Back to work this morning on actual writing of actual words…I lost the last three days to all this Kindlefuckery, reading about it, talking strategy, creating a plan, revising a plan when Amazon revised the plan with the opt-out…sigh. It’s all educated or semi-educated guesswork right now. I’m glad to be back in Brooklyn with my werewolves, and back in the basement with Sam (for audio recording, that is…).
I wish I wasn’t such a concise writer. Mr. Less is More, that’s me. But it’s the Alexandre Dumas of the world who stand to reap the borrowhirlwind now. Why was The Count of Monte Cristo so very long, weighing in at about 465,000 words? Why, because Dumas was paid by the word. What is this you say? By the word? Yes, by the word. Are you sure? I stake my life on it. What is that in Amazon pages? Under the current system? If that’s all you can tell me then, yes, tell me. Under the current system, that’s 1,860 pages. 1,860 pages! That must be worth…tell me! If our .0077 pay per page amount is correct, why, that’s…fourteen dollars and thirty two cents a borrow! That is amazing! Indeed it is!
See what I did there? See how many more words you can get out of that? Dumas knew the trick; the whole book flows like that – it gets on your nerves after a while, and certainly calls out for an abridged version of, oh, I’d say 1,200 pages. You could keep the scope of the story and only crop out the wordy wordage Dumas inserted because he got paid by the word.
Of course, Dumas got paid for every word he wrote…not for every word that was read. The publisher was the one at risk, if the public didn’t make up in profit what he put out to the author.
Amazon has just shifted the entire economy of selfpubbing to a microeconomic piecework system, in which each page has a variable value. Yeah. Think about that. Your first pages are worth the most because they’re the ones most people will read. Your middle pages are worth less because that’s the point a lot of people will give up on your book. Your final pages, your great magnificent conclusion, are worth the least because more people will start your book than will ever finish it.
I suspect that I’ll do okay. This is entirely unsubstantiated intuition talking, but I think there will be a correlation between an author’s current return rate and their success in the New Order. People who don’t finish books are (usually, some are just cheap bastards) the ones who return them. So I think a return rate may indicate, to some degree, how many people don’t finish your book. My return rate is well below 1%, so maybe I’m just trying to cheer myself up…