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Comment: Re:This is just a repeat (Score 1) 218

This only remotely makes sense if the jobs are interchangeable. You seem to be implying they should fire an H1B programmer and keep the factory worker or middle manager, but unless one of the latter two can step up and do the programming, it's not going to work very well.

At least I'm guessing most of the H1B employees aren't doing middle management or factory work. I could be wrong.

Comment: Re:The patreon model could really work (Score 1) 190

by Quirkz (#47502087) Attached to: Amazon Isn't Killing Writing, the Market Is

Once you've got an audience it may be doable, but there's still a huge grey area in the beginning where you need to somehow reach the hundred thousand people required to find two thousand people enthusiastic enough about your work to be willing to support you. Patreon makes the business more easily sustainable once you're famous, but it doesn't negate the need to first find a way to become famous.

Comment: Re:how much are authors paid under this model (Score 1) 190

by Quirkz (#47502023) Attached to: Amazon Isn't Killing Writing, the Market Is

An email from Amazon, to authors:

KDP Select authors and publishers will earn a share of the KDP Select global fund each time a customer accesses their book from Kindle Unlimited and reads more than 10% of their book-–about the length of reading the free sample available in Kindle books-–as opposed to a payout when the book is simply downloaded. Only the first time a customer reads a book past 10% will be counted.

The numbers are always a little vague ahead of time. There's a pool of money allotted each month, and that pool is divided among books that are viewed. Originally KDP select was just for lending, but is expanded to include this, now, too. Historically I've seen values around $3+ per loan, often around $3.25. It depends on your pricing and royalty scheme whether this is "good" or not, but at 70% royalties, if you sell your book for around $4.64 or less, this is higher than what you'd make for a straight-up purchase, and if you sell your book for more you're probably "losing" a little money compared to a sale. The thing is, both the lending library and this Kindle Unlimited program basically make the books "free" to the user, so they may be more likely to try something new without the risk of committing money.

I don't think Amazon differentiates royalties based on sales numbers. It's a flat 70% for most books, but 30% for some of the cheapest. (I forget what the cutoff is, but it's easy information to find.)

Comment: Re:Controlling prices? (Score 1) 190

by Quirkz (#47501705) Attached to: Amazon Isn't Killing Writing, the Market Is

I've tried a few dozen of the freebie books. Many have been bad, a few as bad as you say. I've also read a couple that I really enjoyed, and there's at least one case of an author where I bought a few of her sequels after reading the first freebie.

What would be nice is a much broader rating and recommendation tool than currently exists. Not just a single star-rating, but some more reliable information about quality of writing and editing as well as content, to help people find the diamonds in the rough.

Comment: Re:How much does an editor cost? (Score 1) 190

by Quirkz (#47501675) Attached to: Amazon Isn't Killing Writing, the Market Is

It varies a lot, but freelancers often work for a fraction of a cent per word, maybe around .2 or .3 cents. Some work by page count or other means. I paid about $3k for a very long novel.

Also depends if you're looking for a full-on editor, just a proofreader (or eventually end up with both).

There's also cover design, which can run a few hundred to a thousand.

And if you're not going strictly digital, you may need to hire layout services for the book, which can be another several hundred to a thousand.

So, roughly speaking, a short book might only cost you a few grand, a long book with lots of extras, or multiple revisions, could easily run five grand or more. And that's assuming if you print it's on-demand (the most expensive in the long run, but cheaper than shelling out for a large batch up front).

Comment: Re:Simple (Score 1) 506

by Quirkz (#47476165) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Future-Proof Jobs?

Your home loan is your single biggest tax deduction, and unless congress changes things, will remain so for the rest of your life.

Tax deductions are overrated. Yes, if you get one for behavior that you'd engage in already, it's great. But manufacturing them doesn't make sense. A deduction only nets you a small percentage of what you spent. It'll vary depending on your tax bracket, but could be as low as 15%, and at best only returns 40% on each dollar you spend. I don't see how giving the bank $10,000 in interest each year in order to get back $3,000 from the government is beneficial -- I'd be $7k better off without the interest and the deduction.

Comment: Re:Same business model, different business (Score 1) 401

by Quirkz (#47475927) Attached to: Comcast Customer Service Rep Just Won't Take No For an Answer

I filled out a "give me a quote" form on a web site that appeared to exist explicitly to quote prices on new models of cars. The follow-up email was a long string of "we've got this that and everything come in and I'll show you around." Not those literal words, but the lack of punctuation is accurate, as is the complete unawareness of the question I asked. I responded with "I asked for a specific quote for a specific model of car" and restated what I wanted. His follow-up email was again jumbled and boiled down to "we have that model, come in or call".

At that point I gave up trying to talk to the guy. If they can't respond to a simple question in a reasonable fashion, I'm not going to try to actually do a large financial transaction with them.

Comment: Re:Buddhist meditation... (Score 1) 333

Typical evening at home: the wife is watching television, while also telling me things about the day about every three minutes, as she thinks of them. I'm trying to ignore the TV by wearing headphones, except I have to take them off to listen to the real conversation. Every twenty minutes the toddler wants water, or to go potty, or any excuse she can think of to stay up a little longer. And what I'm really trying to do is work on the novel. It's amazing I make any progress at all.

Comment: Re:Sad, sad times... (Score 1) 333

I can't speak for anyone else, but generally one of the most immediate benefits of sitting to think is you remember things. Like: oh, boy, my electric bill is due. And then you want to get up and take care of it. Or if you're deep in planning mode (thinking hard about a program, working out a scene in your novel, etc.) and come up with something good, it's difficult not to want to write it down. I've lost more good ideas than I'd like to count, due entirely to my inability to remember. You say it'll resurface, but in my experience that just isn't always true. Particularly if you don't get as many opportunities to sit and think as you'd like.

"The Street finds its own uses for technology." -- William Gibson