What All Writers Want for Christmas
I know many of my readers care about writing, and about reading. I hope you will consider this issue important enough to act upon. More than one talented writer has found themselves stranded after three books, because bean counters soullessly suck the lifeblood out of their careers, killing unborn books many of us would love to read.
Do I sound upset about this? You bet I am! It is getting harder and harder for decent writers to build a career, while O. J. Simpson got a nice little advance for a tasteless little exercise in sensationalism was only kept from clogging shelves that should hold good books thanks to a huge public outcry.
If you write, or you simply care about reading, and you aren't furious about the current state of things, I can only assume you don't understand how the industry works. Holly Lisle is a successful author, and even she has trouble with this system. But she does have enough of a following that, if we all help her to publicise this issue, we may gain some attention.
Please, consider writing about this on your blog. Ask your readers to write about it as well. I know it's the Christmas season, and you're all busy. I'm busy too. But consider giving the one gift every writer whose work you enjoy can appreciate. Write a nice, long post, get involved in the campaign yourselves, and urge all your readers to do so.
Boycott the chain bookstores. Not just Borders, Barnes and Noble, Waterstones, and Amazon.com, but every bookseller who has more than two or three locations. Pass around petitions for others to pledge to boycott them, and bring them to the manager of your local chain. Only if we hurt them in the pocketbook will they stop fouling the nest that hatched them.
If you can't locate an independent bookstore near you, try to locate one near where you work, or any place you visit frequently enough. Try to locate one that does business on the Web. Post about any independents you find. Give them free advertising, and tell them why. Don't risk their growing large and arrogant.
If you have any other ideas, post about those as well. The Web offers us a chance to make our voices heard. Let's take advantage of that, and save what we can. Thanks in advance for the Christmas gift. One more thing; Holly Lisle started this ball rolling. She has a series she desperately wants to save. I haven't read it (yet) but I can understand her feelings.
She may have personal motives, but she's also doing this for writers and for readers everywhere. Let's all give her a big Christmas gift as well. Read this post, then go out and buy as many copies of Talyn as you can think of a use for.
Give 'em as Christmas gifts. Give 'em to your local library. Give 'em to friends. And, if you can afford it, buy the earlier books in the series as well. Get them from your friendly local independent bookseller. Or from your friendly online independent bookseller. Please, let's all see if we can give Holly a nice little Christmas gift.
Now, if you'll forgive me, since the blighted and tasteless wasteland where I live barely supports one or two struggling used bookstores and a chain outlet, I'm off to find out where the nearest independent is. Yes, I'm going to definitely find it a pain since it will be so much harder to get to a bookstore, but I've been unhappy with the selection in my local Barnes and Noble anyway.
They didn't even have any of the mysteries in the Falco series by Lindsey Davis the last time I was there. I walked out muttering that it wasn't really even worth going in there. So, time to act on my beliefs. If I have to visit a bookstore less frequently, or pay more in gas and time to get there, so be it.
I will be repaid by a better selection, more knowledgeable staff, and the warm feeling of knowing I'm doing all I can for writers and for readers. I hope each and every one of you will feel the same way. And I hope, between us, we can spread this idea far and wide enough to force any chains that survive (yes, I'd be happy enough if they all went bankrupt, clearing the way for more independent stores, but I don't expect that to happen) to listen to their customers instead of a bunch of bean counters.
Labels: writing publishing boycott