Monday, February 27, 2012

Just in Case Anybody Should Ever Forget

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Phantom Page

This is a community page about Esmeralda. I don't know how it got there, but my feed from my author page on Facebook shows up for no rhyme or reason. It is bizarre. It is what it is. I just can't explain it.

Friday, February 24, 2012

You Nailed It, Reverand

This is passed along from one of my writers, Jean Johnson. She is brilliant and has one hell of a powerful voice.

If you sincerely desire a truly well-rounded education, you must study the extremists, the obscure and nutty. You need the balance! Your poor brain is already being impregnated with middle-of-the-road crap, twenty-four hours a day, no matter what. Network TV, newspapers, radio, magazines at the supermarket... even if you never watch, read, listen, or leave your house, even if you are deaf and blind, the telepathic pressure alone of the uncountable normals surrounding you will insure that you are automatically well-grounded in consensus reality.
-- Rev. Ivan Stang

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Urban Survival

Training my kids in Israeli Survival and Kenpo
I was on the Q28 bus coming home during rush hour. The bus was crowded, and when it stopped suddenly I lurched forward and stepped on some kid's foot. I took off my headphones and apologized to him. He said to me if I touched him again he would punch me in the face. I apologized again, and he became agitated and more aggressive. I told him I would move to the other end of the bus, but could only get a couple of feet away from him. In Israeli Survival, we are taught to fight using anything at our disposal. Although I turned my back to him, I kept him in the corner of my eye. He still looked like he wanted a fight, so I took my Fisher Bullet Pen out of my pocket, discretely put the end cap on and held it in my fist, waiting for whatever might happen. He may have been a street fighter, no doubt about it, but he wasn't trained, otherwise he never would have come on like that. If he made a move, I had my plan of attack worked out. I would have jammed the end of my pen into his eye as hard as I could using a quick back-fist technique that he would never had seen coming, and then jammed it into his neck and swept him to the ground. This is New York City. Do not fuck with strangers. Do not challenge. Do not be aggressive. Always apologize when you bump into someone, and then get out of their way quickly. This is urban survival. I don't carry weapons. I am a weapon; I just find ways to avoid using it. Scared the shit out of me, because street fighting in New York City is all about survival, and there is always someone better than you. Let this be a lesson to my fellow students. Anything can happen anywhere. Be prepared, but do your best to avoid physical aggression at all costs. It’s not worth the consequences, no matter the outcome.

Love to all!

James M. Weil

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Blog Farm

About a month ago I contacted John Gilbert, the admin for The Blog Farm, asking him when my paid syndication was ending. He sent me back an apology, explaining that his server had been hacked, and that my blog had not been up for months, and that the time I had lost would be tacked onto the end of my subscription.

Of course I was surprised by this, but I simply let it go. The Blog Farm really does not mean very much to me, and he never did tell me how much time I had lost, but I am a trusting soul, and figured he would do the right thing and tack on the correct amount of time.

He asked me to go back up to his site and reregister my blog, which I did on Super Bowl Sunday. The next morning he wrote me and asked me to reregister my blog again because his staff had been watching the Super Bowl, and my blog never made it up. I told him that I did not want to reregister my blog, and that he should fix the problem from his end. He wrote me back, telling me that I was lucky he was in a good mood because he was thinking of banning me from The Blog Farm permanently because of the tone of my email.

Okay. I can take a shot on the chin and roll with the punch. I am trained in that. But I was pretty irritated because I paid this jackass for a year of service, my blog got dropped for who knows how many months, and this guy was giving me attitude because I told him to fix a problem that he created. He really does think he is ALL that.

John Gilbert censors most of my posts. When I write fuck, he replaces it with f**ck. The same goes for shit and any other expletive that I choose to use. This does not sit well with me at all. I don’t believe in censorship, and beyond changing words, he also changed out pictures I used with my blog because he found them to be offensive.

This morning he sent me an email claiming that people had complained about some of my posts in the form of comments, and that I had named people in personal attacks, and that he had taken the posts down. He did not, however, say which ones they were. I believe it was a single post called Set Your Shit Straight, which was posted January 30, 2012.

At first I just brushed it off and told him that I would be more careful in the future. I did explain, however, that this was not a personal attack, but merely a statement of facts, and that I truly had been robbed of thousands of dollars without recourse, and that people need to be held accountable for their actions.

Then I thought about the situation, and I realized that it was completely unacceptable, and I would not agree to being censored any longer. I asked him to please remove my blog from his site, and that I would donate the rest of the money I had paid to his cause, because he does offer a valuable service for children, but I am not PG 13, and that my audience has come to respect me for my honesty, truth and willingness to lay my heart and soul on the line.

You can’t have it both ways, John. This is who I am. Have a great day, a pleasant tomorrow, and a good night you ignorant slut.

Love to all!

James M. Weil

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Beware the Beast of Amazon

This morning I made the decision to unpublish El Aguila and Esmeralda. At first I was successful. Both my books had been removed from their site, but at around noon today, Amazon put Esmeralda back up for sale. As of now, a price has not been set.

Right now I am racking my brains trying to figure out how to get out of their iron-clad contract. There is an out, but it is nearly impossible to find it, and they give you no contact information to send them your intentions.

So, as we speak, Amazon prime members are downloading the book in droves for all I know, and I am not getting a dime. I feel like I have been intellectually raped. Beware fellow writers. Amazon is out to kill you. Publishers, I need not say more. Tremble and quake in Amazon’s awesome power, for they fully intend to crush you, and there is nothing you can do about it. You are at the mercy of a malevolent Leviathan that wants your hearts and souls.

Beware, my friends. And love to all!

 James M. Weil

The Money Tree

I have pulled Esmeralda and El Aguila off of Amazon Kindle until I figure out my next play. Right now I am looking for an agent. Because I enrolled both books in KDP Select, I will not have the electronic rights to my books back until April 19, 2012.

I do have some agents I wish to approach. Once I understand their guidelines completely, I will craft my query letters. I don’t have to worry about selling my manuscripts; both of them hit the bestsellers lists while they were free of charge. I have numbers and a track record behind me, but then again, what does that matter in this day and age?

There is an old saying in the publishing business: A bad agent is worse than no agent at all. Agents, like editors, make their decisions based on their personal biases, especially when it comes to fiction. I need a powerhouse behind me. El Aguila could very easily take the world by storm, and Esmeralda could become a cult classic among men.

It may take years to find another agent. I am competing against a lot of writers, and my minor flash-in-the-pan runaway bestsellers mean next to nothing when all an agent or editor sees is dollar signs.

 Love to all!

 James M. Weil

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Brave New World of Publishing

The last few weeks have been an extraordinary experience for me. My former agent had been trying for years and years to get El Aguila published, but the book was rejected by every publishing house in the country. Editors found it to be charming, but nobody was willing to stick their necks out on a book that exposed such deep truth.

After years and years of rejections, I finally tried a long shot and entered it into Writer’s Digest’s YA Fiction Contest. It didn’t even place, so I said to hell with it and decided to see what happened if I published it on Kindle Direct.

El Aguila was published by my corporation, Weil Editorial Services, Inc., on January 14, 2012. I didn't put it on promotion; Amazon did that for me. They also put the book in the Free Historical Fiction category, which puzzled me because El Aguila is a contemporary novel. It hit the bestsellers list within seconds. I was blown out my chair as I watched the numbers flip before my very eyes. During its five day promo run, it hit number 35 in that category and never dropped below 60. It stayed in the low 50's during most of the run. Its Amazon Best Sellers Rank now is: #348,911 Paid in Kindle Store.

Not even my former agent knew what to do with Esmeralda. It defies categories. She was a little squeamish about the sex, but I refused to take it out. My work stands the way I write it, and editors who think they know better usually don’t. Esmeralda was published by Weil Editorial Services, Inc. on January 19, 2012. I never announced it. I let it sit until El Aguila's run was over. I announced it on Facebook on Wednesday, February 1, 2012 and put it on promo. There was no way in hell Amazon could find a category for Esmeralda, so they dropped it in general fiction. Its best ranking during its three day promo was 1,345 in all free Amazon fiction, which I achieved on day one. It hovered above 2,000 for a couple of days, and then dropped to about 2,600 before I stopped the promotion on the third day. Its Amazon Best Sellers Rank now is: #310,652 Paid in Kindle Store.

This is astonishing and disturbing at the same time. It took awhile to figure out what happened, but once all the dust settled, I finally did. Amazon is destroying the publishing industry brick by brick. Once they entered into the publishing industry, the brick and mortar houses got squeezed out of the e-book market completely. Beyond that, they are traditionally publishing their own books, so the big houses can’t possibly compete with a behemoth like Amazon.

The Brick and Mortar houses are folding imprints left and right, and editors change faster than baby diapers. The midrange book category has been all but eliminated by the big houses, and the only way to nail a big contract with the big houses is to have a REALLY big name, or a manuscript that they believe with all their hearts will make it to the top of the charts. They only want blockbusters. 

This eliminates newcomers almost immediately, so their only option is to go with a small indie house. This is also a huge problem, because the smaller houses are getting hammered by rising costs, less readership, and their distributors. Some of the smaller houses can’t get picked up by Midpoint, and that can be a problem and a blessing at the same time. Midpoint has a tendency to order too many books and then slam the publisher with returns for those that don’t sell. They also pay several months after the book goes into the distribution channels, leaving the small publisher in a cash bind. That kills cash flow for the small publisher, as well as royalties for the writer.

So, it has never been more difficult to get traditionally published in this day and age. Authors all over the world are rebelling against the Brick and Mortar houses, and are taking the option to self-publish through Kindle Direct or SmashWords. Both are free, and if your book takes off, you can make a name for yourself, but you will make pennies on the dollar, especially if you go Kindle Direct. 

Amazon Prime members pay $79.00 per year, and for that price they have access to thousands of e-books for free, yours included. Amazon has destroyed the publishing model forever with this policy. Yes, both my books were in the bestsellers list as long as they were offered free of charge, yet as soon as I ended the promotion, nobody is buying the books. I am certain Prime Members are downloading my books to their hearts’ delight. And I am not seeing a dime. I am getting screwed nine ways to Sunday.

I have seen several amateur writers who have made it pretty high up in the paid category, but they are only charging .99 cents for their books. After Amazon’s take, they are getting peanuts. And even worse, people have short memory spans, so they will drop off into oblivion unless their book is recognized as a modern-day classic.

Welcome to the Brave New World of Publishing. This has always been a whore’s business, but now it has become a filthy whore’s business. The outcome will be the destruction of the New York Brick and Mortar Houses as they collapse one by one when Amazon sits on their arrogant heads.

Love to all!

James M. Weil