From Joe Konrath:
So I fell into the trap of becoming too involved in the Amazon/Hachette dispute, and I’ve been openly wondering where all the stupid is coming from, and if I could somehow cork the stupid so it stopped splashing all over the Internet.
Whenever I recognize I’m grinding an ax, I try to take a step back and walk a mile in the other person’s moccasins to gain some perspective. I did, and it chilled me out. Because I remember walking that same path, years ago.
I’ve been preaching since 2010 that self-publishing is not only a viable alternative to the legacy industry, but it can indeed be a preferable one. I’ll do a quick recap.
1. You own your rights, rather than a publisher owning them for your lifetime plus seventy years.
2. You can control your cover art and product description.
3. You can set your own price, and change it almost instantly.
4. You don’t have to deal with unconscionable contract terms like non-compete clauses.
5. You can get your work to readers faster, and you have the same reach (perhaps even more reach) as publishers do when it comes to digital distribution.
6. You get 70% of list rather than 12.5%.
7. You can run you own ads like on BookBub and Booksense because you can put your work on sale.
Any writer looking at these advantages has got to be thinking, “That’s pretty sweet.”
But not every writer looking at these advantages can actually take advantage of them.
If you’re locked into a legacy contract, you can’t self-pub any of your books. You either owe them your next book, or aren’t allowed to release any on your own. Or maybe you’re a slower writer and can only write a book a year.
You can see the high prices your publisher is selling your ebooks for, and you are powerless to do anything about it.
If you get a bad cover, you’re stuck with it.
. . . .
All of you legacy authors who hate me; I know you played by the rules, and are angry that your sales are diminishing, and that your advances are shrinking. I played by the rules, too. I did more signings than any of you–over 1200. I busted my ass to make my legacy career work. And I took a chance on self-publishing, and was lucky that it paid off.
I can see why you don’t want to take a chance. Or why you feel you don’t even have a choice. You worked within the system, got the keys to the kingdom, and it was supposed to be smooth sailing for you. Then, somehow, the rules changed, and you got screwed.
I get it. I really do.
But your answer isn’t hoping for the old system to return. It isn’t going to.
Your answer isn’t blaming Amazon for your problems. They are here to stay.
Your answer isn’t blaming me, or other indie authors, or the self-publishing revolution. We’re not trying to rub your nose in our success. We’re trying to help you to share the wealth.
. . . .
I’m not an advocate of self-publishing because I know better than anyone else. I’m an advocate of self-publishing because I’ve been on both sides of that fence, and my experience isn’t unique. Many authors got screwed by the legacy system like I did. Many authors have benefited from self-publishing like I have.
Maybe this Hachette/Amazon dispute isn’t bringing out the stupid in people. Maybe it is forcing authors to defend themselves, because they’re scared. And when you’re scared, you lash out without thinking. You defend yourself rather than consider new ideas. You find scapegoats. You rally with others who feel the same way because there is safety in numbers. You defend your oppressors. You fight the future because it’s either that or risking everything.
. . . .
Authors need to stop thinking of Amazon as the bad guy, because they feel bad about the contracts they’re stuck in.
Worrying Amazon is a monopoly that might someday lower royalties makes no sense, when the Big 5 alreadyfunction as a monopoly and have low royalties.
The old ways aren’t going to return. The new ways aren’t going away.
Link to the rest at Joe Konrath and thanks to Margaret for the tip.