One thing I will say about the publishing community of indie authors—we know how to network. Yesterday, more drama, and it spread like wildfire. We’d been hearing the buzz about Kobo/ WH Smith pulling down “questionable” content, but then they announced that they were pulling down everything indie without regard to content. It was a no-holds-barred frenzy of figuratively pulling books off shelves. Then articles appeared, accusing not only Kobo but Barnes and Noble and Amazon as well of the same sort of behavior. Shortly thereafter, Facebook was going crazy with not whispers but shouts, crying censorship. Readers were angry with the rumors that all their books could be deleted off their Kindles with no warning (because they’re paying for the “license,” not the “book”), and authors were angry because—bottom line—Amazon earns most of us more money than all the other outlets combined. We reach a wider audience with Amazon, frankly, and to even dream that we can no longer use the seller as an outlet is upsetting, to say the least.
While the jury is still out—because neither I nor any other author or reader have seen anything in print from Amazon confirming or denying this rumor—I am a little hopeful, because not one but two readers contacted me to tell me they had spoken personally with someone at Amazon over the phone and were assured that these were rumors and nothing more. One woman who posted on one of my discussions about the matter said they told her they would have someone in PR release a statement to quell the rumors on Facebook.
As you know by now, that statement has not yet been released…and, until it is, I and my fellow indie authors will wait, hopeful but nervous.
In the meantime, I have done all I can. I have signed the petition at change.org (if you want to sign or see it, click the link. When I signed it yesterday, it had fewer than 300 signatures and now, as I post this article early Tuesday morning, it has over 10,000!). I also urged others to sign. Deeper than crushing our livelihood is the threat of censorship, something I think most of us can agree is a bad thing. When others can start to choose what you can and cannot read, then they begin to worry about all the other areas of others’ lives they aren’t happy with. We live in a free country, folks, which means we have the liberty to choose what we personally like, and that also means that we might not always like what someone else is doing. Get over it!
Bottom line: I hadn’t published on Smashwords in a while, mainly because I have to reformat my books—both text and cover—for the site. However, I’d had many readers urging me to do so again, because that was the only way they could access my books, so I published Rock Bottom on the site and planned to begin publishing with them again, as well as publish all the other books I haven’t been. The point is that Smashwords is more a grassroots place. Yes, they too are choosy about the type of books they sell (they announced a year ago that they wouldn’t sell books with questionable themes, such as beastiality), but they ARE indie publishers. That’s what they do. They take indie books and get them to outlets that wouldn’t be available to indie authors otherwise. That will always be an avenue of publishing for me. No, it’s not Amazon. It’s not Barnes & Noble, and, in fact, Kobo (who, in addition to all their other outlets, gets books from Smashwords) had deleted many of my titles long before this most recent episode. Barnes & Noble UK had as well. But I will continue writing and will publish by whatever means are available. I’d like to hope this is just a bump and that we will go back to business as usual soon. If not, we will persevere. We always do.
On a happier note…Feverish is scheduled to be released a week from Friday, and the cover reveal is next week as well. I can’t wait for you to read this one! Happy reading! And…if it’s not available on Amazon, I will still find a way to get it to you!