Monday, December 26, 2011

The devil you know or the devil you don't?!

I’m one who ‘pokes the bear’ so much that when he sees me he just hands me the stick and waits patiently for me to finish.

Amazon’s actions of late seem predatory to me. They are going for the jugular with the brick and mortar stores and now the Kindle Lending Program where the author gives exclusive publishing rights to Amazon, that means no Smashwords, no Barnes and Nobel. This reeks of monopoly to me and there is nothing I hate more than having no choice in my life. Let alone, alienating readers who don't own Kindles! I will admit to my control freakishness.

There is much BIG 6 bashing going on by the likes of JA Konrath and Barry Eisler. There is talk of gate keepers and favoritism. What is the difference with Amazon’s new attitude and new label? What is going to happen to the author when there is no BIG 6, there is only the BIG 1, Amazon. I think we all have to admit this is the long term goal of the company. I’m a big picture person, not a short term gratification junkie. Is this Amazon move for the greater good of all writers? When there is only one choice then we have no choice! We get lured in with large payouts and great splits others can’t offer, but what happens to the writer when there is no more real competition and Amazon has all the control? Again the control we have struggled for is lost.

I already see favoritism heaped on certain authors at Amazon, i.e. The Thomas & Mercer stamp of approval. I drool at the wonders that no doubt await the hacks like me behind that new gate…just when I thought we were smashing down the gates and sending gatekeepers to the unemployment line we have a new one! Those singing the loudest praises for the company have Amazon branded on their arse and they have joined the stable of the BIG 1. To me it’s starting to look like an ‘old boys club’. I believe I saw only one filly in that stable. Are they truly self-published or Indie, I would have to say, NO! I know I’m being picky here but this is not what I consider being backed by a small press. Sometimes it's the little things in life that annoy the heck out of me. To many, writing is a job as much as it is a passion, so why not make the most out of it? Again, what is it going to cost us in the end.

I see creative control mentioned a lot, but mostly mind boggling figures that make me either giddy with anticipation or sad that it is all about the numbers…numbers I will never see. In my heart of hearts it is not about the numbers or the money, it’s about the story, and perhaps that is why I will never get to peer behind that special gate.

As I mentioned my control freakiness, what happens when there is only one…I’m having Highlander flashbacks here. LOL

Will all be accepted in the new Amazon world of self-publishing or will we see the resurrection of the BIG 6 restrictions and its formidable gate? Will they need the true Indie author when they have lured the big guns from the Big 6?

I was born in the 60's, so I am one who will always go down fighting, raging against the machine.  

The more I think of dollars signs and use the ‘job’ word, the less passion I have for this whole process. Instead of being bludgeoned by Patterson (endless commercials or pimping) and Grisham's successes, I am made to feel inferior by a whole new group, asking me why aren’t I selling 500,000 books a month. It beats the heck out of me. I suck? I don’t market? I haven’t made the right friends? I haven’t written enough books?

This is a post to open dialogue and to think about more than the short turn money orgasm some are getting from this deal...with the new devil. I think we all need to take a long hard look at Amazon’s rise to gatekeeper. It may not concern the likes of Barry, JA, or some of the other big guns, but it’s the little guy who always gets trampled underfoot. Someday I feel this Amazon power grab could concern every writer.

I am by no means singling out Barry or JA, they just have been the most vocal on the subject in my little world. Few if any, have done more for the Indie author than JA Konrath, and I thank him for that.

Thanks to Barry’s rants on the subject, I picked up his John Rain book and found a new character to love. No, I'm not writing you any reviews. lol

I have dyslexia so you can always count on two things. 
1. Improper punctuation before my work goes to the editor…like now.
2. You will never have to worry about me throwing numbers at you, except to say I made enough money to buy a McDonald’s Value Meal this month. ;-)
Love to ALL!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

How does writing for a living impact the writer?

I don't think we can generalize but for me I’d have to say it’s been a negative impact. Too many distractions on the internet and too much or too little time spent self-promoting. Either we don’t sell books or we make those around us crazy with spam. Balance can be difficult to achieve. Setting aside time for writing, time for promotion, and time for self and family seems impossible. Often times when we feel we are pulled in too many directions, we simply shut down, that’s what I seem to do.

I recently blocked an author on Facebook because day in and day out my wall was filled with her novels; I counted 8 in a row. She is very successful and prolific, but enough is enough.

I’ve always been self-employed and learned the balance between work and marketing, but the book world is a whole other story. In a new way we post virtual ads in the paper and hang up signs in our grocery stores and then we wait! It reminds me of fishing, we pour or heart and soul into our work, then throw it out there to see what bites and sometimes the reader bites back…ouch.

I think for me I’ve always written because it’s what I love to do, but over the last year I lost that love when it became a job, a goal and an ambition to achieve success.  I have always had a pencil in my hand, writing is something that I do for myself, but my world changed the day I went indie and decided to make it a career. I haven’t decided if I have lost more than I gained. Instead of being about words and emotions, it becomes about number and rankings and dollar signs. The publishing world is something like Nascar for writers. We spend our time jockeying for position and the power it brings us. I see people proudly boast their current Amazon rankings. Hey, I hit #13 for a while last year, too. No, I don’t know what is with the sports analogies

My 2012 resolution will be less time on the net and more time writing, no one will notice because I have achieved the long sought after invisibility, growing up in my house that was a good thing.
 I struggle with my health, so the added stress isn’t what I need. Being unable to work in the ‘real’ world anymore this seemed like a good idea at the time. I’m considering turning my work over to a small press so I can have some peace of mind, but will I miss the complete control? I’m not sure a small press can make enough of a difference, so I keep putting off my decision. Book trailers and blog tours and endless self-promotion will never go away, so…

I’ve seen the Eisler vs Hocking debate and I see the validity in both sides. If I had the fan base of either one, I wouldn’t be sitting here, I’d be writing in FIJI!! The money is great in self-publishing but at what cost to the writer? For many, there will little impact, but others will drown in the chaos.

2012 will be about balance and letting go to some degree. I hope to see a 2013 so I can be #1. ;-)
Take care