Skip to content

In Defense of Amazon

June 9, 2014

My name is Joanne Lewis. I am a writer but I am not Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Michael Connelly or Stephen Colbert. I’ve had two agents and am now unagented. I had a publisher but now self-publish. I am of the majority of serious writers who write at 3am, when the baby is down for a nap and when not at our paying jobs.

I have five published novels and have sold approximately 30,000 books. I have given away about 15,000 or more. That’s at least 45,000 of my books that are out there for people to enjoy. This is beyond my expectations. I am thrilled.

This would never have happened without Amazon.

As I understand it, Amazon wants a bigger cut from the Hatchette Book Group’s e-book sales. Hatchette is a French conglomerate, which includes U.S. imprints Little, Brown & Company, Grand Central and Hyperion. When Hatchette refused to comply with Amazon’s request, Amazon removed the pre-order buttons for Hatchette books, which in turn incensed Mr. Colbert and others.

Amazon says it is looking to strike a better deal with Hatchette that Amazon claims will be beneficial to its customers. Hatchette and its affected authors are stating, in general, that Amazon is a bully who is trying to own the sandbox.

I am not going to claim to know all the ins and outs of this feud however in all that I have read, I have heard little from the voice of writers like me. Writers who would never have had a chance to prove to the world that even though they are not Mr. King or Ms. Rowling, they can design plots and character arcs, create suspense and mystery and provide entertainment to readers.

Amazon has given me this chance. My books are available at Barnes & Noble, on iBooks, and many other sites, yet I would venture to say that 99% of my sales are through Amazon.

Thank you, Amazon.

To me, this battle between Amazon and Hatchette is a case of Goliath vs. Goliath. Is Amazon really protecting their Davids? Is Hatchette looking out for the best interests of their Davids too? Or is this merely about the mighty getting mightier?

I do not believe that when Mr. Colbert tells his readers to not buy from Amazon, that he is trying to steer sales from independent authors like me. He’s trying to bring down Goliath. I get that. However, what I would like him and others to know is that while I understand and respect this dispute, without Amazon, myself and other indie authors do not have the opportunity to sell tens of thousands of books across the world.

I’ve heard the argument that indie authors are part of the problem and that the agent and traditional publishing pyramid allows the worthy books and talented authors to funnel through while keeping the muck out of the way. I dispute this, as the business of publishing and the joy of reading are subjective. Proof is evident through the many well-received books that are not published traditionally and the poor ones that are. Here is the case of the traditional publishing industry wanting to rule the sandbox.

Throughout the world and time, big corporations and conglomerates have arm-wrestled each other while claiming to have the best interests of the populace at heart. I do not know how to settle this conflict except to offer the following:

David slayed Goliath once. How about if we call a truce and let all of us, whether your last name is Connelly or Lewis, get back to the business of writing, publishing and selling books?

Can’t we make room in the sandbox for everyone?

 

AmyF-061012-23WM-XL
Joanne Lewis is the author of murder mysteries and historical novels. Visit her website at joannelewiswrites.com and email her at jtawnylewis@gmail.com.

One Comment leave one →
  1. lauren permalink
    June 9, 2014 2:35 pm

    Congratulations on your successes, Joanne.

    It looks to me that Amazon is using bullying tactics with Hachette (note spelling). I’m not so sure their aim is to make “room for everyone in the sandbox.” Everything I’ve observed about their tactics tells me they want to BE the sandbox. The one and only sandbox. I think that’s it’s really naive to think they won’t turn their rapaciousness on authors and customers once they’re the monopoly–and they are fast becoming the monopoly. Look how they are emboldened to bully Hachette. What about the small indie presses? Are they even going to have a chance against such a monolith? And do you honestly believe Amazon has your best interests at heart? There’s a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to show you…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,622 other followers

%d bloggers like this: