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Views From The Captain’s Chair! Episode Twenty-Eight: The Data Is A Lie!

Captains ChairBlog

Ahoy, Mateys!

I know, I know, the Views are supposed to be on hiatus, but I just couldn’t let this one go. Read on, fearless warriors!

If you are a writer then you probably heard about Amazon sending out an email over the weekend. Yeah, it was a bit surreal, to say the least. A lot of propaganda and misdirection and all that other giant corporation stuff.

Chuck Wendig and Matt Wallace did a great job dissecting the email in their posts. You should go have a read. It was also covered by Time, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, and fifty trillion other online word pukers. (I include myself in the “word puker” category, so nobody get offended, alright? We’ve all had too much prose and ended up getting sick all over our stack of unread New Yorkers. No shame there.)

There is a lot of back and forth spittle and hissing between the Team Amazon authors and the Team Hachette authors. There is also a lot of stepping in the middle with T hands and a referee’s whistle telling everyone to chill and realize this has nothing to do with authors, but everything to do with mega corporations and profit.

I agree with a little on one side, a little on the other, and a whole lot of the middle.

But there is one thing I have yet to see anyone touch on that is really the absolute crux of this matter: Amazon’s ebook sales data.

Now, before you start pointing at the links to those blogposts, hear me out. I concede that several authors and reporters have mentioned that Amazon can easily be cherry picking their data and only showing what they want us all to see. I agree with that. Example (directly from Amazon’s email):

Moreover, e-books are highly price elastic. This means that when the price goes down, customers buy much more. We’ve quantified the price elasticity of e-books from repeated measurements across many titles. For every copy an e-book would sell at $14.99, it would sell 1.74 copies if priced at $9.99. So, for example, if customers would buy 100,000 copies of a particular e-book at $14.99, then customers would buy 174,000 copies of that same e-book at $9.99. Total revenue at $14.99 would be $1,499,000. Total revenue at $9.99 is $1,738,000. The important thing to note here is that the lower price is good for all parties involved: the customer is paying 33% less and the author is getting a royalty check 16% larger and being read by an audience that’s 74% larger. The pie is simply bigger.

Good numbers, right? Maybe. Plenty of people have wondered how many ebooks sell at $10.99 or $11.99, but Amazon doesn’t release that info. Authors want the full numbers to analyze and that ain’t happening.

The problem is no one is realizing that the data they want means absolutely zero. You see, folks, the data Amazon releases to the public is rigged from the beginning. They could print their entire database and it makes no difference.

Why? Simple: Amazon controls what sells on Amazon.

Chew on that for a second.

Sure, people have free will and can buy whatever they want, but it has been proven time and time again that when Amazon markets something specifically that something sells like crazy. That means, if Amazon wants $9.99 ebooks to be the bestsellers then they can tweak their marketing, promotions, and search algorithms to make damn sure $9.99 ebooks sell more than other price points.

How about a metaphor/analogy!

A farmer sells apples. He has tons and tons of different apples. The guy grows it all, yo, from Red Delicious to Arkansas Black. This farmer is your go-to apple guy, right? So you head to his farm and he has barrels and barrels of all the different apples for sale out front for $9.99 a pound. Seems a little spendy, but you’re all “Gotta have my apples!” and you buy a couple pounds of this and a couple pounds of that then head on home for the apple enjoyment portion of life.

Now, are you the farmer’s only customer? Heck to the no! Lots of people dig this farmer’s apples so they go to his farm and see the barrels and barrels of $9.99 apples. Some people see that there are other barrels of apples tucked away in the barn behind the farmer, but only a couple of folks go check those out. Why bother hunting for other apples when you can get the yummy ones in front of you for $9.99? So, folks be buying some $9.99 apples and when the local news station comes by to do a happy, feel-good piece, they ask the farmer which apples sell the best.

“Oh, lots sell, but folks like the ones right here for $9.99 the most,” the farmer grins. “Who doesn’t like $9.99 apples?”

See where I’m going with this? There were other apples tucked away for different prices. I’m not saying those apples were better quality or worse quality, or even different apples, but they were shoved out of sight and out of mind by the farmer so all his customers saw were the $9.99 a pound barrels.

That’s what Amazon can do; they can make sure you, and everyone else, buy ebooks at the price point they want. And that is what makes their data worthless when proving anything regarding readers’ buying habits. You want to know what price readers want? Then get sales data from ALL the ebook retailers and compile that. Then you’ll have some true data and something to talk about.

Until then, all anyone is doing is pointing at the news clip of that farmer saying “Folks like the ones right here for $9.99 the most” and calling it cherry picking when the truth is there isn’t even a cherry in the bunch.

I’ll let y’all ponder that for a while. Good luck.



Disclaimer: Views From The Captain’s Chair are just that: views. These are not laws. These are not set in stone. I could be totally wrong. I could be off my rocker (shut up). I could be full of S-H-I-T. I could change my mind next week. All of that is possible. Who knows? But if even just a little of this helps you then I’m happy with that. If it just makes you stop and think then I’ve done my job. Which I really need to get back to. Blogging don’t pay for the bourbon! Oh, and the whole Captain’s Chair thing? Yeah, I write in a captain’s chair. It’s true, Mateys! Got a question? Need some one on one? Shoot me an email, a DM, a PM (no BMs) or comment below.

Jake Bible lives in Asheville, NC with his wife and two kids.

Novelist, short story writer, independent screenwriter, podcaster, and inventor of the Drabble Novel, Jake is able to switch between or mash-up genres with ease to create new and exciting storyscapes that have captivated and built an audience of thousands.

He is the author of the bestselling Z-Burbia series for Severed Press as well as the Apex Trilogy (DEAD MECH, The Americans, Metal and Ash), Mega,AntiBio, and the YA zombie novel Little Dead Man, as well as the forthcoming (October) Teen horror novel Intentional Haunting (both by Permuted Press).


Views From The Captain’s Chair! Episode Hiatus!

Captains ChairBlog


Ahoy, Mateys!

Yep, you read that title correctly. The blog will be on hiatus for a few weeks. Deadlines, am I right?

That and I’ll be taking the very first vacation my family has ever taken together. I shit you not. Sure, we’ve gone on “vacation”, but it has always been with extended family, to see extended family, to see friends, or for some specific reason or other.

This will be the first vacation where I’m with the wife and kids only. No one else. First time.

And we get to go see Vermont and Maine, which will be nice! Never been north of Pittsburgh, personally. On the East coast, at least. I grew up in Oregon, so I’ve been from BC to San Diego on the West coast. This should be fun!

But, taking this vacation means I’ll be behind with writing, so no time to bloggy blog until I get caught up. Looking like August or September. I’ll keep y’all posted!

Before I go let me thank each and every one of you for reading this blog, reading my books, and for just being awesome!

Rock on, rocking rockers! See ya in a few weeks!



Friday Night Drabble Party!

The Party has returned!

I’m sure everyone noticed there was no Drabble Party last week. 4th of July and all. Shit went boom. Plus there was cornhole. (Note to self: create new erotica genre that Amazon will ban called “Cornhole Boom”.)

But the drabbletasticness of Friday Night Drabble Party is back and better than ever! EVER!

So, sit back with your favorite summer beverage or winter beverage for you folks that live down under. Hell. I’m talking about you people that live in Hell. What? You thought I was talking about New Zealand? Y’all are drinking tea in New Zealand right now. I know that. Because stereotypes make the world go round, yo!

And a billion hamsters at the center of the Earth. They make the world go round too. I wonder what they drink? And since they are in the center, do they have summer or winter? Maybe they live in Hell…

AntiBio is on sale for $.99! Buy it!

What was I talking about?

Right. Drabble.



Little Things
Jake Bible

It’s the little things that make up this insane world.

Not the big things like food, air and water. No, we shit on those. They obviously don’t matter.

No, sir, life is made up of little things.

A wise man once said, “Don’t sweat the little things because it’s all little things.”

I think it was Snoopy that said that.

So, as I stand here on this ledge, looking down at the ants below -the little things-  and I can’t but wonder how not to sweat them. Wise words are good and all, but some instructions would be nice too.




Disclaimer: Don’t sweat it, it’s all good.

Views From The Captain’s Chair! Episode Twenty-Seven: Everyone STFU!

Captains ChairBlog


Ahoy, Mateys!

Okay, time for everyone to shut the fuck up. Seriously. Shut. The. Fuck. Up.

What about?

Amazon V. Hachette.

Or, as I like to call it, “Two giants at war that don’t even care if you exist.”

They don’t. Unless you are a consumer. Then they care.

But as a consumer, you aren’t the one shouting back and forth over a line drawn by corporate behemoths. No, you’re a person going about your life each day, trying to make ends meet, worrying about bills, about groceries, about dust bunnies, about Timmy’s loose tooth, the fence that needs repairing, the car that needs an oil change, the stain on the carpet from that rage induced, homicidal oopsy doodle that happened last night.

As a consumer, you are living your life and not a damn thing has changed for you even though the author community has decided THERE WILL BE BLOOD because Amazon and the Hachette Group are pissing in the wind and seeing who can stand the back spray long enough.

So, dear consumer, engine of this greedocracy, you just keep on keepin’ on. This post isn’t for you.

Nope, it’s for all the writers that think their voices ARE IMPORTANT! Their voices MUST BE HEARD! Their voices MUST DROWN OUT ALL DISSENT! Their voices… Guess what? Your voices don’t mean jack shit. You are nothing in this war. Nothing. Stop kidding yourself that your blog posts, your Facebook posts, your Twitter posts, or any posts, have even one itsy bitsy influence on the outcome of this fight. That’s your self-inflated ego talking there.

These are multi-national, MASSIVE corporations that are at war over…uh…oh, right, they haven’t actually said officially.

That’s right: people are arguing over something that isn’t even defined. The Powers That Be don’t think you are important enough to be informed on what the fight is about. That’s how insignificant you are. You aren’t even worth a press release with bullet points.

Yet, from Patterson to Konrath, King to Howey, Eisler, Wendig, Stackpole, some other guy, that guy, this one here, a woman there, oh, there’s another woman, and that guy right there with his formatted ebook ready to make a million dollars- everyone has an opinion. An uninformed opinion. In a fight they haven’t been invited to.

You think I’m being flippant? I’m not. I’ve watched this happen in other industries.

In my former life I was a broker rep for one of the largest grocery sales and marketing agencies in the country. A billion dollar company. That’s billion with a “B”. Big company. And we worked for companies that were even bigger. Unilever/Best Foods, Kraft, Mars, Johnson & Johnson, Pepsico- you know, BIG companies.

Guess what?

They pulled this crap all the time.

Big companies get in fights with other big companies. Whether it’s a distribution argument or a tiff with a retailer, giant corporations draw lines in the sand every single day and go to war.

But you don’t see the guy on the mayonnaise line writing a blog post about the EVIL OF BIG CONDIMENTS! You don’t see the housewife in yoga pants screaming at the hippie girl that “BANANAS HAVE GONE UP TEN CENTS A POUND AND IT’S YOUR FAULT FOR NOT BELIEVING!” You don’t see the cashier at your local supermarket writing a scathing essay on how the moral compass of America is at stake because Doritos are no longer on sale for two bags for $7, but are now two bags for $8.

Why? Because it doesn’t matter what the little folk like us say. It doesn’t. These Leviathans have an agenda and they are fighting over that and that alone. And as consumers, we know that. We know that we can scream until we are blue in the face, but it ain’t gonna lower the price of them bananas. That’s life, y’all.

Yet, authors insist that by fighting with each other- Stop. Hold on. Let me make this clear.


If there even is a problem. I’m pretty sure there’s an entire political party that would argue that this is how it is supposed to work. This is free market warfare, baby. LET IT ALL BURN!

But no, instead of  banding together and looking these dragons in the eyes, writers have taken sides. Or pretend not to take sides when they really have taken a side. It doesn’t matter, really. No matter what “side” you are on you’re just fleas on two dogs trying to rip each other’s throats out. The same two dogs that will end up humping in the alley when it’s all done because that’s what dogs do. You’re just a flea, you wouldn’t understand. Humping or fighting, it’s all an END OF THE WORLD EARTHQUAKE to you.

I refuse to be a flea. Fuck this stupidity. Just fuck it.

Oh, and you know what else? The bickering here amongst the plebs is nothin’ but free press for the giants. Why put out statements when they have a hundred voices doing it for them?

Yep, free press. You think you are changing anything by writing how much you love licking Amazon asshole? Or how much you prefer walking with your nose up in the air all day because you have a “REAL” publishing deal? You aren’t changing shit, except the news feed on Facebook. You are doing the work for  your corporate overlords. You are their bitch.

Let me say that again: You. Are. Their. Bitch.

So, shut the fuck up. Just shut it. Zip it. Close it. Keep that trap closed, please and thank you.

With that said, I’m done with this crap. I’m done reading anymore blog posts about how I’m supposed to think and feel about something that really has nothing to do with me. I have bills to pay and grass to mow, a spouse to love and frickin’ children to raise. No, what I’m going to do right now is write the second novel in my medieval space fiction (space opera) series.

Because that’s what I do. I write books.

Maybe you, Author With Opinions About Shit All, should get back to that too. Since, you know, what consumers/readers do care about is getting a great story that they can escape into so they forget about the bills, the healthcare, that political party that only loves money, the cost of bananas, those damn yoga pants, and mayonnaise. Channel your energy into your job and stop doing the work of corporate PR firms, okay?


Oh, and Mega is on sale for $,99 from Severed Press until like midnight tonight or something. Go buy that shit.


Disclaimer: Views From The Captain’s Chair are just that: views. These are not laws. These are not set in stone. I could be totally wrong. I could be off my rocker (shut up). I could be full of S-H-I-T. I could change my mind next week. All of that is possible. Who knows? But if even just a little of this helps you then I’m happy with that. If it just makes you stop and think then I’ve done my job. Which I really need to get back to. Blogging don’t pay for the bourbon! Oh, and the whole Captain’s Chair thing? Yeah, I write in a captain’s chair. It’s true, Mateys! Got a question? Need some one on one? Shoot me an email, a DM, a PM (no BMs) or comment below.

Jake Bible lives in Asheville, NC with his wife and two kids.

Novelist, short story writer, independent screenwriter, podcaster, and inventor of the Drabble Novel, Jake is able to switch between or mash-up genres with ease to create new and exciting storyscapes that have captivated and built an audience of thousands.

He is the author of the bestselling Z-Burbia series for Severed Press as well as the Apex Trilogy (DEAD MECH, The Americans, Metal and Ash), Mega, AntiBio, and the YA zombie novel Little Dead Man, as well as the forthcoming (October) Teen horror novel Intentional Haunting (both by Permuted Press).

Views From The Captain’s Chair! Episode Twenty-Six: Lights! Camera! Action!

Captains ChairBlog

Ahoy, Mateys!

Yes, yes, I know I shouldn’t be writing a blog post when I have so many novels to get done. Stop nagging me! Sheesh!

But, I had to talk about this year’s entry into the Asheville 48 Hour Film Project. Every year our team, Team Long Shot, races through a weekend to get a 4-7 minute film made from writing to finished film in only 48 hours. It’s a freakin’ blast!

We braved the wilds of a local park’s public bathroom and made it through the day without contracting Hepatitis Z or Monkey Flubola. I count that as a win.

It all started with us picking our genre from a hat at the kick-off (we got SciFi) then getting our line of dialogue (“It’s your choice. What are you going to do?”), our prop (a bell), and our character (Cedric Peters, gym instructor). These three elements (line, prop, character) have to be used by all teams. It’s the control test to make sure no one shoots footage ahead of time.

Once we had those elements we bopped on over to my place and proceeded to brainstorm ideas. After acquiring a metric hilariton of good ideas to form a solid story foundation, I began writing the screenplay. From brainstorming to finished script was bout three hours. It’s not an easy process, but Team Long Shot doesn’t have an ego in the bunch, so we work fast and efficiently since we leave the drama at the door.

Saturday morning we met at said local park and got to work. IMG_3229There was a slight rain delay, but it didn’t hold us back. We dove right in to get our shots and work on making sure we had enough footage in the can so when it came time to edit, we weren’t short on cut away shots or montage sequences (MONTAGE!).

This year I had a small part. Mainly because I had a summer cold that thrashed my throat, but also because I knew Craig would rock the part of the gym instructor better than I could. And I wasn’t wrong! His delivery was perfect! (Craig’s in the hot pink shorts. Oh, yeah!) IMG_3215

The shoot took about five hours, then there was some food and beer and it was time to edit.

I can’t say enough about Noble Robinette’s directing, cinematography, and editing skills! The guy stayed up all night synching sound to images. He got it all working right then jumped into putting a rough cut together. Then the magic happened!

IMG_3221 Why is there a picture of a soiled and stained toilet? It’s part of the magic!

After working all day on the editing, we finally had a finished project. The deadline was 7:30 and we got it turned in with 11 minutes to spare. It’s crazy how much time just flies by when you are focused on making the best film you can. Zoom! Freakin’ gone! IMG_3226

Then we waited for the premiere screening at the local brew and view! We think it went well since there were laughs in the right places and we actually overheard some in the audience whisper that they wanted to see it again because they missed lines from laughing so much. That’s high praise right there!

Now, it hasn’t been all roses and caviar, ya know. There has been serious drama this year and we as local filmmakers had to step up and protect our turf. It was a community pride thing and I am glad other teams were willing to fight the good fight. In the end, it all worked out and the Asheville filmmaking scene was returned to the peace and weirdness we have always known.IMG_3231

We have no idea what awards we’ll get, and won’t find out until July 17th at the Best Of screening, but we are hoping for Audience Award in our group. If we get it (fingers crossed) then that makes three years in a row. While judges determine who gets Best Picture and all that jazz, it’s the audience we play to. In the end the people watching the film have to be the ones to enjoy it, not a three person team looking to nitpick every detail. We aim to make the public happy and hopefully we did so this year.

Which brings me to the film itself! Want to watch? Then click the link below. It is 100% safe for work, so feel free to share with your cubicle neighbor. Team Long Shot worked their butts off to make this film and we encourage others to get out there and do the same. If you have a local competition then look into it. It is so worth the lack of sleep. Get out there and make some movies, yo!



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