Poll Results (and My Thoughts): Do you think the $0.99 ebook will hurt authors?

Another poll down with some very interesting results. Here's what you all had to say:

  • 50% of you said they will hurt authors.
  • 0% of you said maybe.
  • 50% of you said no.
That's a very interesting divide.  People are very sure of themselves.

I'm one of those sure people.  I think the $0.99 ebook will hurt authors, but not because it will hurt publishers.  My problem with the $0.99 ebook is that it limits the ability for authors to make a living off their work and further erodes the potential for midlist authors (however you want to define that category in this new digital age) to fit within that "living writers" group.  Midlist authors have been well served by digital publishing, particularly as it pertains to self-publishing.  Being able to make 70% on a $2.99 book means they make a lot more money than they would with some traditional publishers provided they maintain that "midlist" status.  That's a good thing.  Let the big fellas handle the bestselling authors and let the smaller guys take their work to the digital stream to make a living too.

Maybe the $0.99 ebook will prove beneficial for midlist authors.  I certainly hope so.  Their numbers might go up, they might end up making more money in the long run, and so on.  But if not, what we'll end up with is a new price-point that consumers will demand.  There's nothing wrong with a demand, but part of the reason for keeping ebooks reasonably priced (in both directions) is to set a standard for consumers that is good for everyone else too.  I don't much care for the agency model in terms of its implementation, but it does give publishers more control over their properties.  Amazon's ebook model gives many writers more control over theirs (sort of).  All these models are useful, and need to be played with, manipulated, changed, and so on until we come up with something that is good for everyone.  I don't think the $0.99 ebook is necessarily a good thing for everyone.  It's good for a few, sure.  Amanda Hocking and others are bringing in huge sales and money from using that model.  But they are a minority that will always exist.  The rest will have to contend with increasing their sales by quite a bit to reach the same monetary level as before.

But, again, I could be very wrong.  I hope I'm wrong.  $0.99 ebooks are far more likely to sell than $7 ones.  Let's hope what is happening right now turns out for the best.

What are your extended thoughts on this issue?

Poll Results: If you had super powers, how would you use them?

The results are in and here's what you all had to say:

  • 25% said they would use their powers for good.
  • 66.7% said they would use their powers for neutral purposes.
  • 8.3% said they would use their powers for evil.
Now the big question is this:  when one says they will use their powers for neutral purposes, what exactly do they mean?  Will they save the world only if they have to, but otherwise use their powers to improve the mundane aspects of regular life?  Will they selectively choose when to use their powers publicly so as to avoid the morally ambiguous situations life might present?

For me, I know I'd use my powers very selectively.  Why?  Because despite what the folks at Big Hollywood would like me to think, we don't live in a world in which the lines between good and evil are always absolute or clear.  I'd have to be very careful how I used my powers, whether in my personal life or in the service of humanity, because to fall victim to propaganda or dogmatism would do very little to actually rid the world of evil.  In fact, I might actually become a part of the problem.

That's how I rationalize it.  How about you?

New Poll: If you had super powers, how would you use them?

The new poll can be found on the left (third widget down).  It is divided into the following fun categories:

  • For good!
  • For neutral purposes!
  • For evil!
Detailed answers are much appreciated, of course, but since polls make it hard to do that, I decided to test your morality (in the poll) and give you an open comment thread (on this post) to discuss the correct use of super powers (in detail).  Have at it, folks!

As for me:  neutral all the way.  Why?  Because I definitely wouldn't save everyone.  Say what you will, but that's how I roll.

Poll Results: Do you think SF/F is going to have a good year in 2011?

The results are in (obviously), and they are overwhelmingly optimistic.  Is that a good thing?  I sure hope so.  It's early in the year, but I'd like to think that 2011 will be a year without someone proclaiming the genre dead (or something like that).  We'll see how those thoughts pan out in six months.

Here are the results of the poll:

  • 55% said "yes"
  • 22.5% said "maybe"
  • 22.5% said "no"
The no votes came pretty late in the poll (well after the corresponding post had disappeared from the homepage), so the big question I have for those individuals is this:  why do you think SF/F isn't going to have a good year in 2011?  

I'm defining SF/F beyond its marketing boundaries (the SF/F shelves in your bookstores); for me, then, I see the genre as having a great deal of room to keep pushing outward in very powerful/interesting ways.  I'm hoping we'll see more experimentation in SF/F novels, but I am also cautious about the genres because it's really easy to get burned by hype.  We do have some excellent works of literature coming out, though (or what appear to be excellent works).  We'll wait and see.


A new poll will be up later today, so look out for the post announcement.

Poll Results: What is a good length for a weekly podcast?

Well, you responded to our call for opinions, and the results are as follows:

  • 67% said that 20 minutes was a good length.
  • 16.5% said that 30 minutes was a good length.
  • 0% said that 45 minutes was a good length.
  • 16.5% said "other."
We've pretty much decided that 20-30 minutes is the cap for most on a weekly so.  As such, all future episodes for The Skiffy and Fanty Show (with the exception of today's episode) will be within that range.  That's our goal, anyway.

Thanks for voting!  A new poll will be up later today.

New Poll: What is a good length for a weekly podcast?

I told you I'd have another poll soon enough.  Since this poll is in connection with the poll we will be running tomorrow on the website for The Skiffy and Fanty Show, your answers will actually be both informative and helpful.  And all you have to do is click your mouse a couple of times (or type a short comment).

The poll question is:  what is a good length for a weekly podcast?

You can find the poll on the left sidebar.  There are five options:  20 min., 30 min., 45 min., 1 hr., and other.  If you select other, we'd appreciate it if you'd leave a comment somewhere letting us know the length you'd suggest.

So vote away!

Poll Results: Do you stop reading authors whose political beliefs you vehemently disagree with?

Another poll down, and the results are rather interesting:

  • 18.75% of you said "yes."
  • 43.75% of you said "sometimes."
  • 37.5% of you said "no."
What does this tell me?  That I need to ask another question.  If most of you continue reading authors whose politics you disagree with (given that the largest group--the "sometimes" group--still reads some of the authors they disagree with), then the big question is related to how you continue reading them.  That'll be in the new poll.

As to my thoughts on the question (in case you didn't see my response in the comments section many days ago): I have stopped reading a number of authors whose work I can no longer separate from their politics.  In almost all cases where I vehemently disagree with an author, I've simply stopped reading.  To be fair, though, there aren't that many authors who ended up in the "no read" pile.  Most authors I can't stand personally still end up on my reading list, but I have found better ways to avoid giving them my support politically (such as not buying their work).

But I'm going to save that for the next poll (coming soon).

New Poll: Do you stop reading authors whose political beliefs you vehemently disagree with?

A new poll is up, folks.  This is partially in response to the Elizabeth Moon fiasco, but mostly in response to the occasional discussions among readers and authors about whether one continues to read authors who hold unfavorable political beliefs (such as Orson Scott Card or John C. Wright, et. al.).

There are three answers:  yes, sometimes, and no.  Simple enough, right?  You can find the poll on the left sidebar (scroll down a little).  But if you'd like to leave a more detailed comment, feel free to do so here.

The poll will run for two weeks.