The Steampunk Forum at Brass Goggles
October 19, 2017, 07:25:55 pm *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
News: Brassgoggles.co.uk - The Lighter Side Of Steampunk, follow @brasstech for forum technical problems & updates.
 
   Home   Blog Help Rules Login Register  
Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: A Writer's Charter  (Read 558 times)
gaslampfantasy
Deck Hand
*
United Kingdom United Kingdom



WWW
« on: January 19, 2015, 02:35:43 pm »

Being a discussion on whether writers of books which appear on electronic platforms should sign up to a charter; and what that charter should be.

With this year being the eight hundredth anniversary of the Magna Carta I have been thinking, recently, whether those people who write purely for electronic platforms (the Kindle, websites and so on), should have their own charter, listing their rights and duties. I am not exactly suggesting that we unionise, or anything like that, as we writers are very individualistic creatures. But I am interested in whether writers would sign up to an ideal of a way in which to behave: such as not denigrating the work of other writers; telling other signatories to the charter if they discover a new way in which to promote their work; and so on.
   The above are duties; but I think that, in a changing world, authors deserve rights, and I’m not sure that those who self-publish are necessarily being treated as fairly as they should be, by those who control the money (and I am not a charitable organisation).
   So I am interested in having a discussion on this matter: first of all, do people think that we authors actually need such a charter or not; an, if we do, exactly what should be in it. I don’t have any ulterior motives in this, other than wanting to protect our community; and I am truly interested in what people’s opinions are. So I will sit back and consider everything which you say.
   I will probably float this idea on all of the forums of which I am a member, as I want as many comments as possible.
Logged
pakled
Zeppelin Captain
*****
United States United States


Minions Local 305, at your thervice!


« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2015, 06:18:49 pm »

'tis a consummation devoutly to be wished...

That being said, I'm reminded of the phrase "Freedom of the Press is limited to those that own one." Many of us write for the web because we can't afford to publish on paper. Plus, it's a good way to avoid the slush pile...Wink Although one could make the point that the vast numbers of ebooks out there are the e-slushpile...Wink

Civilization will eventually come to the Wired West, though in what form...
Logged
Richard Hoover
Deck Hand
*
Canada Canada



WWW
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2015, 04:40:39 pm »

Hm, it's an interesting question to ponder. 

One thing that immediately springs to mind is Kobo's controversial move in the fall of 2013 of temporarily removing ALL indie works because a FEW titles were considered objectionable.  I can see that writers should have the duty of identifying the audience appropriateness of the material in their books.  Or possibly some recognized rating system (movies have the MPAA to assign ratings, computer and video games have the ESRB, for example).

At the same time, most of the publishing platforms specifically promote themselves to indie writers.  So it would seem that said platforms should have a responsibility to their content providers (the said indie writers) to either make those publications immediately available or to have an internal review panel to ensure the works are inline with the company's goals.  Although, of course, we then get into the murky waters of censorship and such like, but in theory...

And I'm not sure if this would fall into your charter idea or not Gaslampfantasy, but a central independent writers hub (well promoted) with useful information would be, well, useful.  I'm not speaking about writing tips or anything like that, although those could have a place.  Instead I'm thinking more about the type of stuff that writers may not be at home with.  Reading and understanding the publishing contracts of the different platforms.  Dealing with the tax implications of publishing in different countries.  How to format ebooks for best compatibility.  Up to date information on the different ereaders and their specifications (do they provide justification options, font options, what are ideal cover and interior image sizes, that kind of thing).  Where to get ISBNs for each country and clear information on when different ISBNs are needed for different digital editions.  All this information is out there but you have to do a lot of web trawling to find it.  That said, learning about all that kind of stuff was a great experience for me!

And perhaps not a strict duty per se, but a heightened awareness among indie writers to help promote other writers when a person's conscience dictates.  For example, if you legitimately like another indie author's work then you should do your best to aid in promoting their work with reviews and or ratings on the selling sites and places like Goodreads.  This is another murky area, obviously, as it could be quite easily abused by indie's to just promote everything regardless of its quality but again in theory it would be a good responsibility to have.

Yeah, very interesting question Gaslampfantasy.  Very interesting.
Logged

My novel Satin and Sutherland: The Golden Curse is available now!  Check out my website www.sealeftstudios.com for a sample, trailers, and more.
Sorontar
Zeppelin Admiral
******
Australia Australia


All ideas should have wings


WWW
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2015, 02:58:32 pm »

Being a discussion on whether writers of books which appear on electronic platforms should sign up to a charter; and what that charter should be.

I don't disagree with you but you need to clarify a few things before I can even start suggesting what a charter could contain.

What are you meaning by a "book"? What type of publications won't be covered?
What are you meaning by "writer"?
What *aren't* you meaning by electronic platform (ie. how are they any different to any other media/technology and what would those other platforms be)?

Finally, how would a charter signed and followed by writers be of any benefit to them?[1]
Is the content of the charter referring to actions, behaviours and expectations that are exclusively applicable to writers and not to anyone else?
Likewise, is the content of the charter exclusively applicable to writers who are published on electronic platforms?

I ask these questions because informatics is one of my professional areas, so the changing meanings of these terms is of interest to me. How anyone interprets them may influence how they perceive the scope and purpose of any proposed charter.

Sorontar

[1] Yes, I know you gave some suggestions in the OP but the purpose of the charter is not clear to me.
Logged

Sorontar, Captain of 'The Aethereal Dancer'
Advisor to HM Engineers on matters aethereal, aeronautic and cosmographic
http://eyrie.sorontar.com
gaslampfantasy
Deck Hand
*
United Kingdom United Kingdom



WWW
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2015, 02:07:47 pm »

To Sorontar: first of all, sorry about taking my time in getting back to you, but I only rarely have the opportunity to go online. It is not me ignoring you.
   As to exactly what would be in the charter, and how it might be signed up to, I do have some specific ideas on it. But I don’t want to reveal them just yet, because I want to hear other people’s ideas first, before presenting my own, as I do not wish to push this discussion down one particular avenue (which might end up being a dead end, anyway).
   The purpose of the charter is to bring together writers from all over the world; from different forms of the medium; to give them a sense of community; and, perhaps, to allow them to speak with a unified voice to publishers, agents, the general public, and anybody who actions might impinge on their ability to create work.
   Finally, as to what I mean by a ‘book’, I mean a book in the widest possible sense of its meaning, as being something which has been written: a collection of original words which has been published in some manner, whether it is a physical hardback which you might purchase in Waterstones; a collection of poetry languishing unread on Kindle; a play which is available for free on somebody’s website; or a small press collection of short stories that you have done on your printer and disseminated by hand. All of those are books, in my opinion (and I am not limiting this discussion to works of fiction).
   A writer, in my opinion, is somebody who produces works involving the written word. It includes journalists, playwrights, novelists, biographers, short story writers, essayists, diarists and any other wordsmiths.

Postscript: Thank you for adding a new word to my lexicon; I had not heard of informatics before your post.
Logged
Sorontar
Zeppelin Admiral
******
Australia Australia


All ideas should have wings


WWW
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2015, 11:21:34 pm »

   The purpose of the charter is to bring together writers from all over the world; from different forms of the medium; to give them a sense of community; and, perhaps, to allow them to speak with a unified voice to publishers, agents, the general public, and anybody who actions might impinge on their ability to create work.
This is still very vague. What you seem to be describing here is a union or association. The term "charter", to me, means the rights and responsibilities of members of a group, ie. how you expect them to behave. While guilds can have (royal) charters, I am still confused about whether you want this charter to state what this association is supposed be for (ie. what it represents and why and how) or you want the charter to define how its members should act.

Quote
   Finally, as to what I mean by a ‘book’, I mean a book in the widest possible sense of its meaning, as being something which has been written: a collection of original words which has been published in some manner, whether it is a physical hardback which you might purchase in Waterstones; a collection of poetry languishing unread on Kindle; a play which is available for free on somebody’s website; or a small press collection of short stories that you have done on your printer and disseminated by hand. All of those are books, in my opinion (and I am not limiting this discussion to works of fiction).
   A writer, in my opinion, is somebody who produces works involving the written word. It includes journalists, playwrights, novelists, biographers, short story writers, essayists, diarists and any other wordsmiths.

So the following are books?
 * skywriting
 * blogs
 * wikis
 * letters-to-the-editor
 * this posting
 * press releases
 * scoresheets for the Ashes cricket series
 * real estate ads

The following are writers?
 * Anyone who uses Twitter?
 * Anyone who edits a meme?
 * Anyone who writes a shopping list?
 * Public relations representatives?
 * Anyone on Reddit?

Quote
Postscript: Thank you for adding a new word to my lexicon; I had not heard of informatics before your post.
All the rage in academia. It covers the information sciences and how technology can help automate the creation, storage, sharing and use of information and knowledge, from big data to small data.

Sorontar
Logged
gaslampfantasy
Deck Hand
*
United Kingdom United Kingdom



WWW
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2015, 08:44:58 pm »

You have, at least, given me much to ponder. I will answer, but only after much cogitation. I need to get my mind in gear, rather than rush off something which is ill-thought out, so bear with me.
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.20 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.117 seconds with 16 queries.