I don’t know how many writers this is true of, though I hear, on one online writers’ forum, that it affects thousands. But here’s my tale of my quest to write freely and independently and express myself fully, post 2008 (when I published The Killing of an Author):

This month, the royalties from my #Amazon book sales dropped to less than 5% of what they were at their high point in July 2011.  And Amazon now controls 75% of the ebook market. In 2010, Amazon had seemed like the road to freedom for a writer (I wasn’t listening, then, to “Won’t Get Fooled Again”), and I had started publishing e-books on Amazon. From the other platforms, like Google Play, Apple, B&N, and Smashwords etc., which are much less restrictive and sometimes more generous to authors, but which account for a reduced 25% overall share of the market (though, this month, they account for 85% of my sales), I expect to earn around five times as much as on Amazon–which still amounts only to pocket change.

Some of this has happened because of Bezos’s price-matching, monopolistic, creativity-cheapening, unlimited-free-books, market-flooding policies, which hurt independent authors far more than they hurt the books of Big Publishers, who have a loyal following, staying power, and media attention.

Here’s my view, after having tried both traditional publishers and independent publishing (the latter for freedom of expression and speed of publication): Starving inconvenient and rebellious writers into submission seems like a thing corporatist megapublishers like to do, and megabillionaires who control books like to do, and the liberal press does not call it censorship–though censorship it certainly is. In these 7 years, Bezos’s net worth has gone up from a couple of billion to around $60 billion (wait, $90 billion 2 days back!), so he’s ecstatic, no doubt, since he also controls a portion of the press. But what about the rest of you?

All this means I have much less time to write, and am compelled to edit books by others (grateful even for that, because it puts food on the table), but have to put off completing and publishing mine. This has been my situation since 2012. Still, as for submission to the Master of the Universe: so long as this writer has life, he won’t. (Though he does submit to the Goddess.)

But those who care about free expression, and the books that might be lost if I disappear without being able to complete them: should they care?

As for my goal, it is this:

“An #author is above all a human being, present in his books, and whether he writes well or badly hardly matters.”- Michel Houellebecq, Submission. The paragraphs preceding this declaration are so powerful, reinforcing my original intent when I embarked on the career of full-time writer: that being present in your books, and bringing them out, and bearing witness — it is what matters most. And that’s still my goal, though I have no clue, at the moment, about how I will free myself to write: the challenges I face are much greater than those I faced when I wrote The Revised Kama Sutra, the novel of mine that has garnered the most critical praise and most readers by far (which doesn’t necessarily mean it is my best, but it did move many, many readers).

I know, who cares? Jeff Bezos doesn’t, and millions of his Prime followers (including near and dear ones, seduced by cheap prices that become as addictive and soul-destroying as heroin–well, most of us need money for more gadgets, more food, etc.) do not. But that’s not what matters: whether one or a million care matters not a jot. Or does it, to the soul and freespiritedness of literature? And, if it does, will the good billionaires (if any: Bill Gates, who gives billions to the poor, unlike Jeff, who squeezes billions out of them, a few pennies skimmed off each book and more pennies skimmed off anti-monopolist writers all adding up? Warren Buffett? ) step in? Or a traditional publisher who appreciates the importance of publishing nonconformist, nonestablishment writers.

Right now Donald Trump, billionaire and major donor to billionaires like Jeff Bezos through his planned tax cuts (which steal money from the poor and middle class), and some liberals’ darling Jeff Bezos, are more alike than they think, though Bezos’s Washington Post does a credible job of positioning itself as an anti-Trump organ. Both Trump and Bezos acquired some of their wealth at the expense of the poor.