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 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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These clear instructions and multiple templates and examples for how to write a press release for your book are exactly what I’ve been looking for. Now to get busy and DO IT! Share your experiences writing and sending out releases for your books!
Joel Friedlander is always a wonderful resource. Today’s “Mailbag” covers some important questions about copyright and ISBNs, as well as some questions about vendors and formatting decisions. Check it out!
Filed under Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, business of writing, Copyright, ebooks, indie publishing, Money!, novels, Print on Demand, Publishing, Self-publishing, Writing
This article answers some questions I’ve had recently about my rather desultory use of my Facebook resources. Please let me know if you’ve had a different experience, or if you agree!
“If you try to use Facebook for something it’s not designed to do, you’re just going to get frustrated over the lack of results.” — Tim Grahl, author of Your First 1000 Copies
Recently, I was posting my latest giveaway opportunity to a variety of promotional groups on Facebook. A fellow author and Facebook friend noticed and messaged me soon after: “You’re posting a lot on Facebook recently. How’s that working out for you?”
What he was really asking me: “How does one successfully use Facebook for author marketing?”
Tim Grahl recently addressed this question on his blog (Facebook and Author Marketing, September 17, 2016), and my own experience in growing my social media platform confirms many of the assertions that he makes in his article. To understand how to use Facebook for author marketing requires an understanding of what Facebook was designed to do.
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Filed under business of writing, ebooks, indie publishing, Marketing books, Money!, Myths and Truths, novels, Print on Demand, Self-publishing, Tech tips, Writing
Here are some evaluations of book promotion services from The Book Designer (a great site for all things indie). The question is whether sites like these are better than membership in KDP Select.
Share with us your own views! Have you tried any of these services? Do you have others to recommend?
Filed under Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, business of writing, ebooks, Free Books, indie publishing, Marketing books, Money!, novels, Print on Demand, Self-publishing, Writing