Monday, March 14, 2011

Dog and Dragon... slowly

I've just finished my first run through DOG AND DRAGON, and it grew by 1500 words. I am just starting on B's corrections - which will improve it a lot and grow it by several thousand more. I'm suffering from the post-partum stages already. I know by tomorrow, or the day after, I'll think it sucks totally. At this stage I am still full of sheer emotional and mental exhaustion, and think at least parts the most brilliant thing written (yeah well, someone has to). I think part of the real downer that many authors go through is knowing that they have basically cut their wrists and bled onto the page, given what they can, to the point of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion... and off it goes - to be a minor midlist book which will get the TLC of the yet-another-book. I occassionally get e-mail from readers who tell me it was not just yet another book for them, and I think that's the reason I'll be doing this again, soon enough.

Is the publishing glass half full... or half empty? According to this there's some reason to believe that it is a bigger glass. Of course what this shows is the huge potential scope for growth of e-books - if 49% say they prefer traditional p-books then logic says 51% of UK readers would rather read e-books, and as 18% are... that's 200% growth just to fill that demand. I think e-readers will still drop in price and improve in quality, and that 49% is going to fall. No I don't believe the p-book is dead. But I can see purchases per reader dropping from say 10 per year to 1-2 per year -- not enough to sustain the publishing industry at status quo. And it's lovely to see fiction is coming up in demand. Cheap and entertaining I believe is the key here, myself. I think while males have been quicker adopt new tech (let's face it, playing with new mechanical toys is quite a boy thing) I reckon female usage will overtake it in a year or two - just as boys got mobiles while they were clutzy bricks, but once it was a good, easy-to-use communication tool, female use caught up and overtook. A good time to be writing fiction designed for female audiences IMO.

The price take is interesting: I'm with most folk who say a e-book CAN'T be more expensive than a p-book. No returns for starters (that's 45% of a publisher's costs), let alone the costs of paper etc. For a good wrap on this see Darryl Adam's post at Oz-E-books

So: food for thought.
And now, to red ink...(putting in corrections from B's edit)


Amanda Green said...

Dave, speaking as a fan, you have given me many hours of enjoyment, hours when I've lost myself in your wonderful stories. Never, ever think of your work as drek.

I think the glass is half full and the bartender is there ready to fill it for us. The problem is with the publishers refusing to ditch their traditional business plans and mode of thinking -- both of which were failing before the advent of e-books.

Will the industry survive these times? Yes, I think so. But it will be changed and the major players are going to have to adapt or they will disappear. Part of the change is that they have to adapt their thinking on pricing of e-books v. physical books.

Thanks for the link to Darryl's post.

The OnyxHawke Agency said...


I think you really need to look at our agreement again. I'm the agent, I get to kick you and tell you stuff is sucks (if it ever does, nothing to date), you just write good stuff.

:: sigh ::
O'Mike agent of evil, and authors

MataPam said...

Dave, that inner voice that's telling you that it's brilliant is right. That fellow you expect to show up and call it drek? He's wrong.

Jim McCoy said...

I'm sure the book is great Dave. I'll let you know as soon as I get my copy from Barnes and Noble..


Well, after I finish reading it at least

C Kelsey said...

Dog and Dragon (in which it must be presumed that a dog, seeing as how he's named first, must own a pet Dragon ) is the sequel to the best fantasy novel of all times. I can't wait for it. (Okay, maybe not the best of all time, but it was way better than anything Tolkien, Brooks, or Goodkind have ever written. I thoroughly enjoyed it.)

Dave Freer said...

Amanda - thinking (at least at times) that your work is drekk reflects the only chance that it may not be :-)(ie. if you don't think your work 'needs work' it probably does. Badly. If you remain critical and trying to improve... well maybe it doesn't need too much.

The industry will survive, but it will be a very changed business. If I was the CEO of Bigpublishingco... I'd be looking for no longer relevant historical overheads to cut (the New York office, 50% of my marketing and sales (if not 90%), Advances - offer better deals, faster accounting and no/very small advances), and investing in some real internet marketing expertise, retail expertise, a reader research.
Long odds they cut midlist, get dropped by(or pay a lot more for) 'bestsellers' cut proof and copy editing, reduce editorial staff, attempt more restrictive deals.

Dave Freer said...

O'mike, I try to avoid showing you the really unsellable sucky bits.

Dave Freer said...

MataPam, the Inner voice changes his mind :-)

Dave Freer said...

Thanks Jim :-)I got trouble from the management here because she's over-tired today, but she had to finish it...

Dave Freer said...

Chris - the dog is very much under the impression - seeing as his mistress told him to, that he is 'looking after' the dragon. He shares with him... well shares fleas. Mutton bones are a different matter.

Fionn found it amusing, seeing as his multiple livers meant he could drink their Branntwein and barley-beer until it ran out of his ears without any effect. The Hákarl they were eating with it was a different matter. He'd need more than multiple livers for that. It was considered a manly thing to eat.
Fionn was glad he was a dragon, and not in need of eating ammonia scented fermented shark meat to prove this. Dileas, however, had embraced local behavior with gusto, eaten far too much salty smoked salmon, and was now throwing up, and needing water, along with Vanar's finest warriors. Perhaps this was why men and dogs had such a natural affinity, reflected Fionn.

C Kelsey said...

Such a small snippet to make me laugh so. I'm honest Dave. I really liked Dragon's Ring and I can't wait for Dog and Dragon.

Kate Paulk said...

I don't think I've seen any of your books that are "just another book", Dave. And Dog and Dragon certainly looks like it won't be that.

I agree with you that there's a bigger glass out there. The current industry is looking at and trying to control a teensy slice, while pretending the rest of the pie ain't there.

Mike said...

Interesting -- one of the ad campaigns that was running here in Japan (before the earthquake news) was for a smart phone/tablet. One ad had a young man looking at the new phone -- a reader about as big as a paperback book (face) but thin, of course. And a woman takes it out of his hands! He says something like "But do you know how to use it?" and she gestures with her fingers, then starts flicking, pointing, clicking on the book. And behind her stands the spokesman -- well dressed, tie, handsome man. He's nodding over her shoulder. I thought "A genii" but I'm not sure if they intended that echo. The end of that ad is that she starts to leave, the young man says, "What about my phone?" and she says, "Thanks!" and walks out. The genii smiles and follows her.

Another ad in the same series has a young woman saying goodbye to her rural family. Mom says something like, "How will we keep in touch?" The woman lifts her phone -- she has the smaller version, about iPhone size -- and the Genii stands behind her smiling. Dad says, "How will you eat?" and the young woman says, "Look, there's lots of restaurants" as she flicks her fingers and a listing scrolls. She turns and gets on the bus, and the Genii hugs dad, briefly. Then we see the woman in the middle of busy Tokyo train station, looking around, wondering where to go (with the Genii behind her). She lifts her phone, asks it a question, and then looks at the directions that appear, and sets off, with the Genii smiling behind her.

They're pushing that system (Galapagos, I think, built on the Android?) pretty hard as something that's great for women. And that handsome man image isn't going to hurt one bit.

And once you have the tablet, hey, can reading be far behind? You can only talk, text, and play games so much, right?

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Dave, one of the largest selling genres is romance. And romance readers were one of the first sectors to pick up on e-books.

In fact, the romance writer and the readers have been behind e-books right from the start. More than 10 years ago, when I was on the exec committee for RWAustralia we had to formulate a policy for e-books.

So there is a big proportion of female readers who read on e-books, they just happen to be in romance.

PS. I'm sure Dog and Dragon is a book after your own heart and there will lots of readers who love it as much as you do!

The OnyxHawke Agency said...



Don't forget I used to be one of your first readers. I know what unpolished prose lurks within the hearts of manuscripts!

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

I'm at the point I prefer ebooks. I'm at a stage in life when the kids will be moving out in two/three years tops. This means we are considering very tentatively something along the lines of selling our house in a neighborhood that so far (knock on wood) has held value, and move to a smaller one we could pay for with proffits from this one. THAT requires downsizing and half the volume in this house is taken up by books. I'd keep my research books (many of them aren't E and at any rate, I put little stickies all over them, whiel researching, so they look like porcupines. Harder on Kindle) but the rest would go.
As for price point, I WILL NOT pay hardcover price for ebooks. Not even highly technical ones.

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

Oh, yeah, and your books are NEVER midlist quality. EVER. They are so far above it's ridiculous that they don't get star treatment.

Sarah A. Hoyt said...

Oh, and I just re-read DST, written TWO years ago, and cringed at my turn of phrase, at my character definition... at all of it. It used to take me ten years to get to cringe-state over old work. I guess it's faster now.