blood to the extremities

Ok, so real life is yanking my chain. I have one mysteriously dead vehicle (the frankencar, alas), a friend’s one I am trying to revive, and another I am trying to get ready for roadworthy. I love spending my time on vehicles (which I understand poorly at best, but work on from necessity.) As usual I am trying to have at least one semi-reliable vehicle available for ambulance call-outs.

Added to this: I have our genius petty officials at our local council somehow concluding that translocated houses (inevitably old) are magically new build (not the new stumps, the whole thing), and therefore subject to their inspection to match current standards. Yes, you did understand that clearly. A clear impossibility. This means a multi-million dollar, ecologically conservative business… is completely non-viable. They rely on fact that they’re picking on some small guy in the middle of nowhere, and you dare not complain, or they simply make the process even more unpleasant, so this does not become a public precedent. This of course is very much how the publishing industry worked: no one ever knew how others were being treated, quite how their books were distributed, or marketed, or even just how many sold.

It was a hell-system to work in, and only could work when there were no alternatives – very much like our local government. You have to fight your way through a council/publisher somewhere. This one may be worse than the next one, or not. But while everyone was to afraid to speak up about abuses — the abuses continued. And because power corrupts abuses got worse.

When an alternative did arrive – self publishing, and publishers, disdainful at first became increasingly shrill about the fact that no-one kept their secrets any more, and of course they were quality and the bestest evah, and self pubbed books were rubbish, and the fact that their market share was dropping was just unrelated. Taking measures to become competitive would seem logical. But so far, no sign. They’d rather see their organization go bust, than surrender power. Humans survive extreme conditions like cold water, by shutting blood-flow down the extremities, and conserving the core parts (the brain is last to lose support, fingers and toes first. And likewise we’ve seen publishing, as things get tighter, more of they consider ‘extremities’ (not what you and I consider extremities, necessarily – things like small, profitable ‘midlisters) get cut off from blood-flow. I expect – as this recession bites, the various small councils – like the one I am in, get their blood-flow constricted too. The interesting question is whether any of them learn, become competitive, turn their backs on the old practices. Myself, I doubt it.

Anyway, we find ourselves with our own problems. There is no point in supporting traditional publishing any way that is not convenient to you. There is a real benefit in supporting indy.

12 comments

  1. My father loved working on cars. Were he still with us, and if I could magically transport him to your location, I am sure he would have a blast helping you out.

    I’m so sorry to hear your frustrations with the house project are ongoing. I wish the people on them would remember that they are there mainly to ensure that roofs, wiring, etc. are workable and not to get in the owners’ way.

  2. Speaking of Trad-Pub, favorites, and “should we be ‘fair’ or should we make money?” https://spectator.org/nonwhite-authors-are-claiming-barnes-noble-is-racist/

    If books don’t sell, people must be offered no other option except to buy them! That way minorities will sell books. *facepaw* As usual, to me it says more about the activists than about readers. After all, purported photo aside, Dave might be an uplifted echidna, or spiny lobster (named Norman) for all readers know or care.

    Best wishes for coping with the bureaucrats, Dave!

    1. For those who are too lazy to click, here are a few highlights:

      With Barnes & Noble’s decision to let stores decide what books to sell, publishers do not have the absolute power to make its stores sell fewer books from white writers.

      Oh, my heart bleeds for the poor publishers. How will they endure?

      “You really don’t have a chance to ever become one of the top one or two, because how can you if your books are not going to be [stocked]?”

      “Publishers will take one look at the numbers, and they’ll think that my middle-grade debut failed because people didn’t want to read the book — rather than the truth that they simply couldn’t discover it,” Kemp said.

      Oh, you guys are just now figuring that out? Here’s a clue-by-four: THAT IS HOW IT HAS BEEN FOR EVERYONE WHO WASN’T ONE OF THE PUBLISHER’S DARLINGS. Do you think that more or fewer writers will have a chance now that different bookstores can pick their favorites?

      “Young people,” she said, “will wander the shelves of Barnes & Noble looking for, and never finding, books with characters who look like them.”

      Oh really? Just how many “young people” do you think every voluntarily set foot in a Barnes & Noble?

      As an added bonus, do you think that number is more likely to go up if, (a) the stores stock things that people in the area want to buy, or (b) the stores stock what’s demanded by the publisher, which doesn’t sell, leading lots of them to go out of business?

      Ironically, for a group of critical race theorists, it seems to me that they’re actually guilty of what they like to accuse those from the majority of doing: crying “discrimination” when what’s really happened is that they’ve been forced to give up their unfair advantage.

  3. Now that I’m done mocking, it seems to me that the article does bring up a serious point for writers:

    Is hardcover a good format, especially for new writers? The article claimed “'[u]p to 80 percent of middle grade hardcovers’ purchased by Barnes & Noble went unsold and were returned to publishers,” and I’ll say that’s at least plausible. The simple reality is that hardcover books are expensive. I would NEVER buy a hardcover book by a debut author. Hardcovers are for authors that I know I like and for whose work I am unwilling to wait the extra eight-to-twelve months to get it in paperback.

    Is pushing hardcover, especially for new authors, another one of trad publishing’s serious mistakes?

    1. I don’t know, because I don’t know how well soft-cover books aimed at the 8-12 year old set sell. The books I recall from back then are all hard-cover, but that was the late 70s-early 80s. A geologic time period ago, in book trend terms.

      1. I was in that demographic back in the early 2000s, and by then most of the books were softcover, a trend that I think started in the ’90s. Things may have changed since, though.

        And here’s the thing–I don’t buy hardcover fiction at all, both because of the expense and because my shelf space is limited and paperbacks take up less room. Pretty sure I’m not the only one who thinks that way.

        1. I rarely buy paperback fiction anymore. Takes up less shelf space sitting on my Kindle than a paperback and is generally cheaper – about the price I used to pay for paperbacks as a kid.

  4. Sorry to hear that Dave, but I’m a bit far away to help with the Utes. Good luck with the petty assholes… sigh

Comments are closed.