Howard Hendrix: “I’m also opposed to the increasing presence in our organization of webscabs, who post their creations on the net for free. A scab is someone who works for less than union wages or on non-union terms; more broadly, a scab is someone who feathers his own nest and advances his own career by undercutting the efforts of his fellow workers to gain better pay and working conditions for all. Webscabs claim they’re just posting their books for free in an attempt to market and publicize them, but to my mind they’re undercutting those of us who aren’t giving it away for free and are trying to get publishers to pay a better wage for our hard work.”
This comes from Howard Hendrix, the current Vice President of the Science Fiction Writers of America, who has clarified his comments by later observing that “webscabs” was “too incendiary a term” and stating:
I think the jury is still very much out, however, on whether such free online fulltext [sic] offerings will prove to be salutary or deleterious to the writing profession as a whole. We’re still in the early stages of this transition, and data remains insufficient.
It seems to me that those who post their own books on the web; do their own sites, etc.; have given up the notion of being “employees” of anybody (but themselves) and in effect have gone into business for themselves. They’ve set up their own little storefront business– which is what something like this blog is.
That’s the principle behind blogs and other D-I-Y projects, as I see it– competing with the big guys rather than having to approach them hat-in-hand, subserviently.
A better analogy than labor unions (most writers being free-lancers– independent contractors), might be an independent store taking on Wal-Mart.
This is the 21st century, after all. The world is swiftly changing.