It’s a Woman’s World

It's a Woman's World

The “World” of It’s a Woman’s World

It’s a Woman’s World is fiction. It’s completely made up. But it could be true, as extreme as it is.

To recap a little bit, let me remind you that the story is set in Suburbia, U.S.A. Peter Sartorius and his wife Christine live in a nondescript house. They have credit cards that carry a balance, and they don’t have many intimate friends. They don’t go to clubs or have outside commitments to speak of, so they are insular. Peter is distant from his family, and Christine’s family is never mentioned. Peter and Christine have each other, and that’s getting problematic at the beginning of the story. Peter’s been out of work.

Peter’s highly skilled, well-trained, and  has a life-long pattern of medium to high achievement, but he lost his job in a downsizing and, as a person over forty, has been struggling to get another one. It’s been months, and things have gotten strained. Christine finds him a job prospect in an unlikely place: “A Woman’s World, Inc.”

Despite his misgivings, Peter goes and is immediately faced with difficult choices, which, like most people faced with such a situation, he makes without fully understanding the consequences.

What makes A Woman’s World different than most people’s real world is that AWWI has a mission unlike what most of us ever encounter (luckily). What that mission is doesn’t become clear in Part 1 of the story, and won’t be clearly revealed until Part 3 or 4. However, one of its functions is obviously to feminize Peter. It starts with little things and rapidly progresses to more. Peter quickly loses his freedom as he makes choices which, while independently rational, lead him to worse and worse conditions. His isolation makes escape nearly impossible.

If you have ever read a book by Robert Cialdini, Influence, you will recognize some of the techniques used by AWWI. Cialdini was fascinated with brain washing. Among other things, he studied and reported on some of the techniques used by the Vietnamese and Chinese governments during the Vietnamese War. Little things, like having people sign “statements” or “confessions,” for example, turned out to be big (and that’s why “contracts” are so often used in bdsm relationships). The brain washers realized that prisoners who signed things, even when coerced to do so, were later powerfully influenced by them because they forgot or discounted the coercion and credited their own agency. Then they felt they had to be consistent with their previous statements.

Peter signs many things and becomes confused about his own motivations and desires.

Closer to home, you will probably recognize the “good-cop/bad-cop” routine used so often in It’s a Woman’s World. In a world controlled by people trying to control you, where do you turn? Poor Peter has nowhere to turn – nowhere at all. Christine is surprisingly unhelpful, but having no one else, Peter continually relies on her.

The purposes of AWWI are not clear yet, but – without giving away the plot too much – let me say that its purposes are consistent with organizations that do exist and act throughout the world at the present time. It’s a Woman’s World, in other words, is fiction, but the world it represents is unfortunately a part of our world, the “real” world.

It is kink, but it is serious kink!

If interested, you can get It’s a Woman’s World, Parts 1 and 2 (combined) at Amazon:

U.S.   U.K.   De.    Fr.   It.   Ca.   Au.

Book Data for Authors

My main “resolution” for the year is to gain control over the “shopping cart” for my book sales. That will help me earn more for my hard work.

I just read an article that should be of interest to every writer. It’s called, “Who Has the Balance of Power over Data?” by Emma Barnes.

You, as a hard-working writer of fiction, an “artist,” (or perhaps a more humble hobbyist) may think that a question about publishing data is beyond your ken, but in this, you are very wrong. It hits much closer to home than you imagine. It’s about marketing your books – getting them to people who will read them and care.

Some authors think that they know, or can figure out, everything they need to know to sell their books. They know they need a “good” cover (other authors tell them so, right?), a snappy title, and an effective book description. So they spend a lot of time or money developing one – in rigid adherence to their own standards. Other authors don’t think they know or can figure out what they need to know, so they hire people to do these things for them (or basically ignore the questions).

The fact is, no one knows what consumers want or want to pay ahead of time. The question is data-driven. That is, you only know it works if it works. You take your best shot, make changes, and take another shot. You ask question and compare answers, and you watch your prospects and observe their buying process. That’s data.

The article focuses on the big publishers, like Hachette. As Barnes notes,

Take a look at pretty much any major publisher’s website. This [citing an example] large publisher can’t sell ebooks or audiobooks from its website, although they’re far from alone. They don’t know how much retailers are charging, and they don’t even know the retail price of their own imprint’s book…

The gist of the article is that publishers have allowed retailers to be the owners of all that information. The publishers, by not learning the data have dramatically damaged their negotiating position with the retailers (like Amazon), who do learn the data and routinely use it.

The information in question allows the company possessing it to have a primary relationship with the consumer. When Proctor & Gamble spends vast resources building its own data base on consumers, it is in a position to “disintermediate” the retailers. That is, it can take over the process of selling directly to customers and eliminate the middle man. Being able to do so, it has never had to do it – the power forces retailers to negotiate differently with it.

Imagine what would happen if you could both offer KDP Select, for example, AND “go wide” by selling with other distributors. Do you know that some authors can?

As writers, we are the true suppliers in this chain. It is possible for us to control every part of the distribution of our books – if we develop that ability. As Barnes points out, “owning the cart” (the shopping cart customers use) is key to seizing control. If you have a link to Amazon on your page, you don’t own the cart, Amazon does. My priority as a businesswoman is to own my own cart – and that means setting up payment and distribution capabilities.

If you’re an author, I suggest you do the same.