- Acid Test by Quixote - http://www.molvray.com/acidtest -

I’m a writer. Not a spy.

I’ll come out with it: I’ve written a bunch of books [1]. Most are just straightforward feel-good stories. (I like feeling good.) One is about how to govern [2] so it interferes with feeling good as little as possible.

Besides not being a spy, I’m also allergic to salesmanship. So all I do with my stuff is post it on my website, and throw it on Amazon [3] and the Nook [4] where they make me charge a dollar. A little independent isn’t allowed to post free books. (Yes, I know about Smashwords. I have conscientious objections to the Terms of Service. And, yes, I have COs to Amazon’s TOS too, but I’m only pure mostly. Being really pure is too much work.) In case you’re wondering why the Nook, it’s because when I started doing this, that was a thing. That gives you some idea how much time has gone by. So I’m thinking of putting my books on a few more sites — Kobobooks sounds like a good one — and today I heard about Oyster.

Oyster seems like an interesting idea. You pay a subscription of $10/month and can read as many books as you have time for. A visit to the web site gives you about five ways to reach the “Join” page and no links to any actual information. Did I mention that I hate pushy selling? So I didn’t like being pushed to join and went searching for more information. Wikipedia pointed to an article in the NYTimes [5]. There, as with every new thing in recent times on the web, it turns out that yes, this is just one more business looking to turn users into gold.

(I find myself agreeing more and more with Maciej Cegłowski [6] and wishing that I still saw new technology with wonder instead of an automatic feeling of dread.)

But what astonished me was this:

[A writer] interacts extensively with her fans on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Goodreads, YouTube, Flickr and her own website. … But having actual data about how her books are being read would take her market research to the ultimate level.

“What writer would pass up the opportunity to peer into the reader’s mind?”

Well, I would. I’d feel revolted. Just as I would if I caught an author peering over my shoulder, saying,

“Aha. You liked that bit, did you?”

No, not anymore.

Sometimes I feel like the only one left who feels put off at the thought of going around and sniffing people’s underwear.

Stop the world. I want to get off.

And, no, I won’t even try to publish anything on Oyster.

5 Comments (Open | Close)

5 Comments To "I’m a writer. Not a spy."

#1 Comment By katiebird On 01 Oct, 2014 @ 12:34

I didn’t know you wrote books — for sale!!! And that you sell them as Nookbooks too! 🙂 Yay.

Where should I start? (I like happy)

#2 Comment By quixote On 01 Oct, 2014 @ 20:06

Hi Katiebird! They’re [7] for Nooks. The epub format is also on my site [1]. If sideloading is easy for you, you may want to check that first. There’s also a bunch of short stories there (also cheerful by the end).

As to where to start, well, maybe Thieves of Sorrow. If you’re a fan of Star Trek, I also have one set in The Next Generation, called Echoes of the Dead. (I was so fed up with the useless way the character of Deanna Troi was handled that I said to myself, “Piffle. I can fix that.”)

I hope you enjoy it if you get around to trying a story!

#3 Comment By quixote On 02 Oct, 2014 @ 08:18

(Sheesh. My own comment fell into moderation because of the links. That’s why it’s so late. Hope you still see this.)

#4 Comment By katiebird On 05 Oct, 2014 @ 15:33

Thank you so much! I just side-loaded Thieves of Sorrow and the Democracy book. …. Why aren’t you charging something for them? Don’t answer if it’s too personal, but I can’t help but be curious. And I would have paid.

#5 Comment By quixote On 22 Oct, 2014 @ 10:22

It occurs to me I should probably answer here as well since it’s actually a general question.

I’d like to not charge at all because I’ve benefited a lot from open source. It’s not just all the best software (;)) (linux, firefox/iceweasel/pale moon, libreoffice, thunderbird, gimp, wordpress, etc.), it’s also the way the academic world has run for centuries. Everything I’ve done would be impossible without the contributions of others. So it’s what I can do, for what it’s worth, to give back to the community. Unfortunately, the big corporate platforms like Amazon where people actually find books won’t let any old little indie publish for free. A dollar is the minimum they’ll accept.

But, of course, if anyone *wants* to pay the not-too-struggling author, it’s much appreciated!