By: Marie Force
I'm asking all of my fellow independent or self-published authors to take a deep breath with me. That's it... Breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth. Crazy shit has been happening lately. It makes us nuts. It affects our income, our rankings, our sanity. Last week it was Amazon and sexy romance novels ending up in the Christian category. This week it's Kobo removing all self-published books because a few authors tried to sneak in something Kobo (and its partners) rightfully don't want in their system. Is this a massive overreaction on Kobo's part? Perhaps, but guess what? It's their company and their show. They can do whatever the hell they want, as can Amazon and Barnes & Noble and Apple and all the other retailers we rely upon to bring our books to market.
It is NOT censorship. It's BUSINESS. YOU are a businessperson. You make decisions every day about what you will and will not include in your books, on your website, on your social media platforms. Kobo and Apple and Amazon and B&N and all online as well as brick-and-mortar booksellers have the right to make those same decisions on behalf of their business. Don't like it? TOO BAD! Think of yourself as a guest in their house. You don't get to dictate what they eat and what they don't eat, what time they go to bed or what time they get up. You're a guest. We're all guests, and we need to remember our manners.
Three years ago, many of the books that have been removed from Kobo in the last twenty-four hours, including mine, were growing mold on laptops around the world because there was no way for us to publish them. Many of us, including me, were seriously SCREWED in this business because we couldn't get a publishing deal despite having lots of books ready to go and readers begging for more. Today, we have so many options, the head literally spins trying to manage them all. Who gave us those options? The same retailers we seem to be constantly railing at these days.
Ease up, citizens. Remember that they owe us NOTHING. They can do whatever the hell they want with THEIR business. We are guests in their homes. Let us please remember that and practice some decorum. Yes, authors are legitimately pissed because they are losing money they need. I get that. I'm losing money, too. I don't like that. But please aim your vitriol at those who deserve it—a few people who screwed things up for the rest of us.
Stop blaming the retailers who have completely changed my life and probably yours too. Be nice. Be fair. And remember, they owe us nothing and have given us everything. You know how you're still figuring out this self-publishing gig? So are they. Give them time to work out the kinks in what is still a very new system for them, too.
The author community is 100 million times better off than it was three years ago. And it's because of KDP, KWL, Nook Press and the iBookstore. Please don't forget that.
Take a deep breath. Then take another one.