Lots of words being posted on the Amazon/Hachette dispute, and I have to admit, it makes for fascinating reading. I spend a lot of time, time I probably shouldn’t spend, on Konrath’s blog, and The Passive Voice, and Hugh Howey’s blog, and a few others, reading articles about the feud between behemoths. When one falls, will the ground shake so violently that writers will be injured or killed from the aftershock?
I don’t know. But the more pertinent question might be, why should I care? Does it matter to me?
The fact is that without the Kindle platform for self-publishing, it would be unlikely that I’d have published any works. I wouldn’t have finished the story that was published in QUANTUM ZOO, I would have a collection called 14 DARK WINDOWS, I wouldn’t have the trio of “vampire” stories that I call DEAD OR ALIVE, NIGHT FAMILY, and RICK’S RULES. I wouldn’t have written three brand new stories to go with three older, slightly longer stories that are currently being collected in an as-yet-untitled volume of about 37000 words.
I wouldn’t have bothered doing the rewriting I’m currently doing to what I affectionately call my “Dental Mystery”. I wouldn’t have finished my “Chris” serial killer story, I wouldn’t be putting any work into my “Never Ending Night” story, and I wouldn’t have bothered even writing my “The Inn” story. These are all longer works, north of 20K words, but not approaching 60K. They’re all relatively short horror novels or novellas (except my dental mystery) and I suspect that, without Kindle, none of the above are publishable.
So for me, does it matter what Amazon does with Hachette? Does any of it matter? Without Amazon, I’d be sitting on a zip drive full of old short stories. And that would be about it. I wasn’t going to go through the process of querying agents or publishers directly. I thought about it more than once. I spoke to the publisher of Echelon Press (a small press) and she pretty much told me to just submit it to their editorial process. I don’t know if it would have made it through the process. But doing the work of rewriting, without a guarantee of it coming to anything, didn’t seem appealing to me.
Anyone who reads my blog knows that I feel like I have a very full plate. Maybe its no fuller than anyone else, but it seems to be so to me. I have a fairly busy dental practice, a high school son in marching band, another junior high school son in typical middle school activities, including band, and a busy family life. We travel as much as we can afford to travel, and we never seem to have time to do all the things that we want to do, let alone affording me the time to sit down and spend time writing. I’m not one who can sit in front of a blank computer screen and start writing…I need to ruminate. Takes me a while to get started.
No, going through the processes of traditional publishing was something I was unlikely to even attempt.
So what does it matter to me if Amazon, at some undetermined future time, decides to cut reimbursement rates from their current levels of 35% and 70%? Would it bother me? Yes, probably in an academic sense, but in a sense of it actually affecting me financially, probably not. I have a profession that provides me with a decent living. If my writing career takes off, great. If it doesn’t, I’ll be sad, but not affected financially. I don’t count on it.
Maybe that makes me different from a lot of self-published authors. For many, writing IS their career. For me, it’s still a sideline, and is likely to remain that.
So the answer is, no, none of it really truly matters to me as a writer. As a reader, I want Amazon to succeed, because it increases the availability of books to me at affordable prices.
I’d like to make some sort of comments about the documentary I saw on CNBC last night, titled “AMAZON RISING”. But I don’t know what to say. They’re a retailer. It’s not like they’re truly changing the world in any fundamental sense. They’re just making buying things easier and more convenient. They’re probably saving consumers some money today. I’m more interested in Bezos’ space program than I am in his retail innovations.
Except Kindle. That particular innovation has allowed me to put my stuff out there in front of readers. All I can do at this point is try to increase my visibility, and hope people find my stories.
And then hope that they like the way I’ve written them and the way I’ve told them, and that they like the stories themselves.