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Best-Selling Author Refuses $500k; Self-Publishes Instead

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the six-of-one,-five-hundred-thousand-of-the-other dept.

Books 290

Last week we discussed an IT book author's adventures in trying to self-publish. Now, an anonymous reader points out an article examining another perspective: "Barry Eisler, a NY Times best-selling author of various thriller novels, has just turned down a $500,000 book contract in order to self-publish his latest work. In a conversation with self-publishing aficionado Joe Konrath, Eisler talks about why this makes sense and how the publishing industry is responding in all the wrong ways to the rise of ebooks. He also explains the math by which it makes a lot more sense to retain 70% of your earnings on ebooks priced cheaply, rather than 14.9% on expensive books put out by publishers."

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just like tucker max (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35568456)

except Eisler isn't a total failure.

Re:just like tucker max (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35568480)

Yes he is, his books are shit. Name one good one and I will name a thousand reasons why it sucks. Call me when a literary genius like Dean Koontz or Tim LaHaye does this.

Re:just like tucker max (2)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568722)

Dean Koontz.... literary genius....

ROFL.

Re:just like tucker max (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568820)

Dean Koontz a literary genius? Stop reading books. Now. Koontz is a hack. He's a good hack and a readable one, but he's still a hack. Koontz made a damned good psycho character...once, and then he reused him over and over and over with a few modifications. The main characters often lack major flaws that make them more human. He goes for "good guys" that might have a few issues, but are often still boy scouts. I stopped reading Koontz around "Corner of His Eye". I'd read maybe a dozen of his books or more from the local used bookstore. I realized that the guy recycles way too much material from book to book. He's still written some decent, readable novels. Lightning was good. Phantoms scared the shit out of me when I first read it as a teenager (although the movie was ass), Darkfall was creepy as hell around the same time, and Watchers was solid, but they're not great books, and Koontz is not a literary genius, period.

Re:Dean Koontz (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568858)

You might have been whooshed by a troll. Watch out for that spread between "critically acclaimed" and "commercially popular". He found a market for Scouts With Issues - and makes money at it. I'd call that a genius at literary branding.

Re:just like tucker max (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35568856)

Okay, I have been wondering this for a while, and /. might just be the best place to ask this and get intelligent answers.

Does Stephen King call his penis "The King"?

Re:just like tucker max (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35569036)

Troll!

Re:just like tucker max (0)

MichaelKristopeit422 (2018884) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568718)

wow... exactly what i was thinking... but probably for different reasons... tucker is very successful now, but was completely unsuccessful at revolutionizing the publishing industry as he originally claimed as his goal.

tucker max used to advocate self publishing, then got a main stream book deal and dismissed his previous beliefs because he "didn't want to be a martyr. fuck that shit." he got another book deal similar to this author, and currently lives in austin, TX writing the book.

i used to talk to the guy a lot... his website used to open with "i'm tucker max, i went to duke, blah blah", i suggested he change it to "my name is tucker max, and i'm an asshole" and it's been that way since. i've partied with him a few times at football games with nils and at his old house in chicago... he claims i'm the inspiration for the grillionaire character in the beer in hell movie... probably because my rap crew at the time was tha skrillionaires, and he didn't want to totally bite me. i was happy to contribute.

tucker max:

Dude, you should hear the song Paul Wall did for the Grillionaire role. Its hot. We are actually giving you a writing credit on it, b/c the first two lines we took from you:

"I don't touch no bills under 20 yo,
Cause George Washingtons smell like poverty, ho"

HOLLLA!!!!!

my flow is SO tite.

Re:just like tucker max (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35568926)

You should kill yourself.

Re:just like tucker max (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35569144)

100% Genius. Never mind what haters say, I laughed my ass off.

Re:just like tucker max (1)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 3 years ago | (#35569324)

I once knew this guy who was friends with a chick who was the sister of a guy whose aunt lived in the same town as some important person. This makes me important and amusing.

It's within Six Degrees of Separation. It's valid. Worship me.

Never heard of him. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35568474)

So if nothing else, he's gotten advertising here.

But I'll tell you why I am not inclined towards E-books. I like to read in the tub. Megan Fox may be willing to take photos of herself with her electronic devices, but I'm not going to do it myself. Especially since I know how the photos would break the internet. People would smash their computers trying to rid their minds of that image.

Re:Never heard of him. (2)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568530)

But I'll tell you why I am not inclined towards E-books. I like to read in the tub.

Derp [lulu.com] . Also there are more out there. Pick one, or print it yourself.

So...back to paper? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35568638)

In which case, they're no longer an E-book, so I'm better off picking up books for a buck at thrift stores and garage sales.

Somehow I just find that a better investment of my money.

Re:So...back to paper? (2)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568700)

No, my point was, you can order an ebook to buy a paper edition. There are book printers online that give you a paperback/hardcover book.

Which is back to paper. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35568814)

And I said, the better decision as far as I'm concerned would be to buy a lot more used books rather than pay to print one out.

Really, if I'm buying an ebook just to print it out, it just does not seem a wise investment.

Why are you suggesting it? I'm baffled.

Re:Which is back to paper. (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568838)

I like to read in the tub.

Somehow I don't find that to be an answer. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35568902)

And so I should buy an ebook just to print it out?

Why, when I'm much happier with my solution, buying books for far less from discount sources. Heck, I can even get several hardbacks for the cost of your solution.

Sorry, but you're just not making sense in your suggestion. Buy an ebook. Pay to print it? Then why buy the ebook? Seems a waste of dollars.

Re:Never heard of him. (5, Informative)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568680)

But I'll tell you why I am not inclined towards E-books. I like to read in the tub.

But e-book readers are even better than paper books for reading in the tub.

I found that my kindle fits perfectly into a quart sized freezer baggy (which are a bit thicker than sandwich baggies), and I can still operate all of the controls. Perfect for reading in the tub, and unlike a paper book, there's no worries about the book getting soggy if you dip it into the water - you can dunk the entire baggy protected Kindle into the water and pick it up and continue reading.

The baggy also works well when you want to take it to the beach and protect it from sand... or when you're eating doritos and don't want it to get all cheesy.

And since I already had these baggies in the kitchen, total cost for this protection was a few cents.

You're more of a risk taker than I am (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35568828)

Well, then you're more of a risk taker than I am. I'm glad it works for you, but me, I just couldn't gamble that much on closing the bag.

And I really don't need to be tempted to eat more Doritos either!

Re:Never heard of him. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35568922)

I have a more important question. What the hell are you doing in a 'tub' anyway? Are you a woman?

Enjoying a nice warm soak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35569012)

It's a comfortable and relaxing experience, you should try it.

Re:Enjoying a nice warm soak (1)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 3 years ago | (#35569338)

Beats the ol' testes getting beaten by the shower head when the lady of the house leaves the shower head on uber-massage.

Re:Never heard of him. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35569026)

This is slashdot. Many of the people here have long ago lost the ability to support their own body weight. They need to be floating in water, or else they'll quickly go the way of a beached whale.

Re:Never heard of him. (2)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 3 years ago | (#35569344)

Nonsense! Forklifts and flatbed trucks with 'Oversized Load' banners exist for a reason!

Re:Never heard of him. (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 3 years ago | (#35569088)

It looks like you are using unauthorized 3rd party modifications with your Kindle. This is against the EULA, expect actions from Amazon.

Re:Never heard of him. (1)

Aeternitas827 (1256210) | more than 3 years ago | (#35569356)

Only problem is, I can *never* close those baggies quite all the way, which leads to a waterlogged Kindle. Although, based on their commercials, they should be able to absorb SOME moisture--at least one of the commercial spots highlight a dog licking a Kindle while the user goes on reading. Not sure what kind of dog, but I'm pretty sure it was a breed with highly active salivary glands.

big diff: editors are actually important (5, Insightful)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568502)

editors, working for publishers, are behind a lot of the great literary works of the united states.

philip k dick's "a scanner darkly" comes to mind. there are many others.

publishers also deal with libel and defamation lawsuits for you.

they also set up junkets so you can market your book.

im not saying theres no point to self publish, but there are many differences between music industry and book industry.

Re:big diff: editors are actually important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35568536)

Yep I'm sure it's impossible to hire an independent or employed editor.

Re:big diff: editors are actually important (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568666)

slashdot has a problem hiring decent ones.

Re:big diff: editors are actually important (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568844)

And I'm sure it's financially feasible to hire a qualified editor to go over your entire novel when you're just starting out as an author.

Re:big diff: editors are actually important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35568586)

Instead of the publisher paying the editor, why shouldn't the author pay his own editor? Editors could rent themselves out to authors on a per project basis.

Re:big diff: editors are actually important (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568850)

That's all well and dandy when you've already made some money writing, but how the hell is a fledgling author going to pay a qualified editor to go over his whole novel? That's an awfully big gamble when the publisher could take care of it.

Re:big diff: editors are actually important (5, Informative)

GrpA (691294) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568854)

Because editors cost money, even when you're friends with a few. ( And I'd never ask a friend to edit my work for free as anything other than a mutual crit. )

I self-published an E-book. Admittedly, it could be better edited and I really wish I had the cash to do it. However because I couldn't afford an external editor, I went through 10 editing passes myself ( it's not easy spotting your own mistakes ) and through more than a dozen critics who tore every sentence to pieces.

The result? It's presently ranking 4.5 stars on Barnes and Noble and has a sales ranking up with the professional. The biggest criticism I get ? Making it free ( Voluntary shareware actually ).

So while I'd still say a GOOD editor is a valuable thing in the publishing process, I'd also say that you don't need to have a paid editor to do everything you need to make a great story.

Anyway, you're welcome to judge it for yourself if you like - And feel free to criticize me. I always welcome genuine criticism.

Title: Turing Evolved ( Science Fiction ) - Currently distributed for free.
Smashwords Link: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/34627 [smashwords.com]

GrpA

Re:big diff: editors are actually important (1)

KiwiRed (598427) | more than 3 years ago | (#35569278)

Your book looks interesting, and what better place to self-advertise than in a discussion about self-publishing? (Plus you might have a new reader, and customer, in a few more pages)

Re:big diff: editors are actually important (3, Interesting)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 3 years ago | (#35569416)

Because editors cost money, even when you're friends with a few. ( And I'd never ask a friend to edit my work for free as anything other than a mutual crit. )

You could always offer them a cut. If it takes you 3 months to write, and it takes them 1 week to edit, offer them about a 12th of the overall profit (which means you're about equal in terms of reward-per-hour). If thee book's a runaway success you can make them rich, if not then they get a trickle of pocket money for their trouble.

Re:big diff: editors are actually important (4, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568590)

Absolutely, and for someone new to writing and/or short of capital, the only reasonable way to afford editing, marketing, and so forth is to go with a publisher; thing is, the author is then beholden to the publisher - it's a very old fashioned, paternalistic relationship. Not to mention the fact (brought in to evidence here) that they take a bloody substantial cut of the sales.

If the author has some cash behind them already, and an established 'brand', then paying for an editor and a PR firm up front may well be far easier, more pleasant, and more profitable in the long run, than signing their creation away to someone else. The publisher is just a middle man, working between the retailers, the editors, the printers & distributors, and the author - not to say that a middle man with knowledge and experience doesn't provide value, but they need to learn that they are employed by the author to provide a service, and not a patron to which the author is beholden. Of course, the fact that publishers traditionally act as initial 'investors' in the process muddies the waters a bit, but as I said, that only applies in the case that the author needs that investment, and even if that is so, there's no reason it needs to come from the publisher, nor are the upfront expenses quite so onerous now that the need to predict the market, print, and ship large amounts of physical inventory is diminishing.

Re:big diff: editors are actually important (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35568740)

Publishers also give advances, which lets authors concentrate on writing their book rather than working at a different job while they try to finish the book in their spare time.

The whole conversation/interview/article seems to entirely ignore the new author perspective and focus solely on the perspective of authors that have an existing fan base, connections to one or more editors they're comfortable with and enough of a bank account to focus on writing full-time.

But the similarities to the music industry are there. For quite some time, the largest music acts have setup record labels of their own to publish their music and that of performers they discover. Labels like Maverick Records, No Limit Records and Bad Boy Records were all started by artists that were big enough to use their own releases to establish a successful label.

There's some differences, but in both cases, enough success through the traditional system enables you to have the freedom to go around the existing players.

Re:big diff: editors are actually important (4, Interesting)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568748)

Lies Incorporated springs to mind. Another PKD novel.

First few chapters are relatively sane. As are the last few chapters. In the middle is pure PKD weirdness, only even more directionless and bizarre than usual (IMHO). Then I noticed that the weirdness and the last few sane chapters start with the same paragraph.

So then I finally read the introduction, that says the book was originally published after a brutal pruning by the editor. Later, when PKD got a bit more famous, he managed to get the middle stuffed back in for future print runs.

The editor was definitely right that time.

Re:big diff: editors are actually important (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568832)

I am inclined to agree with the strong analogies brought up by the sibling commenters, however.
I could easily read them with music-industry-specific words plugged in (will, with a similarly weird analogue to the Phillip K. Dick example; there's got to be something.)

Re:big diff: editors are actually important (1)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568842)

Self-publication works for this guy because he already has his name out there and a base of readers. If you're just starting out and you have a choice between a publisher deal and self-publishing, the publisher would probably be a helluva lot better in the long run. You don't get much of anything in the way of marketing when you self-publish. Also, like you said, EDITORS. Your "final draft" might still need some editorial touches that can make a major difference in a book. If you get a decent readerbase with a publisher, THEN you can think of self-publication.

Re:big diff: editors are actually important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35569418)

Self-publication works for this guy because he already has his name out there and a base of readers. If you're just starting out and you have a choice between a publisher deal and self-publishing, the publisher would probably be a helluva lot better in the long run.

Contractually, over the long term, most writers going with a publisher lose out. Many writers are now negotiating back rights to their books because they can do a better job of getting them out there through the internet.

You don't get much of anything in the way of marketing when you self-publish. Also, like you said, EDITORS. Your "final draft" might still need some editorial touches that can make a major difference in a book. If you get a decent readerbase with a publisher, THEN you can think of self-publication.

A lot of decent independent authors are already going through multiple edits (line edit, story edit, proofing etc), there's plenty out there that don't but it's a bit like the OpenSource world where if you look at Freshmeat there's a huge glut of crap that's visible but it doesn't mean the top projects are any less valid or professional. There's no shortage of errors in "professionally published" books, one reason they aren't shredded over it in reviews is because a lot of the reviewers receive ARC (Advanced review copy) which is a non-proofed book, it's a neat trick as it eliminates the reviewer's ability to critique that aspect.

Smart independent writers are already building their own marketing groups and hitting FB, Twitter and many other social scenes with great success. Every week there's a new person who's gone from 1 copy a day and exploding to 1000/day.

Paul.

Re:big diff: editors are actually important (1)

inflex (123318) | more than 3 years ago | (#35569436)

Bloomen heck, the one time I really wanted to stamp my name onto a post I log in on the different browser and I AC post to /. ... stupid editors! ;)

Re:big diff: editors are actually important (1)

Ira Sponsible (713467) | more than 3 years ago | (#35569210)

I edit my own work.

(There was additional unnecessary elaboration in this comment, but I edited it out.)

Re:big diff: editors are actually important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35569374)

If you've got the time and willing to do the yards you can still get up to the NYT best-seller list as an independent. You still need to get edited and still cover all the other usual things but with the way modern connectivity is going Publishers are finding it hard to justify their existence for a larger portion of the writers out there. Editors, proofers, beta readers, cover artists and even marketing people are now all readily available directly. If you spend a few days at places like Kindleboards, MobileReads or Goodreads you'll find no shortage of them.

Expect to see more and more people like Amanda Hocking (and now Victorine Lieske) popping up on those top-seller lists. There's a lot of self-published writers out there who are making quite a good living now off their work without having gone near a "traditional publisher". The social network scene is where things are moving a lot faster.

Paul.

Re:big diff: editors are actually important (3, Interesting)

inflex (123318) | more than 3 years ago | (#35569466)

Gharr... stupid AC login (or lack thereof).

We're an independent publishing/writing team here, everything still goes through multiple edits, proofings and all the same stuff, it's essential to edit (doing your own editing is like testing your own software - it does not work!).

It costs anything between $1000 and $5000 to get a started after you've paid for editing/coverart/PoD-setup but it's a small upfront cost to pay compared to what you lose when a publisher just sits on your work.

The tide has begun to swing around - with no shortage support and cooperative marketing groups/forums on the net now the publishers really are going to have to fight to get a hold of the next group of big writers. The thing is, if the publisher is already trying to make you a sweet deal, then it's a deal you don't actually need.

Paul - http://elitadaniels.com/ [elitadaniels.com]

Wow (1)

Aerorae (1941752) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568506)

I figured publishers screwed over the authors, like artists and record labels, but DAMN... Good for him!

Re:Wow (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#35569220)

His friend Joe Konrath seems to think copyright is "forever" - note his remarks about grandchildren, royalties, "forever".

Give them enough power and it may be their turn to screw the readers too :).

And when he... (1, Interesting)

Dexter Herbivore (1322345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568520)

When he publishes a paperback version, I might even consider getting it. While I understand the convenience of Ebooks, the readers give me a headache if I try to read for too long and I'm prone to marathon reading sessions.

Re:And when he... (1, Informative)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568612)

...the readers give me a headache if I try to read for too long...

Have you had a chance to try an e-ink device? I understand the price may not be attractive for a single purpose device, and that's a fine point, but I'd be very surprised if they affect you any differently than paper. The image is absolutely static and not backlit, so shouldn't be any different on the eyes; admittedly they tend to be somewhat lower DPI than normal printing, but I can't see that causing a headache.

Re:And when he... (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | more than 3 years ago | (#35569154)

While reading on an eInk device may not affect you any differently than reading paper (which I'm sure is subjective), the screens are still _vastly_ inferior to reading paper due to the horrible contrast ratio. My Kindle 3 is 'good enough', but nowhere near where I want it to be.

buy a kindle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35568670)

I had the same problem, until i blew a wad of cash on a Kindle. Much more comfortable to read than a backlit LCD. It's not really good for anything but reading non-textbook ebooks though.

(disclaimer: yes, I have stock in Amazon)

Re:buy a kindle (1)

narcc (412956) | more than 3 years ago | (#35569240)

Well, I don't have stock in Amazon, but I do have a Kindle -- and it's fantastic for reading e-books. I never imagined that I'd ever say anything like this but, it's a superior experience to reading a trade paperback.

Amazon's Kindle is just one of many great readers; any newer e-ink device is going to be a satisfying buy. I wouldn't recommend any other kind of display. Just an example, my wife has a Sony PRS-350, which she adores.

We were both big readers, but now we find that we read more than we ever did before.

Publisher's attitude is for you to bend over..... (5, Interesting)

blanchae (965013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568564)

Back in 2000, I contacted several publishers about publishing my 500 page book "Introduction to Data Communications", pretty much all declined stating that it was not specific enough. I wrote it specifically because at the time there wasn't an introductary level book. One major publisher had the following conditions that I would have to do in order for them to publish it:

1. Add another 200 pages
2. Create an online website
3. Create an online test bank
4. They would forward $5,000 of my expected earnings in order to perform the years worth of work.
5. Hand over complete copyright to them
6. If they decided that any changes were required, I would have to pay for the changes regardless if I agreed with them or not.

I told the VP what I thought in the most appropriate terms and stated that I would give the book away rather than have anything to do their company. So since 2000, the book Introduction to Data Communications [sait.ab.ca] has been free online to anyone who wishes to use it. I used to make pocket change from the Google adds and for the last couple of years, instead of Google adds, I advertise the programs that I teach for at the post-secondary institute.

Re:Publisher's attitude is for you to bend over... (5, Informative)

SpottedKuh (855161) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568618)

You, sir, have the finest licensing agreement [sait.ab.ca] that I have ever seen in the introduction of your book. I was genuinely moved.

Re:Publisher's attitude is for you to bend over... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35568674)

Whoa, I was getting ready to view a few sections of this. That's a pretty hard agreement to keep just to read a little about data communications.

Re:Publisher's attitude is for you to bend over... (4, Funny)

blanchae (965013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568746)

Readings free, copying it - I take your soul...

Re:Taking our souls (0)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568912)

Hmm - this line of the license says that we can modify and then use the text without pre-securing permissions from you.

"You are allowed to use it, view it, modify it without permission of the author Eugene Blanchard."

Re:Taking our souls (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568956)

whoosh

Re:whoosh (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568976)

There Is No Whoosh in copyright discussions anymore.

Re:Taking our souls (1)

blanchae (965013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568998)

Sorry, all your souls are now mine.... unless you can guess my name. Whoops, gave that one away. You win...

Re:Taking our souls (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35569534)

Shang Tsung, is that you?

Re:Taking our souls (1)

blanchae (965013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35569020)

Actually the line reads "You are allowed to use it, view it, modify it without permission of the author Eugene Blanchard, provided that you agree to the following:" then there's a bunch of conditions that if you follow you'll be a better person or a least make me feel better.....

Re:Publisher's attitude is for you to bend over... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35568780)

Fortunately, like all EULAs, clicking past it has no legal force of "agreeing" to it.

Moreover, the only thing it allows you to do that you can't already do is modify it, so if you just want to read it, you are perfectly free to ignore the ridiculous EULA. OTOH, you could boycott Eugene Blanchard for being a do-gooder dick.

Re:Publisher's attitude is for you to bend over... (2)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568744)

All looks good except for #2.

Damn, and I was interested, too. :P

Re:Publisher's attitude is for you to bend over... (1)

blanchae (965013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568818)

I won't know that you've viewed it until you remove your tinfoil hat then the Major League Baseball's satellite will report it to me. I should really modify the agreement to provide some penalties for those that don't follow it.

Re:Publisher's attitude is for you to bend over... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35569062)

is there any way to get a pdf copy of your book so that i can put it on my reader? looks great and I really want to read it!

Re:Publisher's attitude is for you to bend over... (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 3 years ago | (#35569486)

[OFFTOPIC]
One of your licensing requirements "That you will respect the rights of others in their sexual orientation." Reminded me of a conversation with my mother many solar cycles ago.

She opposes gay marriage; when I point it out for her that she's forcing her beliefs on others she says that she isn't forcing them to believe what she wants.

But you are still forbidding them to marry? Of course not, they can marry whatever woman they want. She replies... I've tried this many times. She seriously thinks she is respecting their rights while tramping them. So I don't thionk it is going to work, bigots would simply auto-approve themselves anyway.

Re:Publisher's attitude is for you to bend over... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35568656)

Thanks for doing this, the hard part is of course keeping it up-to-date, e.g. this http://learnat.sait.ab.ca/ict/txt_information/Intro2dcRev2/page14.html#Voice and the data lines paragraph immediately following.

Re:Publisher's attitude is for you to bend over... (1)

blanchae (965013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568736)

Yeah, you hit the nail on the head, there's not much motivation for keeping it up to date or revising it. It really needs all the graphics to be updated and the content reviewed. I do add new content once in a while, such as the section on subnet masking as it pertained to what I currently teach.

Re:Motivation to revise it (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568960)

Honest question, which I feel is key to this area of copyleft etc -

Why is there no motivation for updating and revising it? Your original goal can't have been To Get Rich. What is your official opinion of people doing derivative works? I would advise you think in terms of the Creative Commons spread of licenses.

I have marked it for my notes, at the minimum to read, but also for alternative web experiments.

Re:Motivation to revise it (1)

blanchae (965013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35569064)

Money is a good motivator, there's a lot of work in revising the book and updating the look. A lot of the topics are now better covered on other websites. I started revising it a couple of years back and found that rather than re-invent the wheel by rewriting, I would most likely just add links to the many better sites that available for each subject. I'm also approaching early retirement age and I'm concentrating on other projects that will provide a better financial reward. Basically, I have too many things on the go.

Re:Publisher's attitude is for you to bend over... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35568698)

Good stuff. My jaw is still on my desk.

Re:Publisher's attitude is for you to bend over... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35568846)

Hell, I paid $150 for my first IT textbook, and it is really no more useful than yours.

Re:Publisher's attitude is for you to bend over... (2)

blanchae (965013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35569030)

I don't know if that was a compliment or not...

Re:Publisher's attitude is for you to bend over... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35568904)

Posting anonymously so you can keep your mod points. ;-)

A comment and a question.

Is your "book" available in any form other than on-line? It certainly looks worth buying, and reading (though not in a web browser).

From Chapter 11:

Synchronous transmission is more efficient as little as only 4 bytes (3 Start Framing bytes and 1 Stop Framing byte) are required to transmit up to 64 kbits.

You could use the services of a good editor. ;-)

Re:Publisher's attitude is for you to bend over... (1)

blanchae (965013) | more than 3 years ago | (#35569110)

I use to have a pdf of the book but the BW charges from people downloading started to cost me money every monthjust to give it away. As for the editor, that just one of the good services that I could use ;-) There's a lot of work required to update it. I was especially proud of the Token Ring section than it became obsolete. I added the disclaimer at the beginning of the Token Ring section [sait.ab.ca] to stop teachers from using it in their curriculum other than as historical. Kept getting enquiries about Token Ring, the dead protocol. I just don't have the heart to remove it.

Re:Publisher's attitude is for you to bend over... (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#35569168)

Put the pdf on rapidshare, megaupload or similar and link to it?

Leave the Token Ring bit in. It's part of history :).

Re:Publisher's attitude is for you to bend over... (2)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 3 years ago | (#35569454)

I use to have a pdf of the book but the BW charges from people downloading started to cost me money every monthjust to give it away.

You could pop a torrent up to take the strain off your host. It's always nice to have one more legitimate, non-pirated torrent out in the wild.

Not entirely surprised... (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568602)

I've heard that self-publishing is particularly beneficial for well-established authors, whereas unknowns benefit quite a bit from the resources of a publisher to produce and distribute a first/early work. Though, IANAA(uthor) ;)

Wait a minute .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35568608)

You mean we can keep the 70% part???? I thought that part was for the dead tree crowd? Yeah I've checked it over thoroughly and releasing in a printed form is looking less and less attractive. Publishers need to think hard or risk loosing everything.

Was wondering when this would happen (5, Insightful)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568614)

I should have figured it'd be a tech-savvy writer.

When I realized that Neil Gaiman was getting perhaps $2 out of that $20 new book, I thought, 'hell, I wish I could just buy any book he writes directly from him - I'd pay him $6, he gets triple times as much and I get it for 1/3 price'.

Kudos to him, I hope he's successful against the publisher blacklisting he's going to suffer....

Re:Was wondering when this would happen (0)

Arkem Beta (1336177) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568750)

I think you would enjoy Neil Gaiman's work less if it weren't edited and I'm sure you like cover art too. Maybe you enjoy having places like amazon.com to buy books from and without a publisher's marketing effort you might not have even heard of Neil Gaiman.

The $20 price isn't all profiteering, there are a lot of people who work on creating and selling a book and they don't work for free.

Re:Was wondering when this would happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35568778)

I know I only buy books for the cover art!

Re:Was wondering when this would happen (2)

nprz (1210658) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568886)

Ditto. Especially saying that I remove the cover as soon as I get it so I don't tear it while thrashing (reading) the book.
And judging by all the mistakes I see in the current books, they must be pieces of trash before the editing, or the editors are living in some alternate universe where wrong is right.

DISCLAIMER: This comment was not edited by an editor. Read at your discretion.

Re:Was wondering when this would happen (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35568906)

So lame. No one gives a crap about cover art. We've heard of Neil Gaiman so he could sell his stuff directly. Most people I know have never bought anything from amazon.com. There are all kinds of PR firms that people can hire for anything they want.

15% for the author is pure profiteering by the publishers. End of.

Re:Was wondering when this would happen (1)

EllisDees (268037) | more than 3 years ago | (#35569084)

Looks like the days of freelance editors is about to arrive too!

Re:Was wondering when this would happen (1)

KiwiRed (598427) | more than 3 years ago | (#35569246)

Arrive? Return, you mean.

Re:Was wondering when this would happen (1)

Olivier Galibert (774) | more than 3 years ago | (#35569444)

Out of the $20, there's approximatively $6-8 for the library (amazon being the worst there, they want $10 iirc), $3-4 for printing, $2-4 for shipping and the distributor if there is one (and in NG's case, I'm sure there is). So that's $4-9 left, i.e. $2-7 for the publisher (and closer to $2 than to $7). The publisher is definitively not ripping him off.

    OG.

FYI (2)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#35569488)

French --> English
librairie,libraire --> bookshop, bookseller
bibliotheque --> library

Raise your hand if... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35568682)

the President consulting with the UN instead of with Congress before committing our resources to yet another war in yet another sandy, third-world shithole makes you a tad bit uncomfortable.

Publishing houses aren't Record labels (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35568704)

Editors are a necessary part of any form of writing that isn't purely artistic (poetry, etc). Creating a piece of writing is a two-step process: first, you come up with the idea that you want to convey, but then you need to convey it in a manner in which people can understand. Even the best writers can be great at the former, but less so on the latter. It's the editor's job to think of the reader, and to put himself in the shoes of the public. Ironically, the same eccentricities that some great writers have that allow them their original viewpoints on their subject matter can be what prevents them from being able to relate to the "normal" reader.

Yes, there are some geniuses out there. Most of Twain's work is unchanged and Hunter S. Thompson's famous for his ramblings; but really, that's not the yardstick you should be going by.

The model I hope to see in the music industry (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568706)

Maybe the infrastructure for downloading music for free is too entrenched, but I'm glad to see this starting to happen; not just for my savings but for the artists. The publishing industry might have legitimate costs, but when I read that Konrath [sic] article I was horrified by the crappy cut the authors were getting. I thought only unsaavy or unestablished bands were getting exploited like that.

Fun Interview, If a Bit Long (3, Interesting)

SpectreHiro (961765) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568728)

Hmmmm... Slashdot appears to have eaten my original comment. I hope my comment was yummy and filling, Slashdot.

Anyway... I read the interview earlier today and it's a pretty good read, if a bit long at somewhere over 13,000 words. Konrath is preaching his usual gospel, but it was nice to get Eisler's perspectives on the publishing industry and its inner workings. He drops a few entertaining links as well; one chronicles his struggles with a French publisher who bought the rights to one of his books. They went to the hassle of translating the book, only to put a cover on it that depicted a chartreuse garage door with a security camera. I have no idea what sort of through process led to that decision, but I'd kind of like to know.

I'm actually pleased as punch to see Barry Eisler doing so well, and doubly pleased that he's shifting to self-publishing and being so vocal about it. I met him back in 2003 shortly after his first book, Rain Fall, came out. I was working at a bookstore a few miles from his house, and he'd drop through to sign copies and urge us to sell more. I got the impression he was just a genuinely nice guy, and he even humored me when I asked for advice in getting an agent.

That said, I'm more than a bit jealous, too. He released a short story on Kindle this year, and it's apparently on track to make $30,000, while I'm struggling to sell a dozen copies of my sci-fi novel [amazon.com] a month. He's a really good guy, though, and I wish him the absolute best as he dives head first into the self-publishing world.

Re:Struggling to sell on Amazon (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35569016)

With the decline and fall of the outlets for actual paper books, comes exactly the dilemma you are in. I am actually not interested in how some previously established writer decides to feel all bold and self publish. I am more interesed in cases like yours - how do I as a user decide whether to download such books? Rather than my typical 4 paragraph posts, since people have told me I kept getting whooshed on this thread, I'll leave it as the rhetorical but honest question.

Re:Struggling to sell on Amazon (1)

geek (5680) | more than 3 years ago | (#35569108)

You can download the first chapter of almost every ebook for free to decide if you like it. You can even keep it indefinitely. Try ripping the first chapter out of a paperback at your local book store and walking out with it. There is your difference.

Re:Fun Interview, If a Bit Long (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35569414)

Well, I just downloaded a sample chapter of your book. At US$3, if the sample is even remotely fun, it's probably worth me buying a copy. Hopefully it's not Geographically Restricted (having to lie to Amazon is annoying).

Just trading one publisher for another... (1)

BlueCoder (223005) | more than 3 years ago | (#35568984)

Apple is now the publisher du jour. The old publishing industry being taken over by the new. Can't say we didn't tell them... The old publishers wanted to keep their paradigm... and now they will go out of business. But I think this will go beyond apple. I don't like apple, never have, never will but I have always recommend their products for those that are looking for a more consumer experience rather than a do for yourself one...

I think in the end the writers that do well will get together and form a publishing co-op. No reason they couldn't for an online business model. They will continue to sell content to apple and other locked markets but apple won't keep a monopoly.

Apple has done what Microsoft tried to do for years. Window CE was on the first smart phone I ever saw, long before I ever heard of the iPhone. Microsoft was playing with tablets back in the days of windows 95. Creative Labs came out with the first digital music players (no real OS involved so MS didn't care.) What Steve Jobs and his team did was package a complete experience just like game console systems. So no chicken and egg dilemma. They were one of the few companies that was large enough and had the capital connections to create and market a complete experience and have brand recognition to be able to sell it.

Apple won't be able to hold onto the market with their system lock ins but so far they have a track record of selling gadgets to the public that the rest of the industry has failed at. Apple keeps inventing new markets. So what will their next killer product be? Maybe VR headsets?

ebook pricing too high (5, Insightful)

Deb-fanboy (959444) | more than 3 years ago | (#35569494)

Barry: This is a critical point. There’s a huge data set proving that digital books are a price-sensitive market, and that maximum revenues are achieved at a price point between $.99 and $4.99. So the question is: why aren’t publishers pricing digital books to maximize digital profits? Joe: Because they're protecting their paper sales. Barry: Exactly. Joe: It's awfully dangerous for an industry to ignore (or even blatantly antagonize) their customers in order to protect self-interest.

This is one thing that puts me off buying ebooks. At the moment they are overpriced.

Another problem is that they come with DRM, and running a free operating system I cannot read them and have to resort to other methods to obtain a free copy. I would much rather purchase a reasonably priced ebook with no DRM so that some money goes to the author.

We are left with the same untenable situation with ebooks as there was with the music industry, that is that you get a better ebook for free which is flexible and can be read on any ereader than you get by purchasing for £12 from an official ebook retailer.

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