Saturday, February 25, 2012

What I Learned at the Nursing Home


Once you enter,
A part of you never leaves.

The young know too little;
The old know too much.

Gangrene isn't so bad;
It’s true despair that’s scary.

Before complimenting a woman’s teeth;
Inquire if she is wearing dentures.

There is great strength in asking for help;
There is great weakness in pretending you cannot hear.

Talking beats morphine;
Morphine beats wallpaper.

The diaper is always soiled;
Enter prepared to change it.

Everyone wants to go home,
Many won’t.

The difference between your eighties and nineties:
Everyone you knew.

Offer a terminal man ten million bucks and he'll take it;
Offer him ten painless minutes and he'll hand it right back.

The old pick each of their words
Like you select a tie.

Every last one of them is constipated;
A good clinician needs to determine the degree.

Shame,
It can be worse than any pain.

Daytime television can be a surrogate family;
Brian Williams, a benevolent god.

Loss has many different flavors,
All of them taste quite bad.


Losing your memory is terrifying,
Till you can't remember you're losing it.

You can be tired of living
And scared shitless of dying.

The first thing that they do after spotting you
Is wonder how long you'll stay.

Leave a man in his filth,
Soak away his pride.

In the hospital, they hate you for waking them up;
In the nursing home, they wait all night for it.

Bed sores are a special kind of evil,
Best treated with a brand of New Zealand honey.

Charts can be large,
And, notes, sparse.

Goals should be set often,
And posted next to the photos of the grandkids.

Family visits call for lipstick;
Know how to apply lipstick.

Solid food—
Savor it.

Beer—
Savor it.

Soda—
Savor it.

Coffee—
Savor it.

Chocolate—
Savor it.

Pudding—
Get used to it.


Privacy is for the spoiled,
Leave all doors open and all beds facing the action.

Each time she tells you the same story,
She’s telling you a different story.

Some wounds never heal,
But all wounds can be tended.

There is a difference between dying and actively dying,
This determination is best left to the nurses.

If she tells you that it’s her time,
Don’t let your last words to her be ‘You’ll be fine.’

Stethoscopes don't run out of batteries,
But medical students can run out of words.

B.

[My medically related pieces are amalgams derived from fading memories and coffee-smeared notebooks. Many facts have been intentionally altered or distorted, and nothing in them is more than six months new. Please don’t try to match them up to actual events. You’ll only get a headache.]

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Nice Fit

This video really jives with the scene I'm writing...


In fact, the whole Megalithic Symphony album has been a lifesaver.

B.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Thank You, Apple!


It is a happy week in indie publishing land. I feel like the folks over at Apple are finally starting to take us seriously! First, Apple corrected their wonky iAuthor EULA. And now, in an Email sent to their vendors, Apple has announced some great new tools for small indie publishers:
We would like to make you aware of the following:

Promo Codes

Get up to 50 free promo codes for each of your books, which you can distribute for publicity purposes as review copies. Codes can only be requested by users with the Legal role, for titles with a status of “On the Store” or “Ready for Store.”

For more information about how to request promo codes, see the FAQ.

Screenshots

You can now provide screenshots to describe your books better on the iBookstore. Screenshots are particularly useful for Fixed Layout, Read Aloud, and Multi-Touch books.

The requirements for screenshots are 1024 x 768 or 768 x 1024, in the RGB color space, and the file must be .jpeg, .jpg, or .png. You may remove the menu bar from your screenshots, in which case the resolution requirements are 1004 x 768 or 748 x 1024. To deliver your screenshots, use iTunes Producer 2.5 or later.

Series

To create series, your book deliveries must include series data such as Series Name and Number in Series. This ties together different volumes of a series on the iBookstore.

For more information, see the documentation in the Deliver Your Content module.

Pre-Orders

Pre-orders are an easy way to generate sales before publication. Now, you can make your book available for pre-order without submitting a cover or book asset up until two weeks prior to publication date. Your pre-order will appear live in the iBookstore as soon as you deliver complete metadata. You must submit the cover, book asset, and custom preview two weeks prior to publication.

For more information, see the iTunes Producer User Guide.

Regards,

The iBookstore team
The pre-order feature alone is huge. I know a lot of you Amazon customers have been prodding me to offer pre-orders on my new releases—but I can't. Amazon only grants pre-order privileges to their own imprints and their larger publishing partners. That Apple has decided to offer this feature is wonderful, and a wise exploitation of one of Amazon KDP's weaknesses.

Pre-orders add a measure of convenience to both the author and reader. They grant books added publicized prior to release, and they allow readers to receive their favorite books the second they come out. That indie authors could not offer this feature was a huge deficit.

Pretty cool change, right?

But that's not all...

Apple also announced across the board 70% Royalties!!!!


That royalty rate matches Amazon's rate and is 5% higher than B&N. Only Smashwords' on-site rate is better. And Apple isn't setting an arbitray $2.99 bar for their 70% royalty rate like Amazon. Even $1 titles get the 70% rate.

So, may I be the first to sing...



In a way, we have Amazon to thank for the changes.

In early December, Amazon announced an exclusivity deal for independent authors. If you joined their new program called KDP-Select, you got enrolled in a special borrowing program for Amazon Prime customers and also got to set your book free in the Kindle store for five days out of every ninety. Free sales can be a huge boon for publicity, and being able to schedule them proved to be a potent sales stimulus for some authors. (Check out this excellent post by Phoenix Sullivan if you want an explainer.) But exclusive means exclusive. In return, you had to pull your novels from every other e-bookstore out there.

KDP-Select was a tempting offer, but I resisted it after discussing the terms with my readers. Many prefer to read EPUBs rather thank Kindle MOBIs, and accepting Amazon exclusivity would have cut them out of future releases. But the decision to abstain didn't come free. The past two months were tough. KDP-Select authors have received preferential treatment by the Amazon algorithms (borrows count as sales), and they were able to use their free sales to generate free publicity. The categories my books rely on for promotion were sent into turmoil. The early part of February was the absolute worst. A flurry of free sales wacked-out the rankings, and both my books vanished entirely from the public eye. If you weren't searching for them you couldn't find them. Sales utterly collapsed.

Things have gradually gotten better. (Thank goodness for Goodreads and all you gracious book bloggers!) But the craziness of early February reminded us all on how desperately we rely on Amazon's algorithms. KDP-Select was looking to be a necessity.

But now Apple has responded back with similar features—minus the exclusivity clause. (I can join Apple's program and keep my books available everyone else.) And it only took Apple two months to respond! That's light-speed for such a large company, and it tells me that they are taking the indie book market seriously.


All industries benefit from clashing titans. The e-book industry is no different. As both an author and a consumer, I truly love Amazon. They deliver quality products with unmatched service and speed. I'm voting for Amazon with my wallet. I've signed up for Prime for the prompt shipping. I read most books nowadays on my Kindle DX. But it's great to finally see someone else starting to innovate. For far too long, competing publishers and retailers have resorted to high-pitched whine-fests. But whine-fests don't add value. Investing in R&D and customer service does.

B&N's recent moves have been disappointing. Refusing to stock Amazon Publishing titles only inconveniences their customers. Trimming their in-store book inventory only decreases my chances of visiting them. Not allowing me to access all the Android features on the Nook Color ended with me rooting it. And don't even get me started on the changes they made to their loyalty program.

Let this move by Apple serve as B&N's final wake-up call. Guys, it's time to stop fighting Fire with silly boycotts. Start servicing your consumers. Wow us with new products and features. Stop clinging to a drowning legacy industry. Be like Apple. Innovate your way out of this mess!

B.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Graphic Deprivation


Remember Hironobu Sakaguchi?

Sakaguchi is the guy that was responsible for the Final Fantasy series through X-2. That makes him kinda a big deal in some circles. Well, Sakaguchi released a new game called The Last Story on the Wii. I hear the game is really good, but it looks like only you Europeans are going to be enjoying the English dub. Grr!

Anyway, a friend over at Machinima pointed me to a 2010 interview of this gaming legend. In the interview, Sakaguchi discusses The Last Story and his approach to graphics within this Wii-based game.  The transcript turned out to be a real interesting read, and I ended up reading through it twice.

One thing Sakaguchi said really struck a cord with me. He pointed out that while improving on-screen graphics has been a near obsession for the gaming industry, the joy of playing a video game has not seemed to have increased at all. He then delves a bit further. He suggests that these huge leaps in game graphics are a detriment to the play experience.

How?

By communicated too much information to the player.

Check it out...
Sakaguchi: We started with the story and the worldview. I’ve been creating games for twenty-five years, and I’ve always attached great importance to the story. It was no different with this title.

Iwata: I think the way in which you’ve always made games is to see to what degree that story and worldview can be realised.

Sakaguchi: Yes, that’s right.

Iwata: And the environments have evolved to offer you the chance to realise a variety of different ways to express them as time went by…

Sakaguchi: Well, when I started, it was during the time of the Famicom when the graphics and sound meant that you were limited in what you could do.

Iwata: All that we could show on the screen were something like rough representations.

Sakaguchi: That’s right. We had to consider how we should convey the story to the players under such restrictions. Now that high-quality graphics rule supreme, you can reproduce what you want to communicate visually, but at the same time, I don’t know how to put this, but there’s an element that’s slightly excessive about it all…

Iwata: The player ends up being able to see things you’d have preferred not to show them.

Sakaguchi: You end up communicating too much to the player. This is why I now feel that we’re at a turning point. With this title, I pressed reset and returned to the basics of what a game is. I started by spending a lot of time considering just what it means to tell a story in a game. But it went beyond simply considering the story side of things – I looked again at the fundamentals on the system side too.

Iwata: You spent a long period of time looking into those fundamental issues, didn’t you?

Sakaguchi: We did. That’s why we repeatedly experimented with the system side at the prototype stages of the game’s development. We knew that we wanted something that differed from the way things had been done before. We wanted to express the gameworld and story in a whole new style, and I feel that we gave it absolutely everything we had.

Iwata: I wonder if this sense of giving it everything you had is reflected in the name ‘The Last Story’.

Sakaguchi: Yes. Just as we’d done with Final Fantasy, we gave it everything we had, as if this was going to be the last game we ever made. But I must say that this feeling was particularly strong with this title.

Iwata: So you poured everything into it so there’d be no regrets if this was the last game you ever made.

Sakaguchi: Precisely. I mean, if I messed it up, I’d be forced to retire… (laughs)
You can read the rest here.

Lighting effects add fortitude!
If high-end graphics are forcing game designers to show far more than they need or want, they could easily be poisoning the experience. In any game short of Solitaire, the characters and plot are paramount. Anything that gets in the way of these key story elements should be considered the Enemy. But is the ever improving imagery actually starting to trip up the flow? It sounds paradoxical, but I believe Sakaguchi may be on to something.

Not a single unneeded thing.
I face a similar challenge in my own writing. Even in lengthy novels, you still have to ration out the paragraphs. And the action always has to be fed first. Sure, a few paragraphs will be dedicated to descriptions. Sure, some will be reserved for character dialogue. But most of the paragraphs must be focused on driving the action forward. We read books for the gathering momentum. We hack through the thick brush. We tolerate the dust and cobwebs. We bear the annoying prattle. But those disparate clumps of prose better be building up to a dramatic close or we're left feeling like we didn't get our monies worth. Creating relatable actors and battering them—that is all that really matters. That is why readers get on the ride.

Only allowed to take vacations in Hell.
And it's a delicate balance. Write without descriptions and your audience can't visualize the action. Spend ten paragraphs coloring in a girl's scarf and you'll face an open mutiny even before you introduce the pirates.

Each genre has it's idiosyncrasies. In speculative fiction, you also have to delineate how things are divergent from our own world, and in some of the more ambitious SFF out there, you need to create entirely new ethereal planes...

I pity all whom survived to this page.
...but the fundamentals are always the same. Be as sparse as you can with the descriptions. Abandon the food and drink to the sea. Drive every last oar towards the conflict. The roar of the battle is what makes a reader's heart race.

And that's what a lot of new writers (myself included) struggle with. You see, generating the descriptions are never the problem. We already have plenty of images to draw on in our head. The challenge is knowing when and where to sneak those tidbits in. They need to be chewable but still crispy. They need to be a bit spicy but still palatable. The editor can help you with this aspect of the writing process, but eventually each author needs to develop their own sense for which what is right.

All that focus on the rain...it serves a heavier purpose.

Truly talented authors can take it a step further. They know just how much space to leave between brushstrokes. They know just how far they can stretch it. And before you even know it, your own life's knowledge is filling in the gaps. You become part of the work, and thus you experience it more intensely.

I never looked at a moving walkway the same way.
But what if all the dots are already filled in? What if the able navigator is handed a compass and GPS. Does it not depersonalize the experience? Does it not make it aseptic? I think this is the reality that game designers are facing now, and I do not envy them the privilege.

What do you think?
Are high-resolution graphics becoming a drag?
Is Sakaguchi just making excuses for the Wii's truly cruddy GPU?
Has gibbing's aesthetic potential been maxed-out?

B.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Apple Updates iBook Author EULA

So, you'll recall that in Apple Needs to Rethink Its iBook Author EULA I warned that Apple's new iBook Author application had a rather dodgy EULA. As worded, it could have granted Apple rights to authored works composed within the program. At the time, I speculated that this was a wording error and (along with many others) asked Apple to reconsider the EULA.

Well, they have!

The previous Section 2:
B. Distribution of your Work. As a condition of this License and provided you are in compliance with its terms, your Work may be distributed as follows:
(i) if your Work is provided for free (at no charge), you may distribute the Work by any available means;
(ii) if your Work is provided for a fee (including as part of any subscription-based product or service), you may only distribute the Work through Apple and such distribution is subject to the following limitations and conditions: (a) you will be required to enter into a separate written agreement with Apple (or an Apple affiliate or subsidiary) before any commercial distribution of your Work may take place; and (b) Apple may determine for any reason and in its sole discretion not to select your Work for distribution.
The new Section 2:
B. Distribution of Works Generated Using the iBooks Author Software. As a condition of this License and provided you are in compliance with its terms, works generated using iBooks Author may be distributed as follows:
(i) if the work is provided for free (at no charge), you may distribute it by any means;

(ii) if the work is provided for a fee (including as part of any subscription-based product or service) and includes files in the .ibooks format generated using iBooks Author, the work may only be distributed through Apple, and such distribution will be subject to a separate written agreement with Apple (or an Apple affiliate or subsidiary); provided, however, that this restriction will not apply to the content of the work when distributed in a form that does not include files in the .ibooks format generated using iBooks Author. You retain all your rights in the content of your works, and you may distribute such content by any means when it does not include files in the .ibooks format generated by iBooks Author.
Thanks for the heads-up, TNW.

So, yea, as suspected, Apple did not want to swipe authors' rights. Legal just defined the terms poorly. Based on the new agreement's wording, you can create content on iAuthor and distribute it elsewhere as long as it is not in the .iBook format and you can even freely distribute .iBook files elsewhere.

Props should be given where props are deserved. Good show, Apple!

B.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Grand Central vs. Konrath: Fight!


So Hachette's Grand Central imprint currently holds the #1 spot for trade paperback bestsellers. They publish names like Stephen Colbert, Ted Kennedy, Mario Puzo, and Nicholas Sparks. In an interview on Media Bistro, Grand Central's head, Jamie Raab, filled us in on where she thinks traditional big house publishers fit in the shifting paradigm that is the modern book industry:
There was much ado about the leaked Hachette memo that explained why publishers are still relevant. Some saw that as a real indication that publishers must feel threatened by the new wave of eBook authors. What is your take on that letter?

I agree with absolutely everything in that memo. We’re not just a distribution chain. I do believe curating is important. And I really do believe that we nurture talent by working hard, and we pay advances that offer writers the time and luxury they need to write the book they want to write. The truth is writing and putting a book out into the world is only a small part of it. If, as a writer, you want to spend the time going to the different distribution channels and marketing and doing publicity yourself, that’s less time you have to write. Look, we’re aware that many authors are choosing to e-publish, that they can make money quickly. We know there’s a lot of competition and whenever there’s competition, you’ve got to prove your value.
...
The standard Grand Central contract for eBooks for most authors is 25 percent. How is that the best rate when authors can hire their own editor and cover designer and do the bulk of the marketing themselves?

I guess I don’t buy that at all. I wish that people could come in and see what goes on in a publishing house day by day. Some of the books that you think are so-called small books, I’ve got to tell you, we spend a lot of our time meeting about the books, big and small, and making people in-house read them. We have big marketing meetings and small. We’re not just throwing books out there. That’s so far from the truth. Anyone who thinks that, I wish they could be a fly on the wall at least in the house I work for. There is a whole company working for you. We start marketing, in most cases, a year in advance before a book comes out. The most important thing an author can do is have his or her book in on time.

There are a lot of people in this kitchen. We have an infrastructure that we have to support. You still need the editors, production department, marketing resources, and the artist who designs the book. Everyone thinks that there isn’t a lot of manpower involved in putting out an eBook. There’s more to it than most people ever consider.

If you want to make money quickly and put a book out there and price it at 99 cents so that it becomes enticing, I understand! You can build an audience. Some authors are climbing the Amazon list but, when a publisher approaches them, more times than not, they choose to go with a publisher.

Do you see that royalty rate increasing any time soon?

That’s being discussed all the time. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I think that as the business changes, that could be one of the things that change too. Some people say that 70-90 percent of all books will be eBooks. Is it somewhere in between? I don’t know. There is certainly going to be enormous growth over the next four to five years, and that’s going to affect everything. For now, people forget that 80 percent of books are print books. An author on his own cannot get his book into bookstores and, if he does, can’t get the attention to display it. The publisher can.
...
Nicholas Sparks is known to be very loyal, but are you concerned that big authors such as him will opt to keep their eBook rights and publish on their own?

I think about that a lot because I know it’s on authors’ minds. And I think it’s incumbent on every publisher to do a better job than they’ve ever done before — more creative on marketing and eBooks, working in partnership more closely with their authors, keeping them in the loop, publishing more strategically. We have to work harder than ever to prove there’s a lot of value in an editor and publisher and their relationship with an entire publishing house. You can’t underestimate the importance of editing. I have seen books go from mediocre to good and from good to great because of the relationship between the editor and author. Nothing annoys me more than when I hear them say, “Oh, editors don’t edit anymore.” That has never been my experience with the editors on my team. We owe it to the authors to make the books as good as they can be.
Here is the link to the rest of the interview on Media Bistro. (Thanks to The Passive Voice for the heads-up.) I'd recommend reading the whole thing, as Ms. Raab may very well be running the tightest ship in New York right now.

Now then, on to the fun part...as you can see at the bottom of the MediaBistro interview, comments started flying fast and heavy. You can see some of the highlights from industry heavyweights such as Seth Godin, Mark Coker, and Peter Riva on this page. But I think I can speak for everyone else when I say that I was really hoping everyone's favorite beer-dieting thriller writer might weigh in.


Joe Konrath has a history with Grand Central. It was the imprint he abandoned when he ran off into the indie wilderness, and he spent a lot of time tearing apart the original Hatchette Memo when it leaked. Well, our prayers were answered quickly. He left this detailed counterpoint a few hours later. (It is reposted here by Media Bistro.)

Buckle your seat belts people. I hope you enjoy the ride:
I have nothing but respect for Jamie Raab, and for the most part I enjoyed working with Grand Central. They’re a group of dedicated, talented professionals. But they’re dedicated, talented professionals in a broken, outdated, and increasingly irrelevant business model.
Curation is no longer important. Readers are very capable of finding ebooks that interest them (the same way they can find YouTube videos, websites, and TV shows that interest them.) They no longer need to be told by a publisher, “This is worthy.” They can make that call on their own. 
Publishers vet books, and they do a good job keeping out the low quality. But they also miss some good quality. Grand Central published my horror novel AFRAID (under the pen name Jack Kilborn) in 2009, and it was simultaneously released in the UK and Australia. The combined print/ebook sales in all three countries has netted me over $60k in three years. 
They passed on my books TRAPPED and ENDURANCE, so I didn’t benefit from the “nurturing talent” that Raab says is one of Grand Central’s beliefs. I released those titles on my own. 
Those ebooks have netted me $240k in two years. 
Grand Central did some marketing for AFRAID, and I’m grateful for that. But I toured for twenty-three consecutive days and signed at 206 bookstores in 12 states to promote AFRAID. I also did a blog tour, providing exclusive content to one hundred different blogs in a month. Grand Central no doubt worked hard to promote AFRAID. But I put in more hours than all those who worked on it, combined. 
With TRAPPED and ENDURANCE I did no touring, no advertising, and a very tiny bit of internet marketing. So Ms. Raab’s comment “If, as a writer, you want to spend the time going to the different distribution channels and marketing and doing publicity yourself, that’s less time you have to write” really amuses me. I spent a lot more time promoting my Grand Central title than any of my self-pubbed titles, and even with Grand Central’s marketing machine behind me, I was able to make a lot more money in less time on my own. 
I have no doubt that Grand Central employees work hard, have lots of meetings, and are selective about what they publish. That doesn’t mean they’re worth the 52.5% they currently make from each $6.99 ebook copy of AFRAID they sell. I only make 17.5% per copy sold. Why should a publisher earn $3.67 when I wrote the book and only make $1.22? Curation and editing weren’t factors–I was already a professional novelist with six other published books to my name, and the editing on AFRAID was minor. While Grand Central did some marketing, that has long since been paid back. I received a $20k advance for AFRAID (hardly enough to live on), and quickly earned that out and made an additional $40k, and I’d point to my efforts as the reason. 
I understand Grand Central has overhead. But as an author, why should I care? I can hire out for editing, proofreading, formatting, and cover design, and those are fixed, sunk costs. Once those are paid, I can earn 70% on a self-pubbed ebook. Plus, I can set my own price. Lower prices sell more copies. The value of a book isn’t it its cover price. It’s how much money a book earns. Lower priced ebooks earn more. I’ve been proving this for the last three years. 
Ms. Raab said, “Some authors are climbing the Amazon list but, when a publisher approaches them, more times than not, they choose to go with a publisher.” 
Which authors? Inexperienced, newbie authors who have never been traditionally published. They still have the stereotypical Author Dream: book tours, interviews, seeing their book on a bookstore shelf or in their local library, being validated by a major publisher. Many of them, even if they are bestsellers, can benefit from working with a professional editor. 
But I haven’t heard of a single experienced author who has re-signed with a legacy publisher after finding self-pub success. I know dozens of authors who have had a lot of books published by New York, and they won’t ever take another Big 6 contract since they’ve gotten a taste of the freedom, control, and money self-publishing offers. If I was offered a million bucks to sign with a New York publisher, I’d laugh at that. I made $150k on my own in the last two months, and ebooks haven’t even become widely adopted in the US yet. What happens when there are as many ereaders as mp3 players? What happens when ebooks become a global market? Why would I give away 52.5% of my royalties to a publisher? 
As for getting paper books onto shelves, legacy publishers do excel at that. Grand Central got AFRAID into all the major bookstores. It was even in Wal-Mart. 
But the ebook of AFRAID has sold more copies than the paper versions of AFRAID (hardcover, trade, and mass market combined). And AFRAID was released in 2009. If it were released today, I wouldn’t doubt if the ebook outsold the paper version at 10 to 1. I’m okay with forsaking paper sales when I can make four times the ebook royalty on my own. But I don’t forsake paper sales. TRAPPED and ENDURANCE are available in paper through Amazon’s Createspace program. 
Grand Central, and publishers in general, were once essential. They controlled the paper distribution network. But in digital they aren’t needed. I can reach just as many ereaders on my own as Grand Central. In fact, I can reach more, because I can reach foreign markets. 
So what value do publishers give authors to justify them taking 52.5%? Curation? Not needed. Editing? I can hire out. Covers? I love my cover for AFRAID. I believe my covers for TRAPPED and ENDURANCE are just as strong. Marketing? What marketing? A quarter page in the Ingram catalog, a PW review, and some tweets? 
Originally, the purpose of a publisher was to connect writers with readers. Lately, publishers are more concerned with selling as many pieces of paper as possible. Ebooks are priced high to protect paper sales. The agency model was forced on Amazon is to protect paper sales. Windowing is to protect paper sales. If publishers truly wanted to connect writers and readers, there is no better way to do it than digitally. No printing costs. No shipping costs. Instant delivery straight into the readers’ hands. 
But publishers don’t want to sell ebooks. If they did, they’d lower the price of AFRAID from $6.99 to under $3.99, as I did with TRAPPED and ENDURANCE. The ebooks of TRAPPED and ENDURANCE have each outsold AFRAID, and they did so in less time. But Grand Central keeps AFRAID at $6.99 because that is the price of the paperback. Focusing on paper sales is like selling drinks on the Titanic. 
If Publishers want to survive this brave, new digital world, they need to offer authors higher royalties and more value, and lower their ebook prices. More and more seasoned authors are doing what I’m doing. More and more newbie authors aren’t even bothering submitting their books to publishers. 
Writers are essential. Readers are essential. Publishers are not.
Well then.

My reaction:

The original "Hachette Memo" can be seen here.

Konrath & Eisler's response to the memo can be seen here.

I'll be posting my own thoughts on publishing with the big boys/girls very soon. I've received a couple of offers, and I've been forced to do a lot of soul searching as a result. To add to the mess, John Locke just sorta kinda reinvented the publishing deal as we know it, and the two of us seem to be of like minds...

B.