Zinaida Serebriakova

Oct. 21st, 2014 17:11
[syndicated profile] linesandcolors_feed

Posted by Charley Parker

Zinaida Serebriakova
Zinaida Yevgenyevna Serebriakova (née Lanceray) was a Ukranian/Russian painter active in the early 20th century.

Born near what is now Kharkiv, Ukraine into a well-to-do family, she studied at an art school under the direction of Ilya Repin, and went on to study with noted portraitist Osip Braz. She also traveled to Italy and Paris, studying at museums where possible.

Her work over time carried elements of Realism, Impressionism, Art Nouveau and Expressionism. Her subjects included landscape, still life and figures, but her primary interest was portraiture. In addition to portraits both formal and informal, she frequently painted and drew her children and created several self-portraits, the most famous of which (image above, top) helped establish her career.

She also found dancers of particular interest, featuring them in many compositions, as well as her own daughter in dancers garb from her classes (above, bottom).

Serebriakova worked in oil, water media and pastel. Some of her pastels of dancers have a Degas-like character.

After a tragic period following her husband’s sudden death, the rise of the Soviet Union and the closing of its borders left her in France, unable to return, and separated her from her two eldest children for a number of years. She eventually took French citizenship, residing in Paris for the remainder of her life. She traveled extensively and a number of her works are from her travels in Morocco and North Africa.

[Note: some images on the linked sites could be considered NSFW]

[Suggestion courtesy of Eric kelly]

sholio: Hand outlines on a cave wall (Cave painting-Hands)
[personal profile] sholio
Not precisely part of the DVD commentary meme, but I was asked about Elaine (from Kismet) and her timeline in the comments to this Kismet page, so I got to ramble about the difference between the Elaine short stories vs. her appearances in the comic.

I think one thing that's been really interesting (and surprising) to me since I started up the webcomic again is how MUCH Kismet is lurking in my brain. I haven't actively worked on it since 2009, but it's pretty much all still there, in detail up to and including everyone's birthdates and the dates of important events (though some of it I have to work backward from the current date to remember) and, of course, an absolute shitload of detail on characterization, the current political situation, etc. The point, I guess, is that so far I haven't actually had to look up anything -- I've occasionally had my memory jogged on random bits of canon as I've been going through the old stuff (and I do have to look back at the Hunter's Moon pages to remember some of the minor visual details of the comic, like where the patches on Fleetwood's jacket are located), but it's really fascinating to me because it's all been buried in my brain so long and now that it's resurfacing, I don't feel as if I've lost any of it.

... as opposed to the often short-term way that I load information for fanfic when I'm in a fandom. I think this is maybe one of the key aspects of how my brain deals differently with my original worlds versus fan worlds, because while I'm actively reading/writing in a fandom, I have a tremendous amount of canon information front-loaded -- it is definitely all there, all the characterization stuff and the backstory and everything. But it starts to slip and get overwritten once I leave the fandom. I noticed towards the end of my time in SGA fandom, particularly, that I was failing at some of the canon details in the last couple of fics that I wrote for it. (Someone pointed out a detail in the comments to one of my very last SGA fics that made me realize I'd forgotten Rodney's lemon allergy. Um. Yeah.) I think I could still write for my old fandoms, but in most cases it'd be a struggle and I'd have to re-familiarize myself with canon first.

But the original worlds -- even the (absolutely ridiculous) fantasy-romance novel I wrote when I was a teenager is still all there, and without even looking at it, I bet I could sit down right now and write a conversation between any two of those characters that's still totally in character and has all their backstory intact, even though it's been 20 years since I wrote them or even thought about them. They still live in here.

Random link of the day: here is a nifty-looking comics anthology that is taking submissions on the theme of exploration, colonization and contact, if you are into that sort of thing!


Oct. 21st, 2014 11:16
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[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news
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Slipped, Fell (Try Again)

Oct. 21st, 2014 12:11
bluemeridian: (NF :: Apocaicon!)
[personal profile] bluemeridian
It's like focus/concentration is a tightrope and walking it is a process constant readjustment. Yarrgh.
musesfool: abbie mills & ichabod crane from sleepy hollow (are you thinking what i'm thinking)
[personal profile] musesfool
Brooklyn Nine Nine: Halloween II
spoilers )

The Good Wife: Shiny Objects
spoilers )

Sleepy Hollow: The Weeping Woman
spoilers )

I keep hoping to have a story to post, but I have been choosing sleeping over writing lately. *hands* I feel like I will never get enough sleep. It's a problem. And I've only redone my yuletide signup once so far, so I'm sure I'll be tweaking my offers right up until the deadline, especially as more letters get posted.


Ticking Clocks and Tracking Eyes

Oct. 21st, 2014 10:23
[syndicated profile] gurneyjourney_feed

Posted by James Gurney

I'm excited to be visiting the Texas A&M. I did a couple of radio interviews in the morning, and then painted this 45-minute gouache sketch of the old clock in downtown Bryan. I used four colors: white, ultra blue, burnt sienna, and cad yellow.

I had lunch with professors Ann McNamara of Texas A&M and Donald House of Clemson University, both of whom share my fascination with eye tracking as it relates to artists.

I was thrilled to have a chance to try out the eye tracking tech setup at the Visualization Lab. Here, graduate student Laura Murphy is calibrating the system. She's checking alignment points on stereo images of my face as I look at a test screen.

Below the computer monitor are the two infrared sensors of the FaceLab 5 system. The sensors track both the exact direction of my eyes and the direction of my head so that the system can record exactly where I'm looking within the display monitor. 

The monitor has a photo of grocery store shelves crowded with products and overlaid info tags that pop up in response to where I'm looking, part of an augmented reality experiment they presented at Siggraph this year.
I'll be spending time with students of the Department of Visualization in their classes today and tomorrow, and I'll give a free digital slide lecture about picturemaking and worldbuilding in Dinotopia in the Geren Auditorium in the Langford Architecture Center, Building B, Thursday at 7 p.m.
Previously on GurneyJourney:
Eyetracking and Composition, part 1
Eyetracking and Composition, part 2
Eyetracking and Composition part 3

Manhattan 1.13

Oct. 21st, 2014 08:37
selenak: (Obsession by Eirena)
[personal profile] selenak
This was the season finale, right? It definitely felt like one. And I am ever so glad we're getting another season.

Some revelation is at hand )

In conclusion: definitely one of the smartest shows of the year, about complicated people and issues. So many pop culture stories treat WWII basically as the ultimate role playing game, clear cut good/evil issues, compromise with the other side impossible because the other side is bent on genocide and led by the embodiment of evil in the 20th century, therefore only dashing heroism on the Allies side. And so often it gets contrasted to the present with murky issues, endless wars, and ever shifting alliances and the impossibility to see anyone as the dashingly heroic side. Yet here is this show, picking up a very specific part of the homefront of the war seen as the "good war" in US public memory, and relates it directly to one of the most disturbing current day issues, the way state surveillance, "enhanced" interrogation and the giving up of liberties has become an accepted and even deemed necessary practice. Wow.


Oct. 21st, 2014 01:56
[syndicated profile] muddycolors_feed

Posted by Dan

-By Tim Bruckner

I first met May Pang in 1974. I had just finished the cover art for the Ringo album and was working on a live action/animated pilot film for Ringo Starr and Harry Nilsson called, Harry and Ringo’s Night Out. May was John Lennon’s girlfriend during his eighteen month “Lost Weekend” as well as production coordinator for the Pussycats album John was producing for Harry. May is one of the sweetest, kindest and most compassionate people I’ve ever met. We’ve kept in touch over the years. Talking with her recently I learned she was having several upcoming exhibitions of her photography in Germany. And I said to her, what I say to virtually anyone I meet.

“You know what you need? You need some sculpture,” I said.

“Yes. I think that’s a good idea,” she said.

After the shock wore off, the wheels started turning. I contacted James Shoop, Tony Cipriano, Michael Defoe and Alfred Paredes to see if they’d be interested in joining me in creating half life size portraits of John Lennon. They all said yes. The only restriction was size in an effort to keep them all within range of each other. The results are amazing! The pieces will be seen publicly for the first time at the Chiller show in October and at the Krab Jab Gallery in Seattle, Washington next Spring , with the addition of five new sculptures and several pieces of 2D art, all Lennon themed.

This is an account of how my piece, IMAGINE, came together. I came of age in the sixties and the whole psychedelic experience really shaped the way I saw the world and my place in pop culture. So, I knew I wanted to do something that reflected that sensibility. And I wanted the piece to do something. The design bounced around for a few days until it stuck. It wasn’t until I got about half way through, that I realized I might have bitten off more than I could chew. I started with a clay rough. Chavant NSP medium.

The plan for my piece was to have Lennon song titles floating in his head. You’d look in through the lenses of his glasses and see a collection of his songs and just reading them would conjure up melody and the piece would become more personal because of it.

The original plan was to have a kind of skylight in the top of his head to bring light into the piece. The more I played with that idea the more I realized it wasn’t going to work. I’d have to light it up from the inside and because the full interior space would be used for song titles, I’d have to light the piece up with an LED in the base.

With the piece done, I gave it several coats of primer to check unity and then a few coats of mold release to prevent the primer from sticking to the mold. The design on the base was inspired by the cloud art on the Magical Mystery Tour album.

I miscalculated the molding. Initially I thought I’d shim the piece into two sections and mold each section separately but with the base constructed of PVC pipe, I didn’t think it would work. So, I marked the piece for cut lines and halved in that way. Not the best of choices.

Casting the piece presented the biggest problem. I’d thought about slush casting but I needed a fairly consistent wall thickness so that was out. I used three different resin combinations, two of which worked. Kind of. Using urethane 80331, I brushed on several skin coats to give me a consistent surface. Xtendospheres are micro beads used to thicken casting resin. You can adjust the density by the ratio of beads to resin. When I got a mixture thick enough to brush on, I laid it up and then added a smoothing brush-down coat of acetone.

The first lighting test worked okay using the mock up of my original song-title concept.

Getting the LED’s at the right height was a little tricky.

The more I thought about the song title art the more it seemed wanting. A bunch of mini print-outs with song titles didn’t seem to warrant the effort, so I decided to design logos for the songs I selected and mount then on a master, cutting out a few and mounting them on spacers to add a sense of depth.

The second lighting test turned out to be a bust. With the interior of the piece painted black, the reflected light I had counted on from the first test, with the white resin interior, disappeared. I tried small sections of chrome surfaced mylar, squares of aluminum foil and a polished metal plate. Nothing worked as well as a reflective card or Krome Kote spray mounted onto a piece of foam core. Light came up from the bottom of the base, bounced off the card and lit up the top most section of the art.

With the piece assembled and primed, it was time to consider the paint scheme. The base paint application would be based on the art from the Magical Mystery Tour cover. He was so stylized, a more natural color pallet seemed wrong. I can’t tell you how I came up with the pallet I used other than pure dumb luck and maybe a little ethereal guidance from Dr. Winston O’Boogie himself.

I was absolutely gobsmacked by the work the other artists produced. It is an honor to be part of this amazing group, all of whom were generous, gracious and supportive. I’m proud to introduce their pieces to you. If you’ll be attending the Chiller show, stop by and say hi to May. She’s a great dame, and I mean that with much love and admiration.

[Yuletide] Placeholder

Oct. 20th, 2014 21:33
minim_calibre: (Default)
[personal profile] minim_calibre
To be replaced with actual letter.

Even more not here than usual

NSFW Oct. 20th, 2014 17:17
petra: Barbara Gordon smiling knowingly (Default)
[personal profile] petra
( You're about to view content which the journal owner has advised should be viewed with discretion. )

Dear Festividder 2014

Oct. 20th, 2014 20:41
kass: Veronica and Wallace stare at a screen (veronica and wallace)
[personal profile] kass
Dear Festividder,

I am mostly reprising last year's Dear Festividder letter, because honestly, everything I said last year about what I like is still true. :-)

You are so awesome. Thank you for making a vid for me!

I love every one of the fandoms listed below. The simple fact that you're going to vid one of these fandoms already makes my week.

I have particular soft spots for quirky characters, chosen family, competence, small town life, and loyalty. I'm a sap and I like to see characters get happy endings. I like slash and I like het and I like gen -- I'm easy.

Musically, go with whatever floats your boat -- there pretty much isn't a style of music I can't be talked into trying.

(If it's helpful, feel free to check out my vids on the AO3 -- fic is there also -- or on my website.)

Make a vid that makes you happy, and it'll make me happy too.

Thank you!


FWIW, I requested Local Hero, Ripper Street, Sneakers, Middleman, Field of Dreams, and Sports Night. my requests, in case anyone feels like making treats )

Yuletide sign-ups, w00t!

Oct. 20th, 2014 19:46
kass: omg wtf yuletide! (wtf (yuletide))
[personal profile] kass
I just signed up for Yuletide! My requests this year are Toby Daye, The Golem and the Jinni, S, Death by Silver, Hild, and Orphan Black -- one tv show and five books, hmm. Also in looking over my requests I see that I seem to be unusually shippy / looking for happily-ever-afters. (Well. I'm kind of always looking for those. But this year more than most, it seems.)

I didn't offer as many fandoms as I have in years past, and I suspect I'll go back and edit my offers to include more things. But at least I've signed up. w00t!

(My letter, for those who are interested: follow the fake cut.)


Oct. 20th, 2014 18:55
kass: Hildegard holding up an OTW mug (hildegard)
[personal profile] kass
1. The AO3. OMG, how much do I love the Archive of Our Own. Where I can find fic to fit my yearnings. Because it's all tag-sorted. And also all of my stuff lives there. And it's easy to share things. And it is just the archive of my heart.

2. Yuletide. Which has completely transformed my experience of this whole time of year, from now straight through Boxing Day. There kind of are not words for how much I love Yuletide. It gives me something about December 25th which feels like it's mine. Oh, and it's made possible thanks to the AO3, because no other archive could handle 2000+ participants and zillions of fandoms and the matching involved in all of our many and varied requests.

3. Fanlore. Because when I forget things about fandom, someone else usually thought to write them down. And when I am fixated on a new fandom or pairing or character, if no one's written down the thing I love best, then I can write it down myself. Also there are remembrances there of fans who aren't alive anymore (sniff), and fanworks which are part of my history -- and fans and fanworks who are part of entirely different corners of fandom, and that's equally awesome.

4. Red wine. Because it's been a long day and now I have a big glass of red wine and am ensconced on my red couch and am content.

5. The OTW, which brings you three out of the four above items. They're having a seventh-anniversary membership drive (here's one of today's posts about it: Seven Years, Seven Wonders: Made in Fandom.) If you can spare US$10 or more, you can become a member or renew your membership for another year. And if you can give more than that, it'll help us (us = fandom) to continue to -- in [personal profile] astolat's immortal words in [personal profile] cesperanza's immortal words!!! -- "own the goddamned servers." ♥!

Der Diplomat

Oct. 20th, 2014 19:44
[syndicated profile] edwardbgordon_feed
Somewhere in Berlin today…

Irgendwo heute in Berlin...

5.9 x 5.9 inch / Oil on MDF board / 15cm x 15cm / Öl auf MDF Bord

Verkauft / Sold

© Edward B. Gordon, all rights reserved.

Made in Fandom

Oct. 20th, 2014 11:28
otw_staff: Claudia, OTW Communications Co-Chair (Claudia)
[personal profile] otw_staff posting in [community profile] otw_news
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[syndicated profile] linesandcolors_feed

Posted by Charley Parker

James Gurney, Thomas Torak, Nancy Guzik, Eric Bowman, Robert Lemler, Charles Yoder, Thomas Kegler, Quang Ho, Burton Silverman, Sherrie McGraw, Kathryn Stats, Jeff Weaver

American Masters is a yearly exhibit organized by the Salmagundi Club in NYC. I’m remiss in not mentioning this year’s earlier as it ends on October 24, 2014.

For those who can’t see the exhibit in person, there is a nice selection of the work online. I’ve pulled out a sampling for the images here.

(Images above, links to my posts where available: James Gurney, Thomas Torak, Nancy Guzik, Eric Bowman, Robert Lemler, Charles Yoder, Thomas Kegler, Quang Ho, Burton Silverman, Sherrie McGraw, Kathryn Stats, Jeff Weaver)

OuaT 4.04 The Apprentice

Oct. 20th, 2014 14:32
selenak: (Gold by TheSilverdoe)
[personal profile] selenak
In which Goethe joins the ranks of OuaT writers, and given Regina's stated goal this season, this suddenly makes me think of crazy RPF crossovers. She'd be his type. Emma, otoh, would be Schiller's.

Hat der alte Hexenmeister sich nun einmal wegbegeben... )

The Character and The Values

Oct. 20th, 2014 08:32
[syndicated profile] gurneyjourney_feed

Posted by James Gurney

Students at the French academies didn't get a whole lot of instruction from the teachers. Most of the masters came into the drawing and painting classes once a week at most, and sometimes their feedback was brief and enigmatic.

John Lavery (1856-1941), an Irish art student who spent three winters under William Bouguereau's supervision at the Academy Julien, recalled that he received just one sentence from the master.

After looking at his drawings from the nude and asking him a number of questions, Bouguereau kindly said: "Mon ami, ça c'est comme bois; cherchez le caractère et les valeurs" ("My friend, it is like wood; look for the character and values.")

William Bouguereau, Biblis, to be auctioned in NYC at Sotheby's Nov. 6 

Sir John Lavery, Miss Auras, The Red Book
Lavery admitted that he had a tough time learning French, so he probably missed out on a lot of the art talk in Paris. But looking back on his training, he said, "The rest of my training came and continued to come from what I saw rather than from what I heard."
[syndicated profile] muddycolors_feed

Posted by Arnie Fenner

by Arnie Fenner

A literary agent: do you need one to sell your art (or illustrated) book to a publisher?


But you might wish you did.

Remember my much-repeated caveat: publishing is personal. It requires not only a nuts-and-bolts understanding of the industry, but also relies upon feelings, intuition, gut instincts, and relationships. A good agent (as I mentioned in my previous post) takes their client in hand, helps them craft and refine their project—whether it's a simple proposal or outline or the entire thing—and figures out who might provide the best home for that book. The agent uses their experience, their knowledge, and their relationships to determine which publishers to approach: they knock on the doors (and know which doors to knock on), they make the pitches, they deal with—and learn from—the rejections, and move on to the next likely candidate. They repeat the process until they make the sale. The agent is the author's (that's you) advisor, their pep squad, their bodyguard, and their sales force.

Agents work on commission (plus variable expenses directly incurred on their client's behalf, like postage, Xeroxes®, etc.): they get paid when they sell a book and the client gets paid. General advice is to run away from any agent who wants to charge a fee to represent you. How much do they get? It can vary, but the industry standard is 15% of the total income for the book before taxes: that includes 15% of the advance, 15% of any future royalties if the book earns out, and 15% of any options by or sales to a third party of film, TV, or other entertainment rights. Agents routinely receive a 20% commission for foreign rights sales.

It might seem like a big bite of the sandwich, but they earn it, particularly when it comes down to negotiations and contracts. Remember that it is in their best interest to get you the best deal—and the most money—for your work. The happier you are, the happier everyone is. The more you make, the more they make.

Book contracts are much more complicated than a standard purchase order or rights agreement for an art assignment. Much more. And while a lawyer can help decipher a book contract and point out some of the clauses to think about, it takes someone who thoroughly understands the process and the reasoning behind the document to advise as to the best course. I've seen lawyers (including those who practice in the realms of copyright and intellectual properties) unfamiliar with the nuances of publishing standard practices screw up a deal—and subsequently screw their clients—because they didn't understand how things worked. They didn't understand the financial realities, they didn't understand subsidiary rights, they didn't understand the risks. They didn't understand the personal aspect of publishing. (And, to be perfectly fair, I know agents who have botched otherwise great deals by making egregious demands, much to the sorrow of their clients.)

Above: There are a number of things that Alan Moore has expressed his unhappiness about regarding his past relationship with DC Comics and Watchmen, but it's his inability to get the publishing rights back that has caused some of his harshest comments. Apparently one of the clauses of his contract allows DC to continue to be the graphic novel's publisher for as long as they keep it in print and abide by the terms of the agreement. Since Watchmen continues to sell like gangbusters, the only recourse Moore really has is to let everyone know he's pissed while cashing the large royalty checks.

Similarly there are stories of creators who signed contracts without the advice of either an agent or a lawyer and wind up unhappy as a result. Not because of anything unscrupulous or underhanded in the construct, but simply because they didn't fully understand the totality of what they were agreeing to. Alan Moore's expressions of displeasure about his Watchmen graphic novel being turned into a film and his inability to make DC Comics relinquish the publishing rights regularly gets the internet buzzing, but…you can't negotiate the terms of a contract after you've already signed it. As long as the publisher continues to hold up their end of the agreement, for however long the contract is in effect, complaints are pretty empty.

Knowledge and experience are invaluable and both are precisely what a good agent brings to the table.

And the difference between an art rep and a literary agent? Besides that an art rep's commission tends to be anywhere from 25% to 50% of the artist's paycheck? Well, the art rep's expertise (speaking with illustration in mind and not those of a gallery rep or business manager) is in securing work for the artist to complete for a client; it's a very straightforward transaction that begins with the job and pretty much ends with the approval of the art and the payment of a purchase order. The art rep tries to satisfy the artist and the client; in disputes the client (the customer) is often "right"—because the art rep wants to continue to get work for their artists from that client. Though there are always exceptions, art reps aren't usually experienced (or concerned) with creator copyright, intellectual properties, contracts, licensing, and subsidiary rights.

With a literary agent, you are the client and the "product" and the breadwinner and the reason; you are who they're looking out for and they're your first line of defense in any disputes.

As I mentioned, you don't have to have an agent to sell your book to a publisher. But if you don't, be prepared to do everything an agent does while creating your work.

SFWA (the Science Fiction Writers of America) has a thorough and incredibly helpful article discussing the pros and cons for authors (and, yes, that's what your title will be if you sell a book) working with agents as well as a multitude of links to resources to help you find your way through the publishing forest. Hit the the link and dive in.

Above: Not an art book, but an example of how things work in publishing. Doubleday paid Stephen King an advance of $2500 for his first novel, Carrie. As part of the contract, Doubleday shared in any income from the sale of subsidiary rights to a third party. When NAL bought paperback rights for $400,000 King (who was living in a trailer at the time) got $200,000 and Doubleday got the same. Similarly when it was optioned for a film King and Doubleday split the movie money, too. It's misunderstood when King mentions selling the film rights to Doubleday for $2500; while technically true (assigning rights was part of the original deal), he definitely received 50% of everything the publisher received when the film was made, which was significantly more than $2500.

Contracts, Advances, & Royalties

This is really the barest of bare bones simply because book contracts and moola are, as I mentioned above, complicated. Also not much is set in stone: like any agreement, most (not all) parts of a contract are negotiable, and that includes the money. What both sides agree and put their John Hancocks to is what becomes enforceable: up until everybody signs on the dotted line, it's all just talk.

A publishing contract is not merely an agreement for you to sell your book and someone to publish it; there are numerous clauses covering rights, assertions, limitations, and conditions. There are protections for you and you'd better believe their are protections for the publisher. Compensation is always spelled out as are the rights being purchased. Publishers routinely share in film/television sales (if they happen) and it's not unusual for them to share in other licensing rights, depending on the terms negotiated. There are assertions of ownership (you are the creator of the work and/or are the copyright owner of same), deadlines for delivery, what exactly you'll be delivering, where and how any disputes will be adjudicated, and clauses of liability and indemnity (which puts you on the hook if the publisher gets sued for publishing your book). And that's just part of what a contract includes—and it's all written by lawyers, which means the language can sometimes be indecipherable. (I've dealt with a lot of contracts through the years and I usually have to read them three times, then ask for help.) Regardless of whether you have an agent or are flying solo, read everything and don't sign anything you don't understand. Questions are expected and asking questions, as many as need asking, is not a sin.

As part of the acquisition process publishers do what's known as a profit-and-loss projection. Basically it is what-if accounting: we want to do this book, what's it going to cost us to secure the rights, what are all the costs associated with with producing it (cover art, printing, distribution, and some sort of breakdown that includes the salaries of the editor, art director, and everyone else involved), what will it cost to promote it, what will it cost to distribute it, how many do we think we can sell in the first 12 months, what's our break-even point, how much will publishing this book (if it sells) put in the bank account, etc., etc., etc. Risks vs. rewards. The advance offered is based on projected earnings based on this P&L analysis. The size of the advance depends on how well the publisher thinks the book will sell, how much they want to publish it, and how much the author is willing to accept in order to enter the agreement.

How do you get paid for your book? In essence you are licensing your work to the publisher and in return for that license you will be paid a royalty for each copy they sell. The amount of the royalty can be negotiated and can be tiered (increased) to correspond with success: the more books that sell, the bigger the percentage of profits the author shares in. A normal royalty is 8%, but 10% to 15% aren't uncommon, with the higher percentage usually reserved for better known creators. Different formats (like paperbacks or e-books) can come with a different (usually lower) rate. What that royalty is actually generated from is also part of the contract negotiations, but standard practice is for the royalty to be based on the publisher's net receipts, not the gross. Meaning that the royalty is based on what the book actually sold for to wholesalers and retailers, not the full listed retail price; the publisher's negative costs (their overhead) are also factored into the accounting when determining royalty payments.

Figure it this way: a book retails for $10. The standard direct discount to a small bookseller is 40%; larger retailers can negotiate deeper discounts and receive discounts of anywhere from 50% to 65%. The distributor has to get a percentage of that sale in order to get the books in the marketplace, let's say 10%. So for a large sale to a major account—a Barnes & Noble say or an Amazon—the publisher get's $2.50 per copy sold. (And, of course, the book business allows returns which permits sellers to receive credit for unsold titles.) From that $2.50 the publisher has to pay all of their negative expenses: printing, advertising, salaries, rent, electricity, and everything else associated with running a business, plus the author's royalties. Each book has its own budget and each has to carry its own weight. The margins are pretty narrow: publishing is an aggregate business, which is why publishers produce a lot of titles.

There are stories of novice publishers without much money who paid royalties based on the straight retail price of their book (or game) and sadly learned why experienced publishers…don't. Some artists have waxed nostalgic about "the good ol' days" when they were receiving five-figure royalties on a game card image (and will unhappily talk about current rates and policies) without realizing that the practice didn't last because it drove the naive publishers to the brink of—if not into—bankruptcy and led to the sale of those companies to bigger, more savvy corporations.

Publishing is personal and everything affects everything else.

Unless there's an advance (I'll get to that in a second), royalties are paid with a frequency determined in the contract, but it's usually bi-annually or annually. The publisher will issue a royalty statement breaking down sales to whom and for how much, detail expenses, and issue a check for the amount due (with a small percentage often held in reserve to cover copies returned by retailers: if the books don't come back after a reasonable time, the publisher issues a check for the balance). Royalty statements are pretty black & white, but can be a bit challenging to wade through.

What's an advance? An advance is an up-front payment of projected royalties. The amount can vary and is always negotiable, but advances for art books tend to be modest. The advance is often a way to bind the deal, but it isn't necessary to take one in order to enter into a contract: no advance means there's nothing to "earn out" and the creator is owed a royalty on every copy sold from day one. Stephen King once took a $1 advance for a book. "Earn out?" That means, for example (and forgive me if my math is faulty), if the creator is paid an advance of $5000 against a 10% royalty the publisher would have to earn back $50,000 in sales before the creator's advance against royalties was satisfied or "earned." Once the amount the publisher has pre-paid the creator is accounted for, royalties begin to accumulate and be paid on a pre-determined schedule for copies sold after that point. If you have an agent, the payments are funneled through them (at which point they take their percentage and send you the balance); without an agent the payments go directly to the author.

An advance against royalties is often seen as a way to provide financial support for the creator while they complete their book. But advances can be misunderstood: an advance is not "extra money" in addition to royalties: they are, as mentioned, pre-paid royalties. Ellie Frazetta (a good friend whom I deeply miss) never understood about contracts, advances, or royalties (or how royalties were calculated) and it ultimately led to ill-advised and ultimately unfortunate disputes with every single publisher she ever worked with, from the Ballantines in 1975 until the day she died in 2009. (Frank, of course, never thought about any of it: he let Ellie manage the business and let the chips fall where they may.)

The unusual legal wrinkle about advances for publishers is that they're something of a "limbo" expense until a book is actually delivered for production. Though as with everything there are exceptions, particularly when accounting comes into play, the IRS tends to not allow advances as a business expense until a "tangible product" is in hand and until that occurs the publisher is out of pocket and can't use the payment as a deduction. It's not ghost dough for the author, of course, who has to pay taxes on an advance in the year he/she receives it whether they're done with their book or not. So it's understandable that some publishers can get a little antsy for a contracted book once an advance has been paid to a creator. (And, yes, there are stories about some authors who pocketed decent amounts and never delivered their books. Ever.)

What happens if your book is published and it doesn't sell? No royalties, of course. Included in the contract will be language covering "remainders." Basically, remainders are books sold to independent distributors far below the publisher's cost; it's common for books to be sold not by quantity but by the pound. It's a way for publishers to liquidate unsold inventory; they recover a fraction of their costs and write the rest off as a loss. No royalties are paid on remaindered books. The author is often offered the opportunity to purchase unsold books at that deep discount to sell via their websites or at conventions. There have been occasions in which they've actually done better selling their own books than their publisher did. Strange things happen.

Hmmm. A lot to digest, eh? What next? Well, maybe a bit about Fair Use or maybe something about distribution and the way books are sold or how to look for publishers. Or maybe something else. We'll see. And, naturally, if you have any questions, ask away.

Dear Yuletide Writer

Oct. 20th, 2014 07:15
selenak: (Default)
[personal profile] selenak
Dear Yuletide Writer,

I'm happy and grateful you're going to write a story for me. We must share at least one fandom, and I hope you'll have fun writing in it. The ideas in my requests are just that: ideas. If you feel inspired by another direction of story altogether, go for it, as long as it features the characters I requested.

General likes and dislikes: pretty ordinary. I don't like character bashing. (Or the bashing of a relationship in favour of another, but that hardly applies with my requests.) Not to be confused with whitewashing; some of the characters I asked so have canonically done some pretty apalling things, and you don't have to pretend they didn't, or that it was all someone else's fault, just because I love them. As long as they come across as three dimensional people with flaws and strengths, I'll be content.

Quiet character exploration or plotty tale, gen or slash/het/any combination thereof, humor or dark fic, it's all good, though unless you're one of those awesomely talented people who can write characterisation via sex, I'd prefer a story that's more than a PWP.
Now, as to individual requests:

The Americans )

Penny Dreadful )

15th Century RPF )

Oh my God

Oct. 20th, 2014 00:45
saraht: "...legwork" (Default)
[personal profile] saraht
If you requested Corruption of Champions for Yuletide, I am seriously judging you.

Yuletide indecision

Oct. 19th, 2014 23:36
saraht: "...legwork" (Default)
[personal profile] saraht
So, in theory, this year, unlike several years past, I have time to do Yuletide. But I hesitate. Know what's more depressing than not writing? Not writing in a challenge and being forced to default. I don't know. Maybe I should browse more author letters.

Hogwart is here!

Oct. 19th, 2014 21:09
lightgetsin: Daniel Jackson asking, "Where am I? How did I get here? And why in God's name am I wearing this shirt?" (Daniel: three questions)
[personal profile] lightgetsin
Hogwart arrived on Thursday. She was a week late, but a mere 7 lb 13 oz. I am reliably informed that she is an unusually attractive specimen of babyhood.

Labor was -- hm. I need to process a bit more before I tldr the whole story, but put it this way: when the details are relayed to someone who knows what they are listening to, their eyes get wider and wider throughout and they usually say something involving swear words by the end. It's -- I'm still thinking about it. Sometimes I feel kind of shitty about it, even though there is no doubt in my mind that I did my best and my best was pretty good. Most of the time, I know I was kind of a superhero, when it comes right down to it. Still processing.

But. There is a Hogwart.

We did it.

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