Sometimes I think some of us indies get this weird attachment syndrome and start thinking we’re Amazon.
Joe Konrath recently hosted a blog-conversation with Lee Child about the whole Amazon vs. traditional publishers thing. The Passive Voice had an active discussion about it as well. Kudos to Lee Child for yet again showing up and injecting a new perspective into the conversation. It can indeed become something of an echo chamber in the main indie blogs, which I love, but which nevertheless do still tend to sometimes echo. Having someone with his experience come engage and share his two cents was helpful.
One thing his comments reiterated to me is that neither Amazon nor the publishers are in this as the author’s let’s-get-pinky-rings BFF.
I’m not going to carry an ounce of water for Amazon in their fight with Hachette. I’m not going to carry an ounce for the trad publishers either.
I think it’s helpful for all of us to try to understand the truth about the business, and spread that to other authors, but that’s very different from this knee-jerk Defender of Amazon thing that goes on, which seems so very much like Republicans and Democrats turning a blind eye to their own candidates and fixating a hyper-critical one the others.
Case in point: here’s a link to a description of Amazon’s Gazelle Project.
Why do indie authors care? Because we’re Amazon vendors as well.
Look, I love what Amazon has enabled me to do. I love that Nook and Apple are helping enable it as well. But was this Gazelle Project a good thing? A bad thing? If we stand by and cheer Amazon in such tactics, are we essentially standing by and cheering as Germany takes Austria, France, and Poland? Or are we like England cheering the USA coming in with their troops and bombers?
I’m NOT a traditional publisher. And I’m NOT Amazon, or any other retailer. Even when I contract with them. None of us are. I sometimes wonder if some of us have gotten a bit confused about this.
Konrath says don’t worry about the tiger (Amazon) when a wolf (traditional publishers) is gnawing on your leg. But if you’re an indie writer, you have no wolf gnawing on your leg. That’s someone else’s problem. But we are indeed in bed with the tiger.
Why haven’t we seen more posts about the Gazelle Project on the big indie blogs? Lee Child, darling of the traditional publishers, has to point me in its direction? Why haven’t we been more curious about this tiger’s behavior?
Let’s make hay while the sun shines. The tiger seems to be fairly decent right now. He’s not perfect. For example, eBay strangely enough only charges 15% to sell via their site while Amazon charges 30%. But let’s not forget that as decent as he is, he’s still a tiger. And he’s probably not like those poor guys being made to do tricks by Ringling Brothers.