“If you care about writing, stop doing it!”…say what!?

That was the message in this article, and it just went on and pissed me right the hell off.

So, let’s get this straight. Lady has never read the Harry Potter series, yet she “knows” they’re not worthwhile, and carries the attitude that JK Rowling should stop writing – why? So that other authors “have a chance”? Because waaaah, it’s so hard to earn success on your own?

Two words to the author of that article: bite me.

I say that as a self-published author multiple times over who had to endure five years of JK Rowling comparisons because I work in YA fantasy/sci-fi.

Here’s some truth, folks. Authors are successful by merit of sales and merit of product. I personally happen to have loved the Harry Potter series and read the books well before seeing any of the movies. And yes, JK Rowling is enjoying financial and personal success for life as a result. But again: she earned it. She earned her accolades. She got the first book off the ground and got the sales traction that warranted enough notice for the first movie to come about. She did that doing the exact same thing that writers throughout the world do every. single. day.

And not one of the authors who got to the stage of even a midlist owe another author a spot. Same applies to music. We will help each other out, no question. We’ll edit each other’s work, just the same as my music folks will co-produce, co-compose, guest-star on each other’s recordings, etc. But there is no one who owes anyone a spot they hadn’t earned.

And if it’s “too hard” for someone to compete against JK Rowling, or “too hard” to even become an author in the first place, then they have no business even trying.

Harsh, but I’ll stand by this sentiment and you’ll never hear me apologize for it.

I’ve started self-publishing my series before it caught on as a massively viable option, and if I had a dollar for everyone who thought that they’re paying me a compliment by saying I’m the next JK Rowling, I’d buy two houses, not just one. It’s not a compliment: it’s setting a standard of competition, regardless of the author’s desires and outlooks. Here’s the thing, folks: I don’t compete. I see no benefit in measuring my achievements against someone else’s. I went into publishing The Index Series being well aware that I will likely never reach the same level of accolades and accomplishments as the Harry Potter series – I may hope for it, but I knew well that it wouldn’t happen. I learned about the ins and outs of authorship and publishing the old-school way: trial and error. Did I make money off my books? Yes. A lot? No. And the same could be said for a lot of self-pubs out there.

But I would never, not in my lifetime dream of asking even Stephenie Meyer, whose writing I find repellant, to “step aside” so that I could have a shot. Hell no. Never. I’d scrape up the funds to pay someone to market my books for me, but to ask someone to let me have a spot for no merit whatsoever but it’s “too hard”? I’d never show my face in public for shame. I’d pay an editor, I’d hire a marketing specialist, and I’d actually attempt to prove by merit that my books can be as popular as Harry Potter, or Twilight (shudder). Yeah, I’ll take whatever help I’ll pay for, take whatever help that’s offered to me, but to request that someone else step aside is unthinkable. It’s an attitude of entitlement, which I do not tolerate in anyone, and myself least of all.

You want to be as successful as JK Rowling? Then write better than her. Or at least write stuff that will sell as well as the Harry Potter series, or better. But take the entitlement and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine.

No love,

K.G.

 

Good News!! – Magazine is out!!!

There is good news today as well, and this has come as a surprise out of my blog stats…

Earlier this year, I met Bridgette Lewis of CA, who’s a media maven on all accounts, who asked me to write a bit and for usage of my shots. To say I cannot recommend Bridgette Lewis enough is an understatement.

Today, the magazine is up!!!

LINK: http://issuu.com/ms.bridgette/docs/ctjm_winter2013

You will find my photos, with some cover words, on P. 43, and one of my George Duke shots in his tribute article as well.

Enjoy! And have a coffee!
:)
Kat

No ABNA this year?

So I thought about it. And I’m still thinking about it, because this would be the entry for my fourth book, and the final book for the first arc. But honestly, I don’t think I want to do the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards this year. Whether or not I end up doing it is another matter.

On one hand, it’s fun. It’s an awesome contest for self-pubs and unpubs, and it’s a great way to get exposure. The prize is a contract with Penguin Publishing, complete with an advance, and the winner’s work will see the full-scale marketing push behind it that a publishing house like Penguin can offer. Seems great, right?

It is. So many self-pubs want a contract that inevitably, this looks like a good idea. And I will admit, a 15K advance – even though it’s pretty meager compared to what an advance used to be – will come in real handy to most of us struggling author types.

Thing is, I have some experience with that contest, and having entered it three times already, I’m hesitating about having a fourth go. The top thing that gets me about it, though, is that the the judging is skewed; the Amazon panel of reviewers who cull through the books in the second round – the first round is based purely on a 300-word synopsis, and the merit in it is whether or not that synopsis would grab an agent’s attention; the second round is the excerpt read-through – is…odd. Not unfair, no; it’s meant to be arbitrary, and it is. But that said, I have no idea under which criteria the panel is picked. I also have no idea how the excerpts are divvied out among them. But I do know this: many a good book had never made it past Round 2 in ABNA, and the reasons that they had not made it were ridiculous. In the CreateSpace forum, after the second round reviews are coming in, there is no shortage of authors with otherwise solid excerpts expressing their dismay at getting the boot over something so minor as a reviewer saying, “I don’t get it”, when, really, the plot has just the right hook. It involves some actual reading comprehension, but it’s there.

I got booted out of Round 2 and one reviewer of two told me that while sci-fi wasn’t their thing, they enjoyed it. The other one, though, told me not to have profanity in the text, and told me point blank that I shouldn’t try to be imitating Battlestar Galactica, which is a show I had never seen in my life. This was Book 1, which I’ve actually very purposefully sanitized. There was nothing four-letter in it. This made me ask, “did the person even, actually, I don’t know…read the story?” And you know, chances are they hadn’t, which in turn begets the question of, “Then why the hell are they judging a writing contest? That requires reading!

You may say, “Well, you can’t expect something less than perfect to make it anywhere!” – please. Let’s quit with the standards of absolute perfection; first of all, it doesn’t exist, and second of all, its entire perception is arbitrary. Let’s also not forget that some of the most popular books today are not only poorly edited, but poorly written. My friend Amanda is still trying to convince me to read and blog about Fifty Shades of Grey, which I obstinately refuse to do, having read the reviews and…okay, guilty…a Wikipedia synopsis. There is a lot of subpar fiction out there, and it all depends on what your par happens to be. If yours is grammar and spelling, then you’d likely be cheesed off by most of what comes out, regardless of publication medium. If yours is a good story, then you may want to consider compromising. You can’t always get what you want, say the Stones, but in writing, with the number of authors out there, you can likely end up with the story you need.

ABNA reviewers don’t consider that, and really, they get their fee either way. So they don’t have to. And that’s actually why I’m leery about it: not even the fact that the judgment is arbitrary, but because I feel that the judges don’t bother to give the excerpts their due diligence and actually read them. And if it’s because the bulk of the applicants are either self-pub or unpublished authors, then I’m more than a bit cheesed off. It’s the same ol’, “It’s shitty because it’s self-pub” and its less savory sister, the, “If it were good, it would’ve been published by now” surfacing back up again.

Again and again, ad nauseum: publication method is not indicative of quality.

I’ve read plenty of self-pub fiction and it varied in quality. 90% of the time, I came away satisfied with a great story that, in the cases of a series, left me wanting more. Same for trad-pub. And on both sides of the fence, there were books I regretted buying and killing time on. My personal deal-breaker is not lousy grammar or conventions. It’s when the plot is either lacking or weak, or if the errors are taking away from the story as an overall.

There’s 6 days left until submission begins for ABNA. So I don’t know. I might, just for the hell of it, but until then, I’m not going to think about it too much.

K.G.

An Open Letter to Simon & Schuster

This is why I’m writing it.

 

Dear Simon & Schuster,

Whom, precisely, do you think you’re fooling by your so-called self-publishing solution? Do you really think that we have that short a memory, us indie authors, from the time that Penguin had decided to jump on the bandwagon with Book Country?

I didn’t.

And not likely to forget.

So I would like to know, once again, Simon & Schu: whom do you think you’re fooling? Do you really think that we cannot tell the difference between self-publication and a vanity press?  Oh wait. That’s exactly what you’re thinking because you’re making this service available to the public. Here’s a big hint: most authors who are going to self-pub are not going to fork over $1,599 for your services. Why? Because they can achieve the same thing for. free.

No love,

A self-pub who has done her research.

—–

 

I’m sure you got the gist just based on this short little open letter, but long story short, S&S is presenting a “self-publishing” option to the world, with a package price from $1,599 to (and I’m not kidding) $24,999 (see article linked in first sentence for reference). Okay…what the HELL? I understand that the sundry services with the most expensive one are top-notch, but let’s be realistic for just a minute and ask ourselves: what self-publishing author has that kind of money?!

Yeah.

Let’s revisit a cardinal law of publishing a book. I shouldn’t have to repeat it by this time, but I have to. There is only one single cardinal rule when it comes to having a piece of writing hosted in a readable medium, be it in print, digitally, etc.

It’s a simple little rule. It’s been around for centuries.

What is it?

Money flows TO THE AUTHOR.

This is non-negotiable. You may pay a little for services rendered in the production of your book (i.e. pay an editor, a graphic designer, etc) but when you publish, you should never, ever, EVER pay money up front to publish. The terms of the royalty splits should leave you with getting some cash as well. Under no circumstances are you to pay money to publish up front, especially when it comes to digital edition.

Moreover, what’s the catch about copyright with this option? You’re shelling out all this money to go through Simon & Schu; are they letting you retain distribution rights? Are they claiming distrib rights? For how long? Are they claiming your master copyright? If so, run the other way. Remember this, ladies and gents: your master copyright is your lifeblood. You will thank me later for not selling it for an advance that you’d never earn out or break even on because a publishing house hadn’t delivered its marketing as promised.

In the previous rip-apart of Book Country (linked above), I also mentioned Writer Beware as asserting that there’s no difference between vanity press and self-pub. WRONG. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Self-publishing does not take money up front, unless it is for reimbursement of production costs, i.e. hard-copy proof. If you believe to contrary, then you may have either been reading the misinformed writings of Victoria Strauss, or you just hadn’t done your research.

Seriously. Smashwords, KDP, and PubIt are all free to use. I’ve used them all at one point or the next, and stuck it out with KDP Select, which had turned out to be the best venue, since most of my sales are Kindle. I might un-enroll from Select just so I can go for the Nook market again for a stretch, and see how I do. But really, have I shelled out money for KDP or PubIt? No.  And get this: CreateSpace introduced an online proofing system, which…eliminates the need to order a printed proof. It’s something I still recommend; it’s worth the $8, but it’s no longer a prerequisite. Guess what this means: if you go through CreateSpace, the cost to publish your book through them is zilch. 

Sure, go ahead and tell me how there’s no difference between vanity press and self-pub. Vanity presses charge you up front. What they offer varies, but they all charge you. Self-pub doesn’t, so you automatically turn a profit, however meager. With a vanity press, you have to at least make enough in your sales to break even on the costs of what you paid to use their service. The max cost is about 24K. Let me ask you this, realistically: do you expect your work to make that much money quickly enough so that you can turn a profit? If you’re hesitating, you’re doing so with good reason. A lot of self-pub work doesn’t make much money. I’ve not made much money, even though I tripled my prior year’s revenue from my books. But I shelled out all of $10 to publish my current work, and that was the proof copy rush shipping. And I more than recouped it. I even recouped the cost of the sets of books that I had printed up as giveaways. But again, I shelled out $10. If you, say, shell out $1,599 – first of all, can you afford to invest that much? – and you have absolutely no guarantee that it’ll break even, how do you expect to make a profit?

This is just plain Business 101 here.

And Simon & Schuster, of all the houses, is thinking that hey, we’ll make a mint off the authors if we can no longer make a mint off the readers!

Uh, no. No thank you. And Simon & Schu, I’m quite disappointed. Of all the houses to jump on the bandwagon of vanity presses, I didn’t expect you to be in that number.

K.G.

Guest Post: Anthony T. Caplan

I am happy to host a blogger once again! Please read on for some words from Anthony T. Caplan on balancing a writing life.

—-

The Balancing Act of the Writing Life

Anthony Caplan

 

One of my earliest memories is my mother calling me over to the sofa where she was reading a Time magazine. She showed me a picture of a fishing boat on the sea and explained that it belonged to a man named Ernest who fished and then wrote stories and was famous for living all over the world and writing about it. “Wouldn’t that be great?” she asked. “No.” I answered. “It would be boring being in that boat all day.”

 

I couldn’t see it then, but as I got older, the life of a famous writer beckoned wiih greater appeal. I started writing after dropping out of film school in the late 1980s. I was 27 years old and I figured I might not get published right away, but, as opposed to making movies, all you needed was a word processor to find your chops. Boatloads of rejections later, I’m still writing. We’re in the midst of a revolution in the world of books with the decline of mainstream publishers and the rise of e-books and the Internet revolution of self-publishing.  The opportunities to find an audience for your work as a writer are greater than ever. I might still be writing, and I might yet make some money at it, but leisure is a concept that is as foreign to me as fishing in a boat off the coast of Cuba.

 

The roller coaster of life only gets wilder with time. I went to my first funeral this morning for a fellow teacher, murdered in her home by her husband when she asked him for a divorce. We celebrated her life of service and self-less giving, and I felt guilty because I am not as good a teacher as she was. When you’re a writer you live a double life. Your service is your words on the page, and everything else is the nut you pay in order to feed “the compulsion to open your heart” as Edvard Munch put it. During the day I am a competent classroom manager, but nobody sees the midnight oil I burn trying to get the words down and tell a story that makes sense, not only to me, but to some mythical reader whom I don’t even know exists. Nobody can measure the amount of faith, some might call it delusion, that it takes to keep up that level of effort through the years. And it does take years to develop the craft of writing, make no mistake about that.

 

Nowadays, writers, both traditionally published and independent, must also master the world of publicity and promotion, because it’s one thing to write the work, it’s another thing to convince people to support you with their hard-earned cash.

Self-promotion comes easy to some, not to me. I suspect that’s one of the main reasons I’m a writer, because I am not naturally a vocal, outspoken sort of person. But I was able to overcome that natural introspection in order to become a decent teacher, so I should be able to get the hang of book marketing, right? Maybe. The ins and outs of convincing people to buy books have eluded the pros on Madison Avenue, so it’s not a given that anybody can get it right. I remember an editor at Faber and Faber in London showing me his office with piles of unsold books stacked against the wall. “That’s V.S. Naipaul over there. That’s Edna O’Brien in that corner. We can’t even sell their books. Why should we take a chance on you?” I had no answer for him. But if I’m crazy enough to write, it must mean I believe someone will like my book. The trick is finding those people. It’s an all-consuming task. It might even take a lifetime. Over the years I have learnt to balance my life with my writing. Now, in the interest of connecting with readers, I am learning to balance my writing life and my Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and blogging habits. Someone mentioned Pinterest. I haven’t gone on there, but I’m thinking I should. In the meantime I better check the rice hasn’t burnt.

 

Anthony Caplan is a writer, teacher and homesteader in northern New England. He is the author of Birdman and French Pond Road, road novels tracing the life of Billy Kagan, and the forthcoming Latitudes – A Story of Coming Home,  published June 30, 2012 by Hope Mountain Press.

 

http://thenewremembrance.blogspot.com

 

http://anthonycaplanwrites.com

 

http://twitter.com/anthonycaplan1

 

 

E-book vs. Print Book

Or, better put, more on the “real book” illusion.

You may have noticed that a lot of self-pub authors are not releasing print versions of their books anymore, but instead are going right to the e-book process. As a result, they are apt to hear, “But it’s not a real book!” for various reasons. I’ve addressed the genre-based prejudice of the “real book” here. But now let’s talk presentation medium.

In 1440 or thereabout, Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press. Prior to this, books have been handwritten, hand-copied, and the more effort put into a copy, the more it cost. As such, they became signifiers of wealth for the longest time, until the printing press enabled mass production of print material, making books more easily accessible. The Industrial Revolution took over and made print reading material available widely.

Until the e-reader was invented, people just could not conceive of a book being presented any other way but printed.

That was in 2007.

Think about that: the e-reader has been around for only five years, and it already changed the way books are presented, and 562 years of precedent is shaken up. Just like that. With a page-sized electronic device.

However, think about this. That’s the e-reader. Not necessarily the e-book. The Internet has, inadvertently, made us all online readers since e-mail became the norm. E-reading is the same thing as what you’re doing now, except it’s on a handheld device.

Think about it. You’re reading this blog right now. I have enough entries in here to publish it as a book in and of itself. If you’ve stayed with it for some years, you’ve effectively read a book online already. If you’ve read a draft of a story online – congratulations, you read an e-book. Just not on an e-reader, but an e-book nonetheless.

No matter how solid a printed book feels – and I will be the last to deny a printed book’s effect; I have paperback versions of every book I’ve published so far – it doesn’t take a print version to call a story real. A story is real by the simple virtue of being written, as I’ve explained in the linked post above. Someone had spent weeks, months, or years of effort into making this story happen. It is completed and released. That alone, in and of itself, makes a story real. What we’re discussing here is a presentation medium, and having the presentation medium be electronic does not – contrary to whoever tells you otherwise – does not take away from the story being real.

That said, let’s discuss the print book as a medium. Apart from the solid feeling of having it in your hands, the “new book smell” – yes, it’s a beautiful flavor…come on, you know it! – it’s also not as likely to sell for an independent. Personal experience: I moved more Kindle copies per month, invariably, than my CreateSpace prints. When I run a promo on any of my books, the other books sell right alongside the free one. For a self-pub who’s new on the scene, this would mean that e-books are a more viable way to market and make revenue. And, considering that uploading is usually at no cost, it’s a guaranteed profit. To release a print book, you may pay for a proof (or not, since CreateSpace introduced an excellent digital proofing option). You would have to wait for the proof to land, read it, send it to the editor again, make the corrections, lather, rinse, repeat until it’s perfect – a standard that is extremely subjective – and then release it. And then there are the shipping costs in sending out review copies. And then the rigmarole of getting a bookstore to carry them.

But the print book has also been around for 562 years. The e-reader and the idea of having a library on a portable device is still about five years old. You know how they say that old habits die hard. The e-book and e-reader are still new, and they’re a splash in a very established and very stalwart market. We’ve seen the decisions that B&N and the Big Six had made in the wake of the growth of self-pub. Things are not going to change swiftly, but they are changing, whether the people like it or not.

Again, let’s not discount the main crux of it all: the story itself. You’re getting a book, whether or not it’s in printed form or in a file on a reader. It is real, any way you cut it. Any distinction of “more real” or “less real” based on presentation medium, genre, author’s background, publisher or lack thereof, exists only in the head of the person making the statement.

There was also an address of quality control in self-publication, with the assertion that self-pub books are poorly edited, poorly formatted, etc. I won’t deny that such books exist. However, they exist across the board. Major publishers sometimes do not format their e-books well, and proof to the fact are my copies of Philippa Gregory novels and Gone with the Wind. Great stories to read, but the formatting on the e-version, honestly, sucks. I own Philippa Gregory paperbacks. Why is there nothing wrong with the layout, but the e-version lacks paragraph breaks in several locations and is more expensive than the printed version? Let’s get real: if we’re going to do quality formatting, then let’s do quality formatting across. the. board. Don’t tar self-published books with a brush unless you are willing to put all books under scrutiny.

Self-publishers sometimes do work alone. Thusly, the editing quality may lack until they gather enough to hire a professional editor. I will be the first one to admit that someone’s first book will not be edited anywhere near as well as the subsequent books (um, guilty, and not ashamed to admit it). Understandable conditions, right? Right.

Let’s be real, people. Writing, editing, formatting, printing, publishing – being an author is a human endeavor. Human errors will happen. We are becoming a reading culture because, with our digital immersion, we’re reading a lot more (screens, but still: reading words is reading words). Human errors will happen. If that is a deal-breaker for you, that is fine, but you may want to step back and evaluate what’s more important to you in picking up a new book. Some of my favorite books (self and trad alike) are not perfect, but the story is so good that I couldn’t care less about the editing/formatting job. Conversely, some books I had were edited and formatted to perfection, but I just couldn’t finish them worth a damn. While I will never deny that editing and formatting are crucial, none of us are so perfect ourselves to have imperfection be a deal-breaker.

The bottom line is this: a book is a book. How you prefer to read it is entirely up to you, but there is no contest with which one is more “real”. They both are. Whether you like it printed or downloaded, you’re still reading a book. That is what should be the first thing to note in the e-book versus hard-copy debate.

K.G., who has both paperbacks and a Kindle.

http://www.amazon.com/author/katherinegilraine

Some Retrospect on Book 4

Over the weekend, the proof files got approved and I bumped up the release date a little.

In other words, please welcome my baby: the wrap-up of the first arc, and the fourth book in The Index Series: Revival.

Press Release

Hard Copy

Kindle

I released four books since 2009. And now that I’m back to the usual daily grind of promo, day job, studying, photo-retouching, and all those other things I do, I’m starting to slowly realize that I released four books, and I’m somewhere between surprised and having a conniption about what I’m going to do next.

This series, this story of non-human people in outer space dealing with very human problems on their scale and in their lives, has been something that I wanted to write since I was a kid. The fact that the story is written and published is more than a little surreal. In fact, I feel like I should pinch myself, just to make sure that it’s happening. Even though the hard copies of the books are all within my line of sight, it’s still difficult to believe that yes, I’ve actually stopped just dreaming and started doing all of this.

But there we go, and here we are. So now what do I do?

Well, first things first…PARTY! It’s the first complete arc. Instead of one volume, I have four to offer, and two more waiting in the wings to get released. This has been a labor of love, and a whole mess of work for more than just myself. My editor, Gayle F. Moffet, has labored over every installment since the second, and I have half a mind of having her overhaul the first, if only to have it up to par. This series, right now, is as much hers as it is my own, because if not for her eyes and red-pen feature on Acrobat, I shudder to think of what would’ve happened to my books otherwise.

And second things second, I have to think of the next arc. It will be three books; I have to start on rewriting the fifth one sooner rather than later (because holy plot holes, batman), and of course…artwork!

And speaking of the artwork…

You may have noticed that Jenna Bacci was billed as the original artist for the cover of Revival. That did not turn out to be the case, and instead, the back cover of Revival features the artwork of Tiffany Chaney, from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. This is due to circumstances beyond my control; Jenna is getting ready for college, and working on all of that has been her priority. I’m cheering her on, whichever school she will attend. Tiffany Chaney has been hired to work on the character art for The Index Series, and she will work on the second arc as well. The front covers of Lineage and Revival have both been created by Marion Meadows (yes, the same Marion Meadows who’s on stage with the sax), and hopefully, he will stay aboard as the cover artist for the upcoming arc.

There’s a lot more research to be done for the second arc as well. I will not give away what I’ll be researching just yet, but let’s just say that if you think that this is the last you’ve seen of Morrhia, you’re wrong. And if you’re gleefully thinking that she’ll be back…well, I can’t really tell you what she’s up to, can I? :)

The most important retrospect, though, is how self-publishing has grown since 2009, when I released my first book. Think about it: 2009 wasn’t that long ago, only three years. And if only a year earlier I would’ve said that I’d be going self-pub, I would’ve heard, “That’s great if you want to have your books gathering dust in your closet.” Heck, I actually heard that from a published author as I was tossing the option around. But if I were to be a first-time self-pub right now, the amount of information about self-publishing is astounding. When the Kindle got cheap, it’s like someone poured Miracle-Gro on self-publishing, and suddenly, its view has shifted into a very viable, very lucrative, and very freeing way to get your stuff into print.

It’s been a hectic, madcap, exciting, and completely exhilarating three years in the publishing world, and know what I say? Full. Speed. Ahead.

K.G.

Freebie time!!!

Okay, guys – apart from today being tax deadline (finally!!! Effective tomorrow I have a life again!!!), today is also a free promo day for my first book!

Yep, FREE. Got a Kindle? Or got a Kindle reader app for your computer (free)?  Then you can buy my first book 100% FREE.

http://amzn.to/HNYVjw

This is how it’ll work. I am making my books free for every week.

The next free promo day will be, very likely, on my birthday, when I release Book 4.

Happy freebie day!

K.G.

EDIT: Not practical to have three freebie promos in one week. Next one will be on the 25th.

Oh, Big Six…foot, meet bullet.

The Big Six publisher companies have declined to renew a contract with Amazon.

Which can also mean that all the trad-pub books available for Kindle can get de-listed.

Seriously? Oh, traditional publishers, what the fuck are you doing.

Very similar to Barnes and Noble deciding to point a 12-gauge at its business-model foot and pull the trigger, the Big Six are doing the same. For the last damn time, people: you cannot hold onto an outdated way of doing business. The key benefit from having Amazon listing your product is exposure. You gain it. Amazon is a great marketplace, and what it claims for a distributor’s percentage is basically couch change to them. The publisher gains something major: revenue. If more people are keen on buying the same book online, then there’s a source of revenue that counterbalances the decline of brick-and-mortar bookstores.

I know that Amazon is starting to look like the Big Business Trust from the 1900s. Well, here’s a question: where’s the competition? Borders and the Kobo market folded, and B&N seems to be clinging to the idea that e-material just ain’t as popular as print books, even though sales of the Nook e-reader are just as popular as the Kindle. The publishing world is having a very hard time accepting that the business model of book publication is changing rapidly.

As a result, bad business decisions are being made across the board on the side of those who are used to the old model; that is to say publishers and bookstores.

Look, I have no love for the Big Six. Their treatment of authors can stand to do better. They shamelessly appropriate the author’s rights to their work under such draconian terms that it is next to impossible for the author to wrestle out their rights from under the Big Six thumb if they want to take the story to another market. And for the trad pub authors who end up going self, they find that there is a lot more flexibility with the sort of stories that they can get published, because the publisher just doesn’t want to take a risk with a book that doesn’t fit the mold. As a result, many books that would otherwise be a smashing success with the trad-pub marketing engine never see outside the slush pile.

However, distributing within the e-medium and with Amazon is possibly the smartest thing that they could have done. It opened them up right to the new and rapidly growing e-book market.

But the fact is, e-books are immensely beneficial for the author, whether self-pubbed or trad-pubbed. It’s quick exposure, easy revenue, and much easier to market. The more mediums, the better. Why, why in the blue everloving fire of Hades’s head, would anyone knowingly limit a distribution medium? Unless there is a massive no-no in the works – which this article is suggesting is the terms of the contract – then I see no reason to limit the author’s distribution. That’s just bad service to the author, whom the publisher is supposed to, you know, take care of.

This is the thing, though. Amazon had been offering this contract to the Big Six for quite a while now, I think ever since the first Kindle had come out. They jumped on board. Did they realize that the authors now see better options for distributing their e-work than to go through the trad-pub medium and see only 15% royalty for e-sales? I understand 15% for print sales in trad pub, but e-sales…come on. So what’s changed? Why are the Big Six digging their heels on something that will easily benefit them more in the long run?

The other side of that same coin is if Amazon’s terms really are that draconian, then I want to see where. Are they taking a larger than previous cut for their distrib? That could be solved by cutting the publisher’s own overhead costs on e-editions, which will 1. keep the author royalty the same and 2. not hamper distribution, so that 3. the publisher can recoup losses in volume of sales. Amazon needs things to distribute, if its main purpose is to be a distribution engine. They benefit from the arrangement too, and again – I want to see their terms.

I am well aware that the publishing world is in disarray right now, but we can all agree on one thing: cutting out e-books and wider distribution options is not a good idea. So can someone explain to me exactly what benefit the Big Six have from doing what amounts to exactly that?

I also want to know what the trad-pub authors, who are losing out on revenue, thinking about this.

K.G.