An author I really love, Adrian Phoenix, recently sent an email to her fans about her Hoodoo series. She has been warned that if her sales numbers don't increase, her publisher won't pick up the rest of the series. In the email, she linked to a close friend who had a very long blog post about things she had been hearing from other writers. And frankly, it disturbed me. (**What follows is my opinion so don't get your pants twisted up if it differs from yours.**)
From the post You are not alone by Kristine Kathryn Rusch: "One writer said that on her bad days, she wonders if she needs a tinfoil hat to confirm her craziness. Another wrote on a blog that the despair from all of the changing facts made her contemplate suicide. Still a third took all of the blame herself, and started writing vampire romances even though she hates them, thinking that her award-winning, bestselling romantic suspense novels had somehow gone horribly downhill and she hadn’t realized it."
Another excerpt: "And of course, of course, it’s the writer’s fault. The writer misread the numbers, wrote down the wrong amount in the initial phone call with the editor on the laydown. Oh, it wasn’t a phone call, but an e-mail? My bad, the editor says. It was a typo. I didn’t mean 50,000. I meant 5,000."
Writers struggle enough as it is and the traditional published ones are supposed to have a team behind them. Agents, editors and publishers, all working together to put out a book that people will enjoy and froth at the mouth for more. Yet it looks like that team is turning on what should be their source of income, threatening to boot the author if they don't agree to less money, dropping series even though the books are selling and people want more.
Seriously, what is up with that? Yeah, publishers are running a business but you don't set fire to the bridge while your author is still standing on it. You don't say one thing then run around and stab the author in the back. All that achieves is driving more authors to indie publishing. And not every writer wants to go that way, some feel more comfortable with a team of professionals behind them. There has got to be a better way, one that ensures the publisher stays in business WITHOUT making the writer feel unappreciated, unloved and talentless. Writers are the reason publishers are in business. Sounds to me like it's time they remembered that.