Dreams—meaning lofty goals in life, not sleepy-time imaginings—are highly valued in our society. You don't have to look far to see social messages urging people to not give up on their dreams; indeed, we are urged to pursue our dreams with all our might. Broken dreams are seen as a bad thing. It is very common to have a dream to "write a book someday," and the annual NaNoWriMo event helps make that dream a reality for many people every year. But I'm not writing this blog entry to be a part of that bandwagon. I'm here to tell you that there are good reasons sometimes to give up your dreams. Read on to see three of them.
I've written before about the dearth of developer APIs from sites like Amazon KDP, but this week I ran across the Numerous API, and pondering how many things could be possible (but currently aren't) made me think it was time to grind that particular axe again. This isn't just for book sellers, this is for all creative-entrepreneurial platforms (let's call them CEPs to save space), including CreateSpace, Shutterstock, CafePress, and more. If you're a creative entrepreneur (or an entrepreneurial creative), please help me pressure these CEPs into action. Or, at least read on for more details.
I will readily admit that when I was a teen I mispronounced Moria (i.e., the mines of Moria, in The Lord of the Rings), as well as a number of other names in that highly acclaimed fantasy work. Fantasy authors are often derided for having unfamiliar names that readers can't pronounce, and new writers are admonished to avoid this "sin." However, unfamiliar names—and the ensuing mispronunciations—are not restricted to fantasy, or even to fictional works. I learned this rather uncomfortably when I was in the military.
As a young, no-stripe, E-1 in the US Air Force, my job was to make flight reservations for military personnel; once those reservations were made, I would type (on a typewriter) their "tickets" and hand them across a counter to the waiting customer, along with an explanation of the flight details and so forth. We often had a small crowd waiting, so I would have to call somebody forward to get their paperwork. Everybody outranked me at that point, which made mispronunciations even more awkward. I'm sorry, Master Sergeant Sepulveda, but there weren't any Sepulveda's where I grew up. I slaughtered names left and right for awhile.
Read on for how this relates to my current fantasy work-in-progress.
How about some practical content? Lately my blog post topics have often centered on my writing career, or my thoughts on things affecting other writers. However, among my most popular blog posts are those with practical information. No surprise, right? So that's what this blog post is about: Practical content for writers who are ready to step away from their bloated "word processing" software and use basic tools to focus on the story rather than the presentation. Yes, this means I'm harping about Markdown and text editors again, but this time I'm handing out more than advice. This time, you get tools you can use!
If you pay attention to the indie writer scene, it would be hard to miss the community's reaction this week to an announcement from Amazon. In the past, Amazon compensated writers for the borrowing of their books according to how many books were borrowed, as long as a reader made it at least 10% of the way through the book.
This financial incentive encouraged writers to make books available for borrowing through Kindle Unlimited (KU, which is Amazon's Netflix-style subscription service for avid readers) and the Kindle Owners' Lending Library (KOLL). This week, Amazon announced a radical revision to the compensation structure, where writers will be paid according to how many pages are read, regardless of percentage.
At first glance that might not sound like a big change, especially if you're looking at it only as a reader, but this is actually a fundamental revision: Nowhere else are books paid for by the page. This change takes effect on the first of July, just over two weeks after it was announced. Readers presumably won't see any difference, but writers with e-books exclusive to the Kindle, via KDP Select, will see a big change. There have been positive, neutral, negative, and wait-and-see responses from other writers. Read on for my analysis.