Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Bias Optional

The headline caught my interest: Amazon Pays $450,000 A Year To This Self-Published Writer. It turned out to be an article in Forbes magazine by Jay McGregor. I read the article, which was about Mark Dawson, and about other self-published writers. McGregor noted that one writer had submitted her novel to traditional publishers and was rejected.  Those same traditional publishers are offering her a contract for the same book she self-published.

I shouldn't be surprised at the tone of the article, not after all these years of reading the same thing in the same format by numerous other writers of magazines, newspapers, blogs, etc. What McGregor points out is that Amazon makes money no matter what the writer does. If the writer offers the book or even a series of books for free, Amazon makes. If a writer's book doesn't sell well, it still sells something and Amazon makes money.

What McGregor failed to say is the publisher that published Dawson's first book and let languish on the shelves, in spite Dawson doing everything he could to get the public to notice his book, made money for the publisher. In fact, it likely made more money for the publisher than for Dawson because they got a bigger share of the contractual/royalty pie.

The publisher that turned down Mel Sherratt's first book is now back at her door offering a contract for all her hard work -- and her books. She has written several and the book the publisher rejected sold 100,000 copies because of Sherratt's hard work. McGregor doesn't mention that the publisher isn't knocking on Sherratt's door with a contract simply to reward her for her hard work. The publisher knows that Sherratt's books make money and they want their share. Money is the bottom line for publishers -- and for Amazon -- but to slant the article so that truth is not immediately apparent looks biased to me.

No one is saying that Amazon publishes books from altruistic motives. Amazon is a retail business and the owner built his business because he wanted to make money. The same is true for Mark Dawson who wrote his book to make money and Mel Sherratt has written her books to make money. It's a job and jobs are all about making money. To say anything else is a lie, unless the subject is becoming a missionary or Buddhist monk.

Publishers make books to make money. It's that simple. Publishers didn't market Dawson's book because they did not see it as being able to make money for them -- the publisher. Publishers spend money on marketing only on writers whose books MAKE MONEY. That is how they justify the expenditure to the board.

Publishers rejected Mel Sharratt's first book because she hadn't sold 100,000 copies of the book before. Not until she self-published and sold 100,000 copies, writing several more books and putting her time and effort into marketing those books, were the publishers interested -- BECAUSE SHERRATT MADE MONEY and could make money for them. It's unlikely the publisher even realized they had rejected the same book the first time out because it never was on their radar. NO MONEY.

Say what you will, point out whatever writer you like, even pull Amanda Hocking out of your hat, if it had not been for Amazon -- and the hard work the writers put into marketing and getting their books in front of the public -- all of them would still be working the 9 to 5 grind and writing in their spare time. Successful writers aren't successful because a traditional publisher made them successful. They are successful because each of them did the hard work to promote their work and they kept writing. They would not have been noticed had they not self-published because traditional publishers don't waste their time and money on wannabes and new writers -- not unless there is money for the publisher up front.

Amazon doesn't charge fees to self-publish on the Kindle platform. Amazon doesn't charge for placement or marketing or anything. It's all up to the writer. Work hard and sell books and Amazon makes money -- so does the writer. 

Anyone who says they're not in business to make money is lying.  That's not bias. That's fact. It takes money to stay in business and to live, so money is the bottom line for everyone -- even churches and missionaries. Everything costs money. No money, no business. No mission. No charity. No books. No anything. Until publishers offer to publish books for free and leave selling books up to the writer, even if the writer has to pay for copy editing, book cover design, art work, and everything else, they have nothing to talk about. Comparing apples and oranges just proves that an apple is an apple and an orange is an orange not that they are equal or not.

Thanks to Jay McGregor for pointing out how these hard working writers made their book dreams come true. You have, however, not changed my mind that publishers are good and Amazon is bad. You did prove your bias and which side of the publisher versus Amazon fight you're on.

Truth is subjective. Most people don't realize that fact. There is only one recipe for success. Here it is: Write every day. Work hard and promote your books. Keep writing. Keep working. And books sales will come your way. 

Choose traditional publishing or Amazon publishing or whatever comes next, but in the end it is all up to you, the writer, to make your own success story. That's the plain truth and there's no bias added.

That is all. Disperse.

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