Are you scared yet? Because you should be scared. Something really bad is about to happen. It affects all of us.
Our livelihoods are at risk. The ability to support our families. It’s just over the horizon. It could happen any minute. It’s coming for all of us!
WE ARE DOOOOOOOOOMED.
I’ve been around for long enough to know that authors can be a skittish bunch. Probably something to do with our over-active imaginations, with an assist from that old writers’ favorite: the whiskey brunch.
More seriously, we are going through a period of unprecedented change so it’s perfectly normal for people to be a little fearful. I think the disruption we are all experiencing is greater than that which has been faced by similar industries. In fact, I think the transition from print book to e-book is akin to going straight from vinyl to MP3, with all that entails.
So, change. Lots of it. And change can be scary – even if you seem to be benefitting from the changes that are happening. I get that. However, at this point, we should all know enough to treat media reports on Amazon (and publishing in general) with the requisite amount of skepticism. As in 100% skepticism.
Patient Zero in this latest outbreak of Amazon Hysteria appears to have been The Atlantic who ran a piece on June 20, headlined: “What If Authors Were Paid Every Time Someone Turned a Page?”
The rather important distinction that this new payment system only applied to some self-published titles – those enrolled in a wholly optional program called KDP Select – wasn’t made until PARAGRAPH EIGHT. And even then the distinction wasn’t super clear and floated the wholly baseless idea that this could also apply to traditionally published books:
While many larger publishers’ offerings are included in these programs, the details of those deals have not been made public. Their authors may or may not be paid by the page. Amazon’s announcement only says that the new formula applies to Kindle Select books that are self-published and distributed through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program.