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Old 06-28-2010, 07:30 PM   #16
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If it's just money and all a 'racket' and getting a slice of the pie, why are you even worried? Write a lot, write fast, write under pseudonyms and put it out under the big 3 with DRM at prices that will sell.
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Old 06-28-2010, 07:34 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jordan View Post
Perhaps everyone responding to this thread is a writer (or potential writer) for whom writing is merely a fun hobby... something to do instead of vegging in front of the TV, making pottery for your garden, or knitting humorous cummerbunds. Some of the responses I've seen clearly belong to the "who cares about money?" concept, as well as the "As long as my work gets read" party... though, if you think about it, that party really isn't so big as to amount to much more than your close circle of friends, in most cases.
Some of us also ascribe to the idea of establishing a reputation for producing quality material, trying to make some of it readily available so folks can decide whether they like it, and hoping to earn future dividends by having established goodwill among our readership.

Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't that essentially the approach you are already taking on your own website?

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Now, I never said that "everyone is stealing from me." In fact, as others have pointed out, all it takes is one... and suddenly, any hope I might have entertained to pay for my next lunch forever goes down the drain. And though no one wants to say it here, society has demonstrated time and time again that, if they know they can get away with something illegal, they'll do it... and often go out of their way to do so.
Some of us are less pessimistic about human nature, on the whole. Sure, there are any number of people who will steal. There are more people who choose not to steal.

Quality sells, even when it is also freely available, as I tried to illustrate with a few public domain examples. If it didn't, bookstores wouldn't bother to stock "classic literature," because they would lose money by needlessly tying up otherwise profitable shelf space.

- M.
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Old 06-28-2010, 07:55 PM   #18
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Something to consider:

1. calibre is free. Every bit of it, including tech support. Not even Red Hat's "have this free software and buy a support contract" business model; just free.

2. Kovid Goyal, the developer in question, is making a living -- a meagre living, perhaps, but a living -- from calibre.

We're not talking about something people have the option of getting legally or illegally here. We're talking about something that people can totally legally, totally aboveboard, with a totally clear conscience, download, install, and use. And yet enough people click the "donate" button on the calibre website to keep Kovid from starving. This tends to argue against the idea that people would, given the choice of a legitimate book at a fair price, and an illicit book for free, choose exclusively based on price, not conscience. Calibre is free. It's GPL'd. It's both gratis and libre. Its market is not huge; think of how small the ebook market is, and then consider what fraction of that uses anything but whatever software came with their device. And yet people who have no obligation, legal or moral, to pay anything whatsoever for the software pitch in enough to keep the wolf from Kovid's door.

You say it takes just one person copying your book to totally destroy any hope of future income from writing. Might I point out two things: 1) The Harry Potter books were scanned and circulated from practically before their ink dried, and 2) J. K. Rowling is a billionaire. Maybe she's got a spell for that?
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Old 06-28-2010, 11:12 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Vintage Season View Post
Some of us also ascribe to the idea of establishing a reputation for producing quality material, trying to make some of it readily available so folks can decide whether they like it, and hoping to earn future dividends by having established goodwill among our readership.

Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't that essentially the approach you are already taking on your own website?
All... except the "future dividends by having established goodwill" part. I am actually writing to make present dividends, since I do not for a moment believe that interest in my novels will last for more than a few years after their writing, nor that anyone will be talking fondly of my work in the future. I've had my fifteen seconds of fame, and I expect to be unknown and un-spoken-of in a very short time, and for the rest of my life. Because, let's face it... the stuff ain't that good.

I hope to make future dividends, not from establishing goodwill among readers, but by demonstrating an ability to write, in order to parlay that into a paid writing position that will hopefully finance (or replace) my retirement. That is where I see a possible future... not from writing, of all things, science fiction.
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Old 06-28-2010, 11:17 PM   #20
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As a writer who has been involved in this for many years, I think that the whole DRM and terror of piracy is frankly a bunch of hogwash dreamed up by the consultants who are making a fortune off the sucker publishers by "protecting" them from slavering teenagers.

These companies are scum of the earth. They are the same people who brought us the y2k scare. (Not the ones who were actually patching the computers, but the ones who were selling survival kits and race-war training.)

This is an excellent time to be a writer. The paradigm actually changed years ago, but as is usual throughout history, it was quiet. There was no rioting in the streets. The world didn't come to an end - and so nobody noticed that the future was yesterday.

Change brings opportunity. It always has, and always will. (It also brings fear - which is exploited by opportunists, but if you keep your head and remain flexible, you don't have to fall for their scams.)

Camille
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Old 06-29-2010, 12:04 AM   #21
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What an utter nonsense!
Quote:
these selfsame changes have impacted the market—the buyers—in a significant way, and they are hell-bent on taking advantage of it.
You are ridiculing the buyers. Your contempt for your buyers is unbelievable. Most people want to pay for what they get if it is necessary (i.e. required by law). If I can get an ebook for free (legally) and it is something that I think is worth reading, I will download it. Otherwise I will buy it if the price is reasonable and it is available for my ereader.
I had great difficulties getting some ebooks: They were available only in the wrong format (Kindle for example) and could only be converted to the proper format with supposedly illegal means, or they were not available due to so called `geographic restrictions' although a paper book would be available at the same shop without a problem. Or the price was way too high. I have seen ebooks that were almost twice as expensive as the same one in paperback, with free delivery worldwide! I googled for the title and the word 'ebook' and I got mainly entries where the book could be downloaded for free, but no where I could buy it for a reasonable price. I was almost tempted to try one of these downloads and in my country it would have been allowed. I didn't because I thought the author and publisher should be paid a reasonable price.

If as an author you can't make a living it means that your books are not good enough, or your marketing sucks, or you make your potential customers unhappy. For example by putting unneeded restrictions on your product or just by treating your customers as potential criminals. The key to success in sales (and as an author you are a sales(wo)man) is to sell a quality product for a reasonable price and to make your customers happy. Sell a bad product or one that makes your customer unhappy because he has to go through hoops to use the product in a reasonable way, or make the price to high and you have a recipe for failure.

And then, there are already laws to prevent unauthorized copying. And they are already too unfair for the consumer with regard to digital stuff. So why would you need laws that are even more unfair for us readers?

Last edited by pietvo; 06-29-2010 at 12:12 AM. Reason: inserted `(legally)' and some other clarifications
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Old 06-29-2010, 12:38 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jordan View Post
All... except the "future dividends by having established goodwill" part. I am actually writing to make present dividends, since I do not for a moment believe that interest in my novels will last for more than a few years after their writing, nor that anyone will be talking fondly of my work in the future. I've had my fifteen seconds of fame, and I expect to be unknown and un-spoken-of in a very short time, and for the rest of my life. Because, let's face it... the stuff ain't that good.
And therein our approaches differ, significantly. I honestly believe my stories will maintain interest "for more than a few years after their writing," and my fond hope is that they find a receptive enough audience that quite a few people "will be talking fondly of my work in the future."

Does my work really merit such ambition? From a truly objective point of view, the best I can say is that I don't know. As a realist, I would be forced to take the approach you describe... although if I was a realist, I probably wouldn't be writing much in the way of science fiction.

But then, I grew up reading—and to some degree, experiencing—all the best of the golden age. I value science fiction more than some, and see the practice of it as more than a simple means to an end.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jordan View Post
I hope to make future dividends, not from establishing goodwill among readers, but by demonstrating an ability to write, in order to parlay that into a paid writing position that will hopefully finance (or replace) my retirement. That is where I see a possible future... not from writing, of all things, science fiction.
If that is your aspiration, I wish you luck.

—M.
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Old 06-29-2010, 10:00 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by pietvo View Post
If as an author you can't make a living it means that your books are not good enough, or your marketing sucks, or you make your potential customers unhappy. For example by putting unneeded restrictions on your product or just by treating your customers as potential criminals. The key to success in sales (and as an author you are a sales(wo)man) is to sell a quality product for a reasonable price and to make your customers happy. Sell a bad product or one that makes your customer unhappy because he has to go through hoops to use the product in a reasonable way, or make the price to high and you have a recipe for failure.
Well, since I sell my novels in multiple formats, with no DRM, at $1.99, have had very good reviews of my most recent work easily found on this site, and only ask customers not to take advantage of me--for which I enjoy pathetically small sales and find my work on torrent sites--I might suggest there are other factors at work here...

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Originally Posted by pietvo View Post
And then, there are already laws to prevent unauthorized copying. And they are already too unfair for the consumer with regard to digital stuff. So why would you need laws that are even more unfair for us readers?
Why is it unfair to prevent "unauthorized copying"? I don't want to prevent fair use copying, and I don't want to see laws that do. However, I have no problem with laws that will prevent unauthorized copying, especially if they do not adversely impact fair use copying. (And if it does, it needs to be rewritten so it does not.)

Present laws "seem unfair," because they are written to overcompensate for the lack of technological security and the ease at which scofflaws break it and steal I.P. The only way to make those laws "seem fair," given today's technological state, would be to say, "Forget it: No laws." But that will simply open the floodgates for more illegal activity, so no government or organization will want to do that, any more than a shopkeeper is going to want to leave his doors open when he goes home at night.

When I offer an ebook today, without any form of security attached to it, I am essentially leaving my doors open when I go home at night. And I am discovering that, after I get a few meager sales during the day, my work is plundered at night, and ends up on torrent sites. My most critically-acclaimed work is on torrent sites now, and it has seen lower sales than any other book I have. That's not fair to me.

Laws are designed to protect everybody... even people who just want to make a buck, dirty capitalists that they are. True, laws can be more fair to some than to others, on an individual basis... but the only solution to that is to try to make the laws better.

I agree wholeheartedly that the existing laws and existing security technology are a bad combination. That doesn't mean they can't change, and despite the commonly-held belief, security technology (and laws) can be improved over time. We are not locked into our present technology 'til the end of time, any more than Ford's Model A would be the pinnacle of American automobile. Security technology will improve, simply because there are still things that need digital security in order to safeguard our lives, and to protect the privacy everyone demands.

I maintain that I deserve to be treated fairly, just as you do. And presently, I am being stolen from, while you are being inconvenienced with the ebooks you were able to get. Which of us is being treated more unfairly?
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Old 06-29-2010, 10:18 AM   #24
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Steve, I'm going to be blunt here: You're paranoid. Your books are no more affected by unauthorized copying than anyone else's are. Some people are making a lot more money from their books (despite said copying) than you are. Since the unauthorized distribution affects both you and them (and every other author) equally, the variable controlling your sales must be something else. It might be your marketing. It might be your writing. It might be your lack of sparkly vampires and insipid high school girls. It might be something else. But whatever it is, it has to be something that's different for your books than other people's books.

There are already laws against copying and distributing your books. People are breaking them. What do you want -- the death penalty?
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Old 06-29-2010, 10:23 AM   #25
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There are already laws against copying and distributing your books. People are breaking them. What do you want -- the death penalty?
Talk about paranoid...
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Old 06-29-2010, 11:30 AM   #26
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Well, since I sell my novels in multiple formats, with no DRM, at $1.99, have had very good reviews of my most recent work easily found on this site, and only ask customers not to take advantage of me--for which I enjoy pathetically small sales and find my work on torrent sites--I might suggest there are other factors at work here...
As I said---your question was not about 'is it s bad time to be you, the lone wolf Steve Jordan' it was about 'authors' (i.e. a collective group). If you are positioning yourself as part of a collective group, then you take responsibility for whatever is going on in that collective group. And my opinion as a customer on that is, until authors band together in some sort of union or collective or whatever and collectively work together to help remove the barriers that legitimate customers currently face in actually handing over their money for product (geographic restrictions, non-interoperable DRM etc) then they have no right to complain. As long as authors continue to refuse to take money from people who want to give it to them, they have no credibility with me.

Again, I know this is not an issue for you specifically, Steve. But that was not your question. If it's about 'is this a bad time to be Steve Jordan' then I would tell you that novelists are pretty much by-the-piece salesman and hence cannot be compared to a salaried job. If you want to make more money, you have to sell more, and if you are not selling as much as other people are (there are people who DO sell very well, even in this age of the internet) there are probably reasons why.
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Old 06-29-2010, 11:45 AM   #27
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As I said---your question was not about 'is it s bad time to be you, the lone wolf Steve Jordan' it was about 'authors' (i.e. a collective group). If you are positioning yourself as part of a collective group, then you take responsibility for whatever is going on in that collective group. And my opinion as a customer on that is, until authors band together in some sort of union or collective or whatever and collectively work together to help remove the barriers that legitimate customers currently face in actually handing over their money for product (geographic restrictions, non-interoperable DRM etc) then they have no right to complain. As long as authors continue to refuse to take money from people who want to give it to them, they have no credibility with me.
I follow what you are saying... yet I wonder how much of this should be the responsibility of a "collective" of authors. After all, most of the problems you cite are caused by publishers, and authors are largely bound by existing contracts to let publishers do what they will, in exchange for their buying and marketing their work. IOW, I think your blaming authors for the misdeeds of publishers. This, too, could be a problem to address in the original post, i.e., whether authors are suffering unduly from publishers' actions.

You realize, of course, that authors breaking contracts with publishers would be a matter of law...
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Old 06-29-2010, 01:21 PM   #28
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Steve, the last decade had been hard on corporate technicians, due to technology changes if the late 1990's. (Offshoring was a result of ultra cheap telecommunications.) The handwriting is on the wall that the legal profession is going to have a hard decade (for the same reason as corporate technicians).

Question, why should writers be exempt?
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Old 06-29-2010, 01:38 PM   #29
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Steve, the last decade had been hard on corporate technicians, due to technology changes if the late 1990's. (Offshoring was a result of ultra cheap telecommunications.) The handwriting is on the wall that the legal profession is going to have a hard decade (for the same reason as corporate technicians).

Question, why should writers be exempt?
I never said they should be. I asked whether this was a bad time for writers now.

Are you suggesting that some form of offshoring will heavily impact authors? I could see it impacting publishers more than authors, myself: Cheaper labor put to the effort of scanning, proofing and/or editing books; ebook sites not challenged by copyright or geographic restrictions (even if it's just because they are operating outside of other countries' jurisdictions); etc.

If you're asking whether or not anyone should care if authors are having an easy or hard time... I think the suggestion that people don't care what happens to that profession goes a long way towards answering my original question.
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Old 06-29-2010, 02:06 PM   #30
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Art is for Art's sake

If you look at fiction writing historically, or any art form, people have almost NEVER made much money at it. Only for that brief, strange period of the last, say 80 years, have people made money for the mass production of art.

If you want to see the future of writing, try to make money with a TV series on YouTube...

For myself, the fact that hundreds are reading my books each month is enough for now. I'm very happy with that! I consider this a FANTASTIC time for authors, we can write and people can read and most of us can focus on that and forget about the money aspect.

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Topaz looks horrible... AnemicOak Amazon Kindle 17 03-03-2009 10:18 PM
E-Book looks horrible Jules Kindle Formats 27 07-16-2008 09:09 PM


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