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Friday, March 25, 2011

The Friday Challenge - 3/24/2011

Obviously, the plan to dedicate March to getting caught up on loose ends and old Friday Challenge business is not working well. Gazing into my crystal ball—or maybe it's a snow globe, I can't be certain—the less-immediate future does not look much better. Otogu has already laid claim to my every free waking minute for the next three weeks, and beyond that, no matter how I phrase the question, the answer is always, Reply hazy, ask again later.

So today I'm going to toss out two news items for your consideration, and then a question. First, from this morning's St. Paul Pioneer Press:

E-book author from Austin, Minn., inks $2M deal with N.Y. publisher

Amanda Hocking, whose career we have been following with considerable interest, has just signed a $2M/four-book deal with St. Martin's Press. I recommend you read the entire article, but think the money quote is this one, from Matthew Shear, the publisher of St. Martin's.
[Shear] said that he wanted "pretty badly" to win the auction for Hocking's books [...]

"I think a lot of authors are looking at self-publishing as a way to perhaps make a certain amount of money sooner rather than later," Shear said. "But a publisher provides an extraordinary amount of knowledge into the whole publishing process. We have the editors, we have the marketers, we have the art directors, we have the publicists, we have the sales force. And they can go out and get Amanda's books to a much, much bigger readership than she had been able to get to before.
So, got that? Part of the rationale behind this deal is that there are a whole lot of middle-men and -women whose future careers depend on proving that the publishosaurs are not becoming irrelevant.

The other notable quote in the article is this one, from Ms Hocking herself:
"I want to be a writer," she said. "I do not want to spend 40 hours a week handling emails, formatting covers, finding editors, etc. Right now, being me is a full-time corporation."
Interestingly enough, that's approximately what Vince Flynn said when he gave up self-publishing, and as good an explanation as any for why the four e-books I'd planned to have out by this point in time still haven't materialized.

Otogu is a most demanding demon.

Also worth noting in the news, here's an item that got little play in the local papers so I had to go to the Sydney Morning Herald for the link:

Google library plans shelved

The gist of it is that after years of litigation and negotiation, a Federal judge has rejected Google's incredibly audacious attempt to grab and profit from everyone else's copyrights. As someone who has long been following this case with rapt attention and a personal stake in the outcome—when I finally got into the Google books database, I was appalled to discover just how much of my own work they had scanned and were claiming as "orphaned" copyrights—all I can say now is, GOOD!

Finally, as promised, here's the question I want to put forward for serious discussion.

Things, obviously, are not going well here at The Friday Challenge. Most of my attention is elsewhere, on personal problems of far greater urgency. Henry, Kersley, and Guy are likewise in similar situations, although some situations are better than others.

We cannot continue to keep going as we have been going in recent months, limping along and hoping things will be better next month. The Friday Challenge must either change or end.

So, which is it to be? Should The Friday Challenge change, and if so, how? Or is it time to say that it's been a fun six year run, but the time has come to close the show, strike the tent, and go do something else?

The lines are now open. I look forward to the discussion.

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