I’m old school.
Big surprise to a lot of you, eh? No, what I mean is, to me, a handshake has more power, more meaning than a written contract. If someone tells you that they’re going to do something, their word is their bond. If you shake hands on it, it’s a done deal. It’s as good as gold. You might as well take that to the bank, because it was DONE.
Well, there are a LOT of people out there…nay, not just people, but entire businesses, institutions, that don’t understand what that simple concept means.
What am I talking about? Take for instance, your credit card. Regardless of whether it was a pre-approved offer sent in the mail, an offer found online or even one that your bank or credit union offered you, they give you the terms and conditions and you agree to it. You SIGN your NAME and you enter into a contract with them.
Fast forward six months…or even a year. You receive a notice in the mail. “We have changed our terms and conditions…blah blah blah.” Ummm. No.
You see, you entered into a legally binding contract and…
Oh, no, sir. If you’ll look at the fine print, it states that we reserve the right to…
Really? Seriously? Fine print? You can change a CONTRACT midstream?
Yes, and if you don’t like it, don’t deal with us.
Well, that’s sort of what ACX is trying to do with writers and narrators. As of March 12, 2014, ACX is changing the terms and conditions of the way they deal with WE the People who actually CREATE the stories being sold on their site. Before, they took a full half and left the other half for us to figure out if we could hire a narrator ourselves and keep our profit or find a narrator of a good enough quality and that was willing to split our half with us. In essence, if we were an aspiring young writer (or old writer, as the case may be), we could either pony up thousands of dollars to get it produced and then keep all of our half…or split it and hope that both the writer and narrator made money.
Now, ACX has decided that they are entitled to a full 60% of the monies. They didn’t write the stories. They didn’t narrate them. They didn’t produce them. They don’t even PROMOTE them for us. But for some reason, they get damn near two thirds of the money? Where the fuck does this get from? Pardon my language, but…for reals??
Now, ACX has their ‘reasons’, and they’re all BS. They may as well have just written, “We are feeling really greedy and since we have the market cornered, screw you guys.” Because, trust me…that IS exactly how everybody affected by this has taken it. ACX has forgotten what a ‘handshake’ means. They’ve forgotten what it means to stay true to your word. They’ve forgotten that it is all of ‘we the people’…the little guys and gals who actually CREATE the stories and market the stories and the narrators who produce the awesome sounding audio files that you the consumer actually listen to…they’ve forgotten that it is US who are the crafters. We’re the artisans. We are the faces behind the craft. They’re the Wal-Mart to our product. Except, they don’t offer the advertising. Or the ‘everyday low prices’. They just offer…a place. For us to go to…to get screwed!
So there you have it. My rant. For whatever it’s worth.
And the really truly SAD part about the whole thing? They KNOW they have us over a barrel. If we want our books made into audio, we’re going to have to continue to go to them and get raped. At least, until someone comes along to compete against them.
Where is our audio K-Mart? The Audible Target? The Amazon against Amazon?
I guarantee you…if eBay decided to get into producing audio books, Amazon would straighten their sh!t up in a hurry!
The Meaning of a Handshake
I’m old school.