Category Archives: self-publishing

The Martian: A Modern Classic

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This week­end, my body has been clean­ing the house, doing some Kindle admin, mow­ing the lawn, and eat­ing. My mind, how­ever, has been on Mars, thanks to the audiobook The Martian by Andy Weir.

I’m not going to tease you: This is the best hard sci­ence fic­tion book I’ve read in years, pos­sibly since Dune. Bear in mind that:

  • I don’t keep up with cur­rent fash­ions in sci­ence fic­tion, so maybe there are bet­ter hard sci­ence fic­tion volumes out there

  • I don’t like polit­ic­ally earn­est (or even insin­cere) sci­ence fiction

  • I may not even know what hard sci­ence fic­tion is, given that I’ve included Dune as an example

  • This book isn’t a door­stop with eighty char­ac­ters, sub­plots, and a gloss­ary of swear­words used on the planet Ah’hrrhr!g. It’s as long as it needs to be and that’s that.

The Martian begins with astro­naut Mark Watney regain­ing con­scious­ness on the sur­face of Mars hav­ing been left for dead by his crew­mates. What fol­lows is a grip­ping novel that reads like Apollo 13 on an epic scale: to make it, Mark has only his wits, his sci­entific train­ing as a bot­an­ist and an engin­eer, and re-runs of 1970s TV shows. Meanwhile, NASA is work­ing around the clock to help him work out ingeni­ous solu­tions to life-threatening prob­lem after life-threatening problem.

Here are some things that occurred to me as I searched for more chores this week­end in order to pro­long my listen­ing time:

  • If you’re going to write about space, know about space.

    • Get shit right. If you wrote a novel about foot­ball, you’d be embar­rassed if you didn’t know the off­side rule.
  • Just because the set­ting is highly tech­nical, that doesn’t mean your char­ac­ters can’t be well-rounded, human, and funny.

  • If you’re not inter­ested in pub­lish­ing tra­di­tion­ally, go ahead and do it anyway.

As far as I’m aware, Andy Weir wrote this book as a free serial. That’s when he star­ted to pick up read­ers. The ori­ginal draft he uploaded to the Kindle had plenty of typos, but by doing his home­work and writ­ing well, Mark accrued so much good will that his rat­ings were sky high.

Now, the novel has been picked up by a major pub­lisher. Andy Weir deserves it. He didn’t set out to make money, but I hope he does, because I’ve paid a lot more over the years for sci­ence fic­tion that is well below the bar set by The Martian. You know what? I’ve just pre-ordered a phys­ical copy for £12.99. It’ll be released in early February and it’ll be going onto my shelf.

In case you didn’t between the lines, I liked this book very much. Here’s my Amazon review:

This book is, quite simply, one of the most engross­ing reads I’ve come across for a long time. It’s metic­u­lously researched, funny, mov­ing, and just about the pin­nacle of hard SF.

Conversations in the Margin of Déjà Vu

So I’m not a dir­ector. But, if I were, I’d be first in the chair when they asked me to chat­ter away about the movie. I’m a writer, and I’m doing the next best thing.

I’m not sure where I first came across ReadMill. Somebody on Twitter men­tioned it, I expect. ReadMill is a com­pany that provides read­ing applic­a­tions for mobile devices. So far so nor­mal. The Kindle applic­a­tions do this, too. What sets ReadMill apart is that its applic­a­tions are well designed–to judge from the iPad one, at least–and allow read­ers to have con­ver­sa­tions in the margins.

I’ve always thought that the high­lights fea­ture on the Kindle was a missed oppor­tun­ity for Amazon because of the rel­at­ive lack of inter­activ­ity. ReadMill addresses that.

So here’s what I did, and what you can do too (with most books).

  1. Sign up with ReadMill.

  2. Buy a book on any one of these ser­vices. I down­loaded Déjà Vu from the Kobo store, where it is cur­rently free.

  3. Download the ReadMill app for your mobile device.

  4. Sync your lib­rary and look for com­ments by other read­ers. If you have Déjà Vu, you’ll see my ‘director’s commentary’.

What kinds of things am I includ­ing? Well, I’m not sure what people will find inter­est­ing, so I’m adding bits of trivia, thoughts on the cre­at­ive pro­cess (nat­ur­ally), and hints about deleted scenes. You can see some of them on the ReadMill page itself.

At some point in the near future, I’ll be work­ing with ReadMill on a giveaway of Déjà Vu. For the time being, if you want to check out what it’s like to use (remem­ber that the app and my book are free right now), it’s worth a shot.

Branching Out

In April of 2011, I pub­lished my only novel, Déjà Vu to the Kindle store. I was at the end of my tether with the intransigent (for me) tra­di­tional pub­lish­ing industry. I had a story I believed in and nowhere to place it. Finally, I chose the Kindle store, which was the only game in town. Over the next two years, I made enough money to edit, proof and dec­or­ate my four remain­ing books (Flasback, The Amber Rooms, and Proper Job. So my pro­fes­sional writ­ing has sus­tained itself financially.

One of the great aspects of the Kindle store is the Kindle Select Programme. This allows authors to make books free for a period (five days in every ninety) in return for exclus­iv­ity. Even though the per­cent­age of people down­load­ing and, cru­cially, read­ing free books is not high, the deal worked out well for me. Off the back of these pro­mo­tions, my books ten­ded to ride high in the paid chart after­ward, and many of the best reviews of Déjà Vu begin with “I down­loaded this for free and wasn’t expect­ing much, but…”

But. The Kindle Select pro­gramme isn’t what it used to be. Probably as a res­ult of Amazon mov­ing its focus away from Select (and because the algorithm might sup­press older books), the pro­gramme is one of dimin­ish­ing returns. Eventually, the exclus­iv­ity isn’t worth it.

At the same time, I’ve been mov­ing towards a more auto­mated way of pro­du­cing books, as you can see in these posts. I’ve now reached the point where a single text file (the novel, styled using Markdown) can be passed to a pro­gram designed to gen­er­ate val­id­ated ebooks (com­plete with table of con­tents, about the author, and so on) for Kindle, PDF, and iBooks.

About iBooks. I did use the Smashwords meat-grinder, once upon a time, to pub­lish Déjà Vu in many ebook stores, includ­ing the iBook­store. There was one advant­age to this and sev­eral dis­ad­vant­ages. The advant­age: It was free, and that’s great. The disadvantages:

  • The pro­duced ver­sions looked like crap (incon­sist­ent place­ment of images; vari­able line height within body text; even–saints pre­serve us–failure to indent at the start of chapters).

  • At the time, the Amazon Kindle store was huge, and even good sales for these oth­ers amoun­ted to pennies.

The first dis­ad­vant­age was the killer for me, though the second might have iced my cake. I del­is­ted the book from Smashwords. This meant that Déjà Vu appeared briefly on iBooks. Enough to pick up a couple of reviews, then disappear.

Déjà Vu is now back on the iBook­store. It looks good. I designed it (and all my other books) from the ground up using Markdown, CSS and Apple’s proof­ing tools. My pre­cious indent­ing is cor­rect and the over­all impres­sion is much closer to a pro­fes­sional one. I’ve even added my own fleur­ons.

We’ll see what hap­pens with regards to sales. My sus­pi­cion is that they remain quiet because Apple’s sales are driven almost entirely by brand name and expos­ure on the front page of the site. Amazon, by con­trast, is much more aggress­ive about push­ing unknown authors on the basis of match­mak­ing to the reader’s book his­tory. M’acquaintance Scott Pack, relates his exper­i­ence of pub­lish­ing Confessions of a GP on iBooks, which bene­fit­ted extremely from front-of-store pro­mo­tion by Apple. Advertising is the Achilles’ Heel of the inde­pend­ent author; we just don’t have the clout. Everything has to be word of mouth, and the iBook­store isn’t good at amp­li­fy­ing that.

Are you ask­ing your­self: “But, Ian, how can I help you out?” If so, you are very kind. The main dif­fi­culty for me is the lack of reviews. Each book starts afresh. (I’m not sure what the iBooks policy is on includ­ing Amazon cus­tomer reviews in their product descrip­tions; I might check that out.) But if you’ve read any of my books and feel dis­posed towards rat­ing them once again on iBooks, I will feel briefly warm and fuzzy.

You can see all my iBook­store books here.

Creating an Animated Banner Advert

There are sev­eral joys pecu­liar to the inde­pend­ent writer. One of them is the respons­ib­il­ity of advert­ising. A few weeks back, I made the decision to plough more of the earn­ings from my books into these adverts. One of the places I wanted to advert­ise is a site call kboards.com, a busy hub full of Kindle writers and readers.

What Goes into the Ad?

It needs to cap­ture interest with min­imal inform­a­tion. I kicked around some ideas using the ‘rule of three’: this, that and the other, or ‘not this, not that, but the other’. Since I don’t really have graphic illus­tra­tion skills bey­ond cre­at­ing book cov­ers, I’d need to use text. I came up with:

One heroine

Three books

Lost in time

Overall, I’m happy with them. They’re short. They tell you that the main char­ac­ter is a woman, that there are three books (so far) worth of story, and that the genre is sci­ence fic­tion (time travel).

My girl­friend looked at a draft of the fin­ished GIF and said that read­ers wouldn’t know any­thing about the qual­ity of the books. I agreed, and added a quote from an SFX of Déjà Vu as a ‘zero slide’ at the beginning.

How Does it Look?

The stand­ard dimen­sions for a ban­ner ad is 728 x 90 pixels. Once I’d stuffed that full of my text, there was no room for the book jack­ets, and it gen­er­ally looked shite. #advertfail

Fine, I thought. I’ll just cre­ate an anim­ated GIF.

For the unini­ti­ated, an anim­ated GIF (pro­nounced ‘fish’) is a little video.

Creation: Keynote

I don’t have any fancy anim­a­tion soft­ware. I do, how­ever, use Apple Keynote to give psy­cho­logy lec­tures. Keynote is a par­tic­u­larly advanced present­a­tion plat­form that has text effects, slide trans­itions, and tim­ings. Crucially, it can also export a present­a­tion as a Quicktime movie file. That file can then be dropped into a Mac app called GIFBrewery to make an anim­ated GIF.

  • Open Keynote and select one of the stand­ard templates

  • Next, you’ll want to have Keynote change its slide size to 728 x 90. Guess what? It won’t, because 90 is too small. You will need to cre­ate a slide with the ban­ner ad pro­por­tions but more pixels. I’d sug­gest 2184 x 270.

Keynote slide size

  • Create as many slides as you like. Each one of these will be a ‘moment’ in your anim­a­tion. For my own ban­ner, there were seven moments.

Slides

  • Set the tim­ings and trans­itions between the slides. You’ll see that, for the example below, I’ve set the trans­ition between the first slide and the second to be the ‘sparkle’ effect; the sparkle moves left to right; and the trans­ition activ­ates auto­mat­ic­ally after three seconds.

Transitions

  • Once you’ve set up auto­matic trans­itions between slides, Keynote should be able to play through the ‘present­a­tion’ without manual inter­ven­tion. About five-ten seconds long is prob­ably enough—but if your ban­ner ad is awe­some, maybe people will watch it for longer. Who knows.

  • Now export the present­a­tion as a Quicktime video. Go to the File Menu > Export > Quicktime. Keynote will offer the fol­low­ing options, which are set accord­ing to those I used for my own banner:

QT Options

Creation: GIFBrewery

The Quicktime file is some­thing that GIFBrewery can hap­pily use to pro­duce your banner.

GIFBrewery has many options, which you can explore. The two main things to point out are:

  • Resize’ will allow you to reduce the pixel dimen­sions of you video. If you’ve impor­ted from Keynote, these dimen­sions will be too large, so here is where you can reduce it to 728 x 90 pixels.

  • The ‘GIF prop­er­ties’ pop-up allows you to tweak the frame-rate (and there­fore over­all speed) of the GIF. You will also find options for redu­cing the num­bers of col­ours. Remember that the webpage host­ing your advert needs the GIF to have a very small file size. In the case of kboards.com, this is less than 60K.

GFBrewery

Wrapping Up

Here is the fin­ished GIF:

2013 05 20 22 24 09 SB

I hope that’s help­ful. It took me a couple of nights of pokery, not to men­tion jig­gery, to real­ise that I could use Keynote to pro­duce a movie file, and then a good piece of soft­ware to gen­er­ate the GIF.

If you want to use my files as a head start, here they are:

The GFBrewery set­tings file

The Keynote present­a­tion file

The Keynote Quicktime export

Kindle Select Tips

It was late after­noon yes­ter­day when I remembered that I’d signed up Déjà Vu for a one-day stint as a free­bie. This is pos­sible as part of Amazon’s Kindle Select pro­gramme. There isn’t a huge amount of data avail­able on this, so here are mine.

For the last three months or so, sales of Déjà Vu had been slow­ing (oh so tra­gic­ally, but you’ll hear no com­plaints from me about how well the book has done). In the UK, it’s March-May sales were 426, 124, and 96. For the US, those fig­ures are much smal­ler: 45, 21, and 26. The over­all sales stand at 9000 UK, 1487 US, totalling 10, 505 (the extra 18 come from Germany).

I’ve inter­preted these sales as show­ing suc­cess in the UK and, well, show­ing a lack of it in the US. One of the nice things is that 50% of the people who read Déjà Vu want to buy Flashback, even though it’s £1.20 more expensive.

By the time I remembered about the one-day free­bie, yes­ter­day, Déjà Vu had been ‘selling’ for a few hours in the US. At that point, 576 cop­ies had been moved in the US and only 126 in the UK. This puzzles me a little. Whereas the book doesn’t really sell in the US, there are more people ready to grab it for free. Perhaps, then, it is reas­on­ably attract­ive to the American con­sumer but not so attract­ive that they’re keen to pur­chase in large number.

When I went to bed that even­ing, 2854 had moved in the US and 288 in the UK. This morn­ing, tot­ting up the final fig­ures, the US total was 5713 and the UK total 358. Déjà Vu reached at least num­ber four in both (free) sci­ence fic­tion charts each side of the Atlantic. With caveats, that sug­gests the US Kindle mar­ket is around ten times the size of the UK market.

Overall, then, I’d call it a suc­cess­ful pro­mo­tion. It’s worth bear­ing in mind that not many of those read­ers will read the book. Fewer still, maybe none, will post a review. The last pro­mo­tion I did was for Proper Job, my first — and per­haps last — com­edy novel. That shif­ted many free cop­ies but got no reviews.

How has the Déjà Vu pro­mo­tion impacted on sales? There’s a small effect. It might last a day or two.

I’ve sold 20 cop­ies in the US so far this month, and that com­pares with 26 cop­ies for all of May. Oh, and I see one refund! Flashback sales are up a bit to 5 cop­ies this month; last month it was 15.

In the UK, I’ve sold 25 cop­ies of Déjà Vu in June (cf. 95 last month) and 13 cop­ies of Flashback (cf. 73 last month).

For rank­ings, Déjà Vu is now at 1,997 in the UK, whereas pre­vi­ously it was float­ing around 10,000. It’s at 7,564 in the US, and has been hov­er­ing at 35,000 or so.

There are some stats I could prob­ably com­pute for the effect of the Kindle Select pro­mo­tion, but that would be overkill. Right now, I’d say it’s worth it, and the Kindle Select pro­gramme remains a great tool for authors pub­lish­ing on Amazon.

In terms of max­im­ising the bene­fit of the pro­mo­tion, you should — obvi­ously — try to get the word out on your social net­works without being too much of a tit about it. I try not to be a tit but my Twitter fol­low­ers could prob­ably tell you whether or not I’m suc­ceed­ing. Yesterday, I was lucky that SF Signal retweeted a mes­sage about the pro­mo­tion to almost 7000 fol­low­ers, and I’d be will­ing to bet that con­trib­uted a great deal to the final US fig­ure of 5713.

I guess this is mar­ket­ing, but I prefer to think of it as let­ting people know about a book they might like. A Tweet is a tran­si­ent thing. I’m no fan of spam, and I don’t do newsletters.

Well, peeps, there’re the data. Not sure whether they gen­er­al­ise, but there they are.

★ Is the Kindle Store 1000 Times Better Than Apple’s iBooks and Smashwords?

Probably not.

But the data for sales of my novel, Déjà Vu, which I’ve pub­lished on the Kindle, iBooks and Smashwords, point to a sales ratio of about 1000:1.

Kindle Sales

Déjà Vu unit sales per month, begin­ning in March, are: 320, 938, 915, 738, 844, 643 and 581.

Smashwords (this includes Barnes and Noble, and a bil­lion other ebook stores)

For the same period: 4.

iBooks

For the same period: 1.

Overall, then, the ratio of sales Kindle:other is 4979:5. Call it 1000:1. If Déjà Vu is rep­res­ent­at­ive of more gen­eral trends (it won’t be; but it’s in the ball­park, I expect), the Kindle store could be around 1000 times more suc­cess­ful than the other stores com­bined. Remember that the blurb, cover image and price are identical across stores.

What Leads to These Differences?

All of my mar­ket­ing — if you can call it that — has poin­ted people to the Kindle store.

Amazon has a lar­ger cus­tomer base to begin with, so cross-promotion will be more effect­ive. That is, when Déjà Vu is recom­men­ded to people who have a his­tory of buy­ing sim­ilar titles, there are more of those people around to see the recom­mend­a­tion. It could well be that many people see Déjà Vu on Amazon when they’re not look­ing for it; few see my book on Smashwords or iBooks.

Amazon has a mature chart-based shop­front. I don’t think Smashwords does this very well. And when I (rarely) look at iBooks, the charts seem to be full of odd books, and they are all writ­ten by Jeremy Clarkson. Nothing wrong with that; but it sug­gests a smal­ler num­ber of readers.

For the ver­sion of Déjà Vu sold on Amazon, I can con­trol the look and feel of the ebook pre­cisely. The ver­sion sold on Smashwords is pro­duced using a Word tem­plate and, frankly, it looks like a piece of crap. Blockquotes don’t work prop­erly; indent­a­tion is shot to hell. Likewise, the ver­sion for iBooks looks awful. Now, ebooks aren’t meant to look beau­ti­ful — but the cre­ator should be able to provide a well-designed doc­u­ment whose struc­ture melts away so that the reader can enjoy the story.

A Caveat

It’s worth not­ing that both iBooks and Smashwords are push­ing huge num­bers of books. Scott Pack recently repor­ted large sales num­bers for Confessions of a GP. And my friend Stephen J Sweeney has been selling his Battle for the Solar System books like gang­busters across many plat­forms. But Amazon has the lion’s share of this mar­ket for now.

The Creative Identity

If you’re inter­ested in the cre­at­ive pro­cess at all, you’ve prob­ably come across a blog called The Creative Identity, run by Stephanella Walsh. It com­prises great essays on the issues involved in writ­ing. Stephanella also con­ducts inter­views. This morn­ing, there’s one fea­tur­ing me.

Almost a year ago exactly, in my second Creative Times, I linked to a fab­ulous, if slightly per­turb­ing, post by writer Ian Hocking. In it, he talked about giv­ing up writing.

Later on:

Q: What is the writ­ing tend­ency you most deplore in yourself?

A: I haven’t learned to fully switch off the Evil Editor on the shoulder. This is prob­ably because I spent so long switch­ing him on.

Up the Workers

Another inter­est­ing piece in The Guardian about self pub­lish­ing (this is the term they’re apply­ing to inde­pend­ent ebook pub­lic­a­tion) by Alison Flood.

This caught my eye:

Publishing has always been a quasi-monopoly built on the lock pub­lish­ers had on paper dis­tri­bu­tion. Digital dis­tri­bu­tion has broken that lock, but leg­acy pub­lish­ers are still behav­ing as though they have mono­poly power,” believes Eisler. “They’re run­ning their busi­ness with two gen­eral imper­at­ives in mind: (i) main­tain the primacy of paper (in sig­ni­fic­ant part, by delay­ing the release of digital books and pri­cing them too high); and (ii) offer pun­it­ive fin­an­cial, cre­at­ive, and other terms to authors. Or, to put it another way, pub­lish­ers are cur­rently run­ning their busi­ness in a way that pun­ishes both their end-user cus­tom­ers (read­ers) and their pro­viders (authors). This was sus­tain­able when pub­lish­ers faced no mean­ing­ful com­pet­i­tion. They do now, and will have to adapt or die, because yes, more and more authors are eschew­ing the leg­acy model in favour of self-publishing and in favour of the emer­ging Amazon hybrid model.”

I, and many oth­ers, have com­men­ted on the art­icle. Brace your­self for the some­what arrog­ant mode, but I’m respond­ing to some counter-independent com­ments. It runs:

Interesting art­icle. I like the data (indeed, I’ve blogged on Scott Pack’s blog ‘Me and My Big Mouth’ a couple of times about my own ebook pub­lish­ing exper­i­ences, where I’ve tried to be trans­par­ent about my sales).

Whether ebooks will be good for the pub­lish­ing industry is a moot point. It is cer­tainly good for me. In my case, my first book was pub­lished by a small press and went nowhere because, back then (in 2005!), you had to get your book into a high­street book­seller or oth­er­wise die on your arse. Over the years since then, I’ve had count­less agents and pub­lish­ers rave about my work and then mut­ter some­thing about marketing/categorisation/effort and not pub­lish it. Clearly they thought it was not the bother. I dis­agree, and I’ve now sold more than three thou­sand cop­ies since March.

Again, it’s a moot point whether this is good for pub­lish­ing. I will be forever indebted to Amazon, who man­u­fac­tured and pushed the Kindle when every­one (includ­ing me, at first) was pour­ing scorn on it. They’ve given me the chance to have people read my work. That was never going to hap­pen with UK publishers.

Are my self pub­lished books crap? Quite pos­sibly, but I don’t think so. Both were pro­fes­sion­ally edited and both have good cov­ers (the first my own, the second pro­duced by a pro­fes­sional). Both books have mean rat­ings greater than 4 on Amazon. But, more than this, dozens of people a day are down­load­ing my books; a large per­cent­age of them will be read­ing them.

That’s the revolu­tion: being able, as an artist, to reach the end point of the cre­at­ive process.

Up the workers.

The Guardian on Two Self-Publishing Successes

Worth a com­plete read, I think. But this para­graph struck me as interesting:

Ask your­self this. If someone offered you a half-million dol­lars today as a one-time pay­ment, or $50,000 a year for the rest of your life, which would you take? Assuming you weren’t in the middle of a fin­an­cial emer­gency and expec­ted to live longer than a dec­ade, you’d be bet­ter off with the annu­ity. And that’s the dif­fer­ence between leg­acy pub­lish­ing and indie.

Here’s the art­icle.

★ More Pottermore

You’ve prob­ably noticed that J K Rowling has announced a new web­site called Pottermore. As far as I can make out from the video embed­ded on that site, it’s some­what in the Star Wars: Galaxies mould. I got a whiff of Willy Wonka from the video, but that might be my office need­ing a clean.

Rather more inter­est­ing for me, with my ‘inde­pend­ent writer’ hat on, are the com­ments gen­er­ated by an art­icle in the Bookseller, J K Rowling to take Potter digital.

What is clear…is that the digital con­tent will be pub­lished under the imprint Pottermore Publishing, rather than by her print pub­lisher Bloomsbury, which does not own the digital rights.

Actually, I’m not sure this is clear. As com­ment Peter Cox points out:

JK Rowling has con­firmed that she will release paid-for e-book ver­sions of her incred­ibly suc­cess­ful Harry Potter books from her new web­site Pottermore “in part­ner­ship with J K Rowling’s pub­lish­ers worldwide”.

Whether the ebooks will, or will not, involve her physical-book pub­lish­ers, my eye is drawn to those com­menters who believe that when digital rights revert to the author (or stay with them because they are unsold), the pub­lisher should retain a per­cent­age of the sales because the pub­lisher helped to edit the book.

Both view­points are jus­ti­fi­able: The author can reas­on­ably claim that if the pub­lisher wants the digital rights, they can pay for them. The pub­lisher, by con­trast, might argue that the text of the fin­ished product is a com­pos­ite of the author’s work and the edit­ors who helped her render it.

Morally, should Bloomsbury be rewar­ded to help­ing to edit the book?

Commenter Peter Cox writes:

Without [Bloomsbury’s] clever mar­ket­ing there would be no Pottermore launch today; it stands on their shoulders.

That’s a strong claim. I don’t think there’s any evid­ence that Bloomsbury sig­ni­fic­antly con­trib­uted bey­ond the usual ‘back­ground noise’ pub­li­city that minor, new books get.

I do won­der how much one would credit an editor in a work of prose. I cer­tainly include the names of my two edit­ors — Aliya Whiteley and Clare Christian — prom­in­ently in my books. The idea that they are co-writing the book is a tricky one. Let’s say I sug­gest to a painter that a par­tic­u­lar view­point might make a nice sketch. Did I pro­duce the sketch? Hardly.

This does make me won­der, how­ever. I think you’d see some com­mon­al­it­ies between books that have been edited by a par­tic­u­lar indi­vidual, much as you’d see com­mon­al­it­ies between music albums and their pro­du­cers. But pro­du­cers aren’t in the band. Only the band are in the band.

Jesus, I hate Dobby.

Just sayin’.