Another One Bites the Dust

If you spend any time within the self-publishing areas online, then you likely know that Pronoun has shut down.

If you don’t, let me explain a little.

Pronoun was similar to Smashwords and Draft2Digital in that it took your ebook and distributed it to a range of markets. It gave authors 70% of the royalties, even on $0.99 books, which made it very appealing. It also created very nice looking books with only a little know-how and trial and error. As well, you got a snazzy looking author page for each pen name, and a page for each book that would link to all the places your book was for sale. And it let you onto Google Play, a coveted but hard to break into market.

Personally, I kind of loved it.

I haven’t liked Smashwords for a long time, for the simple reason that I’m an aesthetics snob. I can create what I think are better-looking epubs using my copy of Scrivener, and doing poetry on Smashwords? Forget about it.

My books are still on Smashwords, but I have been considering removing them from any of the extra markets they’ve been sent to there and just keeping them on the site itself.

So I really liked Pronoun. It was starting to gain traction as a distributor among authors; more people were talking about it recently, and it seems likely it was about to really take off.

Sadly, the owners shut it down.

Pronoun was bought by Macmillan Publishers a while ago. At first I thought, hey, maybe this will mean this indie author company will get some oomph from the big guys that bought it up! This could be good for us!

I was obviously wrong.

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Link Roundup, Friday the 31st

I read some things on the internet this week that I thought some of you might also find interesting, so I decided to do a small links round up post. This is not a regular feature, and I have no intentions of making it one. It’s just something that will happen now and again if I find a good amount of interesting links.

Self Publishing Is Not The Minor Leagues, by Chuck Wendig, and the follow up post, Readers Are Not Good Gatekeepers. I’m in agreement with Chuck that self publishing is not where we get better — we should aim to publish our very best if we’re going to ask for money for our work. That said, I’m more forgiving of typos or errors in self-published works, because author-publishers often don’t have access to the resources that traditional publishers do. There’s no excuse for a bunch of typos in a traditionally published book, in my opinion — they have hundreds of editors who should be making several passes through a book. An author-publisher might only have beta readers and an English major friend. Fewer resources, fewer people — understandable that some things may slip through.

Anyway, both posts are very good reads and worth your time if you’re a writer — self published, traditional, hybrid, or indie — or reader.

Early Europeans had dark skin and blue eyes, at io9. This is interesting on a few levels to me — not only the “Screw you, racist logic!” level, because good luck arguing Europeans are naturally white with this info, Neo-Nazi scum — but also the worldbuilding and diversity in fantasy level, which is related to the racism mentioned above.

There is a bit of a social narrative/paradigm that states that medieval fantasy must be set in cold northern climes, and therefore white folk! I’m guilty of unconsciously writing this way myself, though I’m actively working to stop doing that.

However, it’s also used as an argument against diversity in fantasy — “We can’t have POC, it’s not realistic! Yes, of course my story has dragons, it’s fantasy.” I mean, of course this argument is ridiculous already, but this article helps to shine more light on how ridiculous it is. It may also help writers detangle assumptions they may have about how their characters in the north should look, which I think is a good thing.

11 Ways to Quote and Promote Your Book Using Images, at The Book Designer. This is a publishing and book promotion-related article, so if you’re not in the business of promoting a book it may not hold much interest for you. I think it’s an intriguing idea to help promote one’s books; I may be trying it in the future.

NASA Images Find 1.7 Million Year Old Man-Made Bridge. I always find stuff like this fascinating — both on a “Oh wow, cool, human history stuff!” level and a worldbuilding level. This also relates to mythology and real-world events being connected, which I also find super cool.

See you tomorrow!

-Katje