Walrus Wisdom

1. Sic Semper Tyranus: WalrusInk Anger Management
We are a group of Editors who value good writing, and are happiest working with smart, interesting people and custom crafting materials for publication. In fact, we are a forward-thinking ePublishing company unburdened by manufacturing processes or outdated financial models. We are experienced, opinionated, time-hardened publishing pros, and are nonetheless particularly fond of authors. We are also tech-savvy, aesthetically-sophisticated, and even relatively-well educated, but please don’t hold these things against us.

Perhaps more importantly, we share certain values that have as much to do with the creation of WalrusInk as anything. (Disclaimer: This part may strike you as hopelessly idealistic, a cynical lie, or both, so you’ll just have to suspend disbelief and try to imagine that we’re realistically idealistic.) Honesty, transparency, fairness, and mutual respect are important to us. No big deal, you’re thinking. These are pretty basic values. But unfortunately, these terms have lost much of their currency from careless overuse, so I’ll try to differentiate by listing some of the standard business practices we abhor and eschew.

  • We do not believe in the “business imperative.” This term is trotted out as an alternative to the more childish “because I said so and it’s my ball.” Our imperatives are honesty, fairness, and quality.
  • We do not pretend to be smarter than our authors. Instead, we celebrate the author and see ourselves as providing a modest service based on our own specialized skills and experience as editors. Publishing is a partnership that requires mutual respect, and without which there can be no trust.
  • We recognize human frailty as realty, and “since the course of true love never did run smooth,” we accept late homework. Quality really is a realistic goal, but only if allowed enough time to attain it’s full patina. How much time is enough time? Each case will be different and there’s no reason to expect otherwise.
  • We are not greedy! We do intend to make a living, but not at the expense of any of these values. We think we can achieve this and hope most sincerely that our wish is not overly optimistic.

These are some of our values and we will strive to be consistent about recognizing them in everything we do. In fact, we’re convinced that we couldn’t do it any other way and hope that you feel the same.

2. ePublishing for fun and profit with WalrusInk

We love publishing
The WalrusInk partners are all experienced publishing professionals. Not only is it an industry we know well, it’s something we love doing. For us, ePublishing is an opportunity to do what we love without the heavyweight burdens of old-fashioned publishing we feel are crushing the industry into oblivion.

We love technology
As much as we love publishing, we are also passionate about technology. ePublishing involves rapidly changing technologies that are ushering in a genuinely new age of publishing. While the publishing status quo sees these changes as a threat, we recognize them as a remarkably exciting opportunity with unbounded potential.

We love paradigm shifts
We see ePublishing as providing a fundamental shift in the way knowledge is shared, which is a pretty big deal and something we’ll likely write about at greater length in the future, but for now, you’ll just have to take our word for it.

We love authors
And finally, we love working with authors. We learn so much from our authors and it makes us proud to be able to help hone, clarify, and ultimately publish their work and make it available to buyers, the seekers of knowledge, our loyal customers.

3. Pricing eBooks—Logical Assumptions Need Not Apply

There’s really no consistent logic to how eBooks are currently priced. Publishers want prices higher to increase profit margins. Amazon wants prices lower to encourage increased sales volume. Apple wants prices more standardized, because that’s just the way Apple does things. There have been reports of eBook editions selling for higher prices than printed editions, which makes little sense except that some publisher has decided that they can make more money this way. There have been reports of Amazon capitulating to publishers’ demands to raise eBook prices, followed by reports several months later of Amazon forcing publishers to sell their eBooks at lower prices. There’s not much clarity to be gained by watching the big boys try to bully and bludgeon each other over pricing. WalrusInk pricing will attempt to establish a price that is fair to consumers and provides a reasonable profit to our partnership of editors and authors so that we can earn a reasonable living. We have attempted to model this with some assumptions about volume and velocity, but there’s very little history on which to base our assumptions. One ends up with a set of variables that is larger than the set of constants, which is akin to looking at the stars to predict the future only to find that there are ever more stars and no predictable future.

Nonetheless, the eager-beaver budgeteers at WalrusInk have decided to base our model on a standard eBook price of $9.99. We could build a numerical model to justify this decision, but in the end, it seems like a fair and reasonable price from just about every point of view. It’s easy to imagine that some of our shorter eBooks will sell for less, but we’re more likely to want to split a book into two parts than go for a single book at a higher price. Why? That’s a discussion for a future blog.