There’s a lot on the agenda for the day and a lot I want to discuss. I was going to do this in a video, but honestly, the week got away from me and I don’t have anywhere near the stockpile of spoons it would take to create a decent quality video, make it look reasonably professional and get it posted in a time frame which would make any difference. So, I’m just going to go with this format for now, and hope next week is slightly less insane so I can start working my way over to video format. All the topics I want to talk about today flow together, so I’m going to address them in as logical an order as I possibly can, with the understanding that there will be some bleedover.
First things first! I’m pleased to announce that Eat My Shorts!: The Absolute Best of J.S. Wayne (…So Far…), is now available for preorder, and you can add it to your Smashwords library here. It will go live for sale on June 19th in all popular ebook and e-reader formats, and because many of the stories in it have distinct LGBTQ themes, I’m working up suitable coupons for Pride 2018 to go with it. These coupons will be released daily from June 19th-June 30th, so be sure to keep an eye on this site and my Twitter and Facebook pages to snag yours!
At 131,000 words for $2.99, Eat My Shorts! is in my opinion an excellent bargain, especially for readers who felt like they were overcharged in the past for some of these works when they were placed with publishers. This is by far the longest single work I’ve ever released, including seven stories which were previously published with Noble Romance Publishing and Changeling Press, as well as two stories which have never been released before. All of these stories have spent years being edited, polished and honed beyond where they already were in preparation for a nebulous “someday” when they would come back to life. In addition, there’s no “stuffing,” no bullshit “bonus content,” no “exclusive sneak peeks” which take up 75% of the book and no bogus giveaways. (Oh…and no, I’m not using Amazon to publish, for reasons I’ll get to shortly.) Well, someday’s here, kiddies…so strap on your seat belts!
Which brings us to
#Bookstuffing and #GETLOUD
The reason I made a point of talking about exactly how long Eat My Shorts! is, and what the reader will and won’t find in it, is because thanks to #Cockygate, which I’ve talked about previously and I don’t intend to spend a huge amount of time on today, authors and readers have become aware of other shady practices which have been infecting certain books on Amazon’s KU program. David Gaughran has done a great deal of research on this, but checking out these hashtags on Twitter will give you a pretty good idea of who most of the major players are and what the grievances are.
To summarize: It seems some people, including the person responsible for #Cockygate, decided to artificially boost the page counts of their books by “recycling” works as “bonus material.” What this looks like for the reader is, reader borrows book A through Kindle Unlimited. But the author has attached books B, C, D and E to the end of book A as “bonus material.” Because KU authors are paid based on page turns, or “flips,” out of an aggregate pool from all users’ subscription fees for the month, you can see how this can add up very quickly and skew the system in favor of bookstuffers over legitimate authors.
Obviously, this pissed people off. #Cockygate already had people on edge. Learning about just how prevalent bookstuffing and some of the incredibly shady practices which back it are only threw more fuel on the fire. Even worse, people on both sides of the issue started dragging the whole miserable fucking mess down into a nasty, fetid morass of bullying, rape and death threats, doxxing and other disgusting behaviors.
Into this shitstorm at a white sale steps truly yours, with a book which, right or wrong, could be perceived as falling into that same category. Well…it could, except for three crucial points:
- I’m very clear at the outset about what this is, and is not. There’s no deception, no secrets, no tricks and no gimmicks. It’s just nine of my best stories, polished to the limits of my and my editors’ formidable abilities and put out into the world to do what they gon’ do.
- I’m not on Amazon. AT ALL. And I will not be on Amazon for the foreseeable future because at every single turn, they have proven my darkest predictions about what to expect from their unchecked growth and the mismanagement of KU more correct than I ever dreamed in my darkest nightmares.
- My book is 100% my own work. No ghostwriters, although I don’t hate on or blame them for how their work was misused regarding #Bookstuffing. I’ve done some ghostwriting myself to keep food in my stomach and a roof over my head. I tell my readers exactly how long it is and what they can expect.
Being a male romance writer was hard enough. Now come these scammy types who set the difficulty to god mode.
So I fight back and #GETLOUD by pulling attention to the shady parts, which of course is exactly what they DON’T want you to do. I remember the heads of Noble Romance Publishing using the same tactics…until they couldn’t anymore, because too many people had independently figured out something was very, very wrong. (NOT most of the editorial staff, to clarify; while I remember one in particular who was in it up to their eyebrows, most, including Bryl R. Tyne, were just as in the dark as we were until the whole mess exploded.) At that point, of course, the company’s demise was a foregone conclusion; it was only a matter of time.
I also #GETLOUD by resolving to be and do the exact opposite of what these people are. By doing what I do with honesty, integrity and passion, not duping or deceiving my readers or the general public.
So now we come to
Avatars and Pen Names
On this one, apparently, it has become fashionable for certain “authors” (in quotes because if you’re claiming ghostwritten work as your own and throwing pity parties about how hard your “writing” schedule is, or engaging in other shady shit as described above, you don’t deserve the title) to lash out about people writing under pen names and using avatars on their social media.
First off, the use of pen names has been around almost as long as the practice of writing itself, for good reasons. Many people have used pen names to:
- shelter themselves or the ones they cared for from political or religious backlash
- write work which was considered subversive, immoral or otherwise “impure” in light of the social lenses of a particular time and place while insulating themselves from scrutiny
- avoid losing their jobs, livelihoods or even their families if the nature of what they wrote became known
- to express aspects of themselves or their personalities which others might not understand
- to explore or experiment with new identities
Second, no matter why a person chooses to use a pen name, IT’S NO ONE ELSE’S DAMNED BUSINESS!
I’ve spoken in depth and detail about my pen name, and the fact I’m working toward adopting it as my legal identity. My “real” name is almost irrelevant at this point; I don’t answer to the name on my birth certificate unless it is spoken by one of only a half-dozen people in the entire world, and since I have already expressed intent to have it legally changed, anyone who thinks Jericho Scott Wayne is not my “real” name after I’ve used it for a decade can find the exit to the right.
Now, let’s talk about avatars.
If you follow me on social media, you know my avatar is the House Unicron crest.
There is a reason for this.
My House is everything to me. Everything I do, in some way, shape or form, is carefully calculated and intended to benefit my girls, my House and myself. If it doesn’t benefit my House, it doesn’t benefit me; if it doesn’t benefit me, I don’t fuck with it. I use my House crest as my avatar because it places my girls and my House uppermost in absolutely everything I do, which of course is the entire point. I’m not “hiding” behind anything. I’m representing and revealing the people and things which are most important to me.
But, someone recently challenged me, and all the other authors “hiding” behind avatars, to reveal our real faces.
So, here you go. J.S. Wayne. Lord and Master of House Unicron. Take a good, long look.
I don’t feel I, or any other author, owe anyone an explanation for my actions. I’m an ardent adherent to the 3F Rule: If you’re not FEEDING, FINANCING, or FUCKING me, you don’t get a say or a vote in how I live my life. But I decided to take this time and explain what I’m doing, and why, so if certain parties decide they want to throw shade or start something with me later, I can point them here and then tell them to piss off.
All I ever wanted was to be a writer, and play a straight game on an even playing field. I’d much rather have omitted four-fifths of this post and NOT have to speak out about these situations, which directly and indirectly affect every fiction author and reader in the game right now.
But I felt it necessary, so you, gentle reader, will know when you look at my book and say, “It seems kinda long…” you understand why, and why I would be deeply offended at being lumped in with the people who started all these “-gates.”
I stand with the people who are taking a stand against this sort of behavior.
My best weapon is my words, and my books, which were written with honorable intentions and are offered to the public with honesty, integrity and respect for myself and my readers. Hopefully, it will be enough.
If you follow the links I’ve provided here, please spare a moment and follow the authors who #GETLOUD and speak out against #Cockygate, #tiffanygate and #bookstuffing. These people are warriors…and they need all the support they can get right now.
Thank you for your time. Hopefully my next post will be significantly lighter in tone.