Comments for The Passive Voice A Lawyer's Thoughts on Authors, Self-Publishing and Traditional Publishing Thu, 31 Jul 2014 11:00:54 +0000 hourly 1 Comment on Amazon’s Latest Volley by Liz Thu, 31 Jul 2014 11:00:54 +0000 I think Hachette is making a big deal here. They’re the ones who want a better deal for books that will be priced too high to actually sell. That doesn’t make Amazon money.

Amazon should have dumped Hachette since Hachette’s current strategy seems to be disinterest in selling popular products at a price people can afford and that goes against what Amazon is trying to accomplish. If Hachette objects, they can go open their own store and see if people will buy what they’re selling.

Comment on Amazon’s Latest Volley by margaret rainforth Thu, 31 Jul 2014 10:59:07 +0000 Bill, I have on several occasions approached an elderly browser in B&N to ask if they use a Kindle or Nook and are familiar with self-publishing. (I’m an unapologetic promoter of Indie books!) So far, without exception, the response has been some form of, ‘I like paper books. That Kindle is going to destroy bookstores.’

Comment on You can’t say that civilization don’t advance by Felix Torres Thu, 31 Jul 2014 10:43:22 +0000 Actually, no.

Credit where credit is due: new weapons are invested by engineers. The same folks (more or less) who design build your bridges, tunnels, factories, sewers, and hospitals. Among many other things.

Scientists do basic research.
Engineers put science to work.

Comment on Amazon’s Latest Volley by Liz Thu, 31 Jul 2014 10:31:01 +0000 I think you’re right. I’m betting Doug Preston is one of these people, despite his claims to the contrary. I just don’t believe he could be as oblivious and innocent as he portrays himself to be in the media. I think he likes being part of a privileged club and wants to keep that going. I also take into account that these people are just so damn happy sometimes to get into the club that they think it really is an honor and not everyone deserves it. These are the writers who will suffer the most cognitive dissonance when trad pub comes toppling down and because of their elitist stance on these issues they won’t make many friends to help them through the transition. The luckiest ones will be the ones that have made all the money they need from their trad pub days. The elitists on the rise are going to get a rude awakening.

Comment on Amazon’s Latest Volley by Liz Thu, 31 Jul 2014 10:19:19 +0000 The problem with that approach is that at $14.99 you really need to keep up the quality. The bestsellers aren’t great at doing that. They just start churning them out to keep the business going and that ticks off some fans. So it’s not a great long term strategy for trad pub authors if they’re not going to give their fans good value. Some fans don’t care, of course, but many do and will defect when they are not getting what they paid for.

Comment on Amazon’s Latest Volley by antares Thu, 31 Jul 2014 09:53:23 +0000 Star Trek Continues: Fairest of Them All

Comment on Amazon’s Latest Volley by antares Thu, 31 Jul 2014 09:49:06 +0000 @Daniel Knight

I checked your academic credentials on Scalzi’s site. They are impressive.

That said, your degree is in Mechanical Engineering. One of my degrees is Mathematics. My love is abstract algebra, but I worked as a systems analyst and statistician for the US Air Force Satellite Control Network for years. I never trusted engineers to get the stats right. No insult intended. I never trusted myself, either. I trusted the data and the math.

You assumed a normal distribution (bell curve) for the increase in sales by author at Amazon’s $9.99 price point. It’s okay to assume that, but you must validate the assumption.

In all my years grinding numbers for the Air Force, I can count on my thumbs the number of normal distributions I encountered. A few were left skewed. Most were right skewed. Even telemetric arrival rates which follow a binomial expansion and are textbook cases of approximating a normal distribution were right skewed.

Scalzi’s right. 1.74 applies to the aggregate, not to the individual author. So he has no interest in it, because it may not apply to him. But he doesn’t know.

But it does apply to Hachette, because Hachette sells books in the aggregate.

But all that aside, Mr Scalzi behaved like a jerk when he dismissed your credentials as a ‘claim’ and refused to recognize your expertise. Mr Scalzi himself has not demonstrated any expertise in mathematics.

Saying ‘This does not apply to me’ and refusing to recognize the demonstrated expertise of those who pose counter arguments is, to paraphrase the Bezos, not a business strategy.

BTW one last remark.

I can take a confirmed set of data and spin the results to show any conclusion I want. The data need not be falsified. It’s all in the presentation, and I guarantee you will never know you were sold a lie, ’cause the data will support it.

I never did that in all my years as a statistician, but I was paid handsomely to find the lies in the presentations of others. It was easy, ’cause the Air Force made ‘em give me their data.

I assume that people who do not publish their data are lying. Amazon says 1.74. They certainly have the data, but they do not share it. Are they lying? Maybe, but not likely.

Well, I see I’ve started to ramble, so I’m going to shut up and go away.

I wish you the best, Mr Knight.

Comment on New Kindle Feature by C. R. Reaves Thu, 31 Jul 2014 09:03:36 +0000 I loved one of the last (the last?) bullet at the bottom. “Nook breathlessly thanks the reader for buying a Nook.”

Comment on Amazon Calls for Hachette to Cut E-Book Prices by R. L. Copple Thu, 31 Jul 2014 08:05:41 +0000 Maybe the title of this article should have been:

Amazon Calls for Hachette to Stop Committing Business Suicide

Comment on Update re: Amazon/Hachette Business Interruption by Matt Thu, 31 Jul 2014 06:50:17 +0000 It was assumed the sticking point was that Hachette wanted to set Amazon’s price. This may be the case but after Amazon’s statement yesterday I believe Amazon has then offered Hachette similar rates self published authors receive i.e. 70% at $2.99-$9.99 but possibly 50% over $10. Hence the 50% rumor and Hachette saying “Amazon want more money they’re just greedy”.

Amazon’s said to Hachette “If you decide not to price your ebooks at a reasonable level where we, you, and the authors make more money, then we want a bigger cut to make up for the revenue your pricing policy is causing us to lose.”

And I don’t think Hachette complained about removing discounting but their authors did – after a carefully worded PR email from Hachette laying all blame at Amazons feet.