Oh boy. The Amazon and Hatchette debate has certainly heated up. The only result, that I’ve seen so far, is that the self-published, indies, whatever you wish to call them, but they’re basically the ones who say they need no one, have all come out ringing the funereal bells for the printed book. But I ask you, have you ever considered that it takes more than one person, the author, to get these books out?
Let me ask it another way. Picture this: you’re at the stadium and are going to be watching your favorite team sport. It’s even your favorite team playing. The opposing team comes out in all of their glory, ready to play. And then, your team is to take the field/court/ice/whatever they play on, and all that comes out is the star of the team. Doesn’t look like it’ll be a good game does it?
Now let’s replace the opposing team with other books, the critics, and all of the ones that will be pushing against you. And let’s place the author, you, in the position of the home team’s star player. How do your odds look now? Not very comforting are they? This is how I see those authors who say that they need no one to make it big. They are the sole player going against the full team. And I don’t care how they were published.
Yes, we all give credit to the person whose name is on the cover of our books. And occasionally the authors will give credit to those who have inspired/helped them, usually through the Acknowledgements section. But, and this is a doozy, where do you think the money goes in regards to the books? Let’s take traditional publishing for example. We have the author, the author’s agent (if applicable), the editors, the copy editors, the line editors, the copy setters, the gallery printers, the proofreaders, the book binders, the publicists, and the stores of all kinds.
I can just hear someone out there saying that they don’t need these people. Okay, so you have to now hire an editor, and maybe a copy editor, this time you have to pay for them. Have you joined a writer’s group? Do you have any beta readers? Have you gotten your story from a news article or an anecdote? Do you count those providers that stock your book, be they digital or brick-and-mortar stores?
You see even a self-published book, the good ones anyway, have a lot of people helping with the author’s work. What’s worse some of these authors seem to think that they don’t need any help editing their novels. Mistakes are easy to miss with only one set of eyes. If you can’t afford the editor, at least let a family member or a friend comb over your work to spot anything that can jar the reader out of the story.
I’m not saying that you should even think about quitting your writing. By all means, write your stories. Just remember books of all kinds are a team effort. Even your e-books. You don’t want to be in the position of our hypothetical team’s star, do you?