Rough Notes On Punking eBooks

April 15, 2009

The problem: There is no way for an individual independent writer to be published in eBook format for sale.

(Note: I do not count Amazon’s Kindle Store and its confiscatory ass-backwards money split; its proprietary eBook lock-in file format is also detrimental to the interests of all writers.)

1) WordPress-like easy blogging system with an eBook eCommerce component
– WordPress.COM does not have this
– WordPress.ORG has a plug in, but:
— not every writer wants to devote time to webmastery
— personally, I still recall what happened to Gear Diary — (I’m not the only one!)

2) There are no indie eBookstores
– indie: not owned by Amazon, Apple, Google, Sony, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Microsoft or other behemoth
– indie eBookstore would carry titles current behemoth eStores do not
— print indie bookstores carry titles not found at B&N/Borders
— comic book stores carry fanzines

3) Apple and Amazon cannot be entrusted with freedom of expression
– Sony probably can’t be entrusted either

4) Am not attracted to sites such as Lulu, Smashwords, et al
– perception of sludge pile (worse than slush pile)

5) FictionWise, others, won’t deal with single writer
– combination of writers banding under a shell company label?
— Chaplin, Pickford, Fairbanks, Griffith United Artists model

6) Universal eBook Catalog
– list every eBook available
– become the discovery source
– break the “Let’s look it up on Amazon” cycle
– must be an entity in itself to preserve freedom of expression
— I still think The Pirate Bay should do this

7) No ePub tools for writers
– Adobe InDesign expensive and complex
— complexity not needed for all-text
— writers don’t do design
– software must be blog-easy
— multiple eBook eejit-proof templates like Apple’s Pages

I no longer believe that eBooks will enter the mainstream via the mainstream.

I now believe in the analogy to punk music in yesterday’s post.

What needs to happen:

ONE eBook gains a Word of Mouth (WOM) reputation
(Note: there are over 16 million eBook devices now [iPhone/Touch])
– genuine word of mouth or PR-assisted?
— PR-assisted cannot move something that’s shit
— only genuine WOM matters
— WOM moved The Fountainhead in 1940s

Unknown contributing(?) factor: Blog Book Tours

An eBook with WOM cachet and must-read-ness that’s available only as an eBook (in a format that cannot be printed out) could help push the needle from print books to eBooks

WOM must be of such scale to achieve Internet escape velocity
– must enter mainstream culture, not be confined to Internet Culture

That eBook must not compromise by going into print

That eBook must be dedicated to the Cause of eBooks

Given possibility of piracy, eBook should not be seen as money-maker

Rough notes. But I think eBooks now have to grow from the bottom-up, not be dispensed top-down from the self-appointed Publishing Gods of New York City’s Mt. Olympus.

eBooks are the future and are too important to be left up to publishers.

We live the precedent: The Internet grows from the bottom-up.

Things Only The Future Can Know

April 15, 2009

I plop this in here as being eBook-related in that it’s of interest to writers.

I left a Comment on Warren Ellis’s blog last night and had what I believed was an original thought: that the future is not only a point in time but a culture. Someone else must have made that point too somewhere and I suppose it just happened to rise to the top of my wee brain at that moment.

What brought on that thought was the video below. Before you play it, I want you to think about how you would explain it to someone who has never experienced Internet Culture. I contend that it can’t be done. And because of that, I also contend that it’s not possible for us now to project how fictional human beings in an extrapolated future will be affected by their technologically-advanced (or, really, technologically-different) surroundings. All of that is “air” to them. We don’t think about the air we breathe. Same with those future people.

Now the video:

Watch We Didnt Start the Flame War on CollegeHumor

OK. Now consider this piece that someone made me aware of on Twitter today: The Tweets Of Roland Hedley

These are artifacts of the future.

And there’s not a single writer out there who ever imagined these in any story ever written.

Direct-Publishing Dirge

April 15, 2009

This is Why Self-Publishing isn’t Taken Seriously

The way for self-publishing to get taken seriously on a large scale is not if a Dan Brown comes out of Lulu. Frankly, I don’t care if some potboiler hits it big in the mainstream. People here should know that’s where I’m coming from – I’m more “literary fiction” minded, as generic as that term can be. For self-publishing to really be taken seriously, works of “serious” fiction need to come out of Lulu, and Lulu’s poetry site shows that this is not the demographic they’re aiming for. I know terms like “serious” are subjective, but I think you can tell the difference when something is written with more ambition.

That excerpt isn’t the impetus for the post, but it’s the part I wanted to show here.

Aside from what he points out in that post, there’s this too:

Click = Big

Self Publishing Book Expo

Wow, with “friends” like that, producing HTML vomit like that, who needs enemies? It reminds me of those lines from Glengarry Glen Ross:

What you’re hired for is to help us — does that seem clear to you? To help us. Not to fuck us up … to help men who are going out there to try to earn a living.

I dread imagining the plaid-suited hucksters who would be attracted by that website.

Paper Books = Death

April 15, 2009

Following up on my prior post: The Horror Of Paper Books

Tessa Dick Needs Your Help!

April 15, 2009

Tessa Dick Needs Help

I’m losing my home, and they’ll probably turn off my electricity this week. I will therefore be out of communication for a while. I can sleep on my brother’s couch, but I will have to have my dog and cats “put to sleep”. Such a soothing phrase for killing my pets!

Please help and help spread the word!