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Wednesday News: Beauty blogger’s work used without permission; Google Classroom debuts; Edgar Awards announced; Dear Author’s May Book Club selection

Wednesday News: Beauty blogger’s work used without permission; Google Classroom debuts;...

I’m A Blogger. Respect My Work. – London Beauty Queen, a blogger with more than 22,000 followers on Twitter, has had her images used without permission. We often talk about how bloggers need to be careful about using photos from sources that are not public domain, but now, with the rise of blogs to media prominence, we have the opposite problem. LBQ made a comment on Twitter regarding London Beauty Box’s use of an image from LBQ’s site without permission. London Beauty Box responded with a claim they didn’t know what she was talking about, and you can see the whole exchange, including LBQ’s purloined image. Even when bloggers don’t monetize their sites, they still have rights to the work they produce. In the US, anyone who produces a piece of work has copyright over that work automatically, whether or not they register it. Registration confers additional benefits, but it’s not required for copyright to attach.

I’ve had images taken from my site without permission and used by brands on their social media channels. I’ve had blog posts copied and pasted to other sites without consent. I’ve had brands and agencies demand I place their links, information or offer on my site – just because they want it there. I’ve had rude responses when I’ve asked for compensation for my time, such is the little value placed upon bloggers and blogging by some. I’ve battled with brands for payment when they changed the goalposts at the last minute. I’ve been asked to act unlawfully and illegally. You name it, I’ve experienced it… And it just isn’t right. –London Beauty Queen

Google Debuts Classroom, a Free Apps for Education Tool – Although Google has shut down Google+, they’ve now expanded into educational apps, including Google Classroom, an app that allows teachers to track students and assignments. The app can be used to create, distribute, and collect assignments; create folders and organize class materials, and make announcements to students, among other things. According to Nate Hoffelder,

I know that this tool might not sound like much, but this is the kind of tool that other ed tech companies are selling to schools for annual fees. Google, on the other hand, is simply going to give it away. It won’t even be supported by ads, and Google has also promised that they will never uses a school’s content or student data for advertising purposes. –The Digital Reader

The Edgar® Winners and Nominees – This year’s Edgar Awards for Mystery have been announced, and I have to say, it’s a male dominated winner’s field. Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger won for best novel, and The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood snagged best paperback original. Erik Dussere won in the category of best critical/biographical for America is Elsewhere: The Noir Tradition in the Age of Consumer Culture. The complete list of nominees and winners can be found at the Edgar website. –The Edgars

Dear Author Announces the May Book Club – In honor of the digital re-issuing of so much of Laura London/Tom and Sharon Curtis’s Romance, and the 30-year anniversary of their epic novel, The Windflower, Dear Author will be featuring that novel for our May 27th Book Club. Sunita and I will be providing a joint review of the book, and we are fortunate enough to have a Q&A with Tom and Sharon Curtis that, I must admit, serves as true fan girl moment for me. I have mad respect for the writing skills of the Curtises, and as you will se below, those of us who have enjoyed their previous books now have something else to look forward to:

1. Okay, let’s get the most important question out of the way first: what have you been doing in the years since you wrote your Romances, and are you planning to write any new books? What kinds of characters and stories interest you now?

In the years since we wrote romances, Tom has been working, driving his 18-wheeler. Sharon worked in bookstore management. Sharon cared for her mother while her mother was ill with lymphoma. We read lots, Tom went on long hikes with the dogs, we watched our children complete their education, start their professional lives, marry and begin families. We played with our grandchildren. Tom and the kids continue to perform Irish music in the family band. We were politically active. Sharon watched baseball. Tom went on three day bike trips with friends, which Sharon calls the tavern tours of northern Wisconsin due to the frequent enjoyment of libations along the way.

We are currently working on an urban fantasy. We like characters with vulnerabilities, psychological baggage, big hearts, a healthy sense of humor and a pronounced appetite for life. We like stories with adventure, humor, surprises and good outcomes. –Dear Author

Wednesday Midday Links: Liking the Unlikeable Character

Wednesday Midday Links: Liking the Unlikeable Character

Tribute Books has announced that beginning in 2012 it will become solely an e-book publisher young adult titles. They are looking for authors who are ready have a book published to a royalty paying press and are offering a 50% off the net retail price in royalties. They want to work with 12 authors, publishing one book per month.

This is not an endorsement of Tribute Books, but merely information that I’m passing along.

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Amazon has announced its quarterly earnings. While it enjoyed a 44% increase in North American revenue because of spending, profits had declined over 70%. Amazon anticipates that there will increase between 20% – 44% compared to last year in net sales. More here.

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Entangled Pub has announced they will begin to compete with Harlequin on a category book basis. Despite invoking the name of Harlequin, it appeared that category means length to Entangled Pub. As any long-time reader of category romances know, the category line promises a specific type of book. The press release, however, indicates a different focus.

Launching the Indulgence imprint offers the company the ability to focus on the 50,000-60,000 word stories which adhere to the tried and true tropes readers expect from category romances.

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“There will be something for everyone in the Indulgence line,” says publisher Elizabeth Pelletier.

The press release goes on to say that it will offer Flirts which are 10-15K words and “Ever Afters” which are 30,000-40,000 word novellas.  This press release sounds like a reset. Hey guys, we are out here publishing books and we are going to be publishing more, in a variety of lengths. Hopefully the reset will include a reduction of prices. It does appear that prices are declining.  The book I reviewed here (positively I might add) cost $7.99 for an under 80K word novel at the time I reviewed it. The price for it is currently $3.99. It’s sequel is on sale for $6.99. There was no word in the press release about the price of the category books (or the shorter works).

Most of what I have heard about Entangled Pub is their denying legitimate bloggers review ARCs from Net Galley and sending semi offensive rejection notes. One thing I have experienced first hand is that Entangled Pub is very slow at responding to requests. I requested an Entangled Pub book and it took several weeks to get a response. I actually requested the book twice. (And both requests were approved on the same day). Many other bloggers have reported delays in responses, often the response being a rejection.

Lori Wilde, the acquisitions editor for the new line says that these categories are fresher than what is in the current market.

“These aren’t your mother’s category romances,” says Lori Wilde.  “They’re quick paced, exciting contemporary stories, whether funny, sexy, mysterious, edgy, or emotional, that showcase what it’s really like to fall in love in the twenty-first century.”

Hallmarks of the line will be the rapid-fire dialogue, fast moving plot lines, sizzling sex, and realistic characters.  Above all, the heartfelt emotions that speak to the way young people live, love, and work will be at the center of every story. “There has never been a more exciting time in history to be an author,” Wilde says. “Dare to seize the future!

Press releases are a tricky thing. Obviously they want to raise awareness and excitement for their new offerings but instead this release kind of slights existing category readers (and writers) as well as suggesting that their own offerings don’t contain a young, fresh, outlook with rapid-fire dialogue.  I do think that competing with Harlequin is a great idea.  I just don’t know that Entangled, with its near silent marketing squad, is ready to take them on.

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There is something funny about seeing a debate over low brow lit fic and high brow lit fic and what those in the lit fic crowd believe are deserving of literary prizes.  It means more, suggests one judge, when a readable book is judged along side others…less readable?

One anonymous publisher was quoted in the Guardian saying, “We need icy indifference to public opinion from our Booker judges, and we expect at least a few impenetrable, dark, tricky novels on the shortlist. That way it’s all the more surprising when a Life of Pi emerges.”

Impenetrable fiction for the win is the clarion call of some:

And yet there’s a consortium of people, headed by literary agent Andrew Kidd and supported by a host of literary types, who last week announced they were putting together a prize, to be known as The Literature Prize, for “writers who aspire to something finer.”

Why not just have a category for “books we think we are supposed to like because they are incomprehensible to us”?   More here.

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Lionel Shriver writes at Slate.com about the need for more unlikeable characters.  I’m not convinced by Shriver’s piece.  She begins by defining the unlikeable character by parsing out what is not an unlikeable character.  It is not an anti-hero, a villain, or someone unattractive by accident (wherein the author meant to write a loveable character but failed by making the character annoying).  Shriver can’t encapsulate what a truly unlikeable character is that we should enjoy reading.

Maybe we’re getting down to the nugget: it is possible to sympathize with characters, while still despairing of their misjudgments and even finding them irksome. Eva’s plight as the mother of a high school killer is sympathetic, whatever her shortcomings as a parent, for the scale of her punishment has been disproportionate. Willy’s career disappointment is heartbreaking, even if her rivalry with her husband is ugly and catastrophic. We can sympathize with people of whom we sometimes disapprove, and whom we may not entirely like.

I think Shriver wants you to like her characters because they are flawed and difficult but not because they are unlikeable.

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Here is another (expensive) entry into the lighted cover ebook market.  It’s from Lightwedge and the cover is called Verso.  The unique thing about this is that it is charged via a USB cord rather than batteries.  The cost is $59.99.

Verso Phosphor