Tired. Just Tired.

Yesterday I did a thread about how much I hate seeing female action stars (or backup dancers) in heels. Cue a deluge of asshattery in my email inbox from guys who tell me I’m ruining all movies by having an opinion on social media.

Just another day, ho hum. No death threats yet, but they can’t be far behind.

I suppose I should view it as a sign that what I’m saying is almost becoming important, since the Misogyny Troll Brigade only comes after women they think have a chance of being heard and believed. At the same time…I’m tired. I’m just so damn tired.

Even getting up in the morning is becoming a chore. Tearing my heart out, over and over, to write stories is what I was meant and made for, but it’s still exhausting and the mass of misogyny, violence, bigotry, and hatred makes for rough swimming.

I often think about how much better it would be–how many more amazing stories, paintings, music, sculpture, poems–there would be if we weren’t struggling under that mass. It would be lovely…but so many people contribute to the stone over our living graves, either by inertia (very common) or by conscious evil (least common) or by just not caring when the boot lands on a human face as long as the face doesn’t look like theirs (most common of all).

Then I shake myself, smile ruefully, and get back to work. And yet…I’m so tired.

So, so tired. And I have no answer.

It will be better tomorrow, I suppose. But every once in a while, I wonder why I bother when so many people are seemingly determined to either be cruel or ignore cruelty until it reaches their very doorstep–and by then it’s too late.

*sigh* I’m gonna go pet the dogs now, and let them help me feel better. It’s not a panacea, but it’s damn close and I’m lucky to have it.

Over and out.

Revise Your Hatemail

Cormorant Run

The first third of Harmony has been revised; today’s for the second third as well as a scene or two in the gift-fic I’m doing for my writing partner. If I can get Harmony revised and proofed, I can format it, be ready to drop the cover in, and break for the hills.

The gift-fic continues apace, too. The focus is tight on just two characters, even though the story wants to sprawl through a whole city and explore the political ramifications of assassination as a tactic. I could expand it later, I suppose, but I’ve so many other plates in the air I’m reluctant.

Some fellow (and before you ask, yes, it was a man) sent me a long email about how he didn’t understand Cormorant Run and would therefore rewrite it for the “small” fee of $499. I know a lot of people were upset because the cover made them think they were getting a chicks-in-leather urban fantasy when in fact they were buying a love song to Soviet sci-fi, and the marketing did nothing to dispel that confusion, but…this is a little beyond the pale, even for my inbox.

I suppose I might even have felt insulted if the email hadn’t been stuffed full of spelling errors, typos, and grammatical sins. As it is, I read with this face:

…and promptly took to social media to anonymously roast the fellow. Responding directly would make him think I care about his opinion or his offer. (It also might tip him over some internal edge that will add him to my already-full stable of dipshit stalkers/harassers; there’s no more room there, thanks.)

I suppose I feel bad for the dude, in some ways. Imagine thinking this is a good idea, and further imagine thinking that you can get a trad-published author to give you a work already licensed to said trad publisher for you to bastardize and sell. I’m sure this guy has a bridge or two he wants to offer to a discerning buyer, too.

Anyway, folks, remember: if you’re going to send me hatemail or a terrible “offer,” make sure you get your missives spell-checked and proofed. Otherwise you’ll just get laughed at, possibly publicly. I am often tempted to correct hatemail for spelling, grammar, and other errors before returning it with an injunction to revise and resubmit, but then I remember I have real work to do, chuckle softly, and move on.

And now I should get out the door for a run. Work doesn’t stop because some random jackhat gave me a morning’s worth of amusement, more’s the pity.

Over and out.

If You Want More…

People have finished reading the latest Steelflower, and I’m starting to get emails. Most of them are lovely. There are the usual asshats thinking that being nasty over my decision to release first in print will somehow change my mind, but they’re few and far between, for which I am grateful.

Many of you have asked when the next Steelflower is out, including one despairing soul who pleaded, “please tell me I don’t have to wait another year!”

I…I can’t tell you that, my friends. But if you want to make it easier for me to write these things you love, there’s a few things you can do to help me out. The list starts with, of course, buying my books instead of torrenting them, since the more royalties I lose from people stealing my work, the less I can afford to work on things that don’t pay me up-front–like the Steelflower books.

If you’re one of those kind folks who does buy my books, and likes them, a few moments spent giving a review–even just a star rating–on the distribution platform (Indiebound, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, etc.) of your choice helps more than you think. Once the star ratings/reviews reach a certain threshold, the books get bumped in algorithms, and more people get to (possibly) experience the deadly lunacy that is my brain.1 And if they enjoy it and dip into my backlist, that means I get paid to write more.

I also offer a variety of subscription options, where you can get peeks at stories in progress and free ebooks of the serial-in-progress. The subscriptions give me a steadier monthly income, which frees me up to write more of those things you love but a publisher won’t (or can’t) initially invest in. Gumroad’s best, but I know a lot of you folks like Patreon, and that’s okay too.

As it is, The Highlands War has to take its place behind the epic fantasies I’m working on, and the next serial (HOOD) and maybe Dolls and Tower of Yden too. I know exactly what happens (and who dies) but getting enough paid working time down so I can afford to write more labor-of-love stories (like Steelflower) is the trick here.

I’m sure I’ll be inundated (again) by the usual trolls telling me that I shouldn’t write for the money, that I’m a sellout, and that it’s their gods-given right to steal my work. But for the non-trolls, these are the things that will help free up more of my time so I can tell you what happens to Kaia, Darik, Redfist, and the troupe in a brutal winter insurgency, and how that all shakes out. Funny thing, I’ve always known Kaia’s story is a trilogy, but it ended up that the last book was so massive I had to split it in half, which is why Steelflower in Snow ends where it does.

Anyway, more than one person has asked about The Highlands War, and that’s the answer. I’ll be moderating replies pretty thoroughly to weed out the bloody trolls–you’d think these people would have something better to do, my gods–but as long as you’re not yelling at me for not being a vending machine, your comment will get through. It just may take me a little while to weed through the queue.

Now I’ve got to run the dogs, and settle into the day’s work.

Over and out.

On Blurbing

Is this thing on?
Is this thing on?
I get mail. And sometimes it isn’t hatemail! Okay, okay, often it isn’t hatemail. I do get more positive and constructive letters than angry, nasty screeds.

Well, most weeks I do. All part of being a woman on the internet, right?

Ahem. Anyway, this landed in my contact form queue, and after I replied I thought hey, there are probably other people who have this question too.

From: *redacted*

Subject:
Question Regarding Manuscrit

Message:
Hello,

I’m in the process of trying to get a manuscript published and I noticed that you offer editing services. Editing isn’t quit what I’m looking for so I wanted to touch base and see if there was something we could work out.

What I am hoping is to have an established author in the (somewhat) same genre be able to offer a front cover blurb/ few words on the story.
Since you were the one who inspired me to become a writer I wanted to reach out to you first. So I guess I’m wondering if this would be of interest to you (blurb below) and if so, how much it would cost?

Let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you for your time,
*redacted*.

Blurb:
*redacted*

Again, thank you for your time.

This is very polite, and I can’t blame the person for thinking that’s how the whole thing works, given how movie quotes are farmed. Bonus points for being upfront and telling me editing isn’t what s/he’s looking for, extra bonus points for thanking me for my time. and triple-dog-dare-you bonus points for taking a very professional tone.

Here’s my reply:

Dear *redacted*,

Thank you for writing to me. I am honoured to be considered an inspiration.

Blurbing a book means the author who does so is putting their own reputation on the line for the work in question, and requires a significant time investment of reading the work in question. Standard industry practice is for an agent or publisher to reach out to the established author’s agent (or the author, if they have a personal/professional relationship with the established author) after the book has passed through editing, copyediting, and quite possibly the proof stage. Also, blurbs should never, ever be paid for. If an “established author” is offering to blurb your book for cash, it is a scam and definitely NOT in your best interests as a professional to pay them. Money, as Yog’s Law states, should always flow towards the writer.

I suggest you familiarise yourself with Writer Beware and other sites that can help you in your writing career, keep you from being taken advantage of, and familiarise you with best standards and professional practice.

Good luck,

Lili Saintcrow

I wish this fellow writer the best–the professionalism and politeness exhibited in the letter will carry them far. I also wish I could have helped them more, but charging for cover quotes/blurbs is NOT OKAY, is NOT PROFESSIONAL, and is a sign that some poor writer is being scammed. I’m not able to blurb half the books I want to, because my reading time is so saturated with research I can’t get them into the queue.

Got a question about publishing/writing? Hit up my contact form, and if enough people ask or it’s a really good question, I’ll answer with a blog post. (I can’t answer everyone, of course.) I’m also over on Ask.fm, but that’s more likely to get a very short answer.