Johann GutenbergI am a Germanophile. My Wisconsin farmer-neighbors were first and second generation German immigrants.  I went to high school with the Greutsmacher, Schenk, Meyer, Schmidt, Langenkampf and Gatterman… families.   I served in Germany about ten of my twenty soldier years. Two of my five children were born and baptized at 2nd General Hospital in Landstuhl, Germany.  I speak German.  I know the Protestant Reformation and how it changed the face of Germany.  I know the Catholic counter-reformation, and how it changed the face of Germany.

On 1 March 2012 I received my first Amazon payment upon breaking the $25.00 barrier, a direct deposit of $132.18.

I have a spiritual side; I go to church. I am Catholic. I am grateful. I give thanks. Whom do I thank?  I am making money with my writing. I am accustomed to the collection plate.  Here is the question­­––To whom do I tithe?

There is a reformation-counterreformation-like conversation going on in the storyteller’s world.  It impacts my life. It impacts our lives.  The conversation grows increasingly shrill among defenders of the faith, those loyal to traditional publishing. The timid and wealthy remain loyal to the traditional; the free thinkers explore. Among upstart independent writers, the ‘self-published’, the tone grows businesslike and problem-solving.


Scott Turow, current President of the Author’s Guild (medieval, eh?) in a article denounces Amazon, as Pope Leo X in  Exsurge Domine (1520) denounced Martin Luther’s The Ninety-Five Theses

It calls to this Catholic boy’s mind a time after the publication of the Gutenberg bible, but before Martin Luther’s vernacular translation, that time before the German princes confiscated Church property wholesale, that time before the agitated peasant traded pitchfork for pike.

The lead slug and the silicon chip–base elements, these cheap bits of earth–have become alchemist gold. The Reformation.  The Revolution in Military Affairs.  The Soviet Union evaporate before my unbelieving eyes like an evil spirit pieced by Narsil.  Does IBM still build computers?  An Amazon fund transfer appears in my account. Wondrous things.

Like renegade Catholic priests turned preachers, astute indie writers, knowledgeable in new world of fiction publishing, experimental, uncertain, argumentative, no truth other than the logic of their imperfect argument, write tracts and blogs. Free-thinkers, they experiment, promise wealth and failure, pose arguments, change their minds, ask us to think.  They dissect the corrupt and debased, uncover the dross,  make mistakes, clarify and press on. Who the hell are these preachers of the 21st century publishing reformation?  These are the iconoclasts that  influence me.

I commend them to you. I am in sympathy with them. Truth is plural and contingent. Their preaching brings me promise of salvation and profit.  They were Catholic, more or less, less so now than earlier.  Sometimes I agree, sometimes not. I listen.  I consider. We all pray to the same God, nicht wahr?

They sell their books while soliciting donations  thus:

The more fiction I write, the more money I make. Since I am a fulltime writer and have been for thirty-mumble years now, I have to pay attention to where my money comes from. So if this nonfiction blog ceases to support itself, I will eventually have to stop writing it. I fund it through donations. So if you liked what you read here, please leave a tip on the way out. ( Kristin Kathryn Rusch)

I feel like the 15th century German peasant at fair auf dem Munchenen Festwiesen examining the wares for sale ––prayer beads, pictures of saints and metal crosses––and the donation plate.  The peasant is well-off with 26 children––four now with his fifth wife––and has just sold two cows.  He squeezes his Groschen until it sweats. This is what he considers; tithe 10% of his day’s good fortune or buy a religious object for his wife.  He squeezes his Groschen once more time to be sure he’s wrung it dry.

He makes his and I make my decision.  These are people who make me a buck and give a  spiritual guidance on the side; or vice versa. I will buy their wares as presents for my wife.   I will donate when I run out of their books to buy.  The money goes to the same place, richtig?

I like what they write. Check them out.