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News flash: Economics applies to publishing, too!

Virginia Postrel has a great article on publishing and Amazon’s new lending library (which works sort of like Netflix for e-books) that’s worth reading in its entirety: click here to read it. Here’s the most important takeaway: A former publishing executive recently told me he simply didn’t believe that “if I really want a book for $9.95 I don’t also want it for $10.95 or $12.95.” People in...

Paradox: Limitations Drive Creativity

If I ask you to tell me a story, or to draw me a picture, what’s your first reaction? If you’re like most people, it’s another question: “About what?” Few things are as intimidating as a blank sheet of paper. All the hopes, fears, dreams, tragedies, climaxes, and denouements you plan to spill forth in lyrical and dazzling prose … where, oh where, to begin? That’s one reason prompts are such powerful, proven...

Heroes, Old and New

“When I talk of the triumph of Nietzsche, all I mean is that do-it-yourself morality, informed by personal passion rather than old-fogey morality, is the new norm.” Jonah Goldberg in “Empty Integrity,” in the November 17, 2014, issue of National Review.   This article has some ideological and religious references you can skip over because they aren’t particularly relevant to the...

The 99/1 Rule, WOM, and Your Best Effort

One of my Facebook groups is discussing The Red Pen of Doom’s article “The Twitter, it is NOT for selling books.” The author, @speechwriterguy, posits an important point: “Twitter isn’t built to sell books. Or anything else.” I agree. His post, which is long, analyzes a range of variables in terms of mass media, name recognition, numbers of followers, etc., and arrives at a very challenging conclusion: “The new...

Interesting Times and Heavy Lifting

A college friend who is an avid reader and married to another college friend and avid writer sent this story to me with this note: “Interesting times ahead.” Big Six publishers decline to renew contract with Amazon over unfavorable terms He, several friends, and I engaged in some commentary on the article. Here’s an edited/condensed version of my thoughts: Isn’t that an old Chinese curse – interesting times?...

A word about self-publishing for writers so inclined.

The fact that no one in the legacy publishing industry knows what makes a best seller is indisputable. That fact does not mean everyone in the legacy publishing industry is an idiot. Even if J.K. Rowling experienced a dozen rejections before selling Harry Potter, and even if James Redfield self-published and sold more than 80,000 copies of The Celestine Prophecy from the trunk of his car, traditional (sometimes...

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