Getting on the top selling list with Amazon

Quite interesting stats on how much you have to sell to get into the top Amazon rankings. All put together by Kathy Temean. Check it out.

The Stupidest Genre

There’s a new genre that seems to be clogging the slush piles everywhere. At first, I thought it was just the Agency, but as I chat with others in the industry it’s becoming obvious that it’s a trend. In fact, those I know who run Creative Writing Master’s courses get a lot of submissions in this genre.

Unfortunately, people should stop writing it. Like now! Immediately. If you’re reading this post, and you discover that you’re writing in this genre. Stop. Turn off your computer, walk away, have a good hard think, and then write something else.

The genre is Self-Harm-Distopian. Essentially, something bad has happened to the Earth, but you never find out what happened to the Earth as it’s always called the ‘Event’ or not mentioned at all. (Actually, there could be some plot twist at the end in which I find out what’s happened to make the Earth look like the surface of Mars, but I don’t know what it is because I’ve already stopped reading, which leads me to another thing. If I don’t care about your book and its characters in the first chapter, I’ll never get to the twist at the end. So don’t build your whole story around a twist at the end. ‘The Sixth Sense’ worked because we cared about the characters. The ‘Oh! He was dead all along’ was just the icing on the cake.)

Anyway, there’s some distopian Earth situation and a teenager, and she/he must save the Earth/Best Friend/Love/Dog. In the meantime, said teenager is so riddled with self-doubt they self-harm. Yeah, because that’s just what you need in a distopian society without proper nourishment or healthcare, cutting yourself. Because it’s not like you don’t have bigger problems. Then, someone notices the cuts and scars (which are conveniently not infected despite the person living in filth), says they love the teenager, then the teenager is better, and then saves Earth/Best Friend/Love/Dog. (Or I have been told this is what happens in the synopsis because I never actually get that far reading the novel.)

Listen, I’m not debasing the issue of self-harming. It’s an important issue that needs to be addressed. I’m just saying that it’s not plausable in a distopian society. I’d think survival would be more important and fighting a rat for food is punishment enough. And, perhaps it’s a metaphore for the world, who knows. In fact, keep writing your distopian novel, just eliminate the self-harming scenes, or turn the world into a contemporary one. Just not both.

Is Unlimited Kindle really worth £120?

Amazon has invented a services that is basically a libary, but you pay for it. It’s called Kindle Unlimited. I’m not a fan, but with things changing so fast in publishing, libraries (in the US, but not as quickly in the UK) taking advantage of digital sharing, and self-published novels giving traditional books a run for their money on Amazon, anything coming into the business market should be watched carefully.

Have a read of this article about Kindle Unlimited on Inside Higher Ed by Barbara Fister. It makes some really great points. Such as:

‘Amazon will allow you to borrow as many of a collection of 600,000 books as you like for a mere $120 annually. [But]… Most of the books in Kindle Unlimited are self-published or published through Amazon’s imprints. [...]

This is not a plan that the publishers that produce most of our popular books will lovingly embrace. They’re not stupid, either. Though TechCrunch thinks Amazon will triumph because readers will discover new writers and wean themselves from those horrible gatekeepers, I doubt it. Kindle Unlimited, like so many this-will-change-the-world announcements from tech corporations, is lots of huff and puff. It won’t blow our house down. [...]

Over at Huffington Post, Dino Grandoni points out that you can borrow e-books from your library, just like from Amazon, without having to put your pants on. He argues that Kindle Unlimited is just “a glorified library card.” I beg to differ. There’s nothing glorified about it. A library card has a lot more going for it.’

As far as I’m concerned, you can get a better deal at a library. They have the books that you actually want to read: the best sellers, classics, award winners. In fact, you can get all the classics and any other out of copyright book for free anyway. The only thing you can’t get at the library is the self-published books. However, a lot of self-published books are running at 99p, or you can catch them on a deal. So, are you going to read over 120 self-published titled in a year. And if you did read that many, how many of those 120 will you have been happy to have read or have actually finished. If you want to save money, you’re better off shoping at second hand book stores, going to the library, and then paying for the self-published books.

Also, I’m now realising I just summaried the Inside Higher Ed article through quotations, but go read it anyway. It’s interesting and something we in the publishing industry will need to keep a weary eye at.

Missing Glasgow

Too beautiful outside and too much happening in Glasgow today to be stuck indoors in Dundee. May have to do a bunk and get on a train. George Square here I come.

No Instagram For Me

This article on Bustle by Olivia Muenter is exactly why I don’t Instagram, or put pictures on my Facebook, or lie about what my life is really like. (Clearly, anonymity issues aside, and the fact that I only just got an all singing all dancing iPhone a year ago. Before that, I was still on a Nokia.) Anyway, I just don’t have the energy or craftsy merit to take nice ‘This is what the world thinks I’m doing’ photos. But I do love how this gal totally outted herself. We all know social media is so fake, and love that she admits it. So funny and honest. Thank you.

The Secret Life of the Blogging Agent

I was having a chat with a friend who knows me in person and as a blogger and she asked why I’m so cagey about my identity. After all, that personal stuff I used to write about it now quite far in the past.

There are three reasons why I keep my anonymity: Continue reading

The Legion of 70,000

I just reached 70,000 views on this blog. Yes, the thing is 4 years old and I go ages without posting. But that’s still pretty crazy.

Not sure what to do with this. Maybe start an army. An army who will sort my database.