It’s easy to get sucked in.
I’ve enjoyed reading all the back and forth between established authors and independents, traditional publishers and Amazon, over the past few weeks. It’s got the fervor of religion and politics combined, at least for people who are into books. Amazon is destroying the publishing world! Hachette is part of an evil empire, squeezing the lifeblood of its peasant-authors!
My favorite writers on the subject have been Joe Konrath and Hugh Howey, both major successes in the self-publishing arena. Konrath in particular is great to read to learn the nitty-gritty of the publishing world (contracts, agency model problems, self-publishing strategies).
But I’ve come to realize what a waste of energy this sort of thing can be.
First, I’m not a big player in either arena. I’m just starting a career as a novelist. I’ve made a little money, and I think if I keep at it, writing a book or two a year and building a fan base, I can have some real income in a decade or so. But, that may not pan out as I hope. It may remain a hobby with a little income and a satisfying outlet for my creative instincts.
I don’t need to be involved in all this arguing to grow as an artist. Don’t get me wrong — I signed the petition in support of Amazon, and that’s where my loyalties currently lie. Hachette wants to drive ebook prices up and keep author royalties low, and I don’t support that. But that doesn’t mean I’m volunteering for a marketplace crusade.
I’m an artist, not a politician. I don’t think you can be both — at least not to the best of your abilities. I only have so much energy and attention, and with a full-time job and a family, I’m lucky if I set aside time to write 1,000 words a day.
Arguing is exciting, but winning an argument won’t earn me new readers. It won’t sell my books, or help me write the next one.
I’ve started to think that for this sort of thing, I’ll vote with my wallet.
If you want to talk religion, join me at church. If you want to talk politics, catch me on election day. Otherwise, I think it’s better that I live my life and spend my money as I see fit, and if that has some influence, so be it. Beyond that, I’m going to try to focus my attention in those areas with the biggest impact — my job, my family, and the next book. Internet flame wars, like junk TV, suck up too much time and offer too little reward.
As a mortal, I need to be pickier.
Speaking of mortality… I’m working on a new novel in the supernatural horror genre, working title THE TAKERS. It would be nice if it were ready for Halloween, but I suspect Christmas is more realistic.
I also suspect I’ll come up with a better title by then. 🙂