piranha: red origami crane (Default)
[personal profile] piranha
of SFF ebooks, since i've been woefully behind the times in that genre.

the *poing* and i were co-grumbling about the sad tendency of publishers advising authors to switch names in order to beat the crappy software that seems to determine what bookstores buy -- which makes me lose track of authors i like because i don't have the spoons to read industry-watching or individual authors' blogs. the *poing* enlightened me that Sarah Zettel is indeed still writing, except as CL Anderson, and that Laura J Mixon is now MJ Locke. really, guys, a change to a more bland, less unique name is good for you? the gender-neutrality makes up for that? is SFF still so damn hidebound? has anyone done a study on this? do any male authors in SF change names? maybe SFF publishers should develop a logo for "girl cooties" and liberally stamp it on all books so infested to spare overly sensitive guys from exposure.


i set out to do some book buying.

what the heck is wrong with SFF publishers? back lists are still often not available as ebooks! some newer books are too expensive. frex Justina Robson's "Natural History" comes in at C$14. that's too much for me; i won't pay more than C$10 because i don't pay more for a mass market paperback. now, if authors received a much higher percentage of that money, then we could talk. as it is, no. since i am planning to shift all my paper to ebooks, i looked for some lesser known, such as Tricia Sullivan. nothing at all in ebook. *sigh*. how long do publishers hang on to rights? i wonder whether self-publishing might not be a more viable idea than hoping for more than a decade that you'll get a reprint.

*double grump*.

also, kobo.com still does not have a shopping cart, but each book gets bought singly. that is so annoying that it makes me want to go out and download a torrent with 1000 pirated books -- if only that worked as a deterrent to bookstores pissing me off. i have a budget. i want to pile my haul up in my shopping cart to see what it all comes to with tax. as it is, i have to keep track of that in my head (or start writing it down -- yeah, right). maybe this method works to make other people over-spend, but in my case i am under-spending and buying fewer books than i otherwise would, because i hate getting individual statements in my inbox as well.

i would easily have spent double of what i did today if the books i wanted had been available at a price point i am willing to pay, or indeed, had been available at all.

it's a sad day when it is much easier to buy gay tentacle porn than established SFF.

*triple grump*.

also, it makes it much harder to write up a haul because i have to copy-paste everything bit by bit.

Aguirre Ann - Sirantha Jax 1 - Grimspace
Anderson CL (Zettel Sarah) - Bitter Angels
Bear Elizabeth - Jacob's Ladder 1 - Dust
Gould Steven - 7th Sigma
Hallaway Tate (Morehouse Lydia) - Garnet Lacey 1 - Tall, Dark & Dead
McGuire Seanan - October Daye 1 - Rosemary and Rue
Kowal Mary Robinette - Glamourist Histories 1 - Shades of Milk and Honey
Locke MJ (Mixon Laura J) - Up Against It
Robson Justina - Quantum Gravity 1 - Keeping It Real
Stross Charles - Glasshouse
Wilson Robert Charles - Spin 2 - Axis
Wilson Robert Charles - Spin 3 - Vortex

on 2013-06-30 11:02 (UTC)
frith: Light purple and turquoise unicorn, eyes closed, sad (FIM Luna)
Posted by [personal profile] frith
The blurb I read about what female SFF authors endure from idiot con-goers at SFF literature cons fits too well with what you observed about which authors are hiding behind new noms de plume. Ursula Vernon has not been impressed either.

on 2013-06-30 12:58 (UTC)
Posted by [personal profile] flarenut
Ugh. And of course buyers (or their software) tend to be incredibly hidebound, behind the times, stupidly conservative etc, at least in the large. (I remember yeas ago hearing from the ad-sales folks at Sci Am that they would go to ad buyers with their numbers for demographics, page-reading, propensity to consume etc, and the buyers would just say "It's too complicated" or "it's boring" and purchase somewhere else.) I expect, the bookselling industry being what it is, especially at the chains, that no one gets fired for buying a man who doesn't sell, but they do get fired for buying a woman who doesn't.

What annoys the crap out of me is going on a spree and getting two dozen confirmation emails. (Nook does it too)

on 2013-07-02 05:14 (UTC)
eagle: Me at the Adobe in Yachats, Oregon (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] eagle
I find this particularly confusing given that I believe credit cards charge the vendor a transaction fee in addition to a percentage. So running the same total charge as ten separate charges instead of one is, if I understand the economics of it properly, actually more expensive for them. Clearly they think they're getting something out of it. (Or maybe they've negotiated some special agreement with the credit card companies; I suppose that's possible too.)

on 2013-07-02 23:56 (UTC)
Posted by [personal profile] flarenut
I don't think it's a ploy (although it might be); I think it's just shitty design that no one figured out how to fix. They wanted to make the buying process as painless as possible, so they slimmed the checkout process down to one button, but that design has no way to group multiple purchases, because all of the state vanishes once you hit "confirm". And they wanted the email to go out quickly, so there's no hook where they could wait 10 minutes or so and see if anything else has been bought.

I almost never get anything non-free (because that way lies another $5-10K a year in expenses), so they're not really getting me to do anything unwittingly.

on 2013-06-30 18:21 (UTC)
eagle: Me at the Adobe in Yachats, Oregon (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] eagle
I suspect that influences the choice of name, but not usually the decision to take a new one, based on the comments I've read from various authors. A lot of them (including going back some time, such as Megan Lindholm to Robin Hobb) are from one female name to another: Sarah Monette writing as Katherine Addison, Lyda Morehouse writing as Tate Hallaway, etc.

In those cases, I've seen the reason to choose the new names attributed to the bookstore purchasing death spiral. They preorder 20,000 books, 17,000 sell, therefore they will only preorder 17,000 for the next book by the same author name, 13,000 sell, now they'll only preorder 13,000, etc. Apparently the software is so blindly applied that the bookstores (or, more likely, the distributors) never turn this behavior off, and so stupid that just changing the author's name resets it. It would be hard to believe if I hadn't heard it uniformly from so many authors.

That being said, I do think it's quite interesting that publishers seem to tell female authors to do this sort of thing all the time, but it seems much rarer for male authors. I can think of a few cases (more recent than the widespread use of house names and multiple pseudonyms in the 1950s and 1960s to keep from having more than one story by the same "author" in a magazine issue, that is) where male authors have adopted a pseudonym. Charles de Lint wrote dark fantasy under a different name, for example, and a few male authors use a pseudonym when cowriting. But examples do not readily come to mind, whereas for female authors I can list many more examples just off the top of my head. (Doris Egan and Jane Emerson, Seanan McGuire and Mira Grant although I think that was for branding purposes, Dorothy Heydt and Katherine Blake, Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Kristine Grayson...)

on 2013-06-30 18:32 (UTC)
eagle: Me at the Adobe in Yachats, Oregon (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] eagle
After further pondering, I can think of one male author who apparently did the pseudonym thing because of the bookstore purchasing problem: John Hemry, who is now writing as Jack Campbell.

I suppose it's possible that I'm just not paying attention and there are a lot more, or I'm just not following the right blogs to be aware that two authors I thought were different are actually the same person.

on 2013-07-03 00:55 (UTC)
Posted by [personal profile] flarenut
Yes, it really is amazing.

But I think (I'm looking at you, EE Smith and Robert Heinlein) that since the beginning there's been a strain of SF and SF writers that's been "Well, if I can't be a successful macho he-man in the real world, I'll be one in my subculture through my characters.

We've seen the same thing in the (partly overlapping) "skeptical" community, where the very idea that women might be equal was initially (and to an extent still is) classed right up there with faith healing and perpetual motion.

(Also sort of interesting, as long as I'm riffing, is that this behavior of replicating mainstream patriarchy within a subculture with them at the top is very close to the standard stupid line about women becoming feminists because they can't attract a man.)

on 2013-07-04 15:10 (UTC)
serene: mailbox (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] serene
"it's a sad day when it is much easier to buy gay tentacle porn than established SFF."

I'm sorry, but *guffaw*. :-)


piranha: red origami crane (Default)
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