I have a publisher. I like my publisher, although they are smaller than the Big 5 publishers. We get along pretty well, and I’ve appreciated their work on my novel Sinful Folk, which has received great publicity from my publisher’s marketing department.
I’ve also self-published other material under the name Nicholas Hallum, and I’ve enjoyed that experience of working on material that I entirely control.
However, in this era of increasing chaos and change in publishing, it’s interesting to see some people — like publishing veterans Mike Shatzkin and Aaron Shepherd — fundamentally misunderstand the mind-set of the many authors (both traditionally published and indie-published) who signed the largest petition ever signed by a single group of authors (8,000 and still counting).
Fundamentally, I think most authors see themselves as a group united in their obectives of A) Making a living at writing, B) Telling a story to interested readers.
The world that currently exists in publishing — mostly comprised of the Big 5 — is enormously unfair to authors and is antithetical to both of the stated goals above.
Authors who some see as “attacking” publishers are asking for the rights of all authors — as a profession — to accomplish their goals.
Authors as a group — a profession — are finally feeling their power and are trending toward a unity against contracts and policies that will hinder their shared goals as a profession.
If you are a plumber, you tend to like things good for plumbers as a profession. The same is true for writers.
If you are a writer, you’ll tend to like the self-publishing clarity of monthly payments, control over rights, etc. — those writers who don’t like those things will be perceived as “scabs.”
That’s exactly the position Authors United is putting itself in right now.
Marc Cabot recently posted a precisely appropriate quote about the recent uproar: