Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Amazon is getting nervous, mental illness claims another creative, and more

A North Korean architect who has never left N Korea imagines the future.  It's a little like the Jetsons.  I'd kinda like to live there.
This blog has touched on the issue of creative people having a higher rate of depression or other mental illness.  Robin Williams passed away today.
Saladin Ahmed will critique your novel.
Why hire me? I hold an MFA in Creative Writing and an MA in English, and I’ve taught creative writing courses at colleges and universities for ten years. My first novel, THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON, praised by George RR Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, and NPR, was a finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, Crawford, Gemmell, and British Fantasy Awards, won the Locus Award for Best First Novel, and received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, and Library Journal. My short stories have been nominated for the Nebula and Campbell awards, have been reprinted in numerous anthologies, including THE YEAR’S BEST SCIENCE FICTION, and have been translated into a half-dozen languages. I’ve also written on geek culture for NPR Books, Salon, Buzzfeed, and The Escapist.
I wonder what pays better, writing or critiquing writing.
Amazon is getting nervous.
Amazon is not in the least bit happy about the full-page ad some authors have placed into the New York Times this weekend, complaining about its tactics in its negotiations with Hachette, so it is perhaps not entirely coincidental that this weekend Amazon is trying a new tactic: Trying to convince readers that it is intheir best interest to favor Amazon’s business needs and desires.
Thus readersunited.com, which posts a letter from Amazon to eBook readers. Go ahead and take a moment to read it (another version, almost word for word, went out to Kindle Direct authors this morning as well), and then come back.
Back? Okay. Points:
1. First, as an interesting bit of trivia, readersunited.com was registered 18 months ago, which does suggest that Amazon’s been sitting on it for a while, waiting for the right moment to deploy it, which is apparently now.
But as a propaganda move, it’s puzzling. A domain like “ReadersUnited” implies, and would be more effective as, a grassroots reader initiative, or at the very least a subtle astroturf campaign meant to look like a grassroots reader initiative, rather than what it is, i.e., a bald attempt by Amazon to sway readers to its own financial benefit. Amazon isn’t trying to hide its association with the domain — it’s got an Amazon icon right up there in tab — so one wonders why Amazon didn’t just simply post it on its own site, to reinforce its own brand identity. The short answer is likely this: It’s just a really clumsy attempt to reinforce the idea that Amazon is doing this for readers, rather than for its own business purposes.

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