Randomness for 5/13


1) Facebook privacy default settings, and how they’ve changed over time, in convenient chart form. I have a FB account, but I never put anything there I wouldn’t put on my main blog.

2) Some folks are still claiming that health care reform will not save any money, and that the claimed savings are the result of budgetary gimmicks. That’s not true, and here’s why.

3) Paging David Prill! David Prill to the white courtesy phone, please!

4) The July 1690 issue of Cosmopolitan.

5) What you see here is a Men’s Room at the Hilton, and I don’t know if I could pee here.

6) Is “indie” authorship finally coming into its own? I’m not ready to go direct-to-Kindle, but it’s still an option. The sad(ish) thing is that I don’t have an extensive backlog of unpublished novels; I cut my teeth writing spec screenplays. Personally, I’m sure as hell not ready to give up on traditional print publishing. Sales of Kindle editions might be profitable, but it’s still a small pond. Growing, but still small. I want my book to reach as many readers as possible.

7) The Onion on childhood obesity.

11 thoughts on “Randomness for 5/13

  1. I think it’s far better to keep focused on print for novels for about ten years, especially if you’ve already broken in. A few new guys might break into print via e-publishing (I think the guy who wrote Infected did something like that via podcasting).

    RPG publishing has already moved largely to ebooks for anyone other than established companies and writers.

    And I think comics will be the next ones to see a big move to e-versions as tablets come down in price over the next few years. Indie comics probably ought to start seriously going that way now.

    I think it’s all very basic bottom line stuff. If you have small print runs (like in RPGs and indie comics) or print on high quality paper (RPGs and comics and hardbacks) and definitely if you print in color (comics) the cost of the printing gets atrocious — especially after you take out the cost of shipping, warehousing, the retailer’s cut, and distributors cut.

    On my little RPG publishing venture the printing costs would be half of my take — and that’s before paying for art (I handled everything else).

  2. RPG books are damn expensive, too, and many gamers don’t want to pay even a break-even price. There’s a lot of art and layout to be done.

    For me, it’s still unclear how many of these ebooks are being read. People are impulse-buying quite a few, but are they carving out the time to read them all, too? At this point, I need people to read my work and recommend it. I want as many readers as I can get, and that road runs through NY.

  3. Since I picked up the iPad last month I’ve finished five books. I figure people with with pure eReaders read even more.

    But there might also be more buying and stocking up. I’ve got a longish list of books ready when I finish the next one.

    However, I’ve got a stack of unfinished paperbacks too.

    For RPGs there’s a whole bunch of buying and just reading or just skimming for the entire market! But that applies equally to print.

  4. I’m really loving it!

    But I’m also kind of the perfect market for one. I read regular books, comic books and pdfs of RPG books — and the color stuff turns out very nice. Vastly superior to reading on a computer or laptop.

    Since I read at night in bed with my wife asleep the built-in nightlight is great.

    I’ve also found it handy as an email checker and web browser for when I’m lying around.

    Or if I’m in the process of going to sleep and have an idea that I’m worried about forgetting I’ll just turn it on and taps in a few quick notes in the notepad feature. I used to try and do the notepad and pen by bed thing, but fumbling in the dark doesn’t work, wife steals all the pens, and those little pens with the lights built in don’t work very well.

  5. I think I’d wake up divorced if I went to bed with a machine for checking email. I’m obsessive about that enough as it is.

    The only sad thing about the iPad is that iBookstore doesn’t carry Random House books, so they don’t have mine. Someday, maybe.

  6. My wife can’t comment since she’s even more obsessed!

    I do all my book reading in Kindle since it’s multi-platform and I much prefer the Amazon store organization, other recommended books features, and slew of reviews from fans, Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly.

    The Publisher’s Weekly starred books have been really good predictors of books I’ll finish and go on to but more books from the same author.

  7. Michael B Sullivan

    I find your link for item #2 unconvincing, and here’s why:

    Their first claim is, “If you believe everything else we say (ie, that the health care bill will not increase spending, then the health care bill will not increase spending.” Okay, fair enough, but it just begs the question.

    Their second claim appears to be, “This is a valid criticism, but it’s not, alone, enough to offset the savings in the CBO report.” Again, fair enough, but not a very impressive defense.

    Their third claim: I’ve never entirely understood the claim of double-counting, and don’t have any rebuttal, here.

    Their fourth claim: They say that “the vast majority” of provisions that cut the cost of Medicare have been enacted in the last 20 years. I’ll take their word for it. But the criticism is not that there are some generic provisions, but that these specific ones are politically untenable. Lots of relatively minor changes might reduce the cost of medicare. That doesn’t rebut the idea that specific, drastic cuts to medicare won’t be politically untenable, and a strict argument based on “number of bills that reduce a cost” is pretty obviously flawed.

    Their fifth claim: The SGR is already broken. True, but at least potentially the new healthcare bill will result in more government reimbursements based on it than the status quo. (In as much as people ignore the mandate and pay the penalty, then go to a doctor and let the government pay for it).

    Their sixth claim: Seems pretty arguable either way.

    Their seventh claim: Seems fair to me.

  8. Let me take a moment to address your points:

    Claim 1: I think you have that wrong there. The claim they’re addressing is that HCR does not really reduce the deficit because it hits us with ten years of taxes but only six years of gov’t programs. That’s not true, but if it were true then there wouldn’t be any savings in the second decade, when you have ten years of both. The CBO is saying that there will be more savings in the second ten years.

    Claim 2: They’re not exactly saying it’s a valid crit but it doesn’t offset expected savings. Historically, there’s a strong relationship between reducing health care costs and increasing wages. Reducing health care costs (which are subsidized by the gov’t by being tax exempt) will direct funds to the workers directly, and the workers will pay taxes on that compensation.

    Those paid taxes will increase the deficit reduction of the HCR law, but HCR was written to save money without it.

    Claim 4: The CBO isn’t saying that Congress is willing to pass small reductions but not big ones (ie: the reductions of Medicare payments to doctors). What they’re saying is that it’s a flawed law that would reduce doctors’ compensation below their expenses. As a result, Congress won’t implement it. I reduces spending, yeah, but if it makes doctors drop their Medicare patients, then it’s no good (which in media terms makes it “politically untenable”).

    Claim 5: The objection they’re addressing here is that the budgetary effects of that flawed law mentioned in #4 should be added to Obamacare. It doesn’t make sense because Obama’s HCR package is separate from that decade old problem, but that’s the only way critics can attack the deficit reduction the law enacts.

    BTW, there is no “let the government pay for it.” People who pay the penalty until they need care will be paying private insurance premiums to cover their medical bills. There is no mechanism to ignore the mandate and then send a bill to the tax payers.

    Gotta go. Family’s stirring. Let me know if that’s too rough-drafty to make sense.

  9. When I was a kid, we already had that peer pressure thing to “help” fat kids lose weight. And punching and kicking were also involved. Also, “swirlies” in the school restrooms.

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