AuthorstandI remember when I posted my first article on AuthorStand, for a short story competition. It turned out the contest was more about who you knew more than anything else, and as a relative newbie to the fiction author realm, I didn’t do so well. It didn’t go viral, and I didn’t win.

But I learned some vital things about building platform, mu audience and I also saw some cool writing over the years. I didn’t use the service much recently, instead turned into a lurker. So when I saw the news about Joe Niewierski, the founder, selling out to Book Country I was crushed: Book Country is a subsidiary of Penguin Books. What now?

Let me say before I go further that Penguin, by purchasing Book Country and opening itself at least to considering self-publishing as a potential path to publication, or at the very least the talented pool of indie authors as a pond worth fishing in for new talent, does show some willingness to adapt. They still have horrible contracts, too low of royalties to authors especially for e-books, and two high of prices for what is the paperback of today. Still, knowing folks who work or have worked there, the company may wake in time to save itself, and join the emerging trends in the industry.

However, AuthorStand was one of the more independent ways to distribute ones work, and was filled with competitions and other opportunities to get real feedback and hone your writing craft. There’s no question that Penguin has talented scouts and editors, and opportunities may arise for authors to jump into the traditional pond if they so desire.

But what about those who wish to remain independent? Who are really what AuthorStand was all about? That remains to be seen, but with a parent company with an intrinsic interest in converting Indie authors to a more traditional publishing path to publication, the outlook is questionable at best.

RIP AuthorStand. Welcome Book Country. I just hope it stays a country of free and independent individuals rather than a corporate farm.