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Talking the talk

25 March 2014

From FutureBook:

[Simon & Schuster’s CEO Carolyn Reidy] argued that the industry must counter the hijacking of the copyright conversation by major technology interests, for example. “We have to contend with the perception that publishers are sticking their finger in the dike trying to hold back the tide of digital progress. The discussion has been one-sided; we haven’t done what we should. We have to work harder to know how to make our own case in public. We need to begin a long campaign to ensure a favourable outcome many years hence. The conversation shouldn’t be, ‘Will publishing survive?’ but rather, ‘How are we taking the industry forward?'”

. . . .

She argued that the industry must counter the hijacking of the copyright conversation by major technology interests, for example. “We have to contend with the perception that publishers are sticking their finger in the dike trying to hold back the tide of digital progress. The discussion has been one-sided; we haven’t done what we should. We have to work harder to know how to make our own case in public. We need to begin a long campaign to ensure a favourable outcome many years hence. The conversation shouldn’t be, ‘Will publishing survive?’ but rather, ‘How are we taking the industry forward?'”

Reidy is right. The facts are that publishers have traversed the digital waters pretty competently. Many of them, including S&S, are more profitable than they were (S&S’ profit margins have risen from 9% in 2008 to 14% in 2013), and the big writers remain largely on-side. Amazon and self-publishing have come, and perhaps they’ll come again, but big publishing’s ability to publish bestsellers, break new writing, and innovate remains vibrant.

. . . .

The issue is, you’d probably only know this if you work in publishing, or are one of the authors or booksellers benefiting from this successful output. The debate around publishing in the media and on the internet is largely dominated by Amazon, the shift to self-publishing, author earnings, and bargain basement e-books. UK publishers sold 200m print books last year: the vast majority of what is written about books (reviews, serialisations, author interviews) is derived from what gets published by traditional publishers. The fourth estate would be a barren place without book publishers providing the ideas, the content and the authors. Yet the meta-conversation is obsessed with everything but this.

. . . .

An executive from a leading publishing house contacted me almost immediately. The publisher said they retained an important asset that Amazon did not have: the personal touch. They spoke to authors every day, in terms that were entirely individual and tailored to the author circumstances. Amazon has no such patter. Its business model is entirely based on algorithm and boilerplate. [One publisher told me recently that when their authors are taken to Seattle for meeting with Amazon execs it is generally so badly botched that it merely reaffirms their desire to stay with the traditional publisher.]

Of course I wanted the exec who got in touch with me to write a public letter saying all this. Would they? No.

In his write up of Reidy’s talk, Porter Anderson questions what was really meant by this call to words. “But can she and her fellow publishers really mean discussion? That’s two ways. Listening, not just talking.”

My hunch is that the big publishers are getting the message, but they lack the skills and language to truly engage in ways that are meaningful.

Link to the rest at FutureBook

In PG’s experience and the experiences of the many authors with whom he speaks, most big publishers are far better at talking than they are listening.

They seem to believe it’s the author’s job to listen and obey, especially if the author is not a major bestseller. And doubly especially if the author has already signed a typical publishing contract.

Publishers may figure out how to sell ebooks and bring their advertising and promotion practices into the 21st century and even learn to get along with Amazon, but unless they upend their hard-core cultural attitude toward authors and start treating them as real partners instead of strip mines, traditional publishing will end up going down the drain that it’s circling.

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67 Comments to “Talking the talk”

  1. From the OP:

    Reidy acknowledged this in her talk, saying “we must work harder to understand the language and perspective of the other participants in this discussion.”

    Then I think they have an awful lot of work to do.

  2. “Amazon and self-publishing have come, and perhaps they’ll come again, but big publishing’s ability to publish bestsellers, break new writing, and innovate remains vibrant.”

    Yes, but for how long? And what about those indie authors who are building names for themselves, yet uninterested in traditional deals? I’ve never been one to say I want to see big publishing fail, but soon the big names will go the way of the big names of the previous decade or two and three decades ago and who will replace them? And who will publish those replacements?

    And what about the midlisters? Are they to be abandoned altogether? Will they continue to be offered paltry royalty agreements?

    It seems to me that a business model that relies on a few big names is a business model sorely in need of recalibration.

    But I could be wrong.

    • I would say big publishers are able to publish bestsellers. “Break new writing and innovate” … I’m not so sure about that.

    • I love this:

      “They spoke to authors every day, in terms that were entirely individual and tailored to the author circumstances.”

      But why do authors need to speak to publishing houses? We speak to READERS every day. Directly. They’re the ones who buy the books.

      • “…in terms that were entirely individual and tailored to the author circumstances.”

        What does that even mean? All I can think of is that they speak in a range varying from grovelling to perfunctory depending on how much the author’s books are worth to them.

        Every time these publishers go on about how they have ‘the personal touch’ I see writers holding up their hands, saying “Don’t. Touch. Me.”

  3. the vast majority of what is written about books (reviews, serialisations, author interviews) is derived from what gets published by traditional publishers.

    Isn’t that because the vast majority of the venues and people who write about books are pretty much closed to indie authors and indie titles?

    I, for one, would love to see more discussion of indie publishing, and I’d love to see more discussion of indie author success stories that didn’t end in “signed a corporate contract.”

    The fourth estate would be a barren place without book publishers providing the ideas, the content and the authors.

    It really wouldn’t, I promise. If corporate publishers disappeared tomorrow, there would still be authors providing ideas and content. They’re out there right now, but people like this choose to ignore them.

  4. I think it’s been talked about to death here and elsewhere that the extra profit publishers are seeing is coming directly out of the author’s pockets via reduced ebook royalties. But, I suppose we aren’t suppose to ‘talk’ about that. 😛

    • The reduced royalty is part of it but the enormous margin is probably the biggest part. $9.99-$12.99 for e-books at 70% royalty x tens (or hundreds) of millions of sales from mega-sellers is an enormous payout.

      And no, you’re not supposed to talk about it.

      Because all this increased cash flow stems exclusively from BigPubs vibrant innovation. And don’t you forget it. 😉

    • That was my first thought, too.

  5. Indie authors are making so much noise, the grown-ups can’t hear themselves think.

    If it weren’t for us (legacy publishers), all the important writers would just stop writing and there wouldn’t be anything worth reading anymore, ever.

    That’s their best shot at PR?

    • I’m still stuck on the indies are children bit.

    • Michael E. Walston

      {I}Indie authors are making so much noise, the grown-ups can’t hear themselves think.{/I}

    • I know, right? The sound you just heard was my jaw dropping, followed by my face hitting my palm and my head hitting my desk.

      The most sparkling innovation Big Publishing has managed since they were blindsided by a digital behemoth that managed to sneak up behind them while they were having three-martini lunches is cutting their authors’ e-book royalties in half.

      Just sign me “Unimportant Writer Collecting 70% Royalties. Monthly.”

  6. This is much larger than publishing. We’ve seen this trend in almost every industry; banking, office supplies, grocery stores – the consumer choosing price over service.

    First the family hardware stores went out of business, then the independent corner grocery stores. Instead, we have big box stores, where you can wander for a half hour looking for someone knowledgeable.

    Don’t get me wrong; I’m not one who bemoans the dominance of Amazon, or Walmart, for that matter; they’re giving consumers what they want.

    The problem is, as consumers, we want it all. Rock bottom price, high quality and all the service possible. I’m the same.

    I don’t see an end to this . . . every consumer is different, and makes individual choices. If enough of them value a given service (either as consumers or as authors) all types will survive. If not, they won’t.

    Such is our ‘free’ market society.

    • Not exactly. I mean, Apple is the greatest example. The most profitable and one of the most powerful companies in the world. Many would argue that their products are overpriced, and that you can find other products with comparable specifications manufactured by other companies.

      The problem is that you can’t get comparable products, with a comparable user experience. People who use Apple products know there are less expensive products out there, but generally don’t much care because of the experience.

      I think you see this everywhere. Lexus dealerships. Whole Foods.

      Every consumer is different, and makes individual choices.

      Which is one way Apple and Amazon succeed; rather than listening to customers for feedback in focus groups, they use the data they have to make better products. I don’t know if Amazon tested the Kindle Fire; I can’t imagine Apple tests any of their products. Apple, at least, puts its head down, and analysts and pundits be damned. Every day we hear that Apple has to put out a smart watch, or it’s doomed. Apple needs to increase screen size, or it’s doomed.

      Meanwhile, the 500 millionth iPhone has just been sold. And the iPhone is a great experience. That’s what counts.

      Customers will choose the better experience every time.

      • I’m glad someone thinks Apple has a superior product, because my experience with my iPhone is that it’s a piece of sh** that I can’t wait to get rid of. You have to use wifi (which I don’t have) instead of your 3G network to load updates–which take hours and don’t make the thing work any better. I had to replace the charging cord less than a year after I bought it (and was way more expensive than the universal cords that came with my old Android phone) and now the replacement isn’t working either. I can’t purchase books on the Kindle app, etc. All told, the experience has been pretty crappy. I think Apple has been the master of advertising and creating an artificial mystique around their products, not the purveyors of a superior product itself. Never again will I succumb to their overpriced koolaid.

        • Well considering Apple just sold its 500 millionth, I don’t think I’m alone. Sucks you had that experience, but maybe it’s the network? I’ve had a 4, 4s, and 5 and haven’t encountered any problems with network (I’m in Pittsburgh, with a strong LTE signal) or chargers. The app store thing–well that’s a policy between the two juggernauts. Apple wants 30% of all in-app purchases. Amazon doesn’t want to give that up.

          Me, I usually shop on the web, but when I need to buy a book from my iPhone, I check iBooks or use Safari to buy it for Kindle.

          Anyway. Hope you have a better experience with your next phone.

          • What ends up happening is that a company that gets so big that it can’t and won’t innovate. They become complacent.

            That’s showing up in Apple. Their early computer were light-years ahead of IBM. But certain problems are showing up. Their latest iPhone model has problems with battery life (from what I’ve read) such as draining the battery even when shut off.

            And let’s not talk about iTunes, a bloated inefficient POS that I’d replace if I found an easier alternative.

        • Kelly, if you don’t have wifi or LTE in your area, another brand of phone isn’t going to make you much happier. A smartphone needs a speedy network connection.

          • I don’t have a speedy wifi connection in my house, but there is one in my local library, which is where I take the iPhone and the Android tablet for their updates. The last time, they were both due for updates at the same time. The tablet took 15 minutes to do its job, while the iPhone was at it for three hours. And if two Apple brand cords fail one right after the other, then the problem is with the manufacturer. Plus there is a problem with battery drain, and have had from the beginning. I know there are Apple fans out there, but all I’m saying is that their products really aren’t all that…certainly not enough to justify the extra cost. My ‘user experience’ has taught me to hate it. I never had any of those problems with any other smart phone I’ve had, just this one.

            • The cord issue is pretty bad and you can see it in tons of reviews and forum discussions. When a product costs as much as Apple products do, the cord should not be s***.

              We have had Apple products for a couple decades–my desktop is an iMac, my TV is connected to a MAC mini (the second one since 2009), and we both have iPhones, plus a MacBook pro and an iPod. We like them, but I’ve noticed some bugginess on my iMac that I never noticed in previous MAC ones. I wonder about that. And the next phone I get will likely not be an iPhone. We’ll see.

              • Thank you, I knew I couldn’t be the only one with issues. Did I mention that the earbuds which came with the phone didn’t work either? Turned out the male connector was a fraction of a millimeter too small to make a good connection with the audio jack.

                Sorry PG, for my off topic ranting. I’ll try not to do it again. If you’ll excuse me, I have to plug in the iPhone. My battery charge went from 84% to 54% in the last 42 minutes…

                • It’s not just you, Kelly. I have to hold my iPhone 4 upside down for the antenna to get a clear signal. Apparently, mine is not an uncommon problem in the model.

                • My 2004 model phone had better call reception than my 2012 iPhone. I can barely hear a damn thing on that. And yes, battery life is crap, and I keep it on airplane mode most of the time to conserve.

    • “…we have big box stores, where you can wander for a half hour looking for someone knowledgeable.”
      Lowes is reducing the size of its new retail centers.

      “…the consumer choosing price over service.”

      “Customers will choose the better experience every time.”

      Can’t be both. I side with the experience economy.

      Dan

      • Think you’re right about the experience economy. Here in the UK, the big supermarkets are running around like headless chickens wondering why so much of their trade has moved away to Lidl and Aldi. These are European stores, significantly cheaper, for sure, but they haven’t sacrificed quality as far as I can see. They are smaller than average, with a fairly limited choice of excellent goods and no ‘two for one’ or ‘three for two’ offers. Just good food and other quality things at low low prices. They’re undoubtedly no frills but not unpleasant either. Aldi’s champagne at £12 a bottle seemingly outranked a £150 bottle in a ‘blind’ wine tasting. We had a bottle at Christmas and very nice it was too! I listened to the Tesco CEO going on about the need for them to retain ‘customer loyalty’ on BBC radio only the other day, and thought how much he reminded me of Big Publishing. Customers will choose the better experience, but it often isn’t quite what the big corporations think it is.

      • It’s worth noting that price factors in to how users experience services.

        The thing about corporate publishing and indie publishing right now is that it’s really tough to differentiate in terms of experience. Pretty much everyone shops at Amazon, so there’s no differentiation there. I think the biggest difference is, right now, what Jones alluded to in the OP; the conversation is still about corporate titles. When media write about indie authors, it’s usually only in the context of those who have, in their eyes, graduated from indie publishing to “real” publishing. I think the article a few weeks back on Russell Blake was one of the few exceptions I’ve seen. But everything else? The attention over the years has been on John Locke, Amanda Hocking, et al.

        The conversation (the reviews, the interviews, etc.) is part of the experience of reading. When you talk to someone about a book and they can say “Oh, I just heard about that on Twitter” because people (and not the authors themselves) are talking about it–that’s such a big part of the experience.

        It’ll change. Indie authors are getting the sales, and at some point they’ll get the attention. Back in 2005, when blogging was still new and often denigrated, I noted I thought someday it wouldn’t be; someday a blog would win a Pulitzer. I think the same way about indie authors and titles. It’s not really a matter of an award validating indiedom, or anything; it’s more that the conversation is still tipping. But of course the thing about tipping is that people don’t really realize what has tipped or when until well after the fact. From the rhetoric offered by Shatzkin, Maass, et al., lately, though, I think it’s tipping pretty hard right now.

    • This happened in the encyclopedia industry. First the encyclopedias went digital (on CD), and that brought the prices way down. Then they went online, and prices dropped further. Then Wikipedia, which was free, took over the category.

  7. I felt like that article jumped all over the place and I wasn’t sure what it was trying to say.

    How is digital competency proven by the fact that revenue is up? It’s not like one is necessarily dependent on the other, and if they ARE linked, there’s no correlation in the quotes or the article.

    I’ve worked in tech (with ecommerce and data) and maybe it’s true that all this innovation is hidden away, but I’m not seeing it from the outside. Also, aren’t you SUPPOSED to have conversations with authors, and what does that have to do with digital competency?

  8. “the personal touch,” huh?

    Sure.

  9. Um…

    The debate around publishing in the media and on the internet is largely dominated by Amazon, the shift to self-publishing, author earnings, and bargain basement e-books.

    Yes, because that’s what’s interesting.

    UK publishers sold 200m print books last year: the vast majority of what is written about books…is derived from what gets published by traditional publishers.

    Because most places that publish professional reviews and write articles about books (newspapers, primarily) are owned by the same companies that own traditional publishers. Journalists and big-time reviewers aren’t writing about tradpub books because tradpub books are better. They’re doing it because they’re keeping it in the family.

    The fourth estate would be a barren place without book publishers providing the ideas, the content and the authors.

    Pardon me, friend. We authors provide ourselves. We do not rely on publishers to “provide” us to the world…not anymore. And further, it’s not the publishers who provide either the ideas or the content. It’s the authors.

    Yet the meta-conversation is obsessed with everything but this.

    Because the change is interesting and exciting. Tradpub is old hat.

    Amazon has no such patter. Its business model is entirely based on algorithm and boilerplate.

    …which sells large quantities books and puts food on my table, and that’s really all I care about.

    That “personal touch” is just more proof that tradpub is rapidly donning the mantle of its present identity: the new vanity publishing. As long as it can continue to sell the idea that it bestows some kind of extra-special-ness onto authors (while gouging the vast majority of them on income), it will continue to exist. The “personal touch” (which for most seems to result in being ignored if you’re lucky and having your career slaughtered for you if you’re average) will mean less and less to authors as they get smarter and more observant, and as their spines thicken up.

  10. Bargain basement ebooks, huh?

    I “want” the new ebook on the Allman Brothers. It’s $11.
    I’ll wait until it’s 50 cents for a used paperback.
    I found an old series on King Philip originally published in 1955 and now republished digitally. The 1st one is $1.99. The 2nd is $10. The 3rd $14.
    Are you serious? I’m not buying #1 and run the risk of having to cough up $100 for the series.
    Way to alienate your audience, HarperCollins.

    • Just this week, there were 3 books I would have bought had the price been 6 bucks. I didn’t buy them because the ebooks were 10+ bucks.

      Sorry, I have to have a compelling reason to pay more than 6 or 7 bucks for an ebook–my top three or four auto-buy authors with a new work (not old, new); some story that is so “me”, pushing those buttons, with amazing writing in the sample that I go budget-wild; something so niche and limited, that the price will likely not come down (some wacky Finnish poet translated or somesuch or a textbook type work).

      But really, that’s three sales they lost because of overpricing ebooks. Just me. I wonder how many thousands or tens of thousands they lost for wacky pricing?

      And this happens weekly. I go to Amazon EVERY DAY and I buy ebooks often. But mentally, I have that barrier. I need many buttons to be pushed in my reader-soul for me to pay more than 6 bucks.

      • Same here. I looked at three books in that price range recently: 10.12, 9.99, and 11.89. Didn’t buy any of them. This morning I used 1-click to buy two other books, one at 1.99 and one at 4.99.

  11. “…without book publishers providing the ideas, the content and the authors.”
    All of which are clearly widgets then, easy to mass produce and replace. Wow…simply wow.

    “personal touch”?
    They try not to take it personally if they have to touch you to shake your hand.

    • “If it weren’t for received ideas, the publishing industry wouldn’t have any ideas at all.”

      Donald Westlake

  12. I love the bit about publishers talking to authors every day. Some of the publishers who still hold rights to my books don’t seem to want to talk to me at all. It took a year to get one of them to change my payment details to my new bank account. Amazon, on the other hand, always replies to my KDP and Createspace queries very promptly and at a conference last year, they were actually asking authors how they could improve the service they offered.

    • Yes! The few times lately that I’ve needed some help from KDP, they responded well within a day — and the responses were thorough. This is a big improvement time-wise and quality-wise over what KDP used to be. Clearly, they listened to their authors and upped their game.

      • I have to wonder if the quick response from Amazon, which I’ve experienced first hand myself, is due to the fact that Zon is, and always has been, customer-oriented.

        Big Pub, traditionally, has been retailer-oriented because that’s whom they’ve sold to, not readers. The readers weren’t even a blip on their radar screens.

        Yeah, some BPH’s are now trying to sell direct, and doing a woeful job of it. They’re light years behind Amazon and other etailers, and will, IMHO, never be able to catch up, for a lot of reasons.

    • Speaking of Amazon’s promptness: In the same day, I received news about my refunds for ebook purchases. Amazon sent it in the early morning. B&N in the afternoon. Amazon told me how much it was in the email. B&N made me jump through hoops to find out (I had to go to the site, enter a number, and still didn’t know if it was active or I’d have to wait 3 days.)

      If B&N wants to survive, aside from fixing their crap website (a shopping nightmare), they should be as snappy in crediting stuff. Those of us with Nooks and Kindles can see the comparison–not just in the searching for titles and pricing–but in how they handled the credit thing on March 25.

  13. Reidy is right. The facts are that publishers have traversed the digital waters pretty competently.

    Indeed. With profit margins being much larger on ebooks than on paper books, and the way big publishing has kept the lion’s share of the extra for themselves, they’re doing well off the backs of their authors. Perhaps Wall Street admires them their rapaciousness. I do not.

    The fourth estate would be a barren place without book publishers providing the ideas, the content and the authors.

    Hmm. So publishers think they originated the ideas and the stories? Beg to differ. Of course, we already know that they pride themselves on “nurturing” their authors.

    nurture
    verb
    1. to feed and protect
    2. to support and encourage, as during a period of training or development
    3. to bring up; train; educate

    I suppose that’s where their conviction that they’ve “created” the authors comes from.

    Funny. I think they’ve confused the definition of nurture with a few other words.

    How about…

    exploit
    verb
    1. to utilize, especially for profit
    2. to use selfishly for one’s own ends

    gouge
    verb
    1. to dig or force out
    2. to extort, swindle, or overcharge

    abuse
    verb
    1. to use wrongly or improperly; to misuse
    2. to treat in a harmful, injurious, or offensive way
    3. to speak insultingly, harshly, and unjustly to or about; revile; malign (Freight class, anyone?)

    😉

    • Authors worldwide need to do a publisher boycott–no books to you until you give 50% ebook royalties and limit rights grabs. Really, how would they make money without authors? Authors could always self-pub. 😀 Author organizations should really stop futzing around and do something like a mass boycott.

    • + a bunch

      You go, girl!

  14. “That personal touch”

    Everything will be ok Jimmy. Just show us on the writer doll where the publisher touched you.

  15. We all know the Timothy Egan quote, right:

    “Most of the writers I know work every day, in obscurity and close to poverty, trying to say one thing well and true. Day in, day out, they labor to find their voice, to learn their trade, to understand nuance and pace. And then, facing a sea of rejections, they hear about something like Barbara Bush’s dog getting a book deal.”

    And that was back in 2008. The rest, dated as it is, is even more on point:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/07/opinion/07egan.html

  16. “That personal touch” is more like a poke in the eye.

  17. Michael E. Walston

    “Indie authors are making so much noise, the grown-ups can’t hear themselves think.”

    Um, if you can’t hear yourself think it’s surely not OUR fault.

    Take a deep breath and have another look at what you’re saying.

    I don’t really care if the “discussion” is slanted toward tradpub at present–that is starting to change, and your whole blast of rhetoric is an acknowledgement of that.

    Pretty smart tactic, btw–kudos! 🙂

    But if I can make more money at 70 per cent royalties even with one tenth of the sales I might reach if I went with your company, that’s really a no brainer for me.

    Ebooks are forever. Mark Twain and Edgar Rice Burroughs, to name two, self-published well before the digital revolution, and I’m inclined to follow their lead rather than yours.

    The times they are a changing. 🙂

  18. The publisher said they retained an important asset that Amazon did not have: the personal touch. … Amazon has no such patter. Its business model is entirely based on algorithm and boilerplate.

    This makes no sense whatsoever. Amazon isn’t publishing my books. I am. I think my communication with myself is better than my communication with this publisher.

    This is how I benefit from that communication:
    1. I can veto covers that do not fit the book.
    2. I have complete control over back cover copy.
    3. I get sales reports straight from the distributors.
    4. My books get maps.

    I spent today putting in hyphens by hand. THAT’s the personal touch.

    I’m sure this publisher does have assets I don’t have, but it’s weird that they don’t realize what those assets are.

  19. Meanwhile, FutureBook is so on the forward edge of open dialog and this ‘web changes everything’ stuff that you have to register just to READ the comments.
    With no opportunity to just use your usual social media login.
    And if you click “Register Here” the site replies “access denied.”

    So, you know, THAT future.

  20. So this is the kind of discussions that that CEO (can’t remember his name) has so pompously announced a few months ago.
    If they want to impress, they should stop rehearsing the same old things that have been said over and over through the last years, and start practice show, don’t tell. If they could stop implying that they are the content provider (that irritates me) that would be good too. What they are, in their base, is a packaging service, who sometimes polish the content and sometimes they market the content – services that even when provided don’t make the statement like this one true: “The fourth estate would be a barren place without book publishers providing the ideas, the content and the authors. ” Authors provide ideas and content. And published don’t provide authors, they publish authors’ books, that’s why they are called publisher.

    • I would also like to add to the “Authors provide ideas and content. And published don’t provide authors, they publish authors’ books, that’s why they are called publisher. “ If a CEO of a big publishing company has a problem in distinguishing what author’s contribution are and what publisher’s contribution are, and if all they can offer are empty words (this monologues, I mean discussions, that CEO of publishing firms are having lately remind me on politicians) how can an author have faith in the company’ abilities that they can provide him with an effective service?

  21. PG, you and I disagree on the pervasiveness of Amazon, but you have a knack for writing real gems about traditional publishers. The horror stories I hear coming out of that past make me grateful that none of them ever offered me more than praise for my efforts and a No, not for us.

  22. Words, words, words!
    I’m so sick of words
    I get words all day through
    First from him, now from you
    Is that all you blighters can do?

    Never do I ever want to hear another word
    There isn’t one, I haven’t heard
    Here we are together in what ought to be a dream
    Say one more word and I’ll scream

    (My Fair Lady)

  23. I love how traditional publishing’s rhetoric has shifted from denigrating indies to desperately trying to justify their own existence.

    Wake up call, Ms. Reidy: If you need to “shift the conversation” to try to convince people you are still relevant, then guess what?

    You aren’t.

  24. “The publisher said they retained an important asset that Amazon did not have: the personal touch. They spoke to authors every day, in terms that were entirely individual and tailored to the author circumstances. Amazon has no such patter. Its business model is entirely based on algorithm and boilerplate.” Talk is cheap, results count. Amazon shows me how my books are selling by the hour and pays me monthly.
    I didn’t know that authors are kindergarten kids, that need to be nursed and talk to, supervised and guided away from the big bad wolf that pays them more.

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