E.L. James Launches a Twitter Q&A, and it Goes Exactly how You’d Expect

Horribly.

Let me first say that I have no reason to criticize her. She’s made a career out of writing. One which you and I would both trade for in a heartbeat if we could. Don’t sit there and shake your head because you know I’m right. I also have no reason to care about her writing style, the quality of her writing, or which genre she chooses to write in. Sure I’ve said I won’t ever read her books, but that has nothing to do with her in particular. I have no desire to read any erotic books. Just a preference.

Yesterday when I got home from work I just happened to check the Twitter trends, and before I could even read the top headline I already knew it would be bad. E.L. James has been read by tens of millions, right? But we’re all aware of the heavy criticism her books have received from the start. And we’re all aware that people are at times embarrassed to say they’ve liked or read her work. Which simply makes a Twitter Q&A a very bad idea. Here are some tweets she received.

I’ll admit that she did have some Twitter users come to her defense, but the ratio of people being critical to those who came to her defense was likely 10-, 50-, or maybe even 100-1. Honestly, it could have been even more. It was that bad. Someone somewhere made the decision for her to do this, and that person has probably lost their job.

What do you think of this Twitter Q&A debacle? I think it was a mistake to do it at all. Sure some of the tweets were entirely out of line, but EVERYONE knows the criticism she’s taken for her books. Who did her team think would take advantage of something like this?


On this day in 2014 I published The Bad Review.

 

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Amazon Creates a Fair Royalty System, and Everyone Hates it

Last week Amazon did something drastic. They changed how authors are paid when Kindle books are borrowed. But let me give you a little more information before I get into the good stuff.

Are you familiar with the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL)? No? Okay. KOLL is set up for Prime members who also happen to own a Kindle device. These individuals are able to download one free eBook per month as part of their Prime subscription. Authors are compensated from a fund that Amazon sets up at the start of each month that is divided up among all downloads. Let’s just say that for a given month the royalty per download is $2. If your books are collectively downloaded 100 times, then you’ve made yourself $200. Got it? Okay.

Second, are you familiar with Kindle Unlimited? No? Okay. It’s Amazon’s eBook subscription service that allows for subscribers to download and read as many books as they want to for $9.99 a month. Keep in mind that not one Big 5 publisher has its titles enrolled in the program. Got it? Okay.

In the past, authors would receive their royalty when their book was downloaded as long as the reader read 10 percent of the book. This threshold applied to all books. It didn’t matter if it was a 50 page novella or a 1000 page brick. The reader had to read 10 percent or no royalty would be paid out. And what were people doing? They were publishing very short works and enlarging the print so that it would be incredibly easy to reach that 10 percent mark. They would get their royalty just the same as someone who published a novel worthy of Big 5 publication.

My book is 216 pages, right? Which is very short for a book. Does it seem fair that someone would need to read 22 pages of my book in order for me to get my royalty when there are works published that are even shorter in length than that? No. It wasn’t fair and Amazon knew it.

The entire system has been overhauled and now authors will be paid per page read. The 10 percent threshold has been eliminated. How is this new system unfair to anyone? How can people be writing article and blog post after blog post denouncing Amazon for this? THEY MADE IT MORE FAIR!

Just to give you an idea of the kind of people who have spoken out against the new system, one blogger who claimed to be an author and reader said that Amazon has invaded her privacy by tracking how much she reads of a given book. How the hell does she think those lists are compiled each year about the books being read on Kindle? Magic? I mean, get a fucking clue. Her Kindle is MADE by Amazon. Her Kindle is BOUGHT from Amazon. Her Kindle is REGISTERED ON AMAZON.

Remember guys, this new system applies only to books enrolled in KDP Select, which automatically enrolls them in Kindle Unlimited and KOLL. This does NOT apply to books purchased, only books borrowed. A book bought is a book bought, no matter if the reader reads the whole thing or two pages. And also don’t forget that no one says any book has to be in KDP Select at all.

You can read exactly how the system will work by clicking here. It goes into effect July 1.

I’m ready to open the floodgates. What do you think of Amazon abandoning the 10 percent threshold for a pay-per-page model for books borrowed?

 

Changing Times for eBooks

When you think of reading eBooks, which retailers do you think of? For me it comes down to three or four retailers. Amazon. Apple. Google. Barnes and Noble. I know there’s Kobo too, but they don’t have any kind of traction here in the US.  Barnes and Noble’s Nook is a nice experience. I’ve played on several devices before. But let’s face it, the entire future of the Nook is a giant question mark. Then comes Apple, which may or may not have colluded with major publishers to increase eBook prices. That leaves us with Google and Amazon.

I have an Android device and I’ve never once read a book on it. But I imagine Play Books is right up there with Apple and Amazon as far as its user experience. And now they’re trying to make it even better. Google and Amazon have both recently changed the fonts of their eBooks. Both were changed after extensive research into a variety of factors that affected one’s ability to read on their devices. I sometimes download books on to my Kindle, but I haven’t actually read on it in quite some time.

I applaud both companies for trying to make it easier to read on their devices, but I have to be completely honest here. I have one of the very first Kindle models, which leads me to believe that it would already be a bit more difficult to read on my device than on some of the newer models like the Paperwhite or the Voyage. And I’ve never had any issue with the font. It isn’t too small to start. It isn’t difficult to read. And I’ve read so much about the big gaps and spaces between words and letters in books because there hasn’t been any hyphenation before the new font, but I’ve never come across anything that looked out of order or weird. So props to both companies for improving the user experiences of their eBook readers, but I can’t say I’ve ever felt a new font was necessary.

The name of Amazon’s new font is Bookerly. The name of Google’s new font is Literata.

What about you? Have you ever been reading on your Kindle or Android device and just wanted a better, more aesthetic font for your reading?

On Writing Apps

I know writing apps exist, but I couldn’t name a single one. But I bet there’s one called Writer or something really simple like that. And I wonder what purpose these apps actually serve. I mean, aren’t there word processors and writing programs that are likely quite a bit better that you can use on your computer? I’ve seen a few people write about various writing apps, but I mostly just think of these things as gimmicks. If I’m working on a major piece of fiction I don’t want to be doing ANY of the work in an app on my phone. And I very much doubt that your favorite author is working on his/her manuscript on their phone, and probably not even on their tablet.

I don’t know. There are apps and things that serve a definitive purpose and then there are apps and things that simply don’t. I think writing apps on mobile devices likely falls into group B.

Have you ever used any writing apps? What are the names of some?


On this day in 2014 I published Your Ideal Reading Spot.

 

The Dedication Page (an update)

Last week I posted about the dedication pages in books. It ended up being even better received than I expected. In that post (which you can view here) I talked about the dedication pages in books I’ve read. And I mentioned that I had yet to come across any really memorable ones. Well that changed just a few nights ago. I even took a picture of the actual dedication because it hit me so hard. Let me show you.20150626_003337The above dedication is from Marcus Luttrell’s Lone Survivor. Yes, Mark Wahlberg starred in the movie adaptation. Guys, when I read this for the first time I had tears in my eyes. I’ve seen the movie, which is what prompted me to buy the book, so I know a little about what happened. I imagine that I’ll know a little more once I finish reading. But read that. Just read it. I’m not going to sit here and say that you SHOULD feel something when you read that, but I know I did. This is the only dedication I’ve ever read from a book that will likely stay with me for the rest of my life. And that’s not an exaggeration.

Sorry guys, I know this isn’t really new content. I really just had to share it.

You can read more about the events that are chronicled in the book here.

Tell me what you think of that dedication up there. I know you have to be thinking something.


On this day in 2014 I published “Write What you Know” or “Write What you Read”.

 

 

On Speed Reading

Have you ever known someone who was always speed reading through something? Books. Newspaper. Online articles. Anything. I’m not sure if I have, but WordPress always helps me see the light.

There are speed reading apps. There are people who read at ridiculous paces. I just don’t know what the big rush is. It kind of reminds of the rush to publish that so many writers have in mind. I mean, I guess I could understand it if everyone doing it were in grad school conducting research. But they’re not. They’re just reading for fun.

I imagine that some of you are thinking that “There’s not even time for me to read all the books I want to read.” I don’t see that as a valid argument because the same person who says that rereads the same books every year. What a joke.

What do you think of speed reading?

On this day in 2014 I published Can you Name a Single Favorite Author?

Amazon’s 100 Books Everyone Should Read: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I put off reading this book for a LONG time, but I finally got around to it. I won’t tell you if I enjoyed it or not because then you probably wouldn’t even watch the video. So, go ahead and watch and we can chat about it.


On this day in 2014 I published Books and Judging Them by Their Covers.