Are we there yet?
Ok I am feeling fundamentally silly, because after the long, long haul with Save the Dragons et al... finally my dearest beasts arrive here tomorrow. Wednesday and the cats are in Launceston, Roland and Puggle arrive with her tonight, and the lot fly over with the mailplane tomorrow. So today has been frantically tying to finish the fence, because we thought there was another day.
And THE TEARS OF IT ARE WET appears to be gasping its last. It might have been over today, except that the fence intervened. And in the process I have done a nice hole in my finger. Frodo must have had a hell of a time, typing.
During the week someone called my attention to a very old article - (part of discussion about a publisher insisting on world rights - because this might possibly impact on their e-sales. Curiously enough the same publisher has been pushing prices up to restrict e-sales eating hardcover sales. Kind of dog-in-the-manger process. 'We don't actually want it, we're not going to do anything with it, but we really don't want you have it, in case you do something with it.' Sigh. I have yet to have my publisher to sell a solitary right of any sort, so it does irk me, especially as I know this can be 2/3 of a writer's income, and that's for writers who sell less than I do. Maybe in some wonderful future authors Utopia contracts would all have use it or lose it clauses. - anyway - the article makes two wonderful points about 'piracy' - that terrible pervasive fear that so many authors dread or blame. Over the years I've noticed there seem to be an example of inverse square law in 'piracy fear' - The less it matters to you if you are pirated, the more rabid you are likely to become about it. This applies for instance to Josepha Nerverherdover (who is so invisible any notice is good - and she'll never earn her advance anyway -so even if pirated copies were lost sales, which they usually aren't, she lost nothing) and the Rowling-in-it extreme who really are going to be bankrupted ha ha by a handful of pirate downloads (because, surprisingly to people in charge of large corporate publishing houses, our readers are remarkably honest and actually like to reward their beloved favorite authors. I'm actually a bit taken aback by Ms. Rowlings attitudes - but then I don't bother to buy (and I don't 'pirate') her books after the first couple. I'm very grateful that she got lots of kids reading old-fashioned fantasy. I wish mainstream publishing would realise how popular it could be) O'Reilly does a good job of debunking the obscure author's fear. And I'm with him. I wish I was popular enought to be a 'pirate' target. I could use the publicity. That's why they're up for FREE at the Baen Free Library. And yes, he's quite right too. By the time you're getting the vast bulk of publishing's effort and publicity and push -- the tiny 'loss' you'd suffer from from having someone swipe copies is not relevant - and based on my experience with SAVE THE DRAGONS, if readers knew you were getting it (or most of it) instead all the middlemen... and moreover, if they know you need it, fair numbers of readers do pay, with no incentive to be honest at all.
The point I found most interesting in the article was lesson 6: Free is eventually replaced by a better quality paid alternative. And how right that is. The first fix is free.:-)
So: how do we move forward? How do we make e-books a big seller - especially ours!? And how do we stop people worrying about 'piracy'?
I am sorry this is all over the place tonight. But my head is.