Welcome to Buzz Worthy News where the stories are awesome and not at all well-written. Need your YA industry news? Never fear, Kat Kennedy and Kate Copseeley are here to give it to you straight.
In this week’s Buzz Worthy News: EL James Twitter kerfuffle, John Green Saga continues, Amazon changed its rating system, Kindle Unlimited is worse than expected, Neil Gaiman news, GRR Martin News and much, much more!
Buzz Worthy News is Cuddlebuggery’s weekly news post bringing you all the best information about the book and blogging world, particularly for the venn diagram of people who overlap between the two. For new releases and cover reveals of all the best Young Adult fiction, check out our Tuesday post: Hot New Titles.
Amazon Reviews Changing
Basically Amazon is implementing a learning machine to sort through the reviews and rejig them. That’s the technical term anyway. Rejig. The thingamawhatsit.
Reviews will be given more weight based on their newness, whether they have a verified amazon purchase thinggie and how helpful customers found the reviews.
Clearly not a big deal but still THEY’RE CHANGING SOMETHING OMG WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!
Amazon reviews know if you mean it. They test your sincerity. Submit one blood sample per review. Let Amazon guide your assessment.
— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) July 2, 2015
More Amazon Kindle Unlimited Kerfuffle
As we reported a few weeks ago, Amazon decided to radically change the way it pays its authors on Kindle Unlimited. Well, the fall-out has officially begun, as outlined by erotica writer Selena Kitt:
Looks like the numbers are (kind of) in… and the outlook is rather dismal. Erotica shorts authors knew it was going to be bad. I just don’t think most of them thought it was going to be quite *this* bad. Because it looks as if authors will be making about $0.0057 per page. That’s slightly less than half a penny a page, folks.
I believe the projections were abysmal, but it’s only been a few days. How do you even know until you’ve given it like a week?
The general consensus has been that Amazon is using this pricing to encourage authors to pull their short stories out of the program, thereby freeing up market space for full novels. Well, it worked—as Kitt is encouraging erotica authors to yank their work from Amazon so the company becomes aware of their value in enticing readers to Kindle Unlimited.
How can authors make good business decisions without knowing how much money they are earning? The short answer is, we can’t. And that makes many of us question whether we should remain part of the Kindle Unlimited program at all.
That’s why I’ve joined #releasetherate, an author-led initiative with a simple goal: getting Amazon to release more information to authors.
The info they want is simply to know how many people are reading their books (number of units borrowed per book) and definitive knowledge of what the rate per page is for authors.
What the draw is for erotica on Kindle Unlimited is unknown, but considering the enthusiastic prevalence of sexytimes on the internet, it’s probably pretty high. Can authors do anything to affect the powerhouse that is Amazon, since even powerful publishers have a hard time negotiating with them? Still, best of luck to erotica authors and their #releasetherate campaign.
Author Gender Transition
After finishing two successful series, and stand-alone novel (The Cemetery Boys), the author, previously known as Heather Brewer, has announced his intention to transition to his true self, Zac Brewer.
In the next few months, Brewer who self-identifies as male, will transition. “Nothing in the media sparked my decision to come out,” Brewer said, noting, “I realized about nine years ago that I was transgender.” The author continued, “I’ve been in therapy for a little while now and have learned that my depression, anxiety, and suicidal urges largely stem from an inability to live as my true self. I am so big on authenticity. I always say to my Minions, ‘Own your weird. Embrace who you are, and whoever you are, you are special.’ It’s been weighing on me that I’m not taking my own advice. How can you tell the world to do it and not do it yourself?”
Brewer is all about self-acceptance these days, and emphasized the point that the transition is soul saving.
This was a save-my-life moment. I know that if I don’t do this, I’m concerned what my future will be. I need to be true to myself and come out to the world.” Brewer came out to their husband three years ago. “We’ve been together for over 20 years. I was terrified of his reaction,” said Brewer. “But he said, ‘I fell in love with the person you are, not your body.” Brewer’s children, to whom the author came out about a year ago, have been equally supportive. “My kids were completely wonderful,” Brewer added.
We wish him all the best in this journey.
Source (<-The full article is at Publisher’s Weekly and it’s fab. You should all read it!)
Neil Gaiman To Write Scripts for American Gods
The good news keeps getting gooder (yes, I know it’s not a word) in the world of pre-production for American Gods. Now Neil himself (see what I did there?) is getting more involved.
“We are cranking away. We’ve got the first two scripts written already,” Fuller said. “It’s wonderful to be working with Neil Gaiman.”
Fuller clarified: “Neil Gaiman is going to be writing episodes of the show,” he said. “It’s going to have scope, as it should.”
Yet another reason I’m gonna be watching this one!!
George R.R. Martin
Is Definitely MIGHT Be Done With Book 6
In the name of the Seven Holy Gods, let this be true. In a recent Reddit AMA, show director Jack Bender sent everyone in a tizzy by making them think George’s draft was complete.
Asked by one user is he was “able to read an advance copy of Book 6 of Game of Thrones to prepare for directing next season’s episodes?” Bender, under the alias MrJackBender, replied: “Yes”.
The response has sent the Game of Thrones rumour mill into overdrive, with many interpreting Bender’s reply as proof thatGeorge RR Martin has indeed finally finished his long anticipated sixth book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series.
But of course, no one could let me stay happy. Oh no.
But, according to fan site Watchers on The Wall, Bender’s comments have been interpreted incorrectly and the director was allegedly referring to the season six outline instead.
A source told the site: “Bender hasn’t seen an advanced copy/draft of The Winds of Winter, and must have confused it with the season 6 outline when answering the question.”
A source? I choose to believe the source was a white walker and that this is totally false. BECAUSE I NEED THIS BOOK ASAP!!
Possibly The Best Worst An Idea On The Internet: #AskELJames
In their quest to ruin every week of Buzz Worthy News for me, the internet gods arranged for EL James’ marketing team to forget every other #Ask campaign on Twitter EVER and give the author her own: #AskELJames. Needless to say, Twitter exploded last Monday with a blast of both hilarious and thoughtful tweets.
Today in terrible marketing ideas that I am enjoying immensely: #AskELJames
— Chris LeRoux (@thechrisleroux) June 29, 2015
#AskELJames have you ever thought about improving the books by adding wolves?
— MouldingBrain (@MouldingBrain) June 29, 2015
#AskELJames What is the airspeed velocity of a laden swallow?
— Amy M (@amyslayer) June 29, 2015
#AskELJames CG constantly 'murmurs' and 'growls' his lines. Is he intended to sound like a sulking teenager or was that accidental?
— Dan Olson (@FoldableHuman) June 29, 2015
Are you as homophobic in real life as your books are? Asking for a friend. #AskELJames
— Jenny Trout (@Jenny_Trout) June 29, 2015
If I tracked your cell phone and followed you to a bar, but I said it was because I was worried about you, would that be okay? #AskELJames
— Snark Squad (@Snark_Squad) June 29, 2015
#AskELJames Are you aware that using alcohol and manipulation to gain consent is incredibly abusive and negates any consent given?
— 50 Shades is abuse (@50shadesabuse) June 29, 2015
#AskELJames What's your favourite shade out of the 50? Is there a chance that more shades will be added?
— Jack Howard (@JackHoward) June 29, 2015
How on earth did Ana manage to graduate from university in the 21st century without an email address or a laptop? #AskELJames
— Marianne Hassle (@tinyorc) June 29, 2015
#AskELJames Is there a safe word we can use to get you to stop writing such drivel?
— Amanda (@Pandamoanimum) June 29, 2015
Which do you hate more, women or the English language? #AskELJames
— Ian Robinson (@eyeswideshut75) June 29, 2015
#AskELJames Can you confirm that you will be writing the story of Ramsay Bolton from his perspective, showing he is just misunderstood?
— Ros (@GameOverRos) June 29, 2015
#AskELJames after the success of "Grey," have you considered re-telling the story from the perspective of someone who can write
— Andrew Vestal (@avestal) June 29, 2015
#AskELJames I need advice on making a BIG romantic gesture. Should I put a GPS tracker in her phone and make threats if she tries to leave?
— Liam Dryden (@LiamDrydenEtc) June 29, 2015
But of course, no one could just let good humor lie. After allegedly seeing a tweet calling James a “c**t” (can’t corroborate this, as it was nowhere to be found, probably flagged and deleted) a few other authors decided to come to her defense on Twitter.
The #AskELJames hashtag is, perhaps predictably, a human garbage fire.
— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) June 29, 2015
Chuck Wendig was among them, and proceeded to post an entry on his blog comparing James’ plight to that of Cersei’s walk of public shame in Game of Thrones.
But that’s not entirely what’s happening, here, is it? Sometimes the criticism isn’t really criticism but instead, a snarky performance dressed up as criticism. And sometimes? It’s just abuse.
I am reminded of Cersei Lannister made human to the audience when she was forced to march, naked, covered in excrement, the Shame Nuns dogging her steps and ringing their Shame Bells.
The bookish community quickly schooled him on his wrongs, because in his defense against malice, he was also shutting down valid criticism.
"You have good points, but if you don't express them in a way I like you're just an attention whore." – Chuck Wendig pic.twitter.com/pTtNz0HH93
— Jeanne (@fangirlJeanne) June 29, 2015
"I don't know the details, but that's not going to stop me from conflating women with violent fanatics." Chuck Wendig pic.twitter.com/erFVVXLKdf
— Jeanne (@fangirlJeanne) June 29, 2015
And then it came out that he’d never even read the books.
If you are confused about the #AskELJames tweets and haven't read the books, then you have no dog in this fight. Exit stage left.
— Abundance of Stephs (@Sailor_Stephie) June 29, 2015
Shortly thereafter he posted ANOTHER blog entry saying that he’d been somewhat misguided and he was leaving a conversation he was never meant to have joined in the first place.
Some folks pointed out that I was punching down and ignoring a lot of the really awful things James has done and it became increasingly clear that I am speaking from a place of ignorance and that runs the risk of doing more harm than good. Like, my goal is not to use my privilege to take over conversations that aren’t mine. I’m not here to police people. Particularly women. I think of myself as feminist, but maybe I’m not a particularly good one.
And it feels like if I want to be a better one, then it’s more appropriate for me to take a backseat instead of clumsily pawing at the steering wheel and driving us all into Mansplain Gulch.
And then #AskELJames became just another internet meme and everyone went on with their week.
#AskELJames Do all these negative tweets sent to you seem abusive to you? I think it's romantic enough to be turned into a novel!
— Stephan Krosecz (@Krosecz) June 29, 2015
John Green’s Creepy Saga Continues
Tension remains high this week after the tumblr post that called John Green creepy.
An article ran in Huffington Post about John Green and Rape Culture.
So…the men twice my age who stare at my breasts instead of my face creep me out, but I suppose they aren’t creepy because you said so. Am I supposed to just tolerate all of the older men in my life who make me uncomfortable? The men who have more power than me because they’re older and more respected?
You’ve got all of these famous authors defending him — Chuck Wendig and Maggie Stiefvater and Sarah Dessen — but no one ever stopped to think about this girl. They chastised us about “forgetting the people behind the screen,” but that’s exactly what they did.
You can read the rest of the post for yourself and decide where you fall on the spectrum of whose in the right and who’s in the wrong.
Then earlier this week, Maggie Stiefvater had strong words for a thirteen year old who questioned her position on the John Green Creepy Saga.
"I campaign for teens. So I deserve more consideration." So many privileged white adult tears I cannot. pic.twitter.com/N8yHORGwWi
— Jeanne (@fangirlJeanne) July 4, 2015
Chuck Wendig also had words to say on the allegations that John Green is creepy and he posted them to his Facebook page.
— Jeanne (@fangirlJeanne) July 4, 2015
A note from Meg:
I’ve been sitting and watching all of this unfold since John Green’s response to the original post hit the fan and banging my head against the wall. Personally, I think a large part of the problem here is that there seem to be two separate (and valid) conversations happening. Is there a problem with how people talk to creators on social media? Absolutely. Do people dogpile and casually toss about words without maybe considering the full consequences of using those words? For sure, adults and teens alike are guilty of this. You’re probably guilty of this, I know I am definitely guilty of this. However, I think it’s safe to say we can table that discussion for now (it will still be there to be talked about later) and maybe we should consider focusing on the fact that teens are feeling like the community that is built around media that is supposedly for them is telling them to sit down and shut up, the adults are talking. Does that sound kind of fucked up to anyone else? The Huffington Post article was an eloquently-worded, thoughtful opinion stated by a teen about her feelings on this situation and from what I can tell, a large number of people couldn’t stop being defensive long enough to consider whether or not she had a point as they rushed to shut her down therefore kind of proving the point she was trying to make. If this were my playground and I were in charge, we’d all be taking a breather for a minute to think things through and regroup and try and have an actually productive conversation about one thing instead of shouting on top of each other about different things but seeing as I have just described twitter, I don’t see that happening anytime soon. If you need me, I am retreating to my batcave on cynic mountain with a stiff drink.