Saturday, November 26, 2011

CLIMATEGATE 2.0 -- the global-warming scandal continues

5,000 newly leaked emails reveal that "scientists DID collude with government officials to hide research that didn't fit their apocalyptic global warming...deleted evidence that cast doubt on claims climate change was man-made...[and] were under orders from US and UK officials to come up with a 'strong message'"

Connect this with the previous post about leading climate alarmist Dr. James Hansen of NASA, who has become rich and famous by spreading this hysteria, and you'll see exactly what this 20-plus-year scam has been all about.

Monday, November 21, 2011

James Hansen and the corruption of science

Al Gore isn't the only environmentalist to have made a bundle on climate alarmism. So has his "science" adviser, Dr. James Hansen.

Hansen is the taxpayer-funded NASA scientist who (1) initiated the global-warming scare in hyperbolic congressional testimony in 1988, (2) claimed that President Bush was trying to "muzzle" him (even while he was conducting more media interviews than any government "scientist"), and (3) actually advocated prosecution of businessmen for advocating contrary views ("deniers," he called them), for "crimes against nature." Can't let a pesky little nuisance like the First Amendment get in the way of a good scare campaign, now, can we?

Well, it turns out that the self-righteous-but-ethically-challenged Dr. Hansen sports an $8,000 Rolex and somehow "forgot" to report $1.6 million in income to the IRS. So, despite his denunciations of capitalism for despoiling the environment, it seems that he's found big money to be had from the taxpayers in government jobs that purvey panic. Just as there has been vast wealth for his political stooge, Mr. Gore. Both enjoy the good life, wining and dining at climate conferences around the world, and traveling in cushy limos and private jets, while chiding the rest of us for leaving behind "carbon footprints."

Inmates harass victims via Facebook


"Inmates harass victims via Facebook"

How? By using smart phones smuggled into prison to allow them to connect to the internet and establish accounts on Facebook.

And their "punishment" for these direct coercive threats against their victims? Not longer prison terms tacked onto their sentences. No, instead, they only have a few weeks cut from their early-release credits. "Early release" from prison has thus become the norm for inmates -- just another welfare-state "entitlement."

Anyone still think that in HUNTER I was exaggerating how corrupt and anemic the criminal "justice" system has become?

Friday, November 18, 2011

College scholarships...for murderers

Just when you think you have seen and heard it all, you find yet another example of the moral inversion that is destroying our culture.

Bruce Reilly, a first-year at Tulane [University’s School of Law in New Orleans] ... had pled guilty to second-degree murder and robbery and served 12 years in prison. When he was 20 years old, Reilly beat and stabbed to death a 58-year old English professor at Community College of Rhode island, capping off his crime by stealing the professor’s car, wallet, and credit cards. In short, he is a felon....

The fact that Reilly is an admitted student in Tulane’s law school should be at least curious and potentially worrisome to the students, alumni and supporters of that school. The Louisiana Bar, like all other states, requires proof of good moral character and fitness to be admitted to the bar, a requirement that almost always excludes felons – particularly those who have been convicted of a violent crime as heinous as Reilly’s. (The fact that he is out of prison after only 12 years when he murdered and robbed an older college professor doesn’t say a lot for Rhode Island’s criminal justice system, either.) It is next to impossible for him to become a licensed attorney even if he graduates, as Tulane University officials must surely know.

As at least one student complained to The Times-Picayune, Reilly is taking up “another’s space in the law school even though he may never be able to practice as a lawyer because of his conviction.” But it gets worse.

Reilly is attending Tulane on an NAACP scholarship and a Dean’s Merit Scholarship. The NAACP has made it very clear in its public statements and its litigation that it believes that the constitutional right of states under the Fourteenth Amendment to take away the right of felons to vote is “discriminatory” and “undermines the most fundamental aspect of American citizenship” (which the NAACP apparently thinks means being able to murder and vote at the same time).

As the hero said in my thriller HUNTER, correcting Edmund Burke:

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is an enabler."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

White House sniper: just another "minor offender"

ABC News about Oscar Ramiro Ortega, being hunted for sniping at the White House: "Ortega has an extensive record, ranging from domestic violence to drug charges." And: "U.S. Park police say Ortega may have spent time blending in with Occupy D.C. protesters."

Yeah, he'd clearly fit right in with that crowd.

The Examiner: "Ortega's criminal history in Idaho, Texas and Utah includes arrests for assault of a law enforcement officer, marijuana possession and being a minor in possession of alcohol." Yet, despite this criminal history, and even though he was picked up for questioning by cops hours before this sniping incident, they let him go.

There you have it: just another "minor offender" being "treated" with "alternatives to incarceration" so that he could be "managed outside an institutional setting." Your criminal justice system at work, folks.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

News stories that make me write vigilante thrillers

Get a load of this news story. Then come back here and read the rest of this post.

Got that?

Now, please: Never, ever say that in my thriller HUNTER I exaggerated or misrepresented the appalling level and number of moral inversions that occur daily within our alleged "criminal justice system."

Combine this case with the systematic "enabling" that allowed a child-molesting predator to continue committing atrocities against little boys for years at Penn State University, even after his rapes had been eye-witnessed at least twice, and we see a society that has completely lost its moral bearings.

The cause? A single premise: that individuals are not responsible for what they do -- that they are helpless "victims" of circumstances beyond their control.

From Freud to Rawls to the pulpits to the classrooms, a vast Excuse-Making Industry of intellectuals has persuaded millions that criminals are mere "victims" of circumstance; that the only real crime, therefore, is punishing them for actions that they "couldn't help" -- or even daring to pronounce a negative moral judgment about them, or anything; and that the primary purpose of government is not to protect people from predators, but to redistribute the "lucky" fruits of some people's success to those who were too "unlucky" to get their "fair share," from whatever mysterious source that goods and services and happiness are supposed to magically materialize.

The unrelenting, ubiquitous war on the principle of personal self-responsibility has led to widespread moral intimidation and cultural paralysis, even in the face of brazen degeneracy. Consider just a few recent examples:

* the unwillingness of politicians to clear city streets and parks of "Occupy Wall Street" vandals, thieves, rapists, thugs, and bums, no matter what crimes they openly commit, while police are ordered to stand in passive witness of their offenses;

* the mute confusion and anguished indecision of at least two eyewitnesses and countless college bureaucrats to the Penn State predator's rapes of terrified, helpless little boys;

* the linked news article in this post, which documents once again how our misnamed "justice system" simply can't recycle career predators back onto the streets fast enough or often enough.

If your knee-jerk response to this angry post is indignation over my words, rather than over the unspeakable atrocities that provoke them, then you've imbibed the same toxic premise that is killing our civilization: the premise that the only real "evils" are anyone's demands for self-responsibility, and any moral judgments that proceed from that insistence.

And as you look around our nation and the world at the rise of savage mob rule, tribal piracy on the open seas, and terrorist thuggery everywhere, you need find the cause of it all at no greater distance than your route to the nearest mirror.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Environmental Perils of Going "Organic"

We are constantly subjected to environmentalist scare campaigns -- none so common or terrifying as those directed against the use of pesticides and herbicides on our crops. These, it is argued, represent an environmental and health menace.

But what would happen to the environment if we banned pesticides and all tried to live on "organic" crops?

An expert explains the facts of life...literally. Those long under the sway of the environmentalist Narrative might find the claims disconcerting. But check them out for yourself.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Behind the "dying polar bears" eco-scare is...

...yet another scam by environmentalists. Don Surber comments: "So we have an expert on birds guessing that white blobs on a photo are drowned polar bears. That’s it. That’s the science."

Yet from this "science," from one non-expert guessing what's in a photo, comes national policy decisions that are destined to cost billions upon billions of dollars and countless jobs.

Welcome to the Brave Green World.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

"Occupy Wall Street" activists ARE the world's richest one percent

Yes, you read that correctly: Most of the Occupy Wall Street activists -- who scream indignantly about income inequality, and who want confiscatory taxes imposed on the "wealthiest one percent" -- are themselves among the world's wealthiest one percent:
In America, the top 1% earn more than $380,000 per year. We are, however, among the richest nations on Earth. How much do you need to earn to be among the top 1% of the world?


That was the finding World Bank economist Branko Milanovic presented in his 2010 book The Haves and the Have-Nots. Going down the distribution ladder may be just as surprising. To be in the top half of the globe, you need to earn just $1,225 a year. For the top 20%, it's $5,000 per year. Enter the top 10% with $12,000 a year. To be included in the top 0.1% requires an annual income of $70,000....

The global distribution figures may seem incomprehensibly low, but consider a couple of statistics you're likely familiar with: According to the U.N., "Nearly half the world's population, 2.8 billion people, earn less than $2 a day." According to the World Bank, 95% of those living in the developing world earn less than $10 a day.

Those numbers are so shocking that you might only think about them in the abstract. But when you consider them in the context of the entire globe, including yourself, the skewing effects they have on the distribution of income is simply massive. It means that Americans we consider poor are among some of the world's most well-off. As Milanovic notes, "the poorest [5%] of Americans are better off than more than two-thirds of the world population." Furthermore, "only about 3 percent of the Indian population have incomes higher than the bottom (the very poorest) U.S. percentile."

In short, most of those protesting in the Occupy Wall Street movement would be considered wealthy -- perhaps extraordinarily wealthy -- by much of the world. Many of those protesting the 1% are, ironically, the 1%.
Now, I wonder how many of the protestors would be eager to have their own incomes and property confiscated in order to "level" income disparities with the rest of the world? Think they'd like to live in the "equality" of, say, $3 per day incomes?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Muslim alternative to capitalistic interest payments: insolvency

Okay, here's my belly laugh of the day:"Sharia-compliant mortgage lender in receivership":
UM Financial was one of the first companies in Canada to offer so-called Islamic financing to Muslims who believe that sharia, or Islamic law, prohibitions against usury include interest on things such as mortgages.

UM would buy a property then lease it to a client so they were paying rent instead of interest. Some homeowners complained that the firm would also charge extra fees.

The company had $50 million in financial backing from Central 1 Credit Union of which almost $29 million is outstanding.

Qayum Mian knew he was paying a premium on his Markham house for the seven years he used UM Financial — he estimated up to 2 percentage points more than if he’d gone through a bank — but was happy to pay the price “because my conscience was satisfied.”

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"Occupy Wall Street" does NOT represent the American middle class

Democrat pollster Doug Schoen explodes the Democrat/progressive Narrative about the "Occupy Wall Street" gang. It's a wishful-thinking-based storyline (promoted by the liberal media) that casts the demonstrators as righteously aggrieved "victims" of capitalism, who represent the views of "99 percent" of Americans and their aspirations. Reports Schoen:
Our findings probably represent the first systematic random sample of Occupy Wall Street opinion.

Our research shows clearly that the movement doesn't represent unemployed America and is not ideologically diverse. Rather, it comprises an unrepresentative segment of the electorate that believes in radical redistribution of wealth, civil disobedience and, in some instances, violence. Half (52%) have participated in a political movement before, virtually all (98%) say they would support civil disobedience to achieve their goals, and nearly one-third (31%) would support violence to advance their agenda.

The vast majority of demonstrators are actually employed, and the proportion of protesters unemployed (15%) is within single digits of the national unemployment rate (9.1%)....

What binds a large majority of the protesters together—regardless of age, socioeconomic status or education—is a deep commitment to left-wing policies: opposition to free-market capitalism and support for radical redistribution of wealth, intense regulation of the private sector, and protectionist policies to keep American jobs from going overseas.

Sixty-five percent say that government has a moral responsibility to guarantee all citizens access to affordable health care, a college education, and a secure retirement—no matter the cost. By a large margin (77%-22%), they support raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, but 58% oppose raising taxes for everybody, with only 36% in favor. And by a close margin, protesters are divided on whether the bank bailouts were necessary (49%) or unnecessary (51%).

Thus Occupy Wall Street is a group of engaged progressives who are disillusioned with the capitalist system and have a distinct activist orientation. Among the general public, by contrast, 41% of Americans self-identify as conservative, 36% as moderate, and only 21% as liberal. That's why the Obama-Pelosi embrace of the movement could prove catastrophic for their party.
Team Obama and their willing media accomplices are such prisoners of the leftist Narrative that many actually believe that these street agitators and social misfits reflect the demographics of Middle America. We can only hope that continue to drink this Kool-Aid until November 2012.

Monday, October 10, 2011

"Public education" in the Age of Equality

I don't really think that I need to comment on this.

Except to say that, in the Age of Egalitarianism -- which is what our president and his party are all about -- not only can you be "too big to fail," you can be "too incompetent to fail," also.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

"Pathological Altruism"

Well, I haven't read this book yet, but it has been getting plenty of MSM buzz, including from the New York Times.

But I'm confused. Didn't Ayn Rand first make this an issue, oh, around 1943, in The Fountainhead?

And isn't she still being denounced and mocked for it, to this very day?

Why is it that a truth isn't a truth unless it's "discovered" and propagated by a gang of Establishment academics?

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

A personal message from Vince Flynn

I just received by email a copy of this personal message from bestselling thriller author Vince Flynn. It speaks for itself.

I had the honor of interviewing Vince a few years ago (and I’ll be re-posting that interview on my “Vigilante Author” blog soon). In addition to being a great writer, he is one of the most personable and principled men I know.

I know all of you will wish this wonderful man a full and speedy recovery as he continues his gallant battle with cancer.

My fiction site: "The Vigilante Author"

Just a reminder:

Anyone looking for posts about fiction, self-publishing, and my own novel HUNTER: A Thriller, should visit my separate blog, "The Vigilante Author." My latest two posts there (late Sept./early Oct.) contain my extensive list of "The Best Thriller Writers -- Ever."

Sunday, October 02, 2011

EPA thugs use fake "wetlands" charges to bully Idaho couple

Check out this video.

These poor people -- trying to build a home on obviously bone-dry land that the EPA has arbitrarily, ex post facto declared to be a "wetland" -- face the loss of their property plus noncompliance fines of $30,000 per day.

Fortunately, they have the wonderful Pacific Legal Foundation on their side, on a battle headed to the Supreme Court. But countless other victims of environmentalist bullies, within government and without, don't have a champion. Hmm... maybe they could use the help of a vigilante....

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Those Diabolically Clever Racist Republicans!


Thus reasons that brilliantly incisive political pundit Janeane Garofalo.

Of course, if Republicans supported a white candidate, instead...why, they'd be RACISTS.

Monday, September 12, 2011

"Attila and the Witch Doctor" in Venezuela

Readers of Ayn Rand's For the New Intellectual will recognize these archetypes, what she described as a symbiotic relationship between "mystics of muscle" and "mystics of mind." And they'll also grasp how it relates to the following amusing news story:
Shamans from tribes in Venezuela's Amazon jungle held a ceremony at the Miraflores presidential palace Saturday to help Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez recover from his cancer treatment.

Chavez, who insists that he was "not sick but recovering" from cancer, greeted the shamans wearing a track suit in the colors of the Venezuelan national flag and wore a crown of feathers the visitors gave him.

Members of the Yekuana, Jivi and Wayuu communities danced, sang and prayed as they invoked their ancestors to protect the Venezuelan leader.

The ritual was aimed at protecting Chavez "against enemies and bad health," said Miguel Morales, a shaman from the Jivi community.

It also serves "so that he is left in peace, politically," he said.
I just couldn't make this stuff up.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A 9/11 commentary: "Unilateral Moral Disarmament"

Not long after the attacks of September 11, 2001, I wrote a commentary on the meaning and source of the attack for a magazine called Navigator.

Nothing in the intervening ten years has caused me to alter my fundamental analysis of the ideas at the root of the assault on America. As we contemplate the tragic losses of human life from that infamous day, and the philosophy at the heart of the attack, I thought I'd share with you that commentary:

"Unilateral Moral Disarmament."

Saturday, September 10, 2011

An unsurprising political fall

Way back in 1978, I met the former Margaret Kelley, a young woman running a quixotic campaign for state representative as a Republican in the Democratic stronghold of downtown Boston. I was impressed enough to volunteer to become her campaign manager, and also personally smitten enough to later become her husband. (We raised a daughter together before separating and divorcing in the mid-1990s).

Margaret was running against another political newbie, a Democratic lawyer from Boston's Italian North End neighborhood by the name of Salvatore DiMasi. He struck us at the time as a terminally ambitious young man on the make, too slick to be scrupulous (as he demonstrated in several ways during the campaign). In other words, a typical creature of Boston machine politics.

We gave it a gallant shot, even took a couple of precincts away from him in the election. But the gerrymandered votes were heavily stacked in the North End, where against a name like "DiMasi," the name "Kelley" didn't have the odds of a pizza slice's survival in an Italian sports bar. We were out-registered Democrat to Republican something like 13-1; we lost about 2 to 1; for us, that was a moral victory.

In the intervening years, Sal DiMasi rose like scum to the top of a stagnant pond, up through the ranks of Massachusetts politicos eventually to become the Speaker of the state House of Representatives -- in short, one of the most powerful politicians in the Commonwealth. He did it the old-fashioned way for a Boston Democrat: by a combination of cronyism, corruption, and outright criminality.

It all caught up with him in 2009 when the Boston Globe exposed his sordid machinations. Sal DiMasi has just been sentenced to eight years in federal prison "for steering millions of dollars in state contracts to a software company and secretly profiting from the scheme."

I saw this guy's lack of scruples first-hand in 1978, so this news comes as no surprise to me now. I do find it dispiriting that so many voters expect this sort of behavior as the norm -- even as desirable -- from their politicians. So, before we dismiss the memory of Mr. DiMasi with indifferent contempt, perhaps we should ponder the words of the guy who once said: "Politicians, like water, cannot rise higher than their source."

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Steyn on "The Desperation-Deprivation Myth"

Mark Steyn, who tops my list of favorite political/cultural commentators, once again hits it out of the park with a column that blasts the lame excuse-making for the recent British riots. In part:
In fact, these feral youth live better than 90 percent of the population of the planet. They certainly live better than their fellow youths halfway around the world who go to work each day in factories across China and India to make the cool electronic toys young Westerners expect to enjoy as their birthright. In Britain, as in America and Europe, the young take it for granted that this agreeable division of responsibilities is as permanent a feature of life as the earth and sky: Rajiv and Suresh in Bangalore make the state-of-the-art gizmo, Kevin and Ron in Birmingham get to play with it. That’s just the way it is. And, because that’s the way it is, Kevin and Ron and the welfare state that attends their every need assume ’twill always be so.

To justify their looting, the looters appealed to the conventional desperation-of-deprivation narrative: They’d “do anything to get more money.” Anything, that is, except get up in the morning, put on a clean shirt, and go off to do a day’s work. That concept is all but unknown to the homes in which these guys were raised....

The problem for the Western world is that it has incentivized non-productivity on an industrial scale. For large numbers at the lower end of the spectrum (still quaintly referred to by British reporters as “working class”), the ritual of work — of lifetime employment as a normal feature of life — has been all but bred out by multigenerational dependency. At the upper end of the spectrum, too many of us seem to regard an advanced Western society as the geopolitical version of a lavishly endowed charitable foundation that funds somnolent programming on NPR.
As is always mandatory when it comes to a Mark Steyn piece, read it all.

UPDATE: Related: Eminent criminologist and scholar James Q. Wilson demolishes the notion that unemployment and bad economic times lead to an increase in crime:
But the notion that unemployment causes crime runs into some obvious difficulties. For one thing, the 1960s, a period of rising crime, had essentially the same unemployment rate as the late 1990s and early 2000s, a period when crime fell. Further, during the Great Depression, when unemployment hit 25 percent, the crime rate in many cities went down....

[And] when the recent recession struck...[and] as the national unemployment rate doubled from around 5 percent to nearly 10 percent, the property-crime rate, far from spiking, fell significantly. For 2009, the FBI reported an 8 percent drop in the nationwide robbery rate and a 17 percent reduction in the auto-theft rate from the previous year. Big-city reports show the same thing. Between 2008 and 2010, New York City experienced a 4 percent decline in the robbery rate and a 10 percent fall in the burglary rate. Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles witnessed similar declines. The FBI’s latest numbers, for 2010, show that the national crime rate fell again....

Some scholars argue that the unemployment rate is too crude a measure of economic frustration to prove the connection between unemployment and crime, since it estimates only the percentage of the labor force that is looking for work and hasn’t found it. But other economic indicators tell much the same story.... So we have little reason to ascribe the recent crime decline to jobs, the labor market, or consumer sentiment.

Friday, August 19, 2011

A new blog launched: THE VIGILANTE AUTHOR

I'd like to invite you to my new blog, focused entirely on fiction -- especially my own -- and self-publishing: THE VIGILANTE AUTHOR.

For quite some time, I've been uncomfortable with this multiple-purpose blog. It has tried to address two largely distinct audiences: people interested in my discussions of politics, culture, and philosophy, and people interested in fiction and self-publishing. Many readers eager to read about the former won't want to be harangued about the latter -- and vice-versa.

For that reason, I've decided to launch THE VIGILANTE AUTHOR as a site dedicated to the fiction/self-publishing topic areas, while this blog will sharpen its focus entirely to comments and observations about socio-political topics.

I'll eliminate a number of links on the right margin of this site that pertain to fiction/self-publishing matters. If that's what interests you most, head on over to THE VIGILANTE AUTHOR.

If hard-hitting commentary about the passing scene is what interests you most, though, stay put, kick off your shoes, and feel free to chime in here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I'm interviewed by blogger Rich Engle about "HUNTER"

Those interested in learning a bit more about me, my writing methods, the public response to HUNTER, and the role that my philosophical views played in the novel, are invited to read the interview just posted by Rich Engle on his blog.

Thanks, Rich, for asking some questions that other interviewers won't.

Monday, August 15, 2011

"HUNTER" ranked #1 by customers on 3 Kindle lists

As of August 15, there are posted a whopping 45 "5-star" Amazon customer reviews for HUNTER; there is also one lone "4-star" review. Because of these stellar buyer ratings, my debut thriller now stands at #1 on three Kindle "Top Rated" lists: "Thrillers," "Romantic Suspense," and "Spy Stories & Tales of Intrigue."

Based on customer ratings, it also ranks #2 among all "Mysteries & Thrillers," #3 among all "Romance" titles, #7 in all "Genre Fiction," and #22 among ALL "Fiction" titles on the Kindle. Finally, among all 986,000+ Kindle ebooks -- both fiction and nonfiction -- HUNTER stands at #102.

Check out the new Amazon reviews here.

UPDATE: The first review from an actual book-review site, "Crime Fiction Lover," in Britain, gives 4 stars to the book, which it describes as "a tight, slick spy thriller" with "engaging characters":
There are convincing details of weapons, combat, information gathering, information masking methods, and the technology that makes it all possible. While the author’s background is not in this area, the research done to provide a convincing image is obvious.... If you are a fan of slick espionage thrillers, and are looking to find something a little closer to home that carries a message with the story, this tale is for you.

UPDATE: I've posted a lot of new material at the Dylan Hunter Facebook Fan Page.

UPDATE, 8/16: HUNTER (8-16, 9 pm) has now entered the Kindle "Top 50 Bestsellers" in "Spy Stories & Tales of Intrigue," at #47. It also has reached #77 on the Kindle bestseller list in "Romantic Suspense." And it now appears on a third bestseller list, too: the broader bestseller list of "Romantic Suspense" titles, at #93, a list that includes many more titles than the Kindle ebook list.

In other words, the book's sales numbers are beginning to track more closely with the its stellar "customer ratings."

UPDATE, 8/17: Amazing -- the charts just continue to improve. I woke up checked at 9 am on 8-17 to find HUNTER with the following new low rankings on three "bestseller" charts: #45 bestseller in "Spy Stories & Tales of Intrigue"; #67 in the Kindle Store's "Romantic Suspense"; and #79 on's broader "Romantic Suspense" list. Again, these are actual sales lists -- not customer-rating lists, which are even better.

UPDATE, 8/18 -- Today, HUNTER reached as low as #40 bestseller on the Kindle "Spy Stories & Tales of Intrigue" chart, and #56 on the "Romantic Suspense" list. It's overall ranking on the Kindle among all paid (rather than free) items descended to about #2000 out of over 969,000 products. HUNTER is now selling on the Kindle at a rate three times greater per day than it did during the first four days this month.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Investigation into publishers under-reporting ebook royalties

There have been stories for some time that major publishers have been systematically under-reporting ebook royalties, and hence stiffing their authors the payments they've earned.

Now a law firm has launched an investigation. Here are the details.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Publishers terrified to compete with Amazon Publishing

Publishers Weekly has begrudgingly acknowledged the obvious in an article titled "All Eyes on Amazon Publishing." After quoting a lot of grousing bookstore owners and nervous agents, the meat of the article -- which reveals the real concern of PW and its Big 6 clientele -- is to be found in the final two paragraphs:
For many agents, along with some booksellers, the real concern about Amazon Publishing has to do with what it could signal for traditional publishers. If Amazon lands enough bestselling authors, it could dominate traditional publishing the way it has come to monopolize online bookselling. Jeff McCord, owner of the Atlanta shop Bound to Be Read Books, thinks Amazon has long “wished to take over the book industry from top to bottom” and its recent foray into publishing is proof. “Amazon Publishing is a bigger worry for publishers than for bookstores,” he said.

While agents don’t want to see Amazon gain more control over any part of the business, they will go where they find the best deals. If Amazon is offering better royalty rates on both print and digital than many traditional houses—as some reports suggest—agents will be forced to do business with a company that, as one insider put it, “there is a lot of bad blood with.”
Translation: Publishers are scared out of their wits that Amazon is going to out-compete them for authors on the publishing end, just as booksellers are furious that Amazon's online and Kindle business has out-competed them on the retail end. Just you wait: It won't be long before all the dying dinosaurs try to get the government to crack down on this superb competitor with the bludgeon of antitrust" laws, instead of their own improvements in quality, author terms, and customer service.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Please donate to help the families of fallen Navy SEALS

I'd be grateful if you'd consider making a donation to the Navy SEAL Foundation, to help the grieving families of the incredibly gallant members of SEAL Team 6 who died this week in Afghanistan.

I just donated and I hope that you will, too.

And I hope you'll repost this message and the link on your own blogs and social-networking sites.

Thank you.

I'm interviewed on "Kindle Author" about "HUNTER"

I've just been interviewed by "KINDLE AUTHOR."

Here is stuff you may (or may not!) want to know about HUNTER, about its hero and its genesis, and about me.


UPDATE, 8/7/11 1:30 pm.: Based on sales, HUNTER is currently (1:45 pm Sunday) the #56 ranked bestseller in Kindle "Spy Stories & Tales of Intrigue" and the #90 Kindle bestseller in "Romantic Suspense."

UPDATE, 8/9/11: Based on customer ratings, HUNTER is now the #26 "Top Rated in Fiction" -- that's ALL fiction -- on the Kindle, which includes over 286,000 titles. It's also #9 "Top Rated in Genre Fiction," #3 "Top Rated in Romance," #2 "Top Rated in Mysteries & Thrillers," and ...

#1 "Top Rated in Thrillers"
#1 "Top Rated in Spy Stories & Tales of Intrigue"
#1 "Top Rated in Romantic Suspense"

Thank YOU, dear readers, for this incredible response to my debut novel.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

"HUNTER" hits an Amazon Top 100 Bestseller list

On the afternoon of August 3 -- after just six weeks of release as a self-published novel -- HUNTER, my debut thriller, entered the Kindle Top 100 bestseller list in the "Spy Stories & Tales of Intrigue" category. As of 7:30 p.m. Eastern, it reached as low as #82, ahead of the following bestselling authors and titles on that list:

James Rollins ("The Judas Strain"), David Baldacci ("Absolute Power"), Clive Cussler ("Atlantis Found"), Tom Clancy ("The Teeth of the Tiger," "Patriot Games"), Jack du Brul, Ken Follett ("Lie Down with Lions"), Daniel Silva ("Mark of the Assassin," "The Marching Season"), Stephen Hunter ("Time to Hunt"), Robert B. Parker ("Night & Day: A Jesse Stone Novel"), Nelson DeMille ("The Charm School," "By the Rivers of Babylon"), William Gibson ("Pattern Recognition"), M.H. Sargent ("Operation Spider Web," "The Yemen Connection"), and Jack Higgins ("The Eye of the Storm").

Also today, HUNTER received its 40th Amazon customer review -- the 39th that rated it with "5 Stars," the highest possible ranking. As a result, the novel is now customer-ranked #1 on the Kindle list "Top Rated in Spy Stories & Tales of Intrigue," #1 "Top Rated in Romantic Suspense," #2 "Top Rated in Thrillers" (that's among all thrillers available on the Kindle), #4 "Top Rated in Mysteries & Thrillers," #8 #5* "Top Rated in Romance," #19 #14* "Top Rated in Genre Fiction," and #45 #40* "Top Rated in Fiction" (again, that's all fiction available on the Kindle, over 285,000 titles).

If you would've asked me even two months ago if this would have happened -- let alone so soon, and even for an hour -- I would've laughed in your face. Nonetheless, I'm grateful to my readers.

* These revised rankings as of 8/4/11.

UPDATE, 8/5/11 -- As of 10:45 a.m., HUNTER is down to #75 on Kindle's "Bestsellers in Spy Stories & Tales of Intrigue" list, another new low ranking. It's also well under the #5,000 ranking in sales of all Kindle titles -- #4,460, to be precise -- out of almost a million ebook titles. In addition, several online interviews with me and reviews of the book are pending, which will only accelerate sales.

UPDATE, 8/6/11 -- HUNTER sales ranking fell to as low as #60 on the "Spy Stories" bestseller list, and continues to hover in the low 60s. It's overall Kindle sales ranking is down to the low-to-mid 3,000s.

UPDATE, 8/15/11 -- HUNTER has fallen periodically to rankings as low as #55 on the "Spy Stories" bestseller list and has appeared repeatedly on the "Romantic Suspense" bestseller list, too.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Great advice for authors

Within the past day or so, some of the smartest, most successful participants in "the Self-Publishing Revolution" have posted valuable advice for authors who are trying to navigate through the chaos of today's publishing world. I thought I'd post here a roundup of links.

Dean Wesley Smith -- a prolific author (widely published, both traditionally and independently) who writes an invaluable blog -- has just posted a brief summary: "The New World of Publishing: Traditional or Indie? What To Do Now." For writers facing the decision as to whether to continue seeking a traditional agent and publisher, or to self-publish, he offers this advice, in a nutshell:
Take everything you can take into your own control and hold on.

What does that mean exactly?

Write like crazy.

Then with what you have finished, spend the next two years indie publishing your own stuff, learning all the tricks of being an indie publisher, and getting your own trade paper books into bookstores.

Then when things settle down in traditional publishing, you will be ready and practiced and have some work to present to traditional publishers.
Read the entire blog for his reasoning and explanations.

Not convinced? Then you need to read veteran author David Farland on the basic math of publishing, summarized here by the "Passive Guy." This brief excerpt from David's post about the sobering odds and the financial facts of life in today's publishing world make it clear that to seek a traditional print publisher is an almost sure career-killer for an author.

Meanwhile, another widely published and highly successful author, Bob Mayer, has summarized his own experiences and advice in two valuable publications that every author should peruse. Bob's blog is another don't-miss daily resource.

But if traditional print publishing is heading into a chaotic and uncertain future, how can one take advantage of the emerging opportunities in "indie" or self-publishing? David Gaughran has compiled the experiences of nearly three dozen successful indie authors in his just-released book, Let's Get Digital: How to Self-Publish, and Why You Should. The book is getting advance raves and ought to be a first stop for authors contemplating their publishing options.

Follow those links, Dear Author, and you'll get a crash course in how to survive during the Self-Publishing Revolution.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

An historic precedent to this "debt crisis" prescription

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: "Raising revenues" to solve the debt crisis reminds me of the Medieval practice of bleeding the patient to solve his health crisis.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Best reader review of HUNTER to date


This is the sort of review that an author dreams of receiving.

All I can say to the anonymous "UFO6" (and I honestly haven't a clue as to his or her identity) is: THANK YOU.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Newbie author: "Why I Turned Down Two Publishing Contracts"

Travel writer Pamela Olson explains, in lucid detail, "Why I Turned Down Two Publishing Contracts."

For her (and for me, and for many, many others), indie publishing is a much better deal, on many counts. Olson summarizes the reasons about as concisely and persuasively as I've read anywhere.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ebook sales surge, print sales in freefall

Ebook sales are continuing their surge, while print sales are in freefall. On the heels of the Borders Books debacle, and reports of Barnes & Noble further cutting shelf space in their stores, it is not a good time to be in the mainstream publishing industry -- especially if you are a traditionally published author struggling for bookstore exposure and an income.

Month after month, the statistics and reports continue to add up to a picture of an industry in chaotic upheaval. But that doesn't mean that authors can't do well if they pursue independent publishing.

David Gaughran provides the latest lucid overview.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

HUNTER is now the #1 top-rated Romantic Suspense novel on the Kindle!

THIS MORNING, 7/23/2011, "HUNTER" IS THE #1 TOP-RATED "ROMANTIC SUSPENSE" NOVEL ON THE KINDLE LIST, based on customer reviews. 30 reader reviews, and 29 of them are "5 stars," while the other is "4 stars." And this is out of some 750,000+ novels offered on the Kindle.

Thank you, my dear readers, for this incredible honor.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

HUNTER is now #2 in Kindle's "Top Rated in Romantic Suspense"

Some new milestones for HUNTER this a.m. (7/21). The thriller has climbed to...

* #15 on the Amazon Kindle list of "Top Rated in Mysteries & Thrillers,"

* #14 in "Top Rated in Romance," and -- best of all --

* #2 in "Top Rated in Romantic Suspense."

This visibility is bringing the book to the attention of many new readers, and the sales trend line is moving up steadily.

UPDATE 7-22-11: I had my best sales day yet, fueled by a link from the mighty "Instapundit" Glenn Reynolds to the HUNTER Amazon sales page. At its best point today, HUNTER was ranked at #1,134 in overall Kindle ebook sales (out of over 750,000 titles), and #2,241 in print-book sales on Amazon (out of 8 million titles). It stood at #28 on the Kindle Bestseller List in "Romantic Suspense," and #31 on the Amazon Bestseller (print-book) List in the same category.

Borders' Fall -- and Fallout for Authors and Publishers

Kristine Kathryn Rusch (whose discussions of the publishing business are invaluable) has just published a long post detailing the terrible ripple effects that the Borders Books closing will have on authors and publishers in the third quarter. Here's just a snippet:
...The remaining stores, all 399 of them, and the remaining employees, 10,700 of them, will be gone by September.... The main financial squeeze that Borders will cause to the publishers on already delivered material has already happened.... But the bigger problem with Borders’ liquidation is upcoming....

The problem is the decreased shelf space. Think it through, my reading friends. Suddenly 399 bookstores are vanishing, with no replacement in sight.... Here’s the problem beautifully stated on Twitter by Kathleen Schmidt, a book publicist: “Here is how the Borders closing will impact publishers: Say you have a bestselling author and you usually do a 1st printing of 100K books. Out of that 1st print of 100K, B&N/Amazon would take a large quantity, then Target, maybe Costco/BJs/Walmart, then Borders, then indies. If you’re an author with a 1st print of 30K (a lot), you prob don’t have price clubs or Target. You have B&N, Amazon, Borders, and indies. Now, take Borders OUT of the 1st print equation. Also consider that B&N is conservative with numbers these days. That 30K turns into 15K.”

I found this quote in a good analysis piece on NPR’s book blog. As Rachel Syme, the author of the blog, added, “Granted the reduced print runs for books doesn’t mean fewer books will sell, but Borders closing does have a huge effect on how many physical copies will be out in the world.... There is no other outlet big or solid enough to absorb the blow; there is nowhere else for all those paperbacks and hardcovers to go. The most logical thing to do is to stop printing them”....

...Those things, however, would be a blip on the publishing radar if it weren’t for something that is happening this month that most people in traditional publishing don’t even know about.

Barnes & Noble issued an order from its corporate headquarters that it wants its stores to once again decrease the number of paper books the stores are going to carry.... What this means is that in the third quarter, just as traditional publishers are absorbing and dealing with the last of the Borders blow from the winter, they will get hit with a massive number of returns from Barnes & Noble.

Add to this the ailing economy, and the confluence of these events means that the third and fourth quarters are likely to be disastrous for traditional publishers and their authors. They rely heavily on chain bookstores as their main public showcases. But a huge portion of the shelf space for books in those stores will vanish, almost overnight -- right in the middle of the economy's non-recovery.

As always, read the whole thing as Rusch -- one of the best-informed people in the book business -- looks ahead at the far-reaching implications and consequences for all of us who have an interest in the printed word.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Saturday, July 16, 2011


The big 486-page trade paperback edition of HUNTER is now in stock and for sale at Amazon.


1. To get the print edition from for $15.95 + shipping, click here.

2. You can also get the print edition directly from me, personally inscribed for you, for only $15.00 (one dollar savings) + shipping. Send me a personal message if you prefer this option: RobertTheWriter(at)gmail(dot)com

3. Or, you can buy and download the ebook editions of HUNTER for just $3.99, in all of the following formats:

* Click here for the Kindle edition.

* Click here for the Nook edition.

* Click here for other ereader devices, such as Sony Reader, Kobo, iPad, etc.:

* Also, many common devices can double as "ereaders," including PCs, Macs, iPads, Blackberries, palm devices, Android phones, iPhones, other smart phones, etc. All you need are FREE "Kindle apps" for any of these devices, which allow you to browse the Amazon Kindle Store for ebooks, then buy and download them. To get those free apps, click here.

Finally, the linked sites above -- the Kindle Store,, and Smashwords -- all allow you to download, or read online, sample chapters of the book, too, before you decide to purchase. So check it out at the links, and decide whether HUNTER is for you.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Book Review: "The Philosophical Practitioner," by Larry Abrams

by Larry Abrams

Kindle edition: $4.99
Trade paperback: $15.54

Reviewed by Robert Bidinotto

In an age of formula fiction, a novel with a fresh premise is an unexpected delight. The Philosophical Practitioner is such an original, witty, thought-provoking, and polished bit of writing that it's hard to believe it is Larry Abrams's debut novel.

Eric, the first-person protagonist of this clever tale, is a "philosophical practitioner." That's something like a psychotherapist or "life coach." But instead of focusing on emotions and childhood traumas, Eric emphasizes the key role that reason, and his clients' philosophic ideas and values, play in causing and resolving their problems, and ultimately, in achieving their dreams and happiness.

Eric isn't rich, but he loves the intellectual challenges of his work, and he enjoys helping people straighten out their lives. He has a small roster of colorful clients, a cat named Circe, and a girlfriend named Sheila who is a famous movie actress. (How and why they are a couple is part of the story.)

Eric also has his own problems. Reconciling his modest New York lifestyle with that of his superstar, Hollywood-rooted girlfriend. Coping with his ailing father, who lives in a Florida nursing home. And -- oh yes -- worrying about that strange lady with a gun who shows up, repeatedly, at his office door, promising to kill him for reasons she won't specify...then vanishing.

The latter mystery provides the story's thread of mounting suspense. Eric must deal with that looming threat, emotionally and practically, while he wrestles with the problems that his neurotic clientele bring into his office. What is most clever about the story is how Abrams uses these sessions to explore some of the fundamental philosophical questions that we all face: how to find meaning in life; our need to define fulfilling goals; how to navigate the shoals of intimate relationships; whether to choose personal independence versus the siren calls of money, fame, and power.

If this material sounds dry, trust me: In Abrams's hands, it is anything but. His dialogue is razor-sharp banter; descriptions of dress and mannerisms are transparent windows on characters' souls; and Eric's first-person, internal monologue is a virtual stand-up comedy routine for the reader, loaded with hilarious but incisive observations about all things large and small -- anything that seizes his attention (which seems to suffer from a touch of A.D.D.). It's great fun to look at the world through this character's wry, shrewd, but quirky perspective.

Larry Abrams brings a fresh new voice to fiction that I want to hear again. There's plenty of potential for Eric, the philosophical practitioner, to have a long and happy career, both in his office, and also in the pages of future books.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Man pleads guilty to child porn, then allowed to view child porn in jail

Anyone who thinks that the legal outrages described in my vigilante thriller, HUNTER, are exaggerated, ought to check out this A.P. story:
A legal loophole is allowing a Washington state man accused of child sex crimes to view child pornography in jail.

Weldon Marc Gilbert is acting as his own lawyer in the case, and that means he's entitled to review the evidence.

The evidence in the case includes more than 100 videos seized from Gilbert's Lake Tapps home after his 2007 arrest. Authorities say some of the footage was shot by Gilbert.


A website, "First Author Interviews," has just published an interview with me about HUNTER.

I think that many of you will find it informative. (My only objection: the poor formatting of the book excerpt.)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

5 traditionally published authors who have gone "indie"

Here is an absolutely fascinating roundtable interview with five women, each traditionally published, who have decided to self-publish. Why? They provide a host of details about their experiences and the reasons for their respective decisions. Here is just a small sample:
How does self-publishing compare for you to your traditional publishing experience?

Kathryn Shay: For me, self publishing is a lot easier, and more lucrative, than traditional publishing. I’m thrilled so many of my earlier books are getting readers (over 38,000 people have downloaded AFTER THE FIRE, which just went free on Amazon). And in some ways, writing is more enjoyable for me because I get to write about what I want and write the way I want to. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed working with editors in many respects. But I’d rather have control of the content and style of my work.

Beth Orsoff: I’ve had much more success self-publishing than I did as a traditionally published author. I’ve sold many more books, earned ten times as much money, and I’m able to write what I want instead of what an agent or editor thinks will sell.

Patricia Ryan: Self-publishing has been a revelation for me! I love having control over the packaging and distribution of my books, and the high royalties, paid monthly, provide a steady income, something writers rarely get to enjoy.

Julie Ortolon: No comparison. I love everything about self-publishing. The freedom, the lack of stress, the control. That said, writing under contract for major print publishers was a great training ground. Succeeding at self publishing without that experience would probably be harder for me. Writing for a publisher taught me to think about the whole picture: the marketing, packaging, target audience. Working with editors and copy editors really helped me hone my craft. Does that mean I couldn’t succeed in self-publishing today if I were just starting out and hadn’t had that training ground? No. But writers who choose self-publishing need to know it’s not a short cut or easy out. You gotta put in the work. Sloppy craft just won’t cut it.
There is a wealth of experienced-based perspective here for any author or would-be author contemplating options. As ever, read the whole thing.

The state of publishing: a Thrillerfest recap by Bob Mayer

Bob Mayer, one of the smartest independent authors and publishers around, attended the recent "Thrillerfest" convention in New York.

Bob served on panels, and he met with authors, publishers, and agents. He took away many fascinating observations about the state of the book business. Now he shares those insights in this valuable blog post.

Monday, July 11, 2011


HUNTER: A THRILLER is now out in its print edition. You can order the trade paperback at this link.

Other news:

As of this morning (July 11), HUNTER hit #4 on Amazon's "Top Rated in Romantic Suspense" titles, based on reader ratings. And this morning it was also down to #46 (from #75, just days ago) on "Top Rated in Mysteries and Thrillers."

A nice way to start the week.

And today, the final print-edition proof arrives. If it's good, I'll authorize orders to start ASAP, and come back here to give you a link.

As you may know, HUNTER is already available as an ebook. And you do NOT need a dedicated "ereader" device to order and read an ebook. You can download and read them on your home computer or laptop, your Blackberry, smart phone, etc.

The ebook editions of HUNTER can be ordered in all the following formats, for just $3.99:

* For the Kindle

* For the Nook

* For other dedicated ereaders, such as Sony Reader, Kobo, etc.

* For devices that can double as "ereaders," including PCs, Macs, iPads, Blackberries, palm devices, Android phones, iPhones, other smart phones, etc.

These sites -- the Kindle Store,, and Smashwords -- allow you to download sample chapters of the book, too, before you decide to purchase.


Friday, July 08, 2011

Print-book sales continue to plunge

From Publisher's Weekly:

Print book sales fall 10% in first half of year, with adult fiction off over 25%, and mass-market paperbacks plunging 26.6%. you think I should worry about getting HUNTER into bookstores?


Thursday, July 07, 2011

"Batting for a Broken System"

David Gaughran offers a spirited defense of and overwhelmingly persuasive case for the merits of self-publishing in this feisty essay. Filled with links to other great blogs and articles, too.

It's so nice to see others saying these things so well, so that I don't have to.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Must reading for self-publishing authors

If you are an independently publishing author, you'd have to be living under a rock if you haven't heard of the stunning success of thriller writer John Locke. Locke has propelled his self-published "Donovan Creed" series into the stratosphere of sales on Amazon's Kindle, becoming the first indie author to achieve the staggering total of 1 million ebook sales.

Now, Locke -- an entertaining-enough author, but a genius at marketing -- has shared his secrets of ebook promotion in a brief how-to guide, How I Sold 1 Million Ebooks in 5 Months. It's a book aimed squarely at writers like...well, like me. As you know, I just launched my own ebook fiction series two weeks ago with HUNTER: A Thriller. And despite all the great reviews it's getting, I was poised to waste a lot of promotional and marketing time pursuing dead ends.

Until I made the great decision to download Locke's manual.

I'm not going to deny Mr. Locke any justly deserved sales for the book by providing any details here. Just take my word for it: This guy must have studied and absorbed all the classic marketing books, including those by Al Ries and Jack Trout, such as Positioning. He's drawn all those principles together and created an outline that will allow the self-publishing indie to take on the giants of the publishing industry and succeed.

And he did it just in time for me to apply to my own thriller. THANK YOU, Mr. Locke.

And now watch your rear-view mirror....

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Authors: Do NOT miss this vital article

What in hell is happening to the book business?

If you are an author, or a wannabe author, you simply MUST read this incredible but link-laden blog by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. What she describes will make you believe that Kafka has been put in charge of the publishing industry.

It will tell you why you'd be a fool to seek an agent and traditional publisher these days. Read the post, and you'll understand why I've gone the "indie" route.

Friday, July 01, 2011

What new and prospective self-publishing writers need to know

Bob Mayer sold 347 ebooks during January 2011. Now, just six months later, he's selling 1,400 ebooks per day.

If you're an author, prospective author, especially a self-publishing author, then you'll want to read his blog about what made the difference for him.

I'm on Twitter

It's: @RobertBidinotto.

Just FYI.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"HUNTER" is now a "Hot New Release in Romantic Suspense" on Amazon

I couldn't believe it when somebody on Kindleboards called my attention to the fact yesterday that Amazon had listed my novel HUNTER: A Thriller on its list of "Hot New Releases in Romantic Suspense." In fact, she reported it as #30 on the list.

When I checked, sure enough, it was on the list at #36. Since then, I've seen it as low as #24. Currently, as I write, it's #25. Which blows me away, of course.

And the reviews on Amazon have been amazing: No less than a dozen 5-star reviews as of this writing, with only one other review listed -- at 4 stars -- that reads as if it were a 5-star rave!

Same thing over at the book's page on Barnes & Noble, where there are three 5-star reviews, and nothing less.

Until the paperback is available, those without Kindles or Nooks have several options:

* Smashwords has the ebook available in multiple formats for downloading to pretty much any other ereader (Sony Reader, Kobo, etc.) or to any device that can double as an ereader.

* Amazon offers FREE Kindle reading "apps" that allow you to download an ebook like HUNTER to your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Android, or Windows 7 phone.

If you're not sure you'll like the book, you can also download a free sample of several chapters from the book's sales pages on Amazon (Kindle), on B&N (Nook), and on Smashwords (everything else).

And if you wonder whether to buy, despite the glowing reviews, the $3.99 price shouldn't pose much of an obstacle.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

How we'll save the print-book industry

Many readers are lamenting the disappearance of bookstores and dire predictions of the collapse of the print book.

But those of you who love the feel and smell and look of print books on your bookshelves: take heart. The print book has a future.

The solution is already at hand: print-on-demand books (POD). It is a publishing model that can keep the print-book industry alive, but which completely undercuts the current book industry model, which is:

* From your expensive Manhattan offices, try to guess which manuscript, among all those sent to you by hordes of agents, will have a chance to return your investment;

* decide to print only those books, and reject the rest (even including great books that you guess "won't sell");

* offer the author an advance against sales -- then hope the book will sell enough to recoup what you paid him;

* invest gadzillions of dollars into a substantial print run on that book;

* send out a hired sales force to approach all the bookstores and retail outlets to carry it;

* ship the book to distributors like Ingram and Baker & Taylor, and to the big chain warehouses, where the copies are stocked;

* wait for the chains to send them to all their stores, guessing how many copies each might need;

* advertise heavily and expensively for those titles you think have the best shot, while ignoring the rest (and hoping that one or two of them "break out" and become surprise bestsellers);

* wait a month or six weeks to see how well it sells in the stores;

* if it doesn't sell, watch as the bookstores then ship all the unsold copies back to the publisher, and/or...

* stick the unsold copies on "remainder" tables, coast to coast, where they are sold at a fraction of retail to bargain-hunters.

This is an incredibly slow, cumbersome, and wasteful process in the digital age. It rejects, up front, a lot of books of merit because publishers think they won't be profitable, while accepting a lot of books that prove not to be profitable, anyway. It requires huge investments in resources, throughout the enormously expensive book pipeline, costs that jack up the price of books to the point where print-book sales are falling off a cliff, now (see the preceding link). It requires the customer to leave his comfortable home, burn ever-more-expensive gasoline, fight traffic, and to drive to some store, perhaps many miles away; then find parking in some mall lot; then wander the aisles looking for it...often only to find that the store may not carry the title, or may have run out. Then drive home.

In contrast, here's the POD (print on demand) model, used by Amazon's "Createspace" program and others:

* Accept pretty much any book manuscript, letting customers -- not the book industry, the reviewers, and the bookstore owners -- decide whether there's a market for it.

* Have the author send in his manuscript and book cover formatted digitally, so that you can then file it on your big computer.

* Wait for customer orders to come in.

* When they do, push a button, and a fully bound book pops out of a fancy machine, looking every bit as good as anything produced in NYC.

* Mail the book to the customer.

* Offer the author all rights to his work, and much higher royalties to participate than NY publishers do, because this process is so comparatively inexpensive that you can afford to.

Now, consider how many steps, how much time, and how many resources this model saves.

POD will be the salvation of the print-book industry, in my humble opinion. As bookstores close, the current publishing industry model, described above -- which depends entirely on bookstore outlets to hawk their wares -- will collapse, too. It's simply too cumbersome and inefficient in the digital age.

And for those of you who lament the disappearance of bookstores, you know what? POD will offer you more books than ever: not just new titles, but also backlist titles. If you're a thriller fan, like me, you can take heart in knowing that Alistair MacLean and Mickey Spillane will never go "out of print," because they'll live on a computer, waiting for their fans to order them. FOREVER.

When the big, traditional publishers wise up, they'll realize that they can monetize their backlist and out-of-print titles this way, and make untold millions. They are sitting on goldmines of past inventory, which they can't afford to market under the current business model -- but which are easy to release and market as ebooks and POD books.

Oh yes: Everything I just said goes double for ebooks. Which is why Amazon is killing the competition with its Kindle Direct Publishing, and why even J.K. Rowling has made the jump to ebook self-publishing.

THAT is the future of publishing, friends. Yes, books, whether ebooks or "pbooks," have a great future -- and so do authors like me.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The face of the Self-Publishing Revolution: mine

On June 22, I joined the Self-Publishing Revolution by "indie" publishing my novel HUNTER: A Thriller. I'm just one of the latest authors to do this. And this trend is changing the face of publishing.

Never before have authors had so many options: traditional publishing, small-press publishing, "indie" (self) publishing, print publishing, audio publishing, ebook publishing, and who knows what else. New technology and free markets are creating a competitive landscape that is putting writers in the driver's seat, perhaps for the first time in history. Big publishers are being compelled to offer better deals, or else they'll lose big-name authors like J.K. Rowling.

Here's the face of the Self-Publishing Revolution:

I wrote my novel on a brilliant creative writing software package, WriteItNow, which cost me a grand total of $59. I finished up on Word, which I've had for years from an old job, and cost me nothing.

Today I filed my Avenger Books paperwork with the state. From a home computer. I have the necessary business account, post office box, (home) office. Paperwork cost: $25.

I contracted out for a first-rate book cover, done for just $250 bucks by a kid out of state. He did a blog header for me, just as cool, for another $250. And a great business logo for just $40.

My ebook and print-book formatting and layout were done by a guy in Britain, who turned around the entire job in 36 hours -- for a total of less than $150.

ISBN numbers were free from Smashwords and Amazon.

My photographer accepted a nice dinner in payment.

My web guy is building a new blog for my fiction...for free, as a showcase of his wares.

Cost of blog hosting: $48 per year.

Cost of domain name for a year: $9.

Cost of ebook uploading to Amazon: $0.

Amazon marketing cost of ebooks: 30%, leaving me 70% royalties.

Up-front cost of Amazon producing my print books: $0.

Distribution cost of print books: $39, for Amazon's enhanced distribution to the book trade, so that people can order the book at their local bookstores.

P.O. Box rental: about $45 for six months.

Ebook distribution costs: $0.

Online marketing costs: Just my time.

Print book costs (if books are bought and shipped by me): several dollars less than the total revenues on sales (i.e., I make a profit).

Bottom line: I've put out a good novel, in formats of a quality comparable to that of most publishers, AND I've launched a self-publishing business -- all for about $1000. I did it years faster than if I had gone through the mainstream publishing "query-go-round." And, if I had not bothered setting up the Avenger Books business imprint and customized blog, or insisted on as good a book cover, etc., I could've gotten away with publishing the ebook and p-book for probably $200-$300.

This is what is threatening the established book industry right now: Their fixed costs are gargantuan, and their business model outmoded. Big publishing houses, book agents, and brick-and-mortar bookstores are rapidly are becoming exorbitantly expensive middle men whose only real services are printing, distribution, and marketing -- middle men that many authors no longer need and whose services they can easily replace with low-cost contract labor.

Which is why print book sales and chain bookstores continue to circle the drain. Now is the time for authors and would-be authors to join the revolution.


Absolutely stellar reviews from early readers for HUNTER: A Thriller, up on Amazon (click the link to read them).

I could not be more pleased with the early reception. Many people are phoning and emailing me saying that the book has kept them up until 3-5 a.m. -- that they can't put it down. Others are making comparisons to books and authors that I admire hugely.

I'm having trouble wrapping my head around this. Honestly. Somebody pinch me.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

You don't need a Kindle or Nook to buy & read ebooks

YOU DON'T HAVE TO OWN A KINDLE OR NOOK to download and read an ebook like HUNTER on virtually any device: PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, etc. Just go to this link and get a free "Kindle app," which will let you buy and read it on your iPhone, Blackberry, Android, or whatever.

Hey, the ebook's only $3.99, and the "app" is free. What do you have to lose (except your past respect for me as a writer)?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

HUNTER is now available for sale online

HUNTER: A Thriller is now alive and ready for downloading on, as a Kindle ebook. It is also available in a trade paperback edition at

Also, for those without a Kindle (and who don't want to download free Kindle apps, to read it on other devices), you can purchase the book at Smashwords. Smashwords supplies the iPad, iPhone, Sony Reader, Kobo, and many more outlets and devices.

Also, the Nook version is now available at the Barnes & Noble online store. The print edition will be available in less than two weeks.

Thanks, everyone, for your encouragement and support.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Who knew that I wrote "Atlas Shrugged"????


I just set up my "Author's Page" on, and by accident they listed "Atlas Shrugged" as one of MY books! Needless to say, I've notified them and I hope that is corrected right away!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My new publishing imprint

Welcome to Avenger Books:

This imprint will publish my future works of fiction. Address all written inquiries about my books to:

Avenger Books
P.O. Box 555
Chester, MD 21619

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Wonderful advance reader responses for "Hunter"

I'm back from a week's vacation with The Wife in North Carolina, during which time my "beta readers" have been sharing their feedback with me on the manuscript for Hunter.

I'm tremendously encouraged by their enthusiastic responses, and humbled by their detailed critiques and suggestions. The published book will be much improved, thanks to their invaluable input and insights.

This week, I'll be racing to incorporate corrections and tweaks, kick development of a new "fiction" blog into gear; finalize my marketing plan; and prepare the manuscript for ebook and print-book publication. There are many things to do, so my posts will be limited here. But I hope that the book -- which should be available by the end of June in ebook editions, and early July in print -- will be more than a worthy substitute for blog posts.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Finishing my first novel on June 4th

I've just finished the climactic chapter of my novel, HUNTER: A Thriller.

I can't begin to tell you how I feel about it. Let's just say that I've poured wine and am toasting myself.

I'll finish the final "tying up loose ends" chapter tomorrow, and then my first novel is DONE.

The day before my 62nd birthday. As I promised myself.

The book will be available as an ebook by month's end, and almost immediately thereafter as a trade paperback. Details to come.

Thanks to all of you who have either encouraged or endured me during this process.

UPDATE -- C'est fini...just an hour or so before my birthday. Can't tell you how great it feels.

Monday, May 30, 2011

How the Ruling Class manages America's collapse

The inimitable Mark Steyn, in his inimitable style, connects a few dots from the news in order to sketch a telling portrait of America's decline. This time he provides both a macro- and micro-view of the workings, and staggering costs, of our Regulatory State -- designed and managed by Ruling Class grandees and bureaucratic caliphs. Sample:
Plucked at random from the ObamaCare bill:

"The Secretary shall develop oral healthcare components that shall include tooth-level surveillance."

"Tooth-level surveillance"? Has that phrase ever been used before in the entirety of human history? Say what you like about George III but the redcoats never attempted surveillance of Gen. Washington's dentures. Why not just call it "gum control"?

The hyper-regulatory state is unrepublican. It strikes at one of the most basic pillars of free society: equality before the law. When you replace "law" with "regulation," equality before it is one of the first casualties. In such a world, there is no law, only a hierarchy of privilege more suited to a sultan's court than a self-governing republic. If you don't want to be subject to "tooth-level surveillance," you better know who to call in Washington. Teamsters Local 522 did, and the United Federation of Teachers, and the Chicago Plastering Institute. And as a result they've all been "granted" ObamaCare "waivers." Rule, Obama! Obama, waive the rules! If only for his cronies. Americans are being transferred remorselessly from the rule of law to rule by an unaccountable bureaucracy of micro-regulatory preferences, subsidies, entitlements and incentives that determine which of the multiple categories of Unequal-Before-The-Law Second-Class (or Third-Class, or Fourth-Class) Citizenship you happen to fall into.

And yet Americans put up with it. According to the Small Business Administration, the cost to the economy of government regulation is about $1.75 trillion per annum. You and your fellow citizens pay for that – and it's about twice as much as you pay in income tax. Or, to put it another way, the regulatory state sucks up about a quarter-trillion dollars more than the entire GDP of India. As fast as India's growing its economy, we're growing our regulations faster. Oh, well, you shrug, it would be unreasonable to expect the bloated, somnolent hyperpower to match those wiry little fellows back at the call center in Bangalore. Okay. It's also about a quarter-trillion dollars more than the GDP of Canada. Every year we're dumping the equivalent of a G7 economy into ever more ludicrous and wasteful regulation.
As ever, read it all.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Amazon moves into big-time publishing

Robin Sullivan, who is attending BookExpo America (aka "BEA"), reports that the really big buzz so far is that Amazon is moving into publishing, big time.

In contrast to the legacy publishers, Amazon has demonstrated that it knows exactly what it's doing, which is how it has come to dominate, first, online book marketing, then the ereader market, and then the ebook self-publishing market. Now it is diving into print publishing, too -- first with "CreateSpace" for self-publishing authors, and now with a number of genre imprints for select titles.

As I've noted before, Amazon clearly has the goal of achieving complete "vertical integration" in the book business: from attracting authors and their manuscripts, to publishing (Kindle Direct Publishing, CreateSpace, and a host of print imprints), to creating great sales platforms (online and the Kindle).

Amazon has allowed authors to bypass the need to hire agents before getting published; they have allowed authors to avoid getting trapped in the endless "query go 'round" with traditional publishers, hawking their manuscripts for months or years and waiting desperately for acceptance; they have let authors bypass the need to have agents or lawyers parse the fine print of book contracts (by offering a single, simple deal to all); and they've allowed authors to bypass bookstores and still be able to generate big sales.

Amazon also has dramatically accelerated the process of book publishing (from edited manuscript to publication within weeks, instead of a year or more), of paying author royalties (monthly, with just a 60-day lag, instead of semi-annually or even annually), and of generating marketing attention (through online linking, reviewing, and recommendations). In short, they've made the process of book publishing completely painless and author-friendly.

Now, they're taking those same practices into the print business and are planning to seduce bestselling authors away from the legacy presses with better deals. To head up this operation, they've hired the former CEO of Time-Warner Publishing. How good will their contracts be for authors? Well, even Joe Konrath and Blake Crouch, two hugely successful self-publishers, have been offered a contract attractive enough that they've agreed to let Amazon publish a print version of their new collaborative novel, Stirred -- an inaugural title for Thomas & Mercer, Amazon's new mystery and thriller imprint. Amazon also has launched Montlake Romance, its imprint brand for the romance genre, and is about to unveil a sci-fi/fantasy imprint, too. These are added to Amazon's existing imprints: AmazonEncore (the company's flagship general imprint), AmazonCrossing (dedicated to literature in translation), Kindle Direct Publishing (for self-pubbed ebooks), and CreateSpace (for print-book self-publishing).

As a measure of how much Amazon is disrupting the book industry -- from publishers to agents to bookstores -- check out this piece in Publishers Weekly, commenting about the launch of Amazon's Montlake Romance imprint. You don't have to read between the lines to see how worried they are.

UPDATE The NYT reports on BookExpo America, saying, "There is a Wild West quality to the book business these days":
E-books have exploded, surpassing print sales for some new releases. The struggles for many brick-and-mortar bookstores have deepened as their customers began downloading books onto their e-readers from home rather than heading to stores.

Easily eliciting the most chatter was Amazon’s announcement on Sunday that it had hired one of the industry’s best-known veterans, the publisher turned agent Laurence J. Kirshbaum, to head a new imprint for Amazon that will publish general-interest titles. On Wednesday Amazon said it had acquired a book by the thriller writer Barry Eisler, who had announced this year, with much fanfare, that he was abandoning a six-figure contract with his publisher out of dissatisfaction with the traditional book industry.
But offering more probing and prescient observations, this guy calls the BEA shindig "industry dinosaurs on parade":
The New York Times claimed that “e-business is the buzz” at BEA. Not a chance. Read between the lines of the action on the floor, listen to the people in the trenches of publishing and selling books, and you see an industry that still hasn’t begun to comprehend the e-media revolution that is rapidly engulfing it. The industry is a mass of silent film stars telling each other that the talkies are no threat.

I attended BEA on Tuesday and found that, overall, interest in technology is superficial at best. In the eyes of the industry — that is, as one person put it, the old white men in their 60s and 70s who run the big publishers –- e-books and what they represent are a curiosity and maybe potential opportunity. But they aren’t vital to to the industry because its captains think they have all the time in the world to understand and exploit it.

Their focus is still on paper, on cutting deals and cutting costs, on keeping business, as much as possible, as it always has been. And, understandably, you can’t walk easily walk away from the bulk of your business. However, the publishers have fought progress rather than embraced it. Collectively, publishing decided to stick its big toe into the ocean just as a series of 8-foot waves are about to hit the shore. The result will be ugly.
That's how I see it, too.

UPDATE #2 -- Author Michael A. Stackpole explains why traditional publishers are going the way of the Dodo bird, and author & publisher Dean Wesley Smith adds his thoughts in a blog post and some appended comments.

Meanwhile, Publishers Lunch -- a quasi-official daily e-letter covering the industry from the vantage point of legacy publishers -- reports in its 5/26/11 issue the following:
Eisler's Next John Rain Novel to Amazon's Thomas & Mercer

At our Publishers Launch Conference Wednesday afternoon [at BookExpo America], [best-selling thriller author] Barry Eisler announced that, rather than self-publishing, his next John Rain novel THE DETACHMENT will be published by Amazon's new mystery/thriller imprint Thomas & Mercer in both digital and print formats. "What Amazon has offered is everything that was so great to me about self publishing on the one hand, but everything you want from traditional publishing," including marketing and distribution. "I get the best of both worlds," he added.

Amazon is also paying Eisler an advance, one "that was comparable to what St, Martin's was offering in the deal I ultimately decided didn't make sense." They [have] also given him "control over the packaging and consultation over the pricing of the book," with a royalty he called "much more favorable" than a traditional deal. (It's for world rights, and includes audio as well.)

The royalties offered for the print edition are also "comparable" to the St. Martin's deal, and Eisler suggested that "paper has become a subsidiary right" with "independent advertising value"....

When an audience member asked about the nature of Amazon's contract, Eisler (who is trained as an attorney) said "I've never seen a better publishing agreement than what Amazon presented me. It's readable, it's understandable, and it's transparent."
Eisler went on to explain that the ebook deal from Amazon was so sweet that he was willing to take more modest royalties on his print edition, so that the book would do well in bookstores and generate lots of attention for the ebook. This pricing strategy infuriated traditional booksellers at BEA:
In the following panel, however, ABA [American Booksellers Association] COO Len Vlahos took issue strongly with Eisler's contention that booksellers should be happy to sell low-priced print versions of books which Amazon publishes digitally. "Organizationally we could not disagree with Barry Eisler more." Vlahos objected to having "one entity [Amazon] basically use [print] books as a loss leader and devalue books.... I applaud his innovation, but I think it's grossly misguided. If you do the math on what he is talking about, Amazon is going to lose a lot of money on their contract with him, and you have to wonder about that."
To which I say: Ha! Amazon has demonstrated that it's anything but stupid. What really frosts the legacy press is the fact that Amazon is starting to woo away their bestselling authors with far better deals; that it will no doubt cut the cover prices of print books; and that it will still make money -- which they can't.

Major publishing executives confirm their utter incompetence

Executives representing traditional publishing companies, on an industry panel this week at BookExpo America, demonstrate their utter cluelessness about how to address the ebook revolution. Here's a sample, to give you a clear grasp of their self-admitted incompetence:
Though none of the panelists, publishers all, were ready to say they don’t care about consumers—Random House Digital President Amanda Close immediately responded that “we have always cared deeply about our consumers”—they admitted that they’re facing stiff challenges in getting readers to discover new e-books. “Publishers do not know how to market e-books yet,” said Evan Schnittman, Managing Director of Group Sales and Marketing at Bloomsbury. Or, rather, they know how to market the new titles that they’re simultaneously marketing in stores, but the older titles that publishers are converting into e-books present more of a challenge. “Let’s be honest with ourselves, we’ve never marketed backlist before,” Schnittman said.
"Backlist" refers to older titles, the ones that the publishers no longer push. The way the industry has worked to date, they throw out a book for a few weeks, wait for the sales (and unsold returns) from bookstores, then forget about it (and its author) and move on to the next book, hoping for a bestseller. For authors, this means that their books have little chance of being discovered by readers before their publishers abandon efforts to sell them, and they become "backlist titles" -- which one exec admits "we've never marketed."

The ebook revolution has allowed authors to (sometimes) reclaim from publishers the rights to these older titles, then self-publish them. Books that are years old are now discovering new readers as ebooks, and some are selling hugely. But traditional publishers are sitting on vast archives of these works, and haven't a clue what to do with them.

Here's another report about the same panel. Skim it, then try to answer two questions: (1) What the hell are these self-important idiots saying? and (2) What author in his right mind would entrust his work and career to this collection of lame-brains?

Monday, May 23, 2011

How independent bookstores might survive

A couple of posts down, I took note of the spiteful boycott by independent booksellers against "indie" authors Joe Konrath and Blake Crouch, because of their decision to publish a book with Amazon. Many independent bookstores regard Amazon as the Great Satan of the book business, the "enemy" who is putting them out of business.

This is stupid. It isn't Amazon that's putting them out of business; it's their customers. Customers want maximum choices and convenience, minimum prices and wasted time. Right now, Amazon does a much better job of giving them those things than do bookstores, including "indie" bookstores.

So, is there anything that independent bookstores can do to save themselves, in an era when so many of their customers are taking their physical book purchases online to sources such as Amazon, or to ereaders such as the Kindle, Nook, and iPad?

Maybe. But to survive, they'll have to get out of the way of the customer-driven bandwagon, and instead leap on board. If indie bookstores want to survive, then -- in addition to those suggestions offered by Konrath and Crouch at the linked blog post -- here are a few more things I would do if I owned an independent bookstore:

1. Turn your physical location into an advantage, rather than a liability. Change from being just another warehouse for books, into becoming a constant meeting place for authors and their fans.

This expands on a point made by Konrath and Crouch. There is a BIG niche market of fans who want to meet their favorite authors -- including local authors. I know fans (self included) who would drive many miles to spend time with their favorite writers.

So, transform your store into a literary meeting place -- not just in the evenings, but all day -- where authors meet with their fans. It benefits authors by cementing their bond with readers and peddling their wares. It obviously benefits readers. And, if the stores charged a small cover fee ($5?) for the event, as well as sell the author's books (including POD books on consignment), that would keep the lights on and pay the hired help.

Authors can also be invited to hold workshops about writing, self-publishing, etc. The authors could charge a fee, and the bookstore could take a cut.

2. Embrace indie/self-published titles, rather than banishing them. Many readers love novelty in novels (and nonfiction). They can buy Big6 bestsellers everywhere. But where can they get edgy, unusual, provocative, or unsung titles? Not in Barnes & Noble. And who there would know much about them?

So, become known as THE place that stocks and advises readers about indie titles.

3. Embrace ebooks. Hold classes for potential buyers to explain and demonstrate the various differences among various ereader gadgets, and how to use each device most effectively. Run hand-holding sessions for the technologically timid to introduce them to the Brave New World of ebooks and ereaders. Then stock and sell ereaders to your customers. Or rent them, by the day.

4. Partner. If all indie stores in a region worked together, they could coordinate their calendars of events so that they could run "tours" of authors among the various member stores in nearby towns. "Meet Author X at 10 a.m. in Store A." "Meet Author X at 1 p.m. in Store B." "Meet Author X at 7 p.m. in Store C." Advantage for the author: He can sell lots of books and meet lots of fans in a given region during a short period of time. Advantage for stores: a constant flow of interesting authors.

Will ideas like this save indie stores? I don't know. But it's clear their current business model won't work much longer. Either they transform themselves to embrace the current customer-driven changes, or they won't survive. That's the message they need to confront. Throwing temper tantrums against indie authors such as Joe Konrath is just trying to kill the messenger.

UPDATE -- Dean Wesley Smith really knows how to think outside the cliche -- and he has an absolutely fabulous idea. So good, in fact, that I think you'll soon see this one at stores everywhere: books in the form of GIFT CARDS.

UPDATE #2 -- News for chain bookstores on May 25 isn't great.

From Books-a-Million: Sales for Books-A-Million's first quarter dropped 11 percent to $104 million, with store comps falling 13.2 percent from last year (when the company reported a 3.6 percent drop from 2009.) The bookseller lost $3.5 million, compared to $2 million in profits at this time last year. Clyde Anderson, CEO, blamed "the growing effect of e-book penetration" and "the effects of the devastating tornado outbreak" that hit the Midwest and Southeast region in the early part of 2011. Yeah -- blame the weather.

Meanwhile, from Barnes & Noble comes news of an unspecified number of layoffs, including executives, at a New Jersey distribution center.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Time to demonstrate your faith

As I work feverishly toward the completion of my novel, I urge all those who truly believe that the world is going to end on Saturday, May 21, to consider making an irrevocable bequest of all their worldly goods to the Bidinotto Fund for the Advancement of Bidinotto.

After all, you won't be needing that stuff where you're going, right? And won't such a gesture be a grand demonstration of your faith?

UPDATE -- Except for Arnold Schwarzenegger, we all seem to have survived the weekend. Time to celebrate with a song.

Publishing worlds in collision

I've been chronicling the rapid, cataclysmic changes in the publishing industry for some months (scroll down here, and also check out the back entries in my Facebook page). But as the traditional book business disintegrates, many behind-the-scenes battles between the various factions -- traditional ("Legacy") publishers vs. self-publishing ("indie") authors, ebooks vs. print books, authors vs. their publishers and agents, online retailers vs. bookstores, etc. -- are now emerging into public view as open warfare.

The latest skirmish? Self-publishing guru Joe Konrath has accepted a deal with Thomas & Mercer -- a mystery-and-thriller imprint just launched by Amazon -- to issue a print-book edition of his new novel, Stirred. This has some independent bookstores (which regard online retailer Amazon as a threat to their survival) up in arms. Konrath writes about it here:
It's come to my attention that on a Yahoo group for booksellers there has been a call to boycott Amazon's new Thomas & Mercer imprint. I signed with Thomas & Mercer for STIRRED, the eighth Jack Daniels novel, co-written with Blake Crouch (who will chime in on this topic after me).

I've also heard that certain booksellers want to return any books of mine they have in stock as a punitive measure.

So signing a deal with Amazon makes me the enemy of bookstores?

Me, who has signed at over 1200 bookstores? Who has thanked over 1500 booksellers by name in the acknowledgements of my novels? Who has named five major characters in my series after booksellers?

Now I'm the bad guy, for wanting to continue my series and make a living?
Konrath and co-author Crouch offer a lengthy response at the link, advising independent bookstores about some of the steps they must take if they hope to survive in the new digital age. It's worth reading, not only as a heads-up about emerging trends, but as a microcosmic example of what happens whenever an Establishment confronts innovations that threaten their once-comfortable status quo.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Now, self-published audio books has just launched a program to let you narrate your own audiobook, or hire a professional narrator, then publish it yourself for either a flat fee (great!) or a 50/50 royalty split (not so great).

Check it out here.

Also check out some commentary about this program here.

I. Love. It.

UPDATE -- From a news release today from Amazon:
Today, less than four years after introducing Kindle books, customers are now purchasing more Kindle books than all print books - hardcover and paperback - combined. . . .

Recent milestones for Kindle include:

* Since April 1, for every 100 print books has sold, it has sold 105 Kindle books. This includes sales of hardcover and paperback books by Amazon where there is no Kindle edition. Free Kindle books are excluded and if included would make the number even higher.

* So far in 2011, the tremendous growth of Kindle book sales, combined with the continued growth in Amazon's print book sales, have resulted in the fastest year-over-year growth rate for Amazon's U.S. books business, in both units and dollars, in over 10 years. This includes books in all formats, print and digital. Free books are excluded in the calculation of growth rates.

* In the five weeks since its introduction, Kindle with Special Offers for only $114 is already the bestselling member of the Kindle family in the U.S.

* Amazon sold more than 3x as many Kindle books so far in 2011 as it did during the same period in 2010.

* Less than one year after introducing the UK Kindle Store, is now selling more Kindle books than hardcover books, even as hardcover sales continue to grow. Since April 1, customers are purchasing Kindle books over hardcover books at a rate of more than 2 to 1.
For authors like me, who will have his first novel self-published on Kindle (and elsewhere) in June, this is great news. It confirms that the market for ebooks hasn't even begun to be tapped, let alone "saturated." As prices for self-published ebooks continue to undercut the inflated prices of the Big 6 publishers, more and more customers are encouraged to buy more and more books, across more and more platforms.