Thursday, January 28, 2010

The box and the line in the sand


You have - again - Sarah to thank for this. She mentioned not long ago that I don't just think outside the box, I'm still looking for the box and may not be in the same universe. I am still in contact with the general reality, just at a rather obtuse and possibly abolished angle.

So far so good. The fun comes when I reach the line in the sand, that not exactly physical demarcation of "thus far and no further". I've hit it, or it's hit me, and it's proven wonderfully freeing. I've shut up and put up with all sorts of things I disagree with for long enough, but not any more.

What got me there? I finally realized that for all the "being good" and "doing the right thing" didn't work (the "right thing" being defined here as what the usual consensus says I should be doing, not what I believe I should be doing. Not only are they usually not the same thing, they're often rather interestingly opposed).

I've effectively given up any hope of mainstream publication for my novels. When Amazon moves to the 70% royalty level, I'll do what I need to to sell them there. The day job is going to take up so much time I'm not likely to be ready for it until then anyway, so no loss there. If by some miracle a mainstream offer does show up, fine, that's gravy. But I've taken enough shit at work and elsewhere that I'm not prepared to put up with it and make nicey-nice anymore.

Common courtesy, sure. Other than that, you get me as I am, warts and all (actually, there aren't any warts right now, but you get the idea), and if you don't like it, stiff. There's nothing anywhere that says you have to like me - and conversely, there's nothing anywhere that says I have to like you. I no longer care what you (in the generic sense) think about me. If you think I'm crazy because that box is nice and comfy, well, good for you. I like it out here, although I'd still like to find that blasted box so I can maybe get some idea why it's so flipping popular.

So there you have it: the pissed Kate manifesto. Who else has had a gutful and doesn't care what saying so brings?

17 comments:

D. Antone said...

I have seriously considered turning to Amazon as well. I think I'll make a good attempt at getting my stories published at first. The ones that don't make it I'll take to amazon. But yeah, it's getting a little old.

I recommend you read Three Feet From Gold. I helped me.

matapam said...

Kate, I was raised in The Box, and fled at the earliest moment. But I still keep tripping over the early lessons. I'm still as bad at them as I ever was, but I can't stop. Infuriating to have to admit that your worst enemy is the person in the mirror.

Amazon does tempt me. To test the waters now, or wait and see? Will there be so many books later that my brilliant work will be lost in what amounts to a slush pile? Is sooner better? Decisions, decisions . . .

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Kate, there are boutique publishers, small press people who are willing to take a risk on books that don't fit the mold.

The US small press publishers and their print runs are big compared to the Australian small press.

I couldn't fit the mold if it meant I had to write like Twilight. I prefer characters with more twists and turns.

And, like everyone else, I'm sitting back watching the publishing industry evolve.

Kate said...

Antone,

Thanks for the recommendation. And yeah, the round does get rather old.

Kate said...

Matapam,

My family tried, but... I spent most of my time inside my head anyway. It seems to be something of a knack ;)

Yes, the Amazon question does linger... I really need to investigate the kindle forums and see how/if good stuff bubbles up. If it works that way, then it's worth trying - not least because I'm probably the world's worst publicist!

Kate said...

Rowena,

I think the mold ran away screaming when it saw me coming. I can NOT - and I've tried - write "standard" anything. It twists.

Just to make things even more fun, what I consider light and fluffy scares the crap out of people.

The publishing industry evolution seems to be an ongoing battle over who is going to control the market share, and how. Traditional publishing is doing its best to control content creators and distribution - which inevitably leads to "abuse the authors" - while the likes of Amazon are trying to gain end user lock-in or failing that trust and return custom. Neither is perfect, but I know where I'd rather see my money go.

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

Kate, Kate, Kate

If the box has sand in it, DO NOT try to draw anything there. No. Seriously. Those lumps are not just clods.

As for publishing... Oh, G-d, why me? Why now? Why? WHy? Why?

(Sarah, under the sink, braiding her hair.)

Chris McMahon said...

Hey, Kate. At least the sides of box are soft -- you can bash your head against it for years and still keep going:)

matapam said...

Sarah,

Economic reverses always happen just as you send your kids off to college and your financial needs soar. Been there, done that, seen it over and over in other families.

So the publishing industry's problems are all your fault.

Brendan said...

The only thing to be wary about with the 70% Amazon deal is the contract. For the money they want extra rights(including text-to-speech) and a guarantee the Amazon price will not be undercut.

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

Brendan,

Text-to-speech is NOT same as ebook, which is dramatic reading, and frankly, no other publisher pays for it.

Kate said...

Sarah,

I know better than to mess with the cat box. That one's easy to find: just follow your nose (yes, even when the litter is fresh).

And get out from under the sink... How are you going to terrorize your enemies from there?

Kate said...

Chris,

I'll let you know when I find the box ;)

Kate said...

Matapam,

No, they're mine. I have the midas touch in reverse, you see. I finish my geology degree, and employment for geologists goes through the floor. I get a teaching degree, and it's the one year there's zero demand for teachers. I get a computing degree, and it's the tech wreck.

Of course publishing comes crashing down right when I'm trying to break into it.

Kate said...

Brendan,

Text-to-speech is good. I absolutely refuse to deny vision-impaired book lovers the chance to find out if they like what I write.

I also don't want anything to do with Digitally Restricted Media. You buy it, you own it. If you want to run around making copies, that's your moral issue, not mine.

Considering the price range they're looking at, a guarantee the Amazon price won't be undercut shouldn't be difficult. Too many of the dead tree people seem to think ebooks should be priced at hardcover levels (but authors shouldn't get anything like 70% royalties, oh, no. 5% should be good enough for them and they should be grateful, too).

What would make it a deal-breaker for me is an eternal servitude clause that stops me taking it down (assuming sufficient notice) and selling the same book elsewhere, ever. Or one that has been seen in dead tree contracts that says the author can't sell anything else to anyone else for some rather flexible time period.

Kate said...

Sarah - I think you might have meant "audiobook" where you said "ebook" ;)

Brendan said...

Sarah, wasn't the big kerfuffle with the release of Kindle 2 with the Author's Guild due to it's text to speech capacity? They sure thought Text to Speech was the equivalent of audio-books which is why they wanted it blocked on Kindles.

To tell the truth I would be more concerned with the second condition, since they could sue you if your(if you have one) print book gets remaindered and is sold below their 20% over limit or if any other e-book seller had site sales cutting their prices lower than Amazons