Monthly Archives: January 2012

Another Cogent, On-Point Post

FROM KRIS RUSCH in her The Business Rusch series.

People, LISTEN. This is no amateur pundit or wannabe author. This is a seasoned pro, making this WORK.

So, you indie writers who’ve self published, you’re feeling pretty smug right now, aren’t you? You’ve read this post, you’re thinking, I’m glad I didn’t walk down that road.

And yet, how many of you have novels selling for 99 cents? How many of you have all of your novels priced at 99 cents? How many of you have a novel up for free somewhere, even though you’ve published fewer than ten novels? How many of you have nothing priced over $1.99? $2.99?

How many of you fled all of the other e-publishing platforms so that you could be in the Kindle Select program, just because they give you five days when you can market your book for free?

In some ways, you guys are much worse than the traditional writers. You have no vision and no understanding of business. Most of you are running around the internet, promoting your one novel, following some kind of crazy Get Rich Quick scheme. According to Michael Cader’s figures, only 20 self-published ebook authors made the bestseller lists in 2011. Only 20, out of the hundreds of thousands published.

You’re gambling on a wave that won’t ever reach you, wasting all your energy on one or two or three books rather than doing the one thing that will guarantee you more readers: Writing (and publishing) the next book.

And even if you’re one of the fortunate few for whom lightning does strike with your 99 cent ebook, you won’t make much money. The bestselling ebook published in 2011 was by a self-published author, Darcie Chan. Her Mill River Recluse sold 413,000 units at 99 cents, which means she made roughly one-third of that (because under $2.99, most e-book sites only pay 35% or less). In other words, she made about $143,000. Not bad.

But if she had priced at $2.99, and sold half of those 413,000 units, she would have made around $432,000. (206,500 units times $2.99 times 70%)

Here’s the thing: If the book is good—and clearly that one is or it wouldn’t have sold that well—it would eventually have sold 413,000 copies or more, and Darcie Chan would have made a lot more money. She’s a news story, and the darling of the Kindle Boards right now, but her wave will dissipate, especially if she doesn’t publish another book soon. Anyone see Amanda Hocking on any bestseller lists lately?

Most books—whether traditionally published or not—never ever ever even sniff at a bestseller list of any kind. To pursue that as your goal is like trying to win the lottery. You’re better off writing the next book, getting a lot of books out there and making money on all of those books over time.

RTWT.

Repeat Until It Soaks In

CATASTROPHIC ANTHROPOGENIC GLOBAL WARMING HAS BEEN DEBUNKED. Falsififed. It is an un-theory. (It never was a proper theory, but never mind.) Therefor, all — ALL — public policy prescriptions based on the fallacious conjecture that the burning of hydrocarbon fuels may cause or contribute to CAGW are initiated in bad faith. Do not accept any arguments in favor, they are founded on false premises. People who insist on doing things for reasons founded in “global warming” or “greenhouse gases” may be assumed to be rent-seeking wreckers. Fight them on all fronts with all vigor, to paraphrase Teh Won’s Mentors and Inspirations.

Sheesh!

I Tend to Be An Absolutist

WHEN IT COMES TO LIBERTY. To me, the concept of a compelling public interest (read: state interest) is — or ought to be — an anathema to a free people. So long as there is no damage done by one citizen to another, the bright line between individual rights and the power of the state should be treated as though it were an unbreachable force field. Crossing it: not an option. No sovereign immunity. Civil penalties, Hell! Criminal penalties. Throw the book at ’em.

(In a nation where the individual citizen is sovereign, how does the doctrine of sovereign immunity for public officials hold sway?)

There is a case wending its way through the courts wherein investigators for the state “believe” evidence of guilt may be hidden behind an encrypted password-protected screen saver (or similarly-constructed system). The owner of the password refuses to divulge on Fifth Amendment grounds — arguing the password is protected as testimony perhaps tending to incriminate.

I say, “Stop right there.”

The mere assertion of the right, according to the Ninth Amendment:

The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

…is — or ought to be — dispositive. You name it; you own it. The agents of the state shall not force self-incriminating testimony for any reason whatsoever, on pain of civil and criminal penalties. No immunity.

Now, waitjustadamnedminnit, Alger! That would make it impossible for police to do their jobs. You could never prove anything in court.

Except on the basis of eyewitness testimony. Yes.

And you don’t see the problem with this?

What? That the burden of proof be on the state? Seems to me the balance has tipped too long, too far in the other direction. Just bringing things back to center.

In the case mentioned above, the agents of the state are arguing an analogy (read: weasel-wording the law) that the state has been permitted in the past to compel the surrender of a key to a locked file cabinet and how is this different?

And I say, echoing Dolly above, nowwaitjustadamnedminnit! Let’s look at this the other way. Stipulating the analogy between a password and a key to a file cabinet for a moment, let us ask this question:

HOW IN THE HELL IS COMPELLING THE SURRENDER OF A KEY NOT A VIOLATION OF THE FIFTH AMENDMENT?

Hmmm? Weasel-word THAT.

(And, no, I do not accept precedent as a “because” reason. Ever.)

Cross-posted at Eternity Road.

John McCain Has Endorsed Mitt Romney

THAT’S OK. At this stage in the ’08 election, I wasn’t for McCain then, either. Same shit, different election cycle.

Been Rather Distracted of Late

AND THINGS AREN’T GOING the way I want them to around here. Hope that will change.

I haven’t done Cloud Observatory or Pix posts this week. Since today is Thursday, I figure this week is blown. I’ll pick up next Monday. I’d like to get a month ahead. I used to do that.

Progress on It’s Dolly’s Birthday has slown to a snail’s pace.

I have broken 50K. But still it seems the end is receding ever farther from my grasp. I’ve become dissatisfied with the gradually escalating nature of Dolly’s jeopardy. As in, it isn’t. Each one seems to be a disjointed body part, and not incorporated into a whole. There’s no gradually rising tension in them. It’s not in my telling, so far as I can see, but in the actual nature of the jeopardy as I conceive it. Oh, they’re all jeopardish and stuff enough, but I’m not doing the setup, the delivery, the punch line right. Needs work.

I’ve jiggered the ending. Apocrypha stories in first draft have traditionally had a happy ending: Dolly goes home with Drummond and they live and love happily ever after. Until the next time. This is a pattern I think I want to break. Each story will have a different heartbreak at the end. This is another thing that’s a great idea, but requires excellent execution. I’m having a crisis of confidence on that score here.

And finally, there’s the actual structure of the story itself. I’ve got it laid out so that it braids the threads among Dolly, Drummond, and Pete (Dolly’s sidekick). As Dolly gets more stage time than the other two, her segments/scenes are longer and more numerous than the others. I’m beginning to think that, instead of braiding, I should be blocking. With Scrivener, it’s easy enough to do, Just set up a separate arrangment and change the order. But there’s a lot of implications that crop up along the way. I’m having trees-eclipsing-forest problems at the moment. I can work through it, but it’s frustrating.

Meantime, Alphas have the first “half” and I’m not wanting to jog elbows, but really am starved for feedback. ::sigh::

In a Word, YES

THE PRESIDENT ASKS does anyone think that the reason we’re in this mess is too much government regulation?

Well, for certain specific values of too much, in a word, Yes. To me, “too much” == “any,” but then, I’m a bomb-throwing radical extremist.

But, perhaps, as usual, he seeks to distract you from the reality of the situation by asking the wrong question. It’s not too much or too little, but the wrong kind. In coercing businesses to do things that are contrary to their purpose, operate to their detriments, and do not serve their owners, after all, the real indictment comes in the question, “Why are you doing that at all?” not in “Are you doing too little/too much of that?”

BTW: does anybody but me consider it fighting words when Chuckie Schumer uses the phrase “extreme right wing” with a sneer in his voice?

Government or

UNIONS? Glenn Reynolds slugs his item linking to this post about the decline of the California prison system GOVERNMENT. But a more apposite slug would be UNIONS.

People can be misled by their compassionate hearts and come to believe that the use of a corrupt tool in the amelioration of misery brought on by imprudence will not corrupt that compassionate use.

Unions have all of the ills of government with none of the redeeming features of free markets. They start out operating in bad faith and the abridgement of individual rights and go downhill from there. To have public employees unionized is a double insult to a fatal injury.

Rush:

“STEVE SCHMIDT’S out there again — that’s the guy who ran McCain’s campaign.”

And anybody is listening to him … why, exactly…?

This is like listening to — oh, I dunno — Jimmy Carter’s campaign manager. Or Walter MON-dull’s.

Why Businesses Lose

SHORT VERSION: they forget that markets exist for the benefit of the customer.

Longer version.

Is #OccupyFail Trying to Rewrite the Constitution

DAVID CODREA takes a at some claims by a group asserting a desire to re-jigger the Constitution. He concludes that this not the same apparent ideology that drove the infestation of leftists that drove the OWS crowd last year. Me, I’m not so sure.

You have to start out from the premise that the Left never acts in good faith. So, if they are asserting ideals more consonant with traditional, Constitutional, liberty-ideal types than with the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist revolutionaries driving the Occupy movement, I’m more inclined to believe those are a stalking horse. There is no intent to restore the original purpose of the Republic. Rather, the drive is to get the hands of international revolution on the gavel of a constitutional convention, and thereby to rewrite the whole document from the ground up on wholly other premises with insidious and odious ends in mind.

My first clue is the assertion that the Constitution “drastically outdated”. This is not a claim I’ve ever heard from anyone who truly understands and appreciates the wisdom of the Founders. Rather, this is someone whose ideological thinking has drifted far off-course and rudderless into a Sargasso Sea of insanity. The problem is not that the Constitution is outdated, it is that the soi-disant ruling class of America has drifted far too far from that basis and is now afraid to be judged according to its lights — realizing, of course, that it (the self-nominated ruling class) would be found wanting — indeed, traitorous — by those lights.

Those who might want to find hope in this, as Codrea appears to do, should follow one bit of advice: follow the money. See what sources of financing and ideological direction this movement has before you trust it. In the words of that great sucker, Admiral Akbar — it’s a trap!

Quote of the day

90% of anything is showing up.

–Woody Allen

OK. I’m here. Now what?

Hello/ello

SAW SCOTT PELLEY (sic) in action for the first time tonight. (No, I don’t watch 60 Minutes. Why would you ask?) (Interrupted NCIS. Wassup wit dat? If I’d wanted to watch Ted Baxter, I’d have tuned in Mary Tyler Moore.) But seriously, now: is there anybody in there? Is there anyone at home? Have you ever seen a more vacant newsbot?

Tuesday Morning

ON THE GLENN BECK radio show, the discussion reminded me of this quote from da Doll:

All helicopters are black after midnight.

Spread the word.

40,000 (New Laws) In Gehenna

BIRD DOG, AT Maggie’s Farm asserts that A) there’s no way to know and/or obey them all and that 2) we are therefor all criminals now.

We must demur.

There are only a very few criminals in this. They are under 1,000 in number, and comprise (albeit not exclusively) Congress and the President.

When the Water Approaches the Gunwales

SOMEBODY SAID RECENTLY follow the rats.

This is actually, possibly, not such a hot idea. America needs two, vital political poles to counter-balance one another. When one is so weakened by its own corruption that the other can walk all over it (as the Democrats have done for a long time), the country suffers. But it may be that the rampant corruption of the Democrat party — due, I suspect, in large part to the unwillingness of the partisan legacy media to examine said corruption in any meaningful way — has spread so far and metastasized so virulently that there is no way to save the corpus. Only palliatives can have any effect, and then only until the inevitable end.

And what may rise from the ashes might not be so pretty.

You May Have Already Seen This

ITEM ON INSTAPUNDIT but it bears repeating and promulgating as far and wide as can be. SOPA and the ProtectIP act are not meant to protect the creators of intellectual property from piracy. They are meant to protect the corporate buccaneers of IP from the depredations of their outraged customers. So, when the good guys — however intermittently good they may be — propose a political action, lovers of liberty should support them.

Let your congresscritters to let this abomination die aborning. And go buy stuff at the merchants standing up for your liberty.

Which Demonstrates

HOW THOROUGHLY and deliberately invidious political correctness is. And is meant to be.

And, one should remind all of you political ecumenists out there, is wholly a creature of the Left.

Taxation == Theft. Theft == Murder

THEREFOR TAXATION == MURDER Q.E.D. These are equivalencies I have discussed at some length here on BTB, as well as elsewhere. While the moral points are pretty much indisputable, nevertheless, some idiots continue to dispute them. Add to this short list this from Holly Lisle.

Many sages over the years have observed that, if you accept money from the government, you are, in effect, receiving stolen property. This stems from the question: when is it moral for the group to do that which the individual is forbidden? (Answer: never.) If it is impermissible for you to go door-to-door in your town and demand money at gunpoint, how is it proper for you to allow the state to do it on your behalf? This is why the suggestion as put forth, e.g., in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress that all government functions be funded exclusively by voluntary subscription is so damned apposite.

And, if you believe that the above Q&A is fallacious — that government should be permitted to do things individuals are forbidden (with the possible exception of the initiation of the use of force — on which I might quibble with Ms Lisle), then you are obviously against individual rights and liberty and are on the wrong side in this argument: by you, slavery and peonage are just ducky.

The point is raised most timely. This year, as last, we shall see many provisions of the Obamacare legislation put in motion. This is a piece — nay, a potpourri, a kudzu — of legislation founded on the principle that it is OK to enslave medical professionals and your neighbors to serve your convenience. Pardon the rest of us if we object.

And, just to nuke a couple of potential arguments:

Taxation without representation. We has it. The entire Federal tax edifice is unconstitutional. It is enforce by forte main in an extra-legal system in which the principles of American jurisprudence are turned on their heads. Nor is there a patriotic duty to pay taxes at all in the first place, but most especially not for extra-legal expenditures. (Hint: very little done by Congress in the past 100 years — the period soi disant — scorn quotes — “progressives” — witter on about when they say We in the Right wish to roll back 100 years of progress. (A consummation devoutly, etc.) — has been according to the Constitution and the limited, enumerated powers granted Congress in Article 1, Section 8, or the define restrictions and limits on congressional power in Article 1, Section 9. (Or, for that matter, the Bill of Rights.) The PATRIOT Act alone renders any congresscritter who did not vote against it in violation of his or her oath of office. Or McCain-Feingold. Or — for that matter — Obamacare.)

These things render all acts of the government illegitimate, which kind of moots the whole power to tax thing.

Second: Yes, it is your convenience. You cannot properly claim necessity in asking for a draw from the common burse in a matter in which you have failed to exercise sufficient prudence. You have not lain aside sufficient wherewithal to cover your debts, or made provision to amortize them over time, it therefore is a matter of your convenience that you require your neighbors to pay for your care, housing, feeding, clothing, education, transport, or any other thing that is part of a life.

At Some Point It Must

BECOME OBVIOUS TO both We in the Right and They on the Left that the problem here is not Left Government or Right Government, it is Government. Period.

In Other Words

FREE (OR ANONYMOUS FREE) SPEECH for everybody except those who say things we disagree with.

I generally support the stated aims of the EFF, but still and all, it is revelatory when a liberal organization — or liberal members of organizatons — show their true stripes.

Everybody Should Know This

A LARGE DOSE of Vitamin B complex (all items at minimum in excess of 100% of RDA) beats hair of the dog all hollow. Frex: Four drinks of Jim Beam*, the last one around midnight. Two B tablets before I started drinking. No hangover.

Slept 10 hours, but I don’t think that’s relevant.

Happy New Year.

*No, it’s not epic. Didn’t even get much of a buzz. Not the point. Without the B, there WOULD have been a hangover.

Happy 2012

TO EVERYBODY!