Welcome to Julia Talbot's blog!

Welcome, everyone! Here's where I blather about writing, life with my wife BA, and my two basset hounds! I love to hear from readers, so comment here or email me!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

caught in a trump rally protest

So. I was on my way to the main hospital last night in downtown Albuquerque. They transferred my wife, BA, by ambulance, and I had to come down in the car.

So, I thought, oh I don't want to take the Interstate when I'm so tired. I'll go the back way, which cuts across at the river and comes through by the convention center.

Had I known there was a Trump rally at the convention center I would have avoided downtown like the plague. As it is, I ignore the bad haired loony, so I had no clue. I got to Central Ave just at Lead or Coal or whatever it is and hit awful traffic, so I turned off with a bunch of other folks and tried to go a few blocks around.

Just as they diverted the protesters and folks just there to make mischief off on the street I was on.

For 25 minutes I sat in traffic as hundreds of people wearing masks and gang colors streamed past me, whacking my car and screaming obscenities. A man with a Mexican flag got up on a rooftop across the way and ran back and forth, pumping up the crowd. Maybe a hundred muscle car racers revved engines and people set off starter pistols and set shit in fire. Between the smoke, the skateboarders whizzing by, and the noise, it was impossible to move more than a few inches at a time.

I finally got a break when I was able to pull off through a bank parking lot. I thought. Then I got stuck behind a car right out of the Fast and Furious, who blocked my way and revved his engine for ten minutes.

About the time I was hoarse from screaming that my wife was in the hospital and I Just needed to get there, a middle aged Hispanic lady popped up next to my car. She tapped my window and asked me where I was going, and I rolled down to tell her I needed to go to the hospital. She jumped out in front of my car and started screaming and shoving, and damned if she didn't get me out of the mess as if she was Moses parting the red sea.

Never mess with the wrath of a Mexican mamacita, y'all. She will mess your shit up.

She was my angel, and restored my quickly dwindling faith in humanity with her kindness.

I may loathe Trump, but riots are not the way, y'all. I have been inside one now, and I promise, I would rather take on a tornado or a sandstorm. Nature is more predictable than the mob.



Tuesday, May 17, 2016

How small publishing works - a primer for readers

Hey y'all!

With the recent plea from a well known author not to buy her EC books, which I jumped on shamelessly, several people asked me to explain how small publishing works so readers know why we implore them not to buy our books from places like EC, and in my case, paperbacks from Torquere that are still up despite a rights reversion in January.

For our purposes, there are 3 types of publishing going on right now in romance. Major label/big 6 is one (though people argue big 5 pr big 4 these days). That's when you get in with say, Harlequinn or Avon and your book is paperback bound with the ebook as an added value. These ebooks can go for 10-12 bucks and are not the biggest concern for the publisher. Many of those big publishers are looking at e-first lines, but they haven't quite jumped on the bandwagon 100% yet. We're not talking about them right now.

Then there's self publishing. An author writes a story, buys or makes a cover, hopefully pays for an edit, converts book files to e-books and uploads them to Smashwords or Amazon or Kobo or Nook or All Romance Ebooks. Or all of them. Then the distributor, which is one of the previously mentioned places, pays the author all the money they made on the book, less their percentage. For anything 2.99 and over, Amazon only takes 30%. Not bad, right? Ah, but for that .99 price that everyone including me loves, Amazon takes 70%. The author gets .29 per copy, give or take. Seeing as how covers, edits, and formatting can easily add up to about 200-500 bucks, a small publisher, who provides all that for another cut of the percentage, looks really attractive.

So, then we come to small publishers. Yes, EC was a "small" publisher even at several million a year. Some small pubs put out 5 books a year. Some 50. Some 5000. What they have in common is their business model. Unlike the Big 6, most of these publishers have retail websites. They provide cover art, editing, proofreading and file creation at their own expense, unlike a vanity press who charges the author up front for that. They upload the books to the distributors, which stamps their presence on it behind the author. Like a Dreamspinner book? Then you might like Julia's, too! Then they do advertising. Often with blogs, reviewers, or websites such as All Romance, unlike Big 6, who focus on print and radio, even TV a la James Patterson's ads. Word of mouth and repeat customers are important to these publishers, as are their sales on their own websites, so they don't have to pay those commissions we talked about self published authors paying to Amazon, etc. Usually it's the same amount for publishers.

So, what does all this matter? Well, I was asked to explain because some authors and readers have seen people say, "Yes, but I never buy your books from EC. I just buy them from Amazon." This is not an unusual assumption, that the publisher's site is the only place the publisher makes money on a book. But it's not.

In fact, the author, in general, makes more money on a book sold on a publisher's website than they do on Amazon or Smashwords. Since the publisher makes more, they offer the author a better percentage. The money Amazon takes means the publisher makes less, so the author makes less. Often 10-20% less. And what about those .99 books? Oh, man, on Amazon, the author gets about .12. Ouch.

And that's assuming the publisher pays the author. See, this is where people get confused. If you buy a book on any website that lists the publisher as Ellora's Cave, EC gets the money. No matter what site. There's always a publisher listing somewhere in the "information" section of the book listing. On Amazon it's after the blurb and the customers who bought this areas. Don't be fooled when it says Sold by Amazon Digital Services. Look for this: Publisher: Ellora's Cave Publishing Inc (February 5, 2014)

I know it's hard to tell who's doing what with as many publishers and self publishing nicknames (like my own Turtlehat Creatives) out there. But it's easy enough to see an EC book on Amazon. They might not band all their books at the top with their name anymore, but most have the ankh symbol on the top left, and some have EC under that. Then there's that publisher listing that, legally, they can't really hide.

I know some people, sadly, had new books out with this publisher and are still promoting them, so buy those EC titles at your peril. My wife, BA Tortuga, are asking people don't buy our remaining EC books ANYWHERE. EC gets the money, and we're not getting paid. I hope that helps out everyone who asked me to post about this.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

ramblings about chronic illness/injury

tired today

Having hormonal issues that are actually causing gall bladder attacks.

To say I am peeved is the least of it. I eat well, even if my body doesn't look like it. I injured my foot a few years back and there went 3 days a week Zumba and 4 day a week yoga. There went losing half my body weight (I have gained back 25 pounds). I limit red meat. I eat good fats. I try to avoid my nemesis, sugar.

Lately, though, stress and 45 year old hormones have taken their toll. I am hurting, and I hate it.

I know a lot of y'all struggle with chronic illness. Injury. Mental health issues. I just want to say I hear you. I see you. I love y'all. I also want to say thank you to my fellow authors, my readers and bloggers. You lift me up, and I adore you.



Thursday, May 12, 2016

Societal Debt

I have lots of long, involved thoughts on Social Media, society and human nature. I usually confine such musings to my time spent in the shower and on the pot, because I know no one wants to hear a romance author wax socio-economic anthropological, but I have too many feels right now to let it go. So bear with me, or just move on to my new releases and ignore the woman behind the curtain.

So. Has anyone else noticed that these days we live in a culture of societal debt? My mom and dad would have called it entitlement, and a lot of people call it melennial culture, but I'm not sure I can lay it at the door of the next generation. (I'm Gen X, the smallest generation, age wise, of any post Baby Boomer gen.) I think it's a combination of causes, but that's a whole other blog post.

What I'm here to comment on is the debt. Let's start with say, the idea that someone in the public eye, someone like Prince or Robin Williams, owes us, the consumer of their celebrity, some kind of access. Transparency is this huge catchphrase right now. So is need to know, or fear of missing out. The idea is that they OWE us the right to know how they live, or how they died, or why. Whether or not their families ask us for privacy or their legacy is prodigious and should be left at that, we have this sense of ownership, and therefore this idea that they're in our debt. That we deserve more than is really our right when it comes to someone we honestly don't know.

As an author, I often feel that people expect the same from me. Readers and bloggers and publishers I have never approached demand to know why I use a pen name, why I write what I write, and what's going on in my private life. All in the name of transparency. I also feel as if this culture of debt produces this enormous pressure to please everyone. With every review I get that says, " Too much sex. Not enough sex. This was handled well. This sucked," I feel as if I have to make everyone happy. That the people reading my books feel like I OWE them a book that ticks all of their boxes. Not only that, I feel as if I have to be sensitive to everyone's triggers, to everyone's needs, to everyone's wants when it comes to their reading, and provide an error free book. Even if that's not my job as a writer of fiction. And I feel like I have to do it all for 2.99 or less, thank you, because books aren't worth what people pay for a movie or some other form of entertainment. Hell, even Redbox charges $1.50

Now, before you get all mad, I need to mention that as authors, we're no better. We act as if reviewers OWE us a good review. If I gave you a book for free I should get a 4 or 5 star review, right? If you bother to go on Amazon I don't want you bitching about the price or the gay or anything else. There's no reason for me to feel as if any reader OWEs me anything. There's no contract that says you'll like my book because you bought it, or got it for free, just like there's no contract that says I have to write a book any specific reader will like.

So what the heck is with this debtor society? I love inclusion, and God knows I have FOMO sometimes. But does that mean I owe anyone anything, or that they're required to include me/like me? Nope.

I'd love to hear y'all's thoughts, but in reasoned discourse if you please.



Tuesday, May 03, 2016

the state of Julia

been quiet here

I had a bout of GI distress so bad it almost sent me to the ER

The wife's meds keep changing. not good.

I'm tired. I have no time for the constant shit stirring I see on social media and I have no desire to join the kerfluffles. In fact, I kinda want to just mic drop and walk off.

So I'm gonna go sit in my corner and write