Dec 05, 2016
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David Gaughran

shell game
Feature  |  

Simon & Schuster Joins Forces With Author Solutions To Rip Off Writers

Simon & Schuster has launched a self-publishing operation, Archway Publishing, contracting one of the most disreputable players in the business to run the show: Author Solutions.

penguins screwing
IR Column  |  

Penguin’s New Business Model: Exploiting Writers

The performance of Author Solutions is so poor that the press release announcing the purchase by Penguin can’t even tout their own customers’ success, and instead lists self-publishing stars such as “Lisa Genova, John Locke, Darcie Chan, Amanda Hocking, Bronnie Ware and E.L. James” – none of whom used Author Solutions to publish their work.

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Kindle Singles & The Little Goat That Could

George couldn’t quite believe what was happening. Midnight’s Tale raced up the charts. He was appearing on bestseller lists for short fiction, he was topping the Hot New Releases chart for shorter work. But what happened the following week was even more unbelievable.

james bond spray can
IR Column  |  

Writers, James Bond, and the Perils of Product Placement

In 2001, Fay Weldon was commissioned by Bulgari to write a novel, in which she was contractually obliged to mention the brand at least twelve times. A 2006 novel by Sean Stewart and Jordan Weisman replaced generic reference to make-up to specific mentions of Cover Girl products, in exchange for free advertising on a site owned by the parent company, Proctor & Gamble.

sherlock 2
Spark Notes  |  

Inside the E-book Price-Fixing Case

The respective CEOs were alleged to have met in secret in the private dining rooms of upscale Manhattan restaurants, talking about how to deal with Amazon.

bathtub drawing
David Gaughran  |  

Franzen, E-books & Bathtubs

It seems it has become fashionable in certain circles to have a pop at e-books and e-readers. I’ve been noting the trend with some amusement, but had decided it wasn’t worth responding. That is, until Jonathan Franzen’s recent comments.

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Stories Don’t Need “Enhancements”

Readers want to lose themselves in a novel, not be dragged out of the story by superfluous bells-and-whistles which can only detract from that immersive experience they crave.

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The Sharks Are Circling

All the indications are that this is going to be another bumper year for self-publishing. However, the ever-increasing viability of this path, and its popularity with writers, is also attracting those seeking to make money from self-publishers.

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The Future is Indie

If you really want to see where the large publishers are headed, don’t look at the performance of the titles they are putting out, look at the stuff they aren’t.

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Crowdfunding: The Indie Advance

Crowdfunding allows artists to receive financial backing for their projects without sacrificing their rights or royalties and enables them to work without commercial interference.

magic bullet
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There’s No Magic Bullet

What I’m getting at is this: be wary of following someone else’s path.

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Reaching Out To Readers

The importance of word-of-mouth is well understood. What’s more of a mystery is how you get to the point of having a bunch of people spreading that word.

the end
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The End is Nigh!

During the summer there was a welcome bout of optimism in indie circles. I don’t know if it’s the change in seasons, but the mood now is decidedly different.

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Disruption Is Not A Dirty Word

The Latin root means to break or split something apart. Today, it also means to interrupt, to throw into turmoil, or to create disorder.

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The Only Gatekeepers Readers Need

Publishers can’t predict which books will sell and which won’t, but they have always had the power to tilt the field in favor of certain titles.

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A Revolution for Readers

Without readers, we couldn’t make a living. And without writers, they would have no books. Everything else is just window dressing.