Monday, January 16, 2012

SOPA PIPA, $1.70 a rental, current project update.

If you are not familiar with the Stop Online Piracy Act or it's sister bill Protect IP Act, then you should do some Google searches and familiarize yourself with them.  Especially if you are going to write and market your books for online sale and distribution.  On the surface I doubt you will find too many people who overtly support piracy when asked, so the supporters of these bills would logically conclude, and have advertised that everyone should support these bills.  Problem is these bills are not designed to stop anything, but give ultimate control and censorship of the internet to the government.  It gets even weirder, simply linking to an internet location that contains unauthorized (not illegal) copyright material makes you the villain.  This would be the same as the cops coming to your house to arrest you because you know someone who does drugs and where they live.

Another weird thing these acts would allow is for anyone to shut down the internet.  For example, if someone takes the cover of Requiem, links to or actually hosts the picture and writes a nasty article about my book and includes some excerpts they didn't like, I could claim that the copyright of my book and cover is being hosted illegally,  file a complaint, and let the retardation begin.  If the offending site is Blogger, not only could I get the blog pulled, but I could also get blogger shut down, and I could get Google shut down for linking to the blog.  I could also get every web site that ever hosted a link to blogger or the offending blog shut down like Twitter and Facebook.  So any other website or forum that anyone ever left a link to could be shut down.  Next, I could get Visa shut down for conducting transactions with these villainous websites.  I won't even get into the parts of the bills that would allow for DNS filtering by the government.  These are pretty extreme examples, but are exactly what would allow the government and any corporation with enough money to do.  It has absolutely nothing to do with stopping online piracy.  Copyright enforcement has always been the copyright holders responsibility, and there are already laws in place both domestic and foreign for you to use.  At least the white house came out and told these people to rewrite their bills or Obama is not going to sign them.  It makes me laugh that the supporters of the bills took this as a sign that they should be passed immediately.

We finally have the first payout of Amazon's lending library for KDP Select users.  $1.70 per lend.  I predicted a $1 a lend.  $1.70 is what we got and in my opinion is pretty damn high.  Amazon also announced that the January pool had been raised to a total of $700,000 to be divided among the lends.  This tells me a couple of things.  First is that the payout was lower than they expected so they want to raise it.  But if you look at all the naysayers who were expecting 10c a lend, a buck seventy was damn good and I haven't found anyone complaining about the $1.70 payout except for the guy who priced his book at $9.99 and is complaining about losing so much.  Then again, I put him in with the same people who can't understand why Amazon isn't paying them when they made their book free.  So my other conclusion is, there are already a lot of borrows for January and the extra $200k is to keep the payout near the same.  Remember, all of those Kindle Fire's sold at Christmas came with a month of prime and people have started to figure out what that means.  Regardless each month the payout is going to be different and every month, the Lending Library will be a hot topic.

I predict that we will see some changes to how much people will get paid per borrow.  For example a 99c book gets paid 35c if someone buys the book, but $1.70 if they borrow/rent it?  I don't see this lasting.  I fully expect there to be changes that limit the payout to match the royalty rate on cheap books, or at least limit to the retail value of the book.  So a 99c book would either get the same $$ as a sale, 35c or the retail value 99c.  This allows Amazon to have a higher payout to more expensive works, and people who opt in with 99c books make the full value of a sale, or even more.  I just don't see Amazon paying almost 5 times the cash for a borrowed 99c book than a bought 99c book.

Last week I said I would mention my current WIP.  Instead of barreling into the third book of my series, I am writing the prequel.  It's current working title is "The War of Antiquities" but I may change that because the setting is right after the war ends.  It revolves around Kail's father, Duke Falconcrest, and Therion, the main bad guy.  It also delves into other characters like Kail's mother, Therion, and Bastiana's origins.  The story is going to end at the prologue of Requiem when Duke is at the Mage Council and has his magic sealed and bound from him.  One of the things I am doing with this project is episodic writing.  If The Eternal Gateway trilogy were movies, The War of Antiquities would be a TV series.  So far I have outlined 22 'episodes' and I have written four of them.  The plan is to release each episode as a short story, and then offer discounted volume sets, and maybe a bound paperback with all of them.  Right now the average length is 9,200 words.  The shortest was 8,800 and the longest has been 10,100 words long.

I am finding that these are extremely simple to write.  In eight days of writing I have 37,000 ish words so far.  Its taking me two days of writing about 5-6 hours a day to complete an episode.  If I can keep my current pace, I should have the whole thing completed by the end of Febuary or early March.  The math is a bit crazy because it took me three months to write Requiem and six for Guardian.  They are the same length at 73,000 words, and here I am going to write 200,000 words in less than three months.  I may be deluded so we will see.

I contribute the ease and quickness of being able to write these to stepping up the level of detail in the outline.  Requiem's outline was a sentence or two per chapter,  Guardian had about two or three paragraphs per chapter.  Each episode of Antiquites has a page to a page and a half of notes.  Each scene is broken down and I would estimate there are 500-1000 words of notes per episode.  It flows a lot like a soap opera on TV.  25-30 little scenes between all of the players.  For Example. (warning, completely unedited)

Notes say:
Randoms traveling to Courduff by horse and cart.  Talking about trains and cant wait for them, refuges, one has powers, weak, Therion (unknown to reader) finds them and kills them.  Takes power.  Intro to focusing stones and bracer/wristband glyph to filter.

What was written:

“It will be a nice day when the train tracks are built,” Alice said after the last rut in the road bounced her on the cart’s seat.  “And faster,” she finished adjusting herself.
            “I’m not so sure.  Have you heard them?  I bet you can’t hear anything for a week after riding one, and I’m told the ride is worse,” Edgar said as the cart jostled both of them, emphasizing his point.  “Besides, the less people we see the better, remember.”
            “Yes, I remember,” she sighed.  “It seems like forever ago when we didn’t have to run.”
            Edgar nodded his head in response, splitting his attention to keeping the cart on the road and listening to Alice talk about better times before the war.
            Alice noticed a man standing next to the road ahead of them.  “Who is that?”
            Edgar’s mind quickly focused on the stranger, sensing nothing dangerous.  “I’m not sure, but I don’t sense anything,” he replied.
            Alice gave a knowing nod as Edgar continued the cart towards the stranger.
            “Hello,” the man said.  “Spare a ride?  I have been walking all day.”
            “Sure thing friend.” Edgar offered, nodding to the back of the cart.  “Can’t say it will be worth it though, been hearing complaints about it all day.”
            Alice flashed him an angry glare as the stranger jumped into the back of the cart and made himself comfortable.  Edgar shrugged and snapped the reigns, starting the cart down the road again.
            “Courduff?” the man asked.
            “Not quite that far.  Aldervale,” Edgar answered.
            “The right direction at least,” the man answered.
            Edgar screamed as he felt the hot pain in the center of his back.
            Alice shrieked after taking one look at Edgar.  The stranger from the road had his hand at Edgars back.  A jeweled bracelet covered in strange markings was glowing and foggy energy was being pulled out of Edgar and into the bracelet.  Jumping from the cart she ran down the road yelling for help.  She didn’t make it very far before the strangers magic hit her from behind.  Her last thought was, Necromancer, before her body was incinerated.

Requiem's notes would have said: Hook, kill someone.
Guardian's notes would have been something like: Hook, Therion kills someone, steals power.


  1. Great information and scary stuff! Thanks for writing about SOPA/PIPA

  2. Good news for you with the kindle lend price. I hope it goes well.

  3. I had not heard of the Stop Online Piracy Act.Thanks for the info. Glad to see that your writing is going well.

  4. Hearing your in depth experience with the kindle Select program has been really helpful, I think I'm going to try it with my short story collection in the next little while.

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)