I discounted The Reset over the weekend to .99 and saw a neat little surge in sales. The list above is for dystopian titles, and I was thrilled to see my novel sandwiched in there between works by VanderMeer, Murakami, and Palahniuk. Of course, the bottom line outcome was a very small amount of royalties given the price, but I was happy to see the book make a little move on the Amazon popularity charts all the same...
I was saddened last evening to learn the news of Jay Lake's passing. I always enjoyed Jay's work, and I found him to be a generous and kind writer. In 2009, when I was just beginning to submit my stories for publication, Jay was editing Polyphony. I never met up with Jay in Oregon, even though we were both in Portland at the same time for a lot of years. I was focused on learning how to become a better educator back then, and I didn't get back to writing again with serious ambitions until my schedule opened up here at FSCJ.
So I sent Jay a story, noting that I was also from Portland in my cover letter, and he sent me back a very kind note. He made suggestions on the manuscript that I had submitted (and that he had rejected), and he offered some words of encouragement that were much needed (and appreciated) at that stage in my development. We maintained infrequent contact via e-mail over the years, and he was always thoughtful and prompt in our dealings. A gentleman, father, writer, and a good man...Jay will be sorely missed.
Evan Hughes has written an interesting and, I think, salient piece on the Hachette/Amazon dust-up. There are no good guys and bad guys in a battle for the margins--just two business juggernauts slugging it out for the future of pricing on Amazon. I sincerely feel for the Hachette authors, but I imagine that they knew what they were doing when they signed away the rights to their stories. In the changing landscape of e-commerce, there's no dodging the fact that Amazon was the first operator. They own the majority of the market, and they have no obligation to sell anything under Hachette's terms. Hachette, by the way, is a $10B company as well, so their authors must have understood they were also working in league with a dominating market force. When two dominating market forces collide, there is bound to be damage. In this case, it's the authors that will suffer, and that is a shame.
But James Patterson's speech at BEA was more than a little hyperbolic. Amazon isn't ruining publishing. Bookstores aren't suffering. Literature doesn't need an oligarchy of five major houses to create taste in the interests of protecting our culture. Most of what he says smacks of elitism, privilege, and resistance to the fact that the publishing paradigm is undergoing rigorous changes. The horses are already out of the barn, and it seems to me that Patterson is lamenting the loss of a system that enriched him well beyond the measure of his peers. I think he believed that all of this change would happen in twenty years, and it's just a shock to him that it's happening now, at a time when he is still entrenched in a literary landscape that is changing by the day.
Finally, I was just so saddened to see Oberyn Martell's death last night. Yes, I have read the books and I knew it was coming. But Pedro Pascal's turn was awesome, and that fight scene was so good. I just wish he'd ended the Mountain with a spear to the skull, and a quick, "This is for Elia, you son of a bitch."
Game of Thrones continues to astound in its storytelling. Can't wait for next Sunday...