A Fevered Imagination, Ebooks! The Horror ! The Horror!
Good day my well regarded viewers, devoted House-ophiles all. I hope this latest missive finds you all in excellent health. No need for consultation from the good doctor? No physick or bleeding required, hmm? Excellent just remember the balancing of the four humours is an important part of your chosen physician’s duties, making sure that one doesn’t suffer from any excesses of black bile that could trigger an angry or choleric disposition. What’s that you say? Well let the good doctor give you an example from real life. Last week we had a light hearted discussion of the potential advantages of e-publishing. A simple piece, of course packed full of, ahem, wisdom and foresight. Unfortunately it seems to have prompted all manner of ragingly rabid articles from the publishing industry in both the press and on the blogging scene. All warned in stern tones of calamity, both dire and dreadful, if agents and publishers loose control of the literature market. Now, they are the perfect example of what I’m talking about.
My diagnosis is as follows;
Now as for treatment, mayhap ice baths to bring down the inflamed choler. Perhaps if that doesn’t help, the application of an electrical stimulus to the tender portions may drive off the evil vapours. If even that fails, then I fear they are in God’s hands since we have reached the limits of physical medicine. After that only prayer and scourging can bring them back from the haunts of Bedlam.
What was that? Are you implying that the use of cattle prods is a tad harsh, unbefitting of the status of a master of physick? I fear that if anything we are being too gentle in our treatments. Let me give you a further example of the depth of their current mania. One Antipodean ‘self styled editor’s blog in a recent entry openly gloated with unrestrained joy over rejected applications some hundred years old. Satisfaction is gained in many diverse practices and we must learn to be broad minded. It takes all types I suppose. But then they wistfully remarked how satisfying it still was, to crush those undeserving worms who dare question ‘their’ literary judgement. I mean to say they must be right, after all dozens of agents and publishers justifiably knocked back that minor no talent non-entity JK Rowling, and well her books hardly made a ripple in modern culture did they? At this point the good doctor’s uber editor has included the following. This household of Houslings now possesses not one set of JK Rowling books but two, as second son decided he wanted his own copies.
Though that is a minor symptom of the delirium, I have found others more severe as this snippet from a relatively recent publishing conference will show;
“…today’s book publishers have some significant advantages as they compete for their places of prominence in the niched world that is evolving. The book publishers’ royalty relationship with authors is a key strength. It means that authors will collaborate by blogging or posting articles without necessarily demanding compensation.” Mike Shatzkin Publishing the Story of the Future Seminar 2007
Now that segment speaks of a real problem with delusions of grandeur, a true brain fever of the worst sort, similar to the one that afflicted my Lord Essex in his rebellion against her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth. Perhaps it is best expressed by a more modern concept- megalomania. I’m sure all my readers know the sort of difficulties that affliction can cause-lots of cannon fodder driven forward by ‘incentives’.
Now onto the next symptom of the malady, from the choleric vapours permeating the brain, to the inability to distinguish reality;
On their blog another local and ‘anonymous’ ‘publishing’ identity has displayed a confusion when it comes to simple numbers.
if you buy a Kindle for $189 and your first e-book is $20, you're essentially paying $209 to buy that e-book. Extract from anonymous blogger 20/01/11
If I remember correctly, Kindle was reduced to $139 sometime around August 2010 and a quick search on Amazon’s Kindle ebook list gives prices from 99c to an average $8.00. As for this strange logic, if you applied that to the purchase of a new car then your drive home from the showroom is $25,000 plus a tank of fuel ($35) equalling a ten kilometre trip worth $25,035. Terribly expensive isn’t it?
The same blogger unfortunately continues their mental confusion with the following;
and thousands of e-books available, will covers for each individual book matter any more? Perhaps not. Rather, the author's brand may have more significance as a visual cue. Just like the old wax seal on an envelope, the author's personal brand will identify their e-books as a product… Extract from anonymous blogger 20/01/11
Apparently in ‘their’ regard, the reader has no more wit than a sheep who can be easily led by a glowing brand name. So the supposition of this particular delusion is that brand name surpasses quality. Even more disturbing is the suggestion that covers, the eye candy and memory mnemonics of all modern books, magazines, games and the linchpin of the internet graphics surge, will be in the e-revolution, superfluous. I ask you, is this the discourse of a sane and rational person?
What was that you said?
Oh, of course I’ll reattach the electrodes!
Ehh… up the voltage? Certainly, after all it is essential to expel that vile humour. The screams you say, a bit LOUD? Don’t worry it’s just temporary until the laudanum kicks in. Anyway pain is good for healing process!
In the meantime the good doctor asks you to consider whether agents and publishers have been those stout gatekeepers of literary quality, as they querulously maintain. I’m sure, as discerning consumers and intelligent people you haven’t rushed out to buy a book because a marketer has said, in blaring tones that it’s the latest must read! Or have you ever looked at an over promoted book in absolute disbelief at its lack of a story, plot, editing or even coherence. Or perhaps thought quietly to your self that perhaps a drunken snail on a keyboard could do better? Well the good doctor respects the reading public and I’m certain you’ll all act responsibly and not foam and rave like those poor deluded fools we’ve been prescribing. Just remember as they rattle their chains and moan they deserve our pity.
What? Another serve of shock therapy? If you insist, I only do this for the greater good.
As the good doctor say keep taking the pills!
And watch out for the first two Red Ned Tudor murder mysteries Cardinal’s Angels and the Queen’s Oranges they’re coming out soon on Smashwords and Amazon!