Monthly Archives: July 2015

Let’s Do This Different

The Hitler Channel (AHC) has been showing documentaries about “The Evolution of Evil.” These cover such perennial favorites as Hitler and Stalin. Both gentlemen rose to power following the breakdown of monarchies in Europe/Russia and the first World War.

evolution of evil nazi brandBoth, interestingly, were young men from relatively impoverished backgrounds — “outsiders” who rose to power in the chaos following the fall of prior Imperial structures. Hitler was a German-speaking Austrian; Stalin a Russian-speaking Georgian. Both were educated in traditional religious schools prior to becoming involved in revolutionary movements.

Russia’s “Man of Steel,” Stalin, had a lot longer run than Germany’s Fuhrer, Hitler.

So in recent months I’ve had a bit of contact with younger people who desire change. Some reminds me of my great time working with Policymic. Others — maybe not so much.

I put my experience working with Policymic in the 100% positive column. I think many of the Policymic former and current writers are doing incredible things and that they want nothing but good for other people. They want, and are working, for positive change. I was really glad to see Laura Donovan writing for Attn:, for example.

I find a number of younger people who seem to be locked into a cycle of complaints, the same type of aggressive online attention-getting we see from many male media personalities, and the same lack of respect for older generations or diverse cultures and values that is typical of the Tsars, Kaisers or “American Titans” of the past.

Like Stalin became Tsar-Plus, worse than any Russian Tsar of prior generations, once his opportunity came. Like Hitler became Kaiser-Plus, worse than Kaiser Wilhelm ever thought of being.

Stalin has been commonly called a brute and a pig. What he was, was murderer to millions. He alone took the former Soviet Union back decades. People wanted freedom and opportunity after Imperial Russia and its abuses. They got the “Man of Steel.”

I now understand in all regards how and why my grandmother was one of the six founding members of the American Communist Party. It was at this time that women had barely achieved the right to vote in America. She was a first-time woman pharmacist in New York (Hell’s Kitchen) and California. She certainly would not have been welcomed by either U.S. established political party at that time; the Communists were the only ones who would have either welcomed, or listened to her.

My Grandma Mary was probably the most humane person I have ever met, and insightful enough about human nature to have easily repelled a serial rapist who broke into her small Fairfax District apartment when she was up in her 80s by saying, “Young man, if you touch me, you’ll get the worst disease you ever heard of!”

Like Stalin, some of these young militants today respect power — what they perceive of it. After watching the AHC documentary, which detailed some of Stalin’s consolidation of power — perhaps they are like Trotsky, who little understood the consequences of his snubbing Stalin. Average people “get” that you get back what you put into something, and the way you treat others is generally how you are yourself, treated in return (i.e. “The Golden Rule”).

These days, most people’s basic needs are met. They also get basic entertainment, comfort, and sexual needs met fairly easily.

Our intellectual and spiritual needs: not so much.

So, it is my hope that as we pass from one era to the next, we do not have the same circumstances as occurred with Hitler and Stalin, where higher-class hereditary monarchs and dictators were replaced by lower-class, non-hereditary, power-mongering ones who made their predecessors look like amateurs in oppression.

If you think you’re “left out” today and want to be the dominant voice of tomorrow, having no respect for those who came before you is hardly the way to make a change and make a difference.

For Madyson Middleton an 8-Year old Girl

This is a story in pictures.

When you are 8 years old and get a scooter and ride it and your neighbor offers you ice cream and you say “yes,” then he will rape and kill you. Then you will be dead and he will be famous.

maddy middleton killer
You will always be your school picture.

You will always be a typical 8-year old girl who enjoyed riding her new scooter around the apartment complex you lived in with your mother.

maddy middleton google searchEveryone will know every single thing he did to you.


what he did to her

You were a typical 8-year old girl who enjoyed riding your scooter.

motive for killing
I think the young man or “boy” who killed you knew exactly how people would react.

Now he is famous and everyone will know everything about him and what the neighbors thought, what his family thought, and the promise of his young life cut short.

You will always be a typical 8-year old girl who enjoyed riding her new scooter around the apartment complex you lived in with your mother.

From what little we can see, we can see your mom was an artist and that you lived with other artists in a community.

We can’t see any pictures or artwork that you did, Maddy. But I think you must have done. I think you must have made things, done things, touched others’ lives. I think you had many friends, and your family loved you, and you them, and you would have grown up to do wonderful things, Maddy.

All we can do is send our prayers and love and grief. And pray for a better world where those who enrich others’ lives are valued more than those who destroy them, and where there is no typical 8-year old girl. We pray for a world in which all children are precious, unique individuals.

Alan Moore: Neither Racist Nor Misogynist

Alan Moore retired from his public life almost two years ago now – but it was reported on Superversive SF that he’d made this decision — it turns out that he did so after writing thousands of words in response to accusations he was a racist and misogynist.Alan Moore
I loved the work of his that I’d read, from Watchmen to League of Extraordinary Gentlemen to V for Vendetta. When I read V, I was not happy that Evey was a) a prostitute; and b) almost-raped. I thought there was something kind of sick going on with Allan Quatermain’s relationship with Mina in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I had a little better understanding of Silk Spectre’s relationship with Eddie Blake (“The Comedian”) in Watchmen. Because I related to Silk Spectre … for a superheroine, she’s a pretty realistic character. And like or dislike, the “relationship” these two have is the way it is a lot of the time.

Since I’m not like the people in their 30s, 40s and 50s Moore refers to as being obsessed with entertainment created for 12 year old boys 50 years ago (comic superheroes), I had no idea that over the past 10-15 years, Alan Moore’s work has gone far beyond his 80s work that I was familiar with.

People seriously accused him of misogyny and racism because of his recent film projects which – after watching a few seconds of available film, plus reviews – obviously are dealing with ideas of life, death and the afterlife.

Here’s one project: Tom Strong (which seems to have run from 1999-2005).

tesla strong

Tesla is Tom Strong’s daughter. Her mother is depicted on the lower left of this cover. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

It’s horrible that Alan Moore would have done this series, which to my knowledge is *exactly* as he states, the only American commercial comic book series depicting an interracial marriage, much less a biracial teen superheroine, and have people accusing him of racism and gender bias.

See, I know something that smart people like “Dr. Batman” and the others who criticized Moore probably also know – but because they are suck-ups who desire the least bit of money that might possibly come their way or so desperately desire a brush with fame, and their evil calculus is such that they think throwing Moore under the bus will help them do that …

Alan Moore didn’t just “include” characters of varied ethnicities in his work. He also included characters with varied gender orientation. Here is another Alan Moore project, dating from 2012. Fashion Beast, about a transgender model and a fashion designer who is beautiful, but believes himself to be a hideous “beast” — and cannot make clothes unless he thinks he’s hideous (reportedly inspired by Christian Dior). This is a project based on an 80s film script Moore wrote, done along with Sex Pistols’ Malcolm McLaren.

fashion beastThe “reporter” who Moore says misrepresented his work and released “spoiler” information in an interview with him in the Independent is affiliated with Publishers Weekly. She just wrote a negative review of another comic that portrays transgender people in a stereotyped way. She wrote it as if Fashion Beast never existed. All of those involved that Moore responds to with thousands of words of sometimes witty, sometimes complex, sometimes biting commentary, themselves wrote and acted as if Tom Strong, Dhalua Strong, Tesla Strong, and Doll Seguin never existed.

Again, with much of what I say, many people do not have the context to understand. Moore’s accusers and critics have one professional among them, Grant Morrison. Igor tells me that Grant Morrison is a good guy and a good writer (a “seminal” comic writer – gotta love that word). Grant has to have known what the odds were and what Alan Moore had to do to publish either of these series, Tom Strong or Fashion Beast.

You can go look for a damn long time to find another character like Tesla Strong. You will not, in a mainstream or even high profile independent comic publication. You will absolutely not find another character like Doll Seguin in Fashion Beast.

So like or dislike these characters, Alan Moore put all of his professional and creative credit out there to do these projects and that is something that none of his critics, including Grant (whom I was making fun of due to his Lex Luthor-appearing persona – well Alan Moore has the other Alastair Crowley-type thing going on. I guess Merlin). Only someone with Alan Moore’s lifetime track record and earned respect could get these projects produced. It’s not something a racist or misogynist would do. And it’s something only a generous man with an expansive worldview and talent to burn would even think to do.

I doubt either of these projects was very commercially successful though it looks like Tom Strong ran a long time. Certainly they are not as commercially successful as the still-in-print work for hire Batman: The Killing Joke, which is all many people know Alan Moore for, because of … well, see his comments about the cultural malaise related to people going over and over the same crap that was originally produced for 12 year-old boys 50 years ago. When I read Moore’s comments about that book, I realized I was reading the words of an honest man.

Yes, I had trouble with Evey being a prostitute in V for Vendetta, and almost being raped. I didn’t like Eddie Blake raping Sally Jupiter. But I saw it was realistic, and that was kind of the point of Watchmen. That they were “superheroes” with the same attitudes and flaws as “real people.” Even Dr. Manhattan – even that giant blue bastard with his “todger” out in everyone’s face.

Now I understand that Alan Moore isn’t just creamed all over because of the way they treat comic writers like him. It’s because he really deserves it. And his work grew and grew over the years, like somebody’s is supposed to. He had the balls to do that. And years from now it’s his work that will still be read. And he is not a misogynist or a racist.

 

What is Rape

We hear a lot today about “rape culture.”

Amy July 2014Listen to me.
All of you.

It is no honor to you, beautiful young women, that some man wants to take you.

It is honor to you that he wants you to be his wife. That he wants to raise children with you.

So for many young black men, this option isn’t there.

They want sons and grandsons. They would provide for them. But instead: they are in prison. That is what our world does. It stops our young black men (and brown ones) so that there is less competition for the white ones.

Well, I’m at the top of the heap lady-wise.

Just like me. I am as I am on purpose. On the edge. I dare females to compete with me in such competition as we have.

Could I be as sexy as Kim Kardashian? Please. I don’t have any cosmetic surgery. I am more mentally and physically fit than she and many others of her ilk. That’s a good thing, as a young child counted on me to provide for her and protect her, and my baby with Down Syndrome most certainly did. It is down to blood, food, warmth, succor — I’m sure Kim would know that and do that if she had to.

Anyway, we are talking about cave stuff. As if we women are the barest things. Sexually attractive, physical endurance. What about our minds?

We are such stuff as dreams are made of.

We are all of us in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

It is our ways. It is what and who we are.

So, though gentlemen, I may please you well, I may have some utility as well. I hope you understand me.

Apple Pie With Best Crust Ever!

Would you like to know how to have the nicest pie crust ever? Flaky, tender, a perfect complement to fruit fillings? Honey I’m not Paula Deen, but …

deep dish apple pieSo, when I was growing up, my grandmother was not the best cook. She wasn’t the worst, either and as far as nutrition goes, yes – she was the best. She had a great understanding of proper nutrition, portions, balance of vegetables, fruits, low-fat, etc.

Our desserts were few and far between, as you can imagine. The biggies were Jell-O (I know, I know) and Jell-O vanilla pudding with some type of fruit in it. This was before the days of yogurt being so popular. And Jell-O pudding made with skim milk probably is superior to the high fructose corn syrup laden yogurt products of the early days.

But for special days and holidays, my grandmother would make apple pie. This pie had the BEST CRUST EVER. It wasn’t Nana’s crust. She learned how to make it from her best friend Imo, who had learned it from the vacuum cleaner salesman. Or possibly the Fuller Brush man. A traveling salesman, anyway.

Anyway, if you eat Marie Callendar’s pies or any of the other typical restaurant pies – heck, even bakery pies – these do not have crusts like this. As you can see this is a crumbly type of crust. It has a little bit of salt to it, and a little “sandiness.” This crust will *never* be made in a food processor.

So, first, here’s the crust recipe:

2 C + 1 T unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
2/3 C Crisco – chilled in freezer
6 T ice water (or less)

In a medium-sized bowl (I use an aluminum bowl), mix the flour and salt together. Cut in the Crisco with 2 knives, 2 forks, or heaven forbid: a pastry cutter. I was taught the mixture should begin to form small pea-like shapes while most of the flour looked like cornmeal before beginning to add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Stop adding water when the dough begins to hold together and will not stick to the sides of the bowl. Seriously. Stop adding the water when you can make it form in a ball. At all. Form it into a larger ball or disc. Wrap this in plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge for 45 minutes.

While the dough is chilling, peel, core and slice 7-8 regular sized Granny Smith or other firm pie apples (Romes, etc). Depending on the type of apple you will use, you will want more or less sugar. I use half white sugar and half brown sugar.

For the filling:

7-8 Granny Smith or other pie apples
1/2 C unbleached flour
1/4 to 1/3 C white sugar
1/4 to 1/3 C brown sugar (vary amt. of sugar depending on tartness of apples)
2-3 T Vegan margarine (or butter if you like butter
are not Vegan – if you use Vegan butter, this is a Vegan recipe)
3/4 tsp to 1 tsp salt (to taste)
some Vanilla (to taste)

Now, they add the lemon juice to the filling because many apples brown while you’re peeling and coring them, and no one likes that. But Granny Smith and other pie type apples kind of don’t. The vanilla you can splash in there and it has alcohol in it, and will stop the browning action.

Mix the flour, sugar and salt together in a medium-sized bowl. Cut the margarine or butter in similarly to pie crust “cutting in” (see above).

Peel the apples, core them (or cut around the core) and slice them approx 1/8 inch thick. Do not cut too thick or too thin. Put the apples into the bowl with the flour/sugar/salt mixture. If you add the apples as you finish peeling and slicing, you can toss, sprinkle with a little vanilla, slice some more, toss, etc. until you are done. You should have a bowl of yummy apples which have collected a bit of tasty, juicy goodness.

Take the pie crust out of the refrigerator. On a smooth surface (anything from your fancy kitchen marble board to a wooden cutting board (see picture), throw a handful of flour down, spread it out, then put one half of the dough onto it. Make sure the dough is formed into a flattened round. Take a good rolling pin, throw some flour on that, and gently roll the dough out to about 1.5 inches bigger around than your pie pan. It should be approx. 1/8 inch thick. Do not worry if there are breaks – just don’t let there be breaks on the bottom or the pie will stick to your pie pan.

However best you can, put the rolled out crust into the pan. Your instructions will tell you “fold in fourths, etc. Well no. Just pick that sucker up, center it, and drop it gently in there. Press gently to fill the pan. Do not worry about “cutting the edge off perfectly.” If you do, the crust will be horrible.

deep dish apple pie 2So after you get the bottom crust situated, prick it with the tines of a fork. Put the apples into the crust. You can use your hands. Pile them up in an “architectural fashion.” You will have some sugary goodness and juice in the bowl. When you are done with the sugar and flour mixture coated apple slices, pour this juice evenly over the whole thing. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees if you have not already done so.

Repeat the first procedure with your second round of dough. Roll it out a bit farther. Make sure you have good coverage as well. Delicately pick it up and drape it over the apples. Press the edges against the bottom crust as best you can. This crust is delicate so just use the fork to press the edges together. Cut 5 or 6 slashes in a “flower” type pattern around the top middle of the crust. Sprinkle a little white sugar (Organic is best) over the top. Put the pie on a baking sheet. Make a small 2-3 inch “skirt” of foil and wrap it gently around the outside of the pie. This will protect the pie through 35 minutes of baking.

Bake for 425 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove the outer foil “skirt” that keeps the edges from burning 10 minutes before the pie is done.

Try to wait to eat it.

 

 

 

What’s Wrong With Stuff Like #Pitchtopublication ?

Sometimes I feel like I’m in an endless, hopeless battle. As if no one will ever “get” what I’m talking about, even though I’ve given up everything and am doing only what must be done to move everything forward.

I try to follow stuff out there, and this a.m. saw #Pitchtopublication. This is another YA- and genre-dominated way to attract fresh aspirants into the editor (paid) / agent / publisher world.

This Twitter-fueled contest sucks up a big needlefull of Film/TV logline disease and mainlines it into the prose fiction world.

lindsay lohan so bored
This writer wanted to use the contest to judge how interesting his ideas are. To this group.

your comps should be recent

 

 

 

 

Most of the “comps” that I saw were from recent movies, not books. However, there were a few classics TV/book mashups like “Buffy meets Jekyll & Hyde.” There wasn’t enough in-depth information from any of the pitches to determine if there was any variability in age of character, gender of character or plot.

nail the comps

 

 

 

Sell your book to … whom?

I asked this question at the LA Writers Conference and got maybe 30% audience response (who got it). After the agents discussed the acquiring editor issue (they can say “no” but cannot say “yes” on their own) and described how editorial boards make decisions, I asked “but what reader input is considered in the process?”

This #Pitchtopublication process isn’t even about putting a basic, coherent brief pitch together about the writer’s work. It’s about creating something that will appeal to the participating agents and editors. They are asking for comparables from the past five years.

In what universe is working like that going to reach anything but a smaller audience of whatever the “comps” had?

It’s guaranteed, built in from the ground up, that anything created in a process like that is going to be similar to something that somebody else already did. Better.

So this is where we’re at. Yes, I watched Elon Musk’s battery wall pitch.

The threat: 20% of North American adults regularly buy and read books. This number is flat and may even be slightly shrinking each year. Nearly 100% of people are literate enough to buy and read at least some books. No one (other than us) seems to question that some people who would otherwise read regularly aren’t reading because they aren’t being presented with things that interest them in the market channels to which they’d respond.

The evidence that books have changed our world, and continue to change it, is overwhelming. Dickens’ stories of little orphan boys who overcame incredible adversity to “be the hero of their own lives” contributed to the dismantling of extreme classism. They instilled the basic idea that someone could “rise above” given enough hard work and natural gifts. Dickens himself was this person. He was telling his own story, over and over. Before Dickens, the only characters in fiction that left their “station” were those born noble, yet were unaware of it, like Fielding’s Tom Jones. People often look to “issue” books like Uncle Tom’s Cabin as things that encourage change. I think it’s popular stories that make the real change. Dickens’ work is the work I know the most about, but more recent books like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Catch-22 have had a huge influence. Most of the official lists of this type are made out of the “canon” so they overlook books like Peyton Place, which unveiled the way small town people really lived, including their sex lives — including women’s sex lives.

We are in a worse straitjacket now than anything Ken Kesey wrote about. This straitjacket involves figuring out what someone liked last week, last month, last year, and shoving more of the same down their throat. This is what is considered “marketing.”

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – with its signature female horror, Nurse Ratched – very doubtful it would be published today. What were its comps? For sure Stephen King’s Misery had a little Cuckoo’s Nest of a “comp” but … that wasn’t within five years, was it?

It isn’t just that “more of the same” is what’s being enforced and promoted, it’s that the people who can work in this type of straitjacket and confined space are the opposite of the Ken Keseys of the world. I’m using the Merry Prankster as the example. If a writer likes to work to “please” some “agent” who’s chasing dollars for themselves, work to attract the attention of an editor who may or may not have any audience connection, who judges what they do based on what their competitors are doing, then the chances they’ll be writing about something real are …

ragnar lothbrok

Like the chance that somebody’s going to kick Ragnar Lothbrok’s ass.

(Aside: Vikings jumped the shark … King Whazbo has a sex crush on Lagertha and she accepts him? Really?)

There is a movie out right now called Southpaw, starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a white boxer named Billy “The Great” Hope. Today’s young audiences may not remember “The Great White Hope” so they do not “get” that a movie of this nature that was pretty good was already made. Called Rocky.

YOU COULD NOT EVEN F-ING MAKE ROCKY TODAY. We would not have Rocky and Rambo today. Maybe the world won’t fall apart without Sylvester Stallone but the whole point of Stallone was “the Italian stallion.” Yes, that was an unknown movie hero type before the Italians overtook film in the 70s.

Let’s try making Shaft today, shall we?

Denzel Washington’s biggest recent role is a remake of an 80s TV show that was essentially a wish-fulfillment fantasy (what if an all-powerful ex-spy could fix everything and right all wrongs) starring a white British actor.

Right now everything on the bestseller list that isn’t James Patterson or E.L. James is Gone Girl clones. ___________________ did something (bad/wrong/secret) and ___________________ (outsmarts/tricks/hoodwinks) _____________________. This MadLib story is filled out with age (28-32), hair color (blonde/light brown), eye color (blue/blue-green/hazel), job (magazine writer, fashion editor, designer), husband/boyfriend (Ben Affleck/Jake Gyllenhaal/Jason Momoa (exotic/slated for death)). These are pop books.

Did anyone see the “the book had a blue cover” bookstore joke? It’s not a joke.

blue cover

So what was on the bestseller list before this misunderstanding of “marketing” took over? Like, 45 years ago?

1970 ny times bestseller list

Let’s see. I’ve actually read three of these books.

Love Story: the classic of its type. Great Lion of God is about St. Paul, by historical novelist Taylor Caldwell (PW noted it was written for a “sizeable and predictable market” – which is no longer being served very much by secular trade publishers). The French Lieutenant’s Woman, of which I have a copy signed to me by the author, is an unconventional, time-spanning narrative covering a clandestine, very sexy romance between a Victorian naturalist and a “woman of ill repute” combined with contemporary story by the author. It may well be published today – but it would absolutely not be #3 on the NY Times Bestseller list. Deliverance by James Dickey is the book origin of “squeal like a pig!” and the developmentally-disabled backwoods banjo player, as well as ultrahot Burt Reynolds and his hunting bow. It is in fact an incredibly well-written book by a great poet. In addition to having been made into a popular, award-winning film (as was The French Lieutenant’s Woman). Calico Palace is an historical novel about a young female protagonist who moves to San Francisco during the Gold Rush (’49). It was thus out of print and, although part of a “back in print” forgotten classics series – isn’t as well-remembered or preserved as Deliverance (“Squeal Like a Pig!” = top 100 books of 20th century). The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart … I now realize I’ve read four of these books. It is the first in Stewart’s Merlin trilogy: i.e. Arthurian legend. The Lord Won’t Mind by Gordon Merrick is one of the first gay romance novels. Losing Battles is Eudora Welty’s fourth novel; it features the tales told at the 90th birthday of Granny Vaughn in northeast Mississippi. Made into a hilarious movie, The Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight is columnist Jimmy Breslin’s tale of the Brooklyn mob. Such Good Friends by Lois Gould is the only one of the group that is out of print. Gould was the editor of Ladies Home Journal and wrote semi-autobiographical books that focused on womens’ inner lives. Such Good Friends is about a woman whose husband dies, whereupon she discovers he was a serial cheater.

So, before the “comps” took over (they did not do this type of thing in 1970) they looked at basic things like “What is this book about?” They recognized that some authors like Eudora Welty ran on place and voice. They knew that sophisticated writers like John Fowles worked in unique ways. They could “get” basic subjects like “Merlin” and “San Francisco Gold Rush” and “St. Paul” or “This Jimmy Breslin is hilarious and a great columnist — his story is a hoot!”

Are people really going to “comp” The Gang Who Couldn’t Shoot Straight? It’s a hilarious book. Jimmy Breslin is a funny, gifted writer. They certainly have comped The Lord Won’t Mind: but these books aren’t generally on the NY Times bestseller list (though may be bestsellers).

They didn’t have computers in 1970. There was no internet. No Twitter. No hashtags. No agents telling aspiring writers what to do and forcing them to spend hours “comping” their ideas … gee whiz –

It’s Deliverance crossed with Love Story . . . Kenton Pierce, a successful 45 year-old sports agent, falls in love with beautiful 23 year-old Samantha “Sam” Justice. After a whirlwind courtship and fairy-tale wedding, “Sam” convinces Kent to spend their honeymoon in the remote Northern Georgia wilderness where she was raised by her widowed mother. While canoeing down the last wild river in the area, Kent and “Sam” are kidnapped by a group of backwoods hunters. After a night of sheer horror, Kent learns that nothing is as it seems. Not only is the hunter who rapes “Sam” her own father, she’s also dying of a new, ultra-virulent form of AIDS! Kent and Cletus the deadly Bowie-knife wielding daddy-rapist now both have the disease.

See? Easy-peasy.

American Genius

I’ve gotten a lot of insight from Temple Grandin. Toward the end of the filmed version of her life, she (portrayed by Clare Danes) tells a group of all-male, highly skeptical chain-smoking slaughterhouse owners why her humane system, which one comments is “like an airport for cows,” is an improvement over previous brute-force systems. “I – I’m like Edison or Tesla,” Temple says. “I see the way it will work. I can run through it all in my head.”

Temple GrandinAlthough we all eat safely today thanks to Temple’s human animal processing systems, and millions of children with autism and their families have gained inspiration and real-world skills thanks to Temple’s education and advocacy, she’s not an “American Genius” according to National Geographic. No woman or non-white person is. This show irritated me, but not enough to say anything about it until today.

There is a small Tumblr which allows safe, anonymous reports of gender-biased comments to women writers; it’s a fraction of the size of the “Shit People Say to Women Directors” film industry Tumblr which has helped to support the ACLU investigation into hiring practices in Hollywood. So, today the Tumblr about bad comments toward women writers has a 2-year old pandering post* by male internet celebrity writer Chuck Wendig, which pushed a legit Twitter meme started by Chocolat author Joanne Harris into second place. Because most of the readers of this Tumblr are female, fortunately yet more coverage provided to Wendig was *not* as heavily shared as Joanne’s project (4 notes to 19 last time I checked).

*Pandering Post: As my best friend Cathy always said, “When you live in crazyland, crazy seems normal.” So therefore the tradition of white males getting tons of attention by “sponsoring” complaints of females seemed “normal” to me, until about a year ago, I had just plain had enough. I don’t read them, I do not share them. Some exemplars of this genre include Jim Hines’ crusading for anti-sexual harassment policies and of course, Wendig’s extremely lengthy post of who knows how many reasons why women endure gender bias in publishing and how wrong guys who disagree are. Hundreds of comments, most from gushing females. There’s no links here because these “right-doers” (AKA attention whores) don’t need extra boosts. Now that I’m aware of this, I see these *everywhere*. For every legitimate statement by a female entrepreneur, woman in tech, or author, there’s at least 2-3 of these “pandering posts” or videos where a man gets attention for being “cool” and on the woman’s side. The magnitude of attention/”sharing” is always like 10:1 – 10 to the male/1 to any female. These men are nowhere to be found whenever actual work, money or real projects are under consideration.

I want to say Temple Grandin is lucky because she doesn’t care about this stuff. But Temple is acutely sensitive to injustice. Her filmed life story illustrates this over and over, as does her own autobiography. Once she figured out that people were biased against her, she persevered, using her own steady, persistent gifts and talents and plenty of creativity, to accomplish her goals.

As to me, I was born with a sense of injustice … to others. Poor treatment of others always resonated with me. It’s only taken 53 years for me to “get” poor treatment of my self.

So, back to the “American Geniuses.” I wrote about Maria Goeppert Mayer in my first appearance in Analog this past month. Maria is the second woman to win the Nobel Prize in Physics. She identified the structure of the atom itself. She worked on the Manhattan Project and many other critical atomic projects, often for free. She wouldn’t have been able to do as she’d done without the support of her husband Joe Mayer, an accomplished chemist. Joe lost at least one position (University of Chicago) for his support of his wife’s research.

As far as this “American Geniuses” show is concerned, Maria holds not a candle to “real geniuses” like Colt and Smith & Wesson, the firearms competitors, or media magnates like Hearst and Pulitzer. Out of the group of “geniuses,” probably only Steve Jobs and Bill Gates (competitors, LOL) and Edison and Tesla quality as actual geniuses who accomplished something positive for others. Maybe Philo Farnsworth. The rest are like Thank You For Smoking’s “Merchants of Death”.

People say Tesla was crazy, he was a monomaniac. Edison, like Temple Grandin, had a disability that made his interactions with others more limited (he was hearing impaired). Temple, of course, has autism and yes she’s like Edison and Tesla — yes she’s a genius! So again, even though she is objectively, verifiably one of the most influential, positive people of the 20th century, there are a fraction of the articles about Temple than there are about someone like Steve Jobs or … Chuck Wendig. No joke. But this 2012 article describes how her work to change slaughterhouses and animal treatment was a “long term project.”

If I may speak for myself, I have never cared about “being famous” or “attention.” I shy from it. I was thrilled to be able to operate the laptop at Comic-Con Thursday. If cameras come around, I will run.

But I know what we are doing is important. Temple would say “nature is cruel, but we don’t have to be” to explain why it was important to design human animal slaughter facilities. She explained her autism to others by saying she “thought in pictures.” She spoke simply and straightforwardly at all times.

So.

The Problem With Books

Everybody who’s rotating around the current publishing industry is smack dab in the middle of the 20 percent and that is the way they like it. Everything they say is devoted to supporting themselves: the same as Edison and J.P. Morgan were stone-committed to direct current before Morgan threw Edison under the bus. Neither saw a problem with DC being able to serve only wealthy urban dwellers, whereas crazed Tesla’s AC could serve everybody.

When I thought about people who exclusively read certain authors, or who only read certain types of books, and are very reluctant to deviate, I would picture Temple in her aunt’s house or college cafeteria, announcing, “I only eat jello and yogurt! I – I only eat jello and yogurt!” Well, these are “Temple-Type Readers,” I would think.

So, there are all those folks who didn’t get to attend a wonderful country boarding school like Temple did. Whose wonderful, humane, brave mothers did not have the privilege of graduating from Harvard. There’s all those folks who don’t have internet platforms, who are not James Altucher, who could write fifty fantastic articles and get less than 5 views on “Medium.” There’s all the people who don’t “know anybody.” There’s people serving time for crimes they didn’t do, or for crimes that should not be crimes at all. There’s people working jobs they hate just to put food on the table, and people who work 2-3 jobs for minimum wage who can’t put food on the table at all.

There are people who’ll never get a vacation. There are people who will never leave their home state. There are people who will quietly work and serve their whole lives long.

I think an awful lot of those people are “American Geniuses” too.

And they deserve books made for them. Books that affirm, instead of deny. Books that uplift, instead of downgrade.

I found my 45+ heroine in a bestseller/not a romance this morning: “Jack” Daniels. She’s a 48-year old pregnant detective trapped by a serial killer. The book opens with a “popular” serial killer who’s been featured in prior books murdering an innocent young woman with impunity and cruelty. He tells her he’ll “make her famous.” Instant best seller.

And people think more of this is the answer. It never crosses their minds that it’s not just like it would never cross Chuck Wendig’s mind that he’s actually being a giant douchebag by writing another of his long “splaining” articles. It’s like the cattle in Temple Grandin’s dip system. You can’t hang things on the walls. They will walk smoothly down the steps into the water. No chains or shadows to alarm them.

 

This is a Book

Is She Available HardcoverSo, this is a book. Is SHE Available? by Igor Goldkind.

Not only could this book have not been made by an individual working in isolation, it wouldn’t be what it is without the musical and recording talents of Gilad Atzmon, the art talent of more than 26 internationally-acclaimed graphic novel, comic, and fine artists, including front and interior cover by Bill Sienkiewicz, and the world-class book and type design talent of Rian Hughes. Videos are by Madefire, which has invented a way to animate graphic novels and comics, and the e-book enhancements including movable type and animations were done in Southern California by Chameleon.

The book was more than a year in the making and it is indeed, our showpiece, along with the companion hardcover.

If it was just Igor’s poetry, it would be yet another book of poetry — a good one — but not what it is. This is why we are able to do Poetry, Jazz, Art, Comics — Really? at Comic-Con next week.

Darkness Poem back Love Is Poem back (1) Love is a Gun tshirt frontThese are 1) Rian Hughes type design for “The Darkness” poem; 2) Rian Hughes type design for “The Bullet From My Gun” poem; and 3) Art for “The Bullet From My Gun” by Shaky Kane. We will have t-shirts at Comic-Con with Shaky’s image on the front and the poem type design on the back.

The e-book uses every functionality of Adobe Creative Suite, including video, audio, animations, Illustrator, InDesign (obviously) and Photoshop. It uses every capability of the EPUB3 standards.

And although there is a GooglePlay version, the book is optimally experienced on iBooks and Apple devices.

There will probably never be a Kindle version of this book — at least not for the foreseeable future.

Did we go into it this way? No! We went into it with the idiotic assumption that it would be “easy” to convert and validate the EPUB for KF8. Aw no problemo … easy peasy! The Kindle plays movies and shows magazines and …

30 days later … every editing program out there used and re-used …

We also did not want an “app,” we wanted a book. It’s a book-plus. Apps are, and we have some agreement out there, at-best book-minus. That’s from the perspective of making the thing and using it — what can and cannot be included. That’s from the app format itself. That’s from down in the guts of what it is. The Kindle problem is down in the guts of the software itself, what it will and will not accept, what it will and will not do.

If you want an “enhanced” e-book like Stephen King’s 11/22/63, then there ya go. This goody includes a 13-minute video that is primarily Stephen King talking. It appears at the beginning of the book. Then the traditional book starts in flowable ePUB format. It’s no more enhancement than could be found on a web page; i.e. Stephen King’s or the publisher’s website. That’s because flowable ePUBS are web pages.

What flowable ePUBS and readers have caused is a diminution of the beauty of the book, making it extremely difficult to provide an optimal reader experience. There’s little type design to be done with an ePUB. When the user can make the font any one of the standard fonts they like, and make the letters bigger or smaller on the screen, and change the background and type color, that’s great for consuming text. It isn’t quite the same as reading a book like this:

jane eyre chapter 1 Fritz-Eichenberg-Jane-Eyre-Title-Page

 

The 1943 Random House edition of Jane Eyre with woodcut illustrations by Fritz Eichenberg is “book plus,” just as every illustrated children’s book is “book plus.” I always give this book as an example because it and its companion volume, Wuthering Heights, belonged to my mother — but they literally formed my life, along with the N.C. Wyeth illustrated editions of Robert Louis Stevenson’s books like Kidnapped and Treasure Island.

When I asked Kirbi Fagan if she would like to work with me on illustrations for Like Fire, she immediately understood and made the characters come alive. Working as a team, here is the result:

Keile Bern by Kirbi FaganHull Krystofferson the Ice Rooster by Kirbi Asta_Kirbi_Fagan Broos_Kirbi Fagan Meria by Kirbi FaganLike Fire is not published, and it may never be.

I crossed a line — fully-crossed this April — where I realized that what was needed, was to combine the old with the new: really, a mini-version of these pictures and this illustration and collaborative work process.

Are writers paid horribly? Yes. So are illustrators and book designers. One well-known artist friend of mine has stopped working for a famous publication because not only were their requirements so stringent he felt it downgraded his creativity, they paid too little to make his work worthwhile.

Kirbi is young: there is no telling what fantastic, beautiful, evocative art she will make down the road, what stories she will help to come alive, what young readers’ minds she will help to activate, what imaginations she will inspire.

I wrote what I wrote about the “Author Earnings Report” based on talking to aspiring writers (and some not-so aspiring – people with published books, and more than one) at the Los Angeles Writers Conference last weekend. I didn’t care for the out-there attacks on Ursula Le Guin, because they seemed a-creative to me: ugly, negative, disrespectful and almost enthusiastically uncultured. I realized when talking to aspiring writers that there is so much misinformation and disinformation out there about the industry. Financially, even the most-successful, most-famous writer, if they are agented and with an established trade publisher, will be giving up money they can probably better-earn by selling their work directly — at least in e-book form.

Trade publishers may or may not market a writer’s work effectively to the current reading audience. Only the writer will be able to go beyond that set audience if happy circumstances intervene.  As to the work between writers, editors, designers, artists and book formatters that is the subject of this post, writers with established trade publishers are siloed from that, for the most part. Over the years, the siloing has taken the form of ongoing jokes about the wrong gender of character being on a book cover, or aliens and ray guns appearing on a traditional fantasy book.

As to self-publishing, doing it well takes time, money and resources. The argument is made that “anybody” can publish their own book and that is certainly true. These posts aren’t for the person who is happy just seeing their work out in public. Our writer survey showed that a pretty big percentage of current writers don’t want to work as part of a creative team, and some don’t want audience feedback at all. The majority were willing to listen to feedback after they’d finished a book, not before starting it, or as they were working. So that isn’t adding to the discourse, as Alan Rodgers famously used to ask other writers — including multiply-published ones (risking fistfights in the process).

growth in retail spendWe think this statistic is worth thinking about and paying attention to.

And this one:

 

 

 

The Problem With BooksThe problem with rotating around a small, limited market and basing your work and priorities on what that group has read or liked in the past is that whomever reads the new work that’s published will be that group-minus, not that group-plus.

Author Lisa Genova, previously mentioned, was successful in her area because there hadn’t been well-written books before about individuals or families struggling to cope with Alzheimers disease, and that group is growing, not declining. Lisa, I think, grew readership in a certain sense, because she came up with something new. I can tell readers right now why she had to do her path to publication her way: Still Alice is about a 50-year old woman, and even as I type, that’s going to be a small minority of books even considered by top agents, much less editorial boards (we are going to skip acquiring editors since this past weekend a truth was told to conference attendees — acquiring editors can always say “no” but they can never on their own, say “yes”).

A few months ago, I received some cool manuscripts from a talented writer. The very first one opened with a chapter about an 80 year old woman. The story skipped back in time and she wasn’t always 80 throughout the entire book, but as it started: yeah — 80. “You will not get this read in New York, much less published,” I had to sadly tell the writer.

Everything that’s rotating around the Kindle stack right now is based on what has been previously published and successful in the past, and those things were selected based in uncertain, unknown criteria — primarily personal taste or “commonly-held wisdom.” PLUS the books suffer from the KF8 restricted format, PLUS the only ones that have a chance of doing well will have at least two of these criteria: professional editing and proofreading, paid advertising, established publicity channels, professional cover and formatting.

A person who has to work to support a family, and who doesn’t have a lot of resources to pay for those things, isn’t going to be able to get all that done. That miracle isn’t any likelier to happen through self-publishing than it is through the person making it through the agent-acquiring editor-editorial board pipeline at a trade publisher.

No established trade publisher would do Is SHE Available? and even if they did, it wouldn’t be good because he would have been siloed off and the art and design handed to someone who’d likely never speak to him; sales might have some input but since they are almost always at war with editorial, it probably wouldn’t be helpful. It’s not only Igor’s book, it’s Igor’s life and it’s a direct transmission from the Igorverse. Igor is a first-time poet and author. He just happened to be good friends with all the people whose work went into the book. And us, at Chameleon.

 

New Writers: This is What’s Going on With “Author Earnings Report”

We wrote about how Barnes & Noble is a lonely, frightening place for a young book: and it is. Any retail consultant would be appalled by what goes on in most B & N stores. Crowded aisles, merchandise on the floor, dusty shelves, merchandise used as decoration, uninspiring displays, and we did not even go into the stockroom, where we have heard some book shipments are simply stored until it’s time to return the unopened boxes. Those books (midlist, usually) aren’t ever even shelved since clerks don’t think any customers will want them. That’s some broken sales pipeline. Much like the troubled businesses on Bar Rescue, Restaurant: Impossible, The Profit and the late, lamented Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares: nothing about the business itself could possibly contribute to flat or declining sales and profit. Barnes & Noble is in trouble because “no one reads any longer” and “young people don’t read” and a million other excuses.

So, a lot of people who love reading and writing think Amazon is the solution. The Amazon Kindle is an amazing device, and I personally use it extensively: I am right in the middle of that device’s sweet spot demographic. I’m a college-educated woman who appreciates the ability to make the e-book type any size and shape I like. I know how to quickly find books I’m interested in.

When we first started our four-part series on the Business of Books, responding to our first market validation survey (among writers), we caught some blowback because we supported Ursula Le Guin’s contention that Amazon’s system is causing a problem for books and readership by focusing on quick-selling, short-term books.

The blowback was from Hugh Howey adherents and enthusiasts. We were informed we should look at Author Earnings Report to find out what was really going on with books and readers. Some commenters suggested we were not aware of such options as Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) or quality print on demand options like Amazon’s CreateSpace. Those were the nice folks. The other ones were getting a kick out of slagging on a National Book Award winner (Ursula Le Guin) and calling me names. author earnings report

So, here’s the deal, new writers. To you, this report means exactly nothing. This is heat, light, smoke, almost totally wasted time and effort. It covers Amazon Kindle book sales and nothing else. It covers pricing information and what it presents is pretty dubious. The report has simply proven that non-traditionally published e-books sell in the Kindle format on the Kindle device. It refers to a “shadow industry” of books without ISBNs – i.e. books with ASINs only, the Kindle identifier. Similarly, books can be sold via Smashwords without an ISBN.

About two years ago we started our business with a cookie analogy, because the value of a book isn’t its sales price, nor is it even its total volume sales. We talked about how there were various qualities associated with cookies that food manufacturers used to develop, test and market them. This concept inspired Chameleon’s “bookfeel” elements to be used in book marketing, development (YES WRITING AND EDITING AND PRODUCTION) and sales/promotion.

With recent developments in Amazon’s pricing and payment structure (Kindle Unlimited, payment per amount of book read) and today’s announcement that the book subscription service Scribd is eliminating 80 to 90 percent of its romance titles because romance readers were downloading and reading “too much” to make it economically feasible, new writers might be inspired to think they need to work even harder, and market their books even more, to be a success. “Oh, my gosh,” some writers may think. “What if Amazon decides to give only 5% royalties? What if they decide to pay only if the person finishes the book and gives a good review?”

When people talk about the large share of the book market that Amazon has, they are referring to their print sales plus their e-book sales. No one really knows what Amazon’s aggregate total really represents in terms of market share, except the overall trade publishing industry is a $27 billion industry in the U.S. and we recently determined that Amazon’s maximum revenue for books was about $7 billion last year and we’re being very generous about it: 26% of the market. That is a whole lot. But if e-books just overtook the paper book sales via Amazon less than a year ago (they did), that’s 13% of the book buying market — and that is stretching it.

If I deal with the numbers that “Author Earnings Report” is trying to use to represent the market opportunity for indy-published writers, I’ll just extrapolate the “1 day earnings” for indy-published writers it estimates for May 1 sales: $1.1 million USD x 365 days = $401.5 million. That is 1.4% of the total market. Amazon’s practices mean little good news for Amazon-only authors, that’s for certain. And Amazon does not seem to be growing readership.

It’s about who can and does buy books on the Kindle. I am too cheap to download this report. But it indicates that the same market research firm (Simba) that correctly projected slowing growth in e-book sales in general in 2012 also showed that Kindle users are older (55+), female (55%) and that there are very few – 2.3% – younger Kindle owners and users. kindle users by age

In contrast, tablet ownership is broadening, with over 34 percent of Americans owning or using a tablet computer. The Kindle Fire is counted among tablets, but its demographics do not match overall tablet ownership and usage.

All you have to do is walk into any tech/electronics store like Best Buy or mobile provider store like ATT or Verizon and talk to customer service reps about who is buying what. The Kindle Fire, despite all of Amazon’s efforts, isn’t being adopted at the high rate of Apple, Samsung or other products. Marcus Lemonis, the Profit, could easily tell you why; and Amazon’s policies regarding its book content and acquisition aren’t going to help the situation much. Right now, the Kindle is a tablet, but it didn’t start out that way and Amazon’s business was built on getting books — paper books — into the hands of 1995’s readers. Now it’s 2015.

People don’t read books much on tablets so far (overall), but they are starting to do it more and more. Students definitely want textbooks and resources on their mobile devices. They do, consistently, when questioned, say they prefer paper books.

E-readers basically make it easier for older folks such as me to read. When I got my Kindle, I found myself reading more: for practical reasons! But for reasons of information and quality, I do turn to paper books. Or, I download books that I also have in paper form.

That’s because a book isn’t just text dumped onto a screen. People who think it’s cool to make fun of and insult a National Book Award winner, and who think there’s much, if any, benefit in the extensive, ongoing, repetitive “Author Earnings Report” probably aren’t going to understand that.

The Kindle serves people who already liked to read before they got one and who were a particular type of book buyer and reader. It’s a secondary, downstream device and market. It will never be an upstream, introductory device and market unless it changes a vast number of things about how it acquires content.

Let’s try another analogy. Many people hate WalMart for a variety of reasons, but it remains the world’s largest retailer. WalMart is notorious for squeezing its vendors in a way that makes its employee policies look like the best in the world. As one example, Hormel was forced to sell some of its cured meats to WalMart at less than cost so it would not have all Hormel products taken off their shelves. This doesn’t make for a better ham. Customers are not better served by having NO ham or substandard ham — and in the long run, neither is WalMart. About 3.5% of WalMart’s sales were from books in 2014.

We’d Like Author Earnings Readers to Pay Particular Attention to:

Given WalMart’s reported $288 billion in US sales in 2014, 3.5% of that is $10.8 billion. Smart people reading here might be surprised this cash total is more than half the revenue done by their games and electronics departments: considering the price differences, this means they are selling a lot of books. This statistic alone provides somewhat of an indication of the problem in wrapping one’s head around the total book market. Barnes & Noble reported year-end sales of $6.7 billion in January 2015, which is probably similar to Amazon’s total (again, Amazon’s figures are so siloed, firewalled and distorted it’s very difficult to get a strong picture). These are some of WalMart’s current books and they absolutely do the same type of discounting and murderous vendor activities common with their food, furnishings and electronics suppliers ($5.31 for Chris Kyle’s American Sniper trade paperback). Walmart Books  

And a final word to Author Earnings Readers . . .

Boy is there a misunderstanding about “profits” and “earnings.” Trade publishers do well to run a 2% profit. Author Earnings readers might think “gee this is terrible.” They’re reading nonsense following statements like “protecting the paper book trade will not help publishers.” Nonsense like this:

  • Reduced publisher profits (only 20 cents of profit on each dollar versus 52.5 cents on ebooks). <– which publishers would that be? None of those we comped; I wonder why Hachette, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House and Macmillan didn’t report that type of profit to their shareholders! I’m thinking only medical and specialty publishers might be able to report such figures.
  •  Reduced author earnings (only 8-15 cents of each dollar goes to the author versus 17.5 cents on ebooks). <– nah, well, it’s really more like 3-7 cents overall, Author Earnings Report, which you’d know if you could read financial statements.

Now, let’s just say you’re a (formerly) self-published author like Lisa Genova, author of Still Alice and other bestselling books. Lisa herself reported that she paid $40,000 to publicize Still Alice prior to signing with Simon & Schuster to conventionally publish the book. There are now more than 2 million copies in print; it has been translated into 31 languages. Lisa, a Harvard Neuroscience Ph.D. is an expert in Alzheimers disease and other cognitive disorders. In addition to the time spent writing and the money she paid for editing and book production,  she initially sold the book directly to people in the Alzheimer community. When accumulated interest and in-person direct sales combined with Lisa’s expertise and the high-quality nature of the book itself, she initiated her relationship with Simon & Schuster, enabling her to publish additional bestselling books. I doubt that Lisa realized any profit per book when her time, efforts, direct funds paid for editing and that $40,000 PR payment were accounted for. Say what you like about publishers like Simon & Schuster: they made it possible for the 2.1 million copies to be in print, and for the book to be translated into 31 languages.

When we started out, we audited and analyzed a number of self-published bestsellers and successes. Most of these authors and books went on to achieve traditionally-published success, and Still Alice was one of them. Each of the books and authors fit into the “bookfeel” criteria that we were simultaneously developing. Another hallmark of these books and authors was the connection with readers. 50 Shades of Gray, for example, wasn’t just a “self-published” (paperback – small press) book. It started out as an online serial told to a huge Twilight fan community. Publicity being what it is, there are some reports that 50 Shades‘ series has outsold Twilight, but that’s probably unlikely. Even though Christian Grey’s story is now the #1 bestseller, Twilight overall is likely the more successful series. Both series satisfy their readers in the basics: plot, characters, pacing, “intellectual content.” And in particular, 50 Shades stands out because it had numerous readers suggesting improvements and giving feedback at every step of the way. So right now as it stands, even though it feels as though the entire situation consists of established trade publishers exploiting authors who had already done all the hard work of building an audience and interacting with readers, that’s not precisely the case.

What needs to happen is there to be a stronger way to include successful practices in the larger publishing industry: especially a connection with audience and reader. E.L. James was really into the Twilight fan community and had that connection right off. Lisa Genova is a Harvard neuroscientist who knew people affected by Alzheimers and who was committed to the community of families and individuals impacted by the devastating disease: she wrote Still Alice for them. Lifelong “space nerd” Andy Weir was devoted to all things space before he wrote The Martian.

I’m sorry to say, Author Earnings Readers: nobody ever did anything good based in insulting a National Book Award winner. It really is about what goes between the covers of a book or on a screen and those things are not best-made by individuals working alone, in isolation. There’s nothing easy or miraculous about it. It’s hard. If you can interact with readers as you write, if you have the funds to pay for professional editing and book design, and you can bankroll a print run and distribution, and you can pay for sales teams and work with all the vendors, then there ya go: instant book success. If you have the sense not to denigrate a great, fine author for no reason, then this has to help as well, as writing is about communication and respect for the reader.

* * * * XTRA * * * *

may-2015-stackedbarI used this chart to work with the “indy-published author earnings” one-day figure, to give it some context in terms of all books sold. Then I thought, “You know what . . . that just doesn’t . . .”

A lot of people have written VOLUMES about this report and people go over it like crazy. But I’m going to go with what it says and accept these figures here as they stand. If this is “55% of all Amazon e-book sales” on this one day, May 1, and I multiply the total on the chart by 365, then I get: $19.345 billion.

Go to this page: Amazon.com Investor Relations. Download the 2014 Year End Report. Go to page 27. Read the number directly under “2014” at the top of the chart representing North American media sales. It says “11,567.”  That means $11,567 million ($11.57 billion) for all media sales (e-books, movies, music, downloads, everything). It is quite unlikely that “55% of all e-book sales” would be almost twice as much as the company reports selling to its shareholders. So either May 1 was a monster, banner day for sales or.

Well, you know. You’re going to get rich tomorrow, selling your books on Kindle and insulting Ursula LeGuin.