Over the last couple of weeks, Amazon has announced a surge in turnover. From making a paltry $16.1 billion in the first quarter of 2013, in the same period this year its turnover has increased to a slightly-less-paltry $19.7 billion. In addition, in the same quarter it expanded its workforce by 7,000 new employees, bringing its total global workforce to 124,000. Continue reading “Amazon: Love it, hate it; you just can’t ignore it”
Editor’s note: Chris James is absent, recovering from another bout of the highly infectious disease, FailedWriteritis. In his place, for this edition of Indie News Beat we are pleased to welcome some very special guests: former Monty Python stars Jon Cleaze and Erik Idol!
Jon Cleaze: Hello everyone! I’m here today to tell you about a wonderful new opportunity for all of you sad, little self-publishing authors out there whose books no-one’s ever heard of. Oh dear! Did I say ‘sad’?! Oh my, please forgive me! Ha, ha! Of course I meant to say ‘pathetic’. Oh well [claps hands], the news is this: The Guardian newspaper has begun a new, monthly competition to find the very best self-published books. Marvelous, isn’t it? Yes, I thought you’d like it. So now, you’ll be able to submit your tawdry self-published book to The Guardian and find out if it really is any good at all. Oh dear! Did I say ‘tawdry’?! Ha, ha! Of course I meant to say ‘crap’.
Erik Idol [tapping Cleaze on shoulder]: Er, excuse me.
Jon Cleaze: Yes? What do you want?
Erik Idol: Well, I was wondering…
Jon Cleaze: Yes?! Come on, spit it out! I haven’t got all day!
Erik Idol: I’d like to submit my novel to The Guardian Self-Publishing competition. Continue reading “Indies Unlimited Welcomes Former Monty Python Stars”
The reason I ask is because of our need for predictability. We like certainty; we like the comfort of knowing what we’re going to get and what’s going to happen. But with many of us, the problem is that predictability tends to evolve into a sense of entitlement. If you’re in a position of power, the fastest way to get people to hate you is to deny them something to which they believe they’re entitled. Parents the world over have to walk the tightrope of whether to discipline their children, since the act of punishing them by denying them something is just as likely to exacerbate undesired behaviour as to correct it. At the societal level, over the last few years regimes in many countries have been finding out the best way to turn a localised insurgency into a full-scale revolution is to deny their populations access to the internet, something which didn’t even exist a generation ago. Continue reading “Indie News Beat: The Potential Perils of Percentages”
Unless you were living under a rock last month, you’ll have heard about Hugh Howey’s incendiary new website in which he and an anonymous friend collate a mass of book sales data to show that self-published titles are taking more and more of the spoils. Cue much wailing and gnashing of teeth from nearly everyone (it seemed), given that so much data analysed in such depth was perhaps bound to be open to selective interpretations.
Over on Publishers Weekly, Smashwords founder Mark Coker took a more sober approach, pointing out that: “What matters is the directional trend, and the strong social, cultural and economic forces that will propel the trend forward in a direction unfavorable to publishers.” In an excellent article which is a must-read for all Independent Authors, Coker goes on to describe how the perception of stigma is shifting. From just a few years ago, when self-publishing had “failure” written all over it, we’re now moving to a point where traditional publishing is getting its share of negativity: the lousy royalties on e-books and their own vanity imprints ready to fleece the unsuspecting Indie, which Coker politely calls “misguided”. The more heated the debate gets, the more useful it is to listen to a cooler head. Continue reading “Indie News Beat: The Shifting Stigma”