More Reasons to Choose Amazon over Traditional Publishing

As if Amazon's better potential for earnings and freedom from draconian contract clauses weren't enough to make authors flee traditional publishing, the disintermediation of gatekeepers should tip the scales in favor of going independent.

The power of editors and marketing departments to decide what gets published--and therefore what audiences get to read--has grown in the last century. These decisions often have less to do with the quality of the work than with the author's sex appeal, ethnic background, and politics.

For relatively recent, high profile examples, see DC Comics' shelving of a story by one of the most award-winning and best selling authors alive, Orson Scott Card. Or how the New York Times tried to keep Ted Cruz's book off their bestseller list. Whether you agree with Card or Cruz, it shouldn't be controversial to ask that works be judged on their merits; not on the beliefs or character of the artists.

Except now apparently it is.  Just last week, Hugo nominee Lou Antonelli had an editor pull a short story after he'd already signed the contract. The reason had to do with a brief dustup between Mr. Antonelli and Hugo presenter David Gerrold; not with any deficiency in the work.

Lou has been generous enough to post the full story on Facebook. It's a zombie apocalypse tale involving "canniballerinas"  (if only I'd thought of that!).

The editors of that magazine (which will remain nameless, and should be left to go their merry way since the author has absolved them) have the right to refuse publication. If they believe that association with Mr. Antonelli's comments, for which he has thoroughly apologized, might give readers of his zombie tale the vapors, it's their call not to let you read it.

You can read it here.

Don't get me wrong. There are still publishers and magazines dedicated to entertaining readers without regard to an author's creed or political affiliation. They are, sadly, a minority.

Individually, none of these controversies are really important. They'll be forgotten (are being forgotten, or largely have been forgotten) as the next crisis captivates the public consciousness. Of utmost importance to professional writers is the choice before us: deny our past, our beliefs, and ourselves to curry favor with increasingly arbitrary gatekeepers; or cut out the middlemen and let our stories be judged by the only people who should matter--our readers.

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