March 3, 2014 at 10:54 am #24744
Dare I ask your thoughts on Hugh Howey’s AuthorEarnings.com (which has been the talk of the indie author and publishing communities for a couple of weeks now)?
I’ve intentionally stayed out of it because I have extremely strong opinions on the matter. But I couldn’t stay silent when someone brought it up on the HWA forums recently.
Here’s the way I see it:
The numbers sound nice. As someone who supports indie publishing as a business choice, of course I’d like to swallow this candy-covered crap like so many other authors seem to be. But that’s all it is.
People throwing around half-assed statistics is a major pet peeve of mine. I suspect it comes from my PR background, where it’s your job to spin facts to say what you want them to say. I had no stomach for it then, and I’m equally averse now.
I have total respect for the guy and everything he’s accomplished as an indie author. I really do.
But as I believe I put it elsewhere, that success in no way makes him an expert at market analysis. The report is filled with so many suppositions and poorly-arrived at conclusions that it drives me crazy knowing how many authors read it and don’t pick up on them. It’s a sad state of affairs when writers, who should have the utmost respect for research, don’t demonstrate basic critical thinking skills.
I’m not going to nit pick every little problem and inconsistency, but here are a few of the most glaring problems:
- He outright admits he doesn’t have access to the data that would be necessary to make the conclusions he tries to make.
- Very limited representation of both indie and traditionally-published titles are being used to make grander proclamations.
- He admits there could be other reasons for the data he’s seeing, but then summarily dismisses them.
- He seems to make an awfully big deal out of a half-star ratings difference (which is miniscule, and could easily change week to week as specific titles on the bestseller lists change).
- He demonstrates no basic understanding of marketing fundamentals such as consumer value perceptions.
- He asks loaded questions (such as if big publishers are “losing money” by charging higher prices — which is a leading question that implies the publishers are “losing” money; losing money and not earning to your full potential are not the same things).
Did I mention what pet peeves bad data and conclusions are? I’ll stop there before I do end up nit-picking everything about the flawed methodology, which I said I wouldn’t do.
What are your thoughts?March 3, 2014 at 4:15 pm #24745
For the last few weeks, while indies have worked themselves up over the results and publishers have gotten defensive over it, I’ve tried to figure out my own feelings. I think I finally have them together. Ready?
I have none. Basically, I don’t care. I think I understand what Howie was trying to accomplish with this, but I also think the way we’ve all been approaching the self vs. trad debate is overly simplified. I guess ultimately, for me, the argument (or data) isn’t effective because there are so many reasons I choose to self-publish that earnings potential (which has always been there with SP–long before ereaders entered the scene) is not the most important.
I’ve tried to look at this in the spirit of a newer author/publisher, and I still can’t say that it would hold any particular sway over my decision to self pub or to try trad.March 3, 2014 at 6:23 pm #24746
And that’s exactly it. It shouldn’t sway anyone. I would hope that anyone thinking about going into business for themselves is bright enough to identify bullshit when they see it. I know some aren’t. But I can still hope. You have to make your publishing decisions for your own reasons. I’d just like new indie writers to be able to evaluate facts without all the friggin’ fluff so they can make truly educated decisions about what’s best for them.
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