Saturday morning thoughts

Real life this week has taken priority over everything. Not that I’m complaining. For once, I have been thrilled to put aside everything else while real life upsets my schedule and puts my writing on the back burner. The downside, however, is that I don’t have much of a blog for today. I promise that will change next week. But for this week, well, I’m enjoying having my son home after more than a year and family always comes first.

Still, I won’t leave you guys in a lurch. There are several posts that caught my eye this morning. The first is a guest post over at According to Hoyt by indie author Christopher Nuttal. Chris is a prime example that authors can make good as going the indie route, if you work hard and remember that this is a business. His post is especially important, in my opinion, because he reminds us that we have to keep an eye on the economics of writing.

I agree with almost everything Chris has to say. I would only add, or perhaps expand, on one thing. When talking about how much conceptual editors cost as opposed to line editors, he notes that the conceptual editor is usually less than the line editor. That is true if you are talking, as he is, of only a basic conceptual edit job. But if you are talking a full content edit — where the editor not only spots the potential problems but offers suggestions on how to correct them, where the editor makes suggestions about the actual structure of the novel, etc., — you will pay much more for that sort of service.

I also agree, at least substantially with what he says about the paid promotion sites. I have used a couple and have seen a small spike in sales but I haven’t been able to track anything long term coming from them. Now, there may be one more factor to the success of the use of these services that may play a role in whether they are worth the money or not. It could be that the author needs to have a recurring presence in the service’s email to its customers, on its website, etc., so a name recognition of sorts builds up. I’m not sure but it is something I’ve been wondering.

Now for something I disagree with totally and completely. It seems Ursula K. Le Guin is still on the “Amazon is evil” bandwagon. This isn’t the first time she has railed against Amazon. She, like some other traditionally published authors, blame Amazon for most, if not all, of traditional publishing’s problems. While I will admit that Amazon is competition for bookstores and it has taken stands against publishers in order to keep the cost of books and e-books lower than publishers would like, there are other factors that have led to the state traditional publishing finds itself in now.

Failure to adapt to changing customer demands and to changing tech is one of those factors. The genesis of the big box bookstores, like Barnes & Noble and Borders, pushed the locally owned bookstores out of the market. Poor business planning and over-expansion, combined with the failure to recognize the importance of e-books, helped run Borders out of business and has continued to haunt B&N. Instead of railing against Amazon and claiming it doesn’t remember the past and doesn’t see the future, she should look closer at what her beloved traditional publishers have done — and not done — over the last 50 years. They have been so mired in the belief that if something has worked in the past, it should now. The problem with that is our technology and reader expectations and desires have changed. So, instead of adapting, traditional publishing cut costs by cutting loose many of their mid-list writers, writers who were the backbone of the company because they could be counted on to sell X-number of copies each and every time.

Finally, for those who are looking to go indie and want to put out print copies of your books, my friend Cedar Sanderson has a very good article, the first of two, on formatting your print cover. You can find it over at the Mad Genius Club.

Now, to find food and coffee and maybe write a little bit this morning before real life decides to resume again.

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