Thursday, 3 January 2013

The Great Publishing War (and the authors stuck in the middle)

The world of publishing is getting nastier, and us poor authors are trapped in the middle. Big companies are squabbling over us like scraps and barely a day goes by when there isn't news of some victimisation of authors by these companies.

Hang poor authors?

The world of publishing has become easier and easier to get into. Granted, if we write rubbish, it probably won't sell, but for those with some talent, we now have access to a whole world of readers. I make my living through writing, something that wouldn't have been possible a decade ago. No-one would have been willing to take a risk on a 'hearts and flowers' English romance author. Now, the world of ebooks and small presses means publishers are willing to take me on, because there's little risk involved. And lucky for me, its paid off.

Authors are very quick to paint all the big businesses as demons. Amazon in particular. But what we forget is that they are just that  - businesses! They are there to make money. Just as we as authors are. Or are we in it for the love of writing? Obviously we wouldn't do it just for the sakes of it. You have to love writing to sit down for 6-8 hours a day and bury yourself away like a hermit, but most of us would like to earn a living from it. I think authors forget this and become airy fairy, talking about wanting to work with people that respect their work. Publishers, agents, book shops, Amazon, B&N etc all have one thing they want. Money.

The only ones who will respect your work are YOU and your loyal readers. Either you look at your writing as a career or a hobby. If it's a career, then you need to accept that you will have to work with people that don't give a fig about you. All they care is that you make them money.

Those that have to go to their minimum wage job, doing something they hate, are well aware that their employers don't respect them (been there, done that) but they still do their job without blogging about how little respect they get.

Just occasionally, I would like us writers to stop biting the hand that feeds them and thank our lucky stars that we get paid to make up stuff while sitting in our homes in our pyjamas.

And I will add that I've worked with a few small presses out there that are lovely, personable, and brilliant to work with. They are few and far between but they are out there, giving us a slim hope for humanity. But until you find them, suck it up and get on with it or quit.

Or at least quit moaning.

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