Jonathan Franzen and His Ill-Gotten Ebook Royalties

Oh, oops, excuse me, maybe Mr. Franzen doesn't realize his paper books are now ebooks.

And that he's gotten royalties on them.

And that the world is gonna end this year - ALL BECAUSE OF THOSE DAMNED EBOOKS!

That's right. It's not the Mayans or some fringe cult saying it's the end of civilization.

It's Jonathan Franzen, provacateur (what, not selling enough of your books, paper or electronic?), snob, and know-it-all, who declares ebooks will be the end of us all. Or society. Or something.

Chew on This One

The Telegraph piece starts off with Mr. Franzen saying:
The technology I like is the American paperback edition of Freedom. I can spill water on it and it would still work! So it's pretty good technology. And what’s more, it will work great 10 years from now. So no wonder the capitalists hate it. It’s a bad business model.
Ever hear of a baggie? One of those things you usually store food in? I use that when I want to read when I'm taking a bath. Had a couple of drips on it. And it keeps on ticking. (Just like the Energizer bunny.)

Capitalists hate ebooks? Since when? Where does he get his info from? Is that why there's been an ebook explosion, because capitalists hate them? Hah! I would think the number one thing Capitalists want is Capital (duh), and they're doing so, despite what this snob says.

Can This Franzen Guy Get a Grip?

I mean, really. He comes up with tripe like this:
The Great Gatsby was last updated in 1924. You don’t need it to be refreshed, do you?
That was again taken from The Telegraph's write up here.

What the hell does that mean? So the words are reformatted for different devices. So? The original words are still there, the ones Fitzgerald wrote over 80 years ago (egad). How does putting those exact, same words in a different medium (what he's talking about being "refreshed," I guess) make it less worthy or damaging to civilization.

And this is coming from someone who couldn't get into The Great Gatsby. Maybe at some point, I'll get it in ebook form, and I'll like it (because I can make the fonts bigger, something that can't be done with a paper book).

And this is also coming from someone who loves paper books. But what I don't like about paper books is that (a) They take up a lot of space and (b) They're a pain in the ass to lug around. I have The Way of Kings by Sanderson in hardback. It's a friggin' brick. You think I'm going to cart that mother around? Noooo way!

In Summary...

Okay, so Mr. Franzen will be famous for about a week or so, until something else comes up. (I hadn't heard of him before someone pointed out what this guy said on Konrath's blog, in the comments section.) Despite the rant above, I wish him well in selling his books, both print and electronic. And that's what he should be concentrating on, not on trying to be the latest provacateur or loudmouth or whatever you want to call him.

Because at the end of the day (thank you Antrel Rolle), this is just another writer's thoughts on the whole paper versus ebook thing.

Enjoy your day! :-)


Reviews Don't Necessarily Mean Increased Sales

My eyeballs normally glaze over when an organization puts out a report that has reams (or what seems like reams) of data.

But the report Dean Wesley Smith posted about on his site actually sounded interesting to me. So while I mostly skimmed the report, the research data on page 8 was especially interesting. Nielsen's UK data (wonder if it's similar in the States?) analyzed a bunch of different things and whether they had any correlation to book sales. They considered such things as no short description, no long description, no reviews, and no blog, and further broke that down into general fiction, children's fiction, trade non fiction, and specialist non fiction.

This part of their analysis blew me away, and I'll quote: "Review appears to be the least significant indicator of increased sales within Fiction, Specialist Non-Fiction and Children's." I don't know about you, but I've always thought reviews mattered a lot to how much a novel did or didn't sell.

In the digital world, maybe it really doesn't matter how many reviews your novel has (or if it doesn't have any). Doesn't seem right to me - I know I rely on reviews for buying purposes, but I've occasionally bought books that didn't have any reviews. The jury is still out on whether that was a wise move by me, but I digress.

The data is in the report, as I said, on page 8 - and in a nice graph, to boot. (For those of you who are more visually inclined. :-) But it helped me too. ;-)) The analysis really does point to that.

A slight caution for me is that this is only one report. Let's see some other organization come out with a report analyzing the same sort of data; will they come up with the same conclusions?

Who knows.

The report is here.

Still, it's good to see someone digging into this. Kind of makes you think.


Start of a New Fantasy Series

I've been going forward with the start of a new series, book 1 of an I-don't-know-how-many-books series.

An historical fantasy, the series will be called Werewolf on Broadway, and takes place in New York City in 1929. Yeah, the year Wall St. laid an egg...but before that happens.

Karolina Wokowski is a Broadway hopeful, arriving on a cold, blustery day. She's an Abnormal, a mythical or magical creature come alive and living in the U.S. Except that her clan of wolves has been in the U.S. for quite some time, living in the Pennsylvania hills, just trying to live as peacefully as possible.

Trying is the operative word.

Since she's a werewolf, it's not easy to keep from turning and killing someone...bringing the entire clan to the attention of the local Normals. Her parents act upon that, keeping her in the house...until she escapes, with her grantparents' invention in tow, an invention that she hopes will keep her from wantonly killing a Normal.

Before she can kick up her heels on Broadway, she has to find an apartment and a steady job. Except there's a dead body in the apartment she's supposed to rent...and she's been signed up to help with the investigation, an investigation with an organization just taking baby steps, but backed by one of the local politicians: A shadow police force, which will handle all magical and mythical beasts.

I'm up to Chapter 4 already, just trying to get down the gist of what's in my head. Then I'll go back and fill it in - where necessary - when I'm done creating it. I love this era, what with the Great Depression lurking, displacing lots and lots of people. And I'm going to get some New York sports figures into it, because I'm pretty up on that sort of stuff (can't snow me about football or baseball terms, that's for sure :-)).

Back to work.


Word Count - First in a New Series and Super Secret Genre

So how's your writing going?

I've managed 500 words since January 2 - for a total of 4,000 words so far this year. (I figured out last year that I wrote about 100K words, the most I've ever written in a year.)

I've split the current word count between a novelette in a Super Secret Genre (actually, it's a sub-genre) under a pen name, and an historical fantasy novel, the first in a series (what else? :-)).

The historical fantasy is set in 1929 in New York City, where the mythical creatures people read about in fairy tales are real, having hitched a ride with Charles Lindbergh (mostly on board the ship he took back to the States)...and they've set up digs in NYC. They're the Abnormals, while those who aren't shapeshifters or whatever are the Normals.

I have a fascination with that period of time, and with the 1930s and 1940s. Major upheavals, first with the Great Depression, and then with World War II. Lots of people displaced, certain moralities were in question, a lot of the films (and even the plays/musicals on Broadway) were great...

Oh, how I can go on! :-) And I found a cool site if you're into sheet music collections or old-time songs (we're talking before the flood, nothing recent, lol!); some of this sheet music is quite lovely and the snippets I've heard from this site's CDs sound neat.

Gads, I'm such a geek/nut!

I now return you to your current site/channel/food/beverage.

ETA: And I just finished the Super Secret Genre novelette. Rounds out to close to 11,000 words.