This post, by Suzanne White, originally appeared on The Passive Voice on 5/7/12.
From the comments to Kris’s Post – Spread the Word, a classic letter to The Author Guild from 70-year-old author Suzanne White:
It’s unfortunate that an entity which professes to be an “Authors Guild” doesn’t work for authors. It works instead for the publishing industry. It works to try to protect what is obsolete.
Authors today can go to Amazon with books they have written, post them on Kindle or develop paperbacks with Createspace or seek to actually be published by Amazon… and get a 70% royalty on their sales. Do you encourage them? Do you help them to understand how they can gain their freedom? Do you applaud those courageous authors who self publish, sell on Kindle and make a living? No you do not. Instead, you warble on, lamenting the fact Bezos is taking over the crusty publishing industry. DUH!
Where in the traditional publishing industry can an author command 70%? Where can an author have utter dominion over cover art? Formatting? Content? Illustrations? Impact? Marketing? The answer is Amazon. And a little bit Pubit and sometimes Smashwords or Apple as well. Where in the standard publishing industry can an author revive a book that he or she wrote in 1982, sold to a publisher who printed it, didn’t sell very many and took it right off the market? Amazon, that’s where. Author gets rights back, re-formats the book, slams it up for sale on Kindle and in six months is making money with that book.
Where? Tell me. Where can an author do better?
Why does a Guild for Authors rail on about monopolies and decry the demise of old-fashioned publishing as we knew it? Dinosaurs still prowling the streets of Manhattan want their good old boy industry back. Give it up already.