Friday, June 12, 2015

customer satisfaction


Today's off-off topic note of interest.  Home Despot has LED bulbs on sale.  Phillips 60w replacement ( uses 8.5 watts ) soft white light.  A two pack for $5.  That's correct, a TWO pack.  Replace your crappy conventional incandescent with a bulb that doesn't burn out every year and which only uses 15% or so of the juice.  And avoid those retarded compact florescent bulbs that are chock full of mercury and never last as long as advertised ( LED's use about 75% of the energy of florescent bulbs- not as big of an energy savings, but still there ).  Now, I grant you, I'm not guaranteeing you that a $2.50 LED bulb will last as long as advertised on the box ( ten years at three hours a day ).  As with all things from China, you roll the dice.  Still, name brand, and a very cheap gamble.  Not on the isle with the other bulbs, the one facing the paint section.  Just around the corner from that on an end-cap.
A bit off topic from the impending apocalypse, but it amuses me to cover it, so that is that, you shall like it, and in a moment I will prove why.  After the article “magazine explosion”, a comment was received to the effect that you should give the customer what they want ( I got the impression my new novel excerpt was being criticized, even though the article was about the failed advertising magazine ) in order to succeed in publishing.  I completely disagree.  Number one, customers don’t always know what they want and number two, customers want the impossible.  First point, modern publishing is a complete travesty of greedy pigs whoring themselves out to the lowest common denominator ( James Patterson being the most egregious example ).  The basic rule of thumb is that less than five percent of Americans read for pleasure, as a hobby.  And because the business model for traditional publishing is to lose money on most books, then make a killing on a few ( just as in Hollywood ), the book industry needs far more than that five percent to make money.  So, the books are dumbed down.  Someone who hates reading, the uninformed moron who thinks TV news is real, might-just might-buy a famous celeb tell all autobiography or a movie novelization or a scary/romantic suspense novel.  To participate in this market, to me personally, is embarrassing and a travesty for a real author. 


Readers you are trying to reach, readers who love reading as a pursuit of knowledge ( and, yes, it is perfectly fine to be entertained at the same time ), don’t always know what they want to read next.  They are always surprised by a new fact they want to explore further, and to do that you must constantly push your comfort zone further out and explore.  Now, granted, this applies more to non-fiction than fiction, but even in novels constantly trying new authors exposes new styles you might appreciate for the new formerly unknown background information.  For instance, Tom Robbins and Robert Anton Wilson have given me a new insight into the sixties hippie era and in addition have bizarre writing styles I never would have explored by adhering to the top selling generic writers.  Not to mention, authors sticking to the perceived need of readers don’t write with their true voice but a contrived one.  As to the second point, readers wanting the impossible, filling the customers wishes is a losing proposition.  What they want ( cue in female singer, “what they really, REALLY want” ) is a free book, at great length, and more on the way monthly.  The Internet, may all the geek gods be praised for it, is super wonderful for the economics of publishing, but now it is almost impossible to make money as a writer.  Same as it ever was.  Just worse, since the traditional print publishers won’t talk to you until after all your free to nearly free e-books establish you as a market force.  Before, you wrote for free in hopes of publishing.  Now, you write for free to publish, then hope against hope you might make money ( I’m talking conventional author success, not my brand of it which is a small but constant monthly stipend by extremely loyal readers ).  Following a path to success by kissing readers asses only works for hacks.


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  1. Completely correct. Although I, as a voracious reader, don't want new books by my favorite authors monthly - no, I want them DAILY.
    But you are right about the truly book enjoying fraction of the public being small but enjoying what is read as long as it expands their minds. That is why I read your blog- near daily output, and after getting over your choice of language, insightful and practical concepts to consider.

    1. I like to think my bad language meets readers half way ( the blog, not the fiction- with my fiction, full gutter mouth ). Vulgar but not obscene. You know, "hump" instead of "F-Bomb".

  2. “Number one, customers don’t always know what they want and number two, customers want the impossible.”

    I think that you're on to something here James? Readers are like your ex's; they want “fried ice”. 99% of people are followers. That's one of the reasons that our society is in such shambles these days, as these weak and ineffectual people have been given power over those that are the movers and shakers of society, in the quest to be that perfect politically correct model of a society.

    This is where you, as an author/leader might just find your niche?

    “The Internet, may all the geek gods be praised for it, is super wonderful for the economics of publishing, but now it is almost impossible to make money as a writer.”

    Well, I try to do my part James, and it's not much, but I just purchased your kindle book on frugal living. I also make it a point to order through your amazon links.

    Unfortunately, I am now officially unemployed, and so I suspect that I will not be ordering much of anything anymore, until more employment comes my way. My shit heal former employer commented that I will have absolutely no problem finding a fulltime, $50K plus a year job, “since unemployment is so low, and the economy is doing so well.”

    You might very well be able to guess the bastards politics?

    1. I know I've been blessed with a generous, intelligent readership. I can't believe anyone else can get $100-$150 a month, month after month, on only 500 readers. It was $300 a month with 1200 readers, but that was prior to 2009, so a lot of those were fair weather readers spending on a good economy. I know the economy dictates my profits, not my readers judgment. I know my income will continue to decline with the economy. I expect it. I'll still try with my novel/books, but I know it is an uphill battle. Thanks for doing your part, now just sit back and enjoy for free. If you get back on your feet, you can make it up then. If not, no worries. You "paid forward".

  3. Believe me, I thank the gods at amazon for kindle unlimited ! Only ten bucks a month and I can read all I want for that ten bucks. Seeing how I've been able to do little more than read since last July ! No way I could afford even normal kindle prices when I've been averaging a book per day and more....
    Still have yet to read very many zombie trash crap though ! Amazing just how much survivalist/prepper type fiction is out there.
    Just finished a fair read Jim...The Last Tribe, by Brad Manuel...not great but entertaining and absolutely no militia hung ho crap. The book is even almost believable. Except for the authors thought that ammo would soon run out. Hah !
    The storyline has only one person in a million surviving a pandemic which killed everyone before they had much chance to shoot each other. Leaving pretty much fully stocked shelves every was worth the price of admission in my opinion.

    By the way, I'm even cheaper than you about the new Road Warrior flick. I'll wait for it to come out on DVD and my mom will burn and send me a copy. Now that's frugal !

    Been feeling well enough lately to go out to the BOL and noble around a bit. One of the guys in our group who's a retired Marine pilot , just bought an air boat. YEE HAW !!! Been telling the guys that we needed a backdoor boat to escape up the St. Johns if need be. That will fit the requirement eh. Till gas ain't no good....
    Dude traded his Harley for it lol

    Thanks for being you Jim !

    1. I think I jumped the gun on Kindle Unlimited, there wasn't enough offered yet and I spent more time searching for new titles than reading them. A big disappointing PITA. I notice a lot more now. Not that I read as much, with the new girlfriend. But I've gone from buying 7-10 books a week back down to 1 ( just what Amazon Commisions from Loyal Minions allows, if I buy quality paper ) so this would be an option budget wise. I think trading the Harley was a good choice. Still fun recreation, hunting gators or what not. And safer. Course, being a Jarhead, cracking his head open on the road could only make him smarter :)