What’s wrong with getting an eBook for nothing?

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Only everything!!!

The fact that today’s readers of eBooks demand they must be free or on offer as part of an all you can read for x number of dollars per month package deal, is just so wrong!

Face it people, when you go to your supermarket to get your groceries, or to any other retail outlet you care to name, do you get what you want for nothing? No of course not. So why should you expect to get a book for free? I’ve heard some people claim it should be free because an eBook isn’t a real book, only an electronic file. Good grief morons, try engaging your brains for once in your lives! These same idiots argue that they should be able to download their favourite music for free as well. I have just two words on that particular subject – Taylor Swift!!! We need someone like her to stand up for the largely toothless contributing authors of this world…

Thanks to Amazon belabouring the fact that eBooks are electronic files, the concept of never paying for any eBook written by an Indie has become the norm. How many of you feel guilty about reading that eBook you got for nothing? More to the point, how many of those free eBooks you downloaded, have you actually read, let alone reviewed?

Doesn’t it bother you that the eBook’s author invested several months, or in some cases, years writing it? If not, it damned well should!

It’s high time you all grew a conscience and put yourselves in the author’s place for once. After all, would you go into work if you knew that you would not receive a salary for your hard work? Of course you wouldn’t!

More fool us for loving the written word, to the point where we sweat blood like you wouldn’t believe to bring you that latest book. Common decency demands that we are owed monetary recompense for all our hard work in the form of royalties, no matter the price of the book in question.

Unfortunately these days most Indies are lucky if their titles sell in the dozens per annum. Thanks to Amazon’s penny pinching change in how they pay royalties, known as KENPR or Kindle Edition Normalized Pages Read, combined with your own equally selfish attitude towards the product of our labours, if any writer thinks they will become rich these days, they’re seriously kidding themselves. We’re no different to you in that we need money to survive, but thanks to Amazon and uncaring people like you, 99.999% of Amazon’s Indie authors consider themselves lucky if they make maybe a couple of hundred dollars (US) yearly from writing.

Remember this tightwads – authors never receive royalties from those free copies you all greedily help yourselves too.

PS – if you agree with me, reblog this!!!

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Something’s Rotten In The State Of Denmark!

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Like a lot of supposed author friendly sites, Scribd has become commercial. In two articles (click here), Scribd  (and here) Publisher’s Weekly  it was variously announced that Scribd now has 30,000 audio books for sale via a monthly subscription.

I left a comment on the second of the two articles asking –  Why would you want the electronic version of your mother reading you a bedtime story?

I recieved the following reply from Andi Arnt, a narrator of audio books – Audio Publishers Association reported 35,713 titles published in 2013, with retail sales in excess of $1.3 billion. Narrating audiobooks is my full-time job, and some of the listeners ONLY experience books in audio form, never print. But yeah, you’re probably right, who would want that?

While I’m all in favour of audio books for the blind put out by mainstream publishers, what Scribd’s CEO and co-founder Trip Adler has done (while hoping to cash in on a lucrative market), is to play into the hands of a growing section of today’s youth who are too lazy to buy and read a real book, and those adults who claim they have no time to read because of their busy lives. To the first group I merely say this – you don’t know what your missing. To the second group I say – make time!

Hopefully Adler is not doing it at the expense of the books’ many authors. My question to him is simply this, are the authors of the works or their legal representatives, being paid royalties for the sale of each copy of books you have made available in your new service? If not, why not?

When Scribd first appeared in 2007, like all writers I viewed the site as yet another place to make my work known. Now, I’m not so sure. There are a number of sites that pirate books without paying royalties to the authors of those books. Is that happening here?

To say that what Scribd is doing seems extremely fishy, is an understatement. Has it become yet another pirate site? It’s already an uphill battle to get people to buy a legal copy of an eBook or a paperback, without sites like this sidelining them.

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For Goodness Sake – Think Before You Act!!!

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I’ve said this all before on several occasions. But apparently you decided to keep on doing it anyway…

As writers, whether seasoned or a newcomer, explain to me why it is that you have totally swallowed the marketing ploy created by your publisher(s) that giving away hundreds, sometimes thousands, of copies of your books is somehow financially beneficial to you?

The only ones who benefit from your moment of completely misguided naivety, or should that be madness, is your publisher and one particularly evil, not to say tight, group of readers. I refer to those individuals who know that sooner or later you will become desperate enough (or should that be foolish enough) to decide that it is a good idea to give the product of all your hard work away for nothing! Think trolls, pedants, armchair critics and good old fashioned skinflints. Letting the first three get their hands on a free copy of your book gives them all the ammunition they need to tear apart your reputation as a writer even before you have established one! Just take a look at all of the one star reviews on sites like Amazon if you don’t believe me…

Before you join in with this idiocy, take a moment to think it through. There is absolutely nothing wrong with giving away a dozen copies of an eBook online, or a dozen signed paperback copies at a book fair, or in your local book shop just once. It makes total promotional sense. Number one, with the paperback, the cost of getting that many printed is negligable. Number two, despite what eBook publishers may say, the cost of producing an eBook is practically zero. If those who got their copy from you this way like what they read, they will soon spread the word.

The nasties usually don’t attend book fairs and bookshops…

Put your thinking caps on for a moment. If instead of being a writer you were a painter, or a sculpture, would you give your work away to get yourself noticed? No, of course you wouldn’t. So why do you think that you will become popular among readers if you give away hundreds or thousands of copies of your book(s)?

Once again I ask you to think before you act. While your eBook or paperback may be free to the readers for a promotional period between two to five days, your publisher still receives a financial reward simply by delivering the copy to the readers, while you get nothing.

Let’s face it people. You decided to get your book published. You spent many months slaving over it. In a lot of cases, you spent more money than you could afford at the time having it edited as well as getting the cover made. Giving away thousands of copies will not help you recoup your financial outlay. Only real sales do that. While you may believe that it is a good idea, take it from one who knows – it isn’t! Divide the total cost of your outlay by the retail price of the book. That will give you some idea of how many copies have to be sold before you begin to see any profit in the form of royalties.

If the loss of thousands of pounds/dollars etc in the form of royalties doesn’t bother you, I give up. You are a hopeless case. I’ve mentioned all of this in previous posts. So have many other seasoned writers. Yet, each day I come across more and more writers giving away precious copies of their book, hoping to be recognised, even though they know they are playing into the hands of the literary vultures waiting in the wings, hoping to feed on the next writer’s sheer desperation.

You know that it is totally ridiculous and yet you still do it. Why? For your own sakes, not to mention your dwindling bank accounts, cease and desist! You wrote the book. Therefore you are entitled to reap any financial reward derived by its sale.

 

There Is Nowt Queerer Than Folk

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People in general are probably the most complicated, dangerous, confusing, annoying, tiresome, argumentative, frustrating, angry, illogical, emotional and idiotic creatures roaming this planet of ours. Don’t even get me going on the differences between the genders…

To begin with, the greater majority of mankind believes in some form of non existant all powerful entity. Why? What’s wrong with standing on your own two feet? To any logical thinking being, any form of religion makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Where is this all powerful being when we need them the most, like when we are involved in a war, or are suffering a family crisis? Nowhere, that’s where! So why bow down to them? It makes no sense at all.

Religion is hardly peaceful or benevolent, despite everything its devotees preach. Each religion believes it is the only true one, conning its faithful into thinking that all the others are unbelievers to be destroyed! I’ve lost count of the number of wars that were, and still are, being fought in its name – an ugly trait of those who still believe that they are still the masters of all mankind. It seems that we can’t get through a single century without declaring war on each other. Once again, why is that? In the days of yore the common people were given no choice in anything. Once upon a time we were ruled by Emperors, Kings, Dukes, Earls, Barrons and tribal Chieftains. What they decreed simply happened.

I’ve got news for you people. These days we do have a choice, despite what our political and religious leaders may say. Our politicians, backed by the more fantical religions, have taken over from any kind of royalty, prosecuting wars in other lands like there is no tomorrow, usually because those countries are oil rich. While we can’t do much about the religious fanatics, except ignore them, every few years we do get the chance to vote out the political party that is annoying and frustrating us the most. The real trouble is that instead of thinking first, many simply give their vote to a specific political party because that’s the way their family members and them have always done it. In my own case, I usually vote for the Labour party. Why do I do that? Habit, pure and simple!

More and more these days people simply don’t bother to vote, believing that their one vote won’t make any difference. Total rubbish!

With barely a fortnight to go, the good people of Scotland will get the chance to vote, either for independence from the rest of the UK, or to maintain the status quo. This is a historic moment in the history of these islands. The Scots won’t get another chance like this in the forseeable future. The political pundits and polls suggest that both sides of the argument, for and against, are about even. When have polls and pundits ever got anything right when it comes to elections, or in this case, probably the most important referendum that Scotland will vote on?

Since the Jacobites were beaten in the eighteenth century, ending any previous thoughts of Scots’ independance, the proud nation has been nothing more than a vassal state of England. Despite all of the scaremongering and threats from the UK parliament, personally I hope that Scotland achieves it dream to break away from the houses of parliament, otherwise known as Westminster, once and for all.

Role on the eighteenth of September…

Remember That Words Are Our Craft

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As writers we are always on the lookout for those personality traits which each human being has within them when creating our characters.

To that end, besides acting as a means for our readers to get to know us, blogs are a positive gold mine, especially when certain commenters lose their composure, and drop their guard. Remember that words are our craft. What you say, or don’t say, how you react to a post, gives all of us useful information to draw upon. So don’t be surprised if one day when you are reading one of our books, that a particular character seems very familiar to you.

People simply can’t help themselves when any blogger writes a piece that they feel needs to be commented on. Some have extremely strong views on a specific subject. Others simply agree with what was said. Yesterday’s post on spamming and unsolicited book links in proposed comments certainly qualified. One or two of the commenters where forthright in their opinions.

Some hopefuls even attempted to chastise the blogger in question, taking offence at what was said, often resorting to foul languge. Needless to say, certain comments wind up in the bin, unpublished, having given us useful information for a particular type of future character, usually of the evil kind.  Still others tend to go off at a tangent, talking about something else entirely.

So, to all of you, bear in mind that once your comment has been approved by the blogger, literally everyone who reads the blog, and your comments, instantly forms their own opinion about you. In short, unless you are careful, you will expose your real selves to the world and everyone who reads a blog, intentionally or otherwise.

Having spent twenty-five years in a university in New Zealand, without exception every one of the academics I worked with gave me an endless supply of character traits, which I have used in two of my books. The same can be said for the people I met and served alongside in the military back in the nineteen-sixties. In their case I created military style characters for two of my science fiction novels.

Even talking to our friends give us useful character traits. So, if you don’t want to wind up in any writer’s next novel as a shady, or even a bad character, think long and hard before you loose all sense of decorum…

On second thoughts, don’t. We need you to lay yourselves wide open. Far too many books these days contain shallow uninteresting characters…

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Why Are Publishers Giving Away Bestselling Books for Free?

 

 

Why Are Publishers Giving Away Bestselling Books for Free?.

Why does any publisher do it? To shift books and expose books to a jaded reading public, and to increase their revenue. They certainly don’t do it to keep their writers happy!!!

Has George Orwell’s nightmare vision finally become reality?

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To my way of thinking George Orwell’s dystopian nightmare vision of society, ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ is on the verge of becoming the norm.

Instead of his fictitious character ‘Big Brother’ being in charge, dictating what will happen, whether we like it or not each and every one of us are being controlled by ‘Big Business’ in its many forms, largely thanks to their sycophantic enforcers – our current crop of politicians, who make up the worst parliament since the English Civil War!!!

There was a time not too many decades ago when the business community looked after its lifelong workforce by rewarding their loyalty, often working in conjunction with the various Unions to improve the worker’s lot. No longer.

These days what passes for the union movement in many western nations is largely toothless.

At one time there used to be a marked difference between political party’s. Here in the UK, the Tories have always represented the conservative and business minded, while Labour unashamedly used to represent the ordinary working man and woman.

No longer…

Whether we like it or not, in the relentless pursuit of profit at all costs, many branches of big business, in particular the world’s stock markets and major banking groups, now control every aspect of our lives.

How much longer will the workforce put up with being treated abominably? In effect what we now have is capitalism gone mad! What’s the alternative? Is there one?

Here in the UK we currently have a system where to massage the unemployment figures and please the business community, our politicians have introduced a new concept in the labour market called Zero Hours.  It is an employment contract used here which while meeting the terms of the Employment Rights Act of 1996 by providing a written statement of the terms and conditions of employment, does not oblige the employer to provide work for the employee, nor does it oblige the employee necessarily to accept the work offered. Although given today’s climate, you would be a fool to turn it down.

The employee is expected to be on call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. He or she only ever receives minimum wages for the number of hours worked.

Zero-hour contracts may suit a tiny minority, but most people in the general working population, including those with mortgages to repay and a family to provide for, run the very real risk of zero money most weeks, thanks to the unpredictable hours and earnings. Is it any wonder that so many people now make use of food banks to feed themselves? I think not.

There is a very real possibility of the use of Zero Hours contracts becoming a tool to reprimand employees for any trifling reason. This raises the issue of how workers can adequately assert their employment rights or maintain decent employment relations.

More and more people are falling under this umbrella these days. While the reduction in unemployment figures may look good on paper, it does nothing for the average man or woman formerly laid off by their previous employer. In effect we have entered an era of slave labour.

Come the next election, I firmly believe that apart from the political headache of Scotland holding a vote to leave the United Kingdom, the current Tory led government will struggle to be re-elected. But what is the alternative to their ‘let them eat cake’ attitude? The Labour party is certainly no longer a viable alternative, being equally as bad as the Tories when it comes to sucking up to big business. That just leaves the Liberal Democrats. God help us all if they ever got into power!!

In my own case, as a pensioner I have to consider whether to feed myself or heat my home during the winter months, thanks to the exorbitant power bills I receive. If you are wondering, I choose to eat.

The time to end party politics once and for all is on the horizon…

It’s reality check time

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I was reading an article the other day http://www.salon.com/2013/04/02/im_a_self_publishing_failure/ written by someone who deluded himself into believing that by writing and self-publishing a book, he would instantly be rewarded with fame and fortune. I’m still trying to make up my mind whether or not he is simply naïve, or a complete fool. Click on the above link to make up your own minds.

Writing is a serious business. The publishing world has surrounded itself with layer upon layer of obstacles designed to separate the wheat from the chaff, making it nigh on impossible for the first time writer to break in.

Getting your skills to the point where people other than your immediate circle of family and friends will appreciate your efforts takes time. It also takes a long time to build up a readership (in my case it has taken eighteen long years of hard graft and heartache).

As a newcomer, the chances of your first book becoming a best seller are slim to nothing. If you think that dozens of literary agents will be fighting among themselves to represent you, you are deluding yourself. First and foremost they are in the business of making money. Whether or not your literary efforts are likely to make you a candidate for the next Pulitzer Prize comes a distant second in their world. The same applies when it comes to the vast majority of publishers, both large and small.

If you do manage to get a literary agent to represent you, there is no guarantee that they will be able to generate interest among the major players in traditional publishing. Face it people, their primary objective is also to make money. For both a literary agent and an establishment publishing house to take a financial gamble on you making them millions in profit, is extremely unlikely to occur.

Most traditional publishers work to a strict budget. They work on a fixed number of new books in any given year. If yours is among them, don’t for one moment think that they will necessarily want to publish your next book during the following year. In most cases they won’t. Why – because as an unknown your first effort simply did not sell enough copies. It doesn’t matter a damn that at the time, your editor waxed lyrical about it to keep you sweet, or that it might have been critically acclaimed. My only book published in this way, sold barely two hundred copies because I was an unknown.

If the discerning reading public doesn’t warm to your book, as far as your agent and publisher are concerned you are now a financial liability. In which case you will find yourself remaindered just like the unsold copies of what you saw as your magnum opus.

All of the above is why so many first timers choose to self-publish these days. Even though you have fewer obstacles to navigate your way through, if the end result of those long hours spent writing does not generate enthusiasm among the billions of potential readers throughout the world, then like the author of the above article, you are in for a reality check.

Whether your first book is self or traditionally published, don’t expect it to be an overnight success. If it does peak the curiosity of the reader, by both favourable and negative reviews, chances are that they might want to purchase a copy to see what all the fuss is about. If they like your writing style, they may even purchase any subsequent books written by you. Its entirely in the lap of the gods as to whether or not the sales of your first book will exceed one or two hundred copies.

I my own case, I turned to self-publishing for one reason only – to establish a regular readership. I learned a valuable lesson from my brief encounter with the world of traditional publishing, albeit with a small press. Simply put, I was not prepared to wait for a year or two before my then publisher deigned to include my next effort in their publishing schedule.

By deliberately choosing to self-publish, I know I made the right decision. My sales figures back me up. The other decision I made was to deliberately publish my works exclusively as eBooks rather than the traditional printed variety, simply because so many people nowadays fill in the time it takes to commute to and from the workplace by reading via their tablet, smartphone or laptop.

I am now in the fortunate position where my books sell in their thousands. The reality for most self-published writers is that they will not be so lucky. It doesn’t mean that I am raking in a fortune in royalties, or that I am famous by any stretch of the imagination. What it does mean however, is that I am building a faithful readership, something which at my age (sixty-five), had I chosen to stay with traditional publishing, would have been denied to me for several decades.

Like the author of the article linked above, if you look upon the writing game as a ticket to fame and fortune, you are in for a rude awakening. But, if you write because you love it, content in the knowledge that people enjoy reading the efforts of all your hard work, then the crowded world of words has a place reserved for you.

Are we happy?

 Iain Duncan Smith MP. Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

With all that has happened here in the UK recently since this coalition government took control I begin to ask myself the question – are we really in a recession, or are we being conned? I firmly believe that we being dragged back to a time when the average human being in this country was required to doff his cap or touch his forelock whenever an upper class twit entered the room? This is the twenty-first century Mr Prime Minister, not the nineteenth!

Our government has broken or gone back on every election promise it made concerning the elderly and the poor, when they clearly promised in their election manifesto to look after those self same people. Instead of instigating cost cutting measures within institutions like our National Health hospitals, which used to be the envy of the world for their caring attitude towards patients, you should be increasing the amount of money available for them. Is it any wonder that so many people are now dieing due to lack of care when the nursing staff are no longer dedicated professionals, but poorly trained agency employees, often without a working knowledge of the language, with a complete lack of compassion?

Not too long ago our completely out of touch Prime Minister wanted to spend a few million on a nationwide survey asking the populace whether or not we are happy – what was he thinking?

Students rioted over the proposed massive hike in tuition fees being proposed and who can blame them. If and when the new crop of students graduate, on average most will be saddled with a massive debt of approximately £40,000!

Regarding those among the population who are unemployed for various reasons; instead of making their existence even worse than it is at present, why not forcibly encourage the businesses of this land to create worthwhile, financially rewarding jobs instead of directing the unemployed to seek demeaning below minimum wage jobs, merely to make the government statistics on employment look good to the world at large.

Some people have even been forced to do work for zero pay to receive their Jobseekers Allowance as evidenced by the recent successful case brought against Iain Duncan Smith’s Department of Work and Pensions by a young woman brave enough to stand up to his bullying regime.

Our government is busy emasculating this nation’s vital armed services, while at the same time making promises of men and arms in various conflicts across the world. What use is a modern navy without a fully functional aircraft carrier complete with its fighter aircraft ready for action at a moment’s notice wherever it may be needed to help defend the realm? Plus, what use in an airforce without its jets and the bases to operate them from, or an army without adequate up to date weaponry and body armour?

Plus, think of the thousands of people and their families whose livelihoods depend on those armed forces bases and the personnel running them, who, if this insanity is allowed to become law, will join the swelling ranks of the unemployed.

The answer to your question about the nation’s happiness Mr Prime Minister, no we are not happy when your target the elderly, or those who through no fault of their own are disabled plus the ever swelling ranks of the poor. Nor are we happy that you seem determined to place our country’s defences in a precarious state while kowtowing to the very people who caused all of the financial problems in the first place – the greedy investment bankers!

I am now firmly of the opinion that here in the UK the inmates are running the asylum…