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How Much Does Your Name Matter?

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by A. E. Lowan, Mar 9, 2016.

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  1. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    The thing is Russ, you didn't present any data. You summarized a conclusion of a study that none of us can look at. That isn't data.
     
  2. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    My statement about my experience wasn't intended as an argument either way. It was just one reason why I can't trust your assertion about this particular study without seeing more about it. I'm of the opinion that it's not a good idea to trust the assertions of random internet denizens or to take references to studies without any actual data as gospel. One should always question sources of information, don't you think? You're free to read more into it than that though if you want.
     
  3. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    Actually I gave out plenty of data on the subject.

    In a study conducted by a professional organization in January 2014 of 2300 genre fiction readers (adults) when asked about by which method they discovered the last book they bought, the largest answer for both branded and unbranded writers was "in store." As you probably know Codex is considered a gold standard source in the industry and is quoted by PW, DBW and even Forbes when they take on publishing issues.

    It is unfortunately true that I cannot simply send you a copy of the report. You can choose to question if it even exists if you like.

    You asked for my source and I gave it to you in as much detail as I can.

    For some unknown reason you seem to want to attribute malicious motives to me. As a member of this community when things are being discussed that I have knowledge on I comment on them as best I can. I run a law firm, not a publishing company. Whether you believe me or not on any issue is not going to change my life one iota.

    But as a member of a community that I feel has given a lot to me, I find it difficult to sit by and say nothing when I have factual information that I think might be useful to that community. I could just take what I can from the site and not offer anything back. In fact I could just chuckle when people get things wrong or make statements that are off the mark, but I don't think that is the right thing to do. I simply try to add value where I can, usually based on facts I know to be true.

    I happen to be lucky to know a great deal about the traditional publishing industry and spend a lot of time within it and with key people within it.

    The reason I talk about it a fair bit is because I know it well, and I try not to talk about things I really don't know well or don't really understand.
     
  4. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    Something to consider:

    Around any issue ever witnessed in argument, you can find reasonable, intelligent, & well-informed opinions, opinions largely formed from individual experience.

    It's perfectly acceptable to state that you disagree, while still respecting the other person's opinion, and move on.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2016
  5. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    That is actually a very interesting area. Oddly enough I am going in the reverse direction. I am relying more on hard facts and data as I get older than I did when I was younger and it seems to be working for me.

    The question is not opening a law firm, it is attracting more clients to them. I work in a legal field that is saturated with marketing, and the marketing is very expensive. Getting through the noise and differentiating oneself from competitors and having a good call to action doesn't happen by accident. Every large law firm in my field does similar surveys and we go beyond that and do focus groups and theme testing for trials as well. You are not suggesting they should all close shop now are you?

    We do that because we realize that the people we want to communicate with are not us. We are a bunch of older white well off uninjured males. Our potential clients are not like us, so for us to think we know what they want and how they think would be most unwise. I don't invest my money that way, nor does anyone else in our field.

    Your overstate my position on response rates. Response rates are useful data when used correctly and understood correctly. I don't claim they stand alone, but you cannot even start to talk about whether or not marketing is effective until you have some idea of how people have responded to it.


    Firstly I have not slung data around like a weapon at all, although some people seem to find data offensive for some reason. What happened was a poster said "shelf placement not that important anymore because of e books" and I said "Yes it is less important than it used to be, but it is still important because...". If you think that is slinging a study like a weapon you might have just created a new category called "nano-aggressions".

    As I indicated I am not in a position to simply send you the study. However if you had simply asked instead of joining the "studies are crap" crowd I would have answered your questions as best I can. It is indeed a plurality, not a majority. While you have been souring on studies I have actually been asking around to see if a specific study of this nature is available for Fantasy, SciFi or Spec Fic broadly and I have not found anyone who knows of one that is available. So we work with what we have.

    Dead wrong. It means the data is imperfect or incomplete, not that it means nothing. Almost every decision that is made is made on imperfect or incomplete data. If you have better data, or additional data, or more specific data, you should feel free to share it.

    If I give people as much data as I can, they are in a better position to make a decision than if they didn't have it. Or are you arguing that people are better off making decisions with less data rather than more?

    It is actually a huge report with a ton of really useful information. But, I alas, am making posts on a community website, not writing a thesis so I cannot cover it all for you. Do you hold yourself to that level of disclosure for every post on this site?

    You mean like the report I am referencing?

    You don't seriously expect me to be doing that kind of custom analysis for each poster on a writing website where we talk about writing do you? Do you offer that level of detail and customization on each of your posts? I don't make decisions for people that take into account every factor relevant to their goals, nor do I claim to, all I did was suggest that shelf positioning should not be ignored or overly discounted. Some people will only e-pub so shelf position will be completely irrelevant to them. I believe people around here are bright enough to know that for themselves and I don't have to tell them that.

    My point was, and is, that one should not completely discount shelf positioning and store discovery when considering your author name. I think the data I referred to supports that conclusion, logically. No more, no less.
     
  6. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    Russ, do you not understand that you posting on an internet forum and saying a thing does not make it data? It's just an anonymous person making an assertion. I'm not attributing malicious motives to you. (That's another of your assumptions.) I'm saying that I don't know you and I don't know your motives and your word does not constitute data. It just doesn't.

    Furthermore, your summation of the study in question is full of missing information. How did they collect this data? How did they survey the people? What specific questions did they ask? How were the answers given? All of these things matter. All of these things are data. What you are giving us is the conclusion or at least a summary of it. A conclusion is not data.

    So basically I'm just saying that there's no reason for me to believe your assertion based on the information I have. I don't really want to argue about it anymore. But I think my response to your assertion is perfectly logical.
     
  7. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    No. Hence, as I said, I've soured on the use of studies in these conversations. All the study does is provide a false sense of authority.

    It would be really informative to look at a study like that. It's not so informative to hear other people make vague and unexplored citations to it.


    As I understand it, the publishing industries don't do as much research as some other industries. I think it's because authors come to the publishers in large numbers and absorb all the development risks. Internal sales tracking is probably enough for a publisher to base their decisions on.

    I'll be surprised if you find much on spec fic.


    My point is, I think you would've developed your thought a lot better if you didn't try to rely on data to make the case for you.
     
  8. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    Oh come now MP you have been making your dislike for me clear for quite some time:

    Do you hold yourself to that level of detail when you post on this site? The information I gave you is data, it is data that has been collected and collated. It is not "raw data", and I did not go into a long methodology discussion when I suggested that rack placement is still important as did the author in the link in the OP. You read that right? I honestly don't think that level of level is detail is necessary for a casual online conversation. Do you?

    I have actually noticed that you have not even commented on the premise being discussed. You asked me for a source, I gave it to you. Then you responded with "most studies are crap." You may have a hate on for me, or for those evil studies, which you are perfectly entitled to do, but it sure doesn't enhance the community or the discussion now does it?

    You are perfectly welcome to ignore all the indicia that rack placement has some value given by me and Ms. Aaron. I wonder if it even is a real concern for you.
     
  9. Russ

    Russ Istar

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    Let me tell you why I so like studies and data, particularly for conversations in places like this. The solid majority of people on a site like this don't work in the industry and likely have not had the opportunity to discuss these issues with people who work in the industry or study it. That means that often what is offered is a near blind opinion with almost nothing to base it on except "it is what I believe." I don't think me adding another "this is what I believe" to a conversation is much value. I try to give the reason I believe something either by referring to an expert or a fact. My opinion, without those factors, really doesn't offer anything extra.

    Here is the weird part. Some parts of the publishing industry does a ton of studies and data gathering. I have a boatload of studies on the Thriller industry and the romance publishing fields and those two fields spend a lot of money on it. Like a lot. Companies do studies, organizations commission studies, individual authors do studies, surveys, market information gathering, focus group covers etc. There is lots of it in certain segments of fiction publishing.

    But in Spec Fic I can find almost nothing. You would think those Sci Fi guys would be all about data gathering etc but so far I can source almost nothing. Anyways I have dinner coming up with a top Sci Fi author who will know if it is out there and I will ask him.

    This is true, but I was just making a fairly off hand comment on a thread supporting the OP link. I was not planning on making a long argument.
     
  10. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    I did actually post on the topic. You must have missed it.

    Russ, I admit that your posts frustrate me often. Mostly it's because you've always seemed so intent on misinterpreting and misrepresenting what other people, including me, have to say in disagreement with you. Personally, I don't mind being disagreed with. I'm more than happy to agree to disagree when it comes to it. But I despise being misrepresented.

    And yes, in my experience most studies people bring up in discussions like this are crap. I really don't know why you seem to take personal offense to that idea. Studies are only as good as their methodology. If more people actually looked critically at more studies this would be a more well informed world. I was not suggesting that you are purposely trying to sway the argument by posting the conclusion of a bogus study, though you seem to think that is my motive. It is simply my policy to apply critical thinking to all such assertions.

    I certainly do not deny that placement due to author name has some value. What value is very, very questionable, in my opinion.
     
  11. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    I wonder if that's because Thrillers and Romance sell so well on impulse in stores like Walmart and Costco. That alone changes the whole business model for those books.

    - - - -

    However, I'm locking this thread. This thing between you two, Russ and Mytho, is something that just needs to be resolved already. Both of you should expect a PM from myself or another moderator before the day is out. In the meantime, I suggest you keep clear of one another. Go sit in time out or something.
     
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