Daily Archives: October 21, 2014

Is Amazon Skynet?

It seems like every time I turn around these days somebody is on the internet saying that AMAZON IS THE DEVIL and AMAZON IS GOING TO FATTEN US ALL UP AND EAT US FOR DINNER and AMAZON IS SKYNET!

I try not to worry about that sort of thing. Right now I write for a traditional publisher, (Nimbus Publishing), and I write independently – publishing on Kindle and Kobo on a case-by-case system.

Still, I found myself reading Joe Konrath’s latest blog, AMAZON WILL SLASH YOUR ROYALTIES! and then I found myself commenting on that blog and all of a sudden I had written a blog of my own.


Let me tell you what I think of the whole situation.

Aside from the whole royalty-gap difference there is another VERY telling difference between Amazon and traditional publishing.

Let’s say the worst has happen.

Tomorrow morning Amazon is found beaten to death in an alleyway outside of a Tuscaloosa Barnes & Noble outlet.

Nobody knows how it happened.

Lieutenant Columbo is baffled.


The Big 5 Traditional Publishers (Big 6? Big 8? Who the hell is counting?) steps in and says “I will save the day!”

So – all of a sudden the Big 5/6/8 is back in the game and calling ALL the shots.

Do you think they are going to open up the gate and let ANY author publish ANY amount of ANY kind of book they want to?


They never did before.

They’re going to go back to publishing Stephen King, James Patterson and maybe the CEO’s brother-in-law who needs some sort of a break, doesn’t he?

That is a huge freaking difference.

Traditional publishing says “We will publish the books that WE want to publish, WHEN we freaking want to publish them.”

Amazon, on the other hand, says “You want to publish a novella of dinosaurs gangbanging King Kong? Sure, go ahead. Just mind the cover, would you? No naked stegausuri – them bared spinal plates are just too hard on the eyes.”

Amazon offers a river of indie writers.

Traditional publishing offers you two choices – either a straight and narrow gate where only a select few can pass through – or a chute right straight down into the abattoir.

We either publish you or we don’t publish you.

Now, I am NOT saying that traditional publishing is EVIL. Hell, I love my traditional publisher. They get my books in stores right across the country. I can’t do that. Amazon can’t do that.

My publisher does.

All that I am saying is that there is more than one way to skin a cat.

Skin a Cat

It IS theoretically possible that come tomorrow we’ll all wake up and it will be the Big 5 and Kobo and Nook and all of those others lying in that alley, clubbed to death with a volume of vanity press poetry. It is possible that one day Amazon is going to become the Skynet of the indie-writers and we are ALL going to wind up having our royalties stolen by a bunch of death-ray wielding Terminators.

But running around and trying to make an intelligent decision about your future based upon Chicken Little fear-mongering is about as sensible as somebody saying “Well, I might as well not go to work today because we’re all going to die by global warming in a year or two.”

If you are a carpenter you’re not going lose all that much sleep this weekend about the shrinking rain forest, are you?

Let me put this in perspective.

People have been talking about the end of the world since long before we ever tripped over the whole Before-Christ/Annno-Domini 50 yard line.

Don’t panic, people.

Fear IS the mind killer.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

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