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So I bet most people have heard about the latest sf brouhaha, this involving Black Matrix Publishing. Short version: New magazine starting up. Paying writers 1/5 of one cent per word. I believe it took on brouhaha status when John Scalzi posted here on his blog, saying they should be paying more. Other folks responded on both sides of the argument, including Black Matrix, and thus we have our latest conflagration.


As you might imagine, I have my own opinions on this matter. I'm not going to share them. You see? You can teach an old dog new tricks! But I do have an observation I'd like to share: It's difficult to say how Black Matrix feels about all of this behind-the-scenes when everything is still swirling, but honestly? In many ways, this is the best thing that could have happened for them. Scalzi wields tremendous internet geek power, we all know that. And while chiding this venue for its small rates, he (and the fallout he has created) has made more people aware of Black Matrix. Some of those people will inevitably be curious about what Black Matrix is publishing. That means more readers, at least for one issue. It's up to Black Matrix to keep them.

Was this a mistake on Scalzi's part? Hell no. As always, he'll post what he wants to post, get oodles of traffic, and continue going about his business as a successful sf writer with massive blogosphere swag to boot. And all John has really done is find himself some new readers. Because while more people are talking about Black Matrix, more people are also talking about, linking to, and reading John's words and his blog. Some of those people will read his books too. Some will decide his books are not for them, but some will buy the next book and the ones after that. And thus John has just expanded his readership.

Scalzi understands the internet and especially the blogosphere as few people do. It's nothing but a giant nervous system, and he knows how to make it react. He's like a mad genius, creating with his paints. John will never lose when it comes to the internet. He's too big online and understands it too well. So while he is pointing out what's wrong with Black Matrix, they should be on their hands and knees thanking this man. Hell, send him some chocolates. You can't buy publicity like this. Now it's up to them to do something with it. If Rof is lucky, one day Mr. Scalzi will blog about us (be it for good or ill).

Mr. Scalzi, I bow before you. You are the master.


(no subject) - ninstorage - Dec. 9th, 2009 01:38 pm (UTC)


Douglas Cohen

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