Trying to separate feelings from business

I’m having real trouble doing that, and it bothers me. Permuted Press’ actions make sense in terms of $ and time. Do I agree with how it was handled? No, not really. Am I groovy with all the other stuff going on? No, not so much.

It is, however, business. Numbers don’t lie, even if they were delivered poorly.

It is also a matter of feeling ill-used by people you’ve placed your trust in. It is intensely personal for many of us, being new authors, and handing our “babies” off to someone else to release into the world. Having a book in print (whether or not this is an obsolete way of thinking about it) is to feel legitimate. Everyone wants to feel like they’re a “real” author.

When I signed with Permuted a year and a half ago, I truly felt like I was more than a number in a ledger or a commodity that doesn’t sell well. Now, I feel like the latter, and wish I didn’t. I suppose this could be chalked up to a form of growing up. You know, like not getting into college because your grades were crap.

Regardless of soul-searching and navel-gazing, I don’t feel good about this situation. I don’t feel good about ME, and that tells me I’m taking this way too personally. I do that.

The sane response for me is also the coldest: let the Blood Soaked series end at #3, and move on. Let things ride where they are unless something else gives me reason to question that decision. If they make money, great.

I have to face numbers. The Amazon fracas from 2011 damaged my broader marketability, and likely my future sales. The delays in producing Blood Soaked and Gone may’ve cost me potential readers who lost interest because there was nowhere else to go after Blood Soaked and Invaded.

The likelihood that an unknown like me will recover from these things is virtually nil… unless something I write in the future becomes a gateway to my “back catalog.”

I would have LIKED to see a print version of Blood Soaked and Gone, but Permuted’s sales requirements for inclusion in the new print program make that next to impossible. I do not, nor have I since Amazon, sold over a hundred books a month.

As I said, I don’t feel good about any of this. I feel like my trust has been misplaced, or that I simply shouldn’t trust when I’m in the position of being a commodity.Eventually, I hope, I’ll make peace with my feelings. I don’t believe they can be addressed in a business environment, and personal promises that aren’t reflected in contracts are meaningless. In the meantime, I’ll keep writing, making things, and so forth… because that’s who I am.Oh, and now we’ve got the Horror Writers Association of America and the SWFA digging into the poo now as well. This is what happens when your feelings become everything, and you rage in the internet world. I have no desire to rage, badmouth anyone, or be a canker on the face of a brand… I do want to address my feelings, and OWN them as feelings, not make them the sum total of the universe as we know it.I hope Permuted Press finds a fair and reasonable way to deal with us, the authors, and cope with the pile of feces that this PR nightmare has dropped on the porch.As always, I’m just me, and I write.

When I’m not commenting on Permuted Press…

…editing, writing, job-hunting, eating or sleeping, I make things.

This set of claws is for a client in Baltimore. I don’t get worried by my own work very often, but these suckers put the fear of…creepy things that will eat me…into my heart. I’m proud of them, but will be happy when they’re on their way to their new mommy.

Crawford Claws
Baltimore client’s set

Commentary on Permuted’s changes

I originally posted most of this on our Facebook group.

Now then, I was one of the “select few” at the meeting in Nashville where all of this stuff was unveiled. Talking with Wilson later on Sunday, I got the distinct impression that discussing these matters with us first was a test to see how the news would impact the community of authors. Call it “test marketing.” We were guinea pigs.

The irony is, based on my often-faulty memory, is that we were pretty quiet…not because it didn’t hack us off, I don’t think…Some of us I bet, sat back and went, “Oh, dear. This will not go well at all.” I was in that group.

That’s about when I dropped my “Why should I stay?” if memory serves.

My contracts, from Jacob Kier, essentially say that my manuscripts will be published AT WILL, with no guarantees of print or actually seeing the light of day. I had to refresh my memory on that one yesterday. So, for me, Permuted Press isn’t TECHNICALLY doing anything wrong by me.

Let me reiterate: Permuted Press is doing nothing that violates my contracts. It is a business decision on their part to cut a program that is consuming a ton of time, but not producing appreciable cash flow. Simple. Sucks, but it makes sense.

Are my feelings hurt? Yes. Is my faith in the publishing biz pissing blood? Yes.

Now, as in Nashville, the reason I’m staying is our team of authors. We are stronger together than apart. Our finest marketing team is one another. Read what we’ve written, review it, blog it, tweet it… know FOR A FACT how amazing our work is. Then meet us, and know how amazing we are as people. That, I promise, will change your point of view.

The negative press will damage Permuted, that’s for sure. All we need to do is wait and see how badly. I dread Scalzi or Wendig getting wind of this.

Whatever you choose, I will always wish you well. May you find success, happiness, and peace. It doesn’t matter if it is with Permuted, self-publishing, Big 6, or another small publisher. Hell, I don’t care if you go to a Buddhist monastery and have a brush with dharma! Just be well.

Now, go buy my stuff on my Etsy store!