Publishing — Rights and Wrongs

There has been a lot of discussion among writers, lately, about Amazon.com’s library lending and publishing imprints, not to mention the usual publishing ills–and even some DRM discussion. Now, I’ve worked for a large corporation or two (if you also count the military), and one thing I’ve found is that though some “entity” might do something that might piss off the rank and file (and evil/criminal activity notwithstanding), there are a lot of well-meaning people in those organizations–actual human beings–who exist at every level. It’s so easy to vilify a “corporate giant,” an entire entity, but the one thing I’ve thought about through all these discussions I’ve heard and read is that (to my mind) if something really is the best and the greatest–shouldn’t it survive? Bear itself out? Because if it wasn’t, won’t it fail? Just as “the cream always rises,” isn’t it also true that “the chaff always sinks?”

Sure, if you feel strongly about something, you should take action…be part of those who cause that chaff to sink…and I guess all the ongoing discussion is in determining just that. But what I take issue with is that everyone continues to throw poison-tipped spears at Amazon.

Look:  I don’t see a whole lotta change coming out of anywhere else.

You?

At least these well-meaning guys and gals at Amazon.com are trying to make an effort at things. Last I heard, they even pour lots of profits back into the company, rather than taking it all to their local yacht or bling establishments. They seem to be doing two very important things here: 1) giving writers new outlets, and 2) giving readers new outlets. Whether or not they have it “just right,” or “perfect,” isn’t so much the case…it’s evolving. The newest hip term: WiP (work in progress). Unless I’m missing something, if readers want to pay money to rent things, let em. We already have libraries. Contracts and legal definitions are being re-examined, put to their (as a friend on mine years ago used to say) “logical conclusions.” And, sure, and of course, these things can make Amazon a shitload a dough–but who cares?

Do you really care if Amazon makes more money?

This whole dang world revolves around making money or gaining power, and there’s always gonna be someone more wealthy and powerful than you. It’s just the way it is. But hopefully, along the way, some of that wealth and power can be put to good use, right? There’s nothing wrong with that, is there? Yes, intentions are everything, but we can’t control everyone’s intentions. We can only control our own, and–maybe–help others to see their way to a little bit of good intention along their journeys through life. But we can’t control their intentions. Hopefully their legal teams make it known to the Rich and Powerful that if you “want this” you have to “give that” to make it publically viable.

So, maybe Amazon didn’t do exactly the right thing by grabbing publishers’ works like they did, or maybe it was due to legal [mis]interpretations that got lost in the shuffle, I don’t know. But what I do know is that if something is truly wrong, it will either be corrected or stomped. If anything about what they did was right…it will succeed. But either way, they (the people at Amazon) are trying. And if you know anything about succeeding in life, in success, you know one takes many stumbles along the paths to greatness. People make mistakes, well-meaning and otherwise, in trying to make something better.

Once again, I point this out:  I don’t see anyone else trying to change…trying to make things better.

Advertisements

About fpdorchak

Paranormal fiction author.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Publishing — Rights and Wrongs

  1. Terry Wright says:

    Frank, I’m with you on this. WiP is what makes us all better. Those who have no WiP don’t help themselves or anyone. Those who do have WiPs will make mistakes along the way. I guess it’s human nature for the have-nots to criticize those who are trying to have something, build something, or create something useful. I, for one, like Amazon. I like Walmart, and I like Wall Street. They aren’t perfect, but they are trying to make life better for all of us (on whatever level).

    • fpdorchak says:

      “People throw rocks at things that shine,” as Taylor Swift tells us. And I believe that many of the execs and financiers involved in the book biz are somewhat interested in books, or they’d be working elsewhere. So, while they’re thinking about their bottom lines (and note, as I said, Amazon.com IS reinvesting portions of profits BACK into the business), I do believe they’re also interested in making things different and/or better. Just like NONE OF US are perfect, neither are corporations. I’m willing to give those who are actually trying a chance–sure, some of it, like Thea, below, says, may end up in court–but that’s, okay, too. Trial and error. Like on individual levels.

      I could go on and on….

  2. The issue with digital lending as I understand it is that there is no clear cut way to pay the writer for her work. And since we writers are all in the _business_ of writing and the purpose of any business is to make money, I see that as an impediment that I want worked out as soon as it can be.

    Amazon and Google seem to run roughshod over the purveyors of the content they use to butter their bread and they seem to use their size to push a lot of the butter their way.

    I am all for getting my content into the hands of readers. I am all for businesses making money. I also recognize that there are people out there genuinely caring about making a positive difference. I also work in the business world and see many businesses driven by a Board or stockholder given mandate to make money. Sometimes the money drive gets in the way of ethics or a sense of fair play and gives way to greed. This digital lending issue will likely be settled in court and I think that’s a good thing. As a small business person, I need a big guy on my side.

    This is a thorny issue and as we make our way through this new tangled forest, machetes and trail blazing seem to be the keys to finding a clear path. I just want some Rangers there to make sure all the hacking doesn’t injure me or my colleagues.

    Thanks for bringing this up. Lots of conversation will help people understand what’s at stake here and how to find guideposts as we move forward.

    • fpdorchak says:

      Hey, things haven’t changed for a looong time, and, suddenly, there’s all kinds of stuff going on. It’s bound to be unsettling, even unnerving. And when people continue with the chief tenant that to be in business is to make money, things will remain as they are. Why not have the point of being in business is to do whatever that business is to do? I maintain that were that the case–and it’s NOT some starry eyed BS–then businesses would strive to do the BEST at whatever it is they DO…and doing so, would come the money. It only makes sense. If you’re REAL good at what you do, and there’s a real market for what you do, how can you not make money? Would you make any less? I don’t think so. But the whole intent would change, the business paradigm would change–and I think a much greater, Zen-like change and growth would result.

      Can’t you notice how people who truly ENJOY what they’re doing really (and I mean REALLY) stand out from others?

      How can that NOT translate to the basic business model? From that basis, everything about business would change, and people/businesses would end up doing things from a more positive platform. Things would change for the better, rather than everyone trying to circumvent laws and the public and individual good, trying to screw over everyone else, by committing all manner of financial evils. All this stuff up for discussion, cases in point.

  3. Karen Lin says:

    Hi Frank,
    Thoughtful post. I think not having the world rotate around money is a tough sell to anybody who has ever tried to make ends meet with writing. Writers who take years to hone their craft are at a disadvantage every time more unfiltered stuff floods the market and when the filters slowly disappear. Loaning out a book from Amazon is different than from a local library – scale alone makes the difference…libraries also don’t (typically) charge and individual borrower for the privilege and lock the writer out of any of that profit. As to your statement: “if something is truly wrong, it will either be corrected or stomped”….. I suspect you didn’t mean to generalize that statement to everything beyond writing. I could name a hundred things that have gotten worse rather than better. On a micro-level? How many people, beyond Frank Dorchak, send written thank you notes. Not all gets better over time. I think unseasoned writers may benefit from this change if getting your work “published” is the goal, as well as those whose names are already well known. There are those writers in the middle who put in the time to sharpen the words with the intention of publishing traditionally and actually making a living at it; they now see that model go away. They are the ones who may see those very basic goals being shoved aside by this change.

    • fpdorchak says:

      Karen, I love ya, but if everyone keeps looking to the bad in everything, that is–truly–all people will see. You haven’t so much as said anything “wrong,” but there are so many counterpoints to everything you said. Of course there are things that go bad and get worse, but there are also things that are bad and get better. And much of it probably depends on one’s POV. I don’t see death as a bad thing–many do.

      My point is…is that (at least in this instance to keep it somewhat simple) there are many out there concerned about all this who are taking action. Keeping an eye on developments. There are those who are intimately involved in gatekeeping all this, getting involved in the politics, the finances, you name it.

      We aren’t.

      So those who are, will try to finesse these developments into something shiner. The BS will get weeded out, in court or elsewhere–and the best of it will shine. If not…some other “Amazon” will come along and create a newer model, and onward will go the change until the right thing “takes” and it becomes the new model.

      And whether or not Amazon is on a grander scale than libraries…isn’t that really moot? All those who desire to participate in renting books [for the most part] KNOW about libraries. If they really wanted to get a book for free, I think they would be able to do that.

      Yes, there’s LOTS of crap out there, but I think that’s only because proportionally or not so proportionally there are SO many more people out there, and writing has become so “easy” (come on, work with me here!). Everyone wants to try their hands a “getting rich quick,” or “getting famous.” It’s just the way it is today. For every door that closes, another opens. Big Six closed their doors…Amazon opened theirs.

      I have to admit, I’ve only become so interested in all this because I found Amazon was publishing, so it piqued my interest (and yes, I am submitting to them). I’m trying to understand where they’re coming from. I don’t really have a feeling one way or the other on the renting of books, if done right, because people spend so much money everywhere (e.g., Starbucks!). People will pay for whatever they want, and if that smothers away libraries, than the people willed it and it will be a sad day, indeed. But we all get what we CREATE.

      Ok, again I’m running long. Short of getting involved like the movers and shakers of the industry, I have to focus on the positives and continue to do what I feel is best. Keep writing, fighting the good fight, remain optimistic, and submit, submit, submit….

      Thanks to everyone for stopping by and commenting. Your Thank You cards will shortly be in the mail…. ;-]

  4. HoarseMan says:

    OK, Mr. D. Great article and nice insight. Tying this to something I just read about “The Twitter” not for selling books, I’d like to toss in something else about Amazon that is almost overlooked. The “Twitter” article painted some dismal numbers comparing electronic promotion to “Old Media.”

    Amazon (along with Smashwords, etc) are giving writers an opportunity to break the old molds — and do things that could NEVER happen in the TRADosphere.

    So what if a story is about TODAY, NOW? It doesn’t matter if people can buy it THIS AFTERNOON, which also goes to say that it doesn’t have to match an arbitrary word count criterion to give it “value.”?

    So what if the story asks the reader to really engage, to become an active participant, not a passive reader?

    So what if it’s not “the way we’ve always done things?”

    Maybe the reason books sell so much better when promoted through “Old Media” is that books (whether paper, “e”, or laser imprinted on the cortex), as long as they continue to follow the Old Models of storytelling, are Old Media themselves.

    Go ahead, call me a troublemaking rabble-rouser.
    B^)

  5. fpdorchak says:

    You’re right, rabble-rouser Ron, YOU and Smashwords are making inroads into the interactive package. That had slipped my mind. Thing is, personally, I don’t find interactive reading all that to MY tastes. I do like the traditional book experience of “just” READING a book. I don’t want to “play around” with a book, but I find that others do, so more power to them. Good point.

    I think as much as social media doesn’t “sell books,” as in one of my previous posts, they “do.” They do in that EVERYTHING someone does is promoting themselves and that, in turn, helps sell whatever it is they do, whether selling books, movies, or artwork. But I think it is true that social media, in and of itself, is NOT the selling point, the be-all-end-all to finanicial success. IT’s “word of mouth,” however defined, in the old days, backyard banter, today, FB and Tweets. Example: perhaps THE MOST popular blog post I’ve ever done had nothign to do with me. It had to do with a really cool video, called Plot Device. I’ve gotten HUNDREDS (maybe thousands?! haven’t yet figured out how to find the total for a individual post’s cumulative hits–can you help me there, with that, Ron?) of hits on that baby, and all I was doing was passing it on by “word of mouth.” So, I do believe that word of mouth IS still the best, but the mechanics of that effort are changing. In and of themselves, no, I don’t think social media is the Holy Grail, but it is one method of “speading the word.”

    BTW, I have nothing against so-called “old media,” I think it stuck around for so long because it worked. This “new wave,” also works. It ALL works. But the problem, as I see it, is that so many more works are being thrown out there in incredible amounts, all vying for the increasingly limited “air waves,” that it is getting tougher to make oneself known. Still, I think the truly good works will make themselves known…by “word of mouth,” again, however defined.

  6. Pingback: Let’s Kindle a Fire in HD « Runnin Off at the Mouth….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s