Kudos to Dave for yesterday’s great post. I’m going to piggyback on it a bit.
I’ll admit I was at a bit of a loss about what to write today. For those of you following my blog, you know that real life has been hitting me hard and heavy of late. That means the brain has been focused on dealing with those issues and not with writing or writing-related topics. I’m not complaining. It is something we all face from time to time, especially when we have aging parents. Fortunately for me, the issues are slowly abating and life is finally starting to get back to normal.
Anyway . . . .
On the one Hugo related note I’m going to mention today, I find it ironic to see one of the most vocal critics of all things puppies saying that if we put as much effort into writing “great fiction” as we do into maintaining our “permanent snit”, we would have already written the next Foundation trilogy. It is ironic because he is the one who daily posts at least one — maybe more. I don’t take time to look at his posts unless they pop up on my wall for some reason — entry critical of the Puppies. It also points out the same fundamental issue between those who want the Hugos to remain as they are and those who support Sad Puppies. It is the issue of what is “great fiction” and who gets to decide. For me, I’ll let the readers decide. In my mind, they vote every time they put their money down to buy a book. I can see their votes every time I cash a royalty check. So far, I like how they are voting.
And that leads me into the first real topic of the day. We have just finished the second month of under the new payment rules for the Kindle Unlimited program. We don’t know for sure what the pay per normalized page viewed will be for August but we can look at the number of those pages that were read for each of our books in the program. Looking at my figures, they stayed pretty constant August compared to July. Certain genres had more “borrows” under the KU program than sales while others had more sales than “borrows”. The credibility will come — or not — over the next few months as we see how consistent Amazon is with payment per page. I know there are a number of shorter fiction authors who have cried foul over the new rules but, as a long fiction writer, I applaud the change. This is, perhaps, the fairest way to pay authors for their borrows. The only change I can foresee them putting into place right now — and it would be reasonable in my opinion — is to top out payment per normalized page to the amount an author would have made if the person borrowing the book had actually bought it.
Another thought on credibility came after reading this piece by Stephen King. There is the credibility — or perhaps reliability — between an author and her audience. The reading public doesn’t want to wait years and years between books in a series and yet they also don’t want something put out that is nothing but dreck, put out only because a deadline had to be met. Some authors only have one book in them. Others stress and strain over each and every word. There are those who will criticize authors who have high daily word counts or who publish more than one book every year or three. But the truth is, there is no formula that is correct for all. Just as there is no one definition on what is “great fiction”. It is subjective and every author needs to write at his own pace. You do what the story needs and requires, nothing more and nothing less — or at least your should. If you do, you will maintain a lot of your credibility with your audience. (And yes, I know. I know. I have three series going right now that I need to get books out on. I’m working on it. I swear I am.)
Finally, here’s an example of where too little, too late does not lend credibility to an association. In this case, the Author’s Guild has a post saying it it time to do away with the non-compete clause in publishing contracts. Of course, if you read the article, it actually goes into how to make such clauses “fair”. I have long argued that such clauses are the enemy of the author. My issue with AG finally speaking about about them is that it has taken them so long to do so. Where were they when authors were stripped of contracts and asked to return royalties because the author — gasp — dared to self-publish something while waiting for their traditionally published work to come out? Where were they when these clauses were used to sit on work by mid-list authors, preventing them from publishing the work elsewhere, even though the contract publisher knew it wasn’t going to buy the book?
Author’s Guild has lost much of its credibility with me over the last few years because of its stance against Amazon and the way it has overlooked indie publishing. This is just another example of how it, like much of traditional publishing, is behind the times.