Tag Archives: change

Authors Held at Gunpoint

I received a note from a friend recently that asked me a very disturbing question. She wanted to know if I would offer my opinion on whether or not I thought she should pay to have her books reviewed.

It seems there is an independent bookstore that requires “certain” authors to have their books reviewed by this specific service in order to be carried in their store. They have been carrying the author’s books, but now have decided that they will remove the books unless the author meets this new requirement. Furthermore, the author must PAY to have those reviews done.

Once the reviews have been done, the store will then take the books into the store on consignment only. It would seem that the store also receives a fee for the books reviewed.

Now, I fully understand that some stores (mostly chain stores) charge for shelf placement, but even under those circumstances it is prime shelf space, not the difference between in the store or not.

Is it just me or have the chances for an author actually selling books become as dangerous as driving through gang territory? There seems to be a constant barrage of bullets flying from all directions determined to take out the authors that some booksellers deem unworthy.

What of the readers? Don’t they deserve to choose the books they want and not have to settle just for what booksellers tell them the should read?


Amazon Bashing. Why people?

Okay, I have been seeing the link for the article “Books After Amazon” by Onnesha Roychoudhuri on the Boston Review site. It took me a couple of days to build up the curiosity to read yet another negative article about Amazon and Kindle. I was not disappointed.

As has become the norm, the articles goes on to quote numerous unhappy publishers, offer support for failing independent bookstores, and a wee bit of bashing on chain stores. Anyone who has read any of my previous posts on Amazon knows that I support them wholeheartedly. They also know why, which leads us to Indy bookstores. I love Indy bookstores, I used to own one (I know the battles they fight), but these small stores are not enough to keep a small publisher in business, nor do most of them even care enough about us to be respectful when we approach them. I have also been pretty clear in my opinion that chain stores are most inadequate in their customer service (as is the case with many Indy bookstores.)  What does that leave us? Amazon.com

After reading the article at the Boston Review, I tried to post my comments. I thought it odd that there were no previous comments, but I had no problem being the first. But  my question was soon answered. The text box welcomed you to offer your comments, but the faulty Submit button robbed you of however many minutes in your life it took you to write your thoughts. So below, I have posted what I wanted to say at the Boston Review site.

It always amazes me to read these articles quoting publishers. How are those publishers chosen? Why don’t these articles ever talk to publishers who are happy with their relationships with Amazon. Amazon has saved my business. When Indy stores refused to carry our books or treat our authors with any respect, Amazon was there for us. We don’t complain about the discounts. We don’t participate in their co-op things, and yet we have never been harassed or threatened. Just what does a publisher have to do to be noticed. 10 years in this business and not one single organization has ever asked our opinion on anything. Funny…only the unhappy ones get the press.

Karen Syed
Echelon Press

I would like to offer you a challenge. I have a book in print and in eBook format. I challenge you to go to your local bookstore and buy a copy. DARK SHINES MY L OVE by Alexis Hart. If you are able to find it on the shelf and purchase it at that time (meaning it was on a shelf in any store), I will send you ANY eBook in our (Echelon Press) catalog FREE once you prove to me you made the purchase. For those of you unable to find it on any shelf in America and would still like to read this remarkable book (okay, subtly isn’t my strong suit) you CAN purchase it IMMEDIATELY at Amazon.com.

Response to Hostage Demands

Okay, quite a few of you have asked to see my repsonse to yesterday’s hostage demands. There are those who will think the following is unprofessional. That is probably true. I probably should not have made the contents of the note public in the first place. I, however, think that everyone should have the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of others. I have made my position on things like this so clear  you’d have to be dead not to know what was going to happen. Below is my response. Do I feel bad about it? Do I feel bad about posting it on a public forum? No! When you send stupidity to me, I will respond as I see fit. It is the chance you take for poking me in the eye with a stick.

On a professional note. People, learn this. The cover letter or query you send a publisher is usually a first impression. Do your best to make it a good one. If you know a person and wish to use that familiarity to your benefit, use  your powers for good, not evil stupidity. If you honestly think that I am the only publisher who makes fun of things like this, you are sadly mistaken. I may be the only one foolish enough to post my thoughts on my Blog, but others talk.

One thing you should all know about me. I take publishing very seriously. I may laugh and I may joke, I may not be the epitome of professionalism, but that doe NOT mean I don’t put my entire self into what I do. Echelon does not want to work with people who think themselves above everyone else. We are a team. I don’t do things like everyone else, and you should know that going in. I believe in every author I acquire and I fully expect them to have the same belief in themself. I will not tolerate any author in my house thinking they are better than anyone else. We are all in this for the same reason. TO MAKE READERS HAPPY! You want to make a million dollars? Go start the next eBay or Amazon and good luck with that!

Dear Writer,

Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding your work, although I am unclear as to what actual work you were referring to as there was no indication of an actual submission. Did you forget to put that part in?

I regret would like to inform you that I will be unable to meet any of your ridiculous demands. It pisses me off disturbs me to realize that the impact I have on authors at events is not what I had hoped for. I had led myself to believe nut job that I am that I since I was speaking very clearly to the masses about what they could and could not expect from a relationship with Echelon Press.

While your letter was written very well, the content was absolutely unthinkable. What the hell were you thinking? Echelon is not a large company and many of the larger houses would not even agree to these terms. Though we have been in business nearly ten years, we are still growing into our rightful place among respected publishers. We do this with the full and realistic support of our authors.

I just about laughed my arse off was particularly unsettled by your request for an annual marketing budget and a guarantee of acquisitions of your next four books. Really? Show me some sales track record.

I have a considerable number of bits of advice to give you, but they are all things I know I said when last we met. “You didn’t pay any attention then, why would you now? It is a shame that you chose to ignore my previous comments and display yourself in such a manipulative manner. I will be unable to offer you any furhter consideration and your e-mail address has been flagged as SPAM.

I would strongly urge you to familiarize yourself with how this industry actually works. The basic submission process begins with a query letter. Had you done any research regarding Echelon and myself, you would have known well in advance how this would play out.

Furthermore, you closed your letter by acknowledging me as “friend.” Please note that I am not your friend. Nor would I have been should you have actually submitted your work and we had acquired it. While I am quite fond of many of my authors, and a few I do call friend. A person who behaves so irresponsibly unprofessional would not fall into that category.

Publishing is a business and should be treated as such before, during, and after publication. Assumptions such as yours did not have the desired results. I am not so easily manipulated by a word. Please note that we do not wish to work with you at this time or any other time. Our submissions for all divisions are closed to you.

I sincerely hope you will consider my response before you try and hold another publisher hostage for your own personal gain use this manner to submit to another publisher.

Karen Syed, President
Echelon Press LLC