Amazon Publishing announced today that it would be publishing 32 books this summer and fall through its various imprints, including Amazon Encore, Amazon Crossing, and Thomas & Mercer.
Thomas & Mercer is the imprint that J. A. Konrath and Barry Eisler both recently contracted with. Konrath, of course, is an outspoken supporter of indie publishing and the author of the blog “The Newbie’s Guide to Publishing.” Barry Eisler is the author who astonished many by turning down a $500K, two book deal from St. Martin’s earlier this year to self-publish his next book. So many people felt these authors had betrayed their trust with their Amazon deals that Konrath and Eisler addressed the issue in a blog conversation here.
I think one of the most important comments in that conversation came from Barry, “publishing is a business for me, not an ideology.” This is something that seems to be lost in much of the conversation on this subject. Publishing is a business, whether you’re a large legacy publisher with contractual obligations to a multitude of stockholders, artists, distributors, and booksellers, or an individual deciding whether to sign a contract with that traditional publisher, a small press, or go indie. Unless you’re writing just for fun, you’re in business.
While you’re doing the actual writing you can be an artist. That’s when you get to let your emotions out to play. But when you start trying to get someone to give you money for your work, you become a business owner. It behooves you learn the craft of doing that, just as you learned the craft of writing. And as long as you’re not doing anything unethical, there’s nothing wrong with pursuing the course of action that will benefit you most.