• 100 Influential Idahoans 2015
You can find it all here in the Pacific Northwest - much of the nation's most beautiful places, some appallingly trashed-out areas; politics running from just about as far left to just about as far right as anywhere in the country; economies of all sorts from the highly prosperous to the dying. It's all here.
 

A few more comments about “A place of refuge.”

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We’ve made a few low-key mentions about it, but now we’re running it out formally – our new eBook, The Stuck Pendulum, about Idaho’s political history over the last quarter-century.

And it’s free, as you can see from this visual. Best place to immediately grab a copy for your e-reader – pretty much any e-reader – is at Smashwords.com. It’ll be up on Amazon.com too, soon, but Smashwords allows access to all readers. And the book is, for now at least, free.

A quick notes about what it is and isn’t. Although it works as a standalone book, it’s aimed mainly at readers of Paradox Politics by Randy Stapilus, a book about Idaho politics published in 1988 and covering several decades of history leading up to that point. Things have changed a lot since, and copies of Paradox continue to sell, so this book was intended to bring the story up to present. It isn’t hugely detailed or a source for a whole lot of new information for people who have been tracking the state closely in the last couple of decades; for those who have, much of what’s here will be familiar. For those who haven’t, but are interested in the subject, we think it may be helpful.

And it is, after all, free. At least for a while.

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The Stuck Pendulum page

The book Paradox Politics was written in 1987 and 1988, and published in that latter year – which, as this is written, was 27 years ago. Considering that it was intended as a current, up to the minute, review of Idaho politics and how it had gotten that way, that makes it heavily out of date now.

It’s been out a long time, but it’s not entirely forgotten. While most of its sales came in the 80s, it has sold copies ever since; Amazon has moved copies this year. That’s nice to see. What’s less easy to contemplate is that some of those people may think that Idaho politics in this new century is anything like what it was in the last one, and that would be a problem, because it isn’t. I think, generally, it holds up as a good review of the subject as of the time it was written. And I think it may have helped prompt a spate of Idaho political memoirs and biographies that cropped up in the years following.

But since then, much has changed.

Hence, The Stuck Pendulum. It’s a standalone book that also functions as an afterword – even a coda – for that earlier one, intended to bring up to date people who may have relied on Paradox for a look at Idaho politics. It doesn’t unearth a lot of secrets and not much in it will come a a big surprise to people who have followed Idaho politics in the last quarter-century or so. But for those new to the subject, or who may have wondered what has happened since 1988, I think it can be useful.

I have gotten requests from time to time for a sequel for Paradox, and it’s not just the passage of time that has increasingly made the point compelling. As the title suggests, Idaho politics, which once wandered across the political spectrum, driven by an electorate often willing to take a flyer on something different and didn’t trust anyone too damn much, has changed, locked in place, adjusting if at all only to whatever seems to be the hardest right alternative at hand.

How it got there, and especially after how it changed so drastically right after the best Idaho Democratic election year in a generation (1990), is much of the subject of The Stuck Pendulum. But there are overviews of more, of the Larry Craig incident, the fierce battles in the first congressional district and the recent splinters in the Republican Party.

For the moment, it’s priced for free, so get your copy if this sounds like your area of interest. We’ll attach a price (not a hefty one, though) a little later.

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While I was reviewing old columns for inclusion in a book collection a few of them from years ago jumped out at me as especially relevant right now, and worth pondering even more now than then. This one (edited a little for length from a longer web-only original) dates from almost exactly nine years ago (about a year before the headlines that eventually ended Larry Craig’s Senate career), but it has resonance considering the issues in front of the presidential campaign now underway . . .

Senator Larry Craig and his staff – and they wouldn’t be alone – must still be wondering about just what the hell happened at their town hall meeting Tuesday night in Coeur d’Alene. They’d have good reason to, because a significant issue rides on it: To what extent did it reflect a substantial strain, or just fluke fissure, in the community?

Craig has taken heat for a few years now from parts of the conservative community – which for most of his years in Congress has given him unqualified support – for his stand on immigration and illegal aliens, a stance bearing some resemblance to that of President George W. Bush. Yes, there are a lot of people in this country who aren’t supposed to be here, and that fact – and border security – needs to be dealt with more effectively, Craig has suggested. But he also suggests that there’s no reason for a panic reaction, either.

As he was quoted by the Coeur d’Alene Press: “You can’t go door to door and force between 8 million and 10 million people to leave at gunpoint. For 20 years, immigration laws have failed. We know there’s a problem and we’re working on it. The first step is securing the border and we’re doing that.”

That seems hard to argue, reflecting a general reality we’ve managed to live with for a long time, and yet the reaction has suggested it’s an edgy statement. The reaction at – and yes, this is where it was – the Human Rights Education Institute at Coeur d’Alene, was something else again.

The Press said that “of nearly 60 people in attendance, many wanted action, including immediate deportation. They said it was a crisis that was going to bankrupt the country and cited numerous examples of problems in Southern California, including drugs, rape, and gangs. Some went so far as to say he wasn’t doing his job to uphold and protect the Constitution and has failed the citizens of Idaho.” Robert Vasquez, a Canyon County commissioner and recent congressional candidate, has for some years been saying the same thing; this year his message has expanded across more territory.

The spearhead of the protest or at least the loudest protester apparently was Stan Hess, a candidate for office, opposing Denny Hague for a seat on the North Idaho College Board of Trustees. The Press said he “erupted with anger over the immigration issue. He screamed at Craig and the citizens, who tried to boo him down. Then Hess confronted a woman and yelled at her only a few inches away from her face. Several people stood up to diffuse the confrontation. Craig’s handlers said they were moments away from calling the police. Hess, who also blasted NIC professor and longtime Human Rights advocate Tony Stewart, stormed out of the meeting.”

It may be, as Spokesman Review writer David Oliveria suggests, that Hess’ performance at the Craig town hall provided ample information about who not to vote for in the NIC trustee election. Additionally, though, it – and the not-so-divergent views of others in the audience – shows that razing an Aryan Nations encampment has not yet erased some ugly strains in northern Idaho.

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What to do? Your book is finally ready to go. Now the question becomes what should you publish first—your eBook, your print book, or both at the same time?

Every time I help an author prepare for a book release, we bump up against this question. And, it turns out there is no perfect answer—no one-size-fits-all.

One theory suggests that releasing all versions together allows you to make more efficient use of your marketing efforts: Visibility lasts only so long, and if both versions of the book are released at once, they will both be timed to best coincide with publicity, advertising, giveaways or other marketing approaches you already have under way.

But there’s also the thought that early release of an eBook can help build buzz for the subsequent print book release, which can be promoted as the main event. When I posed this idea on a writer’s forum, one writer suggested, “A new self-publisher might release only an eBook edition first and use promotional programs such as Kindle Select in an effort to build a reader base, and only produce a print edition if/when the eBook has gained some traction.”

Still others think the print book should be released first. Since print books usually are more profitable per copy, the idea is that buyers should be encouraged to buy the print book first and only given the option to buy electronic version afterward.

In the past the authors I work with and I have leaned toward that third idea; it seems intuitive. But as I’ve become a more frequent user of e-readers, my view has changed. Now I suspect that most people will decide to either will buy the print or eBook edition, but aren’t likely to change their decision based on which edition is available first.

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This question has generated a lot of discussion, and no small bit of study in the book industry.

In July 2012 writer Joe Wikert reviewed a report analyzing the effect of eBooks on print sales, and concluded, “For popular books, delaying eBook release dates leads to a significant substitution toward print books. In contrast, for niche books, that do not have strong brand awareness among consumers, we find an insignificant substitution toward print books when eBook release dates are delayed. [Further,] the net effect of delayed Kindle releases is an overall loss in sales and, based on the best available data, a net loss in revenue and profit to the publisher.” In other words, it matters mainly in the case of bestsellers.

Wikert concluded, “All those other books out there with either delayed eBook releases or, more importantly, no eBook releases, are leaving money on the table. That last point is the most important takeaway for me.”

Evan Schnittman, a vice president at Oxford University Press, suggested back in 2009 that, “I don’t think you want to withhold content from the public. I’m pretty sure that when a customer decides to buy a Kindle, they are making a decision to start becoming an eBook consumer.”

Today, in most cases I would lean toward releasing print and eBook versions about the same time, unless you have a specific marketing strategy for using one or the other as a promotional lever. Most often,that would mean promoting discount eBook copies a little ahead of the print version.

You’ll want to think this through carefully. Every book calls for its own distinct marketing plan. There is no one-size-fits-all, but now, for me and for most of my clients, releasing the eBook and print book at the same time is the strategy that works best.

Readers & Writers: I look forward to your feedback, comments and critiques, and please use BookWorks as your resource to learn more about preparing, publishing and promoting self-published books. My blogs appear every other week.
– See more at: https://www.bookworks.com/2015/09/indie-author-dilemma-which-first-ebook-or-print/#sthash.x8n1OZGq.dpuf

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