So much for fairness

I know I’m late but it’s with good reason. I’ve spent much of the last 24 hours debating whether or not to write this particular post. I finally decided that I would because it points out yet again how so many of the so-called reviewers (and all too many vocal writers) are putting their politically correct spin on what is “good” or “bad” when it comes to books. Maybe part of the reason this resonates so much with me is I’m about to finish my first science fiction novel. Part of it is definitely because the reviewer’s bias is showing. But a big part is because I’m tired of people thinking we, as readers, have to be hit over the head with a “message” that advances their own agenda.

I’ll start by noting that the germs for this post were planted earlier when a so-called “journalist” writing for the Guardian called out Larry Correia, putting words into Larry’s mouth that Larry never said. I’m not going to defend Larry here because he can defend himself much better, and much more entertainingly, than I can. However, it was interesting that the article, with its attack on Larry, came out around the time the Hugo slate was being narrowed down. Hmm, if I believed in coincidences — or conspiracies — I’d say someone had an agenda he was trying to further.

But what really got me going was a post by Chuck Gannon on Facebook yesterday about a negative review he’d received for his book, Fire with Fire. Gannon was more amused and bemused by the review and the commenters on his thread had a lot of fun with it. Why? Because it was obvious from the first paragraph the review was going to be a hatchet job. Curious, I followed the link provided by Gannon and then dug a little deeper. Imagine my surprise when I found that the book had been reviewed twice on the originating site, nine days apart.

The first review, posted on April 3rd, isn’t too bad. It’s clear the reviewer didn’t like the book and didn’t like the way it was written. There are complaints about comma splices even (which is funny considering the state of punctuation and grammar in most novels these days. It’s doubly funny considering Gannon is a multiple Fulbright Scholar and a lit professor.) But this wasn’t the review Gannon had linked to. I found it only because I was trying to find out just who the person was who had such a problem with the book, Gannon and the fact he wasn’t falling lockstep into line with all the rest of the lemmings racing toward the edge of the politically correct cliff.

The second review, posted on April 12th, was more in your face with the PC BS and it soon became clear a member of the glittery hoohah club had written it. It is also obvious from the third sentence that it is written by the same person as the first. Why? Because there is that comment about the questionable punctuation again. Until then, the only thing we know is that the reviewer just didn’t think Gannon’s book was “up to snuff”.  But, to give you an idea of just where the reviewer falls in the spectrum, consider this comment: Fire with Fire felt like it was included in the nominees because it’s a museum piece of a certain era of SFF,  and a concession to the angry greybeards who make up a key demographic in the Nebula voters.

Angry greybeards, huh?

Concession, huh?

Funny that. The reviewer is the one who seems angry.  I won’t go into the lack of bias in the review or reviewer, who happens to think it appropriate in reviewing the book to bring up the SFWA infighting and to hurl not so veiled insults at Gannon’s publisher, Toni Weisskopf, for not falling into step with the “right think” side.

It gets better. In a supposed review of Gannon’s book turns into an attack on Heinlein. The reviewer hates Heinlein. She doesn’t know why and muses that maybe she ought to go back into his books and try to figure it out. But she hasn’t — and probably won’t — but she hates Heinlein and that brings her back to Gannon’s book. She admits she should have seen earlier that the book was influenced by Heinlein. Why? Because of the cover. What?!? She can now tell what a book is like, what writers influenced the author, by the cover? Wow. That’s really a cool power she has, especially when you consider how often a book’s cover has absolutely nothing to do with what the book is actually about. I would have thought she might have been clued in about the book by simply looking at who the publisher happened to be. Baen. You know Baen, the “evil” epicenter of all things Correia, Ringo, Kratman, Hoyt and Torgersen.

But it appears that Baen is the bastion of gate-guarding, making sure all the kids get the hand-stamp of Heinlein on their way in the door.” 

All right, I’ve quit laughing and will try to finish this post. I don’t know what is more hysterical: the claim that Baen is gate-guarding when you consider what is coming out of the other publishing houses (Oh, wait, that’s the lockstep crap so it’s okay. Sorry. My bad.) or the fact that, with the exception of Bujold, the reviewer thinks all Baen puts out is Heinleinesque science fiction. Eric Flint and others would certainly be surprised to know they fall into the evil political spectrum that is Heinlein.

All this is, I guess, my way of saying that if you want to review a book, review the book. That was done in the first post. The blogger should have left it at that. To come back in and then attack the book because you don’t like what the publisher said and you don’t like the fact it appears to be Heinleinesque and you hate Heinlein even if you don’t know why you do — psst, could it be because all the “cool kids” have said you should and you haven’t taken time to read and think for yourself? — doesn’t help your cause. What it has done is sell more books for Gannon. Why? Because you’ve made those of us who do like Heinlein curious about what Gannon wrote. So, on behalf of all of us who like a good book that doesn’t hit us over the head with the current politically correct statement of the day, thank you.

Edited to add: Welcome everyone who has come over from Monster Hunter Nation. Thanks to Larry Correia for the link and everyone here at MGC bows down to Larry, International Lord of Hate ;-)

 

 

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Cow manure and truth.

I spent about ten hours helping to pregnancy test 700 cows today. It’s the sort of lesson in reality everyone should take. The cows have to be brought in to the cattle yards, (which are concrete floored, ridged, pole and rail fenced with hardwood (to allow a little bend and yes, they are softer more flexible than metal. The cows have microchips in their ear tags, and there is backpack reader so one can keep count. The vet uses a backpack ultrasound. He also uses a shoulder-high glove for the purpose of being able to stick his hand in to the shoulder up a cow’s hind end. The crush itself has hydraulic help (but still takes a strong man). Anything else is done by the same means as it was a century ago. We use pieces of polypipe instead of stock-whips (which make a noise and not much impact.) The stock is moved by men, in rubber boots, yelling, shoving, walloping, swearing. Slithering in the cowpoo and pee which is liberally distributed (remarkably often as you try and shove the cow far enough to close the gate). There is no part of cows or person that is safe from it, and the yards that started the day clean are dangerous four inches deep in this delightful mixture. Cows slither, kick, get aggro, moo, bellow, baulk (a lot) and try to reverse out of raceways. The humans involved stand a fair risk of getting hurt, crushed, kicked and large chance of being on the receiving end of a face-full of flying bovine-excreta that has not even been through a politician (Okay so it is cleaner).

This is not a slaughter, nor is an ultrasound probe torture. The cows are walking out of the far end complacent and unhurt (or even, if they have a problem, treated). The incoming cows can see and hear the ones which have been through, quite tranquil. If the cows were even vaguely intelligent (and the older ones do do it as a matter of routine) the entire process would take a minute of their time and be very easy for all, us and them. If they kept it in for 2 minutes the process could be entirely free of politician and would be much more pleasant for everyone, especially the cows who decide to burrow under the one ahead, to avoid that terror the microchip wand (which does nothing more than go beep beep.).

Now this is, as extensive farms go, a very advanced one, owned by folk with a love of technology and the money to invest in it. As far as the future goes, for most cattle farms (which, let’s face it, are a reality until artificial vat-meat comes along for all which methinks may be a lot further down the track than a lot of sf, particularly dystopian sf) this is probably a bit like science fiction. A few years into a future they may never reach.

And that is the reality of the future. There will be hard, physical, filthy jobs. Jobs that see that the sleek little NY city latte sipper can sip lattes, now… and in 20 (or maybe 50) years’ time. Growing food, working with sewage. The day that robots are cheap and adaptable enough to do them will (barring dystopia/collapse) arrive. But it may be a lot further down the track than people who never did a filthy, hard, manual job can imagine. Because humans are very flexible and relatively easy to teach, and some of them are very skilled and very strong.

I read comments and, indeed, sneering rants by many of my writing peers who obviously have no idea about the need for these jobs, or the how physically hard these are. There is little acknowledgement they exist let alone have value, and rather like wild daydream of supergirl kicking lots of big male butt in hand-to-hand combat, if they admit they exist, the fact that these jobs are almost entirely done by men (and if they are done by women, they’re women who despise the average woman, or indeed city-dweller as total weakling wussies.) is never acknowledged. It’s interesting that in Australia, where the minimum wage is high, and the cities crowded… the starting wages for these sort of jobs are 25%-50% more than minimum (I earned more per hour today, paid promptly, in full and with no weaseling, than I have ever have as a writer (where prompt, in full and no weaseling are a dream). Something to think about). They come with all manner of perks from cheap to free housing, clothing, to meat or other produce. They battle to fill the positions… They’ll take anyone who can do the job (but you do have to be strong enough to lift a sheep, shove a cow into a crush, lift a 50kg basket of potatoes and not be afraid of rain, or snow, or mud, or bad smells). Most of the people taking it on remain male, fairly large (or tough as old whipcord). There are a few females, and a few who aren’t heterosexual, and possibly a few who aren’t quite conservative in their tastes and beliefs. But a gambler could have a very safe bet on the characteristics the people who keep the world fed, clean, able to get that latte. Let’s say you won’t find many in trad published sf, and never as heroes. One could come up with a far less-likely-to-pass-than-Bechdel-test, as to whether any real jobs which are unlikely to be affected by technology or plausible people doing them get mentioned – especially without sneering. Call it the Dirty-Reality test. On the other hand: a city checkout clerk job, minimum wage plus nothing will have 20 applicants (skewed to female). Jobs that are indoor, simple, clean and repetitive will automate… They won’t be there quite a lot sooner than dirty, flexibility-demanding, physical (but requiring gentleness too, and the judgment of requisite force) jobs.

If these people went away tomorrow… if they weren’t there in our future, without something to replace them (and they’re MUCH harder to replace than a checkout clerk with technology) civilization as we know it would last days. Yes, in a FAR future maybe. But in future we could recognize? No. I don’t think so. Yet: one of the darlings of a UK so-called newspaper The Guardian (proof that publishing when your audience doesn’t matter is easier when you do it on other people’s money) writes that SF needs to reflect the future is queer – because he was a boy of slight with long hair who kept being told to get a haircut! “Society gets angry when gender roles are blurred, precisely because those roles are a fragile act put on with clothes, hairstyles and makeup. If they weren’t enforced, clearly defined gender roles would not exist.” — Damian Walter (who isn’t a successful writer, but writes how wrong Larry Correia is to say what successful writing needs. Predictably Damien Walter can’t actually find anything Larry actually said, or provide a link to what he said, but makes shit up.)

To which I reply in tones redolent of the fragrant effluvia of cows I have been working with: ‘You’re smoking your socks, Sunshine. Somewhere in a future so remote that present readers would have little to identify with, maybe technology will do away with men in the role they always have occupied. But if sf (particularly sf set ‘near-future’ – like the next 200 years) wants to reflect any form of plausibility, men will still be the ones doing the cows. The fishing. Or the plumbing. The crew on the salvage tugs. Probably most of the bleeding and dying, most of the jobs that require a long neck and strong back, mental and physical flexibility. Any number of other jobs which attract little or no interest from the vast majority of women, because they’re dirty and hard. Yes there will be women doing them. There are now. But damned few. Gender roles are not fragile, and Damien Walter and all his ilk better hope they aren’t in future, or they may have to find out just how hard those hard men are for themselves. I’d pay good money to watch them slither around the cattle yards.

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The Audience is Helping Me But The Cathup Is Hell

Sorry, guys — I really thought I could do a chapter today, but I REALLY need to read back through Elf Blood before I try to continue it, or it will just become an unholy mess.  It’s already changed enough from written plot plan that it’s not going to do any good to follow that.

And I really am terribly sorry — this year has not been good for serials, but part of  it is trying to catch up on last year’s work.  I promise to give substantial installments and a way to buy advanced copies when I resume which REALLY should be no later than the beginning of May.

Meanwhile the most important lesson I’ve learned from the release of Witchfinder: I can write a novel a chapter a week and have it turn out well.

This is an enormous boost of confidence and it might, in the end, overcome the biggest source of block in me: the conviction that this time the book will really suck, because, fill in the blank: I don’t feel it; I’m ill; it’s too scattered; it’s too weird… etc, etc.

This one was written in dibs and dabs in public, and people like it.  So I can tell the inner voice to shut up.

And now I’ll go back to working on Through Fire (after I close my eyes for ten minutes, because I have near migrane level sinus headache.)

Sorry to delay so much.  I thought I could write this, then life interfered.

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Technicalities

We were talking the other day, and it came up that it might be time to collect a glossary of sorts, to define and discuss terms. With the changes in the industry, new ideas coming in almost faster than we can keep up, and with them, new words and phrases for things that didn’t exist ten, or even five years ago… Time to do some jargon-busting.

Please, in the comments, feel free to suggest additions, and I will amend this as needed. Hoping to make it into a resource that might last a bit. Not long, with the way things are changing, but…

  • Publishing
  • Editing
  • Writer-Related Words
  • Story
  • Covers

Publishing

Traditional Publishing: refers to the big five, these days, the last of the NYC-based publishers. may also refer to the larger of the small presses, but it has the connotation of being the dinosaurs in the industry: big, nasty, and full of teeth. Also known as Legacy Publishing.

Small Press: publishing houses that operate in much the same way as traditional publishers, but are usually a bit more forward-thinking and author-friendly.

Micro-Press: publishers that may only handle one or two authors.

Independent Publishers: the new breed, authors that handle their own businesses, hiring outsiders for some of the work, but overseeing the whole process like a publisher.

Self-Publishing: Ironically, this is usually not the same as Indie Publishing, although they are often lumped together. Self-Publishing tends to be an author who hands over their work to a self-publishing company that promises to provide “author services” and the results tend to be less than professional. Of the self-publishing companies I have looked into, most are scams, preying on the eager and naive. Also known as Vanity Presses. Good resources for researching before you commit to working with a publishing services company are Preditors and Editors, and Writer Beware. Keep in mind that many self-publishing companies pop up like mushrooms, and are gone just as fast, so keep in mind the cardinal rule: money flows to the author.

Editing

There are many sorts of editing, and your story may need one, more, or all of them. But it’s important to know what the editing is, before you hire someone, and to make sure they know what it is they are doing, something not all freelance editors understand.

Copy-Editing: Editing for typographical errors, common spelling mistakes, and general grammar. May also be called proof-reading. This is the most superficial and cheapest type of editing.

Continuity Editor: this person is checking to make sure your story holds together, might be helping to align it with previous books in the series, and in general making sure you know what loose ends are there.

Structural Editor: the editor who can have the most influence on your story, and the hardest to find a good one. This person should be very familiar with the genre conventions, you as a writer, and work well with you. Hard to find, and worth their weight in gold.

Writer-Related Terms

Pantser: one who writes by the seat of their pants, rarely outlining in any detail, this writer sits and churns out the story after the characters deign to start telling it to them. The sub-species of this is the Extreme Pantser, who can’t get their characters to tell them anything in advance, and have to just write, to find out what’s going on in the story.

Outliner: this writer gets it easier, they can plan where the trip (story) is takign them, and build a road map before they start writing.

Plotter: this writer has to build a story from the inside out, creating a plot like bones to hang muscles, flesh, and finally skin, har, and features on, bring it to life in stages.

Cat-Rotator: this is the poor writer who, nto knowing what is coming next, attempts to rotate the cats and otherwise distract themselves from the uncanny silence in their heads. Usually this lasts until the Cat-Rotator is doing something important and unrelated to writing, whereupon the characters all start to talk loudly, and at once.

Story

By which I mean length, mostly, although I’ll add whatever you suggest to this section. With the advent of ebooks, length conventions are changing… again. It used to be that a book of 40-60K words in length was a novel. Then, the goat-gagger came into being, and suddenly 250K-300K was acceptable, where once that would have been at least a trilogy. However, with an ebook you don’t have that wrist-bending heft of the mass to assess a book by, and once again, a novel has become about the story. Does it have a beginning, middle, and end? Then it is long enough.

Short Story: In general, anything from 1K-10K words. Can be longer. Shorter is called Flash Fiction.

Novella: Somewhere between 17K and 40K words. I think, unless they have moved the goal posts on me again. Which is the problem with defining story lengths, everyone defines it differently. If you are submitting somewhere, check to see what they call it, and what length they want. In the new era of ebooks, novellas are doing quite well, as long as they have a true end, not a cliffhanger and the message “buy another book to follow along!” If you plan to serialize a novel, make that clear, or you will tick off readers (why, yes, I was bitten by this, why do you ask? LOL)

Novellette: I’m not sure, and I’m not sure who uses this term. Moving right along…

Novel: the granddaddy of them all. Conventional publishing has the novel beginning at 80K words and up. However, again, this is shifting due to e-publishing. Also, a Young Adult or New Adult novel is expected to be shorter, from perhaps just over novella length on up (40K words plus). When I put The Eternity Symbiote in print, I was surprised to discover that it weighs in at a hefty 250 pages long, even though it is only 50K words printed. It feels like a traditional novel in the hand, but it falls within novella length, so I labeled it as that. I think we will see novel come back to 50K plus words, as more people transition to the majority of their reading in e-formats. As long as it satisfies, feels like a complete story, and has a good ending, they aren’t going to notice the word count.

Covers

My own milieu recently, I’ve found that many people don’t know what they want when it comes to having a book cover done. So here’s a couple of terms.

Cover Art: original, bespoke art to suit your book, and exclusive to it. This comes in many stages of quality, and price, but in general, it is much more expensive.

Cover Design: the fine art of making your cover look good, with type elements and art elements in the right places, and the proper signals being given off to let the reader know, at least subconciously, that they will like this book and it is a professional production.

Cover Layout: Arranging the text elements on a book cover, very similar to cover design, although usually the designer is also choosing art, which isn’t part of layout.

Full-Wrap Cover: the front, back, and spine of a book, suitable for printing. An ebook cover is generally just the front cover, NOT the spine as well.

And this got much longer than I thought it would when I started! Well, for those of you who read to the bottom and I didn’t put to sleep, please, let me know what should be added. Thanks!

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Why and for whom do we write? — by Peter Grant

Why and for whom do we write? — by Peter Grant

Sounds like a simple question, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s a single answer that covers all the bases. For a start, one’s genre has a major effect on why one writes.

  • A non-fiction author writes to convey or impart knowledge in a particular field to those interested in acquiring it.
  • A fiction author writes to entertain, and perhaps to convey an indirect moral or metaphysical message in his prose.
  • An autobiography or memoir seeks to describe a life and what it meant to the person living it – but a biography, written by a third party, might view that same life very differently.

There are many other categories we could use, of course.

Then there’s the question of the author himself. Let me use myself as an example. I write primarily to make a living, as I described here some months ago. In that sense, I’m writing for me and for my wife. Is that a less worthy motivation than writing to please an audience? I don’t think so – I have to write to please my readers, because if I don’t, they won’t be my readers for long and my ‘living’ will die! However, there are doubtless those who will regard my motivation as overly mercenary.

What about a more artistic motive? There are those authors who say they feel compelled to write, to tell a story, to get out into the world the creativity bottled up inside them. I’ve always been ambivalent about such attitudes. I mean, can one really say that ‘50 Shades of Grey’ is in any way creative when it’s basically fanfic, riffing off the creativity of another author in what appears to me to be copycat fashion? On the other hand, writers who create their own new worlds or environments or platforms are genuinely creative, and inspire my admiration.

What about fact versus fiction? Again, to use myself as an example, I try to use my own life experiences as ‘building blocks’ in writing my science fiction. A combat scene I describe might be set in a futuristic milieu, using weapons and technology and surroundings that are all alien to our understanding at present, but the tactics and sequence of events will, whenever possible, be based on one or more encounters where I can legitimately say I’ve “been there and done that”. I think that helps to make my writing more realistic. Am I writing fiction when I’m basically regurgitating what I’ve experienced? I think I am. Others may differ.

What about our inspiration? I don’t do fairy stories very well – I’ve never been one for that sort of thing. On the other hand, I grew up on a diet of fairy stories, and seem to recall enjoying them immensely, pictures and all. Have they served as subliminal inspiration? I loathe most movies, and hardly ever go to the theater or watch one on TV – but some movies have been powerful influences in my life, and even helped me to come to terms with some very painful experiences. Can my writing possibly remain unaffected by such emotional encounters?

I don’t pretend to have the answers to all these questions. I’m still pondering them, and may never come to a fully worked-out understanding of them. Nevertheless, they interest me, and I hope they interest the writers and readers of Mad Genius Club. What do you think? Let us know your views in Comments.

Peter

 

 

 

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Book Review: Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett

I am, as I’ve said a few times, a shameless Terry Pratchett fangirl. If it wasn’t so damn difficult to procure the goats and such a hassle to clean up the blood afterwards, I’d have an altar to him in the living room. I make do with his books instead.

That said, I find myself hoping that Raising Steam is one of Sir Pterry’s intermittent duds – because the alternative is that his embuggerance is eating his storytelling ability. Not that this stops Raising Steam from being head and shoulders about almost everything else out there. It’s just that Sir Pterry is usually head, shoulders and torso above everything else.

It’s a Moist von Lipwig book, which means lots of Vetinari (good), cameos by various members of the Watch (also good), Commander Vimes being badass in the nicest possible way. It helps a lot if you’ve read Thud! Also The Fifth Elephant. Those two books are probably the ones Raising Steam is the spiritual sequel of, although there’s a fair amount of the book that draws on key events in the previous Ankh-Morpork novels. It probably stands alone – I can’t be sure for the simple reason that I’ve read all the others – but it’s a lot richer when you have read the others, particularly the later ten or so. Roughly.

The problem I had is that while all the usual elements of a Pterry book are there, for the first half of the book everything seems just a little out of focus, as though he didn’t quite have the characters and voice in place. Somewhere about halfway through, everything clicks into place and Raising Steam becomes impossible to put down and the story is suddenly compelling.

As always with Pterry what the book is about isn’t what the book is about. In Raising Steam it’s on the surface about steam engines – particularly trains – Discworld style. Underneath is all about questions of who has power and who should have power. Dwarf schisms factor in heavily as does the Low King of Uberwald and matters of Dwarf sex, particularly the question of whether or not the other dwarf is male or female. Inevitably Lord Vetinari’s perspective wins because Lord Vetinari is the ultimate scary-competent benevolent (mostly) dictator – but the question of whether he’s correct still lingers.

In a lot of ways Pterry’s political points are rather more overt than usual, often – particularly with the deep dwarfs – edging into clumsiness. He never stoops to the “this is the Message and you will respect it” bullshit, but there’s still a bit too much hammering the point home for my liking – although I doubt the politically correct sorts will see what’s being said (they wouldn’t like it. At all).

All told, I’d rank this one somewhere at the bottom of the Pterry scale – which is a solid 4-5 star rating with lots of food for thought after you’ve finished the book. And I really hope Sir Pterry just had a dud this time around.

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It’s a Crisis

When I entered the publishing industry it was in crisis. I didn’t pay much attention to it, because friends who’d been publishing for decades told me it had always been in crisis.

What they didn’t tell me is that the crisis had been steadily worsening, since at least World War II. The reason they didn’t tell me that, is that if they’d told me that, I might have looked at print runs, and also how things were accepted/rejected/marketed.

Look, it is a condition of the human race to want control over scary situations. There is a reason for this. After all in the Neolithic, if you didn’t find a way to fight back/control the tiger/whatever, you’d be num num nummed, right? And you left no descendants…

So when the publishing industry entered its first crisis (as far as I can tell caused by paper scarcity in WWII though it might have been WWI) the executives decided there was ONE thing they needed: more control.

Little by little, they went from printing anyone who would “pass” the “okay” mark to trying to publish only “good” things (which quickly became a moral judgment where they confused themselves with social workers.) And then it was slowly morphed into “we will control how it’s marketed and how much it’s marketed and…”

With each measure of “control” culminating in the push model of the early oughts, the printruns took a nose dive.

This was predictable, not to say dead simple. If the person/s you’re trying to please aren’t those you’re selling to, but your bosses/colleagues/critics, you’re not going to please the public.

And this is how the crisis finally crashed, about five years ago. It crashed not because print runs had reached zero (though some rumors I’ve heard – never mind.) They were still finding things – usually one little line away from porn (if that) to bring in the rubes.

It’s a slippery slope, as movies have found out. Once you hit porn as a way to pack in the rubes, you’re going to have to increase the shock value exponentially EVERY TIME. But they hadn’t reached that point – yet.

But they’d reached low enough. Not to the level they weren’t a profitable industry, but to the level that their ignored and un-served clients were hankering for something.

Which is when, like the hero in a Western, riding over the ridge, we got ebooks. And kindle, and Amazon.  And those numbers made publishing houses have to pay attention to what was selling on Amazon…

And now, the wailing is that the publishing industry is more in trouble than ever. That is… b*llsh*t. It isn’t. Not the PUBLISHING INDUSTRY.  Just part of it.

Yes, some traditional publishing houses are in a mort of trouble. And of course, what they think they really need is more control.

They don’t. They need to take deep breaths and change direction. It should start with “Who are my customers and potential customers?” (One of the houses not in trouble is Baen who always kept sight of “serving our public.”) and continue through with “how do we attract good writers to our model?”

Dave Freer covered some of that in his post on Monday. It wouldn’t be very hard for even the most clueless publishers to turn the model around if they did that.

But as Amanda posted yesterday, they prefer to imagine they’re in control and to pay consultants to tell them what they wish to hear.  “Go to sleep.  There is no saber tooth tiger. You’re perfectly safe.”

It’s a crisis, see, and if they can’t control it, they’ll pretend they can. Or that they’re victims of circumstances. Or something.

It won’t work, but if it makes them happy, fine.

I’ll just wave as they fall off the cliff. Their crisis is not my crisis. I work for Baen and also now indie and, curiously, the old model holds true for this. Bad times are good for entertainment. I’m up to my neck in work, and things are starting to move. (If I can just catch up on lost time.)

So, forget the crisis. Read. Write. Let big publishing scream and run and jump off the cliff.

More for us.

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