Digital Editions Reverting to Artists

It’s been a long time between updates.

I’m not as active online because I’m writing. Final edits of the first novel in my Femitokon series take up so much of my computer time. I made a decision regarding the digital editions of my graphic novels:

Starting in June, Gynocrat Ink is turning over all digital graphic novel titles, to the artists.

Since Amazon decided it has so much digital content in their catalog they should sell select search placement, it’s a little hard to find my titles. Unless you type my name, the artist’s name, or the title itself, you won’t find my books under their intended genre or category, via search.  Naturally, this has led to a dip in sales. This was the first year in many, that I made under the threshold set for filing sales in the my taxes.

Another factor that’s killing sales is my inability to update the image content in my books. I know how to do it–I was digitalizing my comics long before my peers, but these days, I just don’t have the time. Optimizing image files takes hours, even with programs suited to do it “for you”. I don’t have that kind of time, and unless they’re optimized, we cannot earn 70% per title sold. When you take the 70% option, Amazon charges a delivery fee (for large files). That delivery fee was eating into our 70% to the tune of us “losing” money per download. I was forced to collect 35%, to avoid it.

Final factor for my decision: I’m moving back to the northeast, and don’t plan to self-publish anymore. My writing hack led to great opportunities for me in the past two years, and gave me the confidence to finish my series, and seek submission the old fashioned way. Holding onto a business account just to collect modest digital sales, seems pointless.

Turning these editions over to the artists allows them to continue to collect on their hard work–as artists. They’re also in better positions to edit and optimize the books–to increase sales. If the title disappears (starting in May), do not worry, the artists will begin reselling them when they can.

Print copies will remain for sale, as they’re distributed, and I need not worry about upgrading anything to suit the latest eReader-technology.

Past Transphobic Missteps

Many of you know that I’m the parent of a trans-teen, so there’s certain issues and causes I’m passionate about–but I’m hesitant to throw my hat in the ring when readers are critical of authors misrepresenting trans people. Why? –because my first erotic horror novel did just that.


Art by Laura Carboni

I crafted Gadarene as an ill-informed CIS-gendered heterosexual, and the trans character in the book displays many idealized misconceptions CIS people have about transwomen. I got away with it I think because the character was emotionally traumatized, and the angst over identity formula is often given a quiet pass. When I look back at Gadarane, I can see that making Wira Boruta deny her true nature toward the end, wasn’t just my ignorant way of making m/m fans happy—it was my ignorant way of viewing a transwoman.

My teen is a non-binary transperson (back then they were 9 nine years old, unable to engage in a dialog with me about my problematic representation of Wira). Having grown with them and seen the struggles, the ignorance, and the downright wrongness aimed at gay and lesbian transpeople, I’m regretful of my CIS colored heteronormative representation of Wira Boruta.

I’m proud of the story that C.B. Potts helped me tell in Gadarene, but I’m ashamed of the choices I made in depicting my trans-character.

Flash forward many years later, to a short story I wrote for an Eastern European magazine. The transman Jonathan Cole in the short Mine to Keep, doesn’t get the full realization Wira did in Gadarene—but my positive representation of him is sullied when falls victim to the sociopathic ego of the surgeon, that made him the man he was born to be.

My teen doesn’t read my erotic works, but upon explanation of the character, found (my) healthy depiction of a transman got ruined by the violence (I) perpetrated against him. They asked me to stop writing transpeople if you can’t portray them without beating them up with your own baggage. I almost dismissed their words, because I beat up every character I write with my own baggage—no matter what their identity, but my teen is right, maybe I should step away if my only use for a trans character is to eroticize, or victimize, or worse.

New Scam Out There

This is a tricky one, because you’ll risk alienating real readers that do contact you–but if you explain to them beforehand why you’re responding to them this way, it’ll go over easy.

A few years back when I was releasing work and marketing it, I’d get emails asking for autographed copies of my books. The sender would go into detail about what books they read, what they liked about them, and would give me their opinions on the artists I worked with—on any given title. It was more than a stock, hey I like your work can I get an autograph.

Since the start of the summer, I’ve gotten a few emails telling me ‘I’m a fan of your work’, and then asking, ‘Can I get your autograph?’ For writers it’s a no-brainer, just send them an autographed copy of whatever title you have set aside for things like this—I did this twice in three months, and noticed that both books ended up in Amazon Marketplace (poor fools, no cares about an autographed copy of anything I’ve written!).  I still sell whatever stock I have left in my studio, on Amazon Marketplace. I offer to sign it, as incentive to buy from me, as the author, and not the dozens of other sellers, selling my books.:/

This sort of scam, takes money from me.

I don’t fault book dealers that buy copies from readers, or my distributor Ingram, and sell at Amazon Marketplace—because those channels pays me. Preying on a creators sense of accomplishment (taking advantage of their pride or ego), isn’t cool. There’s scores of indie authors out there too that have no doubt fallen for this. It’s stealing pure and simple.

Going forward, I reply:

Thank you so much, I appreciate the compliment. Which works of mine is your favorite, and why? What artist that I’ve worked with do you like best? Do you read BL/yaoi, who is your favorite mangaka?

I’ve done this four times now, and got no reply. I haven’t seen any twitter, tumblr, or LiveJournal posts, complaining about what a narcissistic asshole I am for twenty-questioning someone that just wants an autograph.

I’m going to assume they weren’t truly interested in the first place.

Still Alive…

Suffocation manuscript is about 55% of the way through editorial. Holodomor manuscript, first-draft mode, is a mess on the floor. I’ll be trucking through chapter-arrangement and cutting/adding scenes, while waiting for the next round of edits for Suffocation.

Yep, that’s where I’m at.:)

On the book sales front, things are still chugging along nicely, though I’ve made no upgrades to the eReader editions of the comics I’ve released. I recently sent out some autographed copies of Loud Snow, and paid my distributor fee for Games with Me.  See? Boring stuff.

I’ve been somewhat absent on social media because writing and revising takes all my keyboard time–it’ll be worth it in the end, because I know Femitokon is a great series, and I know readers will dig it.


Kickstarter Shoutout!

Remember the tone work in my graphic novel Games with Me? The young artist responsible for that work, Cetriya, has a project of her own that needs a signal boost.


The book is called Oeclair:

In trying to save her best friend, Shara is caught in the storm barrier of the outer edge of the open sea and is hurled to the unknown side.

She wakes up in an imperfect world, complete contrast of her warm and peaceful home. A world where health is a luxury and most are just trying to survive the day. She becomes a hunted outcast by the zealous and oppressive ruling order, wanting to take her secret of ‘perfection’.

Support any way you can, pledges start at $5, and as with any Kickstarter, goodies abound!  $20 gets you a signed printed copy, a video of the artist making the book, and a clear-file.

PSA: Stop Reading Single-Volume Books in the Store!

When I began allowing returns on my stock of self-produced titles, I noticed an immediate increase in orders from vendors selling online, those that also have brick and mortar stores. Before this, my distributor, Ingram, sold to online outlets only—typical POD orders were five to ten books every quarter (unless an artist I worked with did a convention and promoted the print versions – then the numbers increased.)

By allowing returns, small shops selling online with actual storefronts, order sparsely–and my quarterly returns are few and far between (1 book per quarter, tops!). There are times when a return comes back to me in rough condition, because hobotaki (aisle-readers) have read the entire book, with buying it. >_<  The spine is broke, the front cover is bent – some even dogear the pages. I cannot resell that at Amazon. =_=;


I wish comic shops and small bookstores were more diligent in stopping in-store reading (I’m not talking about a person that opens the book and browses the art—I’m talking about the asshat that sits down and READS the entire book, while in the store). Aisle-reading is tolerated, because manga tend to be produced in multiple volumes—if a hobotaki reads one, they’ll buy the others (because if they show up every day to read the other volumes, then the store owner has something to say!). This hurts those of us that create single-volume graphic novels, sold in the manga section.

I’d also prefer if the store owner just marked the price down and sold it there, but getting full credit back from Ingram is financially sound. All I can say is, thank goodness for Half-Price Books.:)