Critical Linking: December 19, 2012

His patented algorithm has created more than 700,000 titles to date, with more than 100,000 listed on Amazon alone.

I thought some of the writing of those 85,000 books I read last year seemed a little mechanical.


As book reviews become more and more unreliable, so more and more buyers will start to get frustrated that they aren’t getting what they were expected and will start looking for reviews elsewhere. That will habituate them to looking outside Amazon for information on books and bring Amazon’s position as the canonical reference for books under threat.

Problem is that reliability of reviews is about number 7 on the list of things readers like about Amazon.


What was this yellow “thing” I held in my hands??  Who had come up with it, and why?  I felt like a pregnant mother who, after expecting a blue-eyed, blonde-haired girl, delivered a boy with neon-green hair.  Luckily, there was a lawn chair nearby.  I sat down and pulled the rest of the cover flats out of the envelope, trying to comprehend why my publisher thought this was the best representation for my work.  Maybe they had confused The Plum Treewith someone else’s novel.

It is weird that authors don’t have more say in what their books actually look like.


Here’s the thing. I’d been working three freelance gigs. And right as this Kickstarter happened, one of them folded. I spent December running the figures on my spreadsheet, forecasting cash flow. Thanks to gig #3, I’d set some cash aside. Not a lot, but enough to cover printing costs and then a little extra. Combined with the Kickstarter money, I looked at my cash burn rate, and realized I could do something truly, insanely, crazy:

I could quit gig #2, stick with only gig #1, and I had enough money to make it for nine months. Maybe ten.

This is an amazing development that more writers should try. Think of it as a grant from your readers.

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