This last week, we learned that All Romance eBooks (ARe) is closing up shop and pretty much shafting writers for any money owed them or at least 90% of it. There was a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth from indie authors who are losing money, myself included, from the closure.
As a business owner I can sympathize with ARe’s plight as I’ve known a number of friends who have went bankrupt and folded. Writers have bitched about how ARe has screwed them but while not trying to excuse ARe’s actions, I can possibly shed a little light on their actions.
As a business owner, you never expect to fail otherwise you’d never start a business in the first place. We all know the 900# gorilla in the room is Amazon and this is Darwin’s theories in action. It’s simply adept or die. Amazon is the Walmart of publishing and you’ve seen what happens to local stores and businesses, even places like Best Buy when a Super Center comes to your town.
While I don’t know anyone personally at ARe and beyond publishing my stories there, have no involvement with them. I can surmise that the owners of ARe kept thinking things would turn around and trying to figure something to do. Often towards the end, you will often plow your own money into the company to try and keep it afloat.
Unfortunately, there comes a time when you finally accept the fact that the bleeding has to stop. By this stage there may be little left in the bank to pay off those you owe. ARe is offering 10 cents on the dollar to pay off the writers and that’s probably about average.
I hear rumblings of a class action law suit but that generally only benefits the ambulance chasers as the actual litigants rarely get much, while the lawyers get millions.
My advice is to suck it up and put your energies into writing new stories. If it’s anything to be thankful for, your story didn’t cost you anything except sweat equity, for the most part. Think how you’d feel if you built someone a house and then had them file bankruptcy on you.
Enough of the doom and gloom and onto something brighter. I’ve just received my annual email from Mark Coker (SmashWords) on his musings about self-publishing and the indie market. If you are a writer and haven’t registered with SmashWords, I encourage you to do so.
Mark is one of the good guys in publishing and has helped tremendously for self-publishers, like myself to become published.
In 2016, the self-publishing market is becoming saturated and that’s hurt individual sales but I think there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Everybody and his brother has decided to write a book and that has pushed a lot of junk onto the virtual shelves of the Internet.
Like most new things, it will grow and then self-correct as the market becomes saturated. We’ve seen prices fall as publishers competed for reader’s dollars and the going price of a book has steadily eroded.
What I think will happen is that a big chunk of the new indie writers come lately will publish their book and see that they get few sales. After a while, they will realize that it’s not as easy as it sounds.
Reminds me of a story I heard about Ansel Adams (famous photographer) who met Ernest Hemingway (famous writer). Hemingway said, “Ansel I love your pictures. What kind of camera do you use?” In response, Ansel replied, “I love your books also. What kind of typewriter do you use?”
In short, talent does not come from having an expensive camera, typewriter, or laptop. Talent comes from the individual and no amount of stuff can make you an expert.
Often writers talk of finishing their first story and are already planning on what type of fancy sports car to buy with their first check. I hate to burst their bubble, but life is a cruel bitch and will bend you over the table in an instant.
Even if you don’t like horror stories, I’m sure that you’ve heard of Stephen King. Perspective writers should read his book “On Writing”, which talks of his many failures before triumph.
While not an expert, I believe that no amount of training can make you a successful writer. Certainly your words are perfectly formatted but if your story is not appealing and doesn’t grab the reader, you should go back to your day job.
And as my Dad always says, “Faint heart never sold a vacuum cleaner.” Basically this translates into believe in yourself and never give up. So don’t assume your first book will make you rich and keep plugging away. If you have ideas that move people, then keep trying until you reach your target audience.
Personally I write stroke material because I enjoy it. Writing stories to abuse yourself with is my goal and hopefully I manage that in some fashion.
One of these days, I might write something serious but now I’m enjoying what I’m doing now. I’ve published 20 stories in 4 years to good reviews (typically 4-5 stars).
While I’m certainly not trained as a writer, I hope my fantasies cut me a little slack when I make an English faux pas. Thanks for making it this far and I look forward to having social intercourse with you in the future.