To me, leading a moral life entails, not just treating other people decently, but caring for the environment too. It also means not passively colluding with unfair practices and, as Norah Colvin said in her #1000Speak for Compassion post, being attentive to the hidden ecological, public health, social and economic justice consequences of our actions, including what and how we consume. Yet our human limitations, as well as the sociopolitical context of the modern world, militate against this. We make compromises and trade-offs, constantly juggling conflicting priorities, constantly failing to live up to our ideals. The right path isn’t always clear. Should I boycott the organisation that legally contributes a miniscule proportion of its profits to our tax revenue or campaign against the government that enables this to happen? Should I support a fellow author or relieve my own cognitive dissonance, head in the sand, pretending the only Amazon that matters is the female warrior or the 4000 mile South American river.
For many of you, this will be a non-issue. Authors, small-press and indie authors in particular, have little option but to engage with Amazon to bring their words before the world. Readers who support those authors understand the importance of posting a review where it has the best chance of being seen. When my own novel is published in July, I’ll be grateful for the exposure that comes from an Amazon review. Can I be so hypocritical as to refuse to post there myself?
Writing a little while ago about her own Amazon discomfort, Claire King points out that authors aren’t responsible for the struggles faced by bookshops; nor for where readers choose to shop. As readers, we can make an ethical choice about where we spend our money; as writers and as reviewers our power to make a difference is much less. So I’ve decided to start sharing some of my reviews on Amazon. I’m still trying to get to grips with the star rating system (it’s different to the one on Goodreads, but I’m a little uncomfortable with both – expect more on this later!) and with whether I can use the same headers there as I use my posts, so I can’t yet commit to doing it for all my reviews. As I’m also still unsure about the extra admin, it makes sense to prioritise books from small presses that need it most.
They eyed me suspiciously as we queued to embark. Evening cruises are for lovers, according to the young. My binoculars dangling from a strap around my neck were meant to place me above all that. But spotting birds holds no appeal without you.
The youngsters scurried below deck to the bar. I wrapped a scarf around my hair, found a seat in the prow. Beyond the jetty, the breeze made my eyes water. Or was it the sunset gilding the mountainside across the lake? I leaned back, contentment washing over me. Absorbed in nature’s romance, the decades rolled away.
Look forward to catching up with you again in June!