Create and Share | Features too!

Don't forget to grab one of our {BUTTONS} 
I always look forward to this day of the week. It's fun to go through all the fabulous link ups.

| Linky Party Rules |
  • Follow Trendy Treehouse via Google friend connect

  • Link Up only to the Post. Not your home page

  • Please DO NOT link up shops or giveaways

  • Share the Create and Share Button somewhere on your blog

  • Visit at least 3 other link ups and leave meaningful comments

  • Come back next week to see if your link up has been featured

So if you see that you have been featured, go by and grab a...

{Here are a few of my favorites that linked up last week}
Click on photos below to read more!

Sesame Chicken

My family has been eating this recipe of Sesame Chicken since I can remember. It was a great meal and an even better snack when we were on the road during my volleyball tournaments. I recently asked my mom for the recipe and made some up. We took ours with us on our camping trip. I knew they would be good to grill up or just eat cold when we were headed out quickly.

What you will need...
Boneless chicken thighs
50/50 soy sauce/water
minced garlic
lemon juice
Ad you can see from above I made a double batch. You will only need one baking pan for one package of chicken.
First you want to rinse all your chicken, remove large fat portions, add to your pan. Add in your soy sauce and water. Make sure they are equal parts. 50/50 Then, squeeze in some lemon juice. I used about 1 1/2 tablespoons per batch. Lastly, mix in your minced garlic and sprinkle on some sesame seeds. (you can leave the seeds out for those who don't care for or are allergic to them)
Below is what it should now look like. Cover and let marinade in fridge for 24 hours or at least 8 hours. I like to marinade a full day for best flavor.
Once you pull out your marinaded chicken, place your chicken on a baking sheet and spoon over some of the marinade.  Place in oven at 350° for about an hour or until done. Check chicken halfway and turn over.
And this is what you get when your done. Delicious Sesame Chicken to enjoy! Eat is now or let cool and place in large zip lock bags for later.
Other ways to cook this chicken...
You can BBQ this and add your favorite sauces.
If camping, and want to bake, place in baking pan and cover with foil. Slow cook (with some marinade) over campfire or propane flame. We did this and it was perfect.

This is a favorite of mine lately also because I can snack on it all day with my low carb diet. If I am in a rush in the morning, I just grab a couple pieces and go. Or at night, I heat them up and add my favorite sauce, some veggies and I have my meal. I love that it is so easy to prepare. I just ran out too! I need to run to the store for more. ;-)

The Race to the Bottom

I've had a few people forward me the article written by Ewan Morrison for the Guardian, Are Books Dead, And Can Authors Survive?

I mostly agree with Morrison's prediction for the end of paper (something I've been predicting for a while now--print will become a niche market) and the end of publishers (which I've also been blogging about for years.)

But then Morrison takes a giant leap and says that authors will also go extinct. He ends it with:

But ultimately, any strategy conceived now is just playing for time as the slide towards a totally free digital culture accelerates. How long have we got? A generation. After that, writers, like musicians, filmmakers, critics, porn stars, journalists and photographers, will have to find other ways of making a living in a short-term world that will not pay them for their labour.

And then:

I ask you to vote that the end of "the book" as written by professional writers, is imminent.

Well, you can go ahead and ask. But you're wrong, Ewan.

One of Morrison's problems is being unable to differentiate between the organizations that support artists, and the artists themselves. He uses a lot of examples, and on the surface his arguments seem solid, but they topple easily once counter-examples and some basic logic is applied.

So go read the article, then come back here and I'll attack it, point by point. I'll put his points in italics.

Most notable writers in the history of books were paid a living wage.

That's because publishers, who controlled distribution, decided who would be published and who wouldn't, and paid those writers advances. Though "living wage" is incorrect, as the majority of professional writers also need day jobs, now and throughout history.

But the end of paper books and publishers does not presume writers will no longer be paid. The model is changing, but writers will still be paid in the new model. More of them than ever before.

The economic framework that supports artists is as important as the art itself; if you remove one from the other then things fall apart.

Wrong. There can be many different types of economic frameworks that support writers. Publishers, the state, ereader manufacturers, and ultimately the readers themselves. I can take away publishers, and even heavyweights like Amazon, and still get paid.

But Amazon isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

Without advances from publishers, authors depend upon future sales; they sink themselves into debt on the chance of a future hit.

I didn't get a single advance for any of my self-pubbed ebooks. Yet I'm getting rich. The investment to self pub an ebook is minimal, and since most writers already have other jobs, their livelihood isn't dependent on immediate success. If anything, the legacy publishing industry has taught writers how to live frugally, waiting for long periods of time before (hopefully) getting paid.

I know plenty of writers. Plenty comment here on my blog. Have any of you sunk yourselves into debt on the chance of a future self-pubbed hit?

When authors either self e-publish or do deals through agents that to go straight to digital they embrace a philosophy of the digital market called the long tail.

This is a big jump in logic without any proof at all to back it up.

While Amazon may profit from the long tail, that isn't how I'm earning my money. I'm selling a shitload of ebooks. So are many others.

While there are no doubt some authors selling very few copies, Morrison incorrectly assumes that all authors will make very little money. Like any industry, some will make a lot, some will make a little.

But unlike other industries, Ebooks are forever. That's a long time to find an audience. What sells 5 copies in one month may sell 5000 the next. After the initial investment (the writing, the uploading) an ebook will continue to earn money.

Morrison presumably got paid for his article. One lump fee, and that's it.

When I publish an ebook, someday my grandchildren will be making money from it. That's the kind of long tail that applies here. Not one company making a lot of money off microsales. But one IP selling for a hundred years.

I've mentioned before that this is not a zero sum game, and books don't compete with each other. People who buy ereaders read (and buy) more books than print readers. This industry is growing, and will soon be global, allowing for more writers to get a piece of the pie.

The reason why a living wage for writers is essential is that every industry that has become digital has seen a dramatic, and in many cases terminal, decrease in earnings for those who create "content".

Disregarding his flat-out wrong assumption that most artists earn living wages in the first place, the digital revolution has no doubt hurt industries unprepared for it. That can be proven. It is also proven that those prepared for it (Apple, Microsoft) have found the profits that the old guard lost.

But has digital really hurt artists? Morrison points to other industries. Let's see if he makes any sense.

First of all, I'm not going to comment when Morrison brings up the piracy meme, which he does many times, except to say that:


Repeating the fairy-tale that piracy hurts writers is lazy researching.

So let's look at other industries through Morrison's monocular.

Home video - Sites like Netflix and LoveFilm have thousands of films available to watch entirely for free or with subscriber packages for a few pounds a month.

Hollywood is doing fine. So is Netflix. And these exist because movies exist. Movies made by artists. So, obviously, somewhere down the line the artist is getting paid.

Though DVD and Blu-Ray sales are supposedly falling, streaming and downloading are rising, and enough people pay for them to support artists making new movies.

YouTube has become a cash cow for popular artists. I watch a video, or a coming attraction, then go buy the song or the movie. I do this all the time. So do millions of others.

Music - The total income of the industry dropped by 25% between 1999 and 2008 and is expected to fall by 75% by 2013.

That stat tells me the record companies are hurting. And it serves them right, for forcing $17 CDs on us when we only wanted one song. Maybe Sony and Columbia should have embraced mp3s rather than fought Napster, and they'd be profitable like the iTunes store.

But are artists being hurt? Is the musician without an RCA album deal better off now that digital has exploded, or not? Are big name artists being hurt because they are selling fewer CDs?

I'd like to see evidence showing me the artist is being harmed by digital. All I see is record companies bemoaning their loss of control.

By the way, the statement: "I had a way to make money, now that way is gone, therefore I can never make money again" is such a stupid thing to say that I won't even bother refuting it. Yet it is one of Morrison's main arguments.

Porn - One top porn star, Savannah Stern, has cited that, on par with most of her colleagues, her earnings fell in 2010, from $150K a year to $50K.

No doubt the Internet has changed porn. But there is more porn than ever, and someone is making money on it or it wouldn't exist. While Ms. Stern may not be starring in those big productions anymore, I'm sure a woman with her considerable talents can find a way to exploit them on the world wide web. There are plenty of popular pay sites, and Savannah could also do her own live webcams. I also hear the Mustang Ranch is hiring.

The point is, she can still get paid for having sex, even though DVD sales are dropping, and her job is still a lot cooler than mine.

Computer games.

More piracy bitching. Look, I know pirates steal games. I've done it myself. But last I heard, the videogame industry was making more money than Hollywood. There are more opportunities than ever before. Farmville and Angry Birds, anyone?

Just like porn, or writing, video game artists aren't entitled to earn a living at their craft. Talent and hard work does not mean the world owes you. You have to keep at it until you get lucky.

Newspapers - As newspapers lay off staff to cut costs, they confront the fact that newspaper readership is tied to an ageing demographic.

I've been comparing the publishing industry to the newspaper industry for years. They both rely too much on selling paper, and they're paying for it.

While the Internet is replacing print, it still needs writers. If you're an old-school reporter who got laid off, here's an idea: Write a book. You know you always wanted to. And don't bother with all that finding a publisher BS. I've heard that self-pubbing is a viable option...

Photographers - Picture desks now use amateur online photo archives instead of commissioning new images and get pictures for a fraction of previous costs or entirely for free.

Wow. With that many people going to online photo archives, maybe photographers should start putting their works up for sale on online photo archives?

Like an ebook, a jpg is forever. One pic could sell hundreds of times (and some do, as I spy the same images used over and over on ebook covers.)


Thanks for bringing this up, Ewan. I thought I was the only one weeping for all of the unemployed telecommunications artists.

Oh, wait. There aren't any artists in telecommunications.

Hmm. So why did you...?

Got it. You were trying to say that new tech makes things cheaper.

I agree 100%. I can't wait for a $49 Kindle. It'll help me get even richer.

The Internet - Many of the largest growth industries in the last decade provide an entirely free service to the consumer: Google, Yahoo, YouTube.

These are all uber-rich companies, making money via advertising. They also require user-aggregated content, i.e. artists, in order to exist.

And I'm pretty sure that many artists use Google, Yahoo, and YouTube to find fans who then go on to buy their art.

I'm also sure that there will one day be ads in ebooks.

These digital providers are not in any way concerned with or interested in content, or what used to be called "culture". To them culture is merely generic content; it is a free service that is provided in the selling of customers to advertisers. Ideally for service providers, the customers will even provide the culture themselves, for free. And this is what we do when we write blogs, or free ebooks or upload films of ourselves, at no cost.

And yet, with all of this free content available, I'm still selling hundreds of ebooks a day.

Here's the problem with the crux of Morrison's argument. Already, in the world, on the Internet, there is enough free media to take a man from cradle to grave. We can watch non-stop free movies and videos, listen to non-stop free music, play non-stop free videogames, and NEVER run out of free content for our entire lives.

And yet movies, TV, videogames, music, along with books and porn, continue to make billions of dollars worldwide. Even though all this free stuff already exists.

While the future will no doubt offer more free content, the whole "race to the bottom" is fear-mongering BS.

Newsflash: We're already at the bottom. And artists are still making money.

Reread that, over and over, until the piracy meme and the "race to the bottom" meme stop getting hashed out over and over by those who refuse to listen to logic or think things through.

All that is clear is that for authors and publishers to abandon each other only accelerates the race towards free content.

No, Ewan, that's not clear at all. By abandoning publishers, many authors are reaching more fans and making more money than ever before. Many authors are getting readers for the very first time, because they were excluded from the legacy industry. The pie is getting bigger, soon to be worldwide, and we can all get a slice.

I like free content. Some of my writing is available for free, by my choice. I'm also widely pirated in both ebook and audio.

Free exists right now, and it hasn't hurt me, or the artists who are working to understand this digital revolution rather than fear it.

As we grow increasingly disillusioned with quick-fix consumerism, we may want to consider an option which exists in many non-digital industries: quite simply, demanding that writers get paid a living wage for their work.

What does this even fucking mean? Do I write my state senator? Do I get an online petition going? Do I contact every person who ever sent me fanmail and demand more money from them?

I think not. Instead, I'll just keep writing ebooks, selling them for cheap, and getting rich.

I ask you to leave this place troubled, and to ask yourself and as many others as you can, what you can do if you truly value the work of the people formerly known as writers.

Joe sez: Here's what you troubled souls can do. Download my ebook, SERIAL, for free. Like half a million other people have.

Then leave a comment on my blog, which is free, and gets tens of thousands of hits a day.

And while you do that, I'm going to go buy a new car. For cash.

S'mores and other random tidbits

Our neighbors are amazing. We are so blessed to live right smack next door to a great family who has children of similar ages to ours (in fact their daughter is only a month younger than Naomi) and who have the same beliefs as us and the same parenting style. We have worked out a great system for dinners together and just enjoy hanging out. We swap babysitting once a month so that we can have date nights with our spouses. They watch our kids one night and we watch theirs on a different night. We usually just do dinner and something else short so that we don't have to put the other kids to bed and it works out great for us all. We get some one on one time with our spouse and we get to have a longer play date for our kids another night.

Last night was our turn to watch the neighbors kids. We decided to have breakfast for dinner and then let the kids make their own dessert. They made little s'mores roll-ups. Super easy and delicious! Just a croissant, some chocolate chips and marshmallows. The kids loved that they were able to make their own dessert! They were pretty delicious too!

In other news, my daughter started 4K on Thursday. We were originally going to homeschool this year but we've decided to send her to the local Catholic school. She was a little late in starting because we weren't planning on sending her but she didn't miss much...besides she couldn't have gone the first week because she was super sick. You can see more pictures from our mini "first day of school" photo shoot and hear about our decision to send her here.

Are you having your family photos taken this fall? I've written up a "what to wear" mini guide

and would love for you to take a look at it and let me know what you think. Hope you have a great

weekend and if you've already started school hope the kiddos are enjoying it! And if you haven't

started school I hope you have a great beginning to a new year!

Opéra Garnier : Le Palais.

J'étais accompagnée de Diane et Louise, allez voir leur photos !

Timeless Treasures for You | Review & Giveaway

Timeless Treasure is a one stop shop with a high selection of quality products! They offer clothing, jewelry, candles, home decor, books and more! The perfect shopping place for yourself and a gift for friends and family!

I was able to review their Chocolate Chip Cookie candles. When the package arrived, I was getting ready to head out, so I asked my daughter to open it up. She was so excited and screamed "Oooohhh, cookies mommy!" Then, "Candles?" I said yep, they are candles. She then proudly marched in to the kitchen to place them in the middle of our bar. They looked cute. When you get these cookie candles, they come with 3 cookies and on a black metal tray. I liked that they had their own tray. Later in the evening, we lit the candles while making dinner. My girls loved staring at the cookies melting. I loved the cookie scent they had too. Although, I wished it was a little bit stronger. These cookies are too cute. I wouldn't mind getting some more and piling them up on a cake plate to just stare at all the time. Which reminds me, they would make great photo props too! Hhmmmm! Lots of uses for these cookies!

I also have to mention that I was amazed at all the adorable products that Timeless Treasures offers. I wish I could have reviewed more! Their jewelry is beautiful and I love the cute designs on the t-shirts. The best part is this shop is very affordable. So they are the perfect shop for gifts!

Get 25% discount when using code: trendy at checkout
discount expires 10.21.11
Want a Chocolate Chip Cookie Candle for yourself?
You can get one by entering in our giveaway!
Timeless Treasures is generously offering a Chocolate Chip Cookie Candle
to one lucky reader!
... How to enter ...

Mandatory 1st Entry - Like Timeless Treasures on Facebook!
YOU Must enter Mandatory entry or all others will be deleted. Thanks! 

Additional Entries... Eligible after completing mandatory entry above.
You may enter all or some of the additional entries. 
Please complete one comment per entry!
Additional Entries

  • Follow Timeless Treasures on Twitter
  • Follow Timeless Treasures on their Blog
  • Subscribe to Trendy Treehouse - enter email in sidebar
  • Follow Trendy Treehouse via Google Friend Connect

You will have until Sept 19 @ 9:00 p.m. Pacific Standard time to enter this giveaway. The winner will be chosen by and announced here. If the winner has provided an email address I will contact you. If you don't provide your email, you will want to check back here and see if you are the winner. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is open to those living in the US. You must be 18 years or older to enter. Thanks for entering at Trendy Treehouse. Good Luck and Have Fun!
The featured product {s} in this post were provided to me free of charge by the manufacturer or pr company representing the company. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by anyone. By entering this giveaway you agree to Trendy Treehouse Disclaimer/Terms of use.

Who Wants Whom? - A Dialog Between J.A. Konrath & Blake Crouch About Who Has the Power in Publishing

Joe: So my friend and collaborator Blake Crouch and I are in Ohio, working on Stirred, and naturally we started talking about ebooks and the future of the industry...

Blake: Shouldn’t we be writing our book?

Joe: Look, I'm just happy to be avoiding monkey and frog videos...

Blake: Yeah, that scarred me for life. Be the monkey!

Joe: We seem to have hit upon a less-offensive analogy to represent our thoughts on this matter. But let's start back at the beginning. And by that, I mean going back to working for the Big 6, and what they represented.

Blake: Back in the day, writers were hampered by a crucial component to getting their work to the reader: The means of distribution. We could write the best thing of our lives, but the only profitable method to getting a copy of this to the public was via legacy publishers, who were the only source for getting books into bookstores and non-bookstore outlets. This is why self-publishing used to be such a terrible and vain option for the writer.

Joe: Sure, you could self-pub. But you'd pay a fortune for sub-standard books that were non-returnable--or if they were returnable, you ended up with 3000 books in your garage because they were too expensive and the cover art was terrible. So bookstores wouldn't stock your book, and if they did, it probably wouldn't sell. Before ebooks, self-publishing was basically a one-way ticket to epic faildom.

Blake: Then along came Kindle, the first runaway hit in the ebook revolution. A few things made this momentous. First, the Kindle represented the first reader-friendly e-reading device that wasn’t clunky. It was light. Sleek. And even at the opening cost of $399, reasonably affordable. But what made Kindle truly successful was the platform that supported it. Namely, Amazon’s Kindle store. Never before had such a powerhouse of interconnected algorithms--geared toward leading the reader to niche content--been available to the book buyer.

Joe: Amazon created the Kindle, the proprietary format for the Kindle, and the store which directly linked to the Kindle. If it became successful, it could control distribution. Which it is currently doing.

Blake: But now, as we write this in the summer of 2011, Kindle isn’t the only moving force. We have Kobo’s ereader, the Barnes and Noble Nook, Apple, Sony...each creating their own proprietary format, their own online content stores.

Joe: But let's talk about the content provider. The writer. People like me and you.

Blake: You and I have had a good deal of experience with Big 6 publishers, and something we’ve come to understand is that, up until now, “content provider” hasn’t meant a whole helluva lot. And it's not even a question of respect. There is a palpable disdain for writers that seems to permeate a lot of legacy publishing. You can even follow a number of "anonymous" twitter accounts from publishing insiders to get a view of how much the content providers are despised. Writers have been treated like mentally damaged children, incapable of providing input on basic elements such as cover design, title, product description, and even, God forbid, the next book we should write. Considering what's happening with ebook distribution these days, no writer should ever have to put up with that BS again from people who peddle the written word.

Joe: The Big 6 would come on to writers like a very attractive woman would come on to an eligible man. A crude analogy, but an apt one. They could pick and choose who they wanted to get into bed with, and the men were always grateful for the opportunity. After all, when a cute girl chooses you, you're flattered, excited, and you go for it, no questions asked.

But that ship has sailed. Now, the attractive woman isn't the Big 6. She is now the ereadermanufacturers who sell content on their online stores. Amazon, B&N, Sony, Kobo, Apple...

Blake: Meet the new boss, same as the old boss?

Joe: Sort of, but not exactly. The new boss offers more. Better royalties, more control, faster turnaround, non-exclusivity. There are some things that used to be included in the package but that the author is now responsible for, such as cover design and hiring an editor, but overall it's a more favorable deal.

Blake: Though maintaining control of things like cover design is actually huge gain.

Joe: Agreed. Sticking with the dating mentality, this new woman is better for you than the last woman was.

Blake: Absolutely...the difference is profound. All these benefits you just’s like dating a woman who cares more about your needs and wants, is willing to try harder to make the relationship work, and who recognizes your value--what you're bringing to the equation.

She won't ever drop you. She'll let you make mistakes and forgive you. She'll take everything you have to offer, and give you more in return.

Joe: So now we have many writers deciding that the Big 6--which often have a love 'em and leave 'em mentality--perhaps aren't as preferable as other partners.

But I've also heard a lot of other rumblings in the writing community, from those who are afraid that Amazon, Kobo, B&N, Sony, Apple, Google, etc. are going to cut royalties as soon as they have a lock on more content, getting a bigger share for themselves and not treating the writer as well as they currently are.

Blake: They're going to cut off the nookie?

Joe: That seems to be the fear. But is it a good idea to bank on this fear? Should writers be afraid in a Cold War kind of way? Should this paranoia accelerate to the point of building bomb shelters?

Blake: Remember Y2K? When certain groups thought the world would lose critical power grids which might lead to mass hysteria? Some people bought assault weapons, stored up on years’ worth of food. And mistrusted everybody. And what happened?

Joe: Not a damn thing. Paranoid is not a good way to live.

Blake: So walking around worrying that the hot chick is going to lose interest and dump you--to stick with the dating analogy--is equally a useless waste of anxiety. In reality, we have zero control over what corporate giants like BN, Amazon, etc., choose to do, particularly when these decisions may issue from boardrooms which have concerns far removed from those of independent authors.

Joe: I love working with Amazon, both through Kindle Direct Publishing and through Thomas & Mercer. Maybe I'll sign another deal with Thomas & Mercer, if the offer is right. But if it isn't, I'm not worried. I can still use KDP.

And if KDP decides to cut royalties, then there will be other places to go. But not back to the Big 6--if Amazon cuts royalties for authors, they will for publishers as well, which would mean an even smaller cut signing with a legacy house.

But worrying about anything beyond your ability to influence is pointless. Instead, we need to change the things that are within our control.

Blake: We need to make smart choices about the women we're dating.

Joe: Exactly. I like this dating analogy, so let's clarify it.

At first, the hottie was one of the Big 6, willing to plunk down an advance to publish your book, which we needed because they controlled distribution. They called the shots. We meekly obeyed, and were just thankful for the attention and the confirmation.

Lately, the hottie is the ereader manufacturers, who sell our content on their proprietary devices and give us more money and freedom than we ever had before.

But let's really think this through. In either case, the Big 6 or the ereader manufacturers, when we get paid, who is the one that is ultimately paying us?

Blake: The reader.

Joe: Exactly. The reader is the one who wants to go out with us. They're the one who ultimately pays us, by buying our writing. The store they buy it in, or the platform the buy it from, is secondary to the actual content they are procuring. First, they got our book in a bookstore from a Big 6 publisher. Then they got our book online from a website. But it is OUR books they're buying. We're the writers.

Blake: This isn’t to say the platform, be it Amazon, BN, etc., isn’t at the moment serving an incredibly useful purpose. They’re facilitating two critical aspects of the reader-to-author transaction:

1) Convenience. The one-click, send-a-book-directly-to-your-personal-ereader has revolutionized reading in the 21st Century.

2) Visibility. More people discover writers on major retailers like Amazon and BN than anywhere else. In other words, you can go to one of these retailers looking to buy Lee Child or Stephen King, and, “accidentally” through customer recommendations and niche-focused best-seller lists, come across the work of J.A. Konrath or Blake Crouch.

Joe: If a hottie wants to date you, she has to know you exist, and that you're available.

In some cases, depending on how attractive and/or how eligible you are, she'll try harder to land you.

But we need to ultimately remember who the hottie is, and why she wants you.

Blake: The hottie isn’t the Big 6 publisher. And she isn’t the online retailer. She’s the reader. That is ultimately who the author needs to connect with. Up until recently, the author has needed an assist in this area, but things are quickly changing. Here’s a hard question...does a writer have to deal with an intermediary in this transaction?

Joe: Yes and no.

I think we all need to be assisted to a certain degree. Even J.K. Rowling, who is launching Potterville on her own, would no doubt sell more ebooks if she invited other retailers to sell her ebooks instead of doing it exclusively.

Blake: So why do you think she isn’t partnering with other retailers?

Joe: Because attraction is mutual.

Blake: What the hell are you talking about?

Joe: I'm taking the analogy through to its ultimate conclusion.

A hottie is looking for you for one purpose: to get some. You can be flattered. You can be paranoid. But ultimately, they want what you have.

However, you also have what they want. You have the content.

We began this analogy by saying how much we wanted the hottie, whether it was a Big 6 publisher or an online retailer.

Then we realized the real hottie is the reader.

But the fact is, the hottie also wants us. Attraction goes both ways. Readers want books, writers want readers. We're hot for each other.

The writer is a hottie, too.

And we don't need anyone interfering in that relationship, because we're the only two parties who are actually needed in this equation. Everyone else is a middleman.

Blake: Yep, a dating service. The content, for the most part, has been relegated to a supporting role. But in reality, the content is the movie star.

Joe: No Big 6 without us. No online retailers without us. Those who sell the book exist because of the book, but the book can exist without those middlemen who sell it.

Blake: Don’t we need retailers? Vetters? Publishers? Sellers? Not only to make work better, but to bring it to the attention of the masses?

Joe: We get our money from the masses. They're the ultimate hottie. Not the retailer. Not the publisher. Not any gatekeeper. Those second-tier hotties cannot exist without us. And their existence takes money from us. Perhaps they are worth the money they take, because they help us reach more readers, or help us release better content. But, ultimately, it is the readers who pay us, not those second-tiers.

Blake: And in a perfect world, the content provider, us, would sell directly to the reader, the content receiver.

Joe: Believe it or not, there is a way to do this, while still allowing for the assistance of the retailers.

We can emulate clouds. is one website with loads of content. and are two websites, with specific, niche, limited content.

BarryEisler has been working with his web designer on a PayPal store that automatically delivers ebooks to anyone who wants to buy through his website. Which got me thinking.

If I gave Barry two of my titles to sell on his website, we could split the money 30/70 on any he sold. Then I could sell two titles of Barry's on my website.

If I did this with a hundred authors, making sales from their books on my site, making sales from my books on their sites, I'm doing something analogous to cloud computing. I'm selling my books via a network rather than a specific location.

Blake: I'm also talking to a company right now who wants to do this very thing. They sought me out, because they saw a huge opportunity here to turn author websites into storefronts with the maximum amount of profit going to the writer. Their demo is mind-blowing and so smart. A reader can register their device on an author's website, and with a 1-click, have an ebook delivered straight to the device, the convenience factor has suddenly made shopping at a writer's website no different than shopping at Amazon or And don't you think readers want to spend their money where the maximum amount goes to the writer?

Joe: Earlier, I talked about the ereader itself being a storefront. But web sites are also a storefront. They're the purest type of storefront as well, because they are a direct link between reader and writer. No publishers taking money. No retailers taking money (other than a small PayPal fee.)

Writers need to have their own PayPal stores. And it's a smart idea to say, "If you like my books, here are some others you might enjoy," and then offer other authors' books, as well.

If you were selective, choosing only books in your genre with similar appeal, you'd be helping readers wade through all the ebooks out there by giving them specific recommendations.

Let's look at the broader picture.

On, or, readers who are looking for my ebooks can find them. They can also find my ebooks by browsing, which accounts for a lot of my sales.

But those sites are only one URL, and they have a million other titles on them. is also one URL. Readers who visit my site already know who I am, so why not make $2.60 on a $2.99 sale instead of $2.04? And since readers are on my site, why not sell your ebooks and give you 70%?

Then you can do the same for me on

Now we're for sale on two URLs, mine and yours.

Let's add another dozen authors to the mix. Let's also cross promote by having one-page ads for each other's novels in the backmatter of our ebooks.

Now we're not a website. We're a cloud.

Blake: According to Wikipedia: Cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software and information are provided to computers and other devices as a utility (like the electricity grid) over a network (typically the Internet).

By providing fans (readers, hotties) direct access to our works, and the works of others we recommend, we're providing a service.

Joe: It's not about what you have to sell. It's what you have to offer.

Blake: They're coming to our websites already, so they already know us and want to buy us. We're making it easy, and offering suggestions of other authors to buy. With fifty authors all in the same cloud, doing the same thing, we can reach a lot of people, and sell a lot of books.

If we choose these authors carefully (good writers with decent followings who write in similar genres) we can expand our brands, and our fanbases, exponentially.

Joe: I only have 10,000 people on my mailing list. You only have about 6000.

But put them together, that's 16,000.

Add more authors, more newsletters, more websites, more Google hits, and we have a niche cloud store that attracts fans, makes us higher profits, and is easier to find things than on Amazon.

We signed with the Thomas & Mercer imprint of Amazon because they can do a huge email push that sells a lot of ebooks for us.

But once a writer has a fan, that writer doesn't need a middleman anymore. They can sell an ebook directly to that fan. And if they also sell similar books by similar authors, that they believe they're fans would like, it's win-win.

Blake: I'm not ready to say the writer doesn't need that middleman anymore. He certainly doesn't need a middleman once a fan knows about him or her. But what Amazon and provide is the best possibly opportunity (as of August 2011) for readers who have not heard of me to discover me.

But...looking down the road, if enough writers with similar material were to have this "cloud," then other author websites would step in and serve the purpose online retailers like Amazon now serves. In other words, someone unfamiliar with me would discover me on Barry Eisler's website, or Brett Battles, or Ann Voss Peterson's, and they would have the option to buy me there. That's the future.

Joe: It would provide additional ways for readers to discover us, over a wide network of interconnected writers. Not competing with the browsing features on Amazon, but supplementing it.

Plus, we'd also make money being the retailer, selling each other's ebooks.

We would become our own middlemen. Sort of like United Artists, escaping the studio system and making their own movies.

Blake: All that's left is for a bunch of writers to band together and start selling their own ereader.

Joe: Let's call it the Konreader.

Blake: Let's not.