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Links 1 through 10 of 193 by Chad Orzel tagged business

I understand that people want to be published - I really do. But to equate a self-published project in any way with a professionally edited and published work is to do a tremendous disservice to those who have passed the quality-control process. 

All of this said, I have expressed support for ebooks in the past, and I'll do so again. They're not my cup of tea - I don't like reading on a screen. But many people do - and it's our job as a going business concern to give people the products they want to buy. That DOESN'T mean, however, that we should sell products for less than the market would bear - that would be sheer foolishness. It's going to take a while for all of this dust to settle, so stay tuned.

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[Web-based authoring] tools would not be of much effect if we didn’t have companies that supported online media retailing. But beyond the mere selling of books, what is most notable about web-based media companies like Apple, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft is that they are not simply creating sophisticated recommendation engines and robust consumer marketplaces; rather, they are aggregating a vast array of web-based services into online super-nodes that encourage user participation and focus. Their opportunity is not restricted to content discovery and support for commercial transactions; it is enabling the kinds of things that the web makes possible: connecting people with each other, and to the things they care about.

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Your regular update from the publishing apocalypse. Which turns out not to be all that apocalyptic just yet...

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Consider: I started working on the meat book in early 2007. I finished it in early 2012. You do the math.

I spent five years researching and writing the beer book, and of that, a great deal of money and time was spent on traveling to specialized libraries. The Key West book took me two years to research and write.

How did I pay for that? By entering into a partnership with a traditional publishing house that provided financial support.

It works like this: My agent sells my book IDEA to a publishing house. The house pays an “advance”: a sum of money upfront that I can live on while I research and write the book. It’s not much money — in fact it’s an embarrassing amount of money and I also am fortunate enough to receive financial support from my spouse.

Without that assistance, I couldn’t do what I do. Period. Again, it’s not much money, and it’s the ONLY money I earn from my books.

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A trend I’ve been noticing in the past year is what seems to be an uptick in the number of established, profitable independent bookstores being sold by their owners, and especially a lot of articles where the owners talk about how they’ve loved the store dearly but it’s time to retire and think the store will need a new, energetic person to take it to the next level and contend with all the recent changes in the industry.[...] The owner usually announces the sale with a high level of optimism and often has several qualified, interested candidates to choose from.
[...]I like reading all these smaller individual stories. I think they’re cool. What I want is for someone to delve a little deeper into them. I want to know how and why this happens, and if it means anything.

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Recently, I began chatting with a publishing industry executive about this. This person — who I’ll call Exec — was interested in learning how to break DRM on e-books. About a month later, Exec is a convert and was ready to talk about the experience, albeit anonymously. I don’t think Exec is the only person in the publishing industry breaking DRM on e-books they buy…and those who aren’t doing so already might want to give it a try, if only to see what readers go through. Here is Exec’s story.

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And so Americans continue to have a small number of expensive, poor quality cell phone providers.  And how much does this cost you?  Take your phone bill, and cut it by 80%.  That’s how much you should be paying.  You see, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, people in Sweden, the Netherlands, and Finland pay on average less than $130 a year for cell phone service.  Americans pay $635.85 a year.  That $500 a year difference, from most consumers with a cell phone, goes straight to AT&T; and Verizon (and to a much lesser extent Sprint and T-Mobile).  It’s the cost of corruption.  It’s also, from the perspective of these companies, the return on their campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures.  Every penny they spend in DC and in state capitols ensures that you pay high bills, to them.

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Once again the cries of panic have risen over the walls of our digital city. A big shadow is passing over our heads. Publishers and bookstores are in danger. Amazon is a mecha-robot stomping toward Bethlehem.

And writers feel lost. Worried. Bookstores are exploding like a landmine gophers! Books are on fire! Publishers are throwing writers out of windows! An army of self-publishers is marching on New York!

So you turn to me. Your drunken, pantsless Sherpa. Waiting at the top of Mount Penmonkey, stroking my beard seductively at you. *stroke stroke stroke* *comb comb comb*

Okay, you don’t really turn to me so much as I kidnap you in a van and yell at you as we barrel toward the liquor store at increasingly troubling speeds, but whatever. Just the same, let me tell you what to do:


Calm down.

Breathe easy.

In. Out. In. Out.

Maybe have a drink. Take a walk. Sip some oolong tea.

Then, when you’ve relaxed: keep writing.

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Cashiers are barred from interacting with customers until they have completed 40 hours of training. Hundreds of staffers are sent on trips around the U.S. and world to become experts in their products. The company has no mandatory retirement age and has never laid off workers. All profits are reinvested in the company or shared with employees.

A doomed Internet startup? Occupy Wall Street fantasy? Bankrupt retailer recently purchased by Walmart?

No, a $6.2 billion-a-year, 79-store-supermarket chain with cult-like loyalty among its customers. Wegmans, which operates its 79 stores in New York, Pennsylvania and four other East Coast states, shows that a business can generously train its workforce and profit handsomely.

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Now-a-days, lots of folks are self-publishing. I'm doing it myself. If you're planning to self-publish, and if you haven't yet heard the advice that since you're now a publisher you need to hire an editor, well, you will.

Other folks want to learn to write. A one-on-one session with an experienced teacher can teach you to fish. If you know what I mean.

Therefore: I am putting my writing and teaching expertise up for sale.

What I will do: Critique and line-edit your novel. A critique generally runs 3-5 pages, and covers structural and developmental issues. If I think that your novel has reached or can reach a level which makes it suitable for submission, I'll tell you so. If I don't, I'll be honest about it and tell you that, as well.

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