sábado, 6 de septiembre de 2014

Stop whining; write

I'm reaching the conclusion that Big 5 authors receive a complimentary lobotomy prior to them signing their first contract. For sure before their advance.

Behold Alison Levine. Author. She's been as high as you can get with your feet on the floor. Which means she's been through pain, difficulties, harsh conditions... Without having met her, without any extras but her article, her site [*] and her amazon page, I submit that she's not someone to wilt at first difficulty. Sure, mountain climbing is not as difficult these days, but it's not easy by any stretch.

Five links on its first paragraph. The very first, a hymn to Hachette. I think the very last paragraph sums it up, after quoting Hugh Howey in one of his unfrequent critiques to Amazon. The second is an article that basically quotes Amazon, trying to distance itself, as if afraid that not bashing Amazon full on would get the writer into trouble. Its two last paragraphs are, basically, everything you need to know for a start. The LA Times is basically a forward of Mr. Pietsch's babble. That's Hachette's CEO. The Guardian allows amazon two paragraphs after a tirade of Preston worship, maybe hoping to get one of his adds. [+] The last piece is, again, a dry rehash of a statement by amazon. It's interesting to see how the media reacts to statements by Preston or Pietsch on one hand, and amazon on the other. The fawning introduction, almost afraid to alter the voice of God vs. the cursory quote.

Yes, by the selection above you can see how the wind will blow in Mrs. Levine's piece.

that argument is bogus and here's why: saying that an e-book price should be based only on material, labor, and overhead is as ridiculous as saying that the price of a artwork should be based only on the cost of the paint and the canvas. What about the artist's blood, sweat and tears?

Why do "artists" think that their blood, sweat and tears are special? Why is the wannabe poet that woke me up this morning's sweat any more precious than that of the guy who reaches retirement with back aches all through the day, week after week, because he's been abusing his vertebra carrying iron since he was 14?

Also, she's introducing something in the argument. Amazon doesn't say that ebooks should be free, which is what would happen if you only accounted for costs (ask project Gutenberg). It does say that the extra costs once the book is typed are much lower for ebooks. And that should reflect on price. Also, about the "curator's argument" (that part about "their graphics department"), check my link on Mr. Pietsch above, search for "curator" (or, second list, first item) and follow the link. You know what? Easier for you. See this.

Then comes a line I'd never really expected to read from a wri... author. Not a current one, at least.

because my publisher basically takes care of everything so that I can focus on writing and not worry about anything else.

Do that. Write. Don't worry.

This comes from someone who's been at the peak of the world, felt its freedom. Either she did that having someone else "take care of everything" and simply focused on climbing, to the absolute exclusion of everything else, or she does it when in the lowlands. And she willingly surrenders her voice.

When one surrenders his voice, he can't get surprised if it's taken over.

If Hachette "takes care of everything", then Hachette takes care of complaining.

Basically, shut up and soldier. You enlisted.

This is where my patience starts growing thin. And it continues...

Well, if Amazon wants to provide a more affordable way for people to get their hands (and eyes) on books, guess what they need to do? Nothing. Because people can already buy used books on Amazon for a few bucks – sometimes less than that.

Certainly. By the same token, they can get Project Gutenber's files (link above). You do know, however, that they keep extending copyrights and pushing against libraries and second hand shops, do you not?

the e-book market might be growing


Indeed. That's the kind of red flag that tells you a lot about someone. It's almost silly, a small nugget of information. But. That "30%" quote is probably off (it happens, when Big 5 only look at their book sales), and you could probably use the same argument apropos hardbacks. But it would feel ridiculous. "Hardbacks make roughly 30% of the market, but paperback has not gone the way of the dinosaur". When did extinction become part of the issue?

For my book [in 3 formats] e-books only make up about 7% of my sales

If you bothered to check the reason behind Amazon's insistence on 9.99 USD prices, you might understand why a book at 12.99 USD is not selling well.

Supposing Hachette is not cooking the books. Again.

Lady, if you like old school so much, do your 8k peaks without O2 and technical clothes. Tradition!

Will the print book go away at some point? I don't know. I hope not.

So do I. That's not the issue, though. Again: hardcopy extinction is not the issue. And do please understand that there are layers of value for books. Personal ones. The book I treasure in trade is someone's already deleted ebook. Or I might have both: a collector's, signed, and the ebook. And so on. Again, not the issue.

As a first time author, this feud has opened my eyes to just how cutthroat the book distribution business has become. My book came out earlier this year and made the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. Amazon even labeled it a "best book of the month" and called it out as a "remarkable read" and listed it at the top of the page along with books by other "influential people" [...] But alas, the love is gone. Because while my book might be a remarkable read... I am a Hachette author.

To the bone, yes, I see.

Makes me think of those people who don't believe in awareness and get into "reality based self defense" after their first scare, never trying to understand what really happened.

United States of America v. Apple Inc., et al., 12 Civ. 2862 (DLC) was filed in April 2012. It had been grumbling for a while. And yet, you signed. Soon after that, I'd say. The US doesn't go into antitrust cases all that often. Are you one of those who think it was bogus? A simple spat?

NYT and WSJ Lists? Do read some of the critiques on those. I think Kris' site has several.

Also, the book distribution business is not cutthroat, by your post's standards. Hachette doesn't distribute. And what you claim amazon's doing to you is... not giving you preferential treatment as a "NYT bestselling author" any longer. Deal with it, most writers do. Stop whining. Write your next book. And don't choose convicted criminals for business partners at first acquaintance [#].

As Sylvester Stallone said in First Blood Part II, "To survive a war, you gotta become war." Well, this is war.

Yes. Against readers. Because you want your NYT treatment. I want to read. No DRM, no hassles, no over-the-top prices.

But, of course, you're a sworn trooper.

I'm a partisan.

Take care.

[*] Photo nbr. 2? "Building leaders"? That body language is insecure. Bad idea. Data point, though.

[+] And he even has the gall to utter

Honestly we are hoping Jeff Bezos will come to his senses and settle this problem with Hachette without hurting authors. Let these two corporations juke it out … just don't hurt us. If he does we can all go to writing books but if Jeff wants to take the long hard road with us, we will walk that road with him.

Bezos did offer to "not hurt you". Hachette refused. And you concured. I'm getting tired of Mr. Preston, so I'm linking to (one of) his opponent. Also, was that a threat or an offer for company in the "long hard road"?

[#] I'm not against having former bad guys as associates, even friends. But do take some steps to check they are, indeed, FORMER. (Love you, guys).

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