clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Industry and Springtime and You

It's springtime. The flowers are sprouting. Frogs are peeping. I have a new grill. It's a little hard to cook on so far, but; I'll get to that shortly. The nice box on top is the grill cover.

SO, spring. Where does that leave us?

Surprise, Amazon dominates the market creating a universal discount and price club warehouse. Booksellers are floundering. Ebooks might be resold without new royalties to you, and publishing houses are going to pay mid-list writers in root vegetables come winter.

Here's the clue for those getting an English Lit degree instead of taking econometrics: books don't compete against books.

Books compete against entertainment choices many of which are viewed as free. Thus, the book has significant downward price pressure.

Here's the deal. The consumer pays a fixed price for a lot of their entertainment: cable, Amaflicks, Spotdora (possibly), iTunes (credit, the purchase is transparent until the bill comes), angry walruses - the app, the internet, music videos, cat videos, blogs, and cat video blogs.

There is a Noble Prize out there floating about for the knowledge that a transaction with a fixed cost for unlimited time-based use is viewed as free ... well. It's free for non-economists. That's not quite true but you don't want the math.

So, you ace writers sell entertainment. There's a lot of other entertainment out there that is animated and presented (meaning no effort or thought required to participate) whereas your product requires considerable effort and time (Lots of Time for you Fantasy big-assed-book writers) and memory to carry all of those text developments of intrigue and plot. Your entertainment is a lot of work.

People are fat lazy consumptive squandering meat bags. That's your paying audience.

I'd bet your last book has something similar in the marketplace right now.

Oh, maybe not books. Did you have a sultry blond seduce a killer to off her husband? Great plot. Love it. I might have to watch Body Heat for free. Oh - hurt soldier home from the war caught in crime intrigue?  (Murder She Wrote, "Track of a Soldier", 1996).

You compete against every leisure activity including golf. You're going to have to do more than give me a body, a murderer and a detective. You're going to have to do more than sew the victims into a human centipede, skin them and make a suit, eat them, burn them, torture them with the the hot oil for tempura, or just even drop them in the lake.

You could have a detective who likes pie and a lady who carries a log, but that too is now free to me. (Twin Peaks).

It's not enough.

You must sell what has not been sold to make anyone want to buy your product. Oh, you can have a few devoted and unadventurous souls find your product because it was like another. That is however a small audience. You have to give me what I cannot find elsewhere.

Want that big sale? That paying career? Want that book deal that allows you to live on text ?

Give me - John Q. Public - what I cannot get elsewhere. I'll give you money for it.

Eleven foot blue aliens I'd try to take home after three martini's? I pay for that. Rather, I already have. Can't use that one again. It's in my Amaflix queue.

Take me on the emotional safari to the land I've never been. Let me know what it is to be a thirteen-year old girl from a gator-farm family stuck in a swamp with my bird-man rapist and I'll put you on the Pulitzer short-list. (Swamplandia!).

It isn't the plot, the killer, the cheater, the lover, or the disappointed wife. It is the comprehensive emotional journey on the page that pays rewards time after time. I don't get that emotion from a car chase or a PSY video or even the "dick in a box" Lonely Island SNL guys. I don't get it from the "is he in there with a gun or not?" crime scene rehash.

I sure don't get it from Deadliest Catch reruns - except where Sig reminds me of Tom Waits.

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