Archive for July 2010
Just thought you might like to know that I’m not the only weird creator who thinks the idea of copyright needs some help here. So I thought I’d share a few important links:
A blog called Techrisk (The vulnerable information society) Mathias Klang has published a list of books released under Creative Commons licensing cc books.
My brother Larry Russwurm’s blog post this week uses/reviews a creative commons licensed cartoon making software in Playing With Bitstrips.
But the best is from Nina Paley’s Sita Sings the Blues Webpage. because Nina Paley’s explanation of why she had to use the music she did drives home precisely how the changes made to copyright law over the past decades actually impede the creation of art. Because most of us aren’t as brave as Nina Paley.
Most of us make the changes required by copyright law.
Real or imagined or feared, because we don’t have the time or energy or money to fight lawsuits or pay extortionate amounts of money to use the creative works of artists that should have been in the public domain. We just want to make art.
And that is bad for art, bad for culture. For all of us.
Thanks to Adrian du Plessis for directing me to Janis Ian
Thanks to Jonathan Fritz for directing me to the Courtney Love piece
Yesterday, as part of the U.S. Government review process, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s DMCA amendments were approved.
This means some DMCA ill effects have been eased up as they have been every three years at the mandatory DMCA review. In effect, the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) enacted in 1998 has become substantially weaker than the Conservative Government’s proposed Bill C-32, the so-called “Copyright Modernization Act.”
The CBC online article reported Copyright reform bill to get review according to Industry Minister Tony Clement this necessitates a Canadian review of Bill C-32 they are trying to pass.
It is misleading to suggest that Bill C-32 is necessary to bring Canada in line with the 1996 World Intellectual Property Organization Copyright Treaty. Bill C-32 was and is far in excess of those requirements. And certainly less balanced, as shown in Russell McOrmond’s Digital Copyright: Bill C-32 FAQ
Michael Geist contrasted the terms of the American DMCA with Bill C-32 The U.S. DMCA vs. Bill C-32: Comparing the Digital Lock Exceptions
The intent of Bill C-32 was more likely to bring Canada’s copyright law in line with the secret treaty A.C.T.A. But even ACTA is beginning to be watered down due to near universal opposition as it’s secrecy erodes.
Even before the American DMCA was watered down, Canadian “Fair Dealing” imposed far greater limitations on Canadians than American “Fair Use” does Americans. Putting Canadians at a disadvantage on the global stage is not in Canada’s best interests. As the DMCA and ACTA are declawed, Canada has found herself faced with Bill C-32, which is now potentially the strongest and most repressive copyright law on earth. Possibly we will only be in a tie with the U.K.’s Digital Economy Act, which was undemocratically rushed through by politicians who still don’t understand the ramifications of what they’ve wrought.
please don’t take my copyright away
Because those who have been lately dictating changes to copyright law are NOT creators but rather “rightsholders” (corporate entities and organizations who have managed to get control of copyright material), changes to copyright law have been detrimental to creators.
These laws have done a great deal of harm to culture world wide, resulting in both erosion of the public domain and the stifling of human creativity. Because art does not exist in a vacuum. All art is based on/influenced by/informed by prior/concurrant culture and creative work. That’s the nature of art.
The only bright spot in the recent history of copyright has been the introduction of Creative Commons licensing, which allows creators to choose precisely how they wish to release their digital work.
I’m a writer who plans to release my debut novel under a Creative Commons License.
My say over distribution of my own work would be stripped from me under Bill C-32.
I >am< a copyright extremist. I want Bill C-32 to go away.
BILL C-32 takes away MY rights as a Creator.
Copyright is supposed to allow creators the right to control their creations. Bill C-32 takes away my right to release my work as I see fit and gives total control over copyright to device manufacturers and software distributors.
my comment on CBC: Copyright reform bill to get review
[Image Credit: the copyright jail from Question Copyright Sita Distribution Project remixed with my “Inconstant Moon” cover art by laurelrusswurm]
The Internet has changed the world faster than any other technological revolution in history.
corporate vs. creator copyright
When that obsolete stuff known as videotape was new, it, too, wreaked havoc. Suddenly movies and tv shows were being released on the new medium. But the big media companies felt no compulsion to actually share the new found wealth with the creators.
Some creators took issue with this, and fought it out in court. And courts duly ruled that creators were entitled to compensation from these new revenues.
Having written the music for the Disney classic “Lady and the Tramp,” Singer/songwriter Peggy Lee was at the forefront of the fight. Urban Legend has it the Disney company did not take the court decision very graciously and vowed not to release the popular children’s film again until after Peggy Lee’s death.
It doesn’t matter if the legend is true or not, it would be a reasonable business practice; a sound corporate strategy. Suppressing the work warns other would-be litigants about the economic risk of asserting their legal rights with the added bonus of imposition of artificial scarcity which inflates the value of the product when finally released.
To me it illustrates the difference between corporate and creator agendas, and in particular why corporations should never be allowed to hold copyright. Creative works of any kind, what human beings call art, are valued differently by human beings, while to a corporation, the only value of art is the bottom line.
enter the lawyers
Here in the Twenty First Century, Intellectual Property Law has become the “sexiest” area of the legal profession because it is both one of the most lucrative areas of law and the source of mind boggling power. IP law has been changing the world.
The primary changes to copyright and lawmaking have been driven by the big media interests.
Music, movies and television “rightsholders” have been driving the changes since those are some of the most lucrative forms of intellectual copyright product.
All the changes to Copyright Law over recent decades have been made to benefit corporations at the expense of both creators and culture; the rules of copyright have been quietly becoming madder and madder (as in the hatter).
writers and publishers
Ironically, although copyright began to provide incentive for the creation of literary works by making it possible for good writers make a living, the publishing industry has not been in the forefront of the current copyright war. The American book publishing industry was built on commercial piracy, more properly called bootlegging.
In the early days of twentieth century paperback novels sold for less than a dollar and writers were paid only a few pennies a word.
Nearing the end of the century I was surprised to learn that writers were still being paid mere pennies a word although paperback novels sold for upward of ten dollars.
The justification was always the great expense borne by the publisher. Printing and distribution costs rose with inflation while payment to the creators did not keep pace. Publishers impressed upon writers that demanding better pay would make books too expensive and lead to fewer books sold. Physical costs were tangible and so always managed to take precedent over the writer’s intangible creativity.
The 21st Century we have seen the introduction of ebooks. Digital books differ from physical books in one crucial way: they cost next to nothing to copy.
Yet customers have been conditioned to spend on the order of twenty dollars for a physical book. Naturally publishers have been happy to sell the average ebook in the ten dollar range. After set-up production costs are negligible, making the revenue stream approach 100% profit.
Amazingly, these same publishers begrudge any change in the royalty payments to the authors. Instead of sharing this good fortune with their writers, the golden egg laying geese of the publishing industry, most publishers have been trying on the same power grab movie companies tried with video: laying claim to legal rights they had not been granted.
One of the most compelling reasons I never seriously considered placing my novel with a traditional publishing house was the problem William Styron’s heirs had with the publisher.
Mr. Styron’s family believes it retains the rights, since the books were first published before e-books existed. Random House, Mr. Styron’s longtime publisher, says it owns those rights, and it is determined to secure its place — and continuing profits — in the Kindle era.
The discussions about the digital fate of Mr. Styron’s work are similar to the negotiations playing out across the book industry as publishers hustle to capture the rights to release e-book versions of so-called backlist books.
That was my tipping point. Would you trust this industry to do right by you? I wouldn’t. Given the choice, I’m not willing to hand over my creative work to traditional publishing. Particularly since this same digital revolution gives me choice: technology has made self publishing a valid and viable option.
The arrogance of publishers to assert claims to ebook rights by default– simply because they’d published traditional physical paper version– is ludicrous.
At issue is who holds digital rights in older titles published before the advent of ebooks. Publishers argue that the ebook rights belong to them, and authors and agents respond that, if not specifically granted, the digital rights remain with the author.
On Friday (June 23rd, 2010) the Wylie Agency shook the world
by taking a stand for authors and against the publishing houses. (And for themselves, never forget that. Wylie has launched a whole new business here; this may well be straying into anti-trust waters.)
This Literary Agency is setting up the Odessey Books imprint under which they will release older works as ebooks; specifically books whose digital rights have not been signed over to the physical publishers.
The publishers who believed themselves entitled to this copyright are of course greatly outraged that works they believed safely under their control has been snatched out from under them.
Odyssey certainly appears to already be a going concern, with a set of clean simple text based digital book covers for the classics they are releasing exclusively through Amazon’s Kindle for the first two years.
Good for Wylie, good for Odyssey.
From a consumer’s point of view I have reservations. I only looked at the pricing for one book, so the prices may vary, but I have to wonder how the ebook version of a books could cost more than the physical paperback version also sold through Amazon. Yes, the ebook version is sleek and lightweight, but the Kindle is after all a reader laden with DRM that I understand prevents copying for both format shifting and backups. In other words, the ten dollar ebook will be locked inside a brick if the Kindle breaks down or becomes obsolete. But that’s another story.
From an author’s point of view, there may be financial problems. Odyssey doesn’t seem to be offering authors such a great deal.
“Yes, there are costs of creating a digital version, but offering a 25, 30% royalty is insulting.”
~Kassia Krozser, Today in Publishing: A Skirmish
Although I don’t believe the Guardian’s assertion that Wylie’s Amazon deal brings the end of the publishing world nigh, I certainly do think this is a good thing.
It sounds to me that the Wylie Agency is stepping in and performing the service that that publishing houses should have performed for their clients. Adaptability is key to any business long term survival. The total control they have long held seems to have seduced the publishing industry in much the same way it has the recording and movie companies into believing that they deserve control of these copyrights.
this story can help start the copyright conversation
Technology has changed the world indescribably, and corporations have exerted untold amounts of pressure on lawmakers the world over to legislate anti-progress in the form of copyright laws and treaties.
The changes being made to the world in the name of copyright are still largely unnoticed by most people. Demographically young computer savvy people are among the most knowledgeable sector of society about these issues, but they are a minority. And the fact remains that the whole world NEEDS to be part of the conversation. Allowing corporate interests to control the conversation is increasingly leading to greater and greater imbalance.
copyright and the public domain
I’ve never understood how anyone besides the creator is entitled to the proceeds from copyright. License the work to the publisher sure, but giving them copyright? No legal system should ever have allowed this. Copyright was meant to encourage creation for the good of culture.
In the beginning there was the commons. Ownership of the songs and stories of belonged to everyone. Story tellers preserved and shaped the culture, and in return society made sure they could make living at it. Minstrels telling a good tale or singing a good song were fed. The introduction of the printing press changed things in that the words of the writers could now be spread and shared through this artificial means. Copyright is an artificial right assumed by society in an effort to encourage creators to continue to create by controlling the monetization of their work for a finite period of time. When the term was up, the work went into the public domain so that all of society could get the benefit.
tweets from ORGcon
The UK Nonpartisan Open Rights Group, working to fight the UK’s ill advised hastily passed Digital Economy Act, today held #ORGCon. Cory Doctorow tweeted highlights. Copyright and the Public Domain were central to the convention, and much of what @doctorow and other attendees shared online, particularly comments by keynote speaker James Boyle provide some powerful background for this article:
- For the 1st time in human history, all the works produced by our contemporaries are inaccessible to us
- Paradox: absent Creative Commons etc, none of us will be able to share/use/mix anything made by our contemporaries in our lifetime
- Most works exhaust all commercial viability in 5 years
- Prior to 1978, 85% of works went into PD after 28 yrs b/c most authors didn’t think it was worth renewing copyright
- Of works in British Library > 28 yrs old, only 3-5% are commercially available
- Retrospective copyright extensions cut us off from our own culture to the benefit of no one
- If industry norms on copyright clearance were given as exam answers in law school, you’d flunk out
- Why not say “Hell with it. Copyright is dumb… ignore it.” Because culture’s viability shouldn’t be dependent on lawlessness
- Copyright maximalists have created a generation of lawbreakers, some guilty, some joyful. This is a great harm
- Prior to GOOGLE Book Search, books had been transformed into the least accessible place to put information
- Jennifer Jenkins: What used to be considered creativity is now thought of as theft.
- We’re the first generation in history to deny our own culture to ourselves.
- The Digital Economy Act was the result of the biggest lobbying operation @tom_watson (not speaking on behalf of his government) has seen in his political life.
- “An entire generation has given up the idea that breaking the law is wrong”~ James Boyle
For further first person #org coverage read:
Elmyra’s ORGcon 2010 Livejournal
rt @doctorow: Until the tenth Century a musicians just needed to play.
Until the 19th century musicians just needed to be literate.
In the twentieth century, musicians needed to be geeks,
But in 21st Century musicians need to be lawyers.
These laws will force all of us to be lawyers.
Everyone from professional media makers to children putting together school projects.
The United States has enacted the DMCA. The UK the DEAct. Canada has tabled Bill C-32, copyright legislation misleadingly titled “The Copyright Modernization Act”. And the secret international copyright treaty A.C.T.A. seeks to subjugate the copyright laws of the whole world.
Copyright is no longer simply an area of special interest to publishers and writers. Changes being made in the name of copyright effect culture and the the way we access culture in every country of the world.
We all need to be part of the conversation.
Image Credits: spider web used under a CreativeCommons Attribution 2.0 Generic license (by) 2004 cybershotking
Fate of videotape (en:obsolence) © 2004 by Tomasz Sienicki used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license
William Styron, Santiago, Chile, 1988 photo by Marcelo Montecino Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
Wikipedia cropped cinema image of Peggy Lee, used under the public domain in the US and fair dealing in Canada
[on May 21, 2010 I simul-posted an article about the Canadian Digital Economy Consultation in three of my blogs in hopes of encouraging participation in the consultation process. I felt this was necessary since thousands of Canadians were still so angry after participating in the Copyright Consultation only to be ignored by the Government. My direct participation was limited because I was getting my debut novel "Inconstant Moon" ready for publishing. I did manage a submission, but as I look at how the digEcon went I regret I was unable to participate more.
There are digEcon issues to write but what started as an Oh! Canada post grew too big (even for me). Instead I'm breaking it down into a three part series across my blogs. The first part is published here in the wind because this is where I generally look at copyright issues because they affect me as a content consumer and a writer. The second part will go into Oh! Canada and the final part into StopUBB. When all three are complete I'll add link arrows.]
If you’ve followed the Canadian Copyright debacle you might want to skip the recap & go straight to the last paragraph.
The Canadian Government put on a Copyright Consultation last year, inviting Canadians to offer input on copyright so the government could take it into consideration when drafting new copyright law. Sounds good, eh? Democratic Government.
The copyright consultation wasn’t produced out of governmental good will. You have to look at the back story to “get it”.
The last time the Canadian Liberal Party was in power in a minority Government, they tabled a draft copyright law known as Bill C-60 back in 2005. Fortunately for Canada this law did not slip through. Once the contents of the draft legislation became known it was generally reviled by Canadians. We were quite fortunate that we had a minority government and that it folded before this bad law might have passed.
[Not because it was a good law, but because the worst part of our electoral system is that a so-called "majority party" can pass whatever legislation they like, even if the rest of the country is against it. Canada needs electoral reform (check out Fairvote Canada to get involved. But that's another story.]
The subsequent minority government was formed by the Conservative Party of Canada. They tabled draft copyright legislation known as Bill C-61, which was also universally reviled. Again we were fortunate that we had a minority government and that it folded before this law might have passed.
Both of these efforts came under fire at least partially because they were handed down like tablets from “on high”.
There had been no discussion with or input from citizens.
More unusual, it appears that the rich and powerful corporate and collective stakeholders– the ones ordinarily be counted on to back the government up– had been left out of the process as well. Meaning there was essentially there was no support for either version of this legislation.
[The key question that has to be asked is "Why?"]
The ensuing election did not result in the Conservative Party majority they expected. After all, under Canada’s current electoral system, a majority government can pass any law it likes. So instead of just dusting off Bill C-61 and trying again, the pressure to “strengthen” Canadian copyright law led to the Conservative Government surprising us all with the announcement of a Canada wide “Copyright Consultation”.
Strategically this was brilliant: instead of trying to push essentially the same law through a second time, they gave Canadians a chance to be heard. Holy democracy Batman!
It didn’t quite come off without a hitch: the Copyright Consultation had a traveling ‘dog and pony show’ that raised more hackles than it calmed. Accusations of stacking the deck at the so-called ‘Town Hall’ meetings, citizens– including Canadian Federation of Students members and elected Member of Parliament Olivia Chow– were prevented from distributing copyright info flyers to people attending the “Town Hall” meetings. You can read about the whole gory extravaganza on Michael Geist‘s public service Speak out on Copyright site.
With such heavy handed efforts being made to control the outcome, it was actually quite depressing to sit down and write my own copyright consultation submission.
But it was important and so I did it.
Even though copyright law had already impacted on my life in many ways over the years as both a consumer and creator I’d never really thought about copyright before. I was actually surprised by all the things that bubbled up out of my life experience into my formal submission.
Over the months following the #copycon I’ve taken the time to read through some of the other submissions. I learned a great deal I did not know, and my opinion and feelings about copyright have been enriched by things I have read and learned. They are all still there online, ready to be read. Over eight thousand Canadians responded to the #copycon.
I have been amazed at the depth of thought, the intelligence, the innovation and creativity expressed by many of my fellow Canadians. I’ve learned so much. But even more, reading these submissions made me proud to be part of this great land. Almost all of the Canadians who made submissions firmly rejected anything like a DMCA style copyright law for Canada.
The Copyright Modernization Act
Perhaps change for the sake of change is a reasonable when you’re tired of your home decor, but it’s not a good reason to change law. Before making new copyright law, we must have a Canada wide consensus on the issues. What is copyright for?
- What is reasonable to Canadians?
- What is sharing?
- Or personal use?
- Or piracy?
- are we willing to lower previously accepted standards of evidence?
- What kind of penalties are reasonable for non-commercial copyright infringements… in other words, should children who share music go to jail?
Intellectual Property is the most unnatural kind of law possible. Because it runs contrary to the natural inclinations of both creators and society it’s the kind of law that can’t simply be handed down by corporations and lawmakers. It must be an agreement between creators and society– that’s the balance that has to be achieved for it to work. The foundation has not been laid to allow for changing the copyright law we have now.
Changes being made to copyright law at the behest of corporate special interest groups in recent years have troubled me greatly, but they have been counter balanced by offering creators recourse to the marvelous Creative Commons Licensing. CC allows the creator to decide how copyright can best serve us in creation and distribution of our work. It has been excellent for our culture; the Canadian Arts are entering a golden age.
Yet this year the Government has just tabled “new” legislation called Bill C-32 “The Copyright Modernization Act.” Not the healthy balanced copyright law that most of us had hoped for, but rather the long dreaded Canadian DMCA. Thousands of Canadians, like myself, feel betrayed because our government totally ignored our input. Input that the Government asked for through the Copyright Consultation.
As it stands this legislation would remove copyright control from creators by making it subject to manufacturers DRM/TPM or “digital locks”. Digital locks of any kind shouldn’t even be part of the conversation about copyright.
As a creator, as a writer, this is horrifying. For hundreds of years copyright has existed with the intention of allowing content creators a means of making a living. And the very first content creators were writers. Copyright was made for us.
Canadian creators will lose our ability to control our work with Creative Commons Licensing if Bill C-32 is passed because digital locks will appear on all blank media and all media devices from e-readers to hard drives. Bill C-32 will give sole control of copyright to manufacturers.
So far this dreadful law has not passed.
There has been a big outcry. Many Canadians have been speaking out against it.
During this uproar, suddenly we have the announcement of a new initiative:
The Digital Economy Consultation
Many Canadians have viewed this with skepticism. Many intelligent, informed and thoughtful Canadians did not participate at all, wondering why they should bother when the Government won’t listen anyway? Isn’t this Digital Economy Consultation website just a sham?
A Digital Economy con? A way to deflect the criticism from Bill C-32?
I don’t think it matters. It is important to speak out even if they don’t listen.
The Copyright Consultation resulted in a volume of clearly Canadian work. Together the online #copycon submissions make up an online reference work that other Canadians can read online.
Canadians are smart. We can learn from each other even if this Government won’t. Some future Government may be clever enough to act on our ideas even if this Government will not. That’s why I wrote an article urging people to contribute to the digEcon and simulcast it across all my blogs. Yet for most of the consultation period I’ve been hard at work on my novel.
It wasn’t until quite late in the game I was able to spare the time for it, but I just managed it. I’m not entirely happy with what I submitted. But I was running on empty to make the deadline, and I did. It wasn’t as brilliant as I would have liked, but that’s life. I even had the better part of an hour before midnight, just in case there were technical difficulties.
When I went to make the submission I was surprised to see that the consultation period had been extended. Great. The extension meant that I could actually proof my submission and perhaps minimize the incidence of spelling mistakes and typographical errors. But why?
No explanation, just an extension. I wondered what that was about.
Looking back at the Copyright Consultation, there were so many people making eleventh hour submissions that the government granted a 24 hour “grace period”. They didn’t open that all up again, as they did here.
For the digEcon, they added four days. What an odd number. If they were going to extend it a useful amount, a month would have been good. And it wasn’t just submissions that were allowed over the four days, it was everything. Like voting on Idea Forum ideas. Keeping the Idea Forums open for a month might have been really productive. Just think of the collective brilliance that might have come out of that. But no, it was four days.
Not enough time to allow most ordinary Canadians enough time to create a submission or participate in the forums. So why did they do it?
Reference Material – Canadian Copyright Law
Reference Material – Information on American Copyright Law
- H.R.2281 aka`Digital Millennium Copyright Act’
- Electronic Frontier Foundation: Digital Millennium Copyright Act
Image Credit: Copyright jail Question Copyright Sita Distribution Project remixed with my “Inconstant Moon” cover art by laurelrusswurm
I don’t know about anyone else, but I was somewhat surprised by the launch of the Digital Economy Consultation. There didn’t seem to be very much lead time and the consultation period seemed very short. Particularly considering the great quantity of material supplied by the government for consideration, as well as the framework of “themes” and the format asked for in the submission. To do a proper job of it would certainly have taken me more than the few days I was able to devote to this. I’d think the ideal time needed to do a proper job of it would be a week of full-time devotion to the task.
I have been hard at work finishing my novel, and so barely had the time to get any submission in at all. My submission is posted in Oh! Canada here
But I think that it is terribly unfortunate that Russell McOrmond won’t be able to make a formal submission to this consultation. Although I am still incredibly new to both the digital world and copyright issues, to my mind, if I ran the zoo, or, at least the legislature, Russell McOrmond is the one who I would be inviting to author Canada’s digital economy strategy.
Which is why I highly recommend checking out Russell McOrmond’s comments on the Digital Economy Consultation in his excellent blog Digital Copyright Canada. He has a few suggestions that are well worth thinking and talking about.
In the meantime, after killing myself to get it done, last night when I went to post my submission I discovered that the Consultation period had been extended, making the new deadline midnight, Tuesday, July 13. Personally, I think it should have been extended a month rather than a few days.
Regardless, every Canadian is entitled to make a submission. Please check out the online discussions, and at least read over the submission questions. Remember, this is not a test, this is the government soliciting our input. You can make a submission which answers all the questions, or just one. Any input is good input.
Canadians need to tell our government what’s important to us. This is for our future.
I began writing my novel, ‘Inconstant Moon’, last November.
National Novel Writing Month
NaNoWriMo is so successful it’s gone international now, but they haven’t changed the name. Possibly because InNoWriMo doesn’t have the same zing to it. I went to some local NaNoWriMo write-ins back in November, as well as finding some support during and after through the Identi.ca NaNoWriMo group. After NaNoWriMo concluded a couple of us continued there through finishing & editing.
Although my intention for the last few years has been to get back into writing, specifically with novels, something always seemed to come up. Which is why having the deadline provided by NaNoWriMo was important for me. It gave me something to shoot for. I even told my family I intended to ignore my birthday and everything else during November so I could get it done. And I did.
I was a NaNoWriMo “winner” which means that I fulfilled the NaNoWriMo objective of writing 50,000 words in the month of November. But one of the coolest things about NaNoWriMo is that a company called CreateSpace gives all NaNoWriMo “winners” the opportunity to collect a free printed proof of your novel. Even if you don’t plan to publish it, or even ever read the thing, it’s a lovely memento.
But I’ve been planning on self-publishing for a while, so it was an ideal situation for me.
I realized about half way through the month that there was no way that my novel would be finished at a mere 50,000 words. During NaNoWriMo I wrote 58,681 words. After that, it took until April 11, 2010 to get the first draft finished. It came in at 103,289 words. And that was just the first draft: getting to the end.
That’s when the first editing started. Because my novel has a cast of thousands (not really, only twenty or so) and because I wrote it in bursts, just smoothing out the rough stuff took much longer than I thought it would. Instead of having a single main character, the group of students that I follow are all roughly equal in importance. Which is kind of interesting, but it made extra difficulty for me having to choreograph the characters throughout.
Unfortunately, it was already into the month of June when I got it to the point I was comfortable giving it out to Beta Readers. In order to claim the free proof from CreateSpace, the novel needed to be submitted by their June 30th deadline.
Wanna know how nasty I was?
Essentially I dumped a 400 page novel on my poor Beta Readers, and they had to read it and give me feedback on it in a week.
A week. (I needed the last week of the month to make the changes needed.)
What is truly amazing is that they did it. I got really great beta feedback from all of my my readers under the impossible deadline I gave them.
Drum roll Please:
Thank you Beta Readers:
(and you’ll all get an acknowledgment in the book too: woo hoo!)
I got different things from the different beta readers whose input helped the novel.
Spelling and grammar and culture – oh my!
The most difficult part of self publishing is not having an editor. If time wasn’t an issue, I could do it myself, simply by setting the novel aside for a while. Like a year… or maybe two. After I’ve written something I need at least that much time to be able to look at it with fresh eyes. But I’d rather not wait that long.
The most editorial feedback came from Nienke, and if I can manage not to be so under the gun next time, perhaps I’ll be able to entice her into being my editor.
Honorable mention goes to my sister Nicole Russwurm. I waved a couple of pages under her nose before we headed out to our nephew’s stag & doe (which, naturally, fell in that last week of June). If I was more conscious or organized she’d get a book mention too… alas, I am not
Although I had front cover art, I had to do the back cover and spine as well. You don’t know how big the spine will be until you know how many pages there are.
Which means you can’t finalize the cover until the page count is frozen.
So on the 30th I was alternating between adding the spine and back cover and skimming through the text formatting. Although I was a wreck at the end of the day, I got the files uploaded.
Final Wordcount: 109,850
Here’s the back cover:
Although I like a good vampire story, the title is, and was always, from ‘Romeo and Juliet’. My worry is that the moon will make people will think it’s a vampire book, when in fact it is not.