It's been a busy time for us this week. Lots of promotions in lieu of our imminent shutdown.
Thanks for all your emails of support and encouragement. News of what's happening to us in January will have to wait until then...
We have important stuff going on right now!
In case you needed a reference point, the following is a list of the Digital Disposal items that have appeared in the last eight or nine days. Feel free to click on the links you're interested in.
December Digital Disposal
Remember that this is the very last time these uniquely helpful resources will be available. After the 31st of December, they will all be gone from the Net!
THIS WEEK'S ARTICLE:
Lots of you have said to me that you're saddened by the news about the Easy Way to Write but that as long as I keep up my weekly newsletter, in whatever form, then you'll be happy!
That's nice to know.
As I've said sometimes in the past - it's hard to know if anyone's reading your words these days. It's the modern writer's dilemma.
There's such a barrage of written material arriving on-line daily from all corners of the globe - all competing for readers in an ever more competitive environment.
At the same time as blogs and social media grows and new websites proliferate, the giant websites continue to exert their power and influence for entirely financial ends.
You know who I'm talking about.
Behind the scenes, Google, as far as I can tell, is bent on complete domination of the Net, which or may or may not be a good thing - we'll see...
Much as we love the idea the Net is a wonderful free information resource, I fear we're fast approaching the day when that reality is a fading pipe dream.
YouTube is now Google owned, I'm sure you knew. Their aim is to replace television as far as I can see. They're doing deals on a daily basis with film and TV production companies that will allow them to broadcast pay per view on line 24/7.
And also behind the scenes, Facebook is in close contact with the US government - for reasons that aren't entirely clear. What is clear is that the ready availability of FB on mobile devices has got something to do with global information gathering that goes way beyond the scope of just another website.
One doesn't like to seem paranoid but I do think there's renewed truth in the old maxim of "information is power."
And with power comes responsibility of course.
It's not that we don't trust the corporate monsters that Google, FB, Apple and Microsoft have become - but is it wise to hand over so much of our personal information - so much of our liberty - to organizations that are not accountable to anyone but themselves?
Plus, from a writer's perspective, there's the thorny issue of copyright. There's been only a few test cases so far but, without legislation, can we really be sure who 'owns' the writing we put on line?
In the fine print of almost all websites lies the as yet dormant understanding that anything you post to the Net - blogs, articles, books, screenplays, anything, actually belongs to that website.
There are cases already in Hollywood where producers believe they've bought the rights to a story only to discover later that third party websites are claiming ownership of it because the story was posted there first.
Imagine what will happen when the next Twilight comes along and a website says it owns the rights to it because the author uploaded the promotional video to the novel years before the rights were sold.
They might claim the book could never have become successful without their hosting - and, in fact, they'd have a good legal basis for that argument.
Well, we're kind of stuck, aren't we?
In order to promote ourselves and our writing, we need to put it up on line. If we don't, we remain in obscurity.
Or do we?
There's still a healthy majority of off-line punters who regard the Net as irrelevant to their lives - and quite a few of them are book buyers.
And even though some book chain stores are closing, the drop in books sales has only been in the order of a few percent. It's not the Internet that is closing down the independent bookstores, it's the supermarket chains that can sell our books at half price.
But there's still a healthy market for books off line. Many of my friends sell their self published books off-line and make one heck of a lot more money than they would make selling digital copies on the web.
Ebooks sell well of course - and will continue to, I'm sure, but the real profit from ebooks comes from numbers - the vast numbers that, say, Amazon deals in. Millions a day, not the one or two an author might sell per day at a profit of a few cents each.
You never see ads coaxing you to go on-line specifically. The Net has its own marketing momentum. People want it, whatever it looks like in the short term.
It could be that in the long term we grow more discerning and demand that the giant websites behave in a certain way - more accountable, less market greedy.
But that's not what's happening at the moment.
We're seeing a gold rush. The giant websites want global domination - that old aspiration we give all our James Bond type bad guys!
But, like me, you probably wondered what characters like Dr No and Goldfinger were actually going to do if they ever did get to take over the world.
Well, perhaps now is the time to wonder what will happen when someone - or some corporate entity - actually does...
THIS WEEK'S WRITER'S QUOTE:
"The tale is often wiser than the teller."