I received an email in my inbox this morning. It was from Amazon’s Kindle Publishing Group.
Here’s the link to that letter from Readers United.com.
Fellow author Tracy Sharp had already responded to the email this morning when I found mine. Her comment about her letter was short and sweet, and made me laugh. It can be found in the comments section of fellow author J. A. Konrath’s blog.
The letter from Amazon encourages readers and authors alike to email Michael Pietsch, the CEO of Hachette Publishing, with a carbon copy going to Amazon. I strongly urge my readers and followers to do the same.
Below is my email to Mr. Pietsch. Feel free to add yours to the comment section here, or make any comments that you wish.
“Dear Mr. Pietsch,
I feel that I simply must share with you my feelings and concerns about what your publishing company is doing in its negotiations with Hachette.
I’ll be polite, and begin with my concerns.
By bringing authors such as James Patterson and Douglas Preston out as “frontline spokespersons” for your public feud with Amazon, you’ve opened up a bigger can of worms than you can possibly imagine.
These are authors that have hit it big, and produce bestselling novels, although, in Patterson’s case, his ghostwriters produce bestselling novels.
But, they haven’t been selling as well lately, have they?
Do you know why?
It’s very hard for the average reader, whose income ranges from $20,000 per year to $60,000 per year, and is struggling to make rent or mortgage payments, feed themselves, and keep their children clothed, to sympathize with someone that brings in $94,000,000 a year (Patterson), or with someone that “summers” at a huge estate in Maine. They see these people crying about their incomes being hurt by Amazon’s actions. They see these two gentlemen insisting that the price of an eBook must cost more than most average readers pay for a meal. They see these two people whining about a company that has offered three times to cover authors’ losses during these negotiations, only to be turned down by men that could afford to say “no”.
By having these two men as your “unofficial” spokespeople, you are experiencing a huge backlash that you weren’t expecting.
The average reader isn’t going to support you when you trot out the rich boys. The average reader can’t afford an ebook over $9.99. Even I think twice about buying one at $9.99 – it has to be damn good before I’ll pay that much!
My concern in this entire situation isn’t for you. My concern isn’t for Patterson, or Preston, or King, or any of the other authors that you conned into signing that silly letter that you instructed Preston to write for you.
My concern is for the debut authors. My concern is for the midlist authors. These are the authors that you - yes, I said you – are hurting. They see the light, and they see other opportunities available to them. I see them mostly leaving you in droves, because you don’t have their best interests at heart. You aren’t nurturing them. You’re trying to wring every last penny you can from these people without giving them anything in return.
Now, to my thoughts concerning this matter…I am an author. I write stories, and I have fun doing it. I make a little money at it, nothing great, but I make more with my stories by having published with Amazon than I would have made waiting for any of you to accept my stories.
You wouldn’t have liked me, Mr. Pietsch. I like complete control over my stories, and I like writing them the way I see fit. I would never have given in to any marketing person telling me that I needed to change this character, change the title, etc., etc.
I also would have looked at your offer of 12.5% of net, and snorted in your face.
I’m very grateful for Amazon, and I’m grateful for the opportunity it has offered me by allowing me to control my work, my way. My ebooks are available there, and my paperbacks are published through CreateSpace.
My ebooks are also available most everywhere that sells ebooks, except for Google Play…I don’t much care for their policy of discounting.
Now, I’m not totally happy with everything that Amazon does. For example, I don’t like having to be exclusive to Amazon to participate in Amazon Unlimited, so my titles won’t be available through that service.
But, overall, I’m very happy to be associated with Amazon.
Can your authors say the same about you?
As for Hachette, I’ve used the Jeff Bezos email address provided in Mr. Preston’s letter twice now, urging, then begging him to stop selling Hachette titles altogether. There is no contract in place with you, and no reason to continue offering product from an ungrateful supplier.
Why don’t you cut the crap, pay your authors more of that money you’re pulling in, and negotiate with Amazon to bring ebook prices to a reasonable, affordable level? There still might be time to save your publishing company.
But, you can probably forget about Patterson and Preston being mega-sellers ever again. They’ve made fools of themselves in the media one too many times.
T. M. Bilderback”
Let’s hope that we can all make a difference, both for authors’ payments, and lower ebook prices.
I also urge you to sign the petition at Change.org. The link is below.
Michael (T. M. Bilderback)