Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Making Certain Authors Eat Their Own Words . . .

Can over 900 authors all be wrong about the same thing?

Authors Eat Their Own Words

Image courtesy of Ry Young ~

Well, I think most authors can be dead wrong about many things.

Take this Amazon-Hachette tussle.

Huge publisher, Huge retailer—a fight over pricing—some authors feeling they’re caught in the middle.

I started gathering material about this business fracas weeks ago—started getting fed up with all the childish behavior—told my Best Friend I wasn’t going to blog about it…

Then, I spotted an article from Publisher’s WeeklyOver 900 Authors Sign Open Letter to Amazon—read a bit of it and immediately went off to see what Joe Konrath had to say about it.

Joe is an author who fought his way out of the trenches of traditional publishing and has become a bestselling self-published author—he knows what he’s talking about—he’s been-there-done-that…


His response to those over-900 authors who are complaining about their treatment by Amazon is amazingly straightforward and will probably force a few of them to eat their own words…

Joe’s article—Authors Behaving Badly and Authors Who Aren’t—is fascinating reading—here are just a few excerpts:

“So a bunch of legacy authors–many of them smart and who should know better–just signed a letter accusing Amazon of things that simply make no sense.”

“Preston [the author who wrote the letter other authors have signed-on to] recently said:

‘If I were Jeff Bezos, the one thing I would fear most is if authors organized themselves and took broad, concerted, sustained, and dignified public action.’

“Konrath replies:

‘If I were Jeff Bezos, I would know that legacy authors have no power, because they signed away their rights to their publishers. Patterson, Turow, and Preston couldn’t remove their books from Amazon even if they wanted to. But, strangely, I don’t hear any of them demanding it, or even mentioning it.'”

[Preston] “…in this case, Amazon has done something unusual. It has directly targeted Hachette’s authors in an effort to force their publisher to agree to its terms.

“Joe sez: Amazon is engaged in blatant acts of capitalism. It hasn’t ‘targeted authors’. Last I checked, Jeff Bezos isn’t sending authors hate mail, or hiring people to follow authors around and push them into puddles, or making public statements about how Hachette authors are boycotting common sense.

“What Amazon is doing is not allowing Hachette to control ebook prices, because Hachette wants to raise them.”

[Preston] “As writers—some but not all published by Hachette—we feel strongly that no bookseller should block the sale of books or otherwise prevent or discourage customers from ordering or receiving the books they want. It is not right for Amazon to single out a group of authors, who are not involved in the dispute, for selective retaliation.

“Joe sez: Again, look at the purposely provocative, incendiary choice of words. ‘block the sale of books’ and ‘discourage customers’ and ‘signal out a group of authors’.

“Amazon doesn’t sell beer. Are they blocking the sale of beer? Amazon doesn’t sell Glocks. Are they discouraging customers from buying Glocks? Amazon isn’t signaling out a group of authors. They are in a business negotiation with the authors’ publisher.”

[Preston] “Our books started Amazon on the road to selling everything and becoming one of the world’s largest corporations.

[Joe] “You didn’t form Amazon from the ground up. You didn’t innovate the world’s best online shopping experience. You didn’t invent the Kindle.

“Amazon has made YOU millions of dollars. Customers have chosen where and how they want to shop, and savvy writers have run with the advantages Amazon has offered us.”

There ya have it—a bunch of screaming authors and another guy who tells it like it is :-)

If you really want to understand what’s going on with the Amazon-Hachette dispute, do go read Joe’s full article…

In the meantime, any Comments?

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5 responses to “Making Certain Authors Eat Their Own Words . . .

  1. lynnbiederstadt August 7, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    Yours is one of my favorite blogs. Ever. Anywhere. I don’t know how you keep up the wonderful inventiveness and relevance, but you do.


  2. Carole A Cudnik August 8, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    Hey Alex,
    I’ve been following this off and on for weeks now, and I’m still not sure which side I’m on. Don’t get me wrong; I think authors should receive higher earnings, and Amazon’s suggestions of a 30/35/35 split is great. My concern whether Amazon is singling out one publisher (only) to make an example out of, or will they try this with all publishers when contracts are up for negotiations.There’s some pretty expensive e-books on Amazon,and not all were done by self-publishers or a vanity press.Where do you draw the line at fair? I thought Amazon made a great case for a $9.99 maximum price point for e-books on their Kindle forum on 29 July. If you want to read another author’s take on this, check out Hugh Howey’s page. He has several posts on this topic.

    Hope you’re well. Olivia sends fond greetings.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Almost Against My Will ~ Yet Another Look At The Amazon–Hachette Dispute… | Notes from An Alien

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