social media

No matter what happens there are always two sides to any situation and when either is blind to the other it can become a very negative situation.

At the end of June an author friend of mine emailed me to tell me they’d found their books and every single one of mine on a site called LendInk. I’d link to it, but it’s recently been taken down. Of course at first blush the site looked like every other pirate site that was offering my books for free. Only … it wasn’t. It was a matchmaking service for kindle and nook owners who legitimately purchased books and were willing to lend them and readers who wanted to borrow them. (Please see THIS post for an explanation of how it works.)

But the site made authors noodgie. It’s scary watching your hard work being downloaded for free at sites where they don’t have your permission. Pirating is like a flu bug making you puke and weakening your resolve to keep writing.

So I completely understand when authors started banding together on twitter and facebook, sending DMCA notices to take down their books at LendInk. The fact is, they reacted before reading the fine print. (They had actually given Barnes & Noble and Amazon permission to have their books lent.) Hey, it happens. Authors are carrying a lot of responsibility for their careers these days. More, I believe, than any other time in publishing history. It’s a tough business with so many trying to carve out a career in the crazy noise of so many books.

And now LendInk is down and people are pissed … angry enough to post author names with twitter and facebook posts. (I’m not giving the link to that post.) One commenter mentioned he went to an indie store with the list and pulled all the authors’ books from the shelves. Others are boycotting the authors listed in protest.

And the whole thing makes me sad. Yes, LendInk was completely operating within Amazon and Barnes & Noble’s terms of service. Yes, they were making a small amount of money as Amazon Associates when someone clicked through their site and made a purchase on Amazon. Yes, readers were enjoying their site to find books to lend/borrow. BUT, for some authors, it smacked of, if not breaking the rules, definitely pushing the envelope of what Amazon and B&N had originally intended with their lending ability.

I completely understand why DMCA notices were sent. I understand why readers (and many authors who like the lending option) are upset the site was taken down. But making matters worse by punishing authors who felt they were only protecting their intellectual property seems to me, to be pushing things just a little too far.

Seriously as a middle child I’d just like to see everyone drop their pitchforks and torches, grab a coke and start singing:

Techdirt has a great explanation of how the whole thing unfolded (and I particularly admire their disclaimer at the beginning of the post).

*** NOTE: My apologies on missing a couple of posts the last couple of weeks. I’m working REALLY hard to edit my next book and seriously … these vampires are just NOT cooperating. But I’ll try to be better next week.  ***

You know when your life is completely insane and you wonder if you’re really going to be able to survive the storm of craziness that fills your days? Yeah, well, that’s been the kind of summer I’ve had.

But this week the planets finally aligned and I managed to find my mojo and get back on track. With the redesign of the Tilling Passions series book covers (including new titles) I feel re-energized with the series. I’m working really hard on the final edits for the third book “Cheat Her With Charm”. With some hard work it should be released by the beginning of October.

And since I’m looking at all the exciting things that happened this week, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Facebook. Because yeeeeeeah, that’s exciting … NOT! I know it’s true it’s a FREE social media and they can do whatever they want, but as an author I am expected to have an active presence over there. So yeah, I think I have the right to say they’re really pushing my technical abilities into the abyss of chaos. Every time I have some sort of handle on this “making friends” and posting pictures, they change the way I’m supposed to do something or other. And that scrolling update thing is really too many moving parts for my liking. There are many blogs I don’t visit because of the moving advertisements in the sidebar. I know it’s not going to change anything, but complaining like Facebook can not only hear me, but gives a s**t what I think, certainly makes me feel better.

On a disappointing note, this week Romanticon, EC’s reader convention, begins. But I won’t be there. Life conspired against me and I had to cancel my reservations. But lots of my friends and fellow authors will be there enjoying the cavemen, a little pole dancing and LOTS of laughter. That’s what I’m going to miss the most. Just hanging out and having fun. Enjoy everyone … and hug a sexy caveman for me!

I’m crossing my fingers that the house we’ve been trying to buy since May, might actually be ours before the end of this month. Which means all my stuff that has been in storage for six months will finally be back in my home. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve turned around wanting that foolish little thinga-ma-jig tucked in the waaaaaay back of the cupboard that you only need once a year. Of course this summer it seemed I wanted something or other every other week! Anyway, it will be nice to be back to normal in our new community.

I’m looking forward to another productive week. What about you? Anything exciting happening in your corner of the world?

Okay, so when I first found out I had a contract I jumped onto MySpace. I made a beautiful page and uploaded book covers and found a whole bunch of friends. Or should I say, they found me. I loved MySpace. I went there nearly every day and left comments and updated and even posted blogs. But then it started doing weird things to my computer and some people’s pages were too big and wouldn’t load and MySpace slowly faded into the background.

Then I found Twitter. I loved Twitter. It was like having a massive chat with 300 of my best friends. I’d post, they’d post, we’d laugh. A good time. But then somehow I ended up following 600 people. Now granted, they’re not all active, but still, that’s a lot of 140 character info streaming into my computer. Not quite so intimate.

Somewhere in the middle of all of this I found Facebook. Mostly because my family was all hanging out and chatting and I was feeling very left out of everything. And I love facebook. But some people now have their tweets streaming to their facebook status. Which is all very cool, but it makes for an incredible overload of information on some days.

And now facebook has fan pages and I’m being asked if I want to “fan” some of my friends. Really, I’m not sure what to do about this. Every day I have people making friend requests … and this is great really it is, but I wonder if there’s such a thing as friend overload. Being both a middle child and a mother I have this need to make sure everyone gets their attention. With all this information flying at me I’m seriously wondering if I’ve taken on too much. On the other hand I don’t want to offend someone who loves my books. For goodness sake, that’s the person I most want to chat with.

And as if all that isn’t confusing enough, now I’ve discovered that some agents and editors are using twitter to send out mass rejections. As in “if you queried me prior to April 1 and you haven’t heard from me, I’m not interested in your manuscript”. There are mixed reviews on this, from “it’s great to have an answer” to “what if I’m not on twitter?”. I guess my worry if I queried one of these people would be what if I missed the post. I’d be a maniac frantically checking and rechecking their twitter stream (as well as my inbox).

It’s definitely a whole new world out there. Social media has made it possible for authors and readers to connect in a way they never have before. Which is awesome. On the other hand it’s also created a situation that sometimes feels like a feeding frenzy to the harried author trying to balance marketing with writing. Twitter and Facebook and Yahoo Loops and MySpace and blogging are all part of the publishing landscape these days. I guess it’s just a matter of planting seeds where you’re most comfortable and nourishing the buggers in hopes it helps grow your career.

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