Welcome to SimonMorden.com
If you’re here for the Heart project, this is the main page.
If you’re here for the Heart project, this is the main page.
(Obligatory popping eyes and pointing! Great Scott!)
Things have happened since I last wrote here. So, in some vague order not necessarily related to importance…
Amazon are still having a hissy fit with Hachette. My post, “Don’t buy my books from Amazon” still applies.
Greenbelt, which I didn’t speak at, but did volunteer for (hi-vis jacket and yet more pointing), was brilliant, even the rain-sodden Monday. Owen Jones gave the best rabble-rousing speech I’ve heard from a socialist since Tony Benn. Jonny and the Baptists were excellent (note to all – Farrage (to rhyme with garage) now means the liquid left at the bottom of a bin after two weeks of hot sun). Hannah Nicklin’s one-woman play, ‘A conversation with my father’ was thought-provoking and heart-warming in equal measure. Folk On were, as ever, fantastic. Even the Communion service on Sunday morning, an often hit-and-miss affair, was solid and memorable. Mpho Tutu gave the address, and the music – country flavoured from father and son Hummon – exactly right. The dragonflies were a bonus.
Loncon 3, aka WorldCon, was surprisingly enjoyable. I say surprising as I don’t tend to do very large crowds well, and there were around 10,000 attendees. My panel didn’t quite break out the pitchforks and burning torches, though excellent moderator Janice expelled one member of the audience, and my BeerKlatsch (like a KaffeeKlatsch but… oh, you know the rest) seemed to entertain. As I said on the Book of Face: we drank, we fought, we made our ancestors proud. Probably not much else you can ask from a con.
I have redecorated the dining room. It even looks quite nice.
I have changed publishers. (Hah! Didn’t see that one coming, did you?) For entirely pragmatic reasons, and not because of any falling out with anyone from Orbit, my next two books, and hopefully beyond, will be published by Gollancz. This does affect the next Petrovitch book (#5 – The Edge of Space) in that, while I hope that Gollancz will pick it up, it is not one of the two books I’m under contract for. I’ve just completed the first draft of the first of those. I’ll shortly begin book 2 of what will hopefully be a trilogy. More on these at a later date when I’ve had time to draw breath.
I have an entry in the SF encyclopedia. I think that means I’m now part of the furniture and you can’t get rid of me.
I wrote something about Arcanum for printasia.com. Arcanum continues to divide opinion into three: the ‘worthy effort but ultimately fails’ camp, the ‘WTF is this science crap doing in my epic fantasy?’ group (and boy, do they hate it when that happens…), and the ‘towering work of staggering genius’ crowd, who are obviously my favourites. It’s still the story I wanted to tell, the way I wanted to tell it, and I’m immensely fond of both it, and the characters in it – even the horrible ones.
Well, it’s more of a schedulette, as I have precisely 2 items – I have no idea if that’s just the luck of the draw: it is a WorldCon and therefore lots of people…
On Saturday, 11am-12, I’m on the panel Beyond the Force: Religion in the Future, in the Capital Suite 14 (Level 3)
On Sunday, 2pm-3pm, you may join me for a literary beer. I have no idea what this means (assuredly it doesn’t mean I’m buying a beer for everyone who turns up…), but if you want to bring books to be signed, and you haven’t ambushed me previously to this, then this will be your last chance, as I’m heading off home shortly afterwards.
It does mean that I get the chance to do a lot of participating – panels and arts and lectures and films and stuff – so don’t be worried about dragging me off to the bar/cafe for a drink and a chat.
Me, being interviewed, here…
Just because someone asked, and I eventually managed to catch them sitting quietly together, as opposed to smacking each other around the head…
There are, of course, problems with taking a photo of two mainly black cats against a bright window, but I’ve done my best with the levels.
What, wait? Settle down with your beverage of choice and I’ll explain.
Amazon are currently involved in negotiations with Hachette (the parent company of both Orbit and Gollancz) regarding the wholesale cost of books. Amazon want them cheaper, Hachette think they’re cheap enough already. So far, so clear.
Now, cheaper books would be good, right? Yes, and no. Yes, because books that are cheaper sell more copies to more people. No, because it’s unlikely that readers would see the savings, nor authors increased sales. As I understand it, Amazon are asking Hachette for a deeper discount so they can make a bigger profit – not so they can pass that discount on. Consequently it has all the hallmarks of big retailer putting the squeeze on a producer for a bigger margin.
Okay. Now, negotiations like this are normally carried on behind closed doors, in boardrooms and conference calls. Except they’re not. Currently, if you go to my author page on Amazon.com, you’ll see that the four Petrovitch books have delivery dates in weeks, rather than days. Click through on Arcanum, and it’s full price for the paperback, and you may see a bar at the top with “similar items at a lower price”.
I’m not alone. As far as I know, all Hachette authors are affected thus, and it’s now escalated (because Hachette won’t back down) to the point where new books are being marked as unavailable, or have no page. This is what Amazon’s negotiation looks like.
To make it perfectly clear, all my books are still available in all English-speaking territories. There are no distribution problems, they’re not out of print, Hachette are still sending boxes to Amazon warehouses. It’s just that Amazon are refusing to sell them. This is not the case (yet) on Amazon.co.uk.
While biting the hand that feeds me is a risky strategy, I’m going to ask you, the reader or potential reader, not to use Amazon US to buy books. There are other online retailers out there, and there are still bricks-and-mortar bookstores who’d love your business. If they don’t have the book you want in stock, they’ll order it for you, it’ll arrive in a couple of days, and you can collect it from an actual smiling person who wants you to come back. I’m also going to ask that if you’re an author, whether or not you’re with a Hachette imprint, to get your readers to do the same, because they will come for you one day. You can link to this post or just copy and paste it into your own blog if you like.
If you’re struggling to find another retailer, go to Hachette’s website and click on the cover of the book you want – please note you can buy the ebook directly from them – and click through the “Buy this book” square: I recommend both Mysterious Galaxy (as bricks and mortar, and etailer – they sell kobo, too) and IndieBound (for your nearest independent bookstore). I appreciate that it’s slightly more effort that buying one-click, but I’d like you to consider making it.