e-book pricing

Rock Hudson Alleged Gay Confession; Barry Eisler on .99 E-books

Evidently, there’s new information about an alleged gay confession from Rock Hudson. This alleged confession was something Hudson told his wife at the time, Phyllis Gates. This is from Huff Po.

Back in 1958, Hudson’s wife, Phyllis Gates, confronted the Hollywood legend about being gay, according to The Hollywood Reporter. That confrontation was secretly tape-recorded by Detective Fred Otash, a private eye who had dirt on everyone from Marilyn Monroe to Judy Garland. Gates had hired him to keep tabs on her husband.

“Rock, your great speed with me, sexually. Are you that fast with boys?” Gates asked Hudson, according to a transcript of the discussion obtained by THR from Otash’s family.
“Well, it’s a physical conjunction [sic],” he replied. “Boys don’t fit. So, this is why it lasts longer.”

It’s also been alleged that Rock Hudson’s wife at the time, Phyllis Gates, was a lesbian who was constantly trying to blackmail him. This is a fascinating article  Fred Otash is mentioned here, too. It really does get into a few details you don’t read about often, and mentions a list of close friends in Hudson’s circles that were just as closeted as he was.

Outing Mrs. Rock Hudson: the obits after Phyllis Gates died in January omitted some important facts: Those who knew her say she was a lesbian who tried to blackmail her movie star husband Advocate, The, Feb 28, 2006 by Robert HoflerPhyllis Gates, the former Mrs. Rock Hudson, died January 4 at age 80, and the Los Angeles Times commemorated her passing with an astonishingly long, 1,000-word, half-page obit a week later. (Would Katie Holmes ever get so much ink?) To read that and other newspaper whitewashes of her memory, you would have to believe that Gates was a loving Brokeback Mountain wife who had been duped into marriage by Rock’s equally gay agent, Henry Willson.

I doubt we’ll ever know the complete truth, and I don’t think that matters anyway. Rock Hudson was a victim of his time and he couldn’t come out. But I think this line in the Huff Po article bothers me the most:

“He was basically a very romantic man. He was like a woman;

This comes from a biographer, Sarah Davidson, who went to the University of Douchebaggery where they obviously taught Gay Male Stereotypes 101.

Barry Eisler on .99 E-books

I post openly about the indie books I have out and how I price them. I’ve found a good deal of success in keeping the books priced at .99 for now. I’ve also mentioned I’ve been on the fence with the Amazon lending program because it makes it impossible for me to distribute the books for three months because Amazon makes me sign an exclusive to be in the program. I have a good readership at places like ARe and I like to accomodate them. But I will be releasing my next indie on Amazon, Internal Desires, and I will do the lending program for the first three months. I want to see how it works out, and I haven’t done it for a while.

In this next article to which I’m linking below author Barry Eisler discusses his thoughts on e-book pricing, promotions, and .99 E-books. I thought it was interesting. I also think that what works for him might not work for me or another author. As I said, I’m always afraid of taking a hit by NOT releasing in places like ARe. But that’s always been the case with anything like this. What I do think is important is that you try everything you can try to see what works for you. I really never have a set plan, and when I think I do and I try to repeat something it always turns out differently than it did the first time. I think the secret is to keep trying and to keep doing different things.

I’ve done a couple of free promos of individual titles through KDP Select, advertising the sales using BookBub and EbookBooster, and the results were good — the #1 free spot for my first novel, A Clean Kill in Tokyo, and the #2 slot for my second, A Lonely Resurrection. I like the free promos because if things go well with the giveaway, the title in question tends to bounce back much higher in the paid store, with more visibility and more sales. Possible shortcomings of the free promos, though, are: (i) the people you’re initially reaching are by definition a demographic that is motivated to download books for free, and that might therefore be less interested in buying them; and (ii) people who get books for free are probably less motivated to read them, meaning fewer new customers and less word of mouth. So I started wondering what would happen if I tried a 99-cent promo instead… and what would happen if instead of doing it for only one title, I did it for my entire backlist.

You can read more here.

Brett Easton Ellis Doesn’t Think Matt Bomer Can Star in 50 Shades Movie; And Lit Agent Simon Lipskar’s Letter to the DOJ on E-Book Pricing…

This seems like the week of asshatery, and Brett Easton Ellis tops the list of asshats by saying this:

Okay I’ll say it. Matt Bomer isn’t right for Christian Grey because he is openly gay. He’s great for other roles but this is too big a game.

In more asshatery, he then said this:

I am NOT discriminating Matt Bomer because of his sexuality. Fifty Shades of Grey demands an actor that is genuinely into women. Get it?!?

Evidently, Mr. Ellis doesn’t know about all the women loving and reading m/m romance and m/m fiction. And once again we have Hollywood fail because they hired someone to produce a film who knows nothing about why the book sold millions of copies.

I didn’t love “Brokeback Mountain” the way so many other people loved it. As a gay man, I found fundamental flaws in both the book and the film. I didn’t like the fact that straight male actors were hired to play gay men when there are so many gay actors out there that could have played the parts just as well. I didn’t even know there was such a huge fandom for Brokeback until recently when I discovered that allegedly m/m romance as a sub-genre can be traced directly back to Brokeback. I’ve heard that all this fandom began as fanfic, much in the same way 50 Shades originated in an ironic twist. Yet I do think the straight actors played the parts well in Brokeback.

And now there’s an interesting turn of events with regard to the film version of 50 Shades. It’s been rumored that openly gay actor Matt Bomer is in the running for the lead role in the film version of 50 Shades only there are some who aren’t sure he’ll be able to pull it off because he is openly gay, Brett Easton Ellis being one of them. I find that interesting, insulting, and absolutely wrong in so many ways I could write endlessly about it. The people who don’t think Bomer can play the part because he’s gay are basically saying that two straight actors can play gay parts without any issues, but gay men can’t play straight parts and be believable.

And once again the gay community gets a kick in the ass, from an asshat. I guess Hollywood forgot all about Rock Hudson, and how he played nothing but straight parts all his life. Oh, yeah. He wasn’t openly gay so that was okay. And what about all the other closeted gay actors out there right now who are playing straight men? They are there, you’d better believe it. They are terrified to come out because they know they won’t get anymore straight parts if they do come out because of asshats like Brett Easton Ellis.

It should be interesting to see how this all plays out in the future, and I’m not just talking about the 50 Shades movie. I’m talking about the way all openly gay men are treated when it comes to getting straight parts. I got slammed in more than a few places when I criticized the Brokeback film because I didn’t like the fact that two straight me were playing gay men. People told me there’s nothing wrong with that as long as the actors can act…and I knew they were right. But if that’s the case there should be nothing wrong with Matt Bomer playing a straight man. We already know he can act. Let’s see how Hollywood handles it this time. I would be willing to bet that Matt Bomer WON’T get the part, and we’ll still be worrying about those fucking chicken sandwiches over at Chick-fil-a when the real injustice is happening in far more important places than a fast food restaurant no one really cares about anyway.

Simon Lipskar Addresses the DOJ on E-book Pricing:

The settlement with three major publishers recently announced by the Department of Justice demonstrates that the government has a fatally flawed understanding of the economics and history of the emerging ebook industry and, as such, has constructed a settlement that undermines a healthy market defined by robust competition. It is my obligation as the president of one of the industry’s leading literary agencies to write and try to persuade the court not to approve this ill-conceived settlement.

It’s a painfully long letter that basically says what most literary agents have been saying all along. There’s no mention about the legal issues in Lipskar’s letter with regard to alleged conspiracy and doing business in an unfair and dishonest way. It’s more emotional than practical. And the law isn’t about emotions. The reason why there are laws is to protect consumers from conspiracies.

I. Did the Alleged Collusion Cause Consumer Harm?

The government’s investigation into agency pricing springs from a flawed premise. On Page 8 of the Competitive Impact Statement, the United States makes a claim that is wholly unsupported by fact: “As a result of Defendants’ illegal agreement, consumers have paid higher prices for e-books than they would have paid in a market free of collusion.”

In the most basic sense, I’m taking this to mean that if I speed down the highway at 100 miles per hour in a sixty-five mile per hour zone and I don’t have and accident and I don’t kill anyone, it’s okay to break the law. Maybe I’m misreading this…but it’s not something I would have written and released in public if I’d been Lipskar.

What also concerns me is that I’ve always been taught that agents represent authors, not publishers or book sellers. So why would a literary agent even get involved in something like this? And I’m putting aside all the flaws I saw in Lipskar’s letter to the DOJ when I ask this question.

You can read more about it here.

Apple Wanted Readers to Pay More for E-books?

I’ve posted about the DOJ lawsuit before, and about literary agents writing letters because they feared a settlement would be “onerous” to publishing as we know it.

And now I’m linking to an article by Manufacturing.net that talks about how Apple allegedly wanted readers to pay more for e-books.

U.S. District Judge Denise Cote noted in her written ruling that Jobs had made statements that agreements between the publishers and Apple Inc., based in Cupertino, Calif., would cause consumers to “pay a little more” and that prices would “be the same” at Apple and Amazon.com.

The judge noted that Jobs told the publishers that “the customer pays a little more, but that’s what you want anyway.”

I’m sure there’s more to come from all this. And it sounds as if Judge Cote isn’t buying any of it.

Apple/Publisher Law Suit Over E-book Pricing

I’ve posted about how it really galls me that I’m expected to pay upward of 9.99 for an e-book from one of the big six. I get so annoyed, I usually just pass on the book altogether. I don’t like being manipulated that way, not by Apple, not by anyone. It’s also the reason I don’t own any Apple products and why I’m always supporting smaller companies like Kobo who seem to care more about their customers.

I found this article about a new law suit involving Apple and several large publishers extremely interesting. It’s still too soon to tell whether or not there are grounds for a law suit. But my fingers are crossed because I don’t like that fact that e-book prices are being controlled. My initial hope was that publishers would get smart and realize we, as readers, aren’t paying attention to their prices or their control. We are passing on e-books that are 9.99 or more and we’re shopping for books that are being released by smaller publishers instead.

Here’s the article. If you’re a book buyer and a reader, it’s worth checking out.