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Posts by Peter Grant

Amazon reviews: the good, the bad and the ugly

Many of those who write here have commented in the past about the problem of “fake” reviews, or “buying” reviews, of books on Amazon.com.  It’s grown to be an enormous problem across that site, not just with books, but with anything where there’s an opportunity to con the consumer by making them think that a product is better than it really is.

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Food for thought

Two articles caught my eye during the past week.  I’d like to share them with you.

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Another attack on author rights

The Authors Guild reports:

One of the nation’s leading newspapers is attempting an unprecedented rights grab, according to its writers. In the midst of contract negotiations with its newsroom staff, the Los Angeles Times, purchased last year by biotech billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, has proposed that its journalists, as a condition of employment, cede control of any books or other creative works made outside of their daily journalistic duties.

The Los Angeles Times Guild, a trade union representing some 400 newsroom staffers, has called the proposal “a new low in the newspaper industry,” pointing out that no other major newspaper has such strict copyright restrictions. “If we have a book idea related to our work,” according to the Times Guild, “the company wants unfettered power to claim control over whether it gets written, who owns the copyright and what we might get paid for it.”

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What did I tell you?

Earlier this morning, I put up an article titled “Starting a discussion on the future of independent publishing“.  In it, I said (bold print is my emphasis):

In the sense that indie authors provide content that aggregators like Amazon can use to drive traffic to their channels, we have a certain amount of “job security” – but that will last only as long as the traffic we bring to those channels justifies their investment in a hospitable environment for us. I submit that if Amazon, or any other major sales “channel”, decides that it can derive a more profitable return on investment by reallocating what it spends on us to something or someone else, it will do so in a skinny minute.

It was an eerily prophetic statement.  Bloomberg reports:  “Amazon Suppliers Panic Amid Purge Aimed at Boosting Profits“.

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Starting a discussion on the future of independent publishing

As regular readers will know, I try to focus on the business of independent writing and publishing, rather than the creative side.  There are two reasons.  First, there are plenty of good creative-focus articles and sites out there:  and second, there aren’t enough focusing on the fact that writing is, essentially, a business for all of us except those who are doing it as a hobby – and I don’t think there are many of those here.

Be that as it may, I’ve been noodling over the state of the industry for a while now.  I’m seeing a stratification emerge, and I think it’s going to affect how we work as independent authors and publishers.  I’d like to put my (admittedly incomplete) thoughts out there, and ask for your input in Comments as to how you see things.  You may figure I’m completely wrong, or partly right, or whatever.  That’s fine.  I’m trying to get a discussion going, so we can all learn from it.

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Artificial intelligence and the craft of writing

In his superb “Up the Organization” (probably the best book on business and management I’ve ever read, and one I like to re-read every year), Robert Townsend spoke of the “Man From Mars” approach.

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Disruption and the business of writing

A recent article claimed that “60% of Fortune 1000 companies will be out of business in just next 10 years“.  I’ve been following up some of the points its author makes.  Here’s an excerpt.

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