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Morning Coffee – 25 January 2021

Here are a few stories to read this Monday morning.

P.S. If you need a tech VA or help with your website, email me at [email protected]. Got a story that I should include in next week’s list? Shoot me an email.

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Felix January 25, 2021 um 8:46 am

Good thing I canceled my WattPad account a while ago. I won’t have to watch it being destroyed like it happened to SmackJeeves.

Anna Castle January 25, 2021 um 1:18 pm

About the Peter Derk article: Is it so hard for these guys to learn a few small things about self-publishing? They must know some indie authors, or they go bold and read a book about it. The idea that writers "who are not talented marketers, graphic designers, and self-promoters" will be suppressed is so sadly ignorant. Indies hire graphic designers, which creates a neat little entrepreneurial niche. And don’t authors published by the big 5 do a lot of their own marketing, which might include self-promotion?

His comments on blockbusters providing a common point of reference is well-taken, but, as he points out, we have movies for that. Why shouldn’t book markets be more fragmented? And then, of course, we inevitably descend into the death of books. Apparently the big 5 are the only companies able to really get books into the hands of readers, even though there are many distributors who are perfectly capable of ordering for themselves from the likes of Ingram. Without the big 5 casting shade over the industry, review & distribute venues would likely crop up and flourish. There might be more books in the hands of more readers. Imagine that!

Disgusting Dude January 26, 2021 um 7:33 am

What was the last true "cultural event" blockbuster? 50 Shades?
The bandwagon effect that created real blockbusters (as to the here today forgotten tomorrow over-hyped releases) is history and it’s not coming back. The market has always been fragmented (rhat why genrrs, real and imagined) exist. What has changed over the last two decades because online used book sales and ebooks is the perpetual backlist and the maturing of subgenres.

The first broke tbe power of tbe big publishers to herd shoppers to their preferred titles by making them compete not only with recent releases but also perennial known-good true blockbusters. Hyping a book as the next Harry Potter or Hunger Games is fruitless when the original is still readily available and superior.

The second gave shoppers the option to find exactly the kind of story they favor, not just what the corporate types think they should like. If readers like fractured fairy tales, superhero fantasies, or mommy porn tbey’re no longer limited to the onesie twosies coming out of NY every decade but have dozens each year to choose from.

Fragmentation/dilution is real and wishing it went away isn’t happening just as true blockbusters aren’t happening. Readers have choices now and they are choosing to buy what appeals to them, not what a handful of critics and the promotion machines tell them to buy (but never finish).

No more true blockbusters.

That ship has sailed.

Allen F January 28, 2021 um 6:50 am

Oh, there’s still a chance for a blockbuster, but it will have to be not just good but great. Like that 'Guy left on Mars' book. As I recall it had gathered a large following long before a publisher begged the author to let them publish and make a movie out of it.

But do I see a blockbuster coming out of the big publishers? Nope. Too many people with 'shoot it down' powers to prevent anything really interesting from making it out of the slush pile.

And @ Anna C

They can’t/won’t admit that the big publishers are no longer needed – and haven’t been needed for quite a while. They can’t admit ebooks level the playing field, that any would-be-author can get editing/cover artwork every bit as good (if not better!) than they might from a trad-pub and put their offerings out there on places like Amazon where they’ll be seen/found/bought/read just as easily as any of the big publishers. And unlike the authors that signed away their rights to trad-pub, the indie writer can go back and play with the price/cover/story to see what does/doesn’t help it sell. And with C19 going to be with us for quite a while longer, expect to see ebooks grow – and trad-pub shrink even more.

Nate Hoffelder January 31, 2021 um 8:14 am

He also needs to learn a few things about publishing, and bookselling.

Disgusting Dude January 31, 2021 um 6:24 pm

Details, details.
Pundits can pontificate at will without actually knowing what they’re talking about.
Websites are like paper: they’ll accept whatever you put up.

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