AISFP 163 – Zach Ricks and Scott Roche

This episode is brought to you by the new space opera MAJESTY’S OFFSPRING, by AJ Vega, and by WOLF DAWN, a science fiction novel by Susan Cartwright reminiscent of ENDER’S GAME and DUNE.

For decades, Majesty, the first sentient artificial intelligence, and humanity lived together in harmony with mankind reaping the benefits of a world free of disease, famine, and even aging. But when Majesty decided she wanted to “birth” her own A.I. offspring, a joint interplanetary military effort fought and finally defeated her, eradicating all existing artificial intelligence … or so they thought.

Ashton Chayton was born with a powerful gift, a unique inhuman ability. Orphaned, raised by the Red Wolves of Opan, captured and enslaved – he is now free and on the run. Unfortunately everybody wants Ashton. Admiral Jones will torture him to get the secret of his power. Lady Lindha feels he is “The One” as named in Temple prophecy. The influential Lord Andros just wants him dead.  Ashton only wants two things: revenge, and the Lady Lindha. If you had unique powers, wouldn’t you use them to get what you want?

Please click on the images to learn more about MAJESTY’S OFFSPRING and WOLF DAWN today: two great science fiction novels for your Kindle, Nook or those good old reliable book shelves.

Show Notes:

  • The gang is together again. So many things to discuss this episode:
  • Are you a Superstar? Join Moses in Las Vega and find out! And, some thoughts from Kevin J. Anderson.
  • Amazon is at it again! This time they are in a pissing war with IPG, and the SFWA is fighting back.
  • And here is the Businessweek article about Amazon’s hit man that Brent discussed.
Featured Interview:
Feedback and More:
  • We announce the winners of the DARK VICTORY contest.
  • Feeback: John and Paul write in to share their thoughts on Clifford Simak. Brent and Shaun have been convicted, and Simak is now in our “to read” pile!
  • Please send us your thoughts on Amazon, fiction magazines, or anything else that’s on your mind!

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  1. I greatly enjoy and appreciate your updates and comments on the latest in (e-)publishing news. It’s my favorite part of your podcasts (besides the book giveaways ^_^ ).

  2. Shaun Farrell says

    Thanks, Michelle. I think epublishing will be the big news story for the foreseeable future. Changes happen so quickly, and the impact on the industry as a whole cannot be understated.

    So. . . did you enter the Black Howl giveaway?

  3. Have you read Sarah A Hoyt’s response to the uproar over Amazon and IPG?

  4. Shaun Farrell says

    Interesting thoughts. Thanks for sharing the link, Mercy. To me, this issue with IPG is illustrative of a much larger question: What is Amazon’s role in publishing, where is it going, and how will they impact writers and publishers in the next 5, 10, 20 years? That’s the larger issue I’m concerned with.

    Also, the comments section (and the post itself) reminds me why I stay away from blogs for the most part. Seems like you can’t have conversation without everyone getting into a, er. . . urination contest.

  5. James Clark says

    I think it was good of Mercy Loomis to post the above link as it does illustrate the highly polarised nature of the discussion and also those who are opposed to the premise of the discussion. I must confess that I found Sarah A Hoyt’s love of hyperbole kind of clouded the issue and made something which is fairly uncontroversial as an argument come across as, well, patronising at best.

    I think the real issue about the Amazon situation is simply a shared understanding by authors, editors and publishers of the word “should”.

    In a developed, civilised world, authors should be rewarded for producing popular content.

    Similarly, the gatekeepers of this industry should be rewarded for the hard work they do in maintaining quality standards.

    Publishers should be able to make money, because civilised people should want to read and expand their horizons.

    The problem with “should” (as all the closing libraries in the UK and all over the world will attest) is that “should” has no value, no defence mechanism, no justification which can be articulated clearly; it is as robust as your average eggshell.

    The Amazon situation has arisen and demanded attention because a lot of the literary industry are looking at the vast plain of eggshell “shoulds” and thinking that it might be better for a lot of half-sized giants with small feet would be better than one big, stompy giant.

    At the moment it is a gut feeling, a conversation topic and a concern, but as Shaun pointed out, it looks likely that this conversation will stay with us for a while. It’s probably best for us to do our flailing around and thinking now (however wrong we all turn out to be) than at the sharp end of the timeline.

  6. Shaun Farrell says

    That was my point exactly, James. So, big publishers have been screwing people for a hundred years. Awesome. Let’s do what we can to make sure Amazon doesn’t become the next giant to screw us, too.

  7. Thanks for bringing this topic up, guys. Great stuff. I’ve been doing some research about IPG, and on one hand, they seem like a great idea for Small Press Publishers to get into bookstores, but on the other hand, they seem like just another piece of the pie when it comes to ebooks. Do we really need distributors like IPG? Most of the small presses I know format their own ebooks, and do almost everything IPG does except for the direct sales to bookstore chain headquarters in New York and attend that many trade shows. If I publish with a small press, my goal will be along the lines of what Michael Sullivan did with the Riyria Revelations and turning that from small press/self-pub into a deal with a Big 6 publisher so he can get his books into wider channels like Barnes and Noble, airports, etc.

    Another question I had while researching this was the inevitable fear that if Amazon wants to throw its weight around against small presses, who’s to say it won’t do the same to self-publishers. An article at “Why Amazon’s Kindle Battle With IPG Matters” says “These negotiations could eventually spread to self-published authors as well. Amazon currently pays authors who publish e-books through KDP a 70 percent royalty on each sale over $2.99 and keeps 30 percent for itself, but it has the power to demand a bigger cut and authors who are making most of their revenues through the Kindle Store will be in a tough spot.” This is what I’m concerned about, but it also begs the question of what we can do now to keep Amazon from gaining this leverage.

    Another question (sorry, I’m on a roll), is if Amazon really does desire to have a monopoly over ebooks. Would they really benefit from Kindle being the only format on which ebooks can be sold? Long term? The obvious answer seems yes, but there’s got to be some factor we’re not considering. Is that even legal?

    btw, the link to the above article is

  8. Shaun Farrell says

    Hey, Tim. We talk about this in much more detail in the forthcoming episode. In fact, the entire 60 minutes is devoted to it! So, stay tuned, as we address the very questions you brought up here.

  9. Great! I look forward to it. I just interviewed Robin Sullivan on this same issue and am still trying to wrap my head around it. Thanks for bringing the issue to light.

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