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Archive for October, 2011

Last week, I wrote about how publishers and agents were crying “FOUL” over news that Amazon would be publishing some 120 over the last few months and yet few were talking about how Perseus was going to “help” authors self-publish.  My basic points regarding these two pieces of news were that publishers wouldn’t have to worry about authors leaving them IF the publishers and agents were really doing the job they said they were.  I honestly thought that would be the end of the post and I’d move on to something different this week — of course, it is never that easy.  So, to continue from where I left off, sort of. . . .

Publishers were busy puffing out their chests and declaring that e-books were reaching a saturation point in the market when July’s sales figures were released.  After all, hard cover sales had increased 33%.  At the time those figures were made public, a number of people — yours truly included — wondered if that was an anomaly caused by the sell-off of stock held by Borders.  Well, confirmation, at least partial confirmation, of our suspicions came this week when the Association of American Publishers announced the sales figures through August.

From Publisher’s WeeklyFor the first eight months of 2011, e-book sales increased 144.4%, to $649.2 million, from 18 reporting publishers to the AAP monthly statistics program. Sales were off by double digits in all trade print segments in the January-August period, although sales in the religion category were up 9% in the year to date at the 22 reporting houses.

GalleyCat has the complete breakdown:

With regard to the August figures, for the month, hard cover sales declined 11% and adult paperback sales declined close to 6%.  According to the AAP (again from Galleycat), “Strong, continuing revenue gains from digital formats in the Trade market – both e-books and downloaded audiobooks – helped offset declines in revenue from physical formats, resulting in only nominal, near-identical decreases vs the previous year’s and YTD’s figures

So, for the first eight months of the year, e-book sales are up 144.4%.  It is this increase that kept the figures from looking truly abysmal.  The only other areas to post gains are religious books and downloaded audio books.  If you’ve been tracking the figures for the last year plus, this follows the trend.  Even I, who run far and fast in the opposite direction when someone tells me I need to do math, can see that the figures for July when hard covers posted a double digit increase were not the start of a new trend.  Instead, it was an artificial increase in sales caused by the discounting of merchandise during the Borders bankruptcy sale off.

And yet, even with the figures staring them in the face, legacy publishers refuse to admit that e-books are not only a viable part of the marketplace, but all that is keeping some of them afloat right now.  Just think how many more units they might be able to sell if they simply lowered the prices of their new releases below hard cover prices.  Oh, I know.  They tell you they have to price e-books at near hard cover prices in order to make a profit.  Bull!  Remove DRM, admit that once they have the final text, all they really have to pay for above cost of setting the book for print is the conversion price and then the cost of having someone do a check of the conversion files to make sure nothing got screwed up.  Lower the price to even $9.99 — a price point most e-book buyers will pay for a new “best seller” — and they will sell more copies and that, eventually, will lead to more profit.  Not to mention more good will for the publisher which will also lead to more sales.  More sales equal more money.  Makes sense to me.  But then, I’ve never been a bean counter, much less one in a rarified office in NYC.

Going back to the cries of anguish last week caused by Amazon, there was a deafening silence this week when Kobo announced it would now start publishing books.  For those of you not familiar with Kobo, it’s an online presence, not unlike that for Amazon or B&N when it comes to e-books.  When Borders still existed, Kobo was associated with it for e-books.  This isn’t a self-publishing venture for authors.  No, according to the article, Kobo will do editing, design, marketing and the selling of the books.  Sound familiar?  So, why no hue and outcry by the publishers?  Simply put, they aren’t scared of Kobo because its name isn’t Amazon.  It doesn’t matter that Kobo is offering the same service as Amazon.  All that matters is that Kobo isn’t the 800 pound gorilla.  The publishers have forgotten about the tortoise moving slowly and surely toward the goal.

So, does all this mean the end of publishing as we know it?  Eventually.  Even if legacy publishers were to suddenly understand the importance of e-books and reasonable pricing, the snowball has already started rolling down the mountainside.  Publishers — and agents and authors — are going to have to adapt to the changing expectations and demands of the reading public.  Just as publishers had to change as technology and society changed in the early to mid 1900’s, they are going to have to do so again.  If not, the publishers will perish.  But, in their places will be new publishers, those flexible enough to adapt to the changes.  In other words, there will always been books and short stories.  It’s just the format and pricing that may change.

Cross-posted to the Naked Truth and Mad Genius Club.

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I want to start by thanking Glenn Reynolds for the link to yesterday’s blog and welcome all his readers from Instapundit.  Pull up a chair, relax and enjoy your favorite virtual cup of coffee or other morning beverage.

It still amazes me how publishers and agents can cry foul when Amazon — or any other entity for that matter — encroaches on what they see as their territory.  It amazes me because it truly shows just how disconnected the legacy publishers and others are from the realities brought on by new technology and the change in reader demands.  Right now, these publishers are crying “foul!” because Amazon is trying to make them unnecessary in the road to publication.  They say they offer so many things of value to the writer, and the reading public, that Amazon and others can’t.  But, as I said yesterday, these very same benefits they tout are the ones they gave up on long ago:  quality editing and proofreading, formatting, promotion, etc.  This is especially true when it comes to e-books, the same e-books these publishers say cost as much to produce as the hard copy that is being released at the same time.  I could go one, but my friend Dave Freer has said it much more eloquently than I can over at Mad Genius Club.

What I do know is that legacy publishers are cutting their own throats, especially when it comes to the e-book market.  I’m not just talking price here, even though the majority of people don’t want to pay the same price for an e-book that they do for a hard cover and most of them don’t even want to pay the price of a paperback for an e-book.  Nor can I blame them, especially not when the legacy publishers view the e-book not as a book at all, but as a license.  They fill the e-book with DRM, which is expensive to the publisher and insulting to the reader/customer.  With DRM, you are limited to the type and number of devices you can read the book on.  Try to read it on an unsupported device and you can’t.  Want to break DRM, you’re called a pirate by the publishers.  Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy toward those publishers, doesn’t it?

These same publishers say they are paying extra, a lot extra if you believe them, to convert that next best seller into an e-book.  If that’s the case, I’d expect there to be no problems with the formatting or layout of the e-book and I’d sure as heck expect it to have been proofread so there are no misspellings, etc.  Guess what, it’s more than likely that you’ll find errors in the e-book.  For some reason, they seem to pop off the screen at you much more than they do off the printed page.  At least they do for me.  I’ve even checked printed versions of books when I’ve found errors in the kindle version and, yep, those errors are on the printed page as well.  I’m not talking indie books here.  I’m talking books printed by the big six publishers.  so where’s that wonderful quality control they’re talking about?

But it isn’t all gloom and doom in publishing.  I was pleased this morning to see the news that there will be two publishers focusing on books for middle grade kids.  The first is from Algonquin and will focus on the YA and middle grade markets and is expected to debut the end of next year.  While I wish it was happening soon, I’m thrilled to see anyone who knows there is a hole in the middle grade market and wants to fill it.  I just hope they fill it with books that are fun to read — and that therefore encourage kids to read them — instead of books that are all “socially relevant” and written in styles that send the kids running from them just as fast as they can.

The second is the one that really excites me because it is aimed at boys.  I’ve gotten so tired of hearing that boys don’t read.  They do.  These people who are supposedly in the know might be surprised if they climbed down from their ivory towers and actually looked at what middle grade boys.  The problem hasn’t been that they don’t read.  It’s that they haven’t had nearly enough well-written and FUN books to read.  It’s my hope that this new venture will provide just that.  At least Move Books’ slogan is encouraging: “Moving Boys to Read”.  Eileen Robinson, publisher of Move Books, gets it, in my opinion.  Here’s what she had to say about how her nine year old son was inspiration for this new venture: “He struggled as a reader, and it was difficult to find books that would grab his attention, make him laugh, and make him want to read on his own. . . He and his friends seem to be drawn more to nonfiction, and like a lot of boys, they tend to read for information more than for pleasure. I am hoping that the novels Move Books publishes will provide that pleasure, and will encourage boys to pick them up rather than turn to a video game.” Well said, Ms. Robinson.  Well said.

So, here’s a hat tip to those who recognize the need to encourage our middle schoolers, especially the boys, to read.  And here’s a swift kick in the pants to those publishers and agents who seem to think we can put the genie back in the bottle and go back to publishing like it was fifty years ago.

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I’m a little late posting this morning and I apologize.  I’d really planned on putting up an open thread today, but a couple of articles caught my eye during the wee hours of the morning as I was trying to convince the scaredy dog (yes, that is a word and the nicest I could call the drooler at the time) that we weren’t about to be tossed into the air only to land in Oz.  In other words, the big, bad dog is scared of rain and kept the household up during the night because we had storms.

Any way, a couple of articles caught my eye.  One has been in the news for a week or so.  There have been the typical knee-jerk reaction from the legacy publishers and those who still believe they are the only hope for the publishing industry.  Another has been sort of ignored because it doesn’t deal with Amazon even though it is yet another example of how some agents are potentially getting into a conflict of interest, or at least a very grey and murky area of fiduciary duty to their clients.

But the Amazon story first.  On the 16th of this month, the New York Times published an article about Amazon bypassing publishers and signing authors to contracts to publish through Amazon.  For some months now, Amazon has been introducing “imprints”.  Several well-known authors signed exclusive publishing contracts with Amazon.  There were a few ripples when that happened, but nothing like the response to the Times’ article last week.  The specifics are pretty simple.  This fall, Amazon will publish 122 titles.  These titles will be across a variety of genres and some will be digital and some hard copy.  Among the authors will be self-help guru Tim Ferrias and actor/director Penny Marshall.And the cries of foul were heard far and wide from legacy publishers.

According to the Times, “Publishers say Amazon is aggressively wooing some of their top authors. And the company is gnawing away at the services that publishers, critics and agents used to provide.”

So let’s look at that statement.  While I can’t speak to whether or not Amazon is “aggressively wooing” top authors, it would be a fool not to.  The same publishers who are crying foul are the ones who backed the agency pricing plan for e-books.  This is the plan that lets the publishers set the price for their e-books so there is no competition across the different e-book retailers.  Worse, the general reading public doesn’t understand that Amazon can’t control the prices for those books from the agency model publishers, and it is the one on the receiving end of the bad customer feelings.

But more telling is that these same publishers are crying because Amazon is “gnawing away at the services that publishers, critics and agents used to provide.”  Used to provide is the key phrase here.  Past tense.  As in, these are services that were once provided by publishers, critics and agents and are no longer.  Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?  And, frankly, can you blame an author for signing with Amazon if it does offer the editing, copy editing and proofreading, promotion and placement legacy publishers used to and no longer do?  I can’t.

I also think it’s rather disingenuous to have an agent, who also happens to be a publisher, complaining about Amazon taking money out of the hands of agents.  What about putting money into the hands of writers, especially when so many agents these days are either turning into publishers themselves (which brings up the question of just how hard they are going to work to place their clients’ work with another publisher when the agency could be the publisher)?  I’ll be honest, those who are crying “foul” the loudest are those who have enjoyed telling the writer to bend over and cough, forgetting that, without the writer, they wouldn’t have a business.

Read the article and let me know what you think.

Then there’s the second article, which sort of falls in with my last set of comments.  The Perseus Books Group has announced a new venture to “help” authors who want to self-publish.  The catch:  these authors have to be represented by certain agents who have signed agreements with Perseus.  So, that’s how some agents are getting around the somewhat murky ethical issue of literary agents also being publishers.  They don’t.  They just sign agreements with companies like Perseus to “publish” and “distribute” the books.

The article notes that one of the “benefits” of doing it this way is the breakdown of authors getting 70% while Perseus will only get 30%.  Guess what, boys and girls, an author can get that from Amazon now by self-publishing through them.  More than that, any author is capable of putting their e-books into the outlets mentioned in the article.  Even if the author doesn’t have the required Mac computer for iBooks/iTunes, it can be easily done through Smashwords.  Again, quick and easy and without the middleman.

But there’s more.  At least I have more concerns.  Question one, if Author A is represented by one of the agencies that has an agreement with Perseus, does Author A owe a commission to Agent B if he goes through Perseus?  Question two, if so, how does the agency build the proverbial Chinese wall (no insult intended here.  It’s a phrase learned in law school.) to make sure there is no undue pressure put on the author/client to go this route instead of the traditional publishing route?  Conversely, what sort of pressure would the agent put on Author A if the author came to him and said he wanted to self-publish and Agent B really wants to take the book through the traditional route?

I know legacy publishers and agents are scared about where the industry is going.  Or they should be.  Heck, anyone in the business, including authors, should be at least a little scared.  But it really is those who have made their livelihoods on the backs of authors who are the most scared and who are doing their best to find new and imaginative ways to maintain the status quo.  My advice, whether you are shopping a book around right now or thinking about doing so in the near future, decide what route is best for you.  Most of all, if you are offered a contract by either an agent or a legacy publisher, hie thee to an intellectual property attorney forthwith.  Do NOT sign it without first having someone very familiar with the industry looking it over first.  And please, note I said legacy publisher AND agent.

(Edited to add:  Welcome to everyone coming over from Instapundit.  Thanks to Insty for the mention and link.)

(Cross-posted to Mad Genius Club and Naked Truth)

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I didn’t get up this morning wanting to rant.  No, I’d planned to write about the NYT article yesterday about Amazon’s latest foray into publishing and how it has legacy publishers quaking in their boots because they can’t figure out how to adapt to new technologies, pricing and product demands from their customers.  But that’s going to have to wait.  I have to rant.

As you’ve probably figured out from some of my earlier posts, my morning routine consists of feeding the animals before they start eating my ankles, pouring as much coffee down me as quickly as possible and reading the news and checking a few blogs and discussion boards before starting work.  Call it my way of making sure the world still exists and I haven’t, somehow, managed to get myself sent to Wonderland or Oz or the Twilight Zone while sleeping.

Well, this morning was no different.  Except one topic on the Kindle boards sent me into full-blown rant mode.  I can grit my teeth and ignore — sort of — those authors and editors and agents who put their political beliefs out there on facebook and condemn everyone else who doesn’t agree with them.  I think they’re foolish for doing so because they don’t know who they might be needing to deal with tomorrow or the next day or the day after that.  So why risk making an enemy when you don’t have to?  If you have to talk politics or religion using social media, at least limit who can see it.  Remember your mother telling you there are two things you never talk about at the dinner table: politics and religion.  That really is a good rule to remember, especially when it comes to social media.  But that’s not what today’s post is about.

No, today’s post is thanks to the fellow who thinks we ought to outlaw trade paperbacks.  Now, when I saw the subject line of the thread, I figured he was like so many others, myself included, who don’t particularly like TPBs because they aren’t quite the size of hard covers and definitely larger than mass market paperbacks and, therefore, difficult to store.  But no.  It wasn’t that simple, or that reasonable.  He wants to ban them because they are bad for the environment.

Yep, you heard me.  Trade paperbacks are bad for the environment and should, therefore, be banned.  After all, we have e-books now and they are so much more environmentally friendly.  Apparently, now that we have such easy accessibility to e-books, there’s no reason to keep killing trees, using fossil fuels to make and transport trade paperbacks, etc.  Oh, we can continue to have POD books, but let’s get rid of TPBs.

Okay, I get the environmental concerns.  Of course, the original poster doesn’t take into account the environmental impact of making and then discarding of e-book readers.  But I’m not going to get into that.  What sent me over the edge were two basic issues I see with his statement.  The first is that it assumes everyone wants to read e-books.  They don’t.  It is going to be years before we see a saturation of the market with e-readers the way we see with cell phones or computers or TVs.  Until then, alternatives are going to have to be offered.  It just makes business sense to.  More than that, I honestly believe there is always going to be niche markets for printed books.

But what really got to me was the fact that the original poster suggested banning ONLY trade paperbacks.  He didn’t say ban printed books.  He didn’t mention hard covers or mass market paperbacks.  ONLY trade paperbacks.  They are not the majority of books printed, not by a long shot.  So, why target them as the segment that needs to be banned to save the environment?  It makes no sense.

And don’t say it’s because he didn’t know any better.  The guy’s an author.  If he doesn’t know there’s more than one format of books, he’s been living under a rock and has never been to a bookstore or browsed one online.  No, I can’t help but think this was his way of trying to garner interest in his own books without violating Amazon’s rules against self-promotion on the Kindle boards.  How, you ask.  That’s simple.  People tend to click on a poster’s name when that poster says something that either interests them or has them asking ‘WTF?”.  By doing so, you are taken to the poster’s profile and, from there, you can click on the OP’s weblink.  Which, gee, advertises his books.  Books that are, I’m sure, also listed on Amazon.

But there’s something else that bothers me about his post.  Whether he actually believes what he suggests or was trying to get a discussion started or just wanted to be a troll and get folks upset, I don’t know.  But when someone, anyone, starts suggesting we “ban” any form — or format — of a book, I start looking over my shoulder.  Paranoid?  Possibly.  But it is such a hot button word, I can’t help it.  It is a knee-jerk reaction.  If we “ban” one format of a book, what’s to stop us from doing it to others?  Say we did decide to save the environment by banning TPBs, that wouldn’t really impact the carbon footprint of the publishing industry.  It wouldn’t take long before the reports to say so.  Then we’d ban the other printed books.  After all, people don’t read that much any more.  All the studies show it.  Besides, fi they want to read, they can read e-books.  Right?  Oh, wait, Joe doesn’t want to.  No problem.  He can go to the library.  We’ll continue to let books be printed for libraries.

Picture me rolling my eyes and gagging right now.  There’s a simple economic truth that this argument forgets.  Libraries have to pay for their books.  Some they buy outright.  Others they lease.  That takes money and, whether you know it or not, libraries are strapped for cash.  Communities are cutting library budgets which often results in fewer hours of operation, fewer employees, fewer new books on the shelves.  Sometimes, it even means closing libraries.  So now we’ve banned the printed book except as POD for libraries.  The problem with this is that it wouldn’t be a money-making proposition for the publisher or author if they priced the book low enough for most libraries to be able to afford it.  If they price the book high enough for a reasonable profit, the libraries won’t be able to buy it.  So, no new books.

But, taking the original poster’s argument the next step, one he didn’t take.  If we are going to ban trade paperbacks and, presumably, all other printed books, shouldn’t we also ban printed newspapers and magazines?  What about all the printed junk mail we get through the mail?  Oh, and if we’re banning printed books, does that include textbooks?  What about prayer books, bibles and hymnals for churches, etc?  I can see it now.  Sunday morning mass and the priest turns to the congregation and tells them to get out their e-book readers or cell phones and go to the hymnal app for Hymn No. 32.

Rolling my eyes again.

Will there come a time when we will see e-book production outpacing the printing of hard copy books?  Sure.  But to argue that we should ban the printing of just one format of books to save the environment is not only ridiculous but short sighted as well.  Okay, no more ranting…at least for a little while.

(Cross-posted to The Naked Truth)

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First a couple of items of news, sort of.  First of all, Naked Reader Press has put up a preview of Kate Paulk’s upcoming novel, ConVent.  Kate is one of those writers who constantly surprises me.  She can do alternate history (Impaler) with a twist of the fantastical and then she can be split-your-sides funny laced with a healthy dose of cynicism and WTF (ConVent).  Any way, the first scene from ConVent is up at The Naked Truth and the book will be available for purchase the weekend of Oct. 21st.

The next bit of news is that The Naked Truth will be featuring previews of several new novels over the next few weeks, including Quicksand by C. S. Laurel, Cat’s Paw by Robert A. Hoyt, and my own Nocturnal Serenade.  There is also a guest post by Jim Snover, author of the wonderful steampunk/western short story  Blackie, that will be up on the blog sometime within the week.

As for the thought or two, do you remember when I blogged about how readers are beginning to look closer at what e-titles they buy?  As proof of that, there is a new thread on the kindle boards this morning asking how to tell what titles are written by “indies” and what titles are not.  Now, before you get excited, the original poster isn’t wanting to know what books and short stories are written by indies because he wants to buy them.  Quite the opposite in fact.  He wants to know so he can avoid them.  A quick look at the responses show that most of those answering are concerned by exactly what I — and so many others — predicted.  Poor editing, poor story construction, poor cover art, etc.  No longer is the low price enough to entice them into buying a title.  They’ve been burned before — too often, according to some of them.  Now they want e-books and short stories that only come from established publishers.

Does this presage a quick death to indie publishing in the digital world?  Nah.  But it does point out that authors, established and newbies, who want to go this route need to make sure they are putting out a quality product.  Editing, and not just copy editing and proofreading, is a must.  Decent cover art is also a must.  Now, I’m not sure about having “professional” reviews as some of the commenters suggested.  After all, for most of these so-called pro reviews, you have to pay.  That sort of defeats the purpose, imo.

What this means is that we, as writers going the indie route, need to make sure the product we put out is as good, if not better, than that put out by traditional publishers.  Mind you, in a lot of cases that’s not saying much.  But take a look at the e-books you’ve downloaded, especially the free ones.  How many have had weird fonts or strange formatting?  I’ll be honest, I’ve seen more than that than I have of e-books with horrible spelling or punctuation.  In fact, when I’ve seen complaints about that, and I’ve checked for myself, the spelling errors have usually been from the reader and not the author.  But, there have been spelling and grammar mistakes I’ve seen and, usually, I can attribute them to the author relying on spell-check and grammar-check.  Please, DO NOT DO THAT.

Any way, I’m not going to spend a lot of time on the fundamentals of what makes a good e-book.  I’ll probably do that for Mad Genius Club for The Naked Truth later.  This was just to put the bug in the ear of all those who are considering self-publishing to be aware of the fact that there is a movement among some readers of e-books not to buy indies because of all the bad ones they’ve read before.  The moral of the story is to make sure you have the best product possible and that you have enough of a preview available for your potential readers to show not only that you can write but that you also hook them with the plot and the characters.

 

 

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There are times. . .

when I wonder if people ought to be given the ability to hit enter and have their latest thoughts spread across the interwebs for all to see.  Two different posts in two different fora today have thrown me out of what I’ve been doing — either writing or reviewing slush recommendations from the editorial board.  The first was a supposedly innocent question about whether people ought to read “bad” books.  The problem is that the question was phrased in such a way that it instantly became a lightning rod for conflict.  You see, the issue is that the original poster phrased it so “bad” books are all those horrible, vile romance and western and sci-fi books out there.  You know the ones I’m talking about — the books without any redeeming social or political values.  Books that aren’t literary.  In subsequent posts, the OP tried to say he hadn’t meant that genre books were all bad, but, well, the damage had been done.  What may have started out as an attempt to encourage conversation turned into something close to a minor flame war because of how the original question was phrased.

Then we come to the latest thing to have me wondering why in the hell people don’t read what they write before hitting send.  Of course, it also hit another hot point of mine, that of demanding that every person of European descent feel ashamed and terrible because of actions taken by ancestors centuries ago.  This particular one came in the form of us wanting to re-purpose how we look at Columbus Day because, gee, he caused so much evil and damage to the Native American population.  The video linked to the post even alleges that Columbus perpetrated atrocities against millions of American Indians.  Now, I know I’ve been out of school for a long time, but how in hell did he manage to do that?  Oh, wait, HE didn’t.  They are saying he is responsible for everything that happened after him.  It is clear, according to this poster and the makers of the video, that we shouldn’t remember him for anything but how his actions caused the slaughter of the indians, the destruction of their culture and civilization and pardon me as I gag.  Believe me, the “noble savage” was no more noble than those being accused of destroying his way of life, not to mention it has always struck me as being demeaning in so many ways.

Then there is another speaker in the video who claims Columbus set the stage for slavery in America.  WTF?  Sorry, but slavery wasn’t an unknown in the Americas before Columbus arrived.  Tribes enslaved members of opposing tribes after defeating them.  Some of those captured were even sacrificed either in religious rituals or in so-called sporting events.  That sort of blows holes in the argument that Columbus set the stage for slavery in the U. S.

And shall we discuss the “comic” that says that since it’s Columbus Day, we should walk into someone else’s home and say we live there now?  I guess this means we shouldn’t continue undersea exploration because we might displace a fish or two or maybe even a mermaid.  Then there’s space exploration — assuming NASA gets the funding it needs or private enterprise moves forward.  Should we not go into space?  Under the same thinking — and I use that term loosely — the answer would be no.  Why, because there might be some form of life out there that we might brush up against.

What frustrates the hell out of me, beyond the need these people have of imposing generational guilt on us, is that they act as if Columbus knew there were people in the New World and planned to destroy their lives and their culture.  Find me unequivocal proof that he did or stop putting it forward.  The same is true with the claim that his actions allowed for slavery to come to the Americas.  I just love — not — when people rewrite history to meet their own political agendas and needs for self-flagellation.

I don’t often get into politics here.  This is my writing blog, but c’mon.  None of us can change what happened centuries ago.  Demanding that we feel guilty about it is beyond ludicrous.  Denying the fact that Columbus — or any other explorer for that matter — did help the advancement of humanity as a whole and this country in particular is just as insane, in my opinion.  It ranks up there with the revisionist history that so many of our kids are being taught now.

Now, before anyone gets their knickers in a twist and accuse me of being insensitive to what horrible things happened to the Native American population, let me tell you that I have as much Cherokee in my blood as anything else.  Actually, I have more than any one other nationality.  My Cherokee roots go back to my great-grandmother who was full-blooded Cherokee.  That’s a lot closer than the European roots.  I value my Cherokee roots.   But I also value the Irish and the German, not only because those ancestors had the courage to leave behind what they knew to form new lives here but also because they were willing to risk those lives in the service of their new country.

Were atrocities committed by the Europeans who came here?  Sure.  But not every European committed them.  Nor were they alone.  Study your history and you’ll see that the different tribes often committed atrocities against rival tribes.  Hell, look at some of the rituals of the Aztecs if you want to look a little further abroad than the borders of the U.S.  Look also at what some of the tribes did to the European settlers.  No one was completely innocent or completely at fault.

I am tired of the apologists for history, especially revisionist history.

I am tired of authors and editors and so-called Hollywood notables thinking that they have to try to “educate” the rest of us to the “right” way of thinking.

I am tired of being told I should feel guilty because some long ago ancestor might have done something bad to someone else’s ancestor.

Guess what, boys and girls, none of us can change what happened in the past, especially a past that happened hundreds of years ago.  So get over it and focus instead on things you can change.

Maybe I ought to think twice about posting this.  Oh, wait, I did.  I recognize the right of anyone out there to disagree with me and continue to think we should feel guilty about what happened in someone’s version of the past.  But I also recognize my right to say I can’t and won’t feel sorry for it, nor will I support the movement to revise history to fit this guilt-ridden and guilt-inducing revisionist history they want to teach our kids.

I’ll end with one last thought.  I know this very well may make certain editors decide they can’t publish my work because I’m not “enlightened” enough.  But guess what.  It works both ways.  When I get a slush submission for Naked Reader Press, I google the author and I check their facebook postings if they are on my friends list.  I look at their blogs.  If what I see posted is such that I think it might upset our core audience, well, I take that into consideration before recommending we offer that writer a contract.

So, think twice unless you are convinced you will never have to submit your work beyond your current crop of editors.  We are watching and reading and making judgments just as you are.

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