(Full disclosure: I’m at a crucial point in finishing a book under deadline. I’ve hardly moved from my computer all day, and every creative impulse has been sapped out of me. So I dug into my old post pile and found this one from April 2012. Guess what? It still applies today. Enjoy, and I’ll be back next Thursday with a fresh and shiny This Author’s Life.)
For the last several months, most of my posts here have been about book promotion–and that is how it should be, since for the last several months, my life has been about book promotion.
I’ve spoken with quite a few people who work in different parts of the publishing world. There are some who believe that Amazon’s very existence is threatening small business, state governments, the future of publishing and the very fabric of life itself. There are others who see Amazon as the wave of the future, the only possible solution to the challenges that have confronted the ever-changing world of business in general and book publishing specifically.
In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll remind you that my books are epublished and sold through Amazon. I clearly have a business relationship with them.
I am grateful that Amazon exists. The company has not only opened wide the doors of publishing for the independent author, it has for all intents and purposes held our hands as we walked through. Indie publishing is that easy through Amazon.
But I see the bigger picture as well. I know that Amazon’s existence and ease of use has made us lazy and demanding consumers. When we want something, we simply go to the Amazon page, search for it. . .order it. . .and usually it arrives within a few days, at a price that it is at least competitive if not better than that of our local source.
I know too that many consider Amazon’s open door to publishing to be a death knoll of quality books, that without the traditional gatekeepers of agents and editors fighting off the specter of bad writing and poor stories, we’re all doomed.
I don’t agree. Visit your local bookstore, pick up about ten books randomly. Some of them will be great; well-edited, well-written stories that deserve their spot on the shelf. But some of them are the equivalent of literary garbage, poorly written drivel that slips through because of the perceived demands of the reading public. (“We need MORE VAMPIRE BOOKS!! I don’t care if there’s a story. . just GIVE ME VAMPIRES!!”)
Here’s the truth, folks: Amazon isn’t the devil. It’s not going to usher in the end of days. But it’s not the savior either; it’s merely a vehicle that’s helping to take us from point A–our old way of doing things–to point B, whatever the future might hold. Change is never easy, but it’s constant. Let’s hold on and see where we end up.
In the meantime, I’m happy to marching right through that door.