Tag: Amazon

Amazon Adds 3rd Parties to the Buy Button

So today while browsing the news feeds, I came across this article. http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/bookselling/article/73542-new-amazon-buy-button-program-draws-ire-of-publishers-authors.html

On the one hand Amazon makes money no mater who sells what, so I don’t see this being something they will lose any sleep over. Used content sales have been a bane of all publishers whether, music, movies, or books. The one thing that publishers don’t seem to get that maybe Amazon does is that my spending $5 on a used copy is no indication that I would ever spend $14 on a new copy of anything. It doesn’t work that way, all the time. Yes, most people, if given the option would go the cheapest route, but that is not always the case either.

Yet, I do see where the fear of confusion comes in. Go to Amazon now and do a search for Nintendo Switch and you’ll find a list of ones for sale all at prices well in excess of the SRP of $300. These are all third party sellers because Amazon doesn’t have  a unit to sell, (as I write this). These buyers all, bring their their own policies and track records apart from Amazon. The current expectation is that when you hit that buy button you are making the purchase from Amazon. Will that always be the case? Will buying on Amazon become more involved as you have to wade through a laundry list of buying options and prices, some with shipping, some with no shipping? It’ll be enough to make you go outside to go shopping. Only time will tell. Rest assured if it doesn’t make money for Amazon we won’t have to deal with it for too long.

Scalpers Suck

Nintendo SwitchTypically when you mention scalpers images of $500 Guns and Roses tickets come to mind. As much as that pains me there is also a new type of scalper that really sets me off. Last week Nintendo released their 7th home console in the US, The Nintendo Switch. Almost immediately, and as little surprise to anyone who hoped to get one of their Classic NES consoles this Christmas, the pre-orders disappeared as soon as they posted. When release day came, lists of Switches for sale filled eBay and even Amazon.com with one minor difference. They all ran at least $70 more than the suggested retail price. To the bystander, it looked as though every one of those pre-ordered systems was now being cashed in for a quick 100 bucks. Unlike with concert tickets, it is all free and legal.

On the one hand it makes sense for sites like eBay to welcome these sales as they get a commission on each one. The harder question is why a site like Amazon would allow it. Well, that isn’t to hard to figure out either because they also get a cut of the sale. So it makes sense for them. Hell they probably made 8 or 10% on the original sale so if that person turns around and puts it up they stand to make another 15% on that sale as well. As an adult it’s easy for me to say no thank you and wait for the item to return to stock at its original price. An adult with a kid will have to figure out how much their incessant whining is worth compared to the hit on their wallet. I urge you, resist. As long as people are willing to pay inflated prices for the convenience of being the first to own this practice will only continue, and dare I say worsen.

Scamers Will Scam 

conartistThis is an old story but one I just heard about.

https://www.writtenwordmedia.com/2016/03/17/amazon-toc-issue-everything-you-need-to-know/

In my books I usually place the table of contents in the rear to give sample readers more of the book. I never thought about using it as a cheap way to scam Amazon. The way it works is Amazon pays authors for the number of pages read through Kindle Unlimited. So if you have a link at the front of the book that takes readers to the back of the book, Amazon’s system counts all those skipped of pages as being read. It didn’t take long for scam artists to figure this out.

To combat this, Amazon has been flagging all books with the table of contents in the rear and letting those authors know that if they don’t move the table their book could be taken down. Pretty Draconian, I know. I would think looking for internal links in the first few pages would be more effective but then I don’t work for Amazon.

Truth be told this really doesn’t affect me as I only have one book on Kindle Unlimited and I’ve not really seen much money from it. Still it’s sad to see people taking advantage of the system. You could also argue that Amazon takes advantage of honest authors’ hard work but that’s for another post.

My Latest Book Is Available Now

The Hole in Your MindMy Collection of short stories, The Hole In Your Mind, is available in paperback and as an eBook on Amazon.com. I’ve been working on it for awhile and some of the stories I’ve had since I began writing. The short flash fiction parts were all exercises at the West Valley Writers’ Workshop, but were interesting enough I had to include them between the stories. The paperback sells for $12.99 and the Kindle version goes for $3.99. I will have information on other retailers soon.

Spam Books

I really had no idea this existed. http://www.newselfpublishing.com/blog/#spambooks

Though after some thought I can’t say I am surprised. If there is a way to take a little money and make a lot of money you can bet someone is working at it. Now the hard question a writer must ask himself or herself is, why don’t I just take a freelance job. I know a very talented writer who does just that. I have thought about it too. We all have our own definition of success in mind and our own milestones to reach before we can say that we arrived. For myself, I prefer the control and the satisfaction of writing for myself. Publishing is just an afterthought. I’d love to make most of my money from it some day, but at the same time I don’t want to turn what I do to relax into what I do for work.

Big Brother Is Watching Your Reviews

The hits keep coming from the folks at Amazon. http://goodereader.com/blog/e-book-news/amazon-starts-to-enforce-draconian-e-book-review-policy I have not had this happen to me nor heard of it from any of my friends about my books either. On the one hand I certainly can see how this might seem like a good idea to someone at Amazon. Many indie authors have some of the most glowing reviews I’ve seen. I have even been admonished by one author for leaving an unfair review. Naturally our close friends and family will have a bias that may paint our works in a brighter light than other readers would. This is not the same as paying for reviews or gaming the system with multiple accounts. They only appear very similar. Amazon may also seek to avoid the circle-jerk that Twitter has become for Indie authors where 80% of our followers are other indie authors returning the favor. Still we must consider the cost.

Reviews are important. I make my buying decisions based on what others have to say. I am honest when I provide a review and expect the same of others. Amzon’s plan to maintain that, however, flies against the fact that as developing authors many of our first fans are, or quickly become, friends. We will follow each other on social media and gather together at local cons. We shouldn’t have to hide that. I never dreamed I would need a pseudonym for Facebook.

An Idea So Crazy It Just Might Work

long bookIt still scares the bejeeses out of me. That idea is,  What If Authors Were Paid Every Time Someone Turned a Page? I placed my book Undead Heart on Kindle Select over a year ago. I have not seen much revenue from borrows, less than sales in truth. SO it was with mild interest I read the email last month from Amazon announcing their shift to a pay-per-page plan. Then this week I read this article on Gizmodo Amazon Might Pay Self-published Authors Less Than a Cent  Natually I had to do some math. Under the old plan if someone borrowed a copy of Undead Heart I received $9.99. The length of the book is 230 pages so at 0.006/page that comes out to $1.38. Now that is most likely a worse case scenario, (please be a worse case). Either way I am keeping my day job for as long as the State Library stays open.

One thought that troubles me, now,  is how writers will adapt to this market. I do not write long books. My books are the length I need to tell the story and my stories are usually pretty concise. I’ve talked to new writers who complain about 100,00 pages just not being enough to tell their epic fantasy opera. In the back of my mind I’m also thinking it is probably more than most would care to read anyway. Just the same, the precedent here rewards for length but not necessarily quality. Granted a reader has to stay invested in the story to keep reading, and nothing sends a reader screaming for the exit like crappy writing,  but there are enough tricks and traps to keep the reader flipping to find out what happens next. Will we now be subject to 500 plus page tomes that amount to the literary equivalent of a pop-up book? I wish I knew,  then maybe I would get started on one. What do you think? Does pay-by-page entice you to try Kindle Select?

Up The Amazon

First I’d like to thank a long time friend of mine, Dan, for sharing this post. http://bookviewcafe.com/blog/2015/06/01/up-the-amazon/

I consider this a must read for all writers. We live in a time of mass consumption and mass waste. The hype machine churns fast and furious. Who can remember when the movie Ghostbusters ran in theaters for over a year? You would never see that today. The same for books. Publishers are no longer interested in books that can sell x copies every year. They would rather have a book that sells that same amount of books in 4 months and then crap out the next one.

Someone like me pointing this out just sounds like sour grapes but when someone the caliber of Ursula K. Le Guin calls it out, it needs to be listened to. I especially like her comparison to fast food. We are so lead to belive what we are consuming is good we gladly take part in the hype and consume away oblivious to the lack of enrichment we get.

So is Amazon the opportunist or perpetrator of this system? Either way will buying books or not from Amazon really change anything?

Success Is The Exception Not The Rule

I caught this story on Forbes.com about author Mark Dawson, Amazon Pays $450,000 A Year To This Self-Published Writer.

I like reading about success stories. They offer encouragement and some insight to what is working. At the same time, I have to remind myself that what works for one author is not necessarily going to work for me. First off, unless I’m writing in the same genre it is like talking about apples to oranges. Some genres sell more than others and have a eager fan base. My second thought is, well really I don’t have one. I’ve read enough of these articles and looked at enough sales data to know that genre is the key for many of these Amazon “Platinum” club writers. In addition to having a number of titles for sale, but that is a topic for another post.

One thing that is hard to grasp is this idea of success. Sure making a boatload of cash tops many of our, “signs of success,” lists, but there is more to being a successful writer. The act of completing a novel is a success, in my opinion. Everything else will fall into place after that, even sales. The only problem with success is you have to repeat it. So rest in your glory for a little while because the following morning you’ll be back at the keyboard working on the next one. Then one day soon you’ll see your name in a Forbes article.

Author Earnings October Report

This quarter’s Authors’ Earning report begins with an interesting examination on what Kindle Unlimited borrows can do for the author’s projected earnings. As for me I only have one title in Kindle Unlimited and have seen nothing from it. Still you should read through the report to get a feel for what is happening in the marvelous world of eBook sales. http://authorearnings.com/report/october-2014-author-earnings-report-2/