My friend David Rothman posted this NY Times article on Facebook this morning, with the comment ‘good news for TV, bad news for books.’ The article talks about this golden age of cord-cutting, specialty programming (like on Netflix) and high-end cable series, with the following aside: “I was never one of those snobby people who would claim to not own a television when the subject came up, but I was generally more a reader than a watcher. That was before the explosion in quality television tipped me over into a viewing frenzy.”
This was an interesting reminder for me that, amidst all of our collective hand-wringing over Amazon (evil or not?) and DRM (necessary or not?) and what an author should or should not be, we forget this essential point: an author is not just competing with another author. They are competing with everything else that potential customer might be doing with their spare time, and everything else that potential customer might be spending their free-time money on. If your indie book is not at least as good as House of Cards (never mind being at least as good as someone else’s indie book!) you’ve lost some eyeballs, right there.