RIP Amber Quill
By now almost everyone in the small and independent publishing world has heard the news that Amber Quill is closing its doors. While it comes as a shock to everyone, not the least to the authors who have published there, it is primarily a sign of the times.
How many mom and pop stores have closed when a Big Box superstore came to town? WalMart has killed hundreds of small local stores all over
Good or bad, it is a fact of this era. Amazon is the nine hundred pound gorilla
in every area of publishing outside of the New York hub and probably gaining ground
there as well. Big dogs do not like competition and they do not subscribe to
the traditional ethics of us small folk in determining how they get rid of any
‘lesser’ beings who dare to intrude on their profits. It is not my intent to rant on the political
aspects of the modern economy but I do want to point out that a firm finding
itself unable to continue in this climate deserves no shame or scorn.
I am sure there will be rumors and snarkisms flying at this point. I’m here to warn you, watch out what you say. I have been with Amber Quill for twelve years and have a total of sixty two story and novella length works with them, five novels and eleven collections or anthologies in print. I did not stay there and submit to them the bulk of my work for this span of time because I had no other choices. I stayed there because I felt it was my best choice among the many e-publishers, a lot of whom have come and gone during the time I have been a published writer, since 2001. Many left a bad taste in the mouths of all who had associated with them. I am sure I do not need to name names! We all know who they were and who some still are.
At any rate, back in 2002 several authors who had been stung in just such situations banded together to form a company, vowing to do it right. In my opinion they did an admirable job. Amber Quill has billed itself “The gold standard in publishing” and I do not feel that was an exaggeration. In twelve years I have never had a late royalty check or a suspicious accounting statement of the period’s sales. I have not had to front any cost of creating my books and found the editing, formatting, cover art and all other services to be truly outstanding. From this and personal contact with them, I know how the owners have worked, the heart and soul they all put into it. I also feel their personal anguish at this time when they realized it was no longer economically feasible to continue with the enterprise they had birthed and nourished. As much as I grieve for myself and my fellow AQ authors in this loss, I hurt more for them. Yet I hope they can take pride and consolation in knowing they have done a truly outstanding job for the duration.
That being said, I do not want to hear any innuendos, no snarky, sly remarks and no scathing put downs period. Anything said in that vein would be completely false and ill-deserved as far as I am concerned. The owners and staff of Amber Quill has fought a good fight and created a memorable enterprise, one which will continue to be a gold standard which others will have to strive hard to emulate. Even in the difficult business of closing, they are acting with the highest ethics and sensitivity for all involved. I call that a true class act. RIP Amber Quill; you will be remembered by many with deep love and respect. To all those who must now walk away, go in well deserved peace and harmony. Hold your heads high and be proud; you have done more than many ever will.