A Thank You to Readers, and a Little More Disclosure

by W.F. Price on January 8, 2014

Despite not asking this quarter (I didn’t think I should since I took leave for a month), readers have contributed enough to pay for operating costs for the remainder of this quarter. I’d like to let all of you know how much I appreciate the support. Despite my stated intention to make changes, I’m not going to shut down the site as long as readers are offsetting the costs. However, I do want to offer some services (in addition to my own content) that have commercial value, so I can actually make some respectable money off the site and sustain what I’ve started.

For years before I started The Spearhead, I worked for a small business that published documents and reference books in both print and digital formats. While there, I learned how to put books and documents together, print them and format them for inclusion in databases. It was a niche publisher that sold mainly to universities and government agencies, and was pretty profitable for the owner. It was a lot of work and often tedious, but at times it was fun, and I learned a fair amount by reading the material that passed through my hands.

I also learned a lot about the technical aspects of publishing, and that’s something I think could be of value to our online community. I’m just one blogger out of many in the manosphere, and while I have some valuable insights to offer, I know I’m not the only one. However, I am probably one of the few who has experience putting out real publications, and when I look at the enormous amount of content out there on blogs, it’s pretty clear that there’s a lot of untapped potential.

I think of all the bloggers who write great stuff, but have neither the time nor the know-how required to publish books or studies. Sure, there’s the Amazon and Lulu type services out there that will slap something together for you if you send them a Word document, but they’re taking a cut, and they don’t support or condone our message, nor do they particularly care about our audience, so dealing with them is an annoyance at best, and could sometimes be a risk, especially if you run across someone like the fellow at Automattic who was threatening to “disappear” Heartiste’s blog. There really are a lot of petty tyrants among the technocratic class these days. More than I’ve ever seen before, and I certainly wouldn’t trust these people with my work.

It will probably take some time to get my rusty formatting skills back in form, but if I’m going to stay in this business, I’m pretty sure this is the way to go. If I can pull it off, I think we’ll see the beginnings of a publishing paradigm that breaks “the narrative” and can stand on its own. While I’d like to be able to say that I’d be happy to publish anything, I don’t think I will. Free speech is under serious threat in the US, and at this point we should take the “fight fire with fire” approach. If it turns out that the only way we can make our voices heard over the din is to discriminate in our private venues, then that’s what I’ll do.

For starters I’m going to keep it simple. Just straightforward books, documents and studies in print and e-book form. That’s all I can handle at this point, and there’s nothing that guarantees failure like introducing too much complexity to a task. This also means that, unfortunately, I won’t be able to edit material. Editing is an important job that takes a lot of effort. I often wish I could afford an editor, but I make do with cursory self-editing (which is never as good) and hope that readers are forgiving. If you do want to publish material, I’d recommend having an editor go over it if you can afford it. If not, do your best yourself, but don’t be dumb and expect that just anyone can or will edit for you. For example, if you wouldn’t have your carpenter brother-in-law fix your car, why would you expect a web designer or engineer to edit your text?

What I like about the model I’ve envisioned is that I don’t have to own or control other people’s content, host their sites, demand their obedience, shove them all into one tent, etc. Instead, I give them a handy tool, some valuable, personalized service, and a common platform where they can sell their wares on an equal footing with others both on my site and at major online retailers like Amazon, Ingram and Barnes and Noble. If all goes well, readers and customers are happy, writers make more sales, and I run a business developing and sustaining the market for the mutual benefit of all involved.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

greyghost January 8, 2014 at 14:37

Outstanding

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tom47 January 8, 2014 at 15:10

Getting this off the ground would be a milestone.

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gender foreigner January 8, 2014 at 16:11

I wish you all the success, Bill. :)

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Heisenberg January 8, 2014 at 18:47

Have you considered putting up an Amazon partner link? Amazon offers commissions of 4-10% to you on items bought through your link. The best part is, your not asking your supporters to do anything that don’t already do – many of them likely buy through Amazon anyway. It costs them NOTHING. But you get a nice commission check!
One other idea is that perhaps you could post a list of costs (servers, etc) and ask people to help with specific things. I know I’m always reluctant to click the “donate here” button. But if someone puts up that they need $104.35 to put in a new server, I am more likely to sponsor it as it makes me feel like I’m part of what they are building.

My two cents…

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Walhaz January 9, 2014 at 03:51

Sounds like a decent idea. I would probably give support ethically, and monetarily.

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Tam the Bam January 9, 2014 at 04:10

Looks like a Plan ..

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ghost January 9, 2014 at 06:56

Start with the Amazon link first…

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W.F. Price January 9, 2014 at 07:51

@ghost

Amazon rips off affiliates, to be honest. They pay something like 3% on most sales, and that’s only if someone buys immediately.

Heisenberg January 9, 2014 at 13:52

I didn’t realize that. Tom Leykis did really well Amazon – he made over $60K on over $800K of fans purchases! Of course, he’s got a lot of scale b/c of his thousands of radio fans. But if you only made a fraction of that, it’s still something.

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W.F. Price January 9, 2014 at 14:07

@Heisenberg

Not bad for Leykis, but it’s still a low figure (under 10%) in the affiliate world. I’d also guess some of that includes his own products.

Dire Badger January 9, 2014 at 17:34

Amazon has three major problems-
1. They retain the published pricing rights to original material. This is more or less non-negotiable for ‘amazon publishing’ (an affiliate) and if you attempt to recontract through an external publisher, none will accept you, because they cannot compete with the ‘cheaper’ price amazon can, and will charge.
2. Amazon retains the rights to put your material ‘on sale’ at will and free. legally, this means that any other publisher you contract with is FORCED to match amazon’s lowest prices… which means 1 day of a ’1 penny promo’ will force all other publishers to give your material away for a penny. You lose any rights to set your OWN pricing… they can, at any time, choose to put your NEW books (and they do) in the ‘bargain bin’. This means that not only do you lose early page views, and sales, but you are also forced to continue selling your original work through amazon.
3. Their author percentage for digital redistribution is absurdly low and is also non-negotiable unless you already are a bestseller. (at that you are lucky to get a 1% boost).

If you were selling fiction, I’d say go through someone with a real rep for fair dealing and embracing the changing market dynamic, like Baen. For the non-fiction though, I am a bit clueless…. sorry.

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Dire Badger January 9, 2014 at 17:35

Oh, and most importantly, I forgot that Amazon can and will SUE YOU if you sell your book for a lower price (or distribute it for free) any place else. and they have the numbers to make the ‘lost profits’ bankrupt you.

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GSJockey January 10, 2014 at 09:33

Bill there is still a groundswell of support for manosphere related merchandise–”Spearhead” t-shirts, coffee cups, bumper stickers, etc. Any plans to start offering that stuff for sale on your site?

I get questions all the time about my “MGTOW” license plate–I think it’s good for our community to get the word out!

GS Jockey

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Ironthumb January 17, 2014 at 15:15

Selling your book through Amazon sucks .
So Price what you are proposing is a great thing.
Right now I am planning to get my regimens together in one Ebook.
Selling it through your system would seem like the best option.
I will look forward to that.
Anyways I took a look at website traffic spy, and according to that you can make extra 100 bucks a month (at least) with Pay per clicks like adsense or infolinks, have you considered that – even for the mean time?
you just need to remind readers not to click the links on purpose haphazardly though,.

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