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Old 07-26-2012, 09:06 PM   #91
Elfwreck
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Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
How often do you think Trad pub advertising results in a 4X sales increase?
It wouldn't for Konrath; it easily could for some of the authors I enjoy. But I agree--it'd take a very good (i.e. effective) advert campaign to make that actually worth it for the author.

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Edit: this thread is probably not the best place for that discussion. Maybe a new thread in General discussions?
That's possible. You could start it? Someone could?

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Originally Posted by JD Gumby View Post
As who? Cory Doctorow? He gets no media attention as an author. At least no media that normal people pay attention to...
Cory's who I was thinking of. And yes, he gets almost no media attention as an author. However, if he self-published (he *did* self-publish), he has enough attention of *some* kinds of media, to advertise his works well enough to make a career of it.

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Frankly, if either of them put out a book, you hear nothing in the mainstream media. If Rowling has one coming out, it's pretty much everywhere (people are a bit too used to King, so it's not considered news when he has something coming out :P - but it doesn't need to be, since he can sell on his name alone).
I'm not sure Rowling could advertise *for herself.* Not sure that she'd be able to contact the various newspapers, blog sites, and tv personae necessary, if she didn't have some rather huge media companies shilling for her. I suspect that, if she self-published *without her publishers' support,* she'd vanish into the crowd of indie authors--many of whom are much more savvy about building a presence online and connecting with readers.
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Old 07-26-2012, 10:03 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by Elfwreck View Post
I'm not sure Rowling could advertise *for herself.* Not sure that she'd be able to contact the various newspapers, blog sites, and tv personae necessary, if she didn't have some rather huge media companies shilling for her.
Some imaginative fiction authors have it in them to do everything needed for the indie route, and some do not.

With research-based non-fiction, though, even a polymath author won't do -- it takes a team. If you look at the kind of projects Mike Shatzkin was involved in before becoming a consultant, you might get a better idea where he is coming from.

I put disintermediation of publishers in the same category as replacement of newspapers by bloggers. The best blogger is indeed better than than the worst professional print journalist. But more opinion slingers does not make up for fewer professionals monitoring city hall -- or Afghanistan.

There is nothing stopping Amazon from giving a top journalist the kind of advance needed to go to Afghanistan. But it just doesn't seem in their DNA to do that.
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Old 07-26-2012, 11:39 PM   #93
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OK, so that's one artist who has made money from recordings.

Meanwhile, global recording revenues fell from a peak of $26.9 billion in 2000 to $16.6 billion in 2012.

But let's not get too far off track. Namely: Music started trying to disintermediate as far back as 1997, with efforts like MP3.com. And yet here we are, 15 years later, and the structure isn't much different. Most of the top 100 are artists on big labels, with the occasional indie label poking in.

Despite the dreams of numerous musicians hoping to be free of the evil record labels, we have not wound up in a world where the overwhelming majority of musicians earn a living by selling their recordings directly to the public.
I'd put that top 100 homogeneity at the feet of the radio stations all being gobbled up by Clear Channel. Everywhere I go, it's the same crap on the radio, whereas as late as the 90's there were interesting indie movements in many cities.

And that one musician is a huge counterpoint to your "not materialized". Good talent can go it alone without the big names much easier than at any time in the past. Crappy talent still has a hard time breaking in.

It's easier to get work when you have a huge <insert field> firm doing everything not <insert field> related. But you can still be a successful <insert field> consultant all by your lonesome, doing everything yourself.
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Old 07-27-2012, 12:07 AM   #94
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I put disintermediation of publishers in the same category as replacement of newspapers by bloggers. The best blogger is indeed better than than the worst professional print journalist. But more opinion slingers does not make up for fewer professionals monitoring city hall -- or Afghanistan.
I think one of the fallout aspects of the ebook explosion is going to be a clearer separation between fiction and nonfiction--and especially, between research-based nonfiction and opinion pieces.

"How I Grew Up Disadvantaged But Got Better" takes no more skill or research than genre fiction. Neither does "Let Me Tell You About The Awesomest Thing I Ever Did." But "How Public Trends Changed From X to Y" can take serious research (which costs at least time, and possibly money); "What Those People Over There Are Doing About Z" also takes time/money. And I think that big publishers having to drop prices of mainstream fiction to compete with indies is going to make that more obvious.

It may mean less substantial nonfic gets written. It may mean that such books get kickstarted as much as they get optioned by a publisher. It may mean that books with a smaller niche don't get written at all--and yes, that'd be a shame. However, I don't agree that it's enough of a shame that we should all be paying $10 or $14 for novels no better written than $4 indie novels.
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Old 07-27-2012, 01:25 AM   #95
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Cory's who I was thinking of. And yes, he gets almost no media attention as an author. However, if he self-published (he *did* self-publish), he has enough attention of *some* kinds of media, to advertise his works well enough to make a career of it.
I'm skeptical that he could make a living solely as a writer; not that he isn't talented, but he hasn't been very productive historically (in terms of producing books, I mean).
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Old 07-27-2012, 01:55 AM   #96
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I'm skeptical that he could make a living solely as a writer; not that he isn't talented, but he hasn't been very productive historically (in terms of producing books, I mean).
Just to clarify, you don't need to necessarily be "productive" (as defined by producing books) to make a living as a writer. You could write one (or a few) book, and if they consistently sell well, you're good to go.

There are also the business endeavors that pop up due to your popularity (i.e. speaking engagements, movie deals, etc.), but I don't know if you count that.

Here's an estimate breakdown of Doctorow's income a few years back: http://blog.fawny.org/2009/07/29/doctorow-income/
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Old 07-27-2012, 08:13 AM   #97
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Originally Posted by JD Gumby
When Amazon had their effective monopoly over the e-book market, they did nothing to abuse their customers or those supplying the goods that they sell.
I see you have forgotten Amazon's attempts to force small publishers and indie authors to use its inhouse production services or not have their books listed on Amazon. It took a lawsuit and lots of negative publicity to get Amazon to back down.

I can also tell you from personal experience that Amazon gave small publishers a take-it-or-leave-it contract that was so tilted toward Amazon that it was a bad deal for small publishers who had no choice but to accept it or be cut out of a large part of the market. One small publisher tried to negotiate with Amazon several of the terms and was simply told to either sign as is or not have its ebooks listed. I know this because I was involved in the negotiations.

I recall several authors complaining about Amazon trying to force them into exclusive arrangements.

And let's not forget when Amazon unilaterally pulled the buy buttons on Macmillan when they had their pricing spat.

There are lots of comments here on MR saying the producers should have the right to set their own prices, but then make the exception for the BPHs when Amazon wants to discount those prices.

Abuse is in the eye of the abused.
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Old 07-27-2012, 08:18 AM   #98
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The BPH's and the author's guild, et al can cry foul all they like, the reality is that Amazon innovated whilst they all sat huddled in their respective caves, oblivious to the changes around them.
What innovation was/is there in discount pricing? That's been around forever.

Exactly what innovations should Amazon be lauded for?
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Old 07-27-2012, 08:28 AM   #99
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Exactly.
The reason disintermediation happens in the first place is because those specific players serve no clearly useful *economic* role or because others can fill the same role *better*.

Publishers currently defend their "special" place in the product supply chain in four ways:

....
Actually, there are at least 5 ways. The missing way is that they provide access to brick and mortar stores and to pbook sales. pBooks still account for the largest segment of the market.

As regards your point about editorial services, I think your argument is a bit offmark. Yes, authors can hire these services independently, but few do and those that do often do not hire professional editors or know that they are not getting professional services. Traditional publishers have the capability and knowledge to select competent professional editors the vast majority of the time, which it appears that many self-publishing authors do not.

Unlike the self-publishing author who thinks that a 250-page novel can be well-edited for $200 or less, traditional publishers know that it costs much more for that edit and spend it.

The question is really less one of can the self-publishing author hire these same services independently, but more whether they will reach into their own pocket and spend the money necessary for these services. Traditional publishers gamble with their own money; most self-publishing authors are unwilling to gamble with their own money.
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Old 07-27-2012, 08:30 AM   #100
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They will never be able to do the developmental editing either since they are not forced to listen to the editor that they are paying themselves.
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Old 07-27-2012, 08:36 AM   #101
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I won't argue with the *need* for advertising but since I haven't actually seen the BPHs do it I wasn't sure if it was fair to list it. Of course, I'm not a subscriber to the New Yorker or the NYT so I could just be missing out on hordes of highly valuable ads...
Yoiu are missing out on lots of advertising. I subscribe to The New York Review of Books, which is puboished 40 times a year, and every issue is packed with ads for books. That is how I often find new books.

Similarly, publishers have ads for books in magazines like Smithsonian, The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, The New York Times Arts section, Atlantic, American Heritage, and the list goes on. And these are only the magazines and newspapers to which I subscribe; it is fair to say that they advertise in other newspapers and magazines, too.
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Old 07-27-2012, 10:05 AM   #102
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What innovation was/is there in discount pricing? That's been around forever.

Exactly what innovations should Amazon be lauded for?
Oh please. Amazon came out with a device that was easy for anyone to use, doesn't require a computer, is simple to purchase and download ebooks and was affordable. They took a market that was severely crippled and demonstrated the potential by disguising the restrictions and setting pricing that was rational in the marketplace. They provided the ability to synchronization your location in a book between devices. They allowed some ebook sharing (although crippled). They enabled text to speech (and were vilified for it).

I'm critical of Amazon and they have a lot to be criticized for but I have to admit that they did more then any other company to show the true potential for electronic books. This despite the shackles and chains that the BPH had created. I don't believe any other company could have done it. Sony couldn't. Apple didn't have the negotiating power of the existing paper books sales. B&N and Borders had no desire to.
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Old 08-17-2012, 01:58 PM   #103
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And now Apple reaches a new level of whining about how Amazon is behind the whole thing.....
Quote:
Apple Inc. (AAPL) has complained that rival Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) was the "driving force" behind the U.S. Justice Department's investigation of Apple's alleged price fixing of electronic books, helping the "industry monopolist" to further strengthen its grip on the market.

The remarks came as part of antitrust litigation filed by the DOJ in April, alleging that Apple and a handful of book publishers conspired to fix prices for electronic books at a level higher than what Amazon had been offering.

In a filing in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on Wednesday, Apple alleges Amazon hosted a two-day meeting with government representatives at its Seattle headquarters to discuss their investigation.

Ultimately, Apple argues, Amazon made at least 14 employees available to government investigators probing Apple, and was only required to turn over a "fraction" of the documents required by others involved in the case.
...
http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-...16-713786.html

and besides they continue whining, the settlement is just not fair!

Quote:
Apple rips e-book settlement as 'unlawful' and 'fundamentally unfair'
By Brendan Sasso - 08/16/12 01:21 PM ET

Apple is urging a federal court to reject the Justice Department's proposed settlement with a group of e-book publishers, calling the terms "fundamentally unfair, unlawful, and unprecedented."

DOJ's antitrust division sued Apple and five publishers in April, accusing them of colluding to raise the price of e-books. Apple and two publishers, Macmillan and Penguin Group, are fighting the charges. But the other three publishers — Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster — agreed to settle with the government.

In a filing on Wednesday, Apple argued that the court should not accept the settlement until Apple and the remaining publishers have had their day in court.
....
http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-va...entally-unfair

Last edited by kennyc; 08-17-2012 at 02:01 PM.
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Old 08-17-2012, 02:57 PM   #104
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Ultimately, Apple argues, Amazon made at least 14 employees available to government investigators probing Apple, and was only required to turn over a "fraction" of the documents required by others involved in the case.
Well, duh... Since Amazon is not a defendant, there is no reason for Amazon to turn over more than a "fraction" of the documents of the other *defendants*.
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Old 08-17-2012, 03:02 PM   #105
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Good for Amazon. They saw the law being broken, and they said something about it.
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