You've heard about it in lots of places. And many others explain it better than I ever can. In fact, if you want the two sides in plain English, go to bestselling author Joe Konrath's blog and read his exchange with Lee Child, mega-bestselling author of the Jack Reacher series. (Lee's a really nice guy, and a master at reading nametags without anyone suspecting he can. Everytime he meets me at mystery fan conventions, he says, "Ah, Jeri Westerson. My favorite medievalist." (My name is clearly written on my lanyard nametag, and I always tuck my bookmarks into them).
And can I just say, Joe, that you are NOT a midlist author. I'M a midlist author--stuck in a limbo of non-bestsellerdom and likely to float there for a good while.The stunningly handsome and well-spoken bestselling author Barry Eisler also chimes in when you get down to the comments section, and it's a long section, so settle in with a cup of coffee or a glass of the good stuff, whatever time of day it is.
What's my dog in this fight? Oh, I don't know. My CAREER maybe. I'm on both sides of the issue, looking at each entry by Lee and Joe and nodding solemnly. Yup, my former publisher didn't do squat for me and it shows (that's what being a midlist author is. Publicty money goes to some other guy). So I see the deals one gets in a legacy publishing contract and I see that Amazon can change their rules any time they want, but for now I get a monthly paycheck from Amazon. Granted, it's still a paltry one and I thank Zeus I don't have to support myself with it, but I'm sort of hoping that the more books I can get out there, that check will rise.
Do I still want to be traditionally published? Hell yes. You see, I'm not Joe Konrath who mutters about that $300k check he used to get. Poor Joe. It's poor Jeri, right now. I'd like the chunk of change that goes with an advance. It's nice to buy stuff, like if some obscure part dies in one of the cars. We like to be able to buy that part and keep driving. But let's not do that here. Who's richer, who's poorer. We already know this.
What is important is that the dialogue is happening, that authors are coming out of the treadmills and raising their faces to the sun. Okay, too corny, but you get the idea. We have options. It's nice to have options.
I know readers don't care about this. Because as Joe says, if they can't find their favorite authors' books on Amazon, they'll look for someone who writes something similar. And Amazon is pleased to tell them that. But I think that some readers are interested in what the fuss is about. And many are very surprised to discover that their favorite authors usually have day jobs to sustain them, and that publishing these days--at least for midlisters--is hobby money. Thank goodness for self-publishing.
These are very interesting times. I hope to get back to medieval times on this blog, in case you were wondering, and I will. But first I am messing around in Victorian times with yet another series of a paranormal nature. Thanks for reading.