I’m on Amazon all the time, so it was kind of a shocker and a little bit of a heart-breaker when I read an article about the worry some authors have about the future of e-publishing and Amazon Kindle Unlimited. I personally have a subscription, thinking: hey, the more books the merrier, right?
I purchased the subscription after I was reading up on an author and she touted that authors are given royalties on books even if they’re borrowed through the service. I thought it was an amazing idea, and I was happy to know that authors are still compensated. What could be better than an opportunity to pay less, but still read the same amount? After all, if I have an addiction to anything, I proudly profess that it is to beautifully written books. But now, I’m also hearing that all may not be as great as it sounds.
The compensation that authors receive through the service apparently isn’t as fixed, and is drastically lower than the compensation they would receive from the full price of the work, leaving them with a pay cut of 75% in some cases. It seems like all of this shifting and changing is forcing them to write shorter stories more often, or churn out one novel as a series in order to make up the difference so that they can actually live their dream. The whole image made me think of overworked farm animals trying to churn out product fast enough to stay interesting in the current, fanciful market. Their fears are, in order to stay current and popular enough in order to make a living, they have to write hard and fast.
I walked away from the article feeling a little bit like Santa had part of his costume stolen. And maybe underneath all that red and gold he was just a sad, but kind old man. I felt like my dream had shriveled a little.
These authors give me the friends in my head. They give me company on long night and through all kinds of stressful, joyful, and growing periods in my life. I get through the winter with books and I like to think with the internet and all of the interaction that we can have with some of our favorite authors that they are less removed. They become more like colleagues.
Writing has been my dream and while yes, so many people want to be authors, and I feel like, always with a little editing help from friends everyone who has a story should write if that’s your inclination. I feel like there is enough room and abundance for everyone, somehow this vast universe will expand, and we should help each other and encourage each other. But I don’t think author compensation should have to suffer in the wake of building reader and customer popularity.
I don’t know enough about the behind the scenes of publishing. I do know that without their dreams to spur them on, people lose valuable hope that is often needed in the life of a creative. I could also just be way too dramatic about all this. I try to follow authors and interact with them as much as I can on as many social media platforms as I can handle. There’s no better feeling than promoting work that has made a difference in your life, even if the difference was that it made the sun come out on a cloudy day. I want my fellow writers and the amazing artists that I admire to prosper.
Read the article here, and let me know what you think. We make up the audience. We make the difference. We as lovers of the page, or the screen in the case of e-readers have the power in our hands. And what is the future for those of us who are writers as well as readers? What will the market be like when we pour out our hearts through words, following in the footsteps of our biggest mentors and favorite wordsmiths? This community of writers and readers has changed and enriched my life. I want to do the same for all of them.
I hope that some of the authors that read this will share their experiences if they can. Maybe shed some light on the subject. And please, by all means, if there is a better way to support the authors, even if it is to spend more at a different place, please let me know. Books are an essential food group, not just a luxury as far as I see it. In my opinion, we are all in this together.
Have a whimsical Weekend,