Friday, July 6, 2012

Gimme Caps, Freebies and Joe Konrath Is Bummed?

The blush is apparently off the relationship between Joe and Amazon.
So...what, now he sees how the rest of us are treated?
No he's still treated better than that.  But he's still selling power drills from Amazon's perspective while Joe thinks he's an artist selling intellectual property.
A book is not a power drill.  China can endlessly churn out power drills but there's only one Joe and he can only create so many new books in his lifetime (a lot more in number than most people but still limited).  Each book is unique.  Each power drill is not unique even if some have special features.
Has ever before in the history of mankind it seemed reasonable to compare a mass produced, manufactured object (not objet) to intellectual property?
Yet Amazon does it.
Amazon isn't the first.  On some level every publisher does.
But Amazon was supposed to be different.  (Still please publish Nothing Serious, I love you lots!)  They said they loved writers.

Let me tell you about loving writers.  I was in a situation in television where I pulled a producer's butt out of the fire and my agent called and said "Joe Smith (not his real name) really loves you" and I wisely said "In 6 weeks he'll hate me."  It wasn't 6 weeks it was 6 months, but he did come to hate me.

The minute anyone says they love writers, I know they're lying.  (Sorry Amazon, I love you lots, please publish Nothing Serious, this is business, not personal.)

I think Amazon had the intention of this nebulous loving of writers, but when business entered the equation, hey--money or love.  Not a hard decision for a big corporation.

So now that Joe sees how it works, and the rest of us would be thrilled to be forced into those terrible conditions, he thinks that being exclusive to Amazon is not that great.  Okay, I understand that.  I wouldn't put all my eggs in one basket either especially if I was as popular as he is, even if I wasn't I wouldn't give Amazon all my books.  UNLESS they switched to epub compatible or something.

I don't mind that a reader has to go to Amazon to buy my book for their Nook.  That's fine.  But I don't want them to be forced to ditch their Nook just to read Dream Horse.

Right now we're at the point where freebies don't quite work anymore and Amazon isn't taking action to replace that so-called tool with another shiny tool.  With the result that writers are starting to abandon Select because most of them get nothing out of it.  What have I been saying all year?

Free but not exclusive would be a positive step.  But Amazon needs the exclusive thing.  Amazon needs product/power drills to sell.  What if tradpub cuts them off?  Then their supply of power drills is dramatically decreased.  Except the flavor has been chewed out of the Select gum for writers and wait till Kobo gets its act together.  I think that's a big problem for Amazon.

So we're in a lull.    I had someone give me a very good argument for doing freebies.  I still don't know if they work anymore, but it was a good argument.  The game needs to change, though.

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