack on authors everywhere, on all artists, on all creative people. It is a war, and if you give in to it, you will be silenced if you do not write the approved stories with the approved words. If you don't stand up against it now, while you still can, you find yourself being attacked for saying and writing the 'wrong' things. You will doxxed, you will be swatted, you will lose your job. Don't think they won't do it, they're already doing it in other fields, now they're after us, the writers.

Remember: It is better to die on your feet, than to live on your knees.
But it's better still to take a stand against those preaching censorship before they have their foot in the door, and have gained the power to crush you.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Move those goalposts!

So, I was in a debate over censorship (which I disapprove of), and I made an argument, in the debate which proved my point perfectly, as one person in the debate was actually using the very thing I was arguing against, to censor people in the debate.

Score!

So what does the other side do? They totally ignore my 100 percent factual proof, and claim that I was getting 'too emotional'. Yup, they lost, they knew they lost, they couldn't argue against me, so they changed the goalposts and started to argue that my point wasn't valid, because I was too emotional.

So yeah, done with those folks. The next thing that comes after personal attacks are motions to ban, because obviously you are a bad person.

To be honest I don't know why I even bothered. I thought they wanted to talk about writing, but instead they just wanted to push the next SJW item on the checklist, speech control.

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Somebody in England ALWAYS makes it.

Why this is, I have no idea, but sometimes I think it speaks volumes for a particular segment of English society. I engage in a couple of different hobbies, like motorcycles, and sometimes those require a special tool, if you're the type of person that does all their own maintenance.

I have found, that while certain tools are almost impossible to find, you will always find at least ONE person, in England, who makes it, and is selling them.

My ZZR1200 needs a special tool to tighten down the nut that holds the front forks on. Most people (dealers included) use a tool that doesn't really work right, and sort of does a half-assed job. Especially as you can't put a torque wrench on it. There is a special socket however that will do the job, and yeah, only one guy in England makes it.

It just came today! Now to go wrench.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

So, the year so far

So far this year I've put out four novels. To be honest, I'd hoped to be at five at this point, but with my father dying, and having to fly to NY twice this summer, well, let's just say writing wasn't a priority for almost three months.
As it stands right now, I have two more novels planned to be out this year, and a third one if I can find that time (which is already halfway finished, so it should be 'easy' to finish - ha!).

Of the two planned ones, the first is in the Portals of Infinity universe, but is not part of the existing series, it's about Nikki, the sister of the hero from the series, who has found herself drawn into this new and interesting universe. For her, this is a huge bonus, because she will finally be able to do the things she always wanted to do, but couldn't in our world. I haven't titled this story yet.
The other planned one, will be book Six in the Portals of Infinity series. As I've mentioned elsewhere, the books after #6 will still (mostly) be in chronological order, however, I will endeavor to write them so that you can pick up any one of them, and read it, without having to read the previous ones in the series.

The third one, is another book in the Shrean universe, where Lost Souls takes place. Different characters completely, different story line. Much more adventure with a lost prince, young love, and all that kind of stuff. The first half of that is done (I wrote it while watching deadliest catch. American restoration, and pawn stars), I'm curious as to if people will like it, it's different from my other stuff, just like Lost Souls is different. More YA / Romance / shifter stuff.

I do have two other books planned for the Hammer Commission story line, one is a prequel about how Rafael came to be where he is today, the other is about what happens to Mark after he's 'loaned' out to the US government. One of those will get written next year, and if it does well, the other one probably will follow six to nine months later.

As for the anthro fiction, if enough people show an interest, I will start a kickstarter for the third book in the COS trilogy. Due to the overwhelming amount of piracy those books are receiving versus sales, I will only continue to write in that universe if paid up front. Sorry folks, but I can't afford to work for free, much less lose money on a book. I have to eat, and I have bills to pay. Furry fandom is not as big as the other fandoms, and hard SF still isn't as popular as it used to be (which is why I don't write much of it currently). So when hundreds of people pirate those stories, that's half the audience, and earning a thousand dollars for 8 weeks worth of work (and I have to pay $400 of that to the government in taxes), is not smart. Sign twirlers make more money than that.

I am always open to comments from my readers as to what you'd like to see next, or see more of. I want to do my best to please my readers, because you folks are the reason I'm able to do this. Being able to tell these stories that are bouncing around in my head, and make money at it, is a privilege.

Thank you,
-John Van Stry

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

The people at Amazon really are very helpful

So, insomnia, woke up at 5am, couldn't go back to sleep.
So while dealing with some correspondence (I have a distant relative who is a lawyer and I keep getting his email lately) I discovered that book one from my Portals of Infinity series was no longer showing up on my author page (the detail section) and a link to a former bogus/scammer paperback version (which Amazon removed) was still there (now it's a dead link).

So rather than write them, I called them (well technically they called me), and they took care of all of that. The person on the phone was actually very technically skilled and went in there and fixed it. Not what you expect from tech support these days, right?

I know a lot of people like to bag on Amazon, but to be honest, they've always done well by me and always done their best. Few companies these days really make the effort that Amazon makes in customer service, and not just for its customers, but for it's vendors as well.

Thank you, Amazon.