Last week! Books!
First up, if you’re in the San Francisco area it has come to my attention that there’s a pretty cool film festival going on that’s built around cell phone cameras and nonprofessional cameras the like. It’s called the Disposable Film Festival, and it was recently covered by the Wall Street Journal.
Now then. As we know, last week’s big news was word that the Department of Justice is threatening to sue 5 of the Big 6 publishers and Apple for collusion over e-book prices, which I relayed in Thursday’s post. That will definitely be something we will keeping an eye on, and in the meantime, the comments section of Thursday’s post is fascinating and absolutely worth a read.
In other book news, there were some really great posts on writing and author promotions this week. In no particular order…
Agent Rachelle Gardner has posts on 8 things writers should know about Goodreads and a guest blogger on the 5 most common mistakes author websites make (despite my many mistakes I managed to dodge these 5).
Agent Jessica Faust at BookEnds has an interesting post on the evolution of her query letter as time became more and more pressing – it shows the same whittling down that many agents go through.
This Week in the Forums, the Bransford Blog Challenge is in full effect and I’m very nearly in last place (tourney talk here), your all-time favorite movies, funny typos, what separates a novel from a short story, and how do you introduce a character’s conflicting desires?
Comment! of! the! Week! There were a ton of amazing comments on Thursday’s post, but I’m going with Jim Duncan and Mira, who I think add some great counterpoints to what I said:
…I believe the loss of agency model will have some serious effects,
spoken of already. Readers and Amazon are the only winners here. Authors
across the spectrum will lose to varying degrees. Publishers will lose.
Bookstores will lose.
No matter the winner, I have a difficult
time supporting anything that benefits Amazon’s predatory pricing
practices. More annoyed the DoJ isn’t going after them as well, because
beefing up Amazon’s ability undercut every bookseller out there is the
last thing we really need to be doing. This isn’t free market
competition, it’s a financial behemoth using it’s massive resources to
And my biggest issue with this is that
Amazon doesn’t give one iota about books, whereas booksellers do. Amazon
is not in the business of selling story. Amazing literature or total
crap, it’s all the same to them. Books are a meaningless widget to them,
a sale item to get the consumer in the door. It’s a gateway product,
meant to entice you in to buy other things. I imagine they could
discount books down to zero and still come out ahead due to the money
spent by consumers drawn in through books.
I read books, and I
like to spend as little as I have to, but I’m also an author, and seeing
my work, the hours upon hours work, pouring my creativity into a story
get turned into a meaningless item to wave at consumers, really, really
Don’t get me wrong. I want as many people to read my
stories as possible. I like having people read them. It’s very
satisfying to know that my work is appreciated, that I can bring a few
hours entertainment to several thousand readers. But I don’t want to do
it at the expense of the art of storytelling. Art is far to significant a
cultural element to be relegated to the bargain bin at the dollar
store. It’s worth more than the cup of coffee bought to sip on while
So, regardless of who benefits or what those benefits
might end up being, these economic forces that are driving book values
toward zero are just wrong.
…Jim – I think I understand your point. Let me know if I’m wrong, but
it’s not really about making money for you, it’s the idea that a writer
can work for three years on a story that then sells for a dollar.
I get it. I don’t want that either.
I guess I’m alittle more optimistic that as things fall out, there will
be price scaling. In other words, a new author might charge a dollar
for a book, but a well-known, sought after author could demand higher
I also have faith in the corporate desire to make
money. They may be willing to price a song at a buck, but to make that
the default price for a book? I guess I don’t see Amazon or anyone
doing that. Good books are not as plentiful as good songs. They take
tremendous skill to craft, and that skill is rare. I just don’t think
it would make sense for a corporation to devalue books to that level.
They’d lose money.
I could be wrong, of course.
But again –
it’s not Amazon that’s charging a dollar for a book. It’s
self-publishers. They are experimenting with pricing as a means to draw
customers. Once they have a customer base, they tend to raise their
I’m not going to argue about Amazon not valuing a story
because they use business tactics – I still don’t see how you get that
conclusion, exactly, but what I do think Amazon doing is letting the
writer take the driver’s seat, which includes pricing their own books.
And finally, this is one of the more mesmerizing things I’ve seen lately: Every hour of the moon throughout 2012 (via io9)
Have a great week!