Thursday, November 20, 2014

Three things I liked about Brandon Sanderson's Pep-talk

It's so funny really. Pretty much ever since the incident of the light, things have been happening. Big things, small things. Nice things... shit things. The strange thing about this, though, is that it's as if there's one theme to all of it.

PROGRESS.

Yes, after spending most of this year with wheels spinning, things are happening. And whether they're good or (almost bone-crushingly) bad, it feels like all of it is heading somewhere. Almost like all my blessings have been dammed up somewhere, and now they're flowing over.

Yes. Even though there have been some really bad moments. Especially last week. And no. This isn't me putting a bright picture on things. Not after I came to this realization.

This isn't to say that everything that's happened this year has been undone. But that pin-prick of light I'd been glimpsing down the tunnel all this past year does seem to be growing. Which is telling me that set-backs aside, I'm moving forward more than anything else.

Then I read this NaNo Pep-talk today (see, I'm still in the writing related zone), and thought that it might encourage you all as well. Go ahead and read. I'll wait.

Back? Good.

So the things I adore about this pep-talk:

1) To know that Brandon Sanderson used to struggle to sell books. It just makes me feel like publishing really is just a matter of luck and not giving up.
2) Knowing that, no matter how long we've struggled to get ahead, everything can change for the better with zero prior notice. (Which was nice, because I actually experienced a version of this at work today.)
3) Just generally thinking that although I'm still to (re-)publish anything this year, I might be working on the one that garners me a million readers. Nice thought, isn't it?

And that's really the beautiful thing about life. Yes, things can be difficult, but lucky breaks often seem to come from nowhere. We only have to keep going so that we can be there when they happen.

Anyone else catch a lucky break lately?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

This self publishing thing isn't as simple as one would think...

I realized this weekend that I’ve now passed the point where I’ll be able to publish this year. There’s simply no way for me to edit, format, get the cover and register for copyright before the end of the year. Or maybe it’s possible and I don’t know it yet. But for now, I don’t think I can be practical and say that I’m still going to get everything together.

Sure, I can still rush and get it done. But where’s the point in that? I know that in order to stand even a tiny chance of success at my big goal, I have to deliver high quality goods. Given that this will be my first attempt at self-publishing, I simply don’t think I’m capable of pulling everything together in less than six weeks.

Which means that once again, I’m having to postpone. But you know what? I’m okay with that. The way I see it, I’ve tried my best to get everything done with the time and resources I have. Beyond that, though, things happen as and when they’re supposed to happen.

No amount of planning, worrying, working or stressing will change this.

I’m not giving up, though. I’m still editing. I’m still writing and I’m definitely still putting together the grand plan of how I’ll be writing and publishing somewhere between 12 and 25 books in the next five years.

I still think it’s doable. And missing this first year in order to get everything in place isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Because really I’m close. I’ve basically got to wait on editor’s feedback on Birds vs Bastards. Once I apply the necessary edits to that, there’s only formatting left. The Vanished Knight is basically ready for formatting, but I’m waiting on the cover. (Which I could have had, but I got thwarted by the shoe biz yet again. So I have to wait for my cover designers to return from vacation.) The Heir’s Choice is the furthest from finished, but it’s still not impossibly far from done. I’ve got a few more CPs needing to finish the last few chapters. Then it’s the editor’s final pass and then formatting. Which, given that I can do edits to a book of THC’s length in a week or less, really isn’t an impossibly long time. And I can start registering all three for copyright as soon as those last edits are done.

No point to panic or anything though. However, this has told me the value of planning ahead a little more than I have this year. Which I will definitely do for 2015.

How’re your writing/editing/publishing endeavors going?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Oh look! Another finished draft.

Although I'm still way behind on NaNoWriMo, it has had an interesting effect. Although I haven't touched one of my books since July, I finished it today, because when I read it to continue writing, I actually realized that I could actually start rewriting it now. (In fact, I already have the plan for it as well.)

Which is great for me. I've finished two rough drafts out of seven. Would be great if I could maybe finish one or two more before the end of the month. We'll see, though. 

Anyone else doing NaNo? How's it going? 

Before I go, just want to give a shout-out to Cathrina Constantine.

**Happy Release Day** **GIVEAWAY**
Wickedly They Dream
Genre: Paranormal Thriller/Fantasy
Publisher: Black Opal Books Grab it today for only 99 cents!  HERE How Far Will Jordan go to rescue her mother. It will cost her everything--even her angel, Markus!
Buy Links: Amazon
Author Cathrina Constantine resides in Western New York. When not with her family, you'll find her in the forest behind her house walking the dogs and conjuring a new tale.
You can find Cathy Here:

Friday, November 7, 2014

In which a light becomes a message and miracle.

So... in case you missed it, this really strange thing happened on Wednesday morning.

And... well... I thought about rather not posting this, because I know it's controversial, but I'm going to anyway. Why? Because it's the truth and I realized how damaging it can be to a blog when the author lies, even when it's by omission. This post will contain religious overtones and more than just a little testimony. So if you're not interested, you might find reading one of my Wattpad stories more interesting.

Okay. Taking a deep breath here. While crying like a baby.

What I didn't tell you on Wednesday:








You know how Job felt when everything got taken away from him? Well. I can safely say I think my family and I got a great taste of it. Except for the bit where his entire family died. And where he lost everything basically in a day or two.

I'm not going to go into the costs for everyone in my family, but to give you an idea of my score card for 2014:

1) Publishing deal went SPECTACULARLY wrong by January.

2) My and my mother's business, which had taken a hit at the end of the year, didn't bounce back thanks in a large part to some laws our government wanted to pass.

3) The farm we'd moved to, which had been such a huge source of hope, despite the business taking a hit, soaked up our savings and offered pretty much nothing back. I am not going to talk about what had to be sacrificed as a result of this, because it's not pretty.

4) All of my hopes and dreams have basically been shelved until such a time that we could bounce back from all the spending on the farm. A farm, incidentally, that we were led to by God. 

5) Sacrifices and dream shelving aside, the person with whom we'd signed the buyer's contract basically sold it out from under us in September. Yes, we could have fought this, but after already spending so much and still getting nothing back, we just couldn't see a point to fighting for the farm. Besides which, we kinda realized that if God could open doors no one could close, and close doors that no one could open, it's pretty dang obvious from the way these doors were closing that God did not in fact want us to stay on this farm.

6) We'd spend to the tune of $200 000 on the farm, which we ain't getting back. To give you an idea of the magnitude of this amount. Until my salary went into said farm, my monthly salary, which put me in the upper-middle income class, was about $1500 per month.

7) Then... the shoe biz, the source of hope we all so desperately needed, went pear shaped due to actions taken by others. Actions completely beyond our control.

You know about breaking points? 

On Tuesday, 4 November, I'd officially reached mine.

The result was that I... well... I lost it completely. I had some seriously strong words with God. Testimony one: That He didn't strike me down for at least a quarter of what I'd said, is more than proof enough that yes, He does love us as much as He says.

Anyway. So I get into the car and me, my mother and four of our employees go to Cape Town to unpack and count 5000 pairs of shoes.

God has sort of fallen silent as I left the room. (Yep, ours is very much a two-way conversation. No, that's not at all an insane thing to say.) Then suddenly out of the blue, He says:

"Friday."
Me: "What happens on Friday?"

Silence. With me sort of growing carefully optimistic that maybe something'll get sorted for us before the weekend came. But even so, I had some niggling suspicions. Why now? After a whole freaking sucking year. Why now?

After dinner, we spoke and I sorta carefully ventured what I'd heard, then found that both my brother and uncle had gotten the same message. And my grandmother, that something would turnaround soon, but without a specific deadline.

Despite this, by Tuesday evening, I was doubting again. Not proud to say it. But there you go.

I didn't doubt that something would happen on Friday. I just didn't really think that any of it would really have a bearing on actually helping us get out of all this... well... crap.

So... yeah...

Night terrors. Waking often. Sorta, half lucid, half delirious praying... Yeah. I sometimes do that, if I drift off while praying.

Problem with this is that with sleep comes lowered inhibitions.

As such, I suspect (no way that I'll ever really know) that I said something like: "It's like You're not here anymore."

Because honestly, it's something that's been in my thoughts for some time, but that I haven't actually been brave enough to actually put into words.

Nope. That isn't when God turned His back on me forever.

That had to be the moment when He quite audibly said: "I'm here."

And just in case I didn't buy it this time: 


HE
TURNED
ON
THE
LIGHTS


Which, needless to say, more than got my attention. But of course, I didn't think it was Him, because why would He? 

Except, the more you guys commented and I thought and prayed about it, the more certain I became. And you know what? There's a reason why He'd do something as outrageous as defy the laws of physics and make lights burn without being "switched on." He loves me. And He didn't want me to worry for a second more that we were alone in all this. 

So what made me post this today? Well... It's Friday, see. And I realized that I have an amazing Holy Father, who I don't always understand, but whose love for me and everyone else defies understanding. 

Because starting at around noon today, EVERYTHING turned around and although we aren't getting the farm, we've been given a chance to move on. Which, given that I can only assume it's what God wants, is probably going to be only a million times or so better than anything I can come up with. 

So today, this seventh day of November, 2014, I proclaim in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, that this year has officially been turned around thanks to His profound love and mercy. 



You might wonder why I'm sharing all this? The answer is simple: I know that 2014 is a rough year for MANY of us, and it's my hope that this post will bring you to a place of peace, comfort and blessings as well. And a place of knowing that, no matter what, God does love us, and He always will. Even when we say stupid stuff in our sleep. 

Thanks to those of you who read this! 

I'm feeling the need to pray for some of you, so if you have any needs that you think needs some prayers, please feel free to let me know in the comments. Or mail me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(dot)com

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

IWSG: What. The. Hell.....?!

Aaaah yes... It's that time again. The Insecure Writers' Support Group gets together every first Wednesday of the month to share our writerly insecurities or support for insecure writers.

Any writer is welcome to join, so if you want more info, click here.



Honestly, I'm currently too tired right now to be insecure in my writing. There's just too much going on in my life. Which means that although I still have goals and am taking part in NaNo, I'm just not going to worry about getting anything more done than what I'm capable of in the last two months of this year.

I'm currently FAR behind on NaNoWriMo, thanks to entering November with a flu/throat infection.

Yes, 2014 is still to stop being a d*ck at every turn.

It did, however, give me THE MOST astounding paranormal experience of my life. Which, coming from me, says a lot. And it was convenient enough to make the date easy to remember, since it happened today at 1 a.m.

Since I missed out on posting on Halloween, I'm going to share this here. Also, because I really want to find out if anyone has experienced something similar and if you have suggestions as to what it could be.

I was sleeping rather restlessly, since I suffer from night terrors. For those of you who don't know what night terrors are: It's basically a condition where you "get a nightmare" in the deepest stages of sleep. Which means that yes, I do see some seriously weird stuff all the time. Hyper real and hyper terrifying. A lot of people don't remember the exact nature of the night terrors. Nor do they remember having them.

I've sort of learned to recognize them as they occur, since they occur so often. Which means that I've been able to remember some aspects of the night terrors. At least so that if they repeat, I recognize them. ESPECIALLY the really creepy stuff.

Anyway. The point here is that I am VERY aware of the difference between dreams and reality, because it's usually the only thing keeping me from screaming like a girl and running through the house like a crazy person.

So at about midnight, two of my cats wanted to be let out, so I walked through my dark bedroom to the front door and opened it by feel. Do it all the time, so I'm not all that bothered with it. I got back into bed and continued with my restless sleep.

In this time, some sort of night terror. One of my recurring ones. And then suddenly, out of the blue, I hear a (actually very nice-sounding) male voice say: "I'm here."

At the same time, my room's lights turn on. As in on-on. Bright on. Enough to wake me up and say "What the hell?!"

So there I am, completely awake, sitting on my bed. There's no one there. And we live in a old house with wooden floors. If someone had walked into my room to turn the light on, I would have heard.

And then... Nothing. No shadows. No cold spots. No feelings of dread. The one cat who'd remained on the bed with me kept right on sleeping. So it was just me, wondering who the "I" from "I'm here." was supposed to be.

I got up and turned off the light, checked the time on my phone and got back in bed. And wondered... and wondered... and wondered...

Because see, I don't think this was a ghost. I know how ghosts feel.

There was nothing creepy except for the pure weirdness of it all.

And nothing as shocking as realizing that sometimes, the unexplained can really be obvious about letting us know they exist.

So... Thoughts? What do YOU think this was?

And in case you're wondering what all this has to do with IWSG: 

This writer is about to go sleep in the same room...


Saturday, November 1, 2014

An (Delayed) Update Day

AAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHH I KNEW I FORGOT SOMETHING.

It's a terrible thing when the thing being forgotten is my own bloghop. I profusely apologize!

There's a good excuse though. Two, actually.

See, you remember I mentioned that we're importing 5000 pairs of shoes? Yesterday we had to start unpacking them. I did this while riddled with flu yet again. So we started at nine, got home at seven.

I ate.

I showered.

I crashed.

And it took me to almost noon today to realize I completely forgot I was supposed to post. It's a disguised blessing for you all, though. Because after I ate and showered, I wasn't all that... how shall I put it? Rational.

But here I am on just enough pain meds (hurts to swallow and... well... breathe. (Yes, I'm pretty sure it's just the flu.))  to actually function, so let me update you.



What I achieved in October:

1) I finished drafting the sequel to The Heir's Choice. 
2) I managed to pretty much do nothing writing-wise for the rest of the month.
3) Unless you count critiquing. I critiqued three books.

My writing break did bring the writing-lust back, though, which means I decided to join in for NaNoWriMo this year. I probably won't win, though, because I have a ton of stuff to get done.



1) Edit The Heir's Choice and Birds vs Bastards once the last of my critiques come in.
2) Sort out formatting. Screw it. Hire someone to do the formatting for me.
3) Write 50k words. Write a nice respectable amount of words and see if I can finish any more of my rough drafts.

Anyone else doing NaNoWriMo this year? My user name is iceangel if we haven't buddied up, yet.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hi All! Just a heads-up that I'm posting at Unicorn Bell this week, so if you have time, please do stop by to say hi!

Misha
XoXo

Monday, October 27, 2014

I should have known I can't stay away...

If you've been asking me lately if I'd join in with NaNoWriMo this year, the answer was a most emphatic no.

But here's the thing. 

As I mentioned before, I kicked back from really writing anything this month. 

Which means my muse is now kicking my butt. I really really want to write again. And since it's a few days from NaNo, I might as well sign up. 

Now, I'm not stupid. I know that the odds of me winning is next to nothing. But that hardly matters. It's the writing that's the thing for me. So that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to try and write every day, and then just see how far I get. 

Because really, there's one more rough draft I really want to finish this year. NaNo might just be what I need to get it done. 

Anyone else joining NaNo against their better instincts? 

Before I go, I just want to give a shout-out to my blogging buddy C.D. Coffelt: 


Mage Revealed

Book Two of The Magic Withheld series

Struck with enough malevolent Spirit to turn him into a raving beast of a man, Bert Reese fights to remain human. Alone, he walks a slender path between sanity and madness. Then, an unlikely source enters his life to help—one of the now-hated mages.

But Ashleigh is different and calms his butchered senses. Her fierce nature is the only rock that stands between him and the crevasse that is beast. In all ways, she walks beside him toward a new beginning. But at the end of their journey lies the one who used Spirit against him. Questions arise; did Tiarra, head of the Imperium, lose her magic, die, or simply give way to the new order? Or, like a spider, does she wait for a mage to blunder into her web?

Forced on him without a care for his humanity, Bert is the mage who should not exist, born with a different kind of magic. 

And the gates of Hell are no match for the magic he wields.

Author C.D. Coffelt’s world of magic started in Wilder Mage with the words “The earthquake wasn’t his fault. Not this time.” It continues in Mage Revealed, the second book of the three-part series. Watch the book trailer on YouTube.

Excerpt from Mage Revealed

Energy slithered around him, encased him and…

Bonded.

All the elements slammed into him at once filling him like a bursting dam, sloshing into a maelstrom of Fire, Earth, Air, Water, and Spirit. Magic filled him, cascaded into every pore of his skin until there was nothing left that was of his essence.

He raised his arms. “I am a wizard,” he said.

His words echoed, like the roll of a bass drum in an empty coliseum.

From his fingertips, fluid lightning forked and shot into the empty sky. A violent whirlwind as tall as he wanted it to be caught up a whirl of leaves. A roar of Fire sprang from the palms of his hands, crowned his head. And Spirit, the silvery element waited for his command, to charge into any foray he so chose.

He turned to the panting women, frozen in the grip of panic and fright.

“I am a wizard,” he said again.

C.D. Coffelt lives outside Skidmore, Missouri with a bemused husband and way too many cats. She is a member of the Missouri Writers Guild. But despite that bit of conventionality, she adores all things fantasy with a special love for urban and epic.

With a passion for good writing and Doritos as companions, locating Middle-Earth on a dusty road in rural Missouri wasn’t difficult. All it took was a little Magic, hours of reading, and an overactive imagination.

She blogs as Huntress on www.spiritcalled.blogspot.com, Facebook, Twitter, and her writer’s critique site, www.unicornbell.blogspot.com.

Find her books at Amazon and Barnesand Noble.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

I knew I'd use my economics studies at some point: My Perspective on Paul Krugman's Article and Amazon's Announcement

Today I read this article by Paul Krugman. He's one of the giants in Economics. One of the rock-stars, so to speak. He won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2008.

And, believe it or not, economics still interests me, so when his name popped up on my Facebook Timeline and I saw that he'd written about the whole Amazon/Hachette dispute, I immediately clicked over to read. 

My response can be summed up as follows: 

"We are not amused."

Now before I launch into why, I must warn you that this is going to dig into economics a bit, but I'll be trying my best to keep things jargon-free or at least to explain things so we're all on the same page. This will be a long post (because I could take all week to write about this but don't want to), but I do hope at least some of you will bear with me. 

First, let me define a few things (although I will be simplifying things so as to hopefully not bore everyone): 

Market Efficiency: 


A market condition under which all prices reflect all market information. Since I'm not writing an academic article, I'm just going to come out and say that this is the fair market condition. Every supplier knows what their clients want, and how much they're willing to pay for it. Each client knows what each supplier in the market for a specific product sells, what prices the suppliers are selling at and which product's price will match his/her specific value for the product. 

Today's product up for discussion: Books. 

In an efficient market, prices are determined by supply and demand. Supply and demand are both determined by price and quantity. So for every dollar price increase, suppliers are willing to produce more units of a product. Clients, on the other hand, buy more for every dollar price decrease. 

Equilibrium Price: 


At a specific price, all books will be sold to everyone who wants that book. There will be no surplus or deficits in books. This price, known as the equilibrium price, is where the most books are sold to the most people.

If you increase the market price, more books are produced, but fewer people are willing to buy them. (Which results in say... paperbacks being pulped. But I'm getting ahead of myself.) 

If you decrease the price, more people will want the books (come on, don't tell me you wouldn't buy five books if a shop declared a half-price sale on everything), but fewer people will be willing to publish, because the profit might not be high enough. 

Which brings me to Amazon's Announcement on what its dispute with Hachette is about:

Price Elasticity: 


The increase/decrease in quantities isn't related to price on a one-to-one basis. Let's assume that a book costs $2. If a book price could increase with one dollar, a publisher would most probably produce more than one book extra. If a book price decreases by a dollar, readers will probably buy more than one book extra. 

Ever walk into a shop to buy one book, only to find that everything is marked down to half price? Will you only walk out with two books? I wouldn't. I'd probably walk out with as many as I can carry/afford. 

This is what Amazon is blaming the dispute on. They (quite correctly, in my opinion) surmise that more people will buy books at a slightly cheaper price, which will result in everyone on the supply side making more money. This basically comes down to the argument that it's better to sell a thousand items at $1 each, than one item at $100. 

"But," one might say, "if the equilibrium price has been reached, messing with it will result in either the supplier or the client losing." 

Here's the thing, though: We've never reached the equilibrium price in the first place, because the publishing market isn't efficient. But I'm still getting to that point. 

Middlemen: 


Because I think you need a bit of a rest from reading, and because this guy explains middlemen and what they do in a market better than I do, I'm going to ask you to watch this.


To link this back to my argument: Middlemen are proof that the real world is, well, real and my nice ideal of an efficient market isn't all that realistic.

See in the real world, book suppliers don't have access to their clients. (I.E. Readers) And the clients have no way to actually know all the awesome and amazing books that are out there to read. Middlemen's jobs are to bring books to the readers and readers to the books. They then charge a price for this service, paid for by either the client, the supplier, or some combination of both.

But this is where I'm going to rock your world. It's also where my main problem with Krugman's article comes in.

Krugman sees Amazon as a monopsony (a buyer that buys so many products from a supplier that it can in fact determine the price at which it buys from the supplier, most often to the supplier's detriment.) This, I think we can all agree to be true, to an extent.

Amazon is a middleman. It connects the publisher to the readers, by creating a place where a huge amount of readers go to buy books. Because so many readers buy through Amazon, Amazon is now in a position to charge more for its service, and Amazon wants to make books cheaper while Hachette doesn't. Which, from Hachette's point of view, is to Hachette's detriment. (An yes, I can admit that they're not wrong.)

However, Krugman has basically made a big mistake by saying the following: "By putting the squeeze on publishers, Amazon is ultimately hurting authors and readers. "

My problem with this comes down to a fact that everyone seems to forget:

The publisher isn't the supplier. The author is. The publisher is yet another middleman. 

A middleman who's out to increase market efficiency to everyone's advantage.

...

You hear that sound? Like distant thunder? Yep, that's the sound of disillusioned authors everywhere laughing.

Why? Let's look at some market realities, shall we?

Monopsonist: 


A buyer that has so much market power that it can influence the market price. This is because it can threaten to stop buying from a given suppler if he/she/it doesn't lower prices.

Pretty much since the first printing press was invented, people who've wanted to be widely read wanted to be published. After all, the more copies of something exists, the more people have a chance to read them. As time went on, publishers started gathering readers as well. People liked reading high-quality books and if a publisher was known for producing those, people kept buying from them.

Which is a dream come true for any writer. Not only does the writer now have a chance to see his works printed in volume, but there are actually people who want to read them.

However, there are many writers, and only a select few publishing houses with access to nice, big readerships. Readerships who would not read something unless it was, let's say... printed by the writer him/herself.

This resulted in publishing houses being able to cherry pick what they thought would satisfy their readers' wants/needs. Then, these few publishing houses became fewer. Some picked the wrong cherries. Others melted together into fewer, bigger publishing houses with more market power.

Who lost here? 

The author. Industry standard at the moment is 25% royalties. Which means that they are paying 75% of profits from books they wrote for covers, editing, printing and distribution. They actually make less, because there's a third middleman, the agents, which our big publishers force on writers. ("If you don't have an agent, we ain't even looking at your book.")

The publishing houses offering bigger loyalties don't have enough market power to actually be of much use to a writer. Yes, it's getting the book published. But read? Not so much. And besides, these guys aren't the ones Amazon has a problem with. Because most of them already seem to understand the value of selling books for cheaper. Especially e-books.

Ah. Yes. E-books. See Amazon wants publishers to decrease prices on e-books. Not all books. e-books. Where there is no technical cost to carrying copies. Because there are no copies to carry. No printing costs. No warehousing. No transport. And yet big publishing houses usually charge more for them than physical books, and give writers the industry standard of: 25% royalties.

Yep. The same amount as for print books. But the expenses are less.

Which means that basically, big publishers created market ineffiency in order to benefit themselves.

But wait. There's more.

Oligopoly: 


A market condition where the market or industry is dominated by a small number of sellers. These sellers have market power to influence buyer activity and price, since it's easy for a few companies to band together and collude to fix prices.

So big publishing charges 75% of a book's net price for covers, editing, printing and distribution. Marketing? Weeeeeeeelll.... No. See they put all their money together, and then decide who to spend their marketing budgets on. They choose which books gets displays in stores. They choose which books gets placement at airports and other premium selling spots. They choose which book gets the big mural at underground train stations in London and which ones get advertised in big readership magazines.

In other words: These companies influence which books get seen by their readership. Which means that the readership thinks they're seeing everything out there to buy, but really, they don't.

On top of this, the publishing house artificially inflates the price as described above. (Google Agency Model.) Or even worse, the big publishing houses collude.

So what this means is that publishing houses actively withhold information from their readers through manipulating which books the reader is aware of, and further adds to this by not charging the equilibrium price. In fact, they're not even trying.

This results in readers losing, and either buying fewer books or not buying any books, because they don't see anything that appeals to them. And because they're less likely to find something where the price matches the reader's perceived value for the book.

Who loses here? Actually... everyone. Readers lose for the reasons stated above. Writers lose because the potential amount of books sold isn't realized, which means they're not making the money they could have. (Even Lee Child and James Patterson.) Amazon loses for the same reason, because they can charge selling costs on fewer sales. And so do the publishing houses.

Why then, would publishing houses continue to act to their own detriment?

A move toward market efficiency and why this is unattractive to Hachette and publishers like it. 


First, I want to say that I don't for a moment think that Amazon is the guardian angel to all writers everywhere. I know that they're motivated by their need for greater profit, not for some particular goodwill toward writers.

However, Amazon has been leveling the playing field between publishers and writers. They've collected a huge amount of readers to themselves. And then basically gave writers free direct access to those readers. This in itself has brought about a huge and long over-due innovation in the publishing industry.

Yes, the traditional industry is still cherry picking, but those who didn't get picked simply went to Amazon and got published anyway. And Amazon, through their use of algorithms, keywords and search engines made it possible for readers to be more likely to find the book they want to read, even if they never knew it existed.  They're creating ways for authors to at least try to get books before their readers. Something that cannot be underestimated, but that publishers aren't at all that keen on. You see that bit where Krugman talks about Amazon being able to kill the buzz for a book?

Publishing houses have done this through spending one book's income on another's marketing, and then blaming the author of the former for not writing a good enough book and then all but destroying that author's career. And for good measure, holding onto the book rights forever, just in case the author wanted to sell it elsewhere and actually make money with it.

Before, authors had to sigh and say "oh well." Now, they don't. Now, they can buy their own covers. They can find their own editors (who often free-lance with big publishers as well). They can hire their own PR firms. And they can publish both e-copies and paperbacks on their own terms.

Amazon brought in print-on-demand, which means that only the amount of paper books that are wanted at a specific price need be printed.

Which means that publishing houses, once in a position of supreme bargaining power, aren't actually as necessary to writers to be published and seen.

Which means that more and more people aren't even interested in being traditionally published any more.

Which in turn means that publishing houses are clinging more to their industry standard royalty rates. They thereby "maximize" (and I use this term loosely) their profits by taking their own profit and most of the value taken from readers and writers, while delivering less and less of the benefit they might have had before. Marketing money? Gone to cover over-heads. Huge advances to help author cash-flows as they write the next one? All but gone, or otherwise part of a punitive system where authors who don't even get marketed, get dumped and made out to be bad writers if they don't earn out their advances. Editors? Still there, but I can find quite a lot of them by googling. What's more, writers can hire more and more of them as publishing houses lay them off to lower overheads.

My point and the elephants in the room. 


I've been watching what's going on for a while, and what I've seen and experienced have turned me off traditional publishing. However, from what I've written above, I want to point out the following:

Elephant #1

No matter how many times Paul Krugman and other traditionally published writers might call Amazon wrong, it doesn't make Big Publishing Right.

Elephant #2

Amazon isn't the cancer destroying the publishing industry. The publishing industry's unwillingness to innovate is.

Elephant #3

The sooner publishing houses realize that writers now have more bargaining power and act accordingly, the sooner everyone wins.

Elephant #4

There will be a point where no one will be willing to pay 75% of a net book price for what will basically amount to the old publishing world's diminishing prestige and validation that no longer means anything to the readers.

Elephant #5

No one wants Amazon to be the only connection between writers and readers, but it's obviously happening.

Elephant #6

Amazon is starting their own publishing imprints. These imprints offer services AND higher royalty rates. If publishing houses want to survive, they should stop blaming Amazon and start competing with them.

 Elephant #7 

Competition between Amazon and Publishing houses benefit everyone. Amazon will get those lower e-book prices. Writers get more sales. Readers buy books they want for prices they want and those publishing houses who are able to efficiently do their jobs while turning a profit will survive. Unlike the current ones who refuse to budge off their own business models. Those are doomed to fail thanks to the vicious cycle they refuse to get out of.

Elephant #8

The sooner writers realize that they should start pushing more to call the shots, the better for all of us. Assuming that big publishing dies. Amazon will be alone to shove us around. Alone, we'll be easily shoved. Together, on the other hand... Honestly, I'd prefer a perfect market, but given that we could end up with Amazon as a full-blown monopoly, we need to figure out how to balance market power.

Because:

Elephant #9

Amazon isn't writers' big savior. But then, neither are publishing houses. Clearly.



To those of you who actually read to the end. Thanks so much for reading! Let me know in the comments if you have any thoughts/questions.