Friday, November 13, 2020

Author talk: Jim Provenzano & Felice Picano, hosted by Bureau of General Services—Queer Division

 


Watch my Nov. 12 chat with author Felice Picano, hosted by Greg Newton at NYC's Bureau of General Services—Queer Division. 
 
We discussed our new novels about gay Hollywood: https://youtu.be/gdH4PMl1knw
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Felice Picano & Jim Provenzano talk Gay Hollywood, hosted online by Bureau of General Services-Queer Division Nov. 12


These days, it's difficult to plan in advance. Will your favorite restaurant re-open? What are the revised hours of your local bookstore? Will November 3 welcome a days-long Biden/Harris Happy Dance, or a rightwing hellscape of violence? Who can say? fortunately, it helps to stay hopeful, make plans, like the November 12 online chat I scheduled with best-selling author Felice Picano, hosted by the Bureau of General Services-Queer Division in New York City (3pm PST, 6pm EST).

On my last two trips to New York (for Lambda Literary Awards), I tried to schedule a reading, but it didn't happen. While I plan a book's publication date months in advance, like many independent authors who self-publish or work with small presses, virtually knocking on a bookstore or community center's doors doesn't always get a good response, or any reply. 

So, I'm super-happy to connect with Felice and BGSQD for this event. Here is more info:

Best-selling author Felice Picano and Lambda Literary Award-winning author Jim Provenzano will discuss gay writers, actors and directors in Hollywood framed through their two novels, Picano’s Justify My Sins: A Hollywood Novel in Three Acts (Beautiful Dreamer Press, 2019) and Provenzano’s Finding Tulsa (Palm Drive Publishing, 2020).

With two similar yet unique perspectives on the filmmaking industry told in gay fiction, the two authors will share the inspiration for their new and recent novels. Both fully explore the behind-the-scenes process of film industry success –and failure– via two very different narrators.

Along with his prolific authorship, Picano has given PowerPoint lectures about historic LGBT figures in Hollywood more than a dozen times at colleges, historical societies, religious groups, and major libraries across the U.S. and also in Canada.

In addition to being an author, Provenzano has been a photographer and journalist in LGBT media for three decades. His film experience includes production work on short films and numerous music videos in the 1980s. He also wrote and directed several plays and choreographed dozens of dance and multimedia works.

This is a free event, but donations of any amount to support the Bureau’s work are very much appreciated! You can make a donation when you register for the event. Thank you for your support!

Here's the Facebook event page.

Here's the EventBrite page to also RSVP.

And visit the Bureau of General Services-Queer Division to buy our books directly from the bookstore. If you're in New York, you can get it in-person.

Purchase Jim Provenzano's Finding Tulsa (Palm Drive Publishing, 2020, paperback, $24.95) from the Bureau.

Purchase Felice Picano's Justify My Sins: A Hollywood Novel in Three Acts (Beautiful Dreamer Press, 2019, paperback, $19.95) from the Bureau.

Make a note in your calendar, be it on your phone, your Google list, or other device, even a paper appointment book (my preferred format). See you, virtually, on November 12!

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Sinking the Pirates, Part 2: the Audiobook Edition

This is how I single-handedly shut down two thieving audiobook pirates on YouTube. Yes, thousands of illegally shared audiobooks are still on YouTube, converted to mp4s. If you're a fan of stolen property, piss off. If, however, you are an author, narrator, or a fan who respects artists, read on.

I've written about piracy before, of ebooks, back in 2013, after my fourth novel, Every Time I Think of You, had received a good amount of sales and publicity. It was also the time when I converted all four of my books published at the time, to ebooks for sale on various websites.

But I hadn't known, or forgotten, that hundreds, if not thousands, of audiobooks, converted to 'videos' with just the cover as a visual, are all over YouTube.

While looking up any posts about my seventh novel, Finding Tulsa, I checked for any mentions of the audiobook adaptations of Every Time I Think of You and its sequel, Message of Love, which I coproduced with talented voiceover actor Michael Wetherbee. Co-producing means we split the profits.

Imagine my surprise when I found a 'video' of Every Time... on YouTube! Wow, thanks. No, wait, it's not a review, but the complete seven-hour audiobook converted into a movie! WTF?


After saving link, making screencaps, and clearing the smoke blowing out of my ears, I reported it to YouTube. After only a few hours, it had been deleted. Then I found another copy on a different account with about 1500 other M/M (code word for 'gay' in the romance book world. Don't get started on that again). I reported that one, too, and noticed several others in the pirate's playlist/uploads had also been deleted. So at least a few other authors are aware of this problem.

Then I thought to contact a few other authors, but the list was too long. I posted a short account of the situation on a private writers' support Facebook group; no replies. Fine. You don't care, but I do.

So I went deep. I found contact emails for Amazon, Audible, ACX (the Audible program for creating audiobooks) and YouTube. Amazon's legal department replied within an hour. YouTube's autoreply was that they could only delete specific copyright claims from individuals.


Anyway, someone took this seriously, and the two YouTube accounts that had uploaded my audiobooks were completely deleted.

Gone. Wiped. Done. Gurl, bye.

In the words of Joan Crawford, "Don't fuck with me, fellas. This isn't my first time at the rodeo."

Get my money back
So, why did I go to all this trouble? Because I spent years writing these books, and worked for months with my narrators to complete these projects. And in the two weeks the pirated version of Every Time... was on YouTube, I noticed a sharp drop in sales of that title.


Further, if you count the 450 (one YouTube account) and 900 views on another, add about $5 to each view (our split royalty), that's $6,750. That is how much potential income we may have lost because of the scum that uploaded my one audiobook. 

Consider the multiple other authors, most of whom sell ten times more than mine, and it could be in the hundred-thousands. While it's impossible to track down the actual users, suing the creeps is still a hope.

The inane argument for condoning piracy is that it's 'good publicity,' it's 'good exposure.' That's baloney. I do marketing, I'm quite 'exposed,' literary-ily speaking (not in a Chris Evans way!).

For Finding Tulsa, I got a discount entry to the pricey NetGalley, where readers can get free copies of ebook editions, in exchange for reviews on GoodReads and/or Amazon.com. I also took up a request from Erie Gay News to give away audiobook access to my paired romance novels, and ebooks of Finding Tulsa.

The result was underwhelming in terms of reviews. Not only did I not get a single Thank You email from the winners, but perhaps two reviews resulted from the contest so far. The NetGalley deal got me six reviews so far.

This is all part of experiments I toy with for every book I publish, by myself or with small presses. In times like these, it's nearly impossible to get press, and being a member of the press, I know. At my job as an arts editor, I get more press release emails than ever before, with artists and producers in all genres desperate for attention. Some of them are offering free shows, readings and talks online. Others charge admission, an option they should have.


Writers who are indifferent to loss of sales from piracy must not be like most artists these days, who are unemployed or underemployed. 

But even if an author has, perhaps, a partner to support them, or they're so darn successful they don't care about losing a few hundred or a few thousand dollars a year from piracy, they should show support for fellow authors and narrators by sending complaints to the corporations, who sometimes respond and act swiftly.

So, here's the deal. Buy the damn audiobooks. Buy the books in whichever format you prefer. Buy them through Bookshop.org, and then post your reviews on (evil) Amazon, Goodreads and Barnes & Noble.

If you're a fan, but money is tight, ask for promo codes for any or each of my three audiobooks and I'll send them to you. In exchange, please post a review on Audible and/or Amazon.com. That's only fair.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Finding Tulsa book talk with Jim Provenzano and Baruch Porras-Hernandez, hosted by Dog Eared Books Castro


My Sept. 22 book chat with Baruch Porras-Hernandez covered a lot of topics related to my seventh novel,  writing, books, chorus boys, musical theater, snacks, even gay porn! 

Hosted by Dog Eared Books Castro, with Wonder Dave helping out with our tech issues (Zoom invites didn't get sent to all participants, darn it)), I was proud to kick off what was hopefully the first in a series of online author events coordinated with the San Francisco bookstore.  Enjoy! 

It got a little wacky at times. But mostly we discussed themes, inspirations and tales related to my new novel Finding Tulsa on its publication day. Also, it was Autumnal Equinox! Happy autumn!

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Finding Tulsa - book release event Sept. 22 at Dog Eared Books with Baruch Porras-Hernandez


Join me in a chat with author Baruch Porras-Hernandez on Sept. 22 at 8pm PST as we discuss my seventh novel Finding Tulsa. Hollywood, the 1990s, gay sexuality and musical theatre are among the topics in my new novel, which is available now (pre-order until Sept. 22) through online retailers and by ordering through your favorite independent bookstore.

 While I will be at Dog Eared Bookstore, it will be closed by that time. But if you're in San Francisco, you'll soon be able to buy my new and previously published books there. Yes, Dog Eared and many other bookstores are cautiously open to the public. Mask up, squirt some sanitizer on your hands, and shop on!

RSVP on the Facebook event page, or directly on the EventBrite invite. You'll get a link to the Zoom chat, where, after talking with Baruch, I'll take questions from attendees. Once again, Tuesday, Sept. 22 (which is also the Autumnal Equinox) at 8pm Pacific Time, 11pm East Coast, so you can show up in your pajamas, considering you may have spent all day in them anyway.

Yes, the West Coast is burning, the East Coast is flooding, political turmoil is daily -heck, more than daily- inducing nausea and outrage in millions nationwide, and a global pandemic is killing thousands a day. So why and how do authors and other artists continue to promote their works? We'll discuss that as well.

It's often a struggle to get fans to show up at readings. I dislike relying on social media platforms that have been proven to be complicit in corruption and disinformation. But most of us, the smart ones, at least, can weed through the political lies to share good news. I hope you can do the same.

 

 
And, on Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 7pm PST, I'll be online again, reading a short except from Finding Tulsa with three other gay male writers; Richard May, Wayne Goodman and Rob Rosen. Visit the Perfectly Queer Readings Facebook page for info and a Zoom link.

For links to my previously recorded talks, visit my events page.

Also, my first advance review has been shared on GoodReads:

"'Finding Tulsa' belongs in company with 'The Lost Language of Cranes' by David Leavitt and 'The Mysteries of Pittsburgh' by Michael Chabon. If I had not known going in that this novel was a work of fiction, I would have assumed it to be an autobiography. The narrator is focused on himself alone and makes no assumptions about the other cast of characters around him. In the first chapter, narrator Stan gives a clear indication of what to expect: "This story goes back and forth, but loops around itself. My life/career/whatever, misguided as they come, is based purely on the loss and discovery of men."
 
And check out my first (online) published review on Joyfully Jay! Reviewer Camille really got the intent of Finding Tulsa and offers insight and some apt critique.