Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I'm a Writer on the Horns of a Dilemma

Last month I wrote of my personal sadness about the disaster unfolding within a certain publishing house. As many of you readers know, these are troubling times for a lot of us writers who are doing our best to protect our work by requesting our rights be returned to us.  We 'moms' want our 'kids' back where they are safe, if you want to look at it that way.

But we (or at least I) don't want you faithful folks who buy my books - and those of other affected writers - to be negatively impacted if at all possible. After all, it's not your fault, nor ours, that a particular publisher is now in a mess of biblical proportions.

This month the collateral damage of the ongoing clusterf**k is starting to reveal itself. It did to me this morning. In my inbox was one of those Amazon.com emails - you all get them, I'm sure - "Suggestions for your reading enjoyment based on your purchase of XXXX". (Yes, I read all kinds of books and occasionally a romance or two. LOL)

I barely glanced at it, but something caught my eye. Lo and behold, it was the cover to one of the books coauthored by Scott Carpenter and myself - Pure Sin. I checked and all those books are still available on Kindle. Along with more than a few others of both ours, and mine alone, that I was surprised to see there. It shocked the hell out of me, especially to find it promoted in an Amazon.com email.

You see we were granted our rights back on July 14, 2014, without argument, since all our "Partners in Passion" book contracts had expired from one to three years earlier. (We'd never asked to renew contracts, nor had we been contacted in any effort to do so.)

It's a godawful, head/desk mess. I do understand the difficulty of removing print books from vendors. And I know that even Amazon cannot or will not stop third party vendors from selling such books.  BUT... and it's a BIG BUT...removing a digital book is much simpler.  Now that so many of us self-publish, we all know how these things are set up. Even if it's a lengthier process for a publisher with a mess of books, it doesn't alter the fact that it shouldn't take more than a couple of clicks to UNPUBLISH a digital document from an eBook library. Once you're into the publisher dashboard, go to it.   One person, one day's commitment and all returned-rights books SHOULD be able to be removed from Kindle. I would hope that the same attention would be applied to other vendors, but honestly? I don't want to look. Because if I do, and I find my books there as well, it will further increase my gut-churning distaste for this whole situation, and do nothing to mitigate my disappointment with those whom I once admired.

My dilemma is thus revealed. Readers can still buy books of mine which should NOT be on sale. I might even say that this situation is sliding toward illegal, but God knows I don't want to go there. (They will probably disappear from the digital shelves at some point, but with the current situation, I cannot begin to guess when that might be.) I don't know whether to say "don't buy them" or...what? I didn't get into this business to tell readers not to read my books. I don't know anyone who did. This is the collateral damage I mentioned above. Writers like myself who are just trying to work out the best for our stories and our readers. We are trapped by circumstances over which we have no control whatsoever.

It goes without saying that those of us who are now publishing our own works - well hell. Please feel free to buy those in bulk. (And yes, that was a plaintive wail of a "PLEEEEEESE". ) LOL  This chaos will resolve, and hopefully soon. With luck, we will settle many issues and see our "children" returned to us unharmed and no longer tethered to a sinking ship. At which point we'll re-edit, revise, re-cover and re-launch them out on a new journey with fresh faces and goals.

It's a tad disturbing to realize that when my first erotic romance was released some of today's readers were barely hitting pre-school. Sigh. My son was in junior high. I had a waist. LOL  I believe there will always be a home for a good digital book, so I hope - as a writer - that you readers will be patient and as supportive as you've always been and make the decisions you feel work best for YOU. We've come a long way together. We have a lot further to go!!!

Happy Reading

Sahara Kelly

(My three-book "Don't Look Away" series is now on sale and is a re-edited and revised retelling of the two stories originally published as "Scars of the Lash" and "Scars of the Soul". Self publishing this work allowed me to break it into the three stories it was always meant to be.  Just sayin'...)

Don't Look Away Book 1 - Sally Ann
Don't Look Away Book 2 - Suliana
Don't Look Away Book 3 - Thanael

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Madness, Sadness and Moving On.

Anyone in our profession cannot have escaped the recent furor erupting amidst cries of foul play, finger-pointing, blame games and disillusionment. I cannot speak to this - it's too heartbreaking.

Fourteen years ago, give or take, I began to produce books on the Internet. Strange things, they were, these eBooks. Few knew of them, even fewer dared try one or two, but eventually they caught on and the wild ride began. In those days we were pioneers - covered eWagons heading into uncharted lands.  Truly fabulous writers - Kate Douglas, Angela Knight, Diane Whiteside, Shelby Morgen and Treva Harte to name a few - these ladies led the way, bringing incredible talent to an increasingly large gathering of authors finding delight in this new form of literature. One publisher stood with us and for us, and for that I shall be forever grateful.

Sadly, times have changed drastically.  To my readers - my website has now reflected these changes.  I have acquired the rights back to almost all my works formerly published through a certain site - and the few that remain have purchase links to major vendors only. This is because record keeping isn't the easiest of chores (I know, believe me. Mine suck), and I think Bezos probably has a good system going.  I have removed the returned books from my website.

Yes, they'll be re-released, of course. Brushed up, dusted off, brand new shiny covers - and prices in line with today's markets and budgets. I'll be joining the many other writers offering their older works to brand new generations of iPad/Kindle addicts.  It's odd to realize that when my first books were released the people buying them now were FOUR YEARS OLD. OMG. Pass the Geritol. LOL

This is a personal response to what has become a series of continuing disillusionments. I have watched in dismay as a situation that could have been easily rectified has exploded into something that defies description. I have watched people who I admired early in my career disappoint me more than I could imagine. And my heart aches for the business I'm in...the business of being a writer.

I have often offered the opinion that our profession is mutable, continuously re-inventing itself at dazzling speeds. It's a roller-coaster ride with giddying heights and sickening plunges. Technology-driven evolution was inevitable, but this current situation was neither destined or predictable. It's just sad.

I'm sad for myself and my colleagues, for those of us who have always believed in the story and committed to giving our readers the best that we could achieve. I hope to continue to do that, and I'm sure my peers concur. I also hope to continue to speak my piece, air my thoughts on this blog and pepper the world with terrible puns, the occasional bit of snark and - of course - multiple cat photos.

I would be shattered to think that my opinions were not only not respected, but treated as inflammatory or otherwise insulting.  I have to wonder why, in a world where cyberbullying has led to the ultimate tragedy in too many cases, opinions stated clearly and without offense are deemed libelous. But then again, I'm not familiar with much of anything except the Fourth Amendment. It seems that even that might be not quite what I imagined anymore.

Yes, times they are a changing'.  And I must change with them, as must we all.

This time, it's a very, VERY challenging thing to do.

Sahara Kelly

DON'T LOOK AWAY - Three book series - releasing October 4-5, 2014