Is Amazon’s third-party-seller system robbing authors?
Today’s New York Times reports on the change in Amazon’s book-selling practices that allows third-party sellers to sell as “new” books they’ve acquired from remainder stocks or book reviewers as well as other sources. Authors won’t receive royalties on these sales, just as they would not from sales in used-book stores.
I’m posting this because I saw this issue flair up only briefly in a couple of the blogs I follow, and I thought it might be of interest to more writers.
The comments (at this writing there weren’t very many) challenge some of the assumptions and premises in the article. A recurring theme seemed to be that the publishing industry could do a better job of rewarding authors out front so that they were paid for their work regardless. Another is that as publishers buy into the print-on-demand trend, this form of supposed piracy will diminish.
There’s no discussion in the article of indie publishing. The focus is on hard-cover “new” books that would ordinarily provide royalties to the writers.
What about it? Is this a non-issue for you? Is it an issue only for writers aspiring to be traditionally published? I found myself wanting to comment that this article and Amazon’s policy is an argument for becoming one’s own publisher, in wh
ich case no book leaves “the store” unless the author has been paid for it. What do you think?
Filed under Amazon pricing policy, business of writing, indie publishing, Marketing books, Money!, novels, Print on Demand, Publishing, publishing contracts, Self-publishing, Writing
Some good warnings to take to heart!
I have a couple of things to add. Unless the market has changed drastically, having a good agent and getting an advance is unlikely to guarantee your book visibility or even entry into mainstream bookstores. I was paid $5000 by St. Martin’s in 1983; even though King of the Roses got superb reviews (check them out in the Amazon preview), the book never made it into any of the many stores, local or national, that existed at the time (before Amazon). I was told St. Martin’s would have had to commit to a massive advertising budget before any of the stores would find spine-out space for my book, let alone any kind of display or prominent position. (This despite the fact that my mother wrote many angry letters to bookstores demanding that they put my book on a stand in the doorway!) St. Martin’s did minimal advertising, but did make sure reviewers got copies and paid attention to them, which is a big deal, and something that will be hard for us to do for ourselves.
It’s my understanding (possibly erroneous?) that publishers’ budgets are even tighter today than they were in 1983. So true traditional publishing by one of the major houses doesn’t mean authors don’t still have work to do to get their books out there. But articles like this help us avoid pitfalls that will make our efforts go for naught!
Like many of my posts, this stems from something I saw in an online writer’s group. Essentially, someone who has been traditionally published from a small press was putting down people who self-publish. Personally, I have my own problems with self-publishing that I discuss in my “Why I’ll Never Self-Publish” post, but that is besides the point. At this point, I’d like to formally begin my rant against small presses.
In my opinion, traditional publishing is best done through an agent and then with a professionally recognized publisher. Small presses, unless they are recongized by writing organizations like Codex or SFWA, often give little more than what someone can do through self-publishing but will suck away 40-60% of the author’s share of royalties and then use self-publishing tools (like Createspace) to produce the book. Small Presses get away with this by telling authors lies in order to get them to sign…
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Filed under business of writing, indie publishing, King of the Roses, Marketing books, Money!, Myths and Truths, novels, Publishing, publishing contracts, Scams, Self-publishing, small presses, V. S. Anderson, Writing
This is really important if you’re trying to run ad campaigns. It worked perfectly for me. Thanks to Don Massenzio for reposting his original advice.
Author Don Massenzio
I posted this tip a while ago and got some positive feedback. If you set up buying links for your books, many of you are probably posting Amazon links for each country that you think your book will likely realize some sales.
There is no need to do this.
I was getting frustrated when I ran a free book promotion weekend and experimented with placing a Facebook ad that reached out to multiple countries. My dilemma with doing this is that I didn’t have a way to post all of the links for the various Amazon sites in other countries on my ad without it looking clumsy.
I searched for a way to create a universal link for my book. A universal link, when clicked by a potential reader, is designed to take them to my book on the appropriate Amazon page for their country.
All they needed to do was…
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Some useful information about those pesky Amazon Review rules from Build Book Buzz. Share your own methods for getting reviews.
Filed under Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, business of writing, ebooks, indie publishing, Marketing books, Myths and Truths, novels, Print on Demand, Reviews, Self-publishing, Writing
Here’s another good one from over at Writer Unboxed: Louie Cronin, Cronin the Barbarian of Car Talk fame, explains why she became an expert in rejecting submissions—and what her experience means for writers. If you are a Car Talk fan, you’ll get an extra kick out of this! Have you ever thought of rejection this way?
This is an older post from alfageeek, but like all his posts, it’s full of hands-on, practical advice that actually soothes some of my guilt over my abysmal marketing efforts. While you’re checking out his site, also check out his latest report on his experience with Bookbub ads.
In marketing to consumers, there is a well-established “buying cycle.” There are a lot of different variations on this but they generally go:
- Awareness (finding out your product exists)
- Research (figuring out whether they want it)
- Purchase (woo hoo!)
- Repurchase (they liked it and want another)
I mention this because the business of marketing a book is really no different from the business of marketing anything else to consumers. What I find interesting is that the people marketing books these days are mostly authors, and judging from their behavior, I think many of them are really confused about that whole cycle. So I’m writing this post to help explain it to them, with they hope that they stop throwing their money away solving problems they do not have.
Let’s skip awareness for a second, and dispense with the rest of the cycle.
If you write a great book and get a…
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