Stop Hyperventilating Over iBooks Author

January 26, 2012

I think everyone is seriously overreacting to the iBooks Author EULA. I don’t particularly like the EULA. I think it’s overly restrictive. But I also think everyone is focusing on the wrong part. There’s no disagreement about the terms surrounding “Distribution of your Work”. It all hinges on what is “The Work”. If you’re talking about selling a rich multimedia immersive super whiz-bang text book that takes advantage of all of iBooks Author’s magic, you must sell it through iBookstore. This isn’t (only) because of the EULA. It’s because your book is only viewable inside iBooks. You can’t play it [...]

Read more →

SOPA and Lost Sales

January 16, 2012

A lost sale is customer demand that can’t be filled. SOPA, and most discussions of digital piracy, treat every illegitimate download as a lost sale. I’m not pro-pirate, but that understanding of lost sales is a bad reading of the issue. Tim O’Reilly nailed the problem in a recent Google+ post: The lack of clear evidence in economic harm due to electronic piracy. There’s plenty of emotional baggage evidence in the form of “he’s watching my show/reading my book/playing my game and never paid for it.” This is absolutely true, absolutely unfortunate, and absolutely indicative of bad action on the [...]

Read more →

Amazon Goes Netflix on Books

September 12, 2011

It looks like Amazon plans to launch a Netflix-like service for books.  Nobody has details about it yet, but it could shake up all of publishing. The effect on indies is likely to be pretty complicated, with some significant benefits and some potentially serious hardships. Will indie publishers be able to participate? Amazon appears to be working out expensive deals with large publishers to include their books in the program. Complicated and expensive deals don’t work on a small scale, so Amazon will need a simple one-size approach for indie. That may not be easy to define (or easy to [...]

Read more →

Self Publishing on Self Publishing

July 20, 2011

David Gaughran has released his new book on self publishing, Let’s Get Digital. I’ve started through it, and it looks like David has produced a very worthwhile book for those pursuing or considering self publishing. In addition to embracing self publishing, David has released the PDF under a Creative Commons license (Attribution, Non-Commercial, No Derivatives, 3.0, for you Creative Commons savvy folks out there). I think this is a very interesting approach, and is likely to turn out to be a smart move. His book is now available on Amazon and Smashwords, with B&N and Kobo to follow shortly. David is [...]

Read more →

Cover Me

July 13, 2011

All Indie Publishing has a great interview with Joel Friedlander on book cover design. Anything with Joel is a must read for indie publishers. In this interview, the point which punching the air shouting “That’s what I’m talkin’ about!” was If an author sees the design of their book as a personal expression of their values, or an indication of their creativity, they will run into trouble with a designer who is, in essence, attempting to create a consumer product package for the book. These two approaches just don’t blend well. Joel perfectly captures the need to understand indie publishing [...]

Read more →

Indie is a Startup: Zuck it up

July 13, 2011

For someone starting a business, it’s possible to do it alone, but it’s easier with help. There are limits to what you know, limits to how much you can get done, and limits to where it’s valuable to spend your time. Tech companies typically start with someone who knows how to make the product (i.e., Wozniak) and someone who knows how to sell it (i.e., Jobs). In traditional publishing, the co-founder is similar to the agent or acquiring editor. You, the author, create the product, the others know how to sell it. They’re more than just a hired sales force [...]

Read more →

A Tale of Two Pirates

July 9, 2011

Piracy on the internet is nothing new. With the rise in indie publishing, though, a lot of individuals and small businesses are running into what big publishers have known for a long time: Content piracy is easy and preventing it is hard. I don’t intend to talk about the ethics or effects of piracy. Instead, I want to distinguish between two types of content theft and their different goals. When most casual observers think of piracy, they think of people sharing files via downloads, torrents, or peer-to-peer networks. This is traditional piracy. The person sharing the content knows that sharing [...]

Read more →

Indie is a Startup: What’s Your Problem

July 8, 2011

When startups talk with investors, one of the main questions they have to answer is “What problem are you trying to solve?”. It tells investors about the startup’s understanding of the market, the size of the opportunity they want to chase, and their ability to communicate with potential customers about how a new product or service can be helpful. In short, it gives an investor a summary of the startup’s potential. Writers have plenty of good (and bad) reasons to go indie. Money, control, and opportunities which might not exist in traditional publishing are easy to identify. But indie publishing [...]

Read more →

Indie is a Startup: Butt in Chair

July 4, 2011

This is the second in a series comparing indie publishing to technology startups. I’ll follow up with more posts looking at the lessons indie publishers can learn from the tech world. They can stand alone, but you’re welcome to start at the beginning. A few years ago, I tried to start a technology company. For someone in my business, it’s not an unusual thing to try. It’s also not unusual for these ventures to fail, as mine did. The details of what I tried to build aren’t important here, but for convenience, I wanted to build a service which would [...]

Read more →

Indie is a Startup: A Big Number Times a Small Number

July 3, 2011

This is the first in a series comparing indie publishing to technology startups. I’ll follow up with more posts looking at the lessons indie publishers can learn from the tech world. Indie publishing is awash in pricing discussions. Joe Konrath and his outstanding blog have been a primary venue for the issue. John Locke selling a million books launched another million posts. Dean Wesley Smith tackles it from (among others) a highly instructive by-the-numbers perspective. One of my favorite blogs, The Passive Voice takes it on in a couple of posts (the last also includes a shameless plug, which makes [...]

Read more →