Saturday, December 2, 2017

Another Indie Publisher Closes It's Doors, But They Do It With Class by S.C. Wynne

Morning all,

I'm a little depressed this morning. The very first publisher who ever took a chance on me, Loose Id, has announced they're closing their doors. I'll never forget how excited I was when they accepted my book. It was my very first MM romance and when they took a chance on me I was over the moon happy. I loved my editor, Kathleen Calhoun, and everyone at Loose Id was always wonderful to me. So it's truly a sad day.

And it's also scary. Because Amazon is slowly pushing all other publishers out of business. They're so huge now, I don't think anyone can truly compete with them. They did their takeover so cunningly. They came up with a great little e-reader and they made downloading books on their site dummy proof. The One Click button is very seductive. They also provided tons of books for their kindle e-readers by revolutionizing the very business of self-publishing. They made it so easy to self-publish books that tons of people flooded in, and both readers and authors were living the dream.

At first.

Like any new, successful thing, it was great at first. I wasn't writing then, but I've heard the stories and I can see the despair of those struggling now that everything has changed drastically. People who used to make bank can't even get on the Amazon lists now. Let's face it, Amazon holds the fate of all who self-publish in the palm of their hand. They could drop our royalty rate tomorrow, and I'm sure once they've destroyed everyone else they will.

I personally think that the giant market share they hold is dangerous. I can think of no other vendor that actually gives them a run for their money. Apple is huge, but I don't buy there very often. My sales at Kobo and Barnes and Nobel don't compare to Amazon so, for me, my readers are mostly at Amazon. But I still stay wide because the idea of having all my books only at Amazon, and depending on them exclusively, would keep me up at night.

And I absolutely detest KU and what it's done to publishing. The pay rate of less than half a cent per page is so insulting. Not to mention the fact that authors have to pump out books at an alarming rate just to make what they might have made a few years ago, putting out way less stories. Burn out is a real thing people, and I personally live in fear of it happening to me and my pals.

Now Amazon is coming up with their Audible Romance package where people can listen to an unlimited number of books. This is going to be interesting to watch. Authors are piling into the program and Amazon hasn't even announced how much they'll pay authors. It's insane. But the first people in will probably make money. Just like with KU. But then once everyone is in, it will be impossible to be noticed. Just like with KU.

But unlike KU, those authors are stuck in the program for the life of their contract. They can't leave for seven years. LET THAT SINK IN. There is no opt out after ninety days like with KU. And no one even knows what they'll be paid yet. Whatever it is, it will benefit Amazon, not us. There is also the added problem of the cost of making audio books. You can't put out an audio book for as little as you can an e-book. Audio books cost thousands of dollars to produce. But Amazon can probably feast on author's backlists for many, many years, so they aren't worried.

It's all complicated and demoralizing. I don't know what will happen in the future with publishing. I only know I'll keep on the path I'm on and continue to produce quality work. I won't use KU for anything but re-releases until the day I'm literally forced into KU.

Sorry for the long rant. I'm angry because I feel Amazon is forcing out the indie publishers like Loose Id, one by one. At least Loose Id is winding down respectfully. They have a good, solid plan in place and none of their authors should be harmed like the debacle of Ellora's Cave. (Yes, I was unlucky enough to be stuck in that closure too.) I appreciate that about Loose Id. I'm happy to know my trust in them was well placed. It makes me appreciate them even more.

So I say a sad farewell to Loose Id. As hard as this is on us authors, I'm sure it's much harder on all of you who've worked so hard all those years. I wish you only the best in whatever you do next.



  1. I felt the same way the morning I received my email from the folks at Loose Id. I emailed my besties and we had an on-line happy dance. Nothing beats that feeling. I may have left Loose Id but I always appreciated my editors and their stringent editorial process. And yes of course Amazon will eat us all once they drive everyone out. I keep one book at a time in KU and will NEVER put my entire back list on KU. I don't need to be #1...what does that even mean anymore when we have no idea whether people are buying our books or reading pages? We need to stay wide and put out quality writing and stay the course. Hold out as long as possible. It's all we can do.

    1. I agree. I'm holding out as long as I can. It goes against every artistic, creative bone in my body to be all in with Amazon.

  2. My big concern is...Where are newbie authors going to turn for career guidance and author development now that most of the small presses are gone? Going indie is all about DIYing it, but you can't DIY an experienced mentor to sherpa you through the pitfalls of publishing.

    1. I agree, Kari. Although I will also say, there is a certain place where many newbs go for advice, and much of the discussion on that site is how unimportant it is to write well. They only value writing fast. So I'm not sure they even care about learning and developing as an author. Very different from how I see it.

  3. The fact that authors are falling over each other to commit to Audible's romance program for SEVEN YEARS when THEY DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT THEY WILL BE PAID shows what we already know: this is a business that brings out the dumb and desperate in people. But this has always been true -- which is why we've always had so many authors willing to sign ANY contract just to finally get published. It's why so many of them are willing to sacrifice building their own readership in favor of relying on Amazon's pre-made price point readership. It always ends the same way. The only thing that ever changes are the names and the faces of the authors.

    1. Yep. It's not magically going to end well just because we would all like it to. Amazon wants to control all of publishing, ebooks, print and audio. Once they succeed it won't be good for any of us. There needs to be fair competition for a market to be viable.