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!


  1. Great blog, Jodi! I agree with you, but I think the jury is still out on Amazon's program. I have a book listed there, (hated to do it for all the reasons you've listed,) but it needed the boost. I'm a huge fan of Mark Coker and Smashwords and I waited for over a year before publishing on Amazon, because of that. The results were immediate and life-changing.

    Sometimes the end justifies the means, we just have to be careful. For the record, I would never list all of my work exclusively with anyone. I'm an Indie, pure and simple. I also have a message I'm trying to deliver and if that means playing the Devil's Advocate, I'm not above it.

  2. I agree with you Jodi this exclusivity has me worried. The readers that people I know don't support products from Amazon.They have Kobos and Sony readers.These are my readers so why would I sign exclusively with Amazon?

  3. You've hit the nail on the head, Jodi. I didn't go with Amazon Select because my readers are not exclusive to Amazon. I have a nice following and don't intend to kick half of them out the door?

    Great post!

  4. We've seen it too many times where all the competition is gobbled up leaving us few choices. What happens to Nook, Ipad users, etc?
    I didn't by pass traditional publishing only to find someone or something else standing in my way!