WWwP #4 Comments

These are the original comments from the old barrylyga.com. To add a comment, return to the BLog page.

Re: What’s Wrong with Publishing? #4: Don’t Fear Digital

By: Jamie Harrington
on Fri June 18, 2010, 12:54:22

Well said.

Re: What’s Wrong with Publishing? #4: Don’t Fear Digital

By: Tom M Franklin
on Tue July 06, 2010, 10:30:41

as i commented in your latest/next WWwP entry, i’ve pushed to get the focus off of “books” as an end goal and shift to “flexible content.” even “stories” aren’t quite right, imho. it has to be a generic content format, regardless of what the content is, that can then be parsed out in any number of ways — and hopefully be flexible to not only accomodate the technologies of today but be workable with the technologies of the future.
i do not get the idea of “fighting” your customers. the recording industry has turned an awful lot of people off with their inability, their refusal to change with the times and adapt to new technologies.
here’s the cold, harsh truth: just about anything you put out there to sell can be duplicated with today’s technology. CDs and DVDs can be ripped and burned, golf clubs can be replicated, clothing, watches, designer handbags can all be copied. and books can be scanned, turned into PDFs and distributed freely.
(and don’t think DRM is going to stop -anybody-)
instead of trying to angrily attack a multi-headed beast that grows another head or two for every head you might manage to lop off, or, worse, refuse to go into new technologies for fear of getting ripped off, i think it’s best to acknowledge the potential problems and continue moving forward. i seriously doubt the people who are either pirating or using pirated versions of anything would likely be paying customers anyway.
here’s the other thing: e-books and e-readers are here to stay. they’re convenient, they’re compact, they’re portable, and they’re steadily improving. while i may never buy one or use one to read a book (i’m decidedly very old school on this point) i acknowledge that this is a technological shift and the coming generation(s) will be accustomed to e-books and e-readers and expect our content to be available to them in that format.What’s Wrong with Publishing? #3: Free, Barry Lyga Dot Com

Free [something] day

By: Joe, the Dancing Mule
on Tue June 08, 2010, 13:26:20

Barry, loving the series.
Here’s a thought: what is the most beautiful form of literature there is? In my opinion, it’s the short story. Novels require time and patience; poetry is an acquired taste. For my dollar (in Canada, my loony; in England, my pound; in Mexico, my peso), the short story is the best form of literature there is.
And so, pondering on the implications of FCBD for the books side of publishing, I think to myself – hey self, how would the giveaway work in the marketplace for novels*?
In my opinion, the very nature of the full novel is impractical as a giveaway – giving away one novel to promote another is…..well, it’s an idea, but it’s instantly cutting the fruits of the author’s labors into half it’s original value, increased foot traffic notwithstanding.
Also, excerpts make me feel itchy. I hate not knowing how things work out, but I hate feeling manipulated into finding out…..
No, the clever publishing house would give away short stories. Elegantly (but inexpensively bound) in a…..novel way (crap, this is one time where wordplay isn’t going to work), something promoted heavily on the internets and teevees and radios. To keep it flexible, any Free Short Story could be used in the manner you prescribed above for any Novel in the promotion, but making hte connection between author’s short story and author’s current novel would be ok, too.
The author would not be asked to give away Peter to promote Paul. Nor would he be positioned to the “hey, wanna know what happens next?” bit of salesmanship.
Ideally, the short story would expand upon or illustrate a part of the story in the novel in such a way that the reader’s appetite is whetted to consider the purchase of the novel being marketed. Or would have nothing to do with the book, only demonstrating the artful way in which the author writes.
Tagline – “We giving the gift of…..imagination! Come down to MegaChainBooks for a free short story from today’s best and most talented writers!”
Ah, well. All of this talk of writerly pursuits has made my brain overstimulated – I simply must get back to deadening it with work before it knows what happened.
Joe
* – and non-fiction, and graphic novels and other stuff, but I’ll just stick to fiction novels for now.

Re: What’s Wrong with Publishing? #3: Free

By: Barry
on Tue June 08, 2010, 13:31:54

Ah, Joe, I can always count on you for commentary… Thanks, man!
I am a BIG fan of the short story idea. In fact, I’ve posted a couple of my own short stories for free on this site and I plan to do more in the future.
The only stumbling block there is that not all novelists can work in the short story form, so some may have difficulty taking advantage of such a promotion. That’s not a reason NOT to do it, but it IS a reason to look for other promotional opportunities to run concurrent.

well, then naturally…..

By: Joe, the Dancing Mule
on Tue June 08, 2010, 13:48:56

…..I put you in charge of FSSD – Free Short Story Day!
(Well, it worked once on you, anyway.)
I suppose it’s theoretically possible that there is some novelist out there who cannot write a short story, but……well, it’s just fiction, in bite-sized form, no?
David Foster Wallace wrote Infinite Jest (1063 pages) but also wrote many short stories, too. The other advantage of giving away short stories is that published authors practically give them away, anyway, to magazines and lit journals and such.
But yes, if we loosely define “short story” then any author who doesn’t have a compelling side piece or unrelated other short piece could have an excerpt as his/her promotional giveaway.
Of course, this doesn’t have to be a publisher-driven operation–the book stores could do it themselves. (Noting the difference mentioned in the first WWWP entry between comic sales and book sales.)

Re: What’s Wrong with Publishing? #3: Free

By: Barry
on Tue June 08, 2010, 13:57:15

Ha! No thanks — no desire to be in charge of anything any more. 🙂
And believe me — there is a HUGE world of difference between writing short stories and writing novels. Completely different skill sets, in some regards. It’s not always easy to shift from one to the other, and some people just don’t have the ability to pull off both. I know authors who can crank out a 400 pages manuscript in a matter of months…but who take just as long to sweat and bleed out a single short story.