Things to Note When Signing a Publication Contract

As a gentle reminder…
 
Read and understand the terms of your contracts.
 
Understand copyrights. This includes art, photos and all other intellectual properties.
 
Understand that you as an author are making a percentage of the NET monies generated by your book. The rest of it is not yours. It belongs to the publisher (or if self-pubbed, Amazon and / or Smashwords, etc) to do with as they wish. Usually this goes to infrastructure, salary and other payouts.
 
Get up to speed on when certain payouts happen as they might change based on which third party is issuing funds. These are very different depending on where the monies are coming from (Amazon, non-US Amazon, mass-market distribution, audiobooks, brick and mortar bookstores, etc.) Know when the quarter payouts hit and who is paying them out.
 
Become aware of any opt-outs offered to you. Ask what resuming your full rights are. By law, the publisher owns everything other than your submission document. Some publishers might require a buyout in order for you to get your formatted and edited document and your cover art. What this means is that you’re reimbursing them the costs of producing your book. Some publishers are generous and will revert your rights to you and give you the final edit and cover or just the final edit. You may or may not get it formatted for publication as an ebook. Buying out audiobooks and translations will cost an additional amount. Be very aware of what you want back and what you want to pay for.
 
Understand the timelines required for publishing a novel and other pieces. As well as the timelines to take these down from third parties. Usually this is 30 days or sometimes more.
 
Why am I bringing this up? Because when you understand what your contractual rights are for your intellectual property, you have a firm knowledge of what your options are.
 
I’m not advocating, endorsing or speaking against anything with this post. This is simply a reminder to examine your rights and know what you’re getting into or out of.

Adulting Up Today And Shutting Down The Cancel Culture

Adulting Up Today

I’ve got a lot of stuff to do and in the middle of this tussle between opinions about one thing or another, I’m finding myself drifting away from the things I NEED to be doing. Yeah, I’ve been sick and I am a horrible patient when sick. I know this about myself. I just want to burrow down under the covers, sip hot sweet black tea with Chinese lemon peel in it and growl when the mailman is too loud delivering mail. But sadly, that’s not possible in my world.

Because no one’s going to pay my rent but me.

I’ve said my piece about where I stand on the state of my publisher and have been consistent in my message of One Size Does Not Fit All with regards to what I am choosing and what other people choose to do. I encourage people to look at their contracts, decide what’s best for them and do what they need to do for themselves. I even support them in that if their choices are different from mine. Because you know, that’s the adulting part of adulthood. It’s okay if someone doesn’t like coffee and likes tea instead. It doesn’t change what’s in my cup.

But what I’ve been seeing out in social media is a call to ‘cancel’ people who disagree with different authors regarding a variety of things.

This is different from boycotting a product for social awareness. Keep that in mind. They are two very different things. One is about affecting change for societal growth and the other is about punishing an individual or company who is conducting their own personal business as best they can.

Canadian journalist, Connor Garel described cancel culture as a ‘makeshift digital contract wherein people loosely agree not to support a person (especially economically) in order to somehow deprive them of their livelihood’.

This is usually a call to action done by a person or a group of people with the intent of harming someone’s income or influence. Usually it’s done by spreading rumours and harmful misinformation based on speculation or even malcontent. Pretty much Heathers, Mean Girls, and Cruel Intentions plots in digital form. Now this isn’t to say someone doesn’t have a justified ill feeling towards someone or something for one thing or another. What is wrong is when someone says; this person disagrees with me so I’m going to use my influence with people to punish them because they disagree with me. That’s when it gets into fuckery.

Here’s the thing… I’m going to disagree with people. I am. And they might even come after me, trying to diminish my opinion just because it’s not in line with theirs and even attack me personally, which has happened over the past week. But keep in mind one thing, I will never ever say someone is wrong for disagreeing with my take on something just because what I choose to do isn’t something they want to do.

While I have no intention of standing for someone talking crap about or to me, I usually try to respond in a rational way because let’s face it, that behaviour is on them. Not me. I’m not the one to shame my ancestors by being an asshole.

But what I would like all of you to do is to not engage in attacking other people on my account.

Please.

Do not participate in the ‘cancel culture’ mentality. Definitely investigate and examine all perspectives if you feel there’s a topic you feel strong about but lashing out at people isn’t good. Please.

It’s not good for your guts or your mind. Shit like that becomes habit and then you’re just constantly looking for fights to feed that adrenaline you get when fighting. It becomes a mad dog thing where you need that toxic rush and the bitterness of it all. Yeah, zen might not get your blood pumping but it also doesn’t fuck up your brain and change how you treat people.

It’s like that thing people do…and it’s something I hate… where they constantly put down people as a ‘joke’ and pass it off as teasing but man, all it does it make them feel good about getting one over on someone and makes the other person feel like shit. It feeds a ravenous arrogance and sadistic pleasure point in the brain at the expense of someone’s id.

It’s a toxic behaviour and degrades people’s humanity. Not good for our social environment, like random rotting plastic masses in our collective ocean.

So I ask you, please… do not do this. Because I like you as you are. Someone who’d feed a hungry puppy or go back and hold a door open for an older person struggling to get into a building.

I do have to adult up today. There’s so much I’ve got to do and it’s silly but stuff’s gotta stuff. Hopefully I can get my plate cleared off so I can watch some TV tonight and maybe even coax the dog into a game of ball in the back yard.

Go out today and do good. Take a break and enjoy who you are. Seriously, sit down and think about the person you are and your good qualities. Embrace them. Celebrate them.

Because I sure as hell do.

The State of Rhys, Dreamspinner and All of That.

I posted a version of this in my Facebook Group and thought I would echo it here.

This is in response to a reader’s question in my Facebook group about whether or not it’s better to purchase a book from Amazon or the Dreamspinner portal and there are… layers of discussion here so I’m just going to keep it as simple as possible and still ramble on enough to bore people to death 😀

This is not up for debate. This is my own decision and mine alone. Everyone has the right to make their own choices and definitely should do so. And I wish them well in that. This is my understanding of the situation and how I feel about things. Results may vary.

#TeamNoKetchup


Okay, let me talk about Dreamspinner.

You all are more than welcome to ask questions but this is pretty much my definitive stance. 😀

And for anyone with a dissenting opinion is more than welcome to post their opinion on their own news feeds but I’m not going to be debating the topic here. I won’t even respond to debate. I’ll delete the comment and then have a discussion with the member about remaining with the space. Agitation on this matter is not conducive and I don’t want to deal with it.

It’s sad I’ve got to say that but the truth is, these past few weeks have been hellish because somehow it’s become okay to attack authors who choose to stand with Dreamspinner during this business flux and I don’t want to bring that here. I’ve had enough of that on my newsfeed and in my DMs as well as my name being flung about in author groups for some reason. I have no intention of bringing that kind of shit into this group for all of you to deal with. This is not that space.

With those caveats in place, *grins*

Dreamspinner’s had several issues hit at the same time. The cash flow problem affects the infrastructure account where things like editors, mass market paperbacks, design and salaries are paid out of. They ran lean there to pay for expansion into other markets. It was a risk and a good one. It pays for translations and pushing our books into more mainstream locations like Costco, Target and Walmart. Hard to believe but yeah, my books are on sale at those locations. Some in mass market but also as ebooks on their websites.

While that account ran lean, two things happened to the escrowed mutual fund account the royalties go into. First, the third party vendors were late in payment after issuing their royalty reports so that meant the money wasn’t put in there by the people who owed DSP money and to make matters worse, the accounting software designed to calculate royalties went totally screwy. This meant in order to pay out the royalties to authors, the money had to be there and every line item of each book had to be manually verified. Elizabeth’s doing that herself because it’s her company and she feels its on her. She’s assumed full responsibility for those numbers.

People are being paid out. And everyone who is late being paid gets interest on their money when payment is made. I believe it’s a 28% interest. I’ll have to go look.

We get a lot of communication from Dreamspinner in the form of newsletters and a forum where people can ask questions, as well as being able to email directly. Dreamspinner is operating as normal during this time.

Now, where to buy your books? Honestly, we make the most money when you buy from Dreamspinner directly. Why? Because there’s no third party to slice into the royalties.

To give you an idea of how varied the calculations are, this is how our base contracts are written:

In compensation for this grant of rights, the PUBLISHER hereby agrees to pay AUTHOR the following Royalty Commissions:

(a) 40% of Net monies received by PUBLISHER from the sale of the first 1000 copies of all digital text editions of the WORK.

50% of Net monies received by PUBLISHER from the sale of 1001 copies to 2000 copies of all digital text editions of the WORK.

60% of Net monies received by PUBLISHER after the sale of the first 2000 copies of all digital text editions of the WORK.

(b) 30% of Net monies received by PUBLISHER from the sale of all bound printed editions of the WORK.

(c) 40% of Net monies received by PUBLISHER from the sale of audio editions of the WORK.

(d) 30% of Net monies received by PUBLISHER from the sale of the illustrated editions of the WORK.

(e) 70% of the Net monies received by Publisher from the disposition of sublicenses granted pursuant to Section I, paragraph (b), sublicense of foreign language rights

Now, notice that says NET monies. What that means regarding Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, etc. is that they take their percentage off the money they get. So, instead of giving us 100% of the money for a book, they might give us 75% or even just 35%. Now with Amazon, Dreamspinner has been recognized as a medium sized press and is rolled into a different category but that doesn’t mean DSP gets more of a percentage, it means that if Amazon drops the book to 99 cents, they are still going to pay out the full price royalties (minus their percentage).

If you purchase your books at Dreamspinner, Harmony Ink or DSP Publications, all of the money goes to the escrow fund. Flat out all. No one else is taking anything out of it and when it comes time to pay out royalties, it’s divided up according to the contract terms. So if you buy a book for $6.99 at DSP, the author will get a minimum of $2.80 for that book. The rest of that money goes to Dreamspinner to pay for everything they do; like editing and all of that.

If you purchase that book from Amazon, they take… let’s say 35%… $2.45 off the top, leaving us with $4.54 to split up. That means the author makes a minimum of $1.80.

The reason the percentages for different types of works… translations, audiobooks, etc… are different is because it costs more to produce those items due to third party involvement and other things. Mind you, this is on top of what Dreamspinner has already invested in the book in editing, marketing, cover design, formatting and other misc stuff.

Self-pubbing… if done right… still costs money. If Done Right. A good author will pay for a top editor who will challenge timeline errors and consistency mistakes as well as provide a structural edit. It isn’t just about fixing commas and hyphens. Same with a cover. You need a cover that is done well and represents your brand. These things cost money and you need to pay for them in order to provide quality work.

In my case, I don’t want to manage or contract those infrastructure things because honestly, I don’t have the time or patience. Okay, mostly the time. Someone else I does them for me and I’m very happy to have input over those things but I’m not having to drive that project from beginning to end. My senior editor and the Dreamspinner staff does that for me.

Bottom Line.

I can’t speak for other authors and I won’t. My opinion is that there are some people who are stirring up trouble for some reason only known to their dark spots in their soul while there are other people who are worried about their livelihoods and unfortunately, become victims to the stirrers at times because nothing breeds fear like stoking panic in a crowd. For the people who are worried, I get that and I understand that. It’s frightening and probably just one more thing on top of a heap of things they’ve got going on. It’s not like I can say… don’t worry because I can’t. That’s pretty much the same thing as people who stir stuff up. I’m not in any position to tell anyone not to worry and to do so would be counterproductive. I can only lay out my position and say; I have faith and trust in Dreamspinner and shall continue to hold that line unless something along the lines of financial apocalypse happens in which case I’ll review how I feel and probably still stand with them.

Why?

Because I trust Elizabeth North.

I work very hard at trying to produce books that entertain while at the same time, hopefully provide a bridge for LGBTQ characters to enter the “mainstream” consciousness. For too long, LGBTQ protagonists have been off the page and the book shelves. There was a massive purge of those characters from mainstream bookshelves in the 90s by the Big Five. Many authors writing LGBTQ characters had their contracts yanked or told they would finish out that one book and that’s it. Some of these characters were retconned from bisexual to being straight for some reason; Mercedes Lackey’s Bard series featuring Eric Banyon was one of them. I’m not sure why but I was disappointed about it and still am. But maybe she always meant to go in that direction but my gut says no. But I don’t know. I can’t speak to that.

Even the series that featured a gay character had to go through tremendous amount of pain and suffering and usually died. I can’t speak to the why of gay character deaths but we all know it was rampant. No one got happy endings. (Okay, Gael Baudino’s Gossamer Axe did as did Lynn Flewlling’s Nightrunner series and man did that make me happy but it’s rare.)

Those deaths and the lack of LGBTQ characters angers me and saddens me. And I want better for our LGBTQ siblings. For myself.

Elizabeth North gave me that platform. It’s not an easy platform to stand on. As an author I have to tell a story and hopefully make it good enough for you, the reader, to want to come back to those characters while at the same time, keep my voice and storytelling totally mine. Are my books for everyone? Nope. But that’s okay. I can only do my best and put stuff out there.

There is no guarantee of success. That’s a given. Someone could write the most fantastic book but very few people will read it, especially if no one knows it’s out there. Or they might DNF it because it’s poorly edited or pass over it because the cover looks like it was done in MS Paint by a three year old. We are fickle creatures as readers. I know this. I DNFed a book about a mechanic because he was working on a 58 Ford Mustang.

Ford didn’t come out with the Mustang until 1964.

Shit like this matters.

So… that’s where I am. That’s where I stand. Keep in mind, this is MY choice. Other people do and SHOULD have the right to review everything on hand to them and make a business decision regarding their partnership with Dreamspinner. I’m not sticking my head in the sand or ignoring any warning signs or looking for diamonds in the sky. I’m making a conscious decision to not only retain my partnership but also speak of support in the face of others (including some who are not with DSP) condemning them for one thing or another.

I’m fine with my decision. I know what the risks are but I also know what the rewards will be. It’s not just loyalty to Elizabeth and the company but also a trust in the vision Dreamspinner has for its authors. I’ve shared that vision since day one… for LGBTQ characters to sit side by side with other books on the “mainstream” shelves in libraries, bookstores and retail spaces without judgement and without apologies.

No matter what happens, that’s always been my goal. And I have no intention of stopping now.

I hope you are all with me on this.

*hugs*

Ah, flowers and grumpiness

This cat is pretty much my spirit animal. Well, I dunno about the femme part but then I flip between the whole gender thing so… there you go.

Updates are pretty much going to be the same until I get this book done. Words are being written. Cat bellies are being rubbed and the dog has to be protected from Badger’s bully behaviour.

The Firebird is in the shop getting its carb rebuilt. One of my secondaries wasn’t operating properly and so it would bog down when punching out of first. This is extremely problematic when trying to merge onto a SoCal freeway. That’s when you need that power. Changing lanes and then having the car drop 20 mph instead of accelerating is dangerous. So, my mechanics are hard at work bringing Tengu back up to speed (no pun intended).

Ramen Assassin drops in two months and I’m very excited to see how that’s received. I’ll be doing the standard ARC lottery in my Facebook and reaching out to blogs to see if they want an ARC for review. I’ve got a list. A lot of review blogs get books directly from Dreamspeinner but I do like to send out a few to those I know.

I’ve been having cravings for kalua pig so… that looks to be in my near future.

Enable the new Rhys Ford Casting skill on your Alexa Device and get the latest on what’s out and what’s going on!

“Alexa, launch Rhys Ford Casting”

Welcome to a new way to keep up with what’s going on! Rhys Ford and Dreamspinner Press have partnered up to provide you with the latest news from Rhys Ford through your Alexa, Dot or Echo.

Two ways to enable the app, directly on the Amazon site or on the Alexa app.

https://www.amazon.com/Witlingo-Rhys-Ford-Casting/dp/B07N7MJ7C8/

To enable Alexa skills in the Alexa app:

  • From the menu, select Skills & Games.
  • Find a skill you want to use, and then select it to open the skill detail page.
  • Select Enable Skill, or ask Alexa to open the skill.

Then just tell your Alexa device; Alexa*, launch Rhys Ford Casting.

To get the next bit of news, just say next!

Updates will happen frequently so check back every week! AND see Rhys at events and be included in a Casting shout out!

* or whatever wake word you’ve chosen

I am Alive. Mostly.

I haven’t forgotten all of you. Promise. Mostly I’ve been heads down and writing. Hellion’s at the end stretch and there’s a lot to do before I head to Paris and the UK. Mostly organize swag, make sure I have all of my UK things and fret over forgetting my passport which I do ALL the time. Fret. Not forget.

It’s early here and cold. And I could use about five more hours of sleep but that’s mostly because my bed was warm. Don’t you hate that about getting up knowing it’s cold outside and you have to go into it?

I have to start thinking about Hellion’s cover. That’s going to be a hard one to do. BUT I do have the tattoo so hopefully I’ll get to work on that before I leave for Europe.

Whatcha all doing?

Savior on Audio and Hellion on the Page

If you missed the news of Savior coming out on audio, well… it’s HERE! https://www.amazon.com/Savior-415-Ink-Book-2/dp/B07MXPS6G9/

Once again, Tristan’s done a great job and the funny thing is, someone just sent me a question through Goodreads  about hearing Greg Tremblay doing Ichi’s voice on Rebel, the first audiobook in the 415 Ink series and also voiced by Tristan James.

Funny thing is, that IS Greg. It’s a small Easter Egg that came about  when the three of us met up in Los Angeles last year at a very hipster bar in K-Town. A bit of booze and a bit of chatting and well, Greg graciously agreed to do Ichi’s lines and Tristan worked them into the audio.

That kind of stuff makes me very happy and it was great to have two of the best narrators in the business working on one of my books so thank you for that, guys! I owe you another round.

I’m working on Hellion now and it’s… man, Ivo’s hard. But see, that’s okay because there’s stuff… all the stuff… I have to work in. And this has a different flavour to it. I don’t know how to describe it but there’s a caramel taste to it. We’ll see how it comes out.

So that’s what I’m up to. Wish me luck and I’ll be back to talk about Kai.

415 Ink: Savior is out on Audio! Narrated by Tristan James!

Savior is out on Audio!

And as always, Tristan James delivers an incredible job! Much thanks and hearts for such a wonderful talent!

Grab it now!

A savior lies in the heart of every good man, but sometimes only love can awaken the man inside the savior.

The world’s had it out for San Francisco firefighter Mace Crawford from the moment he was born. Rescued from a horrific home life and dragged through an uncaring foster system, he’s dedicated his life to saving people, including the men he calls his brothers. As second in command of their knitted-together clan, Mace guides his younger siblings, helps out at 415 Ink, the family tattoo shop, and most of all, makes sure the brothers don’t discover his darkest secrets.

It’s a lonely life with one big problem – he’s sworn off love, and Rob Claussen, one of 415 Ink’s tattoo artists, has gotten under his skin in the worst way possible.

Mace’s world is too tight, too controlled to let Rob into his life, much less his heart, but the brash Filipino inker is there every time Mace turns around. He can’t let Rob in without shaking the foundations of the life he’s built, but when an evil from his past resurfaces, Mace is forced to choose between protecting his lies and saving the man he’s too scared to love.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Savior-415-Ink-Book-2/dp/B07MXPS6G9/

Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Savior-Audiobook/1644054515

Coming soon to iTunes Audiobooks

Wanna Talk About Something Stupid.

Did you ever notice some people are violently aggressive in their hatred for Starbucks.

Like lose their fucking shit if they even see the logo crazy.

The same holds true for Amazon and other companies. There’s animosity against Apple or PCs, stirred up by social media and commericals. And entire campaigns have been waged over Walmart and Target for various reasons. Articles and opinions flung about in a constant battle to influence people.

Here’s the thing… I think sometimes we’re so busy fighting for our “flag” of choice, we forget something… in a lot of cases, it’s none of our fucking business.

I’m not talking about civil rights or environmental initiatives… I’m talking about someone liking a coffee chain and getting attacked for it by someone who doesn’t pay their bills or is a part of their lives.

Some companies are problematic in some areas. Not going to lie about that. Chik-fil-A will never get a dime of my money but I’m not going to fight a friend over the fact they stop for chicken nuggets. I can speak out against their practices but I’m not going to police someone’s choices based on my own. People aren’t going to change doing something unless they want to change… be it for social concerns or simply personal taste.

I get it. We’re all social warriors at some level and with different passions but honestly, I could give a flying fuck if you think Starbucks burns their beans. I know that’s not true. But that’s my own take on things (also, burnt beans turn into powder and can’t be ground but you know, physics or so I’ve seen and been told). I also don’t care if you don’t drink your coffee with bells and whistles and hate pumpkin spice lattes. I don’t like PSLs either but you know what? I’m not going to drink one and it’s not going to be found by a four year old who will then shoot and kill their younger sibling with it.

Because THAT kind of shit is where I need to get angry. That’s where I need to speak up. And I invite you to speak up with me… but keep in mind, people are going to scream to drown you out and for some reason, they just can’t seem to understand we’re sick and tired of our kids being slaughtered.

I want to save my outrage for something that matters. Because I’ve got finite energy. And time. People are tired. And I think we’re all tired of being angry. Choose your battles isn’t just sound advice, I think it’s a good way to maintain your sanity. Or at least mine.

And did you notice there’s no hardcore battles about KFC vs Popeye’s? I mean no one gets into long dissertations about how KFC’s got a good crust but fucking totally lacks on the heat scale. Even the hot wings aren’t that spicy. Why aren’t we passionate about that?

So… maybe take a breath before we build that soapbox…and while I am firmly #TeamNoKetchup, at the end of this day or the next… what you put on your eggs really isn’t any of my business. And it should not affect how we interact.

Day 678 of This Cold

Biggest problem I have when I’m sick is…

I am irrationally angry.

Like rain-soaked badger with a sore tooth angry.

I don’t know why. I do know I wake up angry and literally just want to chew through everything and everyone in my path.

This has been a lifelong thing. And I don’t fit it so much as manage my expectations. And most of all, try not to chew on heads. Because that’s a good way to damage relationships.

I’m working on the cover for Ramen Assassin and honestly, it’s a pain in the ass. Because managing that image of what the book is about with current genre trends is a bitch and a half. Give me strength. And coffee.

Badger, the black and white monster cat, is doing well. He’s learning to bite less and is less pointy side up. He does however demand to be in the bathroom with you and if you would please turn on the faucet to a thin stream so he can stick his head under the water, that would be great. I’ll try to get a current picture of him at some point.

Harley, our grey tuxedo baby girl cat, is teaching Badger there’s right and wrong ways of how to play. He’s a slow learner and she’s not so patient. They’re getting there. He’s learned Love of Box from her and that the cat scratching cube is awesome. But she loves being brushed and that’s not something he likes, even when it’s being done to her and not him. Or he just wants the attention.

Gus Gus is slowing down. He’s an old man cairn terrorist and well, Badger is an asshole to him most of the time. He puts up with it for the most part but sometimes needs the hallway cleared of the Evil Menace so he can get from the front of the house to the back. Turtle, however, has become a favourite toy although there will always be Love of Red Ball in his life. The rain makes him sleepy. The sun makes him sleepy. He trundles over to his dog bed and settles in there then wakes up a bit later to sprawl out on the carpet. An hour or so later, back to the dog bed or if I am home, gets up on the couch next to me. He does need a bit more exercise but going outside to chase after Red Ball is out until the rain lets up.

And the rain? Because I had the Firebird detailed. So… rain. I was feeling groggy but okay last week. It was sunny. The Firebird was dirty. Wash and Wax. Pampering for the Pontiac.

And rain. 😀 CUE RAIN!

Heh. But that’s life.

I’m finishing up the John Lee Quarrel books by Nick Russell and I’m enjoying them. I’ll move onto his other series when I’m done. Which reminds me… I need to charge my kindle!