Friday, July 31, 2015

The Writer's Diet: What Foods To Eat

Can your diet improve your writing? What foods should you eat to better brainstorm ideas for your next novel?

I've been looking into this question and it seems hard scientific research has given us some leads.

Tyrosine is an amino acid thought to promote creativity. Foods with the highest levels include spirulina seaweed, egg whites, salmon, and lowfat cottage cheese.


Alcohol boosts creativity by blocking analytic "working memory" for the benefit of creative problem solving.


Dark Chocolate boosts the brain's blood circulation for about 3 hours while the caffeine in Coffee/Tea keeps you alert for a couple hours.


Complex carbohydrates provide the brain a steady stream of glucose throughout the day, for example,
whole grain bread, quinoa, oats, and brown rice.


Antioxidants keep the brain oxygen flowing. For example, berries, kale, and broccoli.


The smell of cinnamon-vanilla is said to enhance creativity.


Foods that Inhibit Creativity

Additives
Artificial Sweeteners
Junk Foods with Simple Carbos (store-bought cookies, oreos, etc.)
Foods High in Sugars

List of Foods/Drinks in the Writer's Diet

Spirulina Seaweed
Egg Whites
Lowfat Cottage Cheese
Salmon
Alcohol
Dark Chocolate
Coffee
Tea
Whole Grains
Brown Rice
Oats
Quinoa
Berries
Kale
Broccoli
Cinnamon-Vanilla





Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Many Possible Futures of Cafe Patrons

Impossible Cafes #2

I'm often searching for words that don't exist to describe things. The latest example, one word to describe a café habitué. Caféer? Cafénian? Cafénik?

Of the dozens of customers I see in the cafe, will any one of them do something dramatic in their lives? Accomplish a a feat few others do? Can you tell somehow that one of them will stand out from the crowd in some way?

 Every caféer is in search of a dream that may or may not transform into a nightmare. Because dreams aren't easy to catch.


Sometimes when I focus on a person in the cafe, whoever they are and whatever they are doing, the act of attention causes me to see through their current situation, their looks, their likely occupation, and consider their possible futures, as if they are transparent people, through which the future shines.

Will they plant their personal stamp on the world, or in a hundred years will they all be forgotten by all but a few close friends and relatives who don't remember them too well either?

These people seated in the cafe. Which one would someday:

  • Become a billionaire?
  • Pull out a gun and kill a store clerk?
  • Raise a family?
  • Go to Syria and join ISIS?
  • Become a famous novelist?
  • Say I've had enough of DC and go back to the Midwest?
  • Become a singer in a successful band?
  • Die of a drug overdose?
  • Go on a trip to Europe and never come back?
  • Find a career job and stay there for forty years?
  • Buy a Mercedes to impress the neighbors?
  • Go to Vegas and lose a lot of money?
  • Eat dinner in a diner at midnight in a strange city?
  • Pay hundreds of dollars to shake the hand of a celebrity?
  • Buy an 80-inch TV?
  • Donate time and money to a political candidate that wrecks the country?
  • Walk up and down the streets of a trendy neighborhood because that's what everyone else does?
  • Swim across the Atlantic?
  • Take a one-way trip to Mars?





Wednesday, July 29, 2015

My New SciFi Story 'Daybreak' Now on Amazon

My new SciFi short story "Daybreak" is now up on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Daybreak-Stephen-Leary-ebook/dp/B012U48ODS

Rivenlann is a world that has known only darkness and the thousand gentle stars in the night sky. The advanced Aarpions live on one landmass and dominate the primitive Towahs who reside across the sea on the other. 

An ancient prophesy of the Towahs called the Day of Reversal they believe is expected soon, though the Aarpions dismiss it. According to the prophesy, a bright god will suddenly appear in the sky and never leave, bringing cataclysmic changes in the relationship between the two cultures. Readers experience the fallout of the event through the eyes of Aarpion scientists, their political leader, and the Towahs. One side sees the bright star and the end of night as an answer to their prayers while the other believes it heralds the death of their culture. The Aarpions ask themselves how to survive under the new reality while the Towahs’ behavior suggests intrinsic changes have occurred in their traditional thinking. 

“Daybreak” explores the human’s psyche’s ability to cope with calamitous changes in the world and the effort to find a way to survive in a completely different environment. 

“Daybreak” is a science fiction short story about 8,000 words in length. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it. 

You'll like "Daybreak" if you like Isaac Asimov's short story "Nightfall," which some call the greatest science fiction short story ever written.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Writing in the Cafe of Babel

In the not too distant past, Panera opened a new coffee shop in Washington DC's Chinatown. I somehow found myself in the area one early Saturday morning and so went in and discovered it was easily the biggest Panera I had ever seen.

Beyond the ordering counter near the door was another level where sat a large number of people, even though it was so early in the day. I placed my order and was given a small electronic device to take with me. I ascended the steps up to a second level and found an open table. A few minutes later, a waiter found me--guided to my location by the electronic device--and gave me my order.

What struck me about this visit was the crowdedness of the cafe given the early hour, its unusual size, the waiters arriving at your table without knowing where you went except for the electronic homing device, and the various sorts of people there.



I saw guys in business suits, young suits of races I couldn't identify, languages I had never heard before. People from all around the world had congregated in this Chinatown cafe early one Saturday morning.

It goes without saying that "there are no Chinese in Chinatown," and I didn't see any here on this occasion. That was the one missing ethnic group.

The varieties of races mimicked the varieties of coffee on the menu. Standard coffee, lattes, espresso, tea, smoothies. And once the drink has been decided, there are the breads and bagels.

The Café of Babel, with its infinite choices of drinks, suggests a certain frustration and impossibility of satisfaction, since there are so many variations than one could never live long enough sample them all even if one drank something different every day of his life. A person could simply order a drink at random and hope for an enjoyable experience. But it's like blindly throwing a dart at a world map and expecting to hit your hometown.



I know many visitors to the Café of Babel who pick the first drink they see on the menu and then order the same thing every day, simply as a method of avoiding the chaos and nadir of the impossible menu. Others will choose something different every day and claim they are on a journey to discover the tastiest drink, but it's clear from their demeanor and tone of voice that they don't believe what they say and know it is a futile endeavor. And of course, they long ago forgot which drinks they had already sampled.

As I write in the cafe, I see someone look at his drink in a funny way, take it back to the counter, and pretend that it isn't what he ordered. He returns with a different drink but seems no more pleased with that one than the first. He visits several different cafes every day, repeating the same ruse, with the same unsatisfactory results.

I overhear a conversation among several old timers complaining of too many choices, and their plans to write a petition, to be signed by thousands, demanding that the number of drink choices be reduced to only three to avoid confusing everyone.

As for myself, I order the same drink every day, because I long ago recognized the false allure of infinite choices that are essentially the same after all, despite their exotic and enticing titles. By drinking the standard coffee, all possible variations are contained within it. By drinking one, one drinks them all.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Almost Killed While Writing At Starbucks

Impossible Cafes #1

I write at several different cafes in my area, most of them Starbucks. I have a favorite table at one of them, right next to a large window and the parking lot. Lately I've been writing my upcoming novel "Drone Fever" and a short story called "Daybreak" while there. I'm often there in the mornings.  But I had gone elsewhere one day.

So when I returned the day after, I was surprised to see a large piece of cardboard where a window had been. I assumed as anyone would that someone had thrown a rock through it overnight. I didn't even mention it when I approached the counter for my coffee.

The barista waiting for me told me how lucky I was that I didn't come in the day before as usual. Because a car had driven right through the parking lot, onto the sidewalk, and smashed through their front window! On the other side of that window was the table where I always sat. She said the car hit the table and it landed on the other side of the wall. I would have been killed if I had been sitting there!

As you can see from the picture, the window has yet to be replaced.


Ever since the barista told me about it, I've wondered what would have really happened if I had been sitting there. Would I have noticed the car approaching and jumped out of the way in the nick of time? Would I have suffered a broken arm but still managed to survive? I suppose in another universe, I was sitting there when the car smashed through. But in this universe, I was somewhere else.

If I were a little more paranoid, I would suspect someone had put out a contract on me and the driver had been paid off to do the job. But who and why?

I've been waiting for weeks for them to replace that window. Why? For one thing, I don't worry about another car smashing through the window, contract on me or not. But there's more. After they had inserted the cardboard into the empty window, I returned and sat at that table again. After some time, I smelled something funny, and then the odor became overpowering. It was the strong smell of cigarettes! I looked around to see who was smoking a cigarette inside a Starbucks cafe, as I had never seen anyone do it before. But I saw no one smoking.

Then I looked around past the cardboard to the sidewalk outside. Right in front of the cardboard stood a man smoking a cigarette. The smoke was entering the cafe from around the sides and the bottom. On top of that, he would drop his still-lit cigarette on the ground right next to the bottom of the cardboard and then come back into Starbucks and sit there for a while at his laptop. Then after a few minutes, he would go outside again and continue smoking that lit cigarette he had left beneath the cardboard. So the effect of not having a window was that the cafe around my table was filled with strong cigarette smoke coming from outside.

I've decided not to go there until the window is fixed or I don't see the smoker around. It's been weeks since the window was busted, yet it still hasn't been replaced. The barista said they would fix it a couple weeks ago, but still no window.

Having narrowly escaped death at Starbucks, it reminds me of the story I wrote here earlier called "Unearthly Entities Haunt Starbucks." Some sort of other-worldliness is around these cafes, but it doesn't seem to affect or threaten anyone but me.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

How Fast Should You Write a Book?

Lately I've read advice from self-published authors on how fast to write books. Some suggest no less than 3 novels a year. Others say you need to publish something regularly--every few weeks--so your audience stayed interested and doesn't leave. One prominent author claims to write short stories in 24 hours and then publish them.

Earlier I blogged on authors suggesting a book needs a certain word count for best effect on potential readers. 80,000-90,000 was considered ideal for novels.

The ideas of spending a fixed amount of time on a book, and aiming for a fixed word count, seem to work against achieving the best results in terms of literary quality. Clearly, a well-written book isn't the primary aim here, it is producing a lot of books and stories in a short period of time.

No doubt the advice that an author needs a lot of books on Amazon to get noticed and sell a lot is good counsel, and these recommendations on time and word count fit in with that. Unless somehow you write one book and it becomes a bestseller. That's not unknown but is the exception to the rule.

I find it tough to spend a very short amount of time on a story, because I know the literary quality will suffer. Perhaps I shouldn't mind so much as long as I am publishing a lot?

So far, I've published 4 stories in 2015 and hope to finish at least one novel and maybe two over the next 5 months. Fast enough? I suspect some of these authors are full-time writers.

My latest publication, the science fiction short story "I, Manikin."

http://www.amazon.com/I-Manikin-Stephen-Leary-ebook/dp/B0113C50ZI



Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Snowden Leaks Continue to Aid US Enemies

Islamic State has used National Security Agency documents stolen by Ed Snowden to change their operations in an effort to prevent the US from gathering intelligence on the group, according to new reports:
The Islamic State has also studied revelations from Edward J. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, about how the United States gathers information on militants. A main result is that the group’s top leaders now use couriers or encrypted channels that Western analysts cannot crack to communicate, intelligence and military officials said.
I've mentioned here several times that Snowden and his friends continue to leak NSA documents long after he has made his point about government intrusion. The leaks serve no purpose except to aid the interests of the enemies of the US, such as ISIS, Russia, China, Iran, etc.

Whatever Snowden was when this all started, he is now no different than a mole working for the other side stealing the crown jewels. No logical case can be made at this point for divulging more classified documents on "behalf" of the average US or world citizen.

See my recent short story "The Flurry Abduction" based on the Snowden case.

http://www.amazon.com/Flurry-Abduction-Stephen-Leary-ebook/dp/B010II2BD2



Thursday, July 16, 2015

New York Times Finally Adds Ted Cruz's Book to Bestseller List

Responding to the firestorm of controversy that erupted after Republican conservative Senator Ted Cruz's book was left off the New York Times' bestseller list, the politically liberal newspaper caved in and the book will appear on their list tomorrow.

Cruz said public pressure led to the decision:
“They don’t want people to read the book, ‘A Time for Truth;’ they left it off and then an amazing thing happened. Number one, they accused me of bulk sales. I said that is a lie. ... Then my publisher Harper-Collins came out and said that is a lie. We have all the sales data. There are no bulk purchases,” the Republican senator told Fox News' Megyn Kelly on Wednesday.
The newspaper, unable to admit politics led to the book's exclusion, said nothing was changed in the selection process:
“This week’s best seller list was arrived at using the same process as last week’s – and the week before that,” said Murphy. “That process involves a careful analysis of data, and is not influenced in any way by the content of a book, or by pressure from publishers or book sellers.”

Without question, this entire episode will continue to raise questions in the public's mind about the Times' journalistic integrity.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Amazon's Bestselling Books 1995-2015

Amazon sold its first book in July 1995, Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies by Douglas Hofstadter. They have now posted a list of their bestselling books for every year from 2015 (so far) going back to 1995. Here are the top books for each year:

  • 2015 Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
  • 2014 StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath
  • 2013 StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath
  • 2012 Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy by E L James
  • 2011 Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
  • 2010 The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
  • 2009 The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
  • 2008 A New Earth: Awakening Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
  • 2007 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
  • 2006 Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't by Jim Collins
  • 2005 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling
  • 2004 The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
  • 2003 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
  • 2002 Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't by Jim Collins
  • 2001 Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson
  • 2000 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
  • 1999 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling
  • 1998 A Man in Full by Tom Wolfe
  • 1997 Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
  • 1996 Creating Killer Websites: The Art of Third-Generation Site Design by David Siegel
  • 1995 How to Set Up and Maintain a World Wide Web Site by Lincoln Stein

12 are fiction, 9 are non-fiction. The internet was just starting to grow big in the mid-90s, explaining the website design books. Once a character like Harry Potter becomes popular, he stays popular, reflecting the passion readers have for a series of books starring the same character.





Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Authors Accuse Amazon of Antitrust Violations

A long list of authors and the American Booksellers Association are requesting Obama's Justice Department investigate Amazon for antitrust and anti-competitive behavior.

From Authors United to the DOJ:
In recent years, Amazon has used its dominance in ways that we believe harm the interests of America’s readers, impoverish the book industry as a whole, damage the careers of (and generate fear among) many authors, and impede the free flow of ideas in our society.
What I think is curious about this dispute is the expectation that Obama's infamous Justice Department is expected by all these writers to deliver some sort of fair and equitable ruling. I find that beyond belief, whether we are talking about books or people of any race or occupation. There is something surreal about appealing to this Justice Department for a fair solution.

I see famous names on the list, but many noteworthy authors are missing as well.

These same groups have tried to interest the Justice Department in this Amazon dispute before with no success. Perhaps that's why the ABA included in its letter:
We are concerned that the mega-book-retailer Amazon.com has
achieved such considerable market power with such questionable business tactics that it is undermining the ecosystem of the entire book industry in a way that will be detrimental, especially to mid-list authors, new authors, and minority voices.
Call me cynical, but alerting Obama's Justice Department to a "minority" angle on this is probably done with a view that there is no other way to capture their interest.

Should Obama's government intervene in this case? I suspect not. But it will if it sees one of its pet issues at stake here, such as minority rights or something along those lines.


Monday, July 13, 2015

Amazon Calls Out New York Times on Cruz Book

Amazon has called into question the assertion by the New York Times that sales of Senator Ted Cruz's book were driven by "strategic bulk purchases." That was the reason given by the Times for refusing to include the Republican's book on their bestseller list.

From Politico:
"As of yesterday, 'A Time for Truth' was the number 13 bestselling book, and there is no evidence of unusual bulk purchase activity in our sales data," Sarah Gelman, Amazon's director of press relations, said in an email.
HarperCollins, the publisher of Cruz's book, has already called into question the omission of Cruz's book from the NYT list.


The New York Times remains silent amidst the uproar over their obvious political bias. The New York Times is a liberal newspaper unofficially affiliated with the Democrat Party. Cruz is a conservative Republican running for President.

I've mentioned before that the New York Times is not an independent newspaper and is living off its reputation from 50 years ago. That's not hyperbole. With each passing year, the newspaper slides further and further leftward. I think most readers are aware of it and those that stand by it simply agree with its promotion of a liberal agenda.



Friday, July 10, 2015

New York Times' Dishonest Book Bestseller List

The New York Times isn't the newspaper it was in the old days. Today, its editorial and news outlook is something like a far-left blog. The radicals have taken over. It's not independent but is part of the Democrat Party. It almost seems illegitimate that it should have the same name as it did in days gone by.

The latest example of so many: Ted Cruz is a conservative running for the Republican Party presidential nomination. He has written a new book called "A Time for Truth."


http://www.amazon.com/Time-Truth-Reigniting-Promise-America-ebook/dp/B00MTSKHTU

According to Politico (left of center!), the New York Times refuses to list this book on their bestseller list despite the fact that it has outsold all but two titles on their current list. The reason?

According to an NYT official:
"In the case of this book, the overwhelming preponderance of evidence was that sales were limited to strategic bulk purchases," she wrote.
HarperCollins, the publisher of Cruz's book, has refuted the New York Times' claim that Cruz attempted to game the bestseller list. From Buzzfeed:
“No evidence of bulk orders or sales through any retailer or organization,” says the publisher, in a rare rebuttal to the all-powerful Times.
The New York Times, again, is running away from its responsibilities as a news source. It is certainly politically biased against Cruz and all conservatives. No one can seriously doubt that. And now a reason has been found to keep a conservative political candidate off their list. I defy anyone to cite a case where this happened with a liberal.

In light of the HarperCollins statement, the New York Times needs to provide evidence of "bulk orders" and such or admit the exclusion of Cruz's book was politically motivated, and place it on their bestseller list.

The New York Times has a lot to prove as an honest news source. Everything is slanted toward the Democrat Party and the far-left side of the political spectrum. No pretense to objectivity or independence that I can see. I could say just about the same for other prominent mainstream media sources, such as the Washington Post and USA Today.

A new poll shows that only 24 percent of the public believes the news media reports without bias. Ken Paulson of USA Today said:
"These are discouraging results for those of us who have spent our careers in journalism. In 23 years in newsrooms, I saw consistent and concerted efforts to get stories right. Clearly, the public's not convinced."
I find that an odd statement from someone associated with USA Today. I follow their news and they are just as biased, as liberal, and as juvenile as any other major mainstream newspaper. If he doesn't see that, he's in the wrong business. He's blind, but the public can see what's up.

I assume most others in the newsrooms of the New York Times, USA Today, and Washington Post are well aware of their own bias but somehow they think of it as a good thing and somehow what they are doing is good for journalism and the country. People can convince themselves of anything, even that.




Thursday, July 09, 2015

Cafes Wish Lingering Customers Would Leave

It's never really been an issue for me, but I see in a recent news article that some cafes, at least in the Washington DC area, are trying to encourage customers who stay a long time to get up and leave. The idea is that their table could be used by a new customer and the cafe could make more money.

It's not an issue for me because most of the times I go to cafes, few people are there. I'm usually in Starbucks or some other national chain. I haven't seen them telling anyone to leave, ever, although there are times I wished they would toss the bums out.


The article on Washington DC quoted a bunch of local cafe owners. I've never once been to any of those cafes, so I can't say what goes on there. But apparently people go there to telework and stay all day because they find it a more pleasant environment than staying home.

At Starbucks, I've sat next to guys in business suits having a meeting but it doesn't last long. I see some people sitting for hours at their laptops but I can hardly believe they are working. A lot of them seem like they are either students or unemployed. And they seem to be wasting time surfing the internet and composing emails, not that I've watched them that much to really know for sure what it is they are doing. I'm too busy with what I'm doing to notice.


My biggest concern with the laptop crowd is that they aren't trying to hack my own connection. This worried me at one particular Starbucks cafe so much that I will no longer use my iPhone app to buy anything there but instead always pay cash on the rare occasions I go to that one anymore.

As you can see from the 2 photos I've posted to this article, few people are around when I'm in Starbucks. In fact, there's nobody in either photo. And these are well-trodden places. I'm not in South Dakota. Apparently those teleworkers sleep in every day.

So I don't think cafes mind that I stay for a couple hours and write my stories. It's not like a bunch of potential customers are waiting for tables. It's just the reverse: the tables are waiting for customers.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

This Is What I'm Up Against As A Self-Published Author

I have to be honest and admit I've never respected genres of fiction such as "Romance" and what is euphemistically called "Erotica." Lousy writers titillating readers for very cheap thrills and profit. I hardly consider these people "writers" in any meaningful sense of the word, except they put words on paper.

I'm reminded of what Truman Capote said about Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation: "It isn't writing, it's typing." I've always thought of these genres as typing, rather than writing. The word "writing" means more to me than someone who puts words on paper. I guess if Capote can look down on Kerouac, I can do the same for people who publish Romance and Erotica fiction.


But the punchline to the story is this: everybody reads Romances and Erotica, no matter how bad the writing is.

A recent story I found from Google News has brought to my attention that stepsibling Romance novels are now a staple on the best-selling Amazon charts. As I noted recently on this blog, so many people read Romances and Erotica that Scribd had to change their business model so they could make a profit and not pay out so much to authors of these books.

I've always been hopeful that Amazon would toss the Erotica out their door and into the sewer but that would take a huge chunk out of their book sales, so I'm not holding my breath.

For those authors such as myself whose literary aims are a bit higher, it's tough to check the bestseller lists and see what kind of trash the public feverishly consumes. Without question, high quality writers make their way onto the bestseller lists as well, but I think it must give pause to anyone who cares about good writing to see what sells these days.


Tuesday, July 07, 2015

My New Story: 'I, Manikin'

My brand new story "I, Manikin" is now available on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/I-Manikin-Stephen-Leary-ebook/dp/B0113C50ZI

In the near future, rebel cell group members confront the reality that they have been infiltrated by a government manikin sent to spy on them. But who is it? The manikins are indistinguishable from humans. One of their group has recently died from a supposed accident that they believe was orchestrated by the government. They must identify and destroy the manikin before he can do them any further harm.

This short story is about 6,000 words in length. It is the first of a number of envisioned "manikin" stories and novels. I hope you enjoy it.


Monday, July 06, 2015

I Republished My Story 'The Smartphone'

My short story "The Smartphone" has been republished is now available on Amazon again. I've decided to keep it as a standalone single for $0.99.


From the Afterword:

Does Rory's new smartphone possess an unusual power to see things others can't? Is his estranged son a terrorist? And are the FBI visiting again? What does his wife think about all this?

The Smartphone was inspired by two famous short stories: “Signs and Symbols” by Vladimir Nabokov and “The Enormous Radio” by John Cheever. I hope you like my attempt to merge the two into my own narrative about an unusual smartphone (a descendant of Cheever’s radio) displaying strange videos of extreme personal interest to its owner.

Nabokov’s story is short but powerful, and I attempted to duplicate that effect here. The Smartphone is intended to be short and not dwell on details.

I hope readers aren’t upset about the seemingly abrupt ending. I’ve always been a fan of what Ernest Hemingway called the “Wow” ending and I tried to achieve that effect here. But I was also echoing Nabokov. In his story, the phone rings one last time at the end of his story. And from the “signs and symbols” Nabokov placed in the narrative, the readers is supposed to understand that the final call is not another wrong number but something deliberate and sad. With the same idea in mind, when the FBI approaches the house a final time at the end of my story, the “signs and symbols” within the narrative are intended to lead the reader into understanding that it isn’t just the FBI asking about their son again, but something else entirely. I ask myself, how would I continue the story if I wanted to do that, and I can only laugh at the idea, since that would take the story into a kind of alternate reality!

This work is about 3,000 words in length, which means about 15 minutes to read.


Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Scribd Dumping Erotica, Romance Titles Must Be a Good Thing

As someone who has never written or read a single Romance or Erotica book, I'm not shedding any tears over the news that Scribd is dumping something like 80-90 percent of the Erotica and Romance novels available at their site, including those written by best-selling authors.

Apparently Romance fans are voracious readers, and Scribd is paying authors and publishers of such novels far more than their business model can sustain. It's not a problem with any other genres.

I've noticed whenever I search a book title in Amazon, the top results come up with book covers of men without shirts and women with their hands on the men's bare chests. The top bestsellers seem to be these types of books. So it's plain to anyone that Romance and smut are what many people are reading.


If these titles are to be reduced and their peddlers paid far less handsomely, I consider it a good thing, because if there are fewer Romance titles around, maybe some of those readers will look elsewhere, to fiction genres where the writing and the plots are far superior.

A problem with self-published authors is that so many writers are doing it; therefore, it's tough to get you and your books noticed, unless you write Romance and Erotica where the public's appetite is so powerful and all-consuming, an author is not in much danger of being ignored. But if you write books with any kind of quality to them, you struggle.

Scribd plans to eliminate Romance/Erotica that are the most popular and have the highest word counts. I blogged recently about writers who write with a certain word count in mind, no matter what, and this is a big reason why some choose to do that--an economic payoff from book subscription services such as Scribd when a lot of readers read all those words. But now Scribd is worrying about how it will make a profit in a world dominated by Romance titles and readers and authors.

If others, such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, want to reduce their Romance holdings as well, no tears from me. Imagine all those frustrated Romance readers with noting left to read except different genres such as Science Fiction, Mystery, Literary. Poor things.