One can generally expect mainstream journalists to be hostile toward indie publishing. This is a matter of self-preservation as much as anything else.
Both traditional publishing and traditional journalism have been battered by the Internet in recent years. Mainstream journalists long for the days when anyone who wrote articles that people actually read was employed by a major media outlet.
Likewise, back then a small coterie of New York agents and editors decided what the rest of the world would read in book form.
The bloggers started it all…and then the indie authors turned the applecart over, too.
Damn them all!
But this doesn’t mean that indie publishing–whether on blogs or on Amazon–is a perfect environment. Fifteen years ago, the advent of monetization schemes for blogging (Adsense, affiliate programs, etc.) gave birth to click farms and keyword stuffing.
And–surprise, surprise–indie publishing on Amazon has created incentives for scamming, too. A a recent article in The Guardian describes what is going on, with particular emphasis on Brazilian romance author and accused serial plagiarist Cristian Serruya:
Serruya is just one example of the dark side of the stack-em-high, sell-em-cheap, flood-the-market culture which has come to dominate self-publishing – particularly in the lucrative romance genre and on Kindle Unlimited, an Amazon service which gives readers access to more than 1m books for £7.99 a month, many of which are self-published and unvetted for plagiarism.Alison Flood, writing in The Guardian
Let’s be clear about one thing: Indie publishing is not going away. It will continue….just as blogging has continued.
But this doesn’t mean that the incentives built into the system can’t be changed, to make various forms of scamming less attractive.
More than a decade go, Google discovered that its search engine results were dominated by click farms and keyword stuffers. Google responded by changing its algorithms. There are still click farms out there, of course; but they are less of a factor than they used to be.
Why? Google’s algorithms no longer incentivize click-farming.
Amazon needs to make similar changes. It has been possible to self-publish on Amazon for at least 15 years. It has been possible to self-publish on the Amazon Kindle for approximately a decade. Self-publishing, in and of itself, isn’t the problem.
Kindle Unlimited–which pays according to page reads, not purchases–incentivized all manner of bad behavior. (This has been documented by David Gaughran and many others.)
Take away Kindle Unlimited, and there is suddenly no incentive to publish a book on Amazon that customers won’t be willing to buy.
This will reduce the incentive to publish page-stuffed, junk books…as well as plagiarized titles that can presently be read for free in Kindle Unlimited.