The Threshold

January 26, 2010

Every. Thing. Changes. Tomorrow.

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McGraw-Hill Allegedly Leaks iSlate/iPad

January 26, 2010

McGraw-Hill CEO Confirms Apple Tablet, iPhone OS Based, Going to Be “Terrific”

Shit, does he think that thing on his head is “terrific” too?

Do you realize you look basically like that, McGraw?


The I.O.U. Button

January 26, 2010

I’d really like to know what frikkin world print publishing lives in.

Because I live in one in which most people cannot afford to buy everything they’d like to have.

Including books.

I don’t think there is a single real writer out there who cannot sympathize with a reader who wants to read a book but cannot afford it.

That’s what public libraries are for.

But my fellow writers who will never enter the Gates of Hell known as traditional publishing and those who free themselves from its parasitic grip, will most likely offer digital books that won’t be available to borrow in a public library.

Do you want to turn that reader temporarily short of disposable income into a thief?

There are some books, for whatever reason, a person feels he or she must have. It could be to distract them from their current woes by reading a work from a writer whose books they’ve bought in the past but can’t right now not afford. It could be a book with practical instructions to help escape a dire situation. It could be advice, motivation, whatever.

The point is, don’t create a pirate.

Remember the times you were behind in your bills, the time you wanted something, the time when life had its fingers around your neck and was squeezing hard and you could have used a break.

Forget a “Donate” button. That’s a pussy move. That says, “I’m a beggar.” Don’t do that.

Offer a “Buy” button.

But for god’s sake, also offer an “I.O.U.” button. One that allows a fan of yours — a potential lifelong reader — a chance at some dignity. Something that says, “Look, I understand how it can be. You need this now, but remember to pay me later when it’s better for you.”

Do that.

The bastards currently running things never will.

This is your way to not be like Them.

February 7, 2010 Update: Buy Now, Pay Later (Maybe With Your Allowance) This Is Big. I’d like to see them extend it to self-hosted WordPress blogs and others (if they can get it offered by WordPress.COM — my free host — that’d be magnificent!), so writers can immediately incorporate it. It’s brilliant. I’m not sure how the Scoring works, but if it could be worked out for purchasers to set the time limit, that’d be excellent. I noticed on their Publishers contact page they ask for the size of the audience. This is backwards. PayPal didn’t ask people for their number of friends when it began. And it spread like a contagion. I’d like to see Kwedit spread that way too. It’d take everything to the next level for writers — and, in fact, for everybody.


Publishers Versus Readers

January 26, 2010

Avid Readers Want Both eBooks and Print Books

He also noted that a staggering two-thirds of avid readers surveyed were 45 or older. In contrast, only 28 percent were in the 18+ bracket. Publishers face two unique challenges: keeping the baby boomer readers as they retire and building new readers with a younger generation.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

I did that here: Apple’s iSlate Gives Book Publishers False Hope

What I have to add is this:

People grow up. Those who grow up with any sort of impulse towards self-direction and initiative understand that reading is important. They also grow up to understand that people need to be paid.

What I said in the prior post still stands, generally. Instead of selling to an existing — and shrinking — pool, enlarge it:

In a London pub, Studs meets a Welsh miner from the Rhondda Valley. “You’re from Chicago; you must know Nelson Algren.” Whiskey flows. Then the old boy sings out the titles of all Algren’s books in a mellifluous Welsh accent. — R.I.P. Louis “Studs” Terkel

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

How the hell was that miner reached?


Studs Terkel Will Save Publishing

January 26, 2010

Studs Terkel: Last words with a Voice of America

I went looking for an anecdote from Studs Terkel’s epic 1974 book, Working, and wound up with another and a different point to make:

“So when I did the book Working, there was in it a portrait of a waitress, Dolores Dante. She was a girl. And at the end she starts crying about her life and being a middle-aged woman when the kids have left. And much later a guy stops me in the street and says, ‘You son of a bitch. After reading about that waitress in your book, I’m never going to speak to a waitress again the way I did before.’ So I affected that guy. Dolores affected that guy. It was her moment of immortality.”

People are curious about other people.

Why doesn’t publishing use this fact to sell non-gossipy, non-trashy books?

It’s the same damned impulse — near-pathological, stalker-like curiosity — and it can be used to publishing’s benefit.

How would that guy have known what the lot of a waitress was like if he hadn’t read that book? How many people — especially in these Gotterdammerung me-me-me times — stop to consider what another person’s life might be like?

The young and callous look at a waitress with contempt, if they look at her at all.

Terkel’s book shows the human being behind (or stuck in) that occupation.

I’m not going to lay out examples of how this can be done. Earn your damned marketing salary, dammit.


Lots Of FREE eBooks

January 26, 2010

Online Novels
FREE NOVELS AVAILABLE ON THE INTERNET

I’ve never seen this site before. Lots of very interesting stuff there — not just unknowns, but writers with recognizable names.