Pseudonyms: A “Casual” Case Study

Who woulda thunk it would be J.K. Rowling, of all people, to test the power of the pseudonym?

Rowling, of course, is the gazillion-selling author of the Harry Potter series. Upon hearing that she’d bought herself a Scottish castle, I wondered whether we would ever hear from her again. Hadn’t she already hoovered up all the loose change in the publishing world? Couldn’t she retire from writing and, I don’t know, administer charities or something?

Apparently not. Last fall, amid much fanfare (although lacking the squealing tweens and the giveaways of round-framed glasses that greeted the launch of the later Harry Potter books), Rowling released her first adult novel, The Casual Vacancy, to tepid reviews. Right now, it’s got a 3-star average from some 3,600 reviews on Amazon; one called-out review says the book is “like a bad movie that you just want to end so you can say you know how it ends.”

But if you thought Rowling’s literary career was over, you’d be wrong. Continue reading “Pseudonyms: A “Casual” Case Study”

Of Apple, E-books, and Game-changers

The Apple e-book price-fixing trial finally got underway in U.S. federal court in Manhattan last week. Five of the six original defendants – the Big Five publishers – agreed to settle with the government, leaving Apple as the sole defendant at trial.

I’m tempted to insert a pun here about the U.S. Justice Department making like William Tell and aiming the arrow of the law straight at Apple. But I’m restraining myself because this is serious business. Continue reading “Of Apple, E-books, and Game-changers”

Anarchy in Indie World

I have a friend who says, “We always are, what we were”. And, she means it. I’ve known her since we were thirteen years old and she says there’s a part of us that stays the same no matter what age we are or how much we try to change. She might be right.

I always wanted to be a punk. In the seventies, growing up in small town Canada I listened to music no one had heard of, had a funny haircut, wore the wrong clothes, and from time to time got into a little bit of trouble. Due to the fact that my mother may read this, and there is no parental statute of limitations, that’s about as specific as I’m going to get, but suffice to say, I know a little bit about breaking rules. Really, I do.

So, when I was told that in order to be a successful self-published author there are certain things you can and can’t do I immediately wanted to prove “them” wrong. You know “them”. “They’ve” been telling us what to do our whole lives. I listened to “them” for a long time but now that I’ve found my dharma and I’m doing what I always dreamed of doing, I’m going to do it my way. These are some of the rules that an Indie-gone-rogue punk author like myself breaks on a regular basis: Continue reading “Anarchy in Indie World”

Let’s Make A Deal

Imagine for a moment that a Big 6 publisher like Random Penguin, Simon, Garfunkel & Schuster, or Harley-Quinn comes knocking at your door. They want to add you to their select stable of published authors. You—yes, you—will now be among the anointed. All you have to do is take the deal. Just sign on the dotted line.

Don’t worry your pretty little head about the fine print. All that stuff about rights and royalties is for the lawyers to worry about. You do have an attorney versed in the specialized field of international copyright and intellectual property law don’t you? Well, never mind then. I’m sure the very reputable publishing firm had their top people go over the contract.

Let’s pull back the curtain and tell them what they’ve won, Johnny. Continue reading “Let’s Make A Deal”

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