Business-y links

I had the kid today, but Passive Voice is totally on fire, so I thought I'd link:

Simon & Schuster is entering the vanity press business, partnering with none other than Author Solutions, now owned by Penguin and soon to be owned by Random House. So, that's like three major publishing houses deciding that straight-out ripping off the ignorant and naive is the proper way for a respectable publishing house to earn revenue nowadays, and if Simon & Schuster merges with HarperCollins, it will be four. [ETA: David Gaughran has an excellent post on just how bad Author Solutions is. If you want to work for a company that will refer to you as a "fucking asshole," I respectfully suggest that you take the tens of thousands of dollars that they will bilk you out of and invest it in therapy instead.]

Harlequin's authors are still suing it, and if you're wondering just how scummy Harlequin is, the original article lays it all out in loving detail.

(I'm going to link to my old "Trust the Process, Not the Publisher" post now. No reason.)

Anyway, last Christmas, everybody and their dog got a Kindle; this Christmas, the dog is getting two. And someone is getting tired of hearing Jonathan Franzen whine about it.

Getting away from PV for a moment (shocking, I know), I'd mentioned earlier that Lindsay Buroker was posting about diversifying away from Amazon. How has that gone for her? Pretty well! She says:

In these last few months, I’ve reached a point where I could make a modest living as an author even without Amazon.

She credits having free books available with goosing sales at other retail outlets, as well as international sites.

So it is possible to diversify, and I find it notable that the people who think it's really important to do so (Buroker, Kris Rusch, Dean Wesley Smith, me) are all people who have a significant history of self-employment and dealing with clients. And in an amazing coincidence, we all seem to think about this issue the same way--i.e. we all get REALLY REALLY REALLY nervous about being dependent on a single source of revenue. As Buroker writes:

I wasn’t too concerned about this until I started thinking about becoming a full-time independent author, AKA ditching the day job. I didn’t want to depend on one revenue stream, not if that money had to pay all the bills. As lucrative as Amazon can be, one never knows when they might switch the tables (dropping to a lower royalty rate or putting your account on hold for some reason or another), and then where would you be?