SpyDigital Book World is busily promoting its seventh annual Digital Book World Conference + Expo (DBW) – and what’s the announcement it’s chosen to lead with? “Data Guy to Present on Stage for the First Time.” Yes, Hugh Howey’s mystery partner at AuthorEarnings will be revealed to the public gaze.

Remember that AuthorEarnings reports are still being assailed by critics and apologists for traditional publishing, who carp at their methodology and conclusions. Some actually make reasoned and informed critiques. Others, like Oscar Bernie – whose own blog seems sadly AWOL right now – warn of AuthorEarnings as it if was a public danger. Yet DBW is putting its rep on the line by foregrounding these people?

Perhaps it’s really time to move the whole debate on past the snark and name-calling level. Dana Beth Weinberg, responsible for some of DBW‘s own in-house number production, has at least been trying to have something like a reasoned debate with AuthorEarnings. But even when she disagrees with Howey, she reinforces the essential point of the whole AuthorEarnings exercise: that self-published authors can make serious money from self-publishing. Won’t inevitably happen, but it can be done. You can split hairs with Data Guy’s methods, but not his and AuthorEarnings’ role in a wholesale change of opinion about writing and publishing. Time to just accept it.

Anyway, for those who care to pony up for a DBW 16 ticket, Data Guy, “one of the most intriguing and quietly influential figures in the book community, will take the stage for the first time and provide useful insights into important ‘known unknowns,’ while also showing how creative data hacks can help expand the book, content and technology communities’ understanding of the digital publishing business.” Worth a wad of cash in DBW‘s back pocket, I’m sure.


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