Multiple Enthusiasms

Infinite jest. Excellent fancy. Flashes of merriment.

Tag: business

After several years in a will-they/wont-they purgatory, the digital revolution in publishing has finally become more a matter of when than if, where “when” seems to be 2010. Apple’s launch of the iPad–which featured five of the big six corporate publishers as partners and only ignored the sixth because someone within the company had outed the device the day before official launch–got the ball rolling and demonstrated that ebooks were not just a novel trend but rather new media for novels and all sorts of other forms of storytelling. In late August, Amazon’s third-generation Kindle, with its improved screen and form factor and its lower price, effectively killed the counterargument. The only thing left to really argue about is price.

But really, that’s fodder enough.

Since Apple got all those publishers on board and got its iBookstore rolling (or did it? Has anyone heard anything about the iBookstore? All I hear about are the devices–Kindles, nooks, iPads. Not so much about the stores), there’s been a debate about what’s a “good” price for ebooks. One common idea discussed when the iPad launched was the so-called “agency model,” which basically meant that publishers got to set their own price. Tech Eye mentions that this is in opposition to allowing, say, the vendor to decide the price. In other words, it’s the difference between, say, Harper setting the price of its books and Amazon doing so.

Publishers, of course, want high prices. This was why $10 ebooks were so common during the beginning of last year. Right after the iPad? Seems like publishers–corporate and otherwise–got a little high off the power of the partnership and suddenly decided that the right price for ebooks was between ten and fifteen bucks. The New York Times discussed the phenomenon.

To really get into the discussion, though, we have to consider factors regarding price. There are myriad.

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Been working a lot through the holidays, but for some reason, it’s only the past couple of days I’ve begun to feel overwhelmed. A little anxious. Might be because I’ve been really productive but look around and realize I’ve barely scratched the surface, or then again might just be because I’m always hardest on myself. Got to stop that. I’m trying not to worry too much, but the state of the economy is daunting; I have some money coming in, from various sources, but the problem is it ain’t in yet, so lots of waiting. In business, as I understand it so far, that’s called accounts receivable; revenue you know you’re getting eventually for services already rendered, but ain’t come in yet.

In some ways, it’s very much part of the story of my life. In screenwriting, it’s called working on spec; you finish the screenplay with no guarantee you’ll actually either sell or option it, but you’ve still got a product you’re sending out.

There’s no fancy phrase for it in terms of writing a novel, besides, of course, The Way Things Are, because that’s just how it is. You write and write and write without any guarantee anyone will even read it, much less pay for it, or even more important, you know, enjoy it.

There are ways to get around such things nowadays, of course. But until some drastic changes occur in the publishing industry, well, they’re sorta The Way Things Aren’t.

Thing about it, though, is that business is a transaction. Payment received for services rendered. Good services bring reward, ultimately, and indeed can even be their own.

I’m thinking about all this partly because of this video, which is totally worth watching and totally made me cry:

Then again, I’m a big sap, so there’s that.

But there’s something to be said for it, in the sense that lighting other people’s flames never diminishes one’s own.

The end, though? Totally fuckin’ killed me.

(Via It’s All One Thing)

Which is why I wanted to begin my day (and week, and year, even) thusly:

You’re awesome. You’re smart and funny and witty and fantastic. Every day, you brighten mine just by showing up.

That’s the title of the only course I’m currently taking. It’s all about targeting to audiences, marketing, and branding. We only meet one weekend per month, and we’ve only had two weekends so far. Today begins the third (class all day tomorrow).

I’ve been struggling so far with it, if only because I never really stopped to think about my audience; I’ve just figured that anyone who likes to read or likes stories will dig it, mostly. I knew there were some caveats: there’s a time machine in it, but I don’t think it’s really a science fiction novel. It doesn’t feel that way. I think I once read Patrick Nielsen Hayden talk about genre and say that he mainly thought it was a product of the writer’s mindset as the writer was composing. Being that he’s an editor at Tor, generally knows what he’s talking about, and was a large part of the reason I ended up in a graduate writing program, I’m compelled to listen to him, and my mindset was never that it was science fiction. No more than one might consider Jurassic Park or Timeline science fiction. Really, they’re high concept commercial technothrillers.

Or, simply, you know, fiction.

There’s an old argument that all fiction is fantasy, because it’s made up (though that seems to indicate that all memoirs are fantasies, too, lately). I don’t really agree or disagree, mainly because it’s never something I’ve cared much about. I just like good stories. I’m as likely to enjoy a good love story like Shakespeare in Love or The Time-Traveler’s Wife as a brilliant action flick like Mission: Impossible III.

Anyway, I did as best I could with the marketing plan and trying to determine who my target audience is, besides, simply, everyone. I’m pretty happy with the proposal.

But now I’ve got to go to class.

Video tomorrow, though.

Have a good one. Wish me luck.