Saturday, May 9, 2015

What do publishers know?

Newspapers want us to believe that they are truly objective.

Politicians want us to believe that they are truly working for the Greater Good of everybody.

And publishers want us to believe that they truly have special knowledge and power to select just the best and just the right books to publish, which makes a book selected by them a Good Book, and a book not selected a Wrong Book, naturally.

This of course make self-publishing suspect: if the book is good, why couldn't it find a publisher?  Good question, but let's consider some evidence:

  • Chicken Soup For the Soul, the publishing super-success, went through denials from publisher after publisher, month after month, until the authors in desperation collected 20,000 promises-to-buy.
  • Dune, one of the world's most famous and successful science fiction books, was rejected by sixteen publishers. The author's wife picked up the manuscript from the trash and convinced him to send it out again
  • And of course: Harry Potter, the best selling, ultra-super-duper successful and influential novel series of all time, went through rejections from about twenty publishers before it found one who could see its merit!

The conclusion is inescapable: publisher, despite... well what do they have going for them? Only their own word, I'd guess... have no more idea what is a good book or what will be successful than you or I do. They have money, but these days they don't even promote your book, you must do that yourself. They may or may not pay an advance. But on the other hand, most authors get less than 10 percent of the earnings of the book. If you self-publish, the lion's share of earnings is yours, as it should be.

Big-5 publishers neatly shoot off own foot

This analysis shows the results of the big five winning their hard fight to have higher ebook prices at Amazon. The results being: Lower sales and lower income for the big 5, and higher sales and income for self-publishers and independent authors!

Why would they do that? Well, apparently they are still so scared of ebooks (for some reason we can't see, other than Fear Of The Unknown) that they'll try to block the rise of them, even if the cost is shooting themselves in the foot, the hand, the gut, the eye... (they are actually earning more on ebooks

What we see from the graphs above is that all the reporting lately on the plateauing or decline in ebook adoption is certainly true for major publishers, whose numbers are being used as if they represent the broader market, but their daily unit sales are less than a third of the total market. Ebooks may be on the downward slope for them, but not for everyone else. ...

One final point that bears mentioning: Protecting the paper book trade will not help publishers. We know from their own accounting that ebooks are far more profitable. Any report showing a decline in ebooks and an increase in print means a net loss for the Big 5 and their authors.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

New iPad wallpaper

On my iPad as on my Mac, I like to have no icons at all on the desktop, just the clean wallpaper. (It too almost a decade before Apple made a OS which allowed me to do that, remove even the disk and the Trash icons.)

This is a screenshot from end titles of the wonderful animated TV show Daria (buy it now, it's super-cheap on Amazon). During the end titles they liked to feature the characters made up in very fanciful incarnations. This is Jodie Landon as Jimi Hendrix.

Normally I'm weary of text in art pictures, but then sometimes it can itself become a graphic element. Lo for examples all the shirts which have been made with text all over, like newspaper clippings for example.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Beautify your iPhone with a skull case

[Satire altert: ironic post.]
The hallmark of Apple has always been subtlety, simplicity, quiet beauty, and good taste. With this in mind, I finally found the perfect case for my iPhone.

I don't like to brag, but I've noticed that women often take an extra glance or two, and have to hide their admiring smiles behind a hand. It's really nice to be admired both for being Macho and for having a good sense of aesthetics.