While Amazon and Hachette Duke it Out…


Tell the truth, I don't like to take sides in commercial disputes such as the ongoing one between Amazon and Hachette Books. If I did like to take sides then I would go back to practicing law, where I got paid to take sides. But since I became a full-time writer I enjoy my freedom from commercial disputes and my freedom from having to represent people in various difficult life-situations, especially those I really didn't personallyfavor. That's right, when you're a lawyer you oftentimes have to take the “wrong” side in a dispute, the side you don't believe in, simply because someone has the money to pay you to do so. In other words, you take money to go against your personal beliefs just about everyday you practice law. Can you imagine a more self-destructive way of living your life? So I quit. That's right, I discovered how to get my writing published and sell enough books to pay the bills, which allowed me to unplug from disputes like the Amazon-Hachette miasma.

Sometimes, however, the best books are built around a character who is conflicted because he or she is somehow being forced to do some act that he or she doesn't personally believe in. In fact, sometimes the required act is even revolting. That kind of conflict can make for page-turning fiction that's fun to write and fun to read, even if the reality of living through something like that is awful.

Amazon or Hachette? Lots of writers are taking sides. As if the outcome of the dispute will add to or subtract from their personal fortunes in some meaningful way.

Sorry, but I've been there. As a lawyer I was forced to spend my time on causes I despised simply because I had bills to pay.

As a writer, I no longer have to do that to myself.

And after all, like always, it's only about money. If we don't know by now that there are things far more important than money, then we haven't learned a key lesson yet.

Sign me, Unplugged.

Jonathan Schuler