I admit to shameless stealing the title for this post from an entry over at The Passive Voice. This is a simple truth all of us involved in publishing, whether it is as a writer published by a traditional publisher or as an indie, need to remember. That’s especially true right now, when so many of us are up in arms over the actions taken by such social media platforms as Facebook and Twitter.
Like many of you, I absolutely hate the actions taken by these platforms and others to silence voices they don’t like. While it isn’t technically censorship, it might as well have been. These companies walk hand-in-hand with many in government.
I’ve watched as a number of people have walked away from FB, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms in protest of their silencing of Trump and others. While I agree with the sentiment, I also have to look at it from a business point of view. Not all of my fans, and certainly not all of those I’d like to try my books, agree with my political point of view. (Just as I don’t agree with the politics of a number of authors I enjoy.) If I were to abandon FB, I would be cutting off one major way of getting word out about new releases etc.
Before anyone starts in on “but this blog” or “your blog” or other social media platforms, step back and take a deep breath. In this situation, I have to remember the title of this post. “Publishing is a business.” That means I am in it to make money. To make money, I need to use all available–and legal–means to get the word out.
But it doesn’t mean I have to give FB or these other platforms any more of my attention than using them to my benefit. I don’t have to take advantage of their chat functions. I don’t have to spend hours on the platform connecting with other posters there. Not that I did before.
But there’s something else we all need to consider. Amazon has long been the bull in the china shop. None of us here at MGC have claimed it was anything other than the main game in town. It isn’t our friend. It is in this to make money. But it is our best platform as indies to getting our books out to the public–at least until a viable alternative comes around.
And that will happen. But it won’t happen overnight. Swapping out Amazon for a “store” on your website won’t do it. Nor will setting up a small store where you band together with other authors. Those don’t have the reach–or the money–needed to get the word out there.
That means I’m not leaving Amazon, at least not any time soon. Bad as they are–and bad as the precedent of booting Parler off their service–they are no worse than the other alternatives we currently have. Apple? Sorry, nope. Not after what they did to Fortnight, Parler and others. Not when their ToS is one of the most restrictive in the business.
Oh hell no. Not when we have a decade-plus of watching them do everything they can to destroy their own business.
Again hell no. I still have a book they banned because of the cover–which showed nothing.
Amazon, for all its faults, is still the best game in town. At least from a business point of view. But that doesn’t mean I won’t look for other sources for things I would normally order from them.
In other words, I’m not going to cut off my nose (business speaking) to spite my face and I would urge each of you to think long and hard before doing so. But that doesn’t mean we sit still and just take it either. It means we look for alternatives. It also means being smart about those alternatives when they show up.
I know some of you will disagree with me. That’s fine. I’ll simply remind you this is business. I’m not rich enough that I can cut off my main source of income without having an alternative already in place. I’m wise enough to know I don’t have the resources available to start something up that could take the place. But I’m also keeping my ear to the ground and waiting to see what happens because there are folks out there trying to do just that.
I guess this is all a way of saying I’m advancing my split personality. My “professional” side will remain on those platforms until there is an alternative that won’t cut my financial throat. My “personal” side will look at the other platforms available, not that I’m spending much time on social media these days.
After all, the more time I’m on social media, the less time I’m writing.
Two last quick bits. First, my ReMarkable tablet is due to arrive Thursday. I’ll be posting a review once I’ve had a chance to work with it some. To say I’m excited is putting it mildly.
Second, because my writing time is limited right now due to the injured shoulder, I’ve been playing with covers. You can see not only my publication schedule for this year but some of the draft covers by clicking the links.