Tag Archives: Toni Weisskopf

Life, the Universe, and Everything

This is Cedar, reporting in from Provo, Utah, where I am attending the rather scholarly LTUE. Seriously now, I have been told that had I know beforehand, I could have gotten some sort of college credit/points for attending this. Ah well… as a student, I’ve been madly trying to cram homework in around the crevices of really informative panels and meeting folks, making new friends and hugging old ones. As a result, I’m mildly delirious and very tired. And I still have a day to go, then a travel day home. I miss my First Reader, but maybe next year…

I’m not even going to try to do a full report tonight. The last two days have been brain-stuffing with tons of notes in some panels, and the wryly enigmatic (and solitary, it’s literally the only thing I wrote in the whole panel) note from one: “Scratch-‘N-Sniff Children’s History Books.” Don’t know how well those would sell, but hey, it’s roll on the floor funny if you think it through. Pirates! Medieval Castles! Hey kids, smell the ages… man, they reeked, didn’t they?

I had one class where I sat and sketched. But that was ok, as it was on Drawing Perspective. During the Fight Scene panel with Larry Correia (and Jared Barnek, SA Butler, Maxwell A Drake, and Michaelbent Collings) there was an actual attack… by a wasp, which the panelist targeted managed to fend off with a wave of his program book. I was reminded that George Vaillant’s wonderful book Adaptations to Life and the DSM would both be good resources for writing mental illness and motivations during the Writing and Mental Heath panel with Howard Tayler and David Powers King.

The Romance: More than Sex panel was very informative, except for no microphone and one panelist I could not hear from the back of the crowded room. But it wasn’t a wasted hour, if for no other reason than hanging with my favorite Romance author and kibbitzing with him, and watching a lightbulb go on for him was truly delightful. I even went so far as to heckle a bit on the Reading the Tea Leaves: Future of Technology panel. I couldn’t help it, but at least I made Toni Weisskopf laugh. We seem to share a certain cynical outlook and love for freedom. As she said “Not convenience, sex and guns [will drive technology]. We care about protecting ourselves, and boinking, and seeing the next day.”

The Culture of Immortality panel with Howard Tayler cracking irreverent jokes was a treat, and a hearty laugh. Afterward, dinner at the food truck brought to the con by Joe, a fellow SFF fan, was a real treat. The Grill Sergeant makes great burgers. And to round out my evening, I attended the Military Strategy panel and listened to the very soft-voiced Mike Kupari point out that depending on the government, the military might not have a strategy overall, but that whatever else, communications were the key.

And now I’m writing to all of you. Enjoy the pictures, and I will do a full AAR on my blog, probably Monday. Because tired, and one more day of mental pleasure still in store for me. Then my brain will be full.

LTUE 33

Keith and Karen Evens of the Grantville Gazette.

Food Truck

The Grill Sergeant Food truck at LTUE: good food.

LTUE Photos

Tracy Hickman, Paul Genesse, Virginia Baker, and Howard Tayler

Toad, the dapper man about the con.

Toad, the dapper man about the con.

LTUE Photos

Toni Weisskopf, Larry Correia, and Mike Kupari

LTUE 33

Toni Weisskopf, Stephen Miller, Roger White, and Robert Defendi

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The Core of Science Fiction

Overnight, I find, there has been a controversy erupt on the internet. Well, this is hardly new. Ah, but you see, this has to do with SF. Oh, you say, the SFWA again? No, it’s the boy witless wonder once more. Now I see, you reply, and this is why you aren’t providing a link, because all he really is, is clickbait. Precisely.

I will, however, give you two other links. One is to Brad Torgerson’s blog, where that normally mild-mannered man loses his temper, just a little. “Unfortunately, ignorant snobbery of this sort is nothing new in the genre. You find out very quickly (once you begin publishing) which writers, editors, publishers, and artists enjoy the favor of the “society” people, and which writers, editors, publishers, and artists do not. My from-the-hip observation is that the “society” people want to see SF/F turned into a lightly speculative and fantastical carbon copy of the “prestigious literary” world. Replete with ambiguous covers that don’t really tell you anything about the story, but follow the general pattern of all things deemed “prestigious” and “literary.” If this year’s talked-about lit work features a somewhat fuzzy, off-focus photo of a pair of muddy Converse sneakers sitting on somebody’s front stoop, then by golly SF/F needs to follow suit with similar photos of similarly mundane, slightly off-focus objects which may or may not have anything to do with actual science fiction; as practiced traditionally by the greats.”

And also, because these people who consider themselves ‘literary’obviously can’t be bothered to read (perhaps this is the secret to literary fiction, after all: it is not mean to be actually read with comprehension). Here is a link to the original article by Toni Weisskopf, and a central paragraph, although I urge you if you have not read it all, to do so. “So the core of science fiction, its method, is still a valid way of creating the cultural artifacts we want. But is it necessary to engage those of differing political persuasions to get this method? I feel the answer is probably yes. You don’t get a conversation with only one opinion, you get a speech, lecture or soliloquy. All of which can be interesting, but not useful in the context of creating science fiction. But a conversation requires two way communication. If the person on the other side is not willing to a) listen and b) contribute to the greater whole, there is no point to the exercise.”

I’m awfully tired of all of this. I’d ask what he thinks he is accomplishing with his weasel words (weasels: kill upon detection of movement, keep killing until everything stops moving. This is why an animal who can’t possibly eat all of that will destroy an entire henhouse. For joy of slaughter) except I’m not sure even he knows. Analyzing the words and overall drift of his articles, it’s difficult to see a true motive intelligence behind them. Which means I avoid them.

The internet gives a lot of people who are borderline a safe outlet for their activities. People who couldn’t function in normal society, can have a social life and even employment, contributing to society in a positive way, through the internet. I’ve written at length about this. However, a small fraction of the people who are online interacting are so lost to ration and reason they are unreachable. Kate’s post earlier this week about a pair of people who went beyond the pale and just would not let matters drop is a good example. I’ve dealt with, and had to block, similar folks. There is no piercing of the veil of delusion. They aren’t going to listen, and arguing is only damaging your own blood pressure.

Sometimes, it’s best to just back away slowly, and avoid that landmine, now you know where it is. Others, like today, I chose to defend someone I like a lot, because she didn’t deserve this (does anyone?) and perhaps by making her words more broadly findable, people who thought the weasels were reasonable will see the truth.

We’ll never be free of weasels. But we don’t have to allow them to rule over us and cause us to live in fear.

On a lighter note, and because I think Toni would approve of my pointing out that “winning the George Washington awards (every royalty period) is all the recognition needed” here are links to a few books…

Some are mine, most are not. The Great Labor Day Book Sale forges onward, with cheap books (gasp!) accessible to all.

This book is mine, Pixie Noir, my urban fantasy, will be on sale for only a dollar starting today, then slowly increasing to it’s regular price over the weekend. Remember, it’s easy to give ebooks as gifts!

And I have a cute little children’s story that is free today. Meant to be read aloud with your favorite youngling, it is a story of a boy, and his baby sister.

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We Can’t Just All Get Along

I didn’t wanna do it. Really, I didn’t. But I’ve got a teething three-month-old, which leaves about *that* much creative juice. Oh, you can’t see that? Oh, sorry. (Actually, that’s probably a good thing, for any number of reasons) Well, I’m holding my index finger and thumb apart. At least, I’m told it’s apart, but it feels like together. I’m also told physics gets a little weird when you get that small. Anyway, we have a temporary solution to Wee Dave’s concerns over his molars (yeah: definitely my child, though I send Significant Dark Looks toward his Avo, who appears to have passed on some heredity-by-adoption I could have done without), and hopefully I’ll get to the prologue for Signals (a project most of you don’t yet know about. Hush, you’ll find out in good time) today. See, there’s this guy, and he’s from the Revolutionary War and he’s dead, but he’s kinda not, and he’s in a dimension that kinda-sorta-maybe feels like a giant 1940’s noir New York-L.A.-Chicago-New Orleans. Anyway, it’s complicated, and there are demons. Except they’re not really demons. So I hope to get to that today, probably after my grandparents’ dining set arrives.

Where was I? Right: I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to write about the Hugos, as there’s been a metric crap-ton written about them already. Cousin Kate (long story, turns out we’re family. Be afraid.) wrote an excellent summary of how the voting works. That was up yesterday, if you missed it. Despite having participated for a few years, I could never wrap my head around it. I agree with her conclusions: good for politics. Which should tell you all you need to know about WorldCon and the Hugos Awards these days. I agree with her other conclusion, about how the best reward is green and folds. It’s the reason I got into this whole protituti-authorial gig in the first place. Well, that and my constitutional inability to fit neatly into corporate America (No, really: lengthy commutes make me break out in green skin and purple pants. It’s weird).

Larry Correia, Int’l Lord of Hate, Cismale Gendernormative Fascist, husband, father, and all-around great guy, put up his Aftermath to the Aftermath to the Hugos a couple of days ago, if you missed it. In it, he reiterates that the point wasn’t to win, but to expose the sham of a group of three thousand or so fans marching in lockstep (Aside: this is a rhetorical device used suggest that all of the WorldCon attendees/voters are more or less the same. It’s not true, as I know plenty of them. This, however, is an editorial piece, and I’m not pretending at objectivity, unlike those on the other side of this putative divide. See my authenticity, transparency, and honesty.) allegiance to a concept of scifi that seems to exclude the vast majority of the fanbase as a whole. For a worthy treatment of that last bit, see Brad Torgerson’s post mortem on the Sad Puppies 2 campaign. No, really: go read it. And the comments.

Which brings me to my point. This divide is killing science fiction fandom as we know it. It’s a microcosm of post-Marx politics, wherein you have no opponents, only enemies whose skulls you aren’t yet drinking from. This is a bit of problem in what is still, largely, a family affair. Seriously, we’re not all that different, despite the attempts to demonstrate that one side is composed of nothing but jackbooted theocrats, hoping in the dark hell of their spawning pits that this is the day they’ll get to crucify those people who choose to live differently, those who look different, and all those uppity women, too. Yes, even the female ones.

The cries of “Diversité! Egalité! Inclusivité!” are nigh deafening, just loud enough to cover the sound of editorial Guillotines chopping off the careers of those who speak out about the abuses of the system. If it wasn’t for indie (and Baen, who takes a remarkably American approach to selling the written word) I expect Brad, Larry, John C. Wright and the Most Hated Man in Science Fiction, the incorrigible Vox Day, himself (who, it should be noted, expressed a very gentlemanly response to coming in sixth out of five for that particular Hugo), would likely have to go back to their day jobs for all the quasi-public outcry. And character assassination, though I’ll get to that shortly.

I say quasi-, because outside of publishing and a certain subset of fandom, most people have no idea this conflict is even happening. Look, when I have to explain to avid readers how the publishing system works in order for them to understand why things are as odd as they are (and this – the Hugo controversy, the ongoing Amazon-Hachette wrangle, the combustibility of the Twitterverse, etc. – does looks strange to people who deal with madness-of-a-different-color every day), that should suggest to even the most partisan of my readers that our troubles amount to a pretty small hill of beans in this crazy world. Keep firmly in mind that readers go to a store, get a book, and read it. More these days, they’ll log onto Amazon, download a book, and read it. They certainly don’t ask pointed questions about the ethnic extraction of a given author, or what she thinks about the plight of the indigenous peoples of southeast Asia. They have little knowledge and less interest about the ins-and-outs of the publishing industry as a whole, beyond a vague, “huh, I wonder how that works?”

To paraphrase Sayre’s Law, “politics in the publishing industry is so vicious precisely because the stakes are so low.” When a minor celebrity – and outside of King, Rowling and a few others, authors are ALL minor celebrities, at best – gets accused of such things as beating his family, there might be a problem in the way you’re managing things, Science Fiction. This is arguably libel. Libel is bad. I may dislike a person personally and professionally, but it goes beyond the pale to suggest, just in passing, you understand, that I understand his wife had a couple of bruises on her arm at the grocery store the other day, and isn’t he such a big and angry man? This is the kind of rumor that can get families torn apart, under the watchful and well-armed eye of the government.

And that, right there, is the point of this whole screed. This kind of behavior is a rot. This rot is poisoning our family, and it’s poisoning scifi fandom. The outside world, when they notice us, is saying, “aren’t they the ones who can’t handle jokes? Who get all pissy when you mention Dark Vader (true story: I totally thought that was his name, when I was three) and don’t like football?” Consequently, despite all the press high-powered nerds have gotten over the past decade or so, with the continued rise of technology, and introduction of such freaking awesomeness as reactionless drives (I know, I know, still testing. I can hope, see?), handheld computing and carrying around a library on my touchscreen device (something I dreamed about as a kid), we’re still at the place of, “what’s with the funny-looking dice, nerds?” most of us experienced sometime in school.

This may sound like an appeal to unity. It’s not. If you want one, Toni Weisskopf wrote one back in March. I’m not that optimistic. I think the poison has gone too deep. I don’t expect scifi (or SF, or even SF/F: YMMV) to die, certainly. I do expect it to fragment. Given the accusations of sour grapes from one side, and collusion (not necessarily cheating, especially given Larry’s Aftermath post) from the other side, and the attending storm of angst and ill will, I expect fandom to fracture on ideological lines. Namely, those interested in art and literature, and those interested in having fun.
Which is really what this comes down to. Why are you part of this community? Is it for the sniping, the endless clever lines scoring points off of your “opponents?” Or is it a matter of enriching lives worn by the cares of the world? What are we, as a community, going to look like in a decade, two decades? Older, grayer and more tired, attending the same panels with the same panelists and the same tired, gray topics? Me, I’m in it for the money (Pipe down, you. You know who you are!), and that doesn’t happen without work, so I’m going to go do- oh, never mind: Wee Dave is complaining again.

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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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Baen E-Books Now Available Through Amazon

Last week, Toni Weisskopf of Baen Books announced that she’d inked a deal to bring Baen e-books to Amazon. This has been a deal long in the works and one that will broaden Baen’s digital exposure. In my opinion, this is a necessary move for Baen, the pioneer in e-books, if it wants to continue leading the digital revolution. Most of all, I applaud Toni for not only inking this deal but for increasing author royalties for e-book sales, something she couldn’t have done had she kept their digital sales limited to just the Baen e-books site.

As a bit of background, Jim Baen, founder of Baen Books, began selling e-books more than a decade ago. When he did, there was no Kindle or Nook or iPad. E-books were in their infancy and most everyone in the publishing industry not only thought Jim was more than a bit crazy to be embracing the technology so early on but condemned him for doing so at low cost per title and for refusing to infuse the books with DRM. After Jim’s death, Toni continued expanding Baen’s digital library. Not only are new titles being offered each month but so are backlist titles, including books by such “masters” of science fiction as Heinlein.

Fast forward to the age of the Kindle, Nook and tablets. Amazon opened the Kindle store and others followed suit. Most publishers, as they began realizing e-books were selling and were not going to disappear in a sudden flash, signed deals with Amazon and Barnes & Noble (and later Apple) to sell their e-books. Without going through the entire agency pricing ongoing debate and debacle, these e-books were initially offered at prices that rarely exceeded $9.99. That price was for the so-called “best sellers” and new releases. As a book went from hard cover to soft cover, the prices dropped and all were basically happy. $9.99 became the price point most e-book purchases were willing to pay for new releases, especially of their favorite authors.

Add to that the ease and convenience of simply turning on your e-reading device or smart phone with its app, going to the Kindle store (or Nook, etc) and finding a book, buying it and having it delivered almost instantaneously to your device and you had some very happy readers. Then the ability to preview a book was added so you could download a sample before having to commit any funds to buying a book. It was just about perfect.

For various reasons, and I am not privy to them, Baen Books was not able to get into the Kindle Store until now. That meant it was missing out on a resource that cut deeply into potential sales. People would go to Amazon or BN and look up their favorite Baen author and find physical copies of the books available but no e-books. Nothing on the product page pointed them to the Baen e-book store. Threads would occasionally pop up asking why Baen wasn’t selling digital copies of their books and, occasionally, someone would point the person asking the question to the Baen site where e-books could be bought.

Folks started asking Toni on Baen’s Bar when Baen would start selling e-books through other sites. For more than a year she’s been telling folks to be patient. She was working on it.

Then, several weeks ago, she warned everyone to download and back up anything they might want that was currently offered through Baen’s Free Library. Speculation started flying then about what might be about to happen. More warnings were issued, including cryptic ones alluding to a big announcement about to come. Even with all this, there were cries of “foul” when the Free Library was gutted and most of the books disappeared.

Those cries turned into roars when Toni made the announcement last week that Baen had entered into an agreement to start selling its e-books through the Kindle store. I’ll be the first to admit that the initial announcement wasn’t worded as well as it could have been. There were some points of confusion, especially about the monthly bundles. But Toni responded quickly, doing her best to answer the questions. And still the uproar continues. Why? Because Baen is dealing with “the Evil Amazon” and because prices are going up.

I thought long and hard about whether to address what folks have been saying about this latest development. After all, as I said earlier, I haven’t been privy to the negotiations. Nor do I particularly want to pick a fight with fellow barflies. However, some of the attacks on this move have been so asinine that I decided something had to be said. So, let’s start with the “sin” of working with Amazon.

Toni has an obligation to the people with a financial stake in Baen to make the most money possible for the company. That means making sure Baen books are available in as many outlets as possible. No one argues with the fact that Baen’s hard copy books are in the Amazon store. In fact, if you log onto Baen’s Bar and read through the various threads, you’ll see that some of those complaining about selling e-books through Amazon are more than happy to buy the hard copy versions of the books there because they can buy them at lower than cover cost. But Amazon is evil.

The truth of the matter is, Baen needs to be in the Kindle store — just as it needs to be in the Nook store and iTunes, etc — to expand its digital footprint. Most potential customers looking for a book in one of these venues will simply look for another book and not leave the app they are using to go to the Baen e-bookstore. It’s foolish in this day and age not to have your e-books available in the same outlets where your hard copy books are being sold.

Oh, and before anyone starts screaming about DRM, there will be no DRM attached to e-books sold through Amazon. So there is no change there.

Folks are upset because this means there will be an increase in the cost of Baen e-books. Okay, I’d like to see the e-books stay at the same price, but the fact remains there hasn’t been a jump in cost in something like 10 years. It’s past time for Baen to increase the price of their e-books. The argument that the new price of $9.99 is the same, or less, than would be paid for a paperback doesn’t fly. For one thing, that $9.99 price is for new releases — exactly what the pricing used to be on Amazon before agency pricing. Toni has also assured the ‘flies that the pricing will decrease as mmpb versions of books are released. So, if you don’t want to pay that much for your e-book, don’t. Wait six months and pay the lower price. No one is saying you have to pay that price. It is up to you if you want to buy a single title when it first comes out.

Then there’s the upset about what this does to the monthly bundles. Because of the rule Amazon — and every other major e-book outlet — has about not selling e-books at a lower price elsewhere, the monthly bundles are having to evolve. Basically what is happening is you can still buy the bundles for the very good price of $18. However, those bundles disappear around the 15th of the month before the e-books become available for sale on Amazon or elsewhere (I may be slightly off on when they disappear, but this is my understanding). The impact of this is that you can no longer go back and buy a bundle for a previous month nor can you wait for the entire e-book to be available before buying the bundle.

Oh the cries of “foul” this has caused.

Look, folks, get a grip. Toni and the rest of the folks at Baen have to worry about how to expand their sales. Publishing is in a time of transition. Every publisher is fighting to find more customers. No longer is it enough to simply work to keep the customers you have. This move to Amazon, while it does mean a modest increase in prices — especially if you wait for the initial price to go down — is well worth it if it means Baen not only continues to thrive in the future but can continue to bring us quality science fiction and fantasy titles.

I guess what really got to me in the various threads attacking this move was the accusation that Toni had basically betrayed everything Jim stood for. Here is where I call bullshit. What is she doing? Expanding Baen’s digital presence. Insuring her authors have a wider platform to sell their books — which means more money for them and for Baen.

Look, you don’t want to pay $9.99 for a single title? Then find the bundle that new title will be offered in and buy it. For $18 you will get that book and at least one other new title as well as at least three reprints. That’s a pretty damned good deal in my opinion.

Before someone starts saying that I’ve changed my stance on e-book pricing, I haven’t. $9.99 has always been the price point I’ve been willing to pay for new release books by certain authors. It’s when an e-book is more than that where I have problems.

And don’t give me the “it doesn’t cost as much to make an e-book” argument. And, yes, that has been tossed out there in response to the announcement as well. No, it doesn’t. But I trust Toni to have gotten the best deal possible for Baen, for her authors and for her readers. No one likes a price increase. However, if this is what it took to get into Amazon, to increase Baen’s e-book presence and make it easier for more readers to find them, I can live with it.

As for the Baen Free Library, that’s been explained as well. Since most of the titles in the free library will be made available for sale through Amazon, they could no longer be offered for free through the Baen site. The solution is a good one: new editions of these books will be put together, something that will make them different from the “for sale” editions. Once these editions are available, they will be uploaded to the Free Library site and made available. It will take some time but, let’s face it, there was nothing mandating Baen offer these titles for free in the first place. It was a good marketing tool for them and Jim — as well as Toni — knew it. So chill and read what you already have on your reader or computer and relax. The free library will be back.

For those of you upset because the Baen CDs “disappeared”, chill out. They aren’t gone. At least not yet. You can still find the iso versions of them through Joe Buckley’s site. The only real difference I’ve seen there is that you can’t browse the books individually nor can you read them online. You can still see what each CD includes and you can download an iso or zip file. So they aren’t gone. At least not yet.

I guess what has really bothered me about all the uproar is the sense of entitlement I’ve seen in so many of the comments. There have been the Amazon haters who have said they will not be buying anything else from Baen because of the new agreement. Others who are upset at the increase on price for new releases so they won’t be buying as many, or any, more e-books. There was even one who said this price increase would lead to more piracy of Baen e-books.

Look, no one is saying you have to buy from Amazon. The Baen e-bookstore isn’t going away. That’s still where I’ll be buying my Baen e-books. You don’t like the increased prices, then wait for the prices to come down. But get the hell off your high horse and give the new agreement a chance.

Most of all, remember that this change helps the authors we have all come to love, including our own Sarah and Dave. By getting Baen e-books into the Kindle store, the potential audience is increased not slightly but greatly. So are their potential royalties.

No one likes change and I’ve never seen anyone who likes price increases. But costs do increase. Prices do raise. At least with these you know they will come down and you can plan accordingly. Sure, it would have been nice if there had been more notice so we could have grabbed past monthly bundles before they became unavailable. Yeah, there should have been a way for PT to have sent out notice to all prior e-book purchasers of the upcoming change and there could have been a warning put up on the Baen site. But, for whatever reason, this wasn’t done. It still shouldn’t be a deal-breaker for those of us who buy Baen e-books.

So, for everyone slinging condemnations at Toni and Baen, get over yourselves. This is something that needed to be done. If it means not putting off buying a bundle, then mark your calendars so you don’t forget. Don’t want to pay $9.99, wait for the price to come down. It will. I don’t know about you, but I’m willing to pay a bit more if it means the authors I enjoy have the chance of selling more books because more books means that author has a better chance of getting another contract with Baen.

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