Rambling Comments on a Warm December Evening…

Lake Lanier on a warm December evening...pure magic.

First of all, let me say that my life is glorious!  No, I’m not one of the 1%.  But seriously, my life is really quite fabulous in the greater scheme of the universe.  Look above.  How many humans on this planet get to witness a sunset like that?…Over a gorgeous lake?…Less than 2 minutes from their house?

And yet, I’m not blissful or content.  Right now, I am hatching a plan for 2012.  They say “stunt” blogs are dead. Maybe not.

What about Creative Wellness Project 2012? Creative ways to enjoy life and feed your soul while eating delicious gourmet foods and losing weight?  Would you “click in” to receive a daily tip/inspiration on ways to truly enjoy living healthy?  More on that soon…but feel free to comment.

This week, there are two news stories that are causing my brain to boil in very uncomfortable ways:

  1. Amazon has pissed off the book-loving public yet again.  To explain the situation, I’ll defer to this New York Times OpEd piece:  NYT OpEd – Amazon 
  2. My friend Jerry sent me this article – Self-Published Authors Find e-Success

Now here’s what I have to say about those two articles:

  1. Good grief!  I love book stores!  Large, small, used, online…doesn’t matter.  I love any outlet where I might possibly find books to read and people who love reading.  Living in Northern California, I was spoiled rotten.  Sometimes if seemed like there was an independent bookstore on every corner.  Back in those days, I used to search for descriptions and reviews online, especially on Amazon, then head over to my favorite independent bookseller to find my book(s).  If they had the book I wanted in the store, great!  If not, I could order it with no shipping fees and pick it up as soon as I received an email that it was waiting for me in the store…all around fabulous!  Thing is, I really wish independent bookstores would stop reacting to Amazon in such inflammatory ways.  Don’t support Amazon because they are hurting my business?  That’s like telling me not to fuel up at the QT station because it hurts the locally owned Shell station across the street.  Pthththththt!  I feel like the bruhaha over this is just adding more fuel to the Amazon fire.  What’s the old saying?  All press is good press.  Amazon and its nasty “grind our competition into the dust” mentality is here to stay.  Stop trying to tell me it’s my civic duty to shop at an independent bookseller!!!  It doesn’t work on voters, it won’t save your business.  Tell me what you have to offer that Amazon doesn’t.  For the record, you MOST DEFINITELY DO have much more to offer.  Now sell it!!  Most of the time, your independent book browsing software sucks…while your in store browsing RULES!  Okay.  Don’t hire an expensive IT consultant. Set up Internet kiosks where shoppers can browse Amazon for titles and reviews in your store, BUT disable ordering.  I’ll walk up to your Information/Customer Service desk to order the titles I really want to purchase. Oh, and offer a small discount when I bring my Internet-browsing pocketbook up to your counter. Make me order $25 in books to get my discount…it works for the website-that-shall-remain-nameless.  If you get less pissed off and more creative, it will work for you.
  2. I appreciate the optimism in this self-publishing news story.  Really I do!  It’s great to hear about entrepreneurial authors out there making big bucks outside the traditional publishing paradigm.  But seriously, let’s look at the facts.  The tremendous, overwhelming slush pile that used to languish and die on every agent & editor’s desk is now getting published…Isn’t that what I said in this post?  I mean, seriously!  Do you have any clue how truly awful, how poorly written some of those slush pile manuscripts are?  So now there is a HUGE supply of raw, unpolished talent out there available for $.99.  OK.  And the author, no matter how incredibly talented, gets $.35 per sale?  Right…If I am doing the math correctly, I would have to sell 14,286 ebooks @ $.99 to make $5,000.00, the “basic” writer’s advance for a traditionally published book….and that is assuming that I did not invest a single cent in marketing to sell those ebooks.  Is it possible that a traditional publisher or agent will take notice of my ebook and decide to offer a more traditional contract?  Yes, BUT…just because readers are willing to approve a $.99 purchase for my ebook does not mean they are willing to pay the traditional publishing price point of $6-$20.  So, I am not shunning ebook self-publishing forever.  However, I still think a traditional publishing contract is the goal I seek. The article’s assertion that “…in the new world of indie publishing, with its opportunity for self-published authors to sell hundreds of thousands of e-books, the stigma is disappearing” is a bit premature.  Most traditionally published authors are highly motivated to keep that stigma alive.  They ran the terrible publishing “gauntlet” to get published, why should they respect someone who bypassed the whole process?  To them, you may have paid to get your work in print, but you are most definitely NOT published.  Also, consider this…during the Dahlonega Literary Festival, I spoke with Jackie K. Cooper who writes book, movie & music reviews.  Make no mistake.  He might love and adore a self-published book, but he absolutely cannot sell a review of a self-published book to any of his established markets.  So….

It all boils down to this:

  • Cooking up a new healthy & creative plan/challenge for 2012…looking for input/interest.
  • Amazon is a wicked beast, but independent bookstores need to get more creative and less reactionary.
  • Despite some success stories, still looking for validation and acceptance along the traditional publishing path.

One thought on “Rambling Comments on a Warm December Evening…

  1. Pingback: Bookstores…Please Don’t Fear the Future (Part One) | Slay the Writer

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