The blog posts, the newspaper articles, the letter to Amazon’s CEO (signed by 69 Hachette authors), the petition to readers (signed by over 5000 authors and Amazon customers), are all part of the news going on for many weeks. I hesitated to add my two cents because, first of all, I don’t want to offend any of my readers who publish with Hachette, but also because many others have joined the discussion, and do it better than I ever could.
Since you know I’ve begun self-publishing my backlist as well as newer books, (which is obviously done through Amazon) it won’t surprise you that I signed the petition and hope Amazon and Hachette soon resolve the issue. In my case, long before this began, I’d made up my mind to submit my work (whatever I won’t self-publish) to small presses instead of big publishers like Hachette. I had many reasons even then.
(1) ....I dislike the idea that agents (who reject 95% of the authors who come to them) had the power to keep my books from editors.
(2) ....I disliked the long waiting time between accepting a book and its actual release date.
(3) ....I resented the crappy cover one publisher put on my book and the six-month delay in getting paid my royalties by all of them.
(4) ....I disliked the contract terms such as “life of copyright,” ”non-compete” clauses, and the difficulty of retaining my rights.
(5) ....Most of all, I resented the fact all the Big-5 publishers added vanity presses to their offerings in order to charge huge fees to new, or naive, authors to publish their books. Especially Penguin Random House which paid $119 million to buy Author Solutions, the worst offender. (They’re being sued.)
(6) ....I hated that Harlequin, the largest romance publisher in the world, got away so long with cheating authors out of ninety percent of their royalties by leasing books to a different Harlequin division. (They’re being sued.)
On Tuesday it was revealed that Amazon was about to make an offer to Hachette to pay its authors one hundred percent of the price of any of their books which are suffering from the dispute, with no money going to either Hachette or Amazon. And, as they did two months ago, when Amazon suggested providing a pool of money for the authors, Hachette again said “no.” As Joe Konrath wrote, “If I were a Hachette author, I’d sue them for refusing to allow me to collect those royalties.”
In my opinion, that put an end to Hachette accusing Amazon of holding authors hostage. The end of pretending only they uphold authors’ best interests. I don’t want big publishers to disappear because I think there’s room for all. But, IMHO, this time, Amazon is right. Thankfully, I’m not suffering and will just continue to write my books and put them out. However, my wish is for a speedy conclusion so other authors suffer less. We’re really all in this together.