Friday, January 27, 2012

At Home with the Sixes

Big Mama Six, Big Daddy Six, and their son, are standing in the living room, having a conversation.

Big Mama: We're so happy you're our son.

Big Daddy: So very, very happy.

Son: Thanks.

Big Mama: We recognize what a good job you're doing.

Big Daddy: Such a better job than your brothers and sisters. I know we're not supposed to play favorites, but son... you're our favorite.

Son: Thanks. Look, I really need to tell you something.

Big Mama: We're so proud of you. Do you remember when you were just a baby?

Big Daddy: Needed us to wipe your nose.

Big Mama: All the poopy diapers we changed.

Big Daddy: But look at you now. All grown up.

Big Mama: I must say, Big Daddy, we sure did a good job raising him.

Big Daddy: We sure did. And look at him now! Such a strapping young man.

Big Mama: We've done so much for you.

Big Daddy: And we'll keep doing it. Because we're your parents, and you need us.

Son: Guys...

Big Mama: The risks we took! The time investment!

Big Daddy: And the monetary investment! Buying you food all those years. Clothes. School supplies. You couldn't have gotten those straight A's if we didn't buy you pencils.

Son: (sighing) Yes. You bought me pencils. You're the best parents ever.

Big Mama: We've been talking, your father and I. And we have some news.

Big Daddy: It's true. We've discussed it, and we've decided we're going to raise your allowance by 2%.

Big Mama: Aren't we generous?

Big Daddy: You're now making $21.50 a week. How do you feel about that, young man?

Son: You both are making this awkward.

Big Mama: Now don't think that 2% raise doesn't come with added responsibilities, son. Besides doing the cooking, the cleaning, the yard work, and building that addition onto our house, you'll also now be required to service all four of ours cars, twice a month.

Big Daddy: We have a lot of bills to pay. Rent. Utilities. Food. And let's face it, you eat a lot. So we're going to have to charge you for the extra food you're consuming.

Big Mama: But it's okay. Our relationship isn't just about food, or money. We nurture. We protect. We guide.

Big Daddy: When you painted that beautiful watercolor, who sold it for you and gave you 17.5% of the money? We did.

Big Mama: That's what we do. Because we're a team.

Big Daddy: Risky business, raising children. But you've made us so proud.

Son: Enough! I wanted to tell you I'm leaving home.

Big Mama: What?

Big Daddy: Are you serious? You can't survive without us!

Big Mama: You need us!

Son: I'm going into business for myself.

Big Daddy: You'll never make it!

Big Mama: Without us to do all that we do for you, you'll never succeed!

Son: In the last three weeks I've earned over $100,000.

Big Daddy: Uh....

Son: That's more than you make annually, isn't it, Big Daddy?

Big Mama: But... but... we've done so much.

Son: These past few years you've done nothing but rip me off while boasting about how valuable you are. But you actually haven't given me any value whatsoever. You've worked me almost to death, taken heaps of money from me, and there isn't a single thing you can do for me that I can't do for myself.

Big Daddy: You ungrateful little jerk! We made you what you are today!

Son: Goodbye.

Big Mama begins to cry. Big Daddy puts his arm around her.

Big Daddy: It's okay, dear. We don't need him. We still have hundreds of other children.

Big Mama: But what if they all figure out they don't need us?

Big Daddy: They won't. We're authority figures. They need our approval. Plus, they're really naive.

Big Mama: How long will they stay naive? Without our kids to help pay our bills, we won't be able to keep the house.

Big Daddy: It'll all work out just fine.

Big Mama: Maybe I should go after him. Offer to triple his allowance.

Big Daddy: I don't think he'll be persuaded.

Big Mama: What if, next time we sell one of his paintings, we give him 20%?

Big Daddy: I've done some research. He can get 70% on his own.

Big Mama: That much?

Big Daddy: Yes.

Big Mama: Can we match that?

Big Daddy: No. We have too many bills to pay.

Big Mama: Do you think he resents us for using him for his talents all those years?

Big Daddy: Hush, dear. We didn't use him. We provided guidance and support. We nurtured him. We loaned him thousands of dollars.

Big Mama: He paid back those thousands of dollars, and then some.

Big Daddy: That isn't the point. The point is there will always be children who need the validation, coddling, and reprimanding that we have to offer. And they'll let us rob them blind in order to get it.

Big Mama: I hope so, Big Daddy.

Big Daddy: Trust me. Now run into the bedroom and fetch my Kindle. There's a new Konrath ebook on Amazon for $2.99. I love how he can offer such low prices.

Big Mama: Me too. I have no idea why some other ebooks are so expensive.

Big Daddy: It's simple, dear. Big corporations are wasteful and don't care about their customers. They charge a lot to pay for their overhead without providing value to either the authors they work with or the readers they sell to.

Big Mama: (shaking her head) I'm glad we're not self-delusional like that.

Big Daddy: Amen.

84 comments:

Sean A Lusher said...

Based on true events.

Ellen Britt, PA, Ed.D. said...

LOL...love it! So well said.

Tnis could be the script for a new reality show...

Rosemary Fryth said...

I suggest Joe, that there will be many 'children' now considering that they should flee the nest. Not to mention the still to be conceived 'children' who are at the moment deciding that they can create their very own nests without having to abase themselves before the 'Big Six'. Interesting tmes we are living in. Sometimes I wonder how the 'Big Six' are sleeping at night.

D.J. Gelner said...

Brilliant--love it, Joe. Found the blog after a chain of events set in motion by Barry Eisler's appearance on Adam Carolla's podcast, and have been devouring it ever since.

Currently writing my novel full-time and hoping to have it done by April. 35,000 words so far, but still very rough. Thanks for showing me and so many others the possibilities afforded by self-publishing; bonus points for doing it in parable form!

Aric Mitchell said...

If you have a family, though, you can bet one of the sons will always side with the parents, right or wrong. Unfortunately, the end of Joe's parable is quite true.

Marta Szemik said...

LOL!
Got it at 17.5%
I hope that doesn't make me "slow".
OK, now back to writing:)

David LeRoy said...

Just a few things missing. In reality, Mama and Papa, would then get out the contract, and start using all the terms and conditions against JR. If that was not enough, they would just make shit up out the sky and get their legal department to say it is true, threaten to sue, followed by god only knows what else. I really want more tension in this scene. Where is the screaming and yelling? Where is the foggy implied threat of legal action? The son should feel as if he escapes with only his life, costing him his sanity, peace of mind, and feeling like he must enter something like the witness protection program by changing his name for life.

Joseph Eastwood said...

Got it in one! Loved the post!

MJ said...

Well done!

Hiroko said...

So...how dysfunctional is YOUR "family"?

Carlos Cooper said...

Dude,
You had me there for a minute. I thought you were explaining your absence from the Beer Monologues.

C. G. Cooper

Casper Bogart said...

Pinter and Albee would be pleased.

Loved it.

gniz said...

I really liked Mama Six. I thought she made some great points and probably was really a nurturing mom. The son was kind of ungrateful. I doubt he'll make it on his own, he seemed to need their guidance.

Randy Morris said...

That was an awesome story lol! Just got my first book up on Amazon and I wanted to say thanks for this blog, it's been very helpful

Jehovah and Hades

TeriB said...

Hilarious. I was waiting for Big Daddy Six to break out the leather whip and handcuffs.
I've been surprised at how many of the authors I know (all of them small-mid list or unpublished) are deeply attached to publishing through legacy... for the usual reasons. There will be no shortage of manuscripts in the slush pile for many years to come, I think. Ultimately, authors are self-employed, and the idea of being self-employed makes a lot of people uncomfortable. Having a publisher gives people the feeling that they aren't alone, that someone has hired them and is paying them. It makes them feel more secure. But that's not true, is it? The author is still self-employed, with one big contract instead of thousands - or hundreds of thousands - of small ones. Guess who is more secure financially?

Elizabeth Hunter said...

OH! Laughing so hard! I wonder what they think of us feral children who have come out of the woodwork and are surviving on our own. Gasp!

LIFE IS . . . FICTION said...

Oh! That's brilliant!~(シ)

✫✫GOTTA LOVE KONRATH!✫✫

C. R. Reaves said...

I've had this dream at least since I was a high school kid trying to decide whether to go to a uni with a writing degree or settle for something more practical and closer to home. I chose practical, because I knew how cut-throat the industry was even while I was a dumb kid. I knew even then how long it could take the industry to notice your work and decide it was worth nurturing.

In college is when self-publishing options started coming to my attention. But it wasn't marketed in a way that made me realize it was a viable alternative to the mainstream. Everywhere I turned, people said that the industry would take one look at you going that route and pass you over, because obviously you'd "given up" and they didn't want people who'd "give up".

So I kept working on my craft. Nothing serious, just stories for my friends of characters we came up with together. Sometimes outlines for stories I wanted to write in the future. Rough drafts for novel series I have in my heart. Just practice, waiting to feel good enough to take a proper leap towards the industry.

Late last year, I hit upon an anthology I was exited about writing for, so I told myself, "I'll go for it. I think I'm good enough now. I'll spend a few years writing for anthologies. I might not get accepted to all of them, but I'm good enough to be accepted now. Once I have a resume of published anthologies, I can start working seriously on my novels and approaching the industry."

Before the due date came up for that anthology, I started looking for more writing markets, which somehow lead me to your blog. I started reading and I realized - I don't have to drag this out for years.

I'm still intending on writing for anthologies, but I don't need the industry anymore. I didn't realize it was as viable as it really is to self-publish.

My "brothers and sisters" may be too scared to follow the example of "Junior", but I'm not. I've never been as excited about writing as I have been since sometime a week or so ago when I found your blog and had my eyes opened. You've supplied me with everything I was nervous about needing the industry to provide for me.

So, no, I didn't find you through your novels. But you'll still make some sales once I have something to read them on. Thank you.

Bernard Schaffer said...

Sad because it's true. Just this week I had a "friendly discussion" with an author who insisted that her type of writing could not translate into independent publishing. This was after she complained that her super-awesome publisher failed to send her manuscript to an important reviewer. I often hear other upstarts complain that agents aren't getting back to them. It is one ugly systematic cycle.
Consider yourself lucky if you've already unplugged from The Matrix.

bettye griffin said...

Love it!

Kass Lamb said...

Thank you, Joe, for your blog. You have been an incredible breath of fresh air in a stale industry.

I am 59 years old and do not have several decades to wait for the Big 6 to acknowledge my worth. I have e-pubbed the first book in my mystery series, Multiple Motives. Working on getting the next two books uploaded soon.

What I want to know is why someone hasn't thought to start a business providing promotional services to self-published authors. We can get freelance editors, book cover artists (Rebecca Swift, I love you!) and e-formatting (Amy and Rob at 52Novels are the best!) but I haven't heard anything about promotional services.

I'm finding that it is hard to keep writing/polishing my books to make them top-notch and also do all the promotional stuff. And I'm retired so I don't even have a day job to worry about!

Are there any such companies out there?

Kassandra Lamb
author of the Kate Huntington mystery series

wannabuy said...

@Bernard:"Consider yourself lucky if you've already unplugged from The Matrix."

Best statement I've read yet. I'm 'only a reader,' but there is a divide between how 'bestselling authors' (aka, virtual corporations) and mid-list authors are treated, published, etc.

http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/publisher-news/article/50017-looking-for-the-50-solution.html

The industry is worried about 50% ebook market share in 5 years... How about next year and far greater in a few years?

Neil

Archangel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Archangel said...

CR Reaves, are you also an illustrator? Cool.

CR, Please keep what you wrote here in your cogent comment to send to others who are just starting on the journey too. You describe a sudden timewarp journey that fires you from believing the 'conventional wish-dom" to truly seeing with your own eyes. That's the doorway, finally.

THanks Joe for the ma barker and the boys drama-tonto. It fits many, including many of us who only heard one side for decades and were kept in the mines working so hard we never saw daylight for a long, long time. Not a complaint, just a reality. Now, there's a shaft of light instead of getting the shaft without the light. Nuf said..

Archangel said...

@kass lamb (what a great name)...you're a mere child compared to some of us here lol, (not quite old enough to be your parent, but almost) and you are right... the time is now. Just to encourage you in what you already know. It is true too that when you can glimpse the near future, because the 'far away future' is not so existent anymore as one becomes older and older, it is so wise to not wait on Hollywood and Vine. You are right and thanks for saying aloud what many of 'the elders' know to be so: the time is now.

Donna White Glaser said...

It shows your talent that this reads as funny as it does. Somehow I expect the reality is far more grim than you're telling us. Big Daddy and Big Mama are kicking up quite a fuss, aren't they? Hang in there, Joe. At least you've got the money and platform to fight back. You really are our spearhead.
Thank you!

Jody said...

You have opened my eyes. Thank you so much. I've had a long career as a novelist, and in the next months I'll be releasing NINE novels, some of which are from my backlist, while others are novels that various agents/publishers rejected because....because....because....Jeepers, I forget why!

My agent currently has the first book of a series out to legacy publishers, and I have NO IDEA why I would sign a deal with them.

Again, thank you, you devil dog. Now I'm going to buy your books and read 'em!

C. R. Reaves said...

@Archangel - Indeed! I'm also an artist of a sort. ;)

I used that skill to pitch something to a publishing company that has since gone under (Tokyopop when they were trying to expand their line from "just manga" to include "light novels" ie: illustrated novellas). My first and only attempt to pitch to a publishing company, as it happens. So my first oh-so-useful form letter rejection. ;)

But it's fine, honestly. It means I'm more than free to try other forms of storytelling. I'll be able to use my skills to try visual novels - sort of choose-your-own-adventure story games.

If I'd actually been picked up, I wouldn't have stumbled upon the storytelling medium that was actually best for that particular story, and the characters involved would be licensed to a company that would still probably retain the rights in spite of their current overall failure - but likely not actually selling the work itself!

And while I don't know a lot about the traditional publishing industry, I know enough about how Tokyopop treated its creators to know it's basically the same. Hot properties were treated much better than the lesser ones, gatekeeping was harsher on the lesser properties whereas the hot properties were given loads of freedom, and the nurturing of talent only lasted as long as there weren't hotter properties to drool over.

But it's nearly 10am, haven't slept yet, and really, really should. Sorry Mr. Konrath for rambling only semi-on topic.

Adam Pepper said...

Dont beat around the bush. Tell us what you really mean!

Oliver said...

What a poor attempt at being funny.

Ty Johnston said...

Wow. Until now, I had never realized the publishing family is actually the Manson family.

David L. Shutter said...

Everywhere I turned, people said that the industry would take one look at you going that route and pass you over, because obviously you'd "given up"

We've heard this many, many times.

This long standing mentality of traditional publishers (that's only now starting to change but still just barely) towards independents has me baffled. Before Kindle success stories if you indie published through the older channels you were somehow "tainted". Worthless. A loser wannabe.

It's funny that the publishing industry, the educated, progressive "smarty-pants" industry has had this culture when Hollywood and the music industry (where high-school drop-outs become world famous mega millionaires with talent and work) have been embracing and mining independents for decades.

Indie filmmakers and garage bands, that show that can produce marketable material, get careers while indie authors have always gotten snubbed for going on their own.

Even now, what we heard about Darci Chan was that publishers were gun shy to throw her a mega deal because they doubted she would sell at "real book" prices; IE $14.99-24.99 vs. $2.99.

Crazy and stupid.

Writing Trip

Red Mojo Mama said...

I love analogies - maybe this one will make the breakthrough for some people. I hope so.

BTW - I'm so dense it took me to 17.5% to realize you weren't breaking up with your real folks. :-)

Joe Konrath said...

What a poor attempt at being funny.

Damn! And I was trying so hard to please all my anonymous commenters.

Darlene Underdahl said...

I’m reading Trapped again. I think this version is the original (no baby and the sex is more intense).

I like both of them, but I do believe this original is a little better. The agents/editors did no favors with the demands for rewrites.

www.VermillionRoadPress.com

Frank Dellen said...

Reminded me of a segment in GTA III's fake talk radio station Chatterbox.

http://www.gamefaqs.com/ps2/466217-grand-theft-auto-iii/faqs/16584

Scroll down to Segment 18, Bob from Pike Creek. A short read and quite funny.

smober said...

Truth in comedy, and comedy in truth.

Thomas Knip said...

Y'know, I wrote about this in my own blog a few days ago. More prosaic, maybe not as entertaining. But isn't funy, that this is a global idea sine I'm from Gerrmany?
Those children ... hope they're gonna grow up worldwide!

smober said...

This really made me reflect on the power we have as self-published authors (though I *barely* fit in that category right now, being so new to the scene). In two weeks since first publishing on Amazon, I've made about $50. Doesn't seem like much, but when it's compared to the fact that it would take well more than two weeks to even be considered by an agent, it suddenly seems so much more worthwhile. Who knows if I would have ever been published going the traditional route, but here I am already making money off my work and doing what I love to do. This is the future, and I think it's amazing.

Patrice said...

Well said, Joe!

David L. Shutter said...

In two weeks since first publishing on Amazon, I've made about $50

Smober

Your other alternative is to be out $50 buck in postage for query's and mailouts to agents and editors.

Basically you're up $100.

Congrat's. Go treat yourself.

Suhail Rafidi said...

HA! Nice.

Walter Knight said...

That reminded me of a Johnny Cash song:

How high is the water, Momma? Five feet high and rising.

BookBarista said...

It's always nice to be loved and appreciated... and then to see what you can do in the big, wide world!

Patrice said...

The MOST amazing thing about many amazing things since I started self-publishing is that I was finally published NOW. For twenty years I messed around with query letters and self-addressed-stamped-envelopes and agents and conferences and editors and and and...

Now I am a published author. Strangers read my work. And they like it. They really like it!

(The other) Patrice, author of RUNNING

Cyn Bagley said...

Loved the post - ;-)
Cyn

Martin Alexander said...

Ah, love this, even if it did just hit a little close to home...

Bert Carson said...

You hit the big "gotcha" when you said, "The point is there will always be children who need the validation...
Validation carries a hefty price tag.

Anna Jeffrey said...

I think you're right. I'm a romance novelist published by legacy publishing. Much of my experience has been disappointing. I'm in the process of self-publishing my backlist and will soon be self-publishing an original novel. It's great to be in charge of my own destiny. I doubt if I will ever submit again to the Big Six.

betty Houle said...

Love the "slightly" sarcastic attitude! There's nothing like hitting the nail on the head with truth and humor. I don't suppose there's a chance the Big Six will even read this, or if they do, that they'll get it!

Leonard D. Hilley II said...

Great parable! Love it!

Danielle Blanchard Benson said...

Keep up that beer diet, you are becoming one of the sanest voices in cyberspace.

Seriously, that conversation is true and how many of us, despite reading the Gospel according to Konrath, still want their approval, still crave it, still enter those silly little contests like ABNA?

I did but can I let you in on a little secret? I hope I don't make it past the first round. I don't really care about $10k and a contract from Penguin when I can earn so much more on my own.

Thanks for the Sunday gospel. Needed as always to keep me on the straight and narrow.

J S said...

"Legacy Publishers have turned into the new Vanity Press" - J Gordon Smith dot com

I came up with that after reading a few writers boards over the last day or two that were spinning on legacy route. Click on my comment name above to go to a little more expansion on this idea.

Keep it up Joe, inspiring more rebels every day.

Louis Shalako said...

Thank you, sir.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNbm5nALkF0

Knave said...

Great, now I've got Bioshock on the brain. >_<

Otherwise, good post, though almost over th etop as far as spelling it out.

Jill James said...

Thank you for this. I was laughing, crying, nodding all the way through.

David L. Shutter said...

Joe

Dying to know..how'd you make out with Christmas cards from all your friends in the Big 6?

Nely said...

Hee-Hee. Snicker-Snicker!! Love it! :-D

Joan Hall Hovey said...

this is terrific! I enjoyed reading it, and appreciate all the points you made with you usual biting humor~

Joan

Todd Trumpet said...

I've seen this show...

...only it wasn't called "At Home with the Sixes".

I think it was called "The Sopranos".

Todd
www.ToddTrumpet.com

Nancy Beck said...

I'm finding that it is hard to keep writing/polishing my books to make them top-notch and also do all the promotional stuff. And I'm retired so I don't even have a day job to worry about!

@Kass Lamb - Don't bother with the promo stuff right now. Concentrate on getting more books uploaded. More books = better chance for people to find your books (because that can find your stuff since you have so much available).

Not entirely convinced? Have a go at Dean Wesley Smith's site. Read everything there, but especially his two series, Think Like a Publisher and Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing (they're tabbed at the top of the site).

Demon Daughter

Anonymous said...

Did you hear the news?

Jonathan Franzen says you're wrong.

He may be right about one thing. E-Books are not for Serious Fiction. This E-Book Revolution is strictly a Genre show.

Rachel Howzell Hall said...

Hi, Joe!

Thanks for sending us AT HOME WITH THE SIXES. I enjoyed Son's voice and attitude, but I'm afraid I didn't quite fall in love with the story enough to make an offer of representation. It seems this project just isn't for me, but I know other editors will love to champion THE NOBLEMAN AND STABLE GIRL. Thanks again for letting me take a look and I wish you the best of luck.

David L. Shutter said...

E-Books are not for Serious Fiction. This E-Book Revolution is strictly a Genre show.

"Serious fiction". Interesting concept. By your statement "serious fiction" would be Lit-fiction print books only.

How "serious" will they continue to be when only mom & pop used bookstores are all that's left.

If you're privy to the corporate details of the big print comeback that's being secretly engineered we'd love to hear about it.

Adam Pepper said...

So I guess Franzen won't accept the royalties on his digital sales...since he's got such integrity. And those 350,000 sales of Freedom last year alone, those were part of that lowly genre show.

Jude Hardin said...

E-Books are not for Serious Fiction. This E-Book Revolution is strictly a Genre show.

What an ignorant statement. Did Franzen really say that? Got a link?

I consider my fiction as serious as anyone's. Whatever "serious" means.

But then I think I know what it means. I think it means a plotless hodgepodge of musings that The Literati might someday deem appropriate to shove down students' throats like some sort of bitter medicine.

Just because a work conforms to the conventions of a certain genre doesn't necessarily mean it's garbage; conversely, just because a work is deemed "literary" doesn't mean it will achieve any sort of lasting value. Who's work will be around a hundred years from now? Jonathan Franzen's or Stephen King's?

My money's on King. The digital version.

Casey Moreton said...

Here is a quote from Franzen:

"Am I fetishizing ink and paper? Sure, and I'm fetishizing truth and integrity too."

Yeah, I read The Corrections. It was pure crap. I didn't find much truth or integrity contained in the ink and paper between the covers of that printed book.

David L. Shutter said...

Chuckle

I knew that was gonna piss someone like Jude off.

Who's work will be around a hundred years from now? Jonathan Franzen's or Stephen King's?

Nice point. His horror seems fairly mild by todays standards but when King was coming up with his first few novels he was criticised, banned from schools and panned with every negative tag you can hang on an author by those who considered themselves aligned with "proper literature".

In recent years, having stood the test of time, he's been given Grand Master status and a little thing called the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

But y'know, once a genre hack always a genre hack. I guess. Especially if some elitist columnist somewhere says so.

Patrice said...

Here's the original reporting on Franzen's press conference, from the Telegraph:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/hay-festival/9047981/Jonathan-Franzen-e-books-are-damaging-society.html

He does seem to claim that world peace and democracy are at stake if these awful ebooks prevail...

I, for one, adored "Freedom," though I was less impressed with "The Corrections." Clearly Franzen, for all his would-be naivete, is a bit of a provocateur. Remember how he single-handedly destroyed the original Oprah Book Club by objecting to her selection of his book? Didn't want some sort of common stamp of approval. Very high art he produces!

A bit effete, I would say. Too good for the likes of mere mortals like us, who make lots of filthy lucre selling entertainment to the masses... rather like William Shakespeare in his day. Heard of him, Jonathan?

Patrice Fitzgerald, author of the best-selling ebook thriller RUNNING, and destroyer of world peace :P

Kass Lamb said...

@Nancy Beck Re: don't worry about the promo stuff just yet, write more books --

Thanks. I've heard this advice before but it's good to hear it again, and again and again.

Not hard advice to take since writing is what I love (and promo is just barely tolerable), so back to my rewrite of Book 3 in my series now!

Victoryperfect said...

Wonderful blog & good post.Its really helpful for me, awaiting for more new post. Keep Blogging!

E-Publishing

Nancy Beck said...

Who's Jonathan Franzen?

Never heard of him before reading his snobbish remarks.

And as someone upstream said, he sure hasn't sent back any royalties he's made off of his OWN ebooks, now has he?

Demon Daughter

Anonymous said...

Joe,
question; you mentioned a agent you have before on your blog. since you are self publishing your stories, why would you still have one?

J. Eathen Satterwhite said...

Joe, I read this article from The Guardian by author Ewan Morrison, thought you might be interested.

The self-epublishing bubble

In the article, he paints a very apocalyptic picture of the future of publishing--both self and traditional. His claim is that self-publishing is just another bubble, akin to the dotcom and subprime mortgage bubbles. Interesting read, although he sounds a lot like the cardboard sign holding vagrant shouting end of the world conspiracies on the street corner.

The Vanguard Society
@jeathen

Cheri Schmidt said...

I just shed a tear for my many writer friends who are exactly like the other “naive” children...I’m soft, I know. But I’m sooo glad the agents said “no” enough to give me time to find Joe before it was too late for me too.

Anonymous said...

Sure it's cathartic and fun to kick the legacy publishers who have cruelly rejected many and disappointed the few who made it through their narrow gates. But what happens when Amazon has eaten the big six, snacked on the small presses, buried the indie bookstores and wiped out the last chain? What happens when one corporation OWNS the reading experience? Do you really think a complete monopoly will be good for writers or readers?

Stephen T. Harper said...

re: the Self-publishing Bubble

I read that article yesterday, too. It starts off like it might make sense, but then his logic gets really, really strained. He's comparing self-publishing to an economic bubble, like the dot com and housing bubbles of recent years. But once he starts equating authors with "investors" who will lose their shirts when the "bubble" bursts... it pretty much stops making any sense at all.

He also seems to start out with the false premise that the overriding belief is that all self-publishers will be millionaires within a year, or some such straw mannish thing.

One thing I feel is true that is reflected (though buried) in his wafer thin argument... The rush to get into to self publishing - and the whole "omg... that about the Tsunami of Crap?!?" thing will thin out once people realize that there is little value in actual crap. The ratio of good work to bad will increase when low-low prices cease to be a selling point for sub-par work.

Or maybe not. just another 2 cents piled on.

C E said...

AMEN !

Joe Konrath said...

Do you really think a complete monopoly will be good for writers or readers?

Yes. A thousand times yes.

Right now there is a quasi-monopoly. Barry Eisler calls the Big 6 a cartel. He's right. While there is a slight chance there may be no collusion, and that every publisher independently arrived at the exact same royalty rates and payment structures, I'm a bit skeptical.

The Big 6 have missed out on a lot of good books. Books readers can now enjoy because they are self-published.

Amazon has allowed me to sell over 700,000 ebooks--books that the Big 6 Cartel missed out on.

Worrying that some day we'll be hit by a meteor is silly. Instead, worry about the disaster already occurring in publishing; The Big 6.

J. Eathen Satterwhite said...

I also read his previous article. He really sounds like a representative for several industries that have taken hits to their profits because they failed to innovate.

Are books dead, and can authors survive?

Again, Ewan Morrison makes a lot of points, but he missed the bigger picture--especially when he starts talking about piracy. His long tail and free arguments don't seem to be grounded in reality.

The Vanguard Society
@jeathen

David L. Shutter said...

Worrying that some day we'll be hit by a meteor is silly. Instead, worry about the disaster already occurring in publishing; The Big 6.

That's "Evil Amazon monopoly" counterpoint #1.

Here's #2: Google Rakuten Kobo. They're just as big overseas as Amazon is here in the US, bigger in some regards. They're not going to roll over and let Amazon rule the world.

Neither will Apple. As dismal as some analysts say their publishing future is compared to Amazon trust that they'll find a way to compete and won't just give up.

And if they're never able to out-muscle Amazon (the way they've never been able to out-muscle Microsoft) then they'll find market share through innovation. It's what they do.

I think the Amazon monopoly discussion is like the President Donald Trump discussion. It generates a lot of noise, gets attention, but that's about it.

Just the way I see it.

Embrack said...

I found this a heartwarming family depiction of the Big Six. In real life as parents the Big Six is somewhere between the guy in the movie 300 who threw newborns off a cliff and Casey Anthony.

Embrack said...

And "is" is proper use with "Big Six" as The Big Six is a single non-plural monolithic entity.

Tamara said...

Excellent story. I'm new to your blog and I'm learning so much. Just about to dive into writing my first ebook. Thanks for your tutelage.