Traditionalist versus Traitor?
By now you’ve likely heard the news that novelist Connie Brockway is going the indie route for her next novel and perhaps her next two full length historical romance novels. The fact that she’s “going rogue”, as she likes to refer to it, didn’t catch my interest as much as this comment made by Cheryl:
“So sad! I understand the need not to be limited to writing the books the publishers want, but what about all the readers on very small incomes who are big fans? Well…fan no more! We helped make your income lucrative, and now we are being dumped. Forgot what is is to struggle? Connie, I’m getting rid of all your books on my shelves.”
Some people may read this and agree. Others may see this response as childishness, rudeness or foolishness. For me, I saw fear. Fear of change. Fear of being left behind.
Here’s the fact. Change is scary, but it’s also inevitable. Sure Ms. Brockway is thinking solely ebooks now, but in time she may consider going the print on demand route also. If there’s one thing I wish I could eradicate is the “you’re either with us or against us” mentality. Either stay in print or you’re a traitor to your readers. Unfortunately, the “us vs. them” thinking isn’t reserved for just readers; some authors think this way.
A number of authors felt betrayed that Amanda Hocking sought out a traditional contract while others felt betrayed that Barry Eisler struck out on his own. Both authors recently discussed their personal choices in a conversation.
Author Marsha Canham, who was inspired to write a blog because of Cheryl’s quote, explains the math behind the reason why she went the independent route.
I like when people break things down to the bottom line. And I don’t just mean money, but also readership. It’s not a personal betrayal. It’s simple mathematics. Change must happen for new stories to survive. With ebooks, authors who haven’t been traditionally published in seven to ten years can continue their careers. Beloved series can gain new lives. Those who want to write a historical romance novel set in Greece or Ghana can do so without having to worry about the bean counters saying only books set in England or Scotland sell well. Even dead authors can gain new audiences. The estate of Catherine Cookson will publish 100 of her novels as ebooks.
I treasure whatever allows an individual creative freedom. You don’t have to choose. This limited way of thinking is like saying you have to choose between describing yourself as either tall or female. You can be both.
The e-revolution (and its cousin POD) isn’t a betrayal; it’s simply a new distribution model. Readers can now have more stories and as an avid reader, I think that’s a glorious thing.