Cannon Fodder Storms the Bastille of the Publishing World
It feels just plain weird to receive an email from one of the titans involved in a corporate shoving match.
He wrote about the oddity of the email here: In Which Amazon Calls You to Defend the Realm
As someone who is currently involved in the rapid demise of the pulp and paper industry, due to my day job role as document scanner as well as my writer job as an e-book author, I can completely see that the tides of change are not being met without a fight by old school publishers like Hachette.
As someone who writes in the historical, fantasy and paranormal genres, where my characters are constantly trying to keep out of harm's way as the ruling parties duke it out around them, it's amusing to realize that I'm one of these characters in the battle between Amazon and Hachette.
Nine hundred writers signed a group letter which appeared in the New York Times this past Sunday, pointing out that they have experienced collateral damage from the corporate tactics used by Amazon in retaliation against Hachette. These include authors who have been making a working wage at writing without the need for a second day job, as I currently require.
One would think that pulling the financial rug from beneath the authors with eagerly-paying fan bases would not be in the best interests of either Hachette or Amazon. Perhaps both corporations figure that there are a million eager first-time authors out there to step into the shoes of the likes of James Patterson, Stephen King, Barbara Kingsolver and Suzanne Collins.
I am a part of this tide of change -- me, the little square tile in the mosaic created by all of the self-published indie authors to whom Amazon reached out in its email. Why would a near-monopoly retail giant reach out to cannon fodder like me?
I think it all comes down to an even more basic battle -- market versus managed economy.
The market is a messy thing. It shifts on the whims of the buyers.
Titans prefer managed economies where income levels are guaranteed and lifestyles are maintained.
All the while, writers -- like all artists over the centuries -- struggle to learn their craft while still needing to put dinner on the table. When the keys to the kingdom were split between the gatekeepers and the messy marketplace via new technology and avenues like KDP, it seems the rabble made a rush upon Versailles.
If Amazon sent me -- the little square tile in the indie author mosaic -- a letter asking me to hold the line and keep advancing into artillery fire, methinks that all of us little tiles have much greater weight than anyone could have envisioned even a year ago.
Vive la revolution!
Would you buy an e-book priced at $14.99? Would that price point send you to purchase the hard copy book instead, as Hachette wants you to do?
Would you simply keep browsing to other authors whose e-books range from $3.99 to $9.99, as Amazon hopes you will do?