Last month I wrote an article for my site about how e-publishing doesn’t really work. In response, Susannah J Bell (Writing from Alter Space) wrote: ‘More and more people are saying this. All the writers out there might as well curl up and die, which is what I feel like doing.’
I feel her pain. And, sadly, Amazon and mainstream publishers don’t need to give a damn about the financial plight of the author. Amazon are making plenty of money from e-books and are very happy with how things stand. Publishers meanwhile are still getting over 100 unsolicited manuscripts a week, many of them of publishable quality, so do not need to offer anything beyond a take-it-or-leave-it 7.5% royalty to authors. Giving a damn and doing something about the situation would mean publishers giving up profits, and that’s the last thing they’re gonna do in the current climate. Publishers treat individual authors that aren’t number one sellers horrendously – all authors I know say the same – and a study was done on it showing authors around the world were being treated similarly.
It is thoroughly demoralising… and a tragedy for genuine fans/readers cos authors can’t afford to be authors. They can’t afford the time to write cos they’re too busy doing other jobs to pay their bills. Certain books will just never be written.
So what’s a writer to do? Here’s my advice: treat your writing as a hobby and nothing more. Do not let it be the focus of your professional life. You can still treat it seriously, but it should not define you.