Among my eclectic, self-directed writing projects I have several books I intend to self-publish sooner rather than later, then make available by some yet-to-be-determined means. In book culture the publication of those titles would be cause for various forms of genuine and transactional celebration, from in-person launch parties and book signings to online ask-my-anything interviews and marketing blitzes. While I don’t plan to do any of that, even at my most excited — and here we are talking maybe a three on a ten-point scale of delusional euphoria — I don’t even find myself thinking about potential sales or profits or reviews, or even the quiet joy of providing a single reader with a moment of entertainment or enlightenment. Instead, what I always find myself thinking about is the technologically sophisticated black market which exists solely for the purpose of exploiting the work of authors, and the abuses of which that have only worsened over time. And when I say abuses I’m not only talking about criminal conduct, but corporate practices which are legal but also clearly designed to usurp power, authority and profits from authors and their works.
To publish or promote any writing anywhere these days — even on widely recognized platforms in the United States — is to provide fresh content for rapacious, voracious thieves, who are, ironically, likely faster and more efficient at distributing pirated and knock-off titles than the best commercial publishers will ever be at making the content of their own authors available to the paying public. Along with outright theft of content, however, there is also money to be made by providing a marketplace for content thieves and their purloined wares, in much the same way that Craigslist and eBay became known as the local and national/international distribution centers, respectively, for stolen and counterfeit goods. And of course in the book world the unquestioned king of for-profit abuses aimed at authors of every rank is the perpetually, willfully and preposterously credulous Amazon.com. [ Read more ]