Information Doesn’t Want To Be Free, People Want Other People to Work for Free
An awesome post by romance writer Shiloh Walker, which is a must read for anyone who may be tempted to plunk down big bucks on one of those self publishing schemes. I have several prose author friends who have been scammed by companies like this, or who made the terrible mistake of pre-printing thousands of copies of their books before they had received a single order.
Had I gotten involved with a place like Author Solutions/Dellarte back then, here’s likely what would have happened… I probably would have wasted money I didn’t really have to waste-just out of college, getting married, already in debt-not the ideal way to start life.
I doubted I would have sold more than 10-15 books, because I am not a salesperson, and with self-pub/vanity pub/assisted self pub, you have to be and none of your marketing choices change that. So after I spent all that money and sold less than nothing, watched as my dreams crashed and burned, I might have given up. Who would be at fault? Me. For seeing a shiny, sparkly promise of a shortcut. It would be my fault, and mine alone, and I acknowledge that.
But the thought of that shiny, sparkly thread of a promise being offered to another gullible, hopeful writer who has a lot of promise? Turns my stomach. Fourteen years later, I’m published, with 50+ books out. So while I often think my work sucks, I guess it’s safe to say that kid I was at nineteen had promise, and some people might consider it a shame if I had given up when my dreams were smashed.
Warren Ellis self publishes his work as a POD collection, and here are the numbers. Sobering info.
Easy access to images and pirating makes for hard times for graphic artists and photographers:
The chief executive of one of America’s biggest newspaper chains told me a couple of years ago he feared readers would accept this “culture of good enough” as much as anything, not noticing the difference between blog slop and thoroughly vetted news and analysis.
My friend Blue, an ace with graphics and art reproduction, told me how his field has been beset: Amateurs produce Photoshopped pictures that once wouldn’t have made it out of a darkroom. Workers in India draw corporate logos for pennies on the dollar and e-mail them stateside.
Must read: Malcolm Gladwell of The New Yorker takes on the “Information wants to be free” utopians and leaves nothing behind but a smoking crater:
Free is just another price, and prices are set by individual actors, in accordance with the aggregated particulars of marketplace power. “Information wants to be free,” Anderson tells us, “in the same way that life wants to spread and water wants to run downhill.” But information can’t actually want anything, can it? Amazon wants the information in the Dallas paper to be free, because that way Amazon makes more money. Why are the self-interested motives of powerful companies being elevated to a philosophical principle?