I Am Working On The Chapters

I did print out the rest of the book, but haven’t gone over it, yet, so discontinuities still not fixed.  The younger boy started classes at college yesterday, so as you imagine the week was consumed in what I call “Freshman follies” including the visits to counseling that they want him to make for reasons only they know.  Turned out he had all his ducks in a row, but I guess most freshmen don’t, because the school insists on checking.

Anyway, other experiences this week (not to do with Baen except that they inconvenienced Baen as well as myself in one occasion) has me wondering with Kris Rusch and Cory Doctorow “Has all of traditional publishing done insane?”  (Baen as usual excepted.)  I thought you guys might want to head over to Kris’ blog and read this.  Also, Amanda Green covered same topic at Mad Genius Club this week.

38 responses to “I Am Working On The Chapters

  1. Over at Mad Genius – “hie thee over to Barnes & Noble” Now, I can usually parse out typos, but that one’s got me stoomped.

  2. I honestly would turn down a deal with a traditional company … assuming of course, that I was ever offered one, if and when my books sell in a big way. I have hopes of this happening, too – this year I am bringing out a German translation of the first book of the Adelsverein Trilogy, and hoping to clean up with all those Karl May fans. I worked a bargain with a freelance translater – he translates the first book for a cut of the profits, and if it works out, he’ll do the second and third books on the same basis. E-book, available through Amazon, print version done through LSI and also available on Amazon-Germany.

    I would rather hire the editor, the cover-designer, the lay-out artist, the marketing talent, and the legal and accounting experts, and be assured that they all worked for me and had my best interests at the top of their to-do list, than depend on a big publisher whose experts worked primarily for them. Conflict of interests, you see. And I like being independent/

  3. Publishing is becoming the recording industry of the previous decade. I, for one, welcome our DRM-Free overlords…

    • Publishing is becoming the recording industry of the previous decade.

      I was a rock radio jock all during that fun period. And now, it’s happening as I try and break into writing. Apparently, there’s a nexus swirling around me that I’m completely unaware of. Anyone else want to see an industry shaken to it’s foundations? Point me in that direction…

  4. I do hope that this means that your printer is up and running again. Anyway: Don’t sweat it. You had enough of that the other day. 😉

  5. Maybe I am wrong, as I have never tried to publish anything, but I think the advent of all the modern technology has pretty much made traditional publishing obsolete. Folks don’t have to depend on big houses to accept their work when there are so many avenues of self publication or Independent publication available. That takes the snobbery down a notch and if they don’t wake up soon, they won’t be publishing anything except reprints of old books. (Not that I would MIND old books.)

    I think it is horrific how literary agents and editors treat the very people who provide their lively hood. More and more of the writers I know are turning to reading groups and friends to help with raw edits, and to independent freelance editors for finished edits. Why bother with someone who will just toss your book on a stack and ignore it until they have a boring day? There is a change in the wind, but sometimes, entrenched folks just can’t see it until it is too late.

    • That is exactly what happened, Karron. It became astonishly easy to get a book out there, both in print, and beginning with the Kindle reader – to get it as an ebook … and at relatively little expense. The writers support group that I belonged to, a good few of whom were refugees from traditional publishing, or who had set up as their own publishers, pretty much saw it coming three or four years ago. It was reasonably easy to get a book edited, to get a professional cover put together, and boom! there was your book, on Amazon … and if you had returnability and the neccessary discount, you could get it into bookstores too. The only problem was – the establishment review and marketing organs were actually pretty snotty about POD/self pubbed books. My own local newspaper had a policy of not reviewing them, for any reason whatsoever.

      And admittedly – there are some baaaaaaaad POD/self pubbed books out there. But the writers who are dead serious about writing books that readers want to read are getting professional about it all. They’re getting properly edited and formatted, getting the right cover design, and then they’re going out and writing another book. And it’s even better than the first book. Those indy authors who take it seriously and professionally have the means to do quite well, very likely to the chagrin of establishment agents and editors, who have been sneering about all those horrid self-pubbed books for the last five or six years that I’ve been in the book writing game.
      They also haven’t quite realized, as one of our senior members observed – if the reader really, really, really likes the book, they don’t give a rodent’s patoot who the publisher was.

      • Right now the publishers are living in dread of an A-Lister going Indie. Imagine their horror if a King or Rowling self publishes. To prevent such occurrence they are going to pay huge advances to lock up any author whose decision to self-publish would serve to legitimize the publishing revolution.

        No sweat – they will make up for it by increasing the abuse of mid-list authors. Degenerative spirals* generally display the same pattern.

        *Technically a helix, but grant me the familiar trope, okay? Sheesh – nitpickers!

    • EBook publishing is just the tip of the iceberg on how technology is going to change our world. Consider the field of education. Suppose some college or university decided to put an entire major online. Suppose you could download an entire course – textbook, quizzes, supplemental material, etc., from Amazon for $5. When you’re finished, you plunk down another $35 for the test, which is administered ONLINE, live, and you have a three-hour time limit to complete it. Suppose that if you pass, you could receive credit for the entire course from some 500 or so different colleges and universities, and once you finished enough course work you could get a degree issued from the college of your choice for $100.

      This is not some pie-in-the-sky concept, but something that is currently under development, and will be available within the next four or five years. Think of the colleges and universities that currently charge $30,000 to $50,000 A SEMESTER, and how this will affect them. Think how it will hit textbook publishers. A textbook wouldn’t have to be changed every year, but could be updated any time something on that particular subject changes — up to daily, if necessary. Sally Mae will collapse, since most students will be able to afford online classes without borrowing money. They can also hold down full-time jobs, since there’s no time constraint on when they have to attend class, or how fast or slow they may be in learning the material. The concept (and the working models) are also being developed for K-12, post-graduate work, and technical/trades courses where physical presence isn’t absolutely necessary.

      EBooks are just the tip of a huge iceberg. Stand by for a major evolution in the world we live in.

      • As a home school parent, I am all for the online education. I wish I could complete a masters in history and my doctorate in English literature on line. That would be super! I agree, the day is coming when regular schooling will be obsolete. And at the rate in which our schools are failing to teach anything to kids but feel good crap, it is something that needs to happen sooner rather than later.

      • Mike, I’ve been SAYING that.

        • Y’all need to stop saying that and start writing books about that world. Follow the model of such classic Kornbluth & Pohl novels from the Fifties as Gladiator-at-Law. Place your hero* in that setting and send him on a quest in pursuit of the maguffin, using the online learning attributes.

          Need a quick tutorial on, picking a lock, opening a safe, defusing a bomb? There’s an app for that.

          * “Hero” is used here according to the conventional practice of defaulting to male terms & pronouns for a story’s protagonist. Substitutions are permitted. No slight or disrespect to other sexes, races, species are implied or intended.

  6. Counseling? How odd. I never had any of that. I had orientation, which I got lost from and ran around campus alternating mid-to-high 90s outside and 60s inside, and after 3 days of this I had such a fever… But no counseling. What an odd college.

    • Wayne Blackburn

      I wish I had had someone go over my courses the first semester I went to college. I had signed up for a class at another Campus across town, and had another class right before it. I didn’t even find out that it was at another campus for (a lot longer than I want to admit).

      • Hah! There ought to be a book on the misinformation and useless information colleges provide their students in lieu of the information that really matters.

        For example, few colleges are clear about which courses (more importantly, which teachers) are pretty much just a waste of time. A little careful questioning of other students can help you choose which courses and instructors will truly inspire you and elevate you, and which could knock you out reading the opening to The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress.

        Maybe it has changed since I attended, but when you choose a course (or section) the date and time of the final exam is already set. If the instructor doesn’t matter, choose the courses based on when the finals are, so you don’t get caught with five finals in two days. If you really like just getting it over and don’t mind the compression, go ahead.)

        And of course, as our president advised in one of his autobiographies (I can hardly wait until he is in retirement and able to write two or three more!) it is important to make the right social connections. You don’t want to be hanging around with inauthentic African-Americans or women or self-hating gays and lesbians just because they’re smart and offer you fresh and challenging ideas.

        • Wayne Blackburn

          I have never made the right social connections, so that’s a problem already.

          Unlike most people, I love tests, so taking two or three finals in one day never really worried me that much. Plus, I went to a small commuter college and it was very dependent on the Professor’s personality whether they would let you reschedule tests, including Finals.

          Now, I also understand that the Thermodynamics class was a little different about tests. In that class (I never got to take it, but I was told), the tests were made available at 8:00 AM, and had to be turned in by 8:00 PM. Students could work on it at any time during the day, leave for other classes and come back, etc. I REALLY wanted to take that class, so I could see how hard the tests were.

          • a lot of the kids tests — though only a couple of finals — are online these days. This is a problem. I’ll go into Robert’s room and ask about the modern sculpture of dirty dishes on the counter and instead of “yeah, yeah, let me finish writing this chapter” I get a blank look and then “Mom, I’m doing a final, and it’s timed.” Takes the wind right out of the parental sails. As for not making the right connections:HOW can you say that. You know us.

        • I might be an inauthentic woman though this is the original equipment.

          Actually connections are important — it’s mostly what the ivys are about these days.

          Marshall has the benefit of a brother who attends the same college. Now, does he always listen? AH.

          • You’re authentic enough for those of us who do not define people by their politics (welllll, in fairness, we do: we define those who think a person’s category defines their politics as idiots.)

        • My college (undergrad) had self-scheduled exams for everything except music appreciation, art history, and a few of the hard sciences. Those required special equipment, so it was much easier to get everyone together to take the exam. As for the rest, the college set aside four days with four test periods each. You went in, got your exam (signed it out), went up to a classroom, took the exam, signed the honor pledge and sealed the exam and your notes (if permitted) into the envelope, returned the exam and signed out. I really like that system, but keep in mind that there were 600 students total at the school while I was there. I’m not sure the same could be done at Big State U.

  7. I’m probably overthinking this, but: I have noticed lately how those board- and/or role-playing games which have long-term, continuously-developing universes (_BattleTech_, for ex.) have been slowly-but-surely trying to force players who “want to be Official” into a few set-in-stone existing large factions, each with its own unique technologies and items; while eliminating “outsider” groups like mercenaries or minor powers — and god forbid the player actually come up with his own faction, no matter how internally-consistent and logical it might be (can you guess where I am on this score?).

    And then they wonder why the only way to make money in gaming is to use miniatures or cards on the “razor-blade” model….