Interesting article in The Guardian by Ewan Morrison.  Here's the first bit:

"...there is now a boom industry in "How to get rich writing ebooks" manuals, as well as a multitude of blogs offering tips and services, and a new breed of specialists who'll charge you anything from $37 to $149 to get your ebook into shape.

"This all seems like a repeat of the boom in get-rich-quick manuals and "specialists" that appeared around blogs and etrading. Did anyone actually get rich from writing blogs, you may ask? Well, according to Jaron Lanier (author of You are not a Gadget) there are only a handful of people in the world who can prove that they make a living from blogging: it's entirely possible that more money was made by those who wrote and sold the how-to manuals than by the bloggers themselves. But who cares, right? It's all part of the euphoria of digital change, and technological innovation is as unstoppable a force as fate. Reports show that paper book sales are "tanking" – down a massive 54.3% while ebook s.... The revolution will be epublished, and we're all going to be part of it.

"All of this ebook talk is becoming a business in itself. Money is being made out of thin air in this strange new speculative meta-practice: there are seminars, conferences and courses springing up everywhere, even at the Society of Authors (a writers' union which, until recently, was largely against epublication). Television and radio programmes are being made about self-epublishing (I've personally been asked to speak about it on 12 occasions since August). Everyone can be a writer now: it only takes 10 minutes to upload your own ebook, and according to the New York Times "81% of people feel they have a book in them ... And should write it"

"But all of this gives me an alarming sense of deja vu. There's another name for what happens when people start to make money out of speculation and hype: it's called a bubble. Like the dotcom bubble, the commercial real estate bubble, the subprime mortgage bubble, the credit bubble and the derivative trading bubble before it, the DIY epublishing bubble is inflating around us. Each of those other bubbles also saw, in their earliest stages, a great deal of fuss made over a "new" phenomenon, which was then over-hyped and over-leveraged. But speculation, as we've learned at our peril, is a very dangerous foundation for any business. And when the epub bubble bursts, as all previous bubbles have done, the fall-out for publishing and writing may be even harder to repair than it is proving to be in the fields of mortgages, derivatives and personal debt. Because this bubble is based on cultural, not purely economic, grounds."

Thoughts, oh Crimespacers?

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Konrath's most recent blog post is interesting on this subject--he makes a pretty strong case that it's not a bubble.  The gold rush analogy is maybe a bit stronger--the first wave do incredibly well, the second wave end up selling picks and shovels to the third wave, who get by on the crumbs left by the first wave.  But we'll see.  There's not a whole lot of risk for someone like me, as far as I can tell--I've done pretty well with traditional publishing, but not so well that I couldn't afford to roll the dice (and certainly not as well as Konrath, with his 6-figure advances). 

Yes, the goldrush analogy may be correct.  However, it is possible that things will settle down and decent books will begin to do well again.  I was unfortunately late in getting on.  I've written before about my frustrations about the delays (that lasted a whole year).  That has cost me money.  Konrath works with pricing and pitching constantly new titles out there.  His latest is 30,000 words. At the moment he has a big promotion and giveaway.  Mind you, with his income he can afford it. I got irritated reading about it.  It's back to the way things were when my publishers promoted two or three releases heavily and me not at all.

Yes, gold rush is a much better analogy. Although just like the real gold rush, there's bound to be plenty of death and destruction before things settle down. I think we're on the cusp of a major retooling of the e-book market. The novelty of the e-book is gone. Readers will demand quality. If you can't figure out how to give that to them, they'll be with you.

There has ALWAYS been a glut of "how to write" and "how to get rich" books.  Writers are chumps who will spend huge sums of money chasing dreams and there are many out there who will take the money.   Bad as models.

What gets me is how easy it should be figure out that somebody who has only one book published, and it's a self-published book on how to sell your novel to publishers, has  probably not created a great investment.

Kind of like people who put out a book on Smashwords, then start a blog on how to publish and promote books.

And writers buy into it.  I don't get it.

Quite right.  But meanwhile the potentially successful authors can't get their voice heard because of the massive clamor.  That's why we have to hope that the lessons will be learned soon by those who shouldn't be writing books.

People who shouldn't be writing book?????

Am I the only one whose hair stood on end reading that?   Chilling thought, especially on a writer's group.  You're pretty sure YOU should be writing books, right?  It's just those other writers who shouldn't?

But leaving that aside, if somebody shouldn't write a book, but is too stupid to realize it and continues to try to express himself anyway... how is going to learn the valuable lesson that his writing is interfering with your agenda?

You misunderstood and I expressed myself badly.  At the moment, anybody can put anything up on Amazon or Smashwords, figuring that at 99 cents they can make a killing.  It will take some time to learn that the costs of this are borne by the author and generally are a lost investment.

 

And yes, I'm pretty sure I should be writing books.  Why?  Because my readers say so and come back for more.

So do readers of slash porn.  And somebody might say they shouldn't be writing.  It's a slippery slope.

I rather think the idea that anybody can put up an ebook is a good one.  Kind of like Gutenberg making mass production of books possible.  Have no idea how many are doing it to try to make a killing.

Have no idea why that should be bad for anybody else.

There is no reason to have any costs or expense involved in putting an ebook up on amazon or Smashwords, so your touching concern for those who shouldn't be writing isn't really applicable.

And, again, whatever this lesson is that they need to learn in order to stop wriiting,  how would they learn it if they're too stupid to know they are not among the elect?

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