Interesting Links for 10-08-2010

I’m neck deep in the final preparations for the 2010 Muse Online Writers Conference, where there are writing workshops, networking opportunities, and even pitch appointments all from the comfort of your home, as well as bleeding red ink all over my latest edit, so the pickings are a little slim, but for all that I think you’ll find them fun and worth your while.

FYI, if you’re interested in coming to next year’s Muse Online Writers Conference, you can register here:
Note: You will need to create an account on the Muse forum to register, but that is also the account you’ll use for the conference when it rolls around next year.

Just for Fun

Holly Lisle names one of her set of student workgroups with animal collective nouns, and it set me searching. I found this for your amusement:


While this ruling involves the music world, the comparisons between e-music delivery and e-books are too close for this decision not to set the publishing world on its ear. I’m not sure this is a good thing just as readers and publishers are coming to accept e-books as “real books,” beyond the questions of ownership when a reader purchases an e-book, though those questions will affect music listeners as well. Though intended to benefit the content creator, as the article points out, the payment levels will most likely be lowered for licensing if this holds until both are the same. Regardless, it’s something to keep an eye on:


I set a short story in this star system once, and the analysis of what is required for life is fascinating:


An interesting look at in-person pitch sessions that makes me grateful the ones at The Muse Online Writers Conference are conducted in a chat room, but there are some good warnings and suggestions for handling yourself:

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13 Responses to Interesting Links for 10-08-2010

  1. Erin says:

    I’m missing the part where the article on e-royalties says that payment levels will be lowered. I see him arguing that publishers will try to reword contracts to keep payments the same (at the end), but not that they will go lower.

    • MarFisk says:

      I added more to my comment to clarify. Not that e-royalties would be lowered but that licensing payments would be lowered to match the royalty rate so that it’s all the same anyway. Which means this ruling just creates more paperwork with no benefits :P.

  2. Michele says:

    It all gets very confusing. Paperwork with no benefits, as you stated, about sums it up.

    • MarFisk says:

      The royalty process is well established and reliable. I don’t know what that judge was thinking, but all I can see is this is going to make the lives of especially small record companies and publishers much more difficult while benefiting no one who doesn’t have a contract before this date. Who knows. It may harm authors/musicians because if this is too burdensome, people will pull out of electronic publishing venues. iTunes is going to have fun with this, as is Amazon :p.

      • Michele says:

        At least someone will have fun, eh? It just seems to me that all this should not be as complicated as it is becoming.

        • MarFisk says:

          LOL! Maybe. Contract lawyers, I’d guess. Seriously, I’m not saying the royalty system is perfect or that no revision would be good, but reclassifying electronic sales as license deals has such broad ranging implications I can’t believe this will stand. If nothing else, protect the economy by not destroying one of the few things the US actually produces :P.

          • Michele says:

            It seems to me that no matter how a person’s work is sold and transmitted, the original royalty system should stand if it’s working. It’s just a different format than a paper book is all. Still the same work by the same individual. This whole digital this and digital that has gotten so far out there it’s nonsensical. Someone created it, that someone still has the ownership of it, that person should get their fair shake for it. It does not have to be that complicated.

            • MarFisk says:

              I’ll do you one greater on the problem with treating different formats as separate entities…

              If the content is the point and not the format, then they are all the same.

              Once you make the format the point, then it raises questions about different presentations of the content. So…if the first time the content is created in a fixed medium, it’s copyrighted, then does the fixed medium require a print out? Are all the “electronic copies,” i.e. Word docs, RTF, Text files, etc., not fixed enough to trigger copyright protection.

              In my option, it was just a bad case and creates a bad precident, for consumers, for content producers, and for distributors. The implications are terrifying.

              • Michele says:

                Exactly! You said it so much more eloquently than I. lol The format should never be the point, in my opinion. My original work does not change, ergo… It would be an interesting ‘social’ experiment if all authors–for example–banded together and refused to allow *any* of their works to be distributed in any other format except paper books unless and until the so-called “experts” agreed that all manners of transmittal will receive the same and equal royalties as are in place for the original hard print. Force the issue of recognizing that it is, in fact, the message and not the medium that is of importance.

                • Michele says:

                  “the message or the media” hmmmm….it could go either way. lol

                • MarFisk says:

                  Trouble is, you missed that this case was pursued by a content creator. A band wanted the higher payment rate for materials sold in electronic formats.

                  • Michele says:

                    No, didn’t miss that part. Just chose to take it in a different direction. Not only would this apply to the people (companies) who want to determine royalties for format changes, it would also apply to any content creator who wants to argue over it. It would simply be based on the work of the artist–content–and not the method of delivery. Seems to me delivery method should be a non-issue, except insofar as the delivery method would be cheaper in one way (digital) than another (hard copies). Set a flat rate for the method, then the royalties are determined by the content and the contract that honors that content. I can see it in my head what I am trying to get at, but my brain/fingers are not cooperating with the concept. It’s been a long and weird day with too many things running through my mind. Maybe I should draw a diagram! lol

                    • MarFisk says:

                      Oh, I understood what you were getting at, and agree with it. However, your call for a total author boycott was what prompted my reminder. Not only would not every author be willing, but this whole confusion was begun by a content creator.

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