Tommy Red

Tommy Red
The Progressive Killer

Our motto ...

Leave the (political) party. Take the cannoli.

"It always seems impossible until it's done." Nelson Mandela

Right now 6 Stella crime novels are available on Kindle for just $.99 ... Eddie's World has been reprinted and is also available from Stark House Press (Gat Books).

Monday, February 14, 2011

Word to the wise ... First Reads ... Gaga this ...

Amici:

Let me first apologize for the tone of today’s post. I’ve been up since 3:00 a.m. and I’m still cranky. Today’s topics deal with Ebooks (a word to the wise), my new startup business (oy vey) ... and the most absurd shit I tuned into this morning after working at the computer a few hours (Lady Gaga). So, we are (Temporary Knucksline is) back. Even Doc was wondering WTF the deal was with me.

A Word to the Wise (a note on ebooks) ... for those unpublished authors about to upload manuscripts on amazon and for those previously published authors about to do the same, please do your fellow writing and reading community a BIG favor and make damn sure you’re doing the best possible job at uploading manuscripts that are not only as clean as possible (regarding typos, etc.), but take the time (or the money) to make sure your product looks as presentable as possible ... do not upload manuscripts that have indented paragraphs where they don’t belong, no first line indents for pages at a time, centered text where it should be left justified, etc.

Honestly, you’re not only fucking it up for yourselves, but you’re not doing anybody else any favors. Think about the potential readers and/or agents/publishers you’re trying to impress. Would you really want them to purchase your ebook and then not be able to distinguish one paragraph from the next? Who, outside of your most intimate circle of friends, will ever read (never mind purchase) you again?

There have been many conversations/blogs about this form of publishing and I’ve weighed in a few times (mostly on the side of unpublished authors having to contend with a very wounded and possibly dying print publishing business). Okay, I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to this ... possibly because I had to go the long route and find an agent, then hope he could find a publisher and then hope I’d have more than 1 or 2 books to my name. That said, I have nothing against self-publishing so long as authors take the time/make the effort (and spend the coin if they have to) to offer potential readers as good a product as possible.

But make no mistake, I prefer reading an ebook that has been previously published (for the sake of vetting alone). And while I do understand how print publishing has not only dumped good authors because of the economy/sales (and nothing to do with the quality of their work), they have also turned a blinder eye to potential new talent. So, I’m with you previously unpublished authors ... but not if you’re going to go the cheapest route possible, not have your work edited and/or upload without consideration for the poor bastards who have to read it, etc.

In that case, quite frankly, accept that when your best 30 friends and/or 70 students are done purchasing your ebooks (and I agree with those who warn that your “friends” may provide ball-washing praise, but not the duckets to actually purchase your product), your career may well be over and done with before you’ve given yourself a proper chance (say, 100 or so rejections from agents/publishers). Try and remember that 39 agents passed on a book called The Friends of Eddie Coyle. Perhaps that is 61 short of 100 rejections, but it is also arguably the best crime book ever penned (certainly one of the best).

So, go the traditional route first ... and if you truly feel you’ve been rejected for reasons outside of your control (as a writer/your product), then ebook away ... but please, please, please make the effort to do it right and not piss curmudgeons like myself off (because I can guarantee you this much--I won’t be purchasing another of your products anytime soon once you burn me).

You may be the best writer on the planet, but I seriously doubt anyone outside of a very small circle of intimate friends is going to read beyond what passes for high school formatting and/or high school sophomoric spelling mistakes and typos. The world doesn’t have the time or desire to figure out where a paragraph begins and another ends ... or just what a particularly bad misspelled word was supposed to be ... nor do they want to play “guess the missing word” game ... and they especially don't want to have to pay for the privilege.

This IS NOT directed at anyone in particular, but I’ve come across a lot of it lately. Now that I’m out of work, I can no longer buy the $11.99 pre-published kindle books I was buying 2 and 3 of a week. So, I’ve been looking at the cheaper ebooks and so far the experience leaves me absolutely baffled (and pissed at amazon and the like for having zero standards when it comes to the uploading process). The writing may be fine and dandy, but I’ll never know and I doubt the rest of the world will either.

So, to that end, see below ...

First Reads ... okay, so now that I’m officially unemployed, I’m offering my reading services for a fee. Here’s the deal:

First Reads will be a service for writers (professional or otherwise). What this service provides is nothing more than a first read of your work with one of two options. First, a general commentary on the overall work plus whatever typos and/or formatting issues we spot. Second, a detailed editorial process that will include WORD’s tracked changes feature and commentary as necessary in the manuscript.

First Reads is NOT a professional editorial service that will guarantee writers agency representation and/or publication. It is no more than the opinion of a published author with several published works experience. First Reads reiterates: This is NOT a professional editorial service that will guarantee anything more than HONEST commentary and typo/formatting help where we find it (and we guarantee we won’t find them all). For the record, anyone who guarantees you representation and/or publication is blowing smoke up your ass—fact.

At best, if something strikes First Reads as worthy of a professional agent’s read, we will recommend it to an agent/agents, but with the absolute understanding (for all parties involved) that the agent may choose NOT to read it, never mind represent it.

First Reads is nothing more than an EXTRA set of eyes looking over your manuscript/work. Our commentary will be honest and you may or may not agree with some (or any) of it. What you are guaranteed is that there will be no blowing smoke in the form of fake praise. If blown smoke is what you seek, give your work to your best friends to read.

First Reads will accept anywhere from the first 25-50 pages (the amount is up to you--but we may stop reading at 25 pages if we think there’s no point in going further) of a full length manuscript (so as not to waste the writer’s money or our time). Should the first 25-50 read well enough, we’ll ask for the next 50 (and so on until the end). What we won’t do should we come across something we feel will not grab the eye of an agent/publisher, is suggest you send more than the first 25-50 pages; again, for the sake of saving your money and our time. UNDERSTAND that the vast majority of agents/publishers require being hooked within the first 20 pages of a manuscript--they will never get to page 25, much less page 50 if they aren’t overwhelmed long before then.

Short stories are also welcomed. First Reads fee will start at $1.00 per page for overall commentary (you will receive a PDF markup of our typo catches and comments, as well as an overall summary) and $2.00 per page for the more detailed service (tracked changes in word and/or a pdf markup showing same). Depending on work flow, these prices may well increase. They will not decrease. This is time consuming stuff.

First Reads does NOT upload files to ebooks nor will it provide solicited blurbs for any works it services. Blurbs (and the like) will either be genuine commentary after reading a completed manuscript or a fantasy. Again, if you seek having smoke blown up your ass, ask your Mom or Dad to provide the blurb.


Now, on to our non-football season absurdities ... like Lady-fucking-Gaga ... or is it Ga Ga or Ga-ga or Ga-GA? ...


Last night, at yet another award show, Gaga arrived in an egg (see above), as I learned on Way Too Early and immediately afterward confirmed on Morning Joe. In her interview with Anderson Cooper (who just lost all creditability with me for speaking with this Madonna makeover), she stated (seriously) that she wasn’t about to “sugar coat” her writing process for 60 Minutes and wants us all to know “she drinks a lot of whisky and smokes a lot of pot” when she writes her songs.

You know what, honey? The next time you feel like writing something ... just drink and smoke.

Bad Romance lyrics ... when she must’ve been smoking whatever drainpipe cleaner makes you repeat yourself ...

Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh!
Oh-oh-oh-oooh-oh-oh-oh!
Caught in a bad romance
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oooh!
Oh-oh-oh-oooh-oh-oh-oh!
Caught in a bad romance
Rah rah ah-ah-ah!
Ro mah ro-mah-mah
Gaga Ooh-la-la!
Want your bad romance

Rah rah ah-ah-ah!
Ro mah ro-mah-mah
Gaga Ooh-la-la!
Want your bad romance

etc., etc., etc.


Jesus Christ, the world really is upside down ...

—Knucks