Monday, October 5, 2009

Whether Tis Nobler in the Mind to e-Pub...

So I was reading this blog today called "Holding Out: Why the Golden Heart is One Factor in My Decision Not to E-Publish" and I had a whole host of reactions to it. First off: NO FLAME WAR. We like L.A. Mitchell. We (using the royal 'we' here) think she made some rational points, presented in a thoughtful manner which was not overly condemnatory toward the e-pub option. Yay!


Made up statistics piss me off. I realize that people respond well to numbers and statistics. It makes the arguments quantifiable - and therefore easier to prove. But if your numbers are made the fuck up, you and I are going to have a small problem. My inner math geek will puff up like the Incredible Hulk and attack your numbers with the vengeance of logic. Rrroowr.

Evidently, an "optimistic" look at epublishing shows exposure as 500. So all those people past the first 500 who've read my stuff? They don't know who wrote it! Oh, no! And every time you final in the GH your exposure is 15,000 people. No idea where this number comes from. Especially since the entire RWA membership numbers around 10,000. So even supposing that everyone in the RWA is avidly following this contest (which stretches probabilities quite a bit) there are still 5,000 unaccounted for "exposures" out there. Okay, so let's say only half the membership are interested, and each of them tell two other people the names of every single finalist. Fine. We'll give you fifteen thousand. Here comes the fun part. Final twice? Just double that number, baby! 30,000! You won't be exposed to the same people again. Oh, no! The entire membership will have changed and you will get 15,000 brand spanking new exposures! I hate made up math.

The argument might not seem quite as cut and dry if you leave the numbers out, but I would prefer that to using fake ones. The important arguments are not easy. Which publisher (e or otherwise) to submit to is an individual decision which each writer has to make. I just don't think presenting the information in a mathematically faulty manner helps.

(In L.A.'s defense here: she is referring to her experiences not mine. To my knowledge she has a short story in a Wild Rose anthology on which she is basing her e-pub stats and I can only assume her Golden Heart exposures are far greater than my own. It seems likely she was pounding the pavement more than I was, after the finalist announcement. And likely that she's counting repeat exposures to the same person as unique hits...)

There are good contracts and bad in both "New York" and "e" publishing. A writer needs to do her research and be savvy about the market - whichever route she chooses.

I just don't understand, when digital publishing is a growth area in the industry, why e-publishers have been lumped together and declared the whipping boy. What is with that?

Some e-presses have failed as businesses. True. But if a New York press suddenly went out of business, would we all start screaming that all New York presses were terrible and unreliable? Perhaps we would. People are weird, man.

It's a messy argument. But an interesting one.

So, um, what's the opposite of "holding out"? Is "holding out" like waiting for marriage? Wow, I'm like the super-slut of the romance community then. I just keep giving it up to Samhain, over and over and over again. Makes me feel kinda naughty. All those virtuous authors waiting for their big New York payday shake their heads and mutter, "She seemed like such a nice girl."


Kate Diamond said...

You know, 75% of authors who e-pub before marriage end up with... I don't know... royalty herpes.

It's true. I read it online.

Vivi Andrews said...

OMG! I've gotta get tested right now!

Vivant said...

Your diatribe made me laugh so hard I almost peed my pants -- thank you, thank you. I'd had a frustrating day at work so it was wonderful to release all that tension. Endorphins, anyone?

I've seen several reviewers of ebook readers mention putting their e-reader in a zip-lock baggie to read in the bath. Now we know the truth. They claim to be protecting the reader, but in reality they're using the baggies as giant condoms and doubling that with the steam of the bath to protect themselves from all those sexually explicit communicable epub diseases!

Vivi Andrews said...

LOL. Ziplock condoms and epub diseases. You guys crack me up.


I can't think of anything amusing to say at six in the morning. But I feel a little dirty this morning and my book isn't even out yet. I guess they can all clutch their big NY dream in both hands and hold on.