erynn: Gaelic merman image (all your books!)
This evening I went with [ profile] gra_is_stor to the Seattle Asian Art Museum for a reading by two Chinese poets and the release of the anthology Push Open the Window: Contemporary Poetry from China. I headed down early because it was a warm, sunny day, and spent an hour or so sitting at a picnic table in the park while reading essays from Heroic Poets and Poetic Heroes and taking copious research notes. About 6:30, [ profile] gra_is_stor met me in Volunteer Park and we headed into the museum for the reading. We were actually the first people seated and one of the guys from Copper Canyon Press came over to talk with us. I told him that I'd been looking forward to the reading and that I'd heard about it through Copper Canyon and Elliott Bay's email. He expressed appreciation for poetry readers and I said that I ought to like reading poetry, given that I was a poet and had a wall full of poetry books at home. I noted I would have loved to purchase the anthology, but was flat broke at the end of the month. He said he'd give me a copy -- and he actually did! I was quite delighted, so thank you Joseph Bednarik of Copper Canyon for your kindness! I was able to get the book signed by the two poets at the end of the evening as well.

The reading itself was fascinating and I learned quite a bit about Chinese poetry, particularly from Xi Chuan's introductions to some of the poems he read by other poets in the anthology. He has quite a sense of humor and some of his work was very amusing; he read one from the anthology and two other pieces from one of his other works. His answer to Nietzsche was particularly funny, I thought. Zhou Zan is an advocate of women's poetry in China and has been the editor of the women's poetry journal Wings for many years, as well as being a poet and the translator of some of the poetry of Margaret Atwood. She read her own poems and several poems from the anthology by other women poets.

I talked briefly to the poets when I got my copy of the anthology signed. They were asking for people's names so that they could personalize them and I wrote mine down briefly because it's an unusual spelling. They asked what kind of a name it was and I said it was Irish but spelled funny. They said that it could actually be construed as a Chinese name with a rough translation of something like "your plough," which I thought was pretty funny. Perhaps I cultivate the fields of memory.

My contract from Hiraeth arrived today. I just need to make sure they use my whole name in the contract (if they send me an editable pdf I can correct it myself) and sign and date the thing and we are go for a 2012 publication! The date is yet to be determined, but definitely next year. We'd been discussing autumn, but that decision will be up to the press when they have next year's schedule together. It's early yet to tell.

I got into a lengthy conversation/rant in twitter today with one of my friends about ebooks. He was complaining that he'd spent $50 on a book and wanted the ebook of it for free. His argument was that he'd already paid for the book so why should he have to pay for a second format?

My answer was that if he wanted a hardbound and a paperback, he'd have to pay for both of those formats. If he wanted an audiobook, he'd end up paying for that, too. He argued that an audiobook required people to actually read the book, and therefore it was worth something. Apparently he believes that there is either no work or no intrinsic value in an ebook, and therefore he shouldn't have to pay for it. He did accuse me of being greedy and wanting people to pay multiple times for the same material.

If an author wants to package a print and ebook copy as the same sale, more power to them. If they want to give things away for free, I'm fine with that. On the other hand, an author's work is worth something, no matter what format it's in.

He pulled someone else into the discussion and then asked me if I wanted to do away with used bookshops, too. I said that, in the end analysis, someone had actually paid for the books in the used bookshop at one point, unless the books were remaindered. Of course, with the rise of print on demand publishing, remainders may soon be a thing of the past, so any book in a used bookshop would of necessity have been previously paid for. Yet nobody walks into a used bookshop and walks out with a bag full of free books -- you do pay for them used.

What about libraries? I was asked. They're stealing a ton of revenue from authors, too. Isn't it really just the same if you buy a cd and upload the sound file to a website where anyone can download it? Aren't you just sharing it the same way you would a library book?

No, not really. A library pays for the copy and loans it out, but it always comes back. If you keep the library book, they charge you late fees and, eventually, a replacement fee if you don't return it. Regardless of what happens, there is only one copy -- paid for -- running around. The author still got paid for it. If you buy a cd and rip it, then upload it so all your friends can have it, it's no longer one copy of something, it's a dozen copies or a thousand copies, or ten thousand copies, and the artist never sees a penny of any of those. He felt that making copies was not an ethical problem at all because it's not a copy of something physical, it's just bits in the aether. But it's still someone's hard work and they deserve to be compensated, no matter how many copies we're talking about.

He then went on to say that just because the publishers are screwing the authors, does that mean the readers should get screwed too? I asked him why the authors and readers couldn't get together to change the way that major publishers do things, and he had no answer for that. Major publishers are making money at the expense of both authors and readers; small presses and independent authors are barely scraping by most of the time. But apparently I'm tilting at windmills for caring about the people who are actually writing.

He said if writing paid so badly, nobody should try to make a living at it. Authors should negotiate better contracts -- yet the publisher holds almost all the power in those situations, and a writer isn't necessarily going to get a better deal at some other publisher. Self-publishing is still very poorly regarded because so much of it is crap. Being able to be published by an actual press is still a meaningful thing, even if the technology is enabling individuals to publish their own work. If they're able to do a professional job without a publisher, more power to them. I've self-published before. I prefer to let somebody else do the bulk of the publishing work, so I do my best to have material that is good enough for someone else to want to publish it.

All that said, I don't think that's the point -- my point is that if nobody pays the authors, authors are going to have to stop writing for publication because they're going to have to be earning their living some other way. They won't have the time or the energy to write at all anymore, or they will write far less than they already do. Writers, musicians, and artists still have to pay rent and pay the bills, they still have to eat and maybe occasionally get some medical care. They have to buy clothes and put gas in the car if they have one. The work of artists and musicians and writers isn't worthless or valueless and there is no reason they should be expected to work for free. The vast majority of writers I know either work at other jobs as well as writing, or they have some other means of income. Most of them don't make a living writing. I certainly don't, but I have a pension that means I'm able to write and not worry about starving to death.

I don't think that copyright should extend beyond an author's death. That serves only the publishing house or the corporation that owns it, not the author.

I don't have nearly as much of an issue with, for instance, a homeless kid who is desperate for music or for something to read downloading a copy of something for free. They don't have anything to spend, and I would just as soon give somebody like that a copy with the hope that it will make their lives a little more comfortable, or at least tolerable.

I do have a problem with a person who has a job and can afford what he needs (including a $50 book) complaining about having to spend a few more dollars for another copy of the same material. Just because you have an entire library of paper books and want to replace them doesn't entitle you to free electronic copies any more than having a collection of VHS tapes entitled you to free DVDs when they came out.

I was told that the world disagreed and was voting with their feet, that I was tilting at windmills. (When have I ever not been tilting at windmills?) I was told that I was really just supporting a model created by publishers that didn't serve readers or authors. Laws don't matter, he said.

Maybe, maybe not. I still advocate paying authors for the work they do. Nobody should be forced to work for free.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Insane: What's Your Excuse?)
I got my royalties from Immanion today.

Between January and June this year, my ogam book sold 104 copies, 10 of which I bought from the press and sold myself. (I actually get more money selling them myself but I have to have the money up front to buy them.) I get no royalties for those books. So, 94 copies sold by the press in six months. For these 94 copies, I got $103.39 in royalties.

Remember, folks, this is good sales for a small occult press in a very very niche market. Immanion loves me and wants to publish more of my stuff because I sell well.

Oh, yeah. Big money there.

Remember, folks -- friends don't let friends be writers. ;)
erynn: Gaelic merman image (GONZO!)
I watched Porco Rosso and This is Spinal Tap today while the sib was out. Spinal Tap was painfully funny; I'd seen parts of it before, but never managed to get through it. More years of familiarity with music made it a lot funnier than it had been when I tried to watch it previously. Exploding drummers, of course, were always pretty damned funny.

Porco Rosso isn't one of Studio Ghibli's better efforts, but it was okay. World War One flying ace turned into a pig by an unexplained whatsit, flies his seaplane against seaplane pirates for money (he's a bounty hunter) just before World War Two, until the Italian government shuts everybody down. Hints are thrown but nothing is resolved. It had some amusing moments but just doesn't have the heart or the art of Howl's Moving Castle or Spirited Away.

It was a quiet day otherwise, though I went out this evening to the AFK to hang out with [ profile] fullcontactmuse. I scribbled a little in my VA notebook and had a little dinner before she arrived. We had a drink and talked for a bit. I'll be going to her burlesque show on Saturday at the Jewelbox downtown after I hang with [ profile] evilbusdriver for a bit.

Tomorrow the sib and I will be heading for the VA to see about getting him enrolled into the system and getting his physical. I'm bringing a book. Maybe two.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Breakin' Ur Geasa)
Yesterday I picked up a whiteboard and markers and whatnot to go with it for the CR schmooze. We are moving up in the world. ;) The whiteboard even got used last night for its intended purpose of illustrating the spelling of words in Irish! Whee! There was a good bit of looking things up in the eDIL, as well.

I'm in the midst of a meds shift for the whole migrane prophylactic thing, so I wasn't exactly at the top of my game, and [ profile] wire_mother did most of the talking on our topics for the night -- virtues, ethics, early Irish law, and the structure of society. He spent the majority of the time on law and social structure, where I would have emphasized the whole virtues and ethics and how we can actually apply this to our lives right now, but this is what happens when one's brain isn't operating optimally. I think folks got a good bit out of it, but probably not as much as I would have liked to see them getting.

Several folks were unable to make it; one of our people had surgery April 1st and a few others were not feeling well enough to brave the rain and wind that we've been having lately. I usually pick up [ profile] wire_mother at the ferry downtown but wasn't up to dealing with the downtown maze and traffic, so begged out. [ profile] joyful_storm met me at Travelers for chai before we headed over to Edge (I found a good on-street parking spot half a block from Edge when I got there around 5pm), and we had a nice chat about a variety of things, from wine to how she's been dealing with the plants and gardening in her back yard.

Post-schmooze dinner was a fair bit of talk on politics, particularly snarking on "Libertarians" of the "I've got mine, fuck everyone else in this generation and all those to come" variety that are so common in the US right now. Needless to say, that sort of attitude isn't in line with any healthy set of virtues from any society. Note that I said "healthy," as in "geared to the survival of community and the human species."

Wednesday I have shrinkage coming up, then the Everett steampunks meetup. Friday I'll be popping over to the AFK to hang with my Everett druidy friends. Saturday I'm carpooling out with other Abney Park fans to Spokane for their show, to come back on Sunday. I should do another couple of loads of laundry today and do the dishes if I have the energy for it, or perhaps the other way around, as being able to get into the sink and having clean things to eat from is more important than the laundry at the moment.

And now, off to cope with my day.

A long day

Dec. 16th, 2010 12:02 am
erynn: Gaelic merman image (It's raining)
The past few days have been kind of rough because of Monday's migraine, but I've also been dealing with a fairly high level of stress and anxiety the past couple of months. Today for the first time in a very long time I went in and sniffled on my shrink over the whole thing. I think I've worked through some of it after talking with her, but sometimes it's just hard to feel like I'm doing anything worthwhile. Yes, I know that I am and I know that I have a lot of friends who love me and that I'm a pretty cool person, but this isn't about reality, it's about the brain weasels.

I called dental while I was waiting to get in to see Tracy and have an appointment with them again. That, at least, was reasonably easy.

At Travelers today I ran into [ profile] sebastian_lvx and we chatted for the better part of an hour while he was between jobs. It was a delight to see him and spend time with him and I felt considerably better afterwards. He said some things I kind of needed to hear, though I hadn't been looking for them specifically. After he departed, [ profile] varina8 wandered in for a chai, just before I met Caera (whose LJ nick I'm not sure of). Caera is recently moved to Seattle from the Boston area by way of the Bay Area and has been looking for a CR community. She turned out to be made of awesome with awesomesauce and awesome sprinkles, so it was really lovely to spend time with her this evening at the schmooze organizational meeting.

We got a good bit of stuff sorted tonight for the upcoming schmoozes, as well as some preliminary plans set in place for Imbolc. I'll be having goose here on the 24th, for those local who want to come and join me, though I'd like a confirm in advance if you're interested. I only have space for so many. I know that [ profile] sebastian_lvx and [ profile] lakmiseiru were interested in coming. [ profile] anthea7 and [ profile] mintofthewater were also wanting to come up and Caera might come just to hang out and have other food, as she's vegetarian. There will be bad movies and good company.

Depending on how much energy I have, I might go to the queer Pagan meetup tomorrow evening down in Seattle, but I was planning on being there Friday for Stian's birthday, and that's an awful lot of time spent in Seattle this week so far already. Saturday is gaming. I need a little breathing space, really. And I also need to spend a little time digging through my files for a couple of things for the CR schmooze readings to supply them to Mint when we get together again.

I've been invited to come check out the Everett druid meetup group, as a part of my quest to find actual local folks for community. Although druidy stuff per se isn't really my cuppa, I'll very likely show up just to check things out. Last time I went to an Everett Pagan meetup-y thing, it didn't really impress me much, but that was a couple of years ago and not the same group of people, from what I understand.

[ profile] alfrecht reports that Rachel Bromwich, the editor and translator of Trioedd Ynys Prydein aka "The Welsh Triads," died today in Aberystwyth, Wales. It's a sad loss for Celtic scholarship.

On the DADT front, the House today passed a bill that would rescind Don't Ask Don't tell. It has been passed to the Senate, but there are so many Republican fuckwads there that I'm not confident it will pass. Please write or call your senators if you're a US citizen. This is an important issue. I will admit that I was of two minds about the defense appropriations bill that was voted down earlier this month. I do not approve of the wars or the spending that's associated with them. They are the biggest drain on the US economy in existence, and one of the least just things about American society in general, and in that sense killing the defense bill was useful. I'm glad that we'll get to see DADT dealt with on its own merits, rather than being wrapped up in billions of dollars for killing Afghanis and Iraqis -- because no matter what the government tells you, we're still in Iraq, they're just not calling it a war anymore.

Some justice needs to be done, and that doesn't involve tax cuts for billionaires. Taxes are the only way we're going to get out of the immense debt that our country owes to places like China these days. We can't go on like this. The Republicans don't give a shit and the Democrats are too chickenshit to do anything about it. It makes me angry and frustrated. Tax cuts are not going to help our country in the least and it's time people figured that out.

Fuck DC. And I don't mean the comics company.
erynn: Gaelic merman image (Default)
harriet the spy

*weeps while laughing hysterically*


erynn: Gaelic merman image (Default)

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