Monday, July 6, 2015

Indie Authors: Time To Take Responsibility

Amazon has been making a lot of waves lately. Depending on your perspective, these waves either allow you to surf or they destroy cities.

Let's take this first wave; Amazon's new payment system. I admit, at first glance, I wasn't a fan of this system. After I took time to study it and read the fine print, the more I got behind the idea.

First of all, the new payment system only applies to books borrowed in the KDP Select program. This does not affect royalties from sales.

Personally, I really like this idea. There are a ton of cheap, get-rich-quick authors out there who churn out complete and total crap in the name of gaming the system. Under the old method, these people would be paid regardless as to whether or not someone realized their crap was crap at page one.

Now, when people borrow these books, and realize they have borrowed crap and return said crap, the crapper will be paid the little half-cent they deserve and be sent on their merry way.

I take a great deal of pride in my work. No story turns out as good as I envision it. I agonize over every little detail and I'm extremely difficult to live with on release day. This is not just my livelihood; this is my passion. So while I know my stories are not for everyone, I also know that I do good work.

So when someone chooses to buy or borrow my book, I believe they'll come away satisfied with the financial and emotional investment. I believe they will keep turning the pages.

Indie Authors Be Like


Now let's take that second, Godzilla-drowning tsunami; the fan review system, in which Amazon is now blocking or removing reviews to titles that were written by reviewers that have a connection to the writer.

I have fallen victim to this. I know others who have fallen victim to this. I'm not a fan. I believe it makes it harder for indies to succeed. Either Amazon doesn't know this, or doesn't care.

I understand that they're trying to improve the experience for the customer, but they've attacked the problem with a broadsword, rather than a scalpel. As indies, we have to forge our own connections with our readers so it's pretty safe to assume that most of our reviews will come from people we know. Reviews are already difficult to come by; this will make it even more so.

Here's a truth; I don't actively seek out reviews because I don't like to bug people. I'm grateful whenever someone chooses to spend their time writing up something that puts my work in a positive light, but their purchasing, enjoyment, and reaching out through social media? That's what I love.

Despite not actively seeking reviews I still move units on a fairly consistent basis. I rarely go more than one week without a sale. Hardly groundbreaking numbers, but enough to build on.

Amazon may be the big bully of the indie publishing world but they are certainly not the only avenues for distribution. It depends on your work ethic, and your mental agility. I plan to leave one of my series exclusive to Amazon while globally distributing my other stories. We'll see how this works out (I'll post results).

Is it a perfect system? Hell no. We can waste time pontificating on what this might herald or lamenting how things used to be, we can plan for a myriad of futures, but we have to work in the here and now. These are the rules of the day. We don't have to like them, or agree with them, but my success doesn't depend on my feelings. It depends on my actions.

As do yours.

Thanks for reading.

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