I’m not a fan of Westerns. Yeah, I hate them. I love the 1966 film “El Dorado,” though. It’s got fantastic characters (and John Wayne), it’s got GREAT screenwriting, and the story isn’t half bad. I think the movie handles tension extremely well, and this scene is a great example of that:
Two old friends, now possibly on opposite sides of a range war. Both of those relationships come out clearly in the scene. There’s no confusion about what’s going on, yet you aren’t beaten over the head with an explanation of it, either. The bit of comedy at the end is a nice play against Wayne’s and Mitchum’s tough-guy attitudes, too, in what I like to call “awkward humor.”
It’s all in the wording. This is why politicians are able to keep their jobs, despite being, ya know, among the scummiest people in our society. This is how gossip rags are able to stay in business. This is how writers take something mundane and make a story of it. The difference is, in our stories, there would be millions upon millions of people dying of radiation sickness. So which is worse, a writer or a politician?
By the way, I have a fantasy/steampunk story with a rather heavy-handed explosion in it. I’m writing the third book in that world now, which is where all these thoughts came from. Yes, a politician is involved, and no, there is no King’s Enquirer or similar tabloid.
I got around to epublishing my new short story from last month. I also renamed it to make it more interesting. Yeah, naming something a common phrase is not a good idea. The new title is “The Dragon Prince and the Hideously Unattractive Woman: A Tale of Deep Meaningfulness.” It’s a bit old-school and also lets you know that this book is not to be taken seriously.
I did the cover, and no, I’m not super happy with it. I’m giving the book away, though, so I don’t know that I care too overly much at this point. It’s been downloading steadily at Smashwords.
Yes, it’s at Smashwords, but no, I haven’t properly uploaded anything there yet. I don’t use Word. That’s the main reason I didn’t upload there until they started accepting .epub files. My point is, until Amazon gets around to price-matching me, no one can get a free .mobi of my books, which is bad. Maybe the $0.99 price tag will still entice.
So Paul Sadler and I disagreed about the nature of ebook resale in the comments over at PV’s article “Could Amazon create a used e-book market?” and I felt like the matter was weighty enough to be carried on over here. It’s an issue that is definitely going to have to be tackled at some point. Here’s Paul’s response to my first comment:
Jim…that is the same argument that was made for used paperback stores and even libraries, yet oddly enough authors survived both. For e-libraries, the KLL has been a godsend for some authors — readers borrowing books and royalties to the author for each loan? That’s innovation that helps authors, rather than hurts them.
Equally, there’s nothing stopping Amazon from setting up a used market that would allow resales only of previously purchased Kindle titles (the same ones registerd to your accounts, so a reader couldn’t resell it multiple times) and still giving a percentage of that sale to the author i.e. paying royalties on a used sale, something that doesn’t happen now in paper.
It really messes with people setting their own pricing over the long term, but I think it would be a way for certain publishers (mainstream) to keep their first run sales high i.e. $15 for ebooks, and maybe Amazon could limit that an e-resell couldn’t happen for at least six months or even minimum sales levels that would keep author royalties near the same.
Just as a hypothetical, what if authors got 40% on new at $10 per book; but they got 50% on used at $8. The author would still get $4 a book regardless, Amazon gets $6 the first time and another $4 after that. They’re still happy because that other $4 may be a sale they wouldn’t have otherwise. Lots of people will buy used that they wouldn’t buy new in paper, maybe it would hurt the $2.99 market though.
People told Bezos the ebook world would never work; then they told him there was no market for self-publishing; then they told him nobody makes money at $2.99. Telling him that a used market oculd never work seems a little like waving a red flag in his face…
Here’s my answer, which I also made over at PV:
Let me be realistic for a second before I get all ivory tower.If you offer people a way to get money from their digital content, you create a community that has an incentive to pirate where they never did before. This is bad stuff. If piracy is easy to rationalize now, imagine when people can tell themselves, “I did pay for it, I just want to get a little money back. It doesn’t affect the writer. They already got my money. There’s no victim.” This will devastate creators in a way that modern piracy has no ability to do.Now, speaking idealistically. For the “used” book buyer, there is zero difference between the “used” digital product and a “new” one. There is no reason to buy new at all, in fact. It’s not like a paperback, which might be creased, torn, stained, wrinkled, chewed, etc. Buying a “used” digital product is like being handed a brand new paperback for a tiny fraction of the “new” price. So, why would you ever buy a “new” digital product if a “used” one was available?Here’s the key point: if Amazon or anyone else is selling a digital book “used,” they are selling an identical product to what the author sells, except they are not paying the author. Worse, digital products will never degrade, meaning that they can be resold indefinitely, with the everywhereness of the internet making them easy to find instantly and effortlessly.This is not at all the same as buying used paperbacks at a used book store. Buying used paperbacks has built-in limits; you have to invest time in traveling to the book to buy it or wait for it to be shipped to you, plus you have to locate the physical book in a physical store near you or wait for an online retailer to get the physical book processed so it appears on their website. This is very much the opposite of how digital books work.About the “zeroes and ones.” In a strictly physical sense, no, an ebook is nothing more than an arrangement of zeroes and ones. It’s more complicated than that, though. The zeroes and ones are actually the customer’s; they’re paying to have their switches flipped into a certain arrangement. In other words, “selling” an ebook involves no transfer of physical property whatsoever. It is purely abstract.When you buy a paper book, you have a right to the paper and ink because it is physical property. You have no rights to the intellectual property. When you resell a paper book, you are selling physical property, which is part of property rights. When reselling an ebook, there is no physical property to exchange. So what are you selling? Access rights, copyright, etc are not physical property, and so you can’t say that it’s the same as selling a paperback. It just isn’t, either logically or legally.As for the customer benefit of resale, this is something addressed more appropriately by competitive pricing. If I sell my ebook for $2.99 with no resale, my customers are a lot better off than if I had to sell it at $8.99 so I can recoup my losses against resale.Your idea about cutting the author in on a % of resale sounds more fair. However, this is basically exactly the same as forcing authors to accept discounting. The only difference would be what you called it.KLL and all libraries are a different matter, and I don’t take issue with those. Libraries don’t transfer ownership.Quick conclusion: paper book resale is based on property rights. Ebooks don’t exist as physical property, so their resale is legally not the same as with paper books. Ebooks also behave very differently from paper books, so logically their resale is not the same either. I think that good pricing is the better answer.
Obviously Paul is a Very Bad Person who wants Total Anarchy to rule the world. Nah, he just has a different perspective on what constitutes property and what constitutes a sale. ‘Tis a weighty matter the politicians are sure to foul up by siding with their lobbyists.
So the next Bloodbound Iron book is nearly out of the outlining phase. I have a few parts to smooth, and then it’s into the writing. Depending on events IRL, it could be out of first draft a month after the outline is done. Totally finishing it after that would take perhaps another month.
I’m behind my two short stories a month idea, and I’m thinking of switching it to a monthly thing. It’s hard for me to sweep up good short story ideas when I’m sunk in the world of a novel. I have one I think will be good for this month, another humorous story, but I just don’t see me getting two into February.
I’m planning to release three more books this year. BBI3 is the first of those, and it will be #2 of the series (I know, I know). After that, I’ll either write #3 or switch to another story. I’d like to see what effect a change would have on sales, for one, and I’m also not sure where BBI4 will be going. I have to finish BBI3 before I’ll know that.
I’ve also been doing a lot of deep thinking about book promotion. I’m still deciding what that’s going to mean for me. Right now I’m doing Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, and recently Google+. Anyone wanting to contact me can use any of those methods, sign up for the mailing list, or, ya know, mail me at email@example.com. That works too.
My latest book, Gods of Metal and Blood, sold a copy on Barnes and Noble the other day. It was the first sale I ever got on B&N so I’ve added that badge to my sash. Brightened my day, to say the least.
It was also nice to see that my first book, Sunshells, is in seven libraries. Fun! It’s free on Smashwords, Kobo, and hopefully soon on B&N and Amazon, and Smashwords alone has racked up 77 downloads in the past three weeks. I’m liking how it’s looking.
Yes, the much-anticipated “Gods of Metal and Blood” is on sale! Kobo is still processing, and B&N decided to have technical difficulties (sigh), but they’ll be ready in the next 24 hours.
Sunshells is going free. Yes, you heard it right! So, all of you millions secretly pirating it, now you have a chance to get it legitimately! Shazam! You’ll be able to ease your guilty, guilty conscience at long last.
To top it all off, I’m going to start writing and posting free stories right here on the site. They’ll probably end up as collections on sale as ebooks, but they’ll be free here individually.
2013 is going to be a fun year. Make sure to sign up for the RSS feed or email newsletter so that you can be notified when the next story or novel comes out.
I haven’t had a lot of posts up on the site in a while. I haven’t even responded to comments (until today). Well, no more. I have a few posts in the pipes right now, and I’ll probably start releasing one well-considered post a week on a regular schedule. Ya know, because saying “probably” is a good way to ensure that it’ll happen.
I’ve come to a point where I think that the idea of zero promotion for any reason is a bad idea. The logic of it comes from the difference between paper books and ebooks. Ask me about it some time. Or maybe I’ll do one of those I-write-an-article-on-my-weblog thingies.
Anyway, to my many subscribers suffering from asphyxiation because you were holding your breath for the next post, the wait is over. Starting Friday. Probably.
Important news: My second book is out soon. You will all go and buy it on release day like one big glob of zombies chasing the last living piece of meat.