Just got an email from Draft2Digital that Kobo is pulling all their titles because of an issue with erotic titles put in places they should not be. For those of you not up on the discussions on the writers boards it seems some crazy indie writers who write, get this, dinosaur porno, have placed said stories up in the children’s book category. Now while I can see this needing to be address and those stories being removed from where they are removing all self published work is a crock and we all know it.
I have been using D2D for a few months now and I totally have enjoyed the experience. They are prompt with help when you need it and they post your work to the four major retailers quickly. They are easy to work through and you can edit as you need to.
The backlash that has been building from the big publishers is IMO what is driving this. They don’t like the growing influence of the self published movement. It was fine for them when the little guys posted up stuff because it wasn’t effecting their bottom line but now that big name authors have jumped ship so to speak they have decided to attack the competition.
A big ebook retailer in Britain was the first to decide they would remove all self published titles from their pages. This is just wrong. With the Big five deciding who and what will be published and not doing the job that those established authors pay them for the self publishing market grew. We authors needed places to put our work. Yes some of it needs major work but there are so very many highly talented writers who never got past the so called slush pile because the big name publishing companies would rather publish the next Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian book versus something from an unknown yet talented writer.
Talking with a few writers who have actual contracts with houses you find that unless you are famous you are not getting any of the services you should be. The publishers are expecting manuscripts to come in totally print ready and that the writers will do all the marketing for said work. This is wrong. Twenty years ago there were editors, proof readers, marketing gurus and more to help those that made it through the slush pile, now you can pick up a big name author’s book and you will find grammar and spelling errors, proof reading mistakes and all kinds of other issues. It isn’t the author that I blame but the so called engine of business that expects profits and not a quality piece of work.
Now so far I am lucky. Out of my titles there are still 34 showing on Kobo. Yes 24 of them were put up there in their Writing Life system but that means that there are still ten titles that I did not post there myself showing. If you go to Barnes and Noble you will find 51 titles including my two small publisher collections. On Amazon I have 69 titles up for sale and Smashwords has 56. So there are a lot of titles out there. (Okay Amazon has the anthologies i am part of that dont show on the other sites and Smashwords has two free stories that aren’t on other sites)
But really this backlash is crazy. Yes they need to police things better. Not so much for good or bad writing but to make sure that books end up in the right place. I would never want any of my erotic tales to show up near a children’s book. Yes i plan to write a children’s book or three in the future but I don’t plan on having ANYTHING vaguely sexual near it. This backlash is an over reaction that is going to harm the people who provide the product these places sell.
I really hope that other retailers don’t go the way of Kobo in this. For some of the very best books i have read this past year have come from self published or small press publshed authors. With the demise of print magazines we need the avenue of ebook sellers to put out work worth reading. Kobo may find that what it is doing will cost them even more in the long run than leaving them out there would have.
So gentle readers, keep reading. Go to whatever sites you need to to find good work. If Kobo won’t handle us self published authors then go to Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, ITunes, Sony or any of the other fine retailers out there. Show those fat cats that you will take your business to those who will provide what you want to read.