Posts Tagged ‘humor’

First Sale … NOT!

Posted: April 2, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Yes, my post yesterday was an April Fool.

Satire. Fun and games. Not real.

The contract points I quoted were so blindingly ridiculous that any self-respecting writer worth his salt would burn the contract before signing it. As Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith are fond of pointing out, “In publishing, money flows to the writer!”

Writing is a business, not a hobby. Remember that.

Oh, and if you’re an aspiring writer, read Kris’ and Dean’s blogs on writing. They will help you make sense of it all. Really. Promise.

Dan Hoyt
April 2, 2011


First Sale!

Posted: April 1, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

I’m happy to report that I’ve sold my first novel to one of the big NYC publishers!  (I can’t say which house just yet, and I apologize in advance for waiting this late in the day, but they told me I had to wait until close of business before making an announcement.)

With the popularity of ebooks, there are some changes in publishing these days (which I’ll get into in a moment), but I couldn’t more thrilled that my YA vampire novel, Twit-light, will be seeing the light of day soon (or is that the dark of night?).  It’s based on my short story, “The Rose,” published in Dreams of Decadence a few years back, with Edward, the vampire youth, and his teenaged love interest, Rose Isabel.  A timeless story of love, heartache and betrayal spanning several generations, it will undoubtedly become the gold standard for its field in short order!  So, without further ado, on to the specifics.

Over the past few years, I’ve talked to a lot of writers breaking in, so it was no surprise that the house expected me to do the marketing and publicity.  Times are tough, and along with the standard advance getting halved from just a few years ago, authors are being asked to contribute more to ensure their success.  I’m happy to help (heck, I would have done it anyway), but I admit I was a tad surprised to see it actually spelled out in the contract:

  1. Author agrees to contribute the entire amount of the advance (specified in paragraph 3) to Publisher for the purposes of marketing and publicity.  Publisher agrees to set up an escrow account for this purpose in Author’s name.  Author is encouraged (and may be required upon publication, subject to paragraph 36) to contribute additional funds.

That’s cool.  The more skin in the game, the more likely the success!  It’s great to see my publisher taking this kind of interest in my career.

I’ve heard that cover consultation is a big thing, and I’m happy to report that I got something even better:  I have complete control of the cover!  The publisher has given me a whole week to put together my vision of the cover using whatever sources I’d like to obtain for the purpose, and that’s the cover that will go to press.  Awesome!  Talk about creative control!  I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Speaking of creative control, I’ve heard so many copyediting horror stories (it’s so common that the copyediting term “STET” has become mainstream), that it’s a relief to know I won’t even have to deal with silly copyeditors:

  1. Author agrees that if the services of a professional Copyeditor are required, Author will procure said services.  Publisher agrees to provide a list of suitable candidates.  Publisher also agrees to respect the Author’s creative right to opt out of Copyediting services.

Also, since Borders refuses to pay the publishers and Barnes & Noble is getting their pants sued off by Microsoft, there’s no need for bookstores any more, so my book will be available exclusively on Amazon.  The publisher will be leveraging Amazon’s famed warehousing and distribution network to ensure that my book stays in print for as long as possible.  And all of this comes free from Amazon, which means they’ve got skin in the game, too.  How cool is that?

Of course, it turns out that I’ll pretty much have a steady supply of my books, so I’m not too worried about going out of print:

  1. Author agrees to maintain a reserve of the Book at all times while considered in print by the Publisher, in order to address shortfalls experienced by Amazon.  This supply cannot exceed 85% of the outstanding copies, but must not fall below 50%.  Publisher agrees to make  reasonable effort to ensure copies of the Book are made available to the Author at a 20% retail
    discount for this purpose.  If at any time or for any reason the Author’s reserve
    falls below the contracted amount, Author agrees to provide Print-On-Demand (POD) copies to make up the shortfall within 7 days. 

The only thing I didn’t get any real say in was the price.  The house was quite firm on that, and the prices they set were a little higher than I thought they’d be, but I felt that $19.95 for the paperpack and $29.95 for the ebook was fair with today’s inflated prices, so I didn’t push the issue.  (Besides, that just means higher royalties for me!)

I left out some of the more boring parts of the contract, but that’s the gist of it.  I just sent in the copyright application, so I expect my novel will availabe around Memorial Day weekend.  From my back-of-the-envelope figuring, I figure I’ll need to scrape up about $20K to keep up my end of the contract (it’s all deductible, so that’s cool), and I’ve decided to launch an intensive 3-month publicity tour this summer while the kids are on vacation.  I’ll be flying into all the major cities in the continental US (unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it to Alaska and Hawaii because of the high cost of airline tickets there!) — pretty much a different city every day — and stopping in at each of the airport bookstores and newstands to sign copies of my book (which I’ll have available for sale from my reserve, of course). I’m sure to be a bestseller in no time!

See you at the airport!

Dan Hoyt
April 1, 2011

Luk Ina … What Now?

Posted: February 6, 2009 in Uncategorized

(Warning!  This post is NOT for those that are easily offended!  You have been warned.)

When we were much younger, sarahahoyt and I used to knock around Porto when we were visiting her parents.  On one of those sojourns, I nearly dropped my camera trying to get a picture of a truck going by that had rather alarming letters painted on the side.  Now, to fully understand this, you have to realize that at that time there were a lot of panel vans (and sometimes panel hatchbacks — I am not making this up, as Dave Barry says), and they didn’t have the gauche American habit of painting the sides with company logos, phone numbers, etc.  So, when I saw this particular panel van driving by, I was alarmed by the possible meanings.  It was white, with three large red letters: F A G.

Let me take a moment here to point out that I have several gay friends.  I’m not homophobic, and I don’t make fun of gays.  I am, however, not above making fun of companies with suggestive names who don’t seem to recognize this fact, and I’m pretty sure my gay friends will get a kick out of this post.  This one’s for y’all.

Let me also point out that this particular company is German, and this particular combination of letters doesn’t have the same meaning as in English.  I’m aware of this; save your hate mail responses for something that needs it.

Anyway, back to the story.  I was alarmed.  Was it a specialized police enforcement version of a paddy wagon?  Or maybe some kind of demented delivery company?  I didn’t know.  As I was telling this story to my son robertahoyt this evening, sarahahoyt pointed out that it was a German tire manufacturer and I remarked that I never saw one of those vans again.  For the last twenty-some years, I’ve wondered if I just imagined the incident.  Then I thought, "Hey, it’s the age of the internet.  Maybe I should just look it up."

It turns out the company does exist.  They’re at … wait for it …  Okay, that’s fine, but they seem to be oblivious of the English connotations of their company name, and the more I dug into the company, the more clueless they … well, judge for yourself. 

It turns out that FAG is owned by the Schaeffler Group.  Fair enough.  If you watch the beginning of their video, you’ll notice that their spokesman refers to their two other subsidiaries, "Luk" and "Ina," as words rather than the initials he uses for "FAG," so presumably they’re sensitive to what could be an embarrassing brand name.  However, they didn’t seem to notice that the order of their subsidiaries, their logos emblazoned right there at the top right of the screen, sound out a rather obscene sentence, complete with subject, verb and object.

Looking into their history (the astute reader will note from the URL that they’ve also smartly snagged, you’ll also find that in 1991, they established, without a trace of clue, the "FAG Aerospace Division" (it’s the 4th entry down).

At this point, I noticed that Schaeffler Group had a link to "Related Companies" under the logos, with the entry "FAG Industrial Services."  I couldn’t resist.  I swear I couldn’t.  I should have.  I just about fell out of my chair when I saw their main page, which, like the Schaeffler Group, seems to be oblivious.  That page prominently promotes — again, I am not making this up! — the new "FAG Detector III Plug and Play."  Apparently, it "provides easy access to the world of vibration monitoring."  Um … I really don’t know what to say to that.

Also, this particular product has its own website as well,  And the product has a slogan, "Easy handling – low costs."

Oh, I really can’t dig into this particular company any more.  My irony alarm is just too loud.

Gesturing at the Smart

Posted: November 23, 2008 in Uncategorized

Yesterday, while driving in Denver, I inadvertently signed "Loser" to some poor guy driving a Smart.

It was an accident.  Really.  I like the Smart car.  Sarah and Robert think it looks dorky.  Okay, it kinda does, but I still like it.  I’ve wanted one since before it was available in the States, when I saw one of Sarah’s cousins pull up at her parents’ house in one.

So, anyway, we were driving my wife’s Expedition in Denver, near Cherry Creek, and there was a yellow/silver Smart approaching in the oncoming lane.  I air-high-five’d the car and yelled, "Smart!"  (The windows were up, BTW.)  But I realized at the last second that my wife and kids probably didn’t have the context and tried to point at the car.  I didn’t notice at the time, but both Sarah and Robert told me afterward that they heard me yell, "Smart!" then flash the "L" sign at the Smart car.  Both of them figured I’d finally come around to my senses and said nothing.

To that driver of the yellow Smart near Cherry Creek, who was driving along, minding his own business, only to have some unapologetic jerk in an SUV sign him that he’s a loser, I’m truly sorry.  I didn’t mean it that way.  Please forgive me.

By the same token, I hope that Smart driver doesn’t condemn me just because I’m driving an SUV.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t care about fuel prices, or where we get the fuel, or the environment, or whatever it is that some non-SUV drivers think.  It means we live in Colorado, where an SUV is the most prudent choice in cars for us. 

I’d just like you to respect my choice in vehicles as much as I respect yours.

Dr. Horrible

Posted: July 30, 2008 in Uncategorized

Yesterday, my youngest son turned me on to this webisode of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.  

Apparently, Joss Whedon (and family, judging by the plethora of Whedons in the credits) put this together during the writer’s strike.  It’s a little slow at the start, but once Neil Patrick Harris starts singing, it really picks up.  I’m not a die-hard Joss Whedon fan, ’cause I think his work is terribly uneven, but he does make a habit of trying new things, so I’m always willing to give his new stuff a fair shake.  Besides, it’s innovative people in the industry like Whedon that will shape the future of entertainment.  (Remember: fresh, new and innovative aren’t always strictly correct — it’s the ones who popularize them that get credited with being the first!)

I thought this new approach worked, despite the rather cliched ending.

Dan Hoyt has disconnected

Posted: July 30, 2008 in Uncategorized

 So I’m in this business meeting, and we’re nearing the end, and all of a sudden, right there on the big projection screen, in the middle of the Powerpoint slides, comes a message from the intraoffice Messenger system:

“Dan Hoyt has disconnected.”

I looked at it in shock, several of my coworkers snickered and the boss got sidetracked.  Someone offered the interpretation that the message referred to my interest in the proceedings.  I should have been offended, but it was funny so I just laughed.

The really funny thing was that I really had just disconnected, interest-wise.  Hee hee.

Shatner for President!

Posted: November 21, 2006 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

Yeah, I know I’m not the first one to suggest this, but I think I’m the only one who’s not a die-hard Trekkie/Trekker/Whatever-they-call-themselves-these-days!

I was explaining to my son my theory on why William Shatner is now hosting a game show, which can be summed up with: “Hey, I haven’t done that before!”

Recounting each of his career moves, I realized there was a common theme: critically panned, but sold like hotcakes. Until Boston Legal, that is, which earned him the coveted Emmy.  I think it’s because he’s got no fear, and just doesn’t give a dang what people think of him.

It seems to me that’s what we need in a president in 2008.


Shatner for President in 2008!

Now, what kind of campaign promises would Shatner make? I have a few ideas:

  • Paid time off to watch Boston Legal
  • “Performance” of Mr. Tambourine Man to replace Pledge of Allegiance
  • Courts required to accept “Live Long and Prosper” for swearing-in
  • Constitutional amendment requiring schools to acknowledge SciFi as legitimate literature
  • Free plans for a working phaser with every tax return audited by the IRS
  • Eliminate presidential natural-born citizen requirement for him and his running mate, Schwarzenegger
  • First fireside chat, Shatner will demonstrate the TJ Hooker over-the-car-hood slide without hurting himself
  • Congress can Show Us The Money for a change!
  • A Vulcan sex slave in every home