Seriously guys, what are we teaching kids these days? More importantly what are they learning?
Because I can’t even (though I Odd pretty well) I’m going to link the post at Mad Genius Club.
And if you don’t want to follow the link, it pertains to this silly git:
Sigh. We won’t get into the idiocy of traditional publishing and their artificial restrictions on market, but still…
This poor woman has everything backward in her head. It makes it very difficult for me to believe that she can create any kind of sane or believable world. Why? Because she doesn’t understand the laws of supply and demand, which means she doesn’t understand reality.
It is clear that she comes from an academic background, since she thinks that shelves are allotted by order of “importance.”
This is a problem for me as a reader often because I run into a lot of writers like her. It’s less important in things like romance, though even there it can’t get weird, like when some authors assume that the best thing possible in the Regency would be being a duke AND a doctor. (Head>desk, repeat.) This is because they misunderstand the relative wealth and importance of earning a living in the professions.
But there are a ton of books in mystery that hit the wall. Those that require understanding of how the world worked. So the economics these writers write are what you expect from exquisitely maleducated people. They learned sociology and various grievance studies. So you know, factories are bad places where people are forced to work in terrible conditions — for the 21st century. None of these darlings has the slightest idea what actual conditions were like at farms in the Regency, say — and do not even get health care or counseling, and are probably totally deprived of free ice cream.
I have now walled mysteries, some romances and a few fantasies, because they assume people who build and run factories are “evil exploiters” and villains. (As opposed to you know not building anything and letting the peasants starve.)
I’ve walled even more of them when the villain becomes “reformed” and just gives his whole fortune away to people who probably drink it away within a week and, presumably, dies in a gutter shortly thereafter.
In science fiction and fantasy this is even more painful. You’ll have entire worlds getting paid for things, without it making any sense, since there is no galactic agreement on money, no universally agreed upon standard, nothing that makes whatever they hand you worth anything. We have entire worlds paid for things that make no sense to transport inter-world with the money existent at that time. You have “exploited” groups, that you can’t figure out why anyone would exploit or what sense it makes.
Then there is the soc jus in these worlds, which often consists of upending historic injustices by creating worse injustices and, oh, yeah, incidentally making it impossible for the economics to function and starving everyone in the world. If you’re going to do that call it Planet Venezuela already, okay?
And don’t get me started on the economics of worlds with magic, where monetizing magic is somehow either wrong or no one ever thought of doing it (because everyone in that world is born mentally impaired.)
Anyway, why am I so iffy about reading a book by an author who made the post above?
She might swing words like there’s no tomorrow. She might be an imaginative creator of characters. She might love puppies, be kind to kiddies and adore helping the poor. She might also know a lot about all sorts of things.
But she’s missing the one and important fact of life on Earth: everything, from plants to animals has to make a living. And everyone’s life is limited. And when you come to individuals with sentience? We know it too. We know our time and life, our energy and ability to survive are limited.
Therefore we pay for that which we need or want. And we don’t pay for or buy that which we don’t need or don’t want.
Sure, there are things we would love if we could just know they exist — but the problem with the book not even being on the shelves is the idiocy that paper book sellers have come to. They mishandled the market till it’s now extremely limited — but mostly? What sells is what people want to buy.
So why does Barnes and Noble “give” space to dead guys? They don’t. They sell it. Dead guys pay their way by, in turn, selling a bunch to the public. Barnes and Noble is in enough financial trouble through NOT doing that for a number of years, that it desperately needs that “dead guy money.”
And why is there only one copy of this author’s book? Well, because B & N and traditional publishers still use push? Must be because they don’t think her book will sell and her publishers targeted her for going down hard. This is bolstered by the fact that she won the World Fantasy Award, an award that for … 20? years since I broke in has been known to have NEGATIVE impact on sales.
It’s all about making a living. It’s all about supply and demand. Yes, in our field we have to create demand for our books, and it starts with knowing we exist. That is something that traditional publishers don’t help with. And something that is still hard in indie.
Which is part of the reason classics routinely outsell current authors.
But it is not the only reason. Nor is whining, crying and beating your heels on the ground about it the way to change that.
The dead great shall always be with us. You want to outsell them: write a lot and write well. Or find another job.
Economics in the end — regardless of what prizes you get for being a good little girl, or how much your professors praised you — is cold equations. Cold equations ALL THE WAY DOWN.
Is it fair? No. Well…. Not fair in the sense that it doesn’t matter how good you are if people don’t know you exist. But it is fair in the sense that if you write well and a lot and figure out how to advertise you’ll be rewarded.
But fairness has got nothing to do with it. It is the way of the world.
Dead guys outsell you? Well… judging from the two you mention, they are people whose company is worth it.
So, instead of complaining, learn about supply and demand. And work to supply something people demand.