A Christian couple with good motives and the best intentions in the world wrote an app to “clean” dirty words in ebooks by replacing them with “clean” alternatives.  They named it “Clean Reader” and they made it available for free for iOS and Android devices.  They created a book catalog for the device from work supplied by @Inktera and Smashwords.  It sounds like a feel-good kind of story, right?  Wrong. The clean device did a dirty deed – it rewrote authors’ words without obtaining permission from the authors.

The app had three settings that downloaders could select from to decide how “clean” they wanted their books.  Depending on the setting,the app picked out words and changed them.  The “Daily Mail” article by Jenny Stanton  gives an example of how this process worked with passages from some well known books:

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence

Before: ‘I don’t want to f*** you at all. My heart’s as cold as cold potatoes just now.’

After: ‘I don’t want to [freak] you at all. My heart’s as cold as cold potatoes just now.’

Before: ‘It was not woman’s fault, nor even love’s fault, nor the fault of sex.’

After: ‘It was not woman’s fault, nor even love’s fault, nor the fault of [love].’

Before: ‘She threaded two pink campions in the bush of red-gold hair above his penis.

’After: ‘She threaded two pink campions in the bush of red-gold hair above his [groin].’

The first problem with the app is that it changed the words of authors without their permission. That is always, always, always wrong. The second problem is more basic – who decides what is clean and what is dirty and who picks what words get substituted for the dirty ones?  It’s like walking into a neighbor’s house – you might walk in and think “This place is filthy. Jane is a lazy bitch.”  I might walk into the same house and think, “I wonder how Jane keeps this place so clean and still keeps her daily word count so high.” Dirt is in the eye of the beholder.

A reader is always free to skip a passage he or she finds offensive or to imagine a different word in the place of one that bothers her. It might be that the reader is mortally offended by any reference to sex or the human body.  It might be that the reader was once hit by a black car and can’t bear to read about black cars.  Perhaps the reader was bitten by a dog and prefers the pets in her stories to be cats.  We are all the product of our own experience.  Mr. Duck is a computer programmer, so he’d be one of the people making those decisions about which words to replace.  Mr. Duck has a wicked sense of humor, a sharp intellect and is married to an insane duck lady. His choices for those words would likely NOT be the ones made by the great bulk of humanity.  Lord knows, my choices would likely not be made by even the smallest sliver of humanity.  The choice of what to read and what to replace and what to skip – those are decisions by the reader who always has the option to close a book he finds offensive.

Authors outraged by Clean Reader’s mutilation of their work took to blogs and Twitter,  and created such a backlash that their book suppliers pulled out and “Clean Reader” folded.   The couple claims they intend to rework the app and will release it again.  I hope they don’t because no matter what they do, the couple can not create an app to replace each individual reader’s sensibilities.  Books are as individual as art.  A painting or statue that could make me marvel for hours might make you sniff and move along in an instant.  But we both have the right to look at the same painting and stare or sniff.

I suspect that devoted readers would never download an app designed to keep them from reading a book the way it was written. People who love words will be just as upset as authors at the notion that some programmer’s judgment should ever be allowed to re-write a book.  “Clean Reader” is a digital bonfire and it is every bit as dangerous as the vigilantes who remove physical books from a library’s shelves and feed them to the flames.

If programs like this one are allowed to exist,  museums must change their rules, and allow offended patrons to bring in spray paint and chisels.  So the world would lose a few Titian’s, Cezanne’s and Ruben’s and Michelangelo’s David might lose something even more personal – but the offended would be appeased.  That’s what matters, right?  Of course not.

Yet, that is exactly what programs/apps like “Clean Reader” are – they’re chisels and spray paint inside your phone, iPad or digital device.  They’ve done their work before your eyes arrive and have removed any risk that you might be moved by a love story with a sex scene or that curse words in the right place might make you share a character’s anger.  What hands do you trust to hold the paint and chisels?

Buy or don’t buy.  Read or skip. But never put the spray paint and chisels into the hands of someone who hasn’t lived your life or walked in your shoes.

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I’m convinced that one of Shonda Rhimes’ favorite songs must be the old gospel hymn – “Will The Circle Be Unbroken.”  The woman does love to close a circle – as most fans of her hit ABC TV Show, “Grey’s Anatomy” will know and sometimes rue.  An interesting word that – “rue” sounds very akin to ruin which is what I think will happen if Shonda closes the latest circle.

Yo, Shonda Sunshine – some circles should stay broken.   Derek does not need to vilify himself further by closing this one.  The Mer/Der partnership does not require a “dark and twisty” member.

In case you’ve missed it, the latest drama on “Grey’s Anatomy” puts the show’s “raison d’etre”  (reason to be) at risk.  [Some things just require French.]  Yes, believe it or not, Shonda’s newest plot would do MORE than destroy the couple whose rendezvous started the show off with a bang & propelled it to the ranks of television royalty.  It may turn out that Derek has been cheating in DC — (I know, what’s new about that, right?  Imagine – someone doing the down, dirty and dishonorable in DC!!)

The show started when McDreamy neurosurgeon Derek Shepherd discovered that his wife had been cheating on him with his best friend.  He walked in on them one evening – and walked right out and away from the marriage, fleeing to Seattle to accept a job long-offered by his old friend Richard Webber.  Of course, the viewers didn’t know either his identity or his history any more than Meredith Grey knew it when she hooked up with him for a one nighter the night before she started her new hospital internship. The viewers knew what Mer knew – the man had a fabulous ass. (How naughty showing that was on TV at the time….)

We found out he was her bosses boss at the same time she did, and it soon turned out that their one night stand turned into love that looked strong and true and honorable.  Only, it turned out – not quite so honorable.  Derek was married, as we found out when his wife strolled into the lobby to greet the slut sleeping with her husband.  And don’t forget – Addison (the then-wife) told Derek he’d have known she was coming if he’d answered any of her phone calls.

Now, flash forward.  Derek flies off to DC after a royal battle with his wife who refused to leave her career so he could go be a DC big shot.  And episode before last Mer called him and a woman answered.  She started asking herself and her friends — Could Der be cheating on her?  Could history be repeating itself?  (Popular wisdom says – if he did it once, he’ll do it again.) Previews for next week’s epi show Derek telling Mer that they’re in trouble — and APPEAR to show him having a Mer/Der type hot and heavy moment with a lady in a lab coat (a new Grey’s doctor?), complete with one of THOSE looks he only shares with Meredith.

Shonda Sunshine is a master illusionist, so perhaps we’ll find out that things aren’t the way it appears.  I hope so, anyway.  I hope that she who created Shondaland will not resort to cliches to close yet another circle.  Yeah – in strictly geometric terms, it would make sense for Der to have left for a new hospital, found a new woman, and be trying to shed the old one.  It would close a circle big style.

The problem is that many viewers, like this one, do not think or feel or grow attached to characters for reasons that have anything to do with logic.  As a romance writer, I thank every lucky duck in the universe for that fact.  I just hope it’s not one that Shonda has forgotten.  And no, Sunshine, I don’t think we need to explore the other side of infidelity.  I don’t want you to introduce us to a new lady doctor and try to make us like her even though she’s cheated with Derek, wants to cheat with Derek or may be about to cheat with Derek.  Because Shonda, we won’t like her and we won’t be too fond of you either.

Romantics everywhere have been convinced that Mer/Der are the real deal — and we desperately need to believe that the real deal still exists somewhere outside of our own happy marriages (my case, Mr. Duck is a sweetie) – or for others, that it will exist for them in their next boyfriend, husband, wife, lover or partner.  The danger in Shonda convincing us that Mer/Der are the real thing is that if Der cheats, it means they’re not.  And yeah, McDreamy would become the doc we love to hate and hate having loved, but he’d take Shonda and her show right with him — especially if it turns out this is Dempsey’s ticket off the show and onto the racetrack.

Making viewers love the lovers made Grey’s Anatomy a television phenomenon and keeping viewers in love with the lovers has kept Grey’s at the top. Breaking viewers’ hearts will send Grey’s on a shark-jump to television infamy.  And I hope that Shonda is smart enough to stay far away from turning Grey’s into Heartbreak Hospital.

Here’s one Grey’s viewer who will be watching next week to see what rabbit Shonda pulls out of her hat this time.  And if there’s no rabbit?  #TGIT will mean – “Thank God It’s Thursday” because I can write all night.  And I’ll take special care to keep my readers heart-whole and cheering for love.

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Hi guys, it’s the Angry One, making a small contribution from the storehouse of dysfunction that is Crazy Duck Lady’s husband’s brain.

Over a decade ago, I used to write little comedy bits for websites here and there. They are all gone now, but I’ve managed to dredge up a few little things from my packrat hard drive. A couple of them I’ve put on the blog here already, but there was one series in particular that I enjoyed writing – the story of Ogg and Linda, caveman and wife.

I used a lot of my own experiences with women and the funny differences between them and the male half of the species for material. After a marriage lasting over 25 years and interaction with women on a daily basis at the workplace, the comedy almost wrote itself.

This particular story came from my helping the ladies of the one of the departments in my workplace move their offices around.

There are some things in our climb from the swamp to the stars that will never change for women, one of those things being a dissatisfaction with all arrangements of furniture…

(more…)

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I was never a country music fan — until recently.  I discovered an affection for country music after I switched my reality-music-TV watching from “American Idol” to “The Voice.” I wasn’t very far along into watching “The Voice” before Blake Shelton’s easy-going, strong as satin-wrapped steel demeanor struck enough of a chord for me to go into my Amazon Prime account and check out his music. And Blake connected me to country.

Why I had no appreciation for the genre before, I can’t say.  A whole lot of country music speaks of life with a “Southern Voice” (Love that one by Tim McGraw, BTW). My Southern eyes see life just that way.  I’ve always adored Beach Music, the tunes to which Carolina Girls (Love that one by General Norman Johnson and the Chairmen of the Board) shag.  The shag is the official state dance of South Carolina because its a step that was, like me, born and bred in the Palmetto State.  Music connected to the South has always held an appeal for me, but for some reason, that didn’t hold true for country.

Growing up, my neighbors and family liked country music and laughed at my love of rock and roll. It was scorned as “the devil’s music.” During my college years, most of us went out to clubs that played rock and roll, disco, and beach music.  The clubs that played country were the haystick places where you didn’t go unless you were armed and appreciated watching a good bar fight.  My musical tastes matured as I grew, but somehow that never, ever included country music until “The Voice” introduced me to that “Playboy of the Southwestern World”, Blake Shelton.

Blake’s evangelism for the genre made me wonder how I’d never appreciated it before. Mr. Shelton speaks fervently of how country must be felt before its sung and of how it can only be sung well if it comes from the heart. Most great country songs revolve around the same core as my books – love, in all its good, bad, ugly and life-affirming variations.  It might be first love, back seat “love for tonight,” brokenhearted love lost, love never returned or forever love found – but if its love, there’s a country song with lyrics that tell the tale. (Blake’s amazing wife, Miranda Lambert, has one about a “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” that delights an insane duck lady.  Any song that celebrates crazy is a good thing. I think Loretta Lynn said that first. )

There are country songs that celebrate having fun, loving family, appreciating friends and having a drink or ten while you’re doing it.  But I’ve come to realize that other than a love for pick-up trucks,  the rebellious, raucous, loyal-beyond-a-fault country attitude describes my approach to life and writing. And it was something I was closed to – an automatic shut-off valve in my brain activated whenever a country song came on the radio.  That was ‘change the station’ time.  Now, I listen, enjoy and appreciate.

How much of life do we miss if we have automatic shut-off switches?  Whether it’s different ideas, different values, different views of life or love – why not let it in enough to consider, to ponder,  to evaluate?  There is much absolutely abhorrent out there, and I’m not advocating that we accept or endorse every idea floating around the universe.  I’m just saying that what we should “shut off” are those switches that deprive us of the opportunity to grow and learn and to become and to keep becoming as long as we’ve life left to live.

Lots of folks who love country music may have their automatic shut-offs programmed to screen out over-the-top, avidly erotic tales of love between a man and a woman (Mary Anne Graham titles) or between two men (Olivia Outlaw titles – to date, but Olivia will expand too).  Well, a whole bunch of those folks are missing some stories that will read a lot like a country song sounds.  In my author’s voice they’ll recognize familiar notes sung in a different tone. If they give it a chance, their worlds might grow a little too, just like mine did when NBC’s “The Voice” and country charmer Blake Shelton convinced me to override my shut off valve and re-consider country music.

I see it now — my books read a lot like a Blake Shelton song sounds – and that’s a very good thing.

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I went to see the “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie and left feeling disappointed and decidedly unmoved.  It was well-filmed, well-written and well-acted, but it didn’t do justice to the book or its readers. Why?  Come on – if you saw the movie then you know the answer. There was no sizzle, no spark – no chemistry – between Christian and Ana. And the sizzle sells the story. Without that spark, the film fell flat.

I think some of that and perhaps a lot of it is due to the control the book’s author insisted upon exercising over casting.  Rumors are rampant that the author is demanding even more control over the sequels.  If she gets it, then there is no point in making the films. And that’s true even if Erika Mitchell (E.L. James) has a background as a film assistant and a television executive.  Even if the author has a background directing or producing movies, she must step aside from her book’s movie.

A story belongs to the writer when it lives only on the hard drive of the writer’s computer.  As soon as it leaves that safe, secluded nest, a story belongs to the readers – or its movie producer, director, screen-writer and actors. If the author doesn’t let it go then it won’t grow into something that lives, breathes and inspires. The book will be like the child who never leaves home.

In casting the movie, particularly, the author should not – absolutely should not – be involved.  A writer developed a vision of her characters that helped her tell their story.  Because her vision was so strong, she believes her readers saw the characters in the same way.  The author believes that if the characters appear in any way other than the way she wrote them then the story will not work.  The author convinces herself that she owes it to her readers to be sure that any film adaptation will feature only actors who look the part. The author is lying to herself, of course.  Every reader sees the story differently, and a film producer, director and script-writer will have their own vision. That’s the story they must tell — not the one written in black and white by an author. The author’s story inspires the movie, but it can not confine the movie.

It never mattered that the actors playing Christian and Ana looked the part because Hollywood is like a fairy godmother.  It can turn a black actor white, a white actor black, and a human into an alien.  It can surely turn blond, red-headed, or black-haired actors into people who look like Christian and Ana. But Cinderella’s fairy godmother could do more than dress her for the part,  and Hollywood can do no more than turn out players ready for the play.  Chemistry can’t be created.  All the amazing special effects in the film-maker’s arsenal can’t create the special human magic that either occurs or it doesn’t.

In “Fifty Shades of Grey” – the movie – the magic spell was never cast because it never existed between the actors. People who watched the movie without having read the books were left wondering one thing:  What kind of idiot female would dance to a tune played by a stalker with a God complex? Without the chemistry, the love between the characters never sold the story.

When an author’s book is made into a movie,  there is only one place the author belongs — in the audience.  The creative team making the movie must be allowed the freedom of spirit and independence of action that must occur to allow them to create a visual depiction that carries a viewer the way a good book carries a reader.  The creators aren’t telling the writer’s story.  They are showing the story that played in their heads, in their hearts, and in their spirits – while they read the writer’s tale.  They are readers with cameras and make-up brushes, with scripts and director’s chairs.

A story told well will create a different picture for every reader, shaded and contoured by the reader’s own beliefs and experiences. Most readers can not take that picture and translate it into a film that moves the viewer. Making a movie is a creative act and every member of the team is an artist in his or her field. An author must respect the creative process enough to get out of its way.

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Dear readers and authors everywhere – Shall we break out the champagne? The royals have thrown open the castle gates to admit within the sacred walls the indie authors who dared to take their work directly to the people. Post Indie Revolution the eyes of at least some of the royals are opening to realize that in depriving writers of a chance, the gatekeepers also deprived the royals of a choice. It’s a new day, and in the dawn of the light of freedom and possibility, the crown lies where it has always belonged — upon the head of the reader whose finger hovers over the buy button.

Yes, publishers are blinking and as their eyes adjust to the blinding light of the new dawn, they are seizing some of the control they formerly ceded to literary agents.  Check this out:

Publishers are playing literary agents at their own game, seeking out new talent for themselves and cutting out the industry’s powerful middlemen.

Executives within HarperCollins, Jonathan Cape, Little, Brown, and Tinder Press are inviting “un-agented submissions”, marking a dramatic cultural shift for an industry having to readjust to developments such as self-publishing, as well as the often huge advances demanded by agents for coveted titles.

“Publishers Bypass Literary Agents To Discover New Talent”, The Guardian, Dalya Alberge.

I’m not a’tall surprised to find that one of the leaders of the new movement in publishing shares the name of a certain duck lady.  Mary Anne Harrington of Tinder Press, Headline publishing’s literary imprint noted that in relying upon gatekeeping literary agents, perhaps publishers have been “drowning out other, fresher voices.”   You think?  It figures that one of the first publishers to get a clue would be blessed with a duckly moniker.  Quack back at’cha Mary Anne Harrington.

Another ‘got a clue’ lady has a different name – but hey, we can’t ALL be named Mary Anne, can we?  Katie Espiner, a publisher at HarperCollins imprint, Borough Press, awoke in the bright sunlight to an epiphany – she was allowing other people to make her decisions. She promptly held an open submission that discovered a promising new author because:  she wouldn’t allow other people to make her choices for her in any other area of her life.

The gate-opening trend among publishers has prompted some literary agencies to cast a wider net – but at least one is doing it with a Jekyll and Hyde mentality.  Agency Curtis Brown is holding a writing course that has discovered 15 debut novelists over the last 2.5 years.  Yet the chairman of that very same agency, Jonathan Lloyd, retains enough of the royal mentality he acquired working at HarperCollins during the Castle era to remain skeptical of publishers actually making their own choices.  Lloyd said, publishers “don’t have the resources, time and energy to deal with the flood of manuscripts that they’re going to get. And they won’t be filtered.”

I’m happy that publishers are finally descending from their ivory towers to seize their companies’ destinies in their own hands. And I’m delighted that literary agencies are awakening to discover that they have to get out and find the talent because writers no longer crawl to their doors in such great numbers.  But I’m still one of those writers who left the beggars’ line at the dawn of the indie revolution.  I don’t even own a hat and groveling on bended knees gives me leg cramps.

If a literary agent, publisher or big shot movie producer is insane enough to take a flier on romance or erotic romance by a crazy duck lady who publishes as Mary Anne Graham and Olivia Outlaw — I’m easy enough to contact. This blog has a “contact me” link in the upper right corner and I bet Amazon or D2D would be glad to steer any legitimate inquiries my way. Otherwise, I’ll continue to write my stories where lovers get the happy ending that reality too often denies.

Y’all keep reading and I’ll keep writing.

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*WARNING WARNING WARNING!!*

*THERE ARE DISGUSTING SEXUALLY DEVIANT PRACTICES DESCRIBED BELOW, WITH OFFENSIVE OPINIONS AND NASTY FLAVORED HATERADE!*

*IF YOU ARE A LITTLE CRYBABY WHO IS “TRIGGERED” BY REAL LIFE THINGS AND HAAAAAAATEFUL OPINIONS, GET BENT AND GET THE HELL OUT!*

*IF YOU COMPLAIN ABOUT THIS POST, THAT MEANS YOU DIDN’T READ THIS WARNING, YOU SUCK, AND SHOULD DIE FROM DONKEY AIDS ASAP!*

This is the Angry Old Fat Man, soon to be forced to watch one of the most anticipated (and IMO, most lame) film in recent history: Fifty Shades of Grey.

The only things I know about the movie and the books it is based on is the trailer, a few news stories, and very very little about what my wife the Crazy Duck Lady loves about her chosen genre.

  • The protagonist, a woman of course, is a normal middle class chick who’s underemployed. She’s a gorgeous hottie in her 20s (probably early 20s) WHO IS A VIRGIN.

The first WTF inability to suspend disbelief is right of the gate. If you’re a hot little 20-something female, you got your share of dick long before college graduation. Some babes get so bored with dick and their owners at that time that they turn into LUGs – Lesbians Until Graduation.

A hot-as-hell 20-something female virgin? Get the fuck outta here. Only if she got all of her orifices (including her mouth… LOL!) sewed shut in high school is this possible.

  • Her love interest is a late-blooming entreprenuer billionaire who is so rich he has at least 20 expensive cars in the garage of his palatial digs.

A single guy who can rest his ass in a different car every day of a month is not going to be satisified with resting his weiner in one vajay-jay every fucking day for the rest of his life. PARTICULARLY if he made his money by working his way into it, as opposed to inheriting it. He needs a way to unwind, and only a moron thinks he can unwind by listening to the yammering of the same woman every… damn… night. No matter how sweet her tits and ass are in her 20s, her mouth stays in overdrive about the most banal shit until she’s an ancient hag.

So the second WTF inability to suspend disbelief is a single billionaire dude whose life isn’t a parade of premium-grade cocaine and ultra-high-class hookers.

  • Billionaire dude is into sado-masochism and promises the entire rest of his life to the woman who can take his “abuse”.

From what I’ve heard of it, “sado-masochism” here is related to real sadism/masochism like McDonalds Chicken McNuggets are related to chicken marsala. If, you know, chicken marsala involved blood and pain of the diner as well as the chicken.

Let me make my first prediction about the movie: there will be no sodomy. Unless you count oral sex as sodomy, in which case you probably will think this movie is horribly scandalous.

For the rest of us who have seen at least 5 minutes of porn made in the 21st Century, or read pretty much anything written by the Marquis de Sade in the 18th Century, the sex in the movie is going to be bland as hell.

There will probably be (simulated) blowjobs and (simulated) penis-in-vagina. And according to news stories, there’s going to be “sex toys”, aka vibrators and dildos.

As a comparison, dildos are weapons in video games that 13-year-olds play nowadays, and porn (supposed to be viewed by people 18 and over, but usually frequently gets seen by 13-15 year-olds) now features ON A REGULAR BASIS analingus, anal sex, and ass-to-mouth. Hard slapping and rape-like choking are also near-mainstream in porn.

So if you want woman-logic-style mommy porn, then go see Fifty Shades of Grey. Or if you love your wife enough to have your eyeballs, ears, and erections assaulted by dipshittery, then proceed.

 

And now, time for AOFM to do the nasty – and watch the movie.

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It’s the husband of the Crazy Duck Lady, with the simple announcement that all of her Carnal Collateral books have been published and are online, waiting for you guys to download them and salivate over them (or whatever it is you do).

You can see the last one, Devil’s Delight, in the sidebar and the Olivia Outlaw books page. Or you can click the links I just graciously provided for you out of the (diminishing) goodness of my (cold, black) heart.

Sorry I haven’t been updating. Not motivated enough to be creative. Been too angry at situation, work, life in general, and the attempts to maintain my much coveted status as one of the rich. You know, the rich. The ones near the age of 50 working two part-time jobs to keep the luxuries of such extravagant lifestyles, like living indoors in small houses with electricity, plumbing, and food. And no retirement money or plans at all, and no medical coverage. The Affordable Care Act apparently has, in one of its several thousand pages, a provision that says “health insurance shall be affordable to all – except ANGRY OLD FAT MAN, who is too rich to enjoy all benefits listed in this document without paying out his ass“.

I hope everybody who came up with and approved of such a travesty burn in Hell while being raped by the barbed penis of Satan.

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For the last 3 months or so, my books have been enrolled in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program, and have only been available on Amazon. That changes this week, starting tomorrow. My books will “roll out” of KU this month, and by the end of January all of my books will be available on other forums again, this time through Draft2Digital.

I get the concept of Kindle Unlimited. I get the benefits for readers and the benefits for the forum offering the subscription. Under the model, readers can budget X dollars per month, read all they want, and never risk going over budget. Having the readers subscribe keeps them on Amazon, which benefits to some degree from the subscription, but benefits to a larger degree on Kindle Fire purchases and on everything else readers buy from the Zon, which wants to be everyone’s one-stop shop. But none of the services can survive unless the benefits flow to the author and that is the fatal flaw with the program.

KU requires that authors offer their books exclusively on Amazon. There is a large “pool” of money from the subscription fees, and authors earn a borrow/sale each time a reader. Amazon pays each author the same percentage of that money, regardless of the sales price of their book. In exchange for participation, authors also receive a bump in ranking because borrows are rated as sales, and the right to run a limited number of promos every 90 days per book by either discounting the price for a few days (a countdown deal) or by giving the book away for a few days.

While the promo opportunities and the rankings boost are of some benefit, borrows tend to “eat” sales, so even those benefits are blades on a double-edged sword. Plus, there appears to be reader backlash, meaning that readers feel that if they have to pay for a book and others are getting it “free”, that is unfair or they feel that the book must not be worth their money if it is enrolled in KU. It doesn’t matter how high a book is rated if real sales dollars are not flowing into the author’s pocket.

The largest problems with KU are the exclusivity requirement and the payment structure. Without exclusivity, many authors might enroll series leaders in the program, use the promo opportunity, and gain sales at full value for the rest of the books in each series. With exclusivity, authors will not even do that, because it means that the series leaders couldn’t be sold on other forums, and if a whole series isn’t available, readers will often buy none of it. The payment structure means that authors who should earn $2.05 on a $2.99 book are making as little as $1.33 – and lack a guarantee of making even that. It also means that authors with a .99 cent book are making way more in KU than they make in sales. The unfairness of that structure has led to a bunch of scammers who post very short pamphlets on KU – some of them are only 10 pages in length. That means that if a reader opens the pamphlet, the author earns a sale because the reader has read a tenth of the book. And that author makes as much as a real, hardworking writer who has his or her work enrolled in the program.

I don’t see how Kindle Unlimited can continue to exist under the current arrangements. If Amazon wants the program to survive, it will need to make some real changes. Particularly, it must do away with the exclusivity requirement but it must also pay out in percentages, based on a book’s standard royalty rate. For example, Amazon might pay 80% of a standard royalty rate to books enrolled in the program. That would guarantee an author of a $2.99 book a royalty of 80% of $2.05 ($1.64) and an author of a .99 cent book with a royalty of .35 cents would make 80% of that (.28 cents).

Additionally, rolling out of the program makes my books available to all readers again, and that is a good thing. Authors far and wide are leaving KU, including many who are much less insane than a crazy duck lady – writers like HM Ward and JA Konrath.

So, starting tomorrow, my books will begin appearing on other venues via Draft2Digital’s distribution service. I’m choosing to experiment with D2D because there are less technical challenges in uploading books, so they get out faster, the service shows near real-time sales numbers, and it pays out monthly. Smashwords still has challenges in some of those areas. Additionally, D2D offers some nifty features I’ll be able to take full advantage of when all my books are out of the program – like an “Also by” page and a “teaser” for a different book of my choosing.

Kindle Unlimited and other subscription programs can not exist without content – a lot of books, offering a wide and growing variety in every genre. Without content, the service isn’t worth the subscription fee. Through the current structure of the program, Amazon is guilty of some of the same sins as were traditional publishers before the indie revolution. And traditional publishers nearly went under because of their unfair treatment of authors – those who survived learned the virtue of flexibility and made significant changes. Now, if Amazon wants Kindle Unlimited to survive, it must do the same.

I’m looking forward to welcoming a legion of new readers who enjoy highly sensual novels which will have a happy ending. The third part of my “Devil” series written as Olivia Outlaw – “Devil’s Delight” – is already available through D2D because I didn’t enroll it in KU and you can pick it up today at many of your favorite retailers. By tomorrow, my “Dangerous Relations” series will be available everywhere – By this Friday, 1/9/15, my “Sultan’s Toy” and “Carnal Collateral” series and boxed sets or bundles will be out and about as will Part 1 of my Devil’s series “Devil’s Deal”- By this Saturday, 1/10/15, my “Mary Anne Graham” books will be out and about – the “Forever” series, “Romancing the Rose,” “The Duke of Eden,” and “Brotherly Love” will be available, and on January 25th, the middle book in the Devil series, “Devi’s Demand” rolls out, meaning the whole Devil’s series will be available.

So, by the end of January, the entirety of my insanely romantic and delightfully sensual books written as Mary Anne Graham and as Olivia Outlaw will be available for your reading pleasure at retailers all over the web. Do the crazy duck lady a favor and pick up one or two and find out why love is better over the top!!

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Sales at other sites were dismal, so decided to try Kindle Unlimited aka KOLL for the required 90 days to see how it would go. Payouts had been at $1.53 per book. Amazon dropped it to $1.33 for the month just reported – October. The result? I unchecked my auto renew boxes but I’m in until early January. Most other indie authors are doing the same and some have books due for renewal in the next few weeks.

I may try D2D in January. Smashwords has never gotten its act together with payments and D2D pays monthly. People already complained that KU lacked books and it’s about to lack a lot more books – – likely, reducing available reads to the point that the program can’t survive.

The solution? Amazon needs to stop the “contest” where they pay millions to a few authors as a reward for the best sales & put all $$ in the KU payout pot. It needs to guarantee authors between $1.50 and $1.80 per book – OR pay a monthly per book fee ($25 or so per month). If Amazon wants to keep KU going and GROW it, then it should do both – at least for some books. The bottom line is that there is no “one size fits all” solution. Amazon needs to set criteria – if your book is a 99 cent title then your max borrow rate is 75 cents. If your book is fewer than 50 pages, then you will get 99 cents per month and if you “stuff” a book with material that is not real, genuine, writing in order to meet the page requirement, then you are banned from Amazon. If your book is a $2.99 title or more with over 50 pages of original, author-generated writing, then you get the higher payout and/or monthly bonus.

If Amazon wants to grow Kindle Unlimited, then it needs to give authors incentives to put their books in. If Amazon wants Kindle Unlimited to survive, then it at least needs to be fair with authors – below the $1.50 mark is a virtual no-writer’s land.

Readers – if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited- you should email or call Amazon and find out why Amazon is not putting the money into the program to give you a reading experience that earns your $9.99 per month. Authors, please let me know your thoughts about the future of Kindle Unlimited and whether you’ll keep your books in the program after this month’s $1.33 payout.

And Amazon – I’d love you to comment on this post and to explain why you’re not being fair to your authors which would in turn provide Amazon KU subscribers with the most reading choices possible. Right now, it looks like Amazon is pushing a dwindling supply of “all you can read” books on unsuspecting customers with one hand, and working covertly to kill Kindle Unlimited with the other.

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