Some Thoughts on Publishing Contracts

February 15, 2016 in Musings, Professionalism, Publishing, Writing

Dear Writers: You should be reading your contracts at least as many times and at least as closely as you do your prose or poetry. Because that misplaced comma that has you so freaked out in your story? That’s not half as bad as the misplaced comma in your contract.

Over the past few days I’ve been going over novel contracts for a new project. I’ve been posting notes on how I think about contracts and why reading them carefully is so important. This post gathers all of that information in one place.

We (writers) tend to focus heavily on craft to the occasional detriment of the business side of publishing. Contracts are vitally important and signing a bad one can be deeply harmful to both your career and your psyche. So far, I have been lucky in that I haven’t yet hit a bad clause in a contract that I couldn’t live with or get changed. But part of that “luck” is knowing that there is a point at which walking away makes more sense than signing, and being willing to push on stuff you don’t like. This is one of the reasons why I’m glad to have an agent, and why my first criteria for an agent is contract comprehension and negotiation. It’s much easier if you’ve got an agent to do the bad cop side of things.

Without further ado some random thoughts while reading contracts:

Just finished the third pass through the new contracts. This one was quickly cross comparing clauses with previous contracts. I.e. have I signed something like this before without it blowing up. If yes, hooray! If no, lets double check that bit there. Next up, close read of the whole thing with notes. Whee.

Beyond the important who gets paid how much for what stuff, one thing the boilerplate part of a publishing contract represents is a sort of archaeological record of previous author flame-outs. Also, previous publisher flame-outs, rights grabs, etc. It’s instructive reading in that way as well.

The how have things gone wrong with this publisher’s past deals portion of the reading is especially critical for smaller houses. (Catherine Lundoff reminded me of this bit)

Finished 4th pass (close read) through new book contracts. Brain melty now, so, I’m off to kill orcs for a bit (Shadows of Mordor). Next up: Reeading critical bits (things I’ve flagged on this or previous passes). Hopefully by this time tomorrow I can actually sign the things.

Finally, in response to a question about whether my agent shouldn’t be taking care of this:

Rule 1 of agents and contracts: No matter how good your agent is and how much you trust them, it’s still YOUR contract and your work on the line.

I like and trust my agent. I’m very happy with my publishing house and I adore my editor. Verifying everything is still part of my job. If your book is truly successful, that contract could be a big part of your life for the next 20 years. If it’s a smash hit, that contract could be a part of your heirs lives 20 years after you’re dead. You want it to be solid and as favorable as you can get it.

Post Script: This time I’ve done six passes through the latest contracts. Now I just need to briefly discuss two paragraphs with my agent to verify my reading and I can sign them and get them out the door.

 

Some Thoughts on Communication: Clarity, Engagement, and Codeshifting

September 10, 2015 in About Kelly, Events/Appearaces, Musings, Publishing, Readings and Signings, Writing

An academic friend asked me if I would be willing to put together some thoughts on how I use communication skills in my profession. Since I’m a novelist, a wall of text fell out. I thought it might be of use to others, so here it is.

As an author with a dozen novels in print, my entire job is communication. Primarily that’s via the written word in my fiction, and on social media which I use to keep in touch with my audience and draw in new readers on the professional side, but I also do a lot of public speaking and appearances.

In the written form I mostly work at novel length, but also do things like twitter micro-fiction to keep people entertained in the long gaps between novels. Working at 140 characters is a particular challenge as you’re forced to pack a lot of meaning into a tiny space. Often, in my case including a full joke including punch line, since much of what I do is humor.

That tiny space in need of a big punch is also something I do on the public speaking side of my job. I do a lot talking on panels at science fiction conventions and literary events. When you’ve got four to six people all talking over the course of an hour event, you have on average 10-15 minutes total to address the topic, and to make an impression on the audience. Usually that will come in a series of 30 second to 2 minute chunks in which you need to try to do as many of the following as possible: address the topic, be wise, be clever, be funny, be profound, share your love of the work, share the space with fellow panelists, don’t be a jerk, advertise for you work. Note, I put advertise last. On panels your job, beyond addressing the topic, is to make yourself interesting and likable enough for people to want to look into what you do.

On the public speaking side, I also do personal appearances at schools, keynote speeches, and readings/signing at bookstores and other venues. Each of those requires different sorts of public speaking skills.

Schools are generally mix of reading from my work and question and answer. Kids are a tough audience. They get restless easily, they don’t want to be talked down to, and they’re very curious. I generally keep reading sections with kids to very short pieces and try to spend more time addressing their questions. I’ve found that treating them with complete honesty and like miniature adults in terms of respect is what works best for me there.

Another note on question and answer involves making sure your audience has heard the question and that you’re answering the right thing. With quiet speakers or people who are anxious or otherwise garble the question, I will often restate it for the audience while making eye contact with the speak to make sure I’m really representing what they’ve asked. Sometimes this involves code-shifting, i.e. taking a question that’s asked in a very academic way and shifting it into a more vernacular sort of speech. Or, taking a convolute or slangy construction and rephrasing it more succinctly and clearly.

Keynotes are tougher. I’m a writer by trade which means I normally spend my days alone with a keyboard. Giving a 30-50 minute speech followed by question and answer is a radically different environment and it always makes me very happy that my background is in theater which taught me the value of clarity, enunciation, speaking at a conversational pace, vocal discipline and sustain and how not to say “um” all the time. It also taught me to practice my speeches beforehand.

My theater background is also a huge benefit to me for readings, where it helps me with characterization, dramatic timing, and making sure my audience feels I’m engaging them. For example, I simulate lots of eye contact during a reading—making sure to look out into the audience and rest my eyes on faces in different places. That’s my theater teachers taught me to do even when completely blinded by spotlights and a dark house. I used to do actual eye contact when I could, but I can’t shift between near and far vision that well anymore.

Signings, which often coincide with readings are another and different communication challenge. You need to give a little time and genuine attention to everyone who comes out to have a book signed. These are your hard core readers, the people who most care about your work and they’ve earned that consideration. Especially those who come out again and again. I’m terrible with names, and I make that part of my patter. I let people know that I remember their faces and when I’ve seen them before even if I can’t remember names or spell them to save my life.

That connection is what’s really at the core of all of my non-fiction communication. Whether it’s chatting with people on twitter who’ve liked my work, answering fan mail, meeting readers at signings, or making eye contact while reading and giving speeches, you have to make sure to actually connect with people, to respect them, communicate clearly, and to make sure you’re giving them your best self.

I’m a local politician as well as an author, and many of these things are cross platform skills: the speech making, the clarity and engagement, etc. This is especially true of the code shifting, which I want to talk about a bit more, as it’s something that’s often overlooked or undervalued. My most valuable skill for politics, which is mostly meetings, is code-shifitng. English isn’t really one language, it just sounds like it.

Academics, for example, use one primary set of jargon when speaking casually with each other, a separate one for written communication that will be part of the permanent record, and wide variety of in-disicpline lexicons. Or, a Wisconsin dairy farmer and a corporate lawyer may well use the same words but with meanings that vary from the same, through similar, to wildly different. I do a lot of inter-English translation as part of the politician side of my life.

Code-shifting is a skill honed through theater and public speaking, but developed through growing up in a variety of settings. My earliest memories are of being rural poor in North Dakota living with my single mother and grandmother—one version of English. At six I moved to Saint Paul and became urban poor—another version. As I went to a hippie school and we moved into the middle class, I learned two more sets of the English language. At ten my mother remarried to a carpenter—yet another set terms and meanings. When I went to college I learned both basic academic and the professional jargon of theater. When I later married and my wife went to grad school, I learned both of the more advanced forms of basic academic as well as the specialized versions of education and physics.

Being able not just to code-shift, but to recognize when people are speaking different versions of English and help bridge the gap between the two is one of my best and most useful communication skills. It helps with every part of my job as a novelist and public speaker as well as my political hobby.

People like stuff that you don’t. Get over it.

February 26, 2015 in Musings, rant, The Genre

This is a rant that grows out of the whole anti/pro steampunk kerfuffle that the f&sf genresphere has been aflutter with of late, in which many on the two sides are flinging great gobs of words at each other like punctuation-laden poo. It’s not pretty and in many cases it seems to be a mix of sour grapes and tribalism, and it looks just like every other variation of this argument we’ve had for the last fifty years. The only real difference being what sub-genre/genre/literary sensibility we’re arguing about.

One of the things that we as a genre community seem to be most vulnerable to is the idea that our personal favorite type of writing is the only type of writing that other people should love and pay attention to, and that anyone who disagrees that our pet subgenre is the one true form of worthwhile writing is a poo-poo head. This tends to be expressed in one of two ways:

1) I want more of my stuff, and why isn’t everyone writing and publishing that? “Waaaaah!” *POUT* It is often accompanied by the stomping of rhetorical feet and tearing of hair. It mostly looks like highly articulate toddlers throwing a tantrum because the world isn’t treating them and their pet interests as the center of the universe.

2) How can anyone believe that XXXXX is worthy of their attention and dollars? XXXXX is immoral and anti-intellectual or just plain bad. The people who read/write it are dupes/exploiters or simply uncultured. If people really understood the underlying dynamic of XXXXX they’d realize their mistake and come over and read YYYYY which is the one true way. It mostly looks like even more articulate toddlers throwing a tantrum because the world isn’t treating them and their pet interests as the center of the universe.

People, get a freaking grip! Not everyone likes what you like, and that’s okay. In fact it’s wonderful and healthy and necessary for the survival of a culture. Diversity of thought and idea and taste is one of the single most important parts of our ongoing survival as a species. It’s what drives us to try that funny looking new fruit, or accept that those who don’t look and think like us are people too, or to take a long walk over the hill and find out there’s also cool stuff over there.

The tendency of people to act as though stuff they don’t like is awful and bad for the culture if not downright immoral is one of the human tribal reactions that I find least attractive. It’s genre fundamentalism and it’s ugly and petty and basically unhealthy, both for the culture and for the head of bile it builds up within the person in question.

Does this mean I’m immune to the impulse? Of course not. There are sub-genres I think are stupid or hateful or bad for people. When my stuff doesn’t sell as well as somebody else’s stuff I get a little jealous and pouty. Hey, I’m human. However, I really do try to throttle it down, because it’s bad for me and indulging the impulse is bad for the culture. And I sure as hell don’t throw a public tantrum about it.

If you were a geek in school (and if you’re reading this, the odds are pretty good) you remember what it was like to have the cool kids looking down on you for loving Star Trek or Dr. Who or reading those funny Lord of the Rings books. This impulse to say my genre/subgenre good = your genre/subgenre bad is the exact same shit. Do you really want to be doing that?

(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog November 10 2010, and original comments may be found there. Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)

How to Train Your Dragon II (Wasted Opportunities)

January 26, 2015 in Musings, rant, Writing

As it turns out, I have strong feelings about this movie and the bloody stupid waste it makes of great storytelling opportunities.

I watched about two thirds of How to Train Your Dragon II last night with my wife. When we hit the lovely reunion scene we decided the story was about to go to hell in a terribly predictable manner because older people aren’t allowed to have happily ever afters in this sort of movie. So, I went and looked up the rest of the plot online and we stopped the movie at that point and put it back on the shelf. This is because we were quite happy with the movie up to that point and didn’t feel any need to go on to the unnecessary cost scene that we had both seen coming. While I’m sure that the rest of the movie is lovely, I have no desire to see any of it.

I have zero patience for the whole: It’s a cartoon movie, some beloved parent/mentor/older person must die or sacrifice their happiness for the young protagonists to learn the true meaning of sacrifice/responsibility thing. It’s sloppy, lazy storytelling and doubly so in this instance.

Hiccup doesn’t have a responsibility problem with being chief—he’s plenty willing to take responsibility in dangerous circumstances. We’ve seen that time and again. What he’s got is a scatterbrained creative personality problem. I’m an author, I know dozens of scatterbrained creatives. Tragedy does not magically transform them into decisive organized leader types. It just transforms them into _heartbroken_ scatterbrained creative types. Dad’s death will not magically make Hiccup an appropriate choice for the next chief.

Compound this with the fact that there’s a natural successor on hand, one who has even been identified as someone who is going to become part of the chief’s family in the near future—in the first minutes of the movie we see Stoic identifying Astrid as his future-daughter-in-law—and the argh factor goes through the roof. I’m not a huge fan of leadership transfer by heredity, but if you have to do it, Astrid fits that bill, as well as the much more important one of being a natural leader.

Astrid is decisive, smart, adaptable, understands how to manage people (Hiccup included), willing to listen… She’s a perfect candidate to be the next chief. How much better would the movie have been if Astrid had rescued Hiccup (safely), instead of having the stupid sacrifice scene, and, this had caused dad to realize it was his future daughter-in-law who ought to become the next chief, and not his entirely unsuitable son?

Not only would that have made a less cheaply predictable story, it would have given Hiccup the chance to continue to roam and do the things that made him happy without feeling guilty about the fact that Astrid is running the village—because, let’s be honest, she’s the one who’s going to be doing the job anyway. Astrid would have the title as well as the workload, Hiccup would continue to do what he’s best at, and it would be much easier to justify a sequel. Wins all around.

It’s the sheer laziness of the writing there that gets to me. Sigh. Deep breaths.

Here endeth the rant.

 

Writing as Process/Writing as Artifact

December 20, 2014 in Musings, Reblogging Project, Writing

Lonfiction asked a question about whether or not you might regret anything you’d written if you knew that nothing you wrote would ever be published going forward. It made me realize that things I have written and things I’m writing are completely different animals for me. It’s really worthwhile to go read the whole thread over there as there are some very interesting conversations going on. Here is my response:

It’s an interesting thought experiment, but one that strips gears in my head, because at some fundamental level writing forward and past writing are unrelated creatures for me.

I write what I’m writing now because I fall in love with the story and fall in love with the writing of it. I do write it with the intent to sell it but that’s only so that I can afford to fall in love with the next story.

Once it’s written, unless I’m doing sequels of some sort, it becomes an artifact to be sold or (sometimes) parked and is no longer really “writing” for me until I engage with it again, either because I’ve fallen in love with some changes to the story, or because someone has bought it and I’m getting paid to revise.

So, going forward, writing is process, looking back, writing is artifact. For me, regretting the artifact would be like regretting a couch…in storage…that costs me nothing to store…and that I never see. Until, that is, someone comes along and offers to buy it if only I’ll reupholster it, or until I think, hey that couch would be so much cooler with some throw pillows. Then it becomes process again.

(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog Feb 10 2010, and original comments may be found there. Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)

No, the publishers are probably not going away tomorrow

December 19, 2014 in Musings, Publishing, rant, Reblogging Project

I personally adore reading on a screen—when my publisher shifted to an all electronic work flow for editorial I was delighted—and it’s certainly very likely that e-books will become a large part of books sold sooner rather than later. At the same time, I don’t think that books are going away any time soon and I’m not at all certain that the shift to CD and MP3 is a good comparison to a shift to e-readers.

For one thing, the formats killed off by digital music had much shorter histories and testing periods. The LP lasted what, a bit over 40 years as the primary delivery system for recorded music? (2014 edit: and is now undergoing a renaissance among audiophiles) Recorded music itself goes back to the 1850s and has had significant format improvements every 20-40 years. The book in codex form goes back to Republican Rome with only minor changes—that’s 2,000+ years of optimization.

For another there’s the delivery model. Publishers, in one form or another, go back further than the codex (Sosius and Co would be a Republican Roman example). Record companies? Not so much. It’s perfectly possible that digital is going to completely and utterly change all that in a year or five or ten, but everyone said the internet made recessions obsolete too, and look what happened there.

The codex (and many of the big publishers) have survived the advent of talkies, radio, television, the serious audiobook, and (so far) the e-book. The weight of history is currently on the side of publishers and physical books surviving for at least a while longer and e-books only becoming a part of the mix.

Is it possible that physical books will go away completely? Meh, we’ll see. Become boutique items only? Probably, but it may well take a lot longer than the digital visionaries expect it to.

Are publishers going away? Almost certainly not. Despite what many people have been saying lately, they serve a lot of valuable purposes in the production of books. Will the current publishers be the publishers of tomorrow? Some of them probably will, some won’t. Just as some of the publishers of yesterday are the publishers of today.

(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog Feb 8 2010, and original comments may be found there. Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)

No, Really, Publishers Do A LOT For The Author

December 18, 2014 in Musings, Publishing, rant, Reblogging Project

I wrote the note below in response to someone saying (for the 5,000th wrong time in this Amazon thing 2014 edit: Macmillan Amazonfail Feb 2010) that publishers are no longer necessary because of internet distribution of ebooks. It takes a lot of money to produce a book in terms of editing, copyediting, PR, and even gatekeeping (yes there’s value to gatekeeping, it helps readers find books they have much better odds of enjoying). Now, the particular comment I was responding to was a slightly more sophisticated version of the “you don’t need publishers” argument in that it at least acknowledges that those things need to happen and suggested outsourcing. But that’s still not a terribly workable model because it ignores the economics of the situation. So let me address that:

Under the current model one of two things happens: 1) I write the book, my publisher buys (the rights), fronts all the other costs, and I get paid so that I can eat while I’m writing the next book, then—assuming I earn out—more money comes in on a regular basis starting between 6 months and several years after publication, allowing me to continue to eat. 2) My publisher buys the book on proposal and I get paid in advance to write it, then they front all the other costs and the rest follows.

If I want to become my own publisher I have to front all those costs myself and have to wait till the book earns out (maybe) to recoup those costs (again maybe) up to several years after I’ve fronted them. But, since I don’t have a spare 3-20k* sitting around that I can bet on a possible return potentially several years down the line, what actually happens is I stop writing and find a new job and there are no more Kelly McCullough books. So, yes, ____ was pretty much all wrong.

And that’s without accounting for things that my publisher does that don’t go directly into the making and selling of the book, like my publisher’s legal department—which I hope never to become any more familiar with than I am now. In a perfect world none of my books will ever get involved in a legal dispute of any kind, but if someone decides to sue me for any reason whatsoever in regards to my writing, the fact that I have a major publisher on my side significantly reduces the chance that a frivolous (or otherwise) lawsuit bankrupts me.

*Updated to add: I should probably also note that 3-20k is what a publisher pays for copyediting etc. and that the price they get based on their volume and reliability is much better than the price I would be likely to get for those same services (assuming I want a similarly professional job).

(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog Feb 3 2010, and original comments may be found there. Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)

Know When to Hold ‘Em and When to Fold ‘Em

December 12, 2014 in About Kelly, Musings, Writing

Almost every professional writer or artist or performer that I know has a deciding-not-to-quit story—that moment when they decided to persist in the face of great adversity and keep writing or dancing or pursuing their photography. It’s the nature of the beast, it’s a tough, draining, demoralizing road, and sometimes you want to give up…and that’s okay. Sometimes giving up is the right answer. Sometimes, you’re not on the right road. I say this as someone who has succeeded at writing to a degree that’s incredibly rare. I also say this as someone who decided to quit, and walked away from acting.

I didn’t always want to be a writer. In fact, I didn’t seriously try to write anything for publication until I was in my early twenties. My degree is in theater with a performance focus. At the age of eleven I stumbled into an acting class by accident—a story I’ve told elsewhere. I stumbled into acting and I fell in love. I was a pudgy awkward kind of kid, raised on Shakespeare as much as Tolkien, with a storyteller’s instincts and a quick mind. Theater was perfect for me.

It let me play at being someone else—someone better and more handsome and funnier—and it gave me a sort of simulated popularity that I’d never experienced before. When I was on the stage I was cool, and I could make people laugh or clap—or, at least, that’s how it felt when I got the laughter and applause. It felt great, and I became wholly focused on the goal of becoming an actor from around the age of twelve. I took classes, I acted in plays, I did improv, and various sorts of performing with Renaissance festivals. I was quite good, and I know people from those days who say that they thought I was one of the few who could actually make it and earn a living as a performer.

They’re probably right. I could probably have made it to a place where I was getting enough character parts in paying shows to barely scrape by…at least for a while. But I was never going to make it big. I was never going to become a star of stage or film. At best, I might have become a big fish in some local community theater pond. That’s nothing to laugh at or condemn, but it’s not what I wanted.

I wanted the dream, and I simply wasn’t hungry enough, or pretty enough, or funny enough to manage it. I wanted it, but other people wanted it more, and many of them were better than I was ever going to be. I mostly pretended to myself that wasn’t true, but there were moments where I could see it, and again, there’s no shame in that. I was good, and I could have been very good, but you have to be great, and lucky, and, to borrow a phrase from the late Jay Lake, you have to have psychotic persistence. Being gorgeous is a huge help too. But I kept at it. I worked hard to get better. I tried.

And then I met the woman I was eventually going to marry, and I started thinking more deeply about my future and what I could accomplish and what would make me happy, and I had to make the hardest decision I’d ever made to that point, the decision to quit theater. I still loved it, and to this day there are parts of the whole enterprise that I miss enormously, but it was never going to make me happy, because I was never going to get where I wanted to go with it. So, I walked away, and I haven’t done a show since. It wasn’t easy and it still hurts sometimes, like I cut a part of myself off forever, but it was the right choice, and I’ve never doubted that. Just like I’ve never doubted my decision not to quit writing at a particularly low point in my life a decade or so ago.

I have friends who’ve walked away from the arts completely and who are much happier for it. Sometimes, you have to fold your cards and walk away from that particular table. Sometimes, quitting is the right choice.

A number of years ago I was sitting around a table with a bunch of novelists at the World Fantasy Convention talking about the people we knew who had started when we did but then later walked away from writing for one reason or another. It was very much an Auld Lang Syne moment—old friends fallen away as time passed and the road grew too steep or the costs to high for them to keep along the path—and every one of us was aware how easily that could have been us. I know people who are better natural writers than I am who couldn’t continue, or harder workers, or who got a much faster start. We all did. There’s no shame in it, only sadness for what might have been. On Thursday, my brother-in-law and fellow Wyrdsmith announced his decision to fold out of the game. I wrote this mostly for him, but also for all the other writers I know who’ve made that same decision.

So, deciding not to quit or deciding to quit. I’ve made both choices in my life, and I don’t regret either one. The important thing isn’t what you ultimately decide, it’s that you make the right decision for you.

Reblog: A Question Answered

December 7, 2014 in About Kelly, Musings, Reblogging Project

Lately I’ve been posting a lot on Facebook and Twitter about vivid and bizarre dreams. Someone asked me where I get these things, and I thought that since the answer is writing related I’d toss it up here as well:

Unusual density of cross-linking in my neural networks. Or at least that’s the operating theory as it’s strongly in sync with family medical history. It’s part of why I write. When I’m writing a lot, I don’t remember my dreams much at all and when I do they’re almost always about the story I’m working on and useful to moving the story forward. When I’m writing less, my dreams tend to be wildly uncontrolled and extremely vivid. Since I’m currently in wait and see mode for which project is next up, I’m not really writing and the side effects are starting to get me.
(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog Dec 31 2009, and original comments may be found there. Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)

Julie and Julia (Movie Review)

November 15, 2014 in Musings, Reblogging Project

I went and saw Julie and Julia with my now on sabbatical wife yesterday. We biked up to the theater and got in about two minutes into the movie, thus possibly missing something. Overall it was a fun sweet movie.

The thing I liked the most about it was it got the little moments of publishing exactly right: The hit in the gut as you prepare to open what you’re sure is going to be the umpteenth rejection for something you love. The sheer jubilation of an acceptance or seeing that first book. The little happy spurt from fan response.

Yay for all that.

The thing I liked the least about it was the perpetuation of the stereotypes of the neurotic, self-absorbed, and/or clueless writer: It had the “I’m not a writer if I’m not published” freakout. The complete clueless wild-ass-guess about typical advances. The complete lack of clue on figuring out how to deal with publishers ahead of time. Etc.

Now, those stereotypes work because an awful lot of writers are subject to one or another of them, and a lot of writers do learn about business the hard way by signing bad contracts or doing stupid things with their careers, or totally relying on the Cinderella faerie godmother mode of success to whack them upside the head with the publishing stick. At the same time it has never been easier to learn how not to do those things. There are a million and one resources on the web for learning about the business of writing and understanding what is and is not likely to happen.

Someday I would like to see an aspiring writer who has done their homework and who understands what they’re getting into portrayed on the big screen. I think it would be simply lovely to see some story about the writing life that didn’t rely on the same old conflicts and stresses.

Which is not to say that I didn’t like the movie—I did, quite a lot, actually—just that it didn’t cover a lot of new ground.

(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog Aug 29 2009, and original comments may be found there. Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)