I think I speak for a lot of authors when I say, I don’t know what the heck is going on with Amazon. In the recent weeks it seemed like they were sucker punching Indie authors in the gut for absolutely no reason. Then I realized, yep, they were sucker punching us. It was no longer a “seems like” situation. As of July 1st, it actually happened.
Now, first of all, I don’t profess to be an expert on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing nor do I want to be. However, I have been successfully publishing on that platform for five years so I know what I’m talking about as it pertains to me. There were a couple of things that bothered me about KDP, one being the only way to use their promotions was to exclusively list your ebooks on Amazon.
For a person with commitment issues, that has always been a thorn in my side. I’ve enrolled, dis-enrolled, and re-enrolled my books in KDP Select more times than I care to admit. My catalog of work has never been high on KDP’s borrow radar. I always have more sales than borrows which I expect. Since I am a Kindle owner and have access to the Kindle Lending Library, I’ve never found it to be very useful. You only get one borrow a month. One. I can read a book in a day. So it never made sense and I just suspected that the people who read my brand of fiction probably have the same mentality.
Then came Kindle Unlimited. Again, as a kindle owner…not a fan. I don’t want to pay $9.99 to read books because I like to own the books that I pay for. I thought the royalty payment was kind of sketchy. In order to be paid, the reader had to read at least 10% of the book. If that was the case though, why not just pay us each time a reader downloaded the 10-15% sample that is provided?
Every month, I get the KDP newsletter announcing the KDP Select Global Fund amount. It’s usually millions of dollars and they do some division and multiplication…you know MATH…to make us believe that we’re getting a huge slice of a 7 million dollar pie. It’s always been suspect to me so I stopped paying attention and focused on Ebook sales. If I got some extra $$ from borrows, awesome. If I didn’t, I probably didn’t notice. My books were enrolled for one reason only and that was for the promotions. I loved the countdown deals and the ability to offer free for certain promotions.
Then, around the middle of June, I received the KDP newsletter but this time it was talking about the new royalty payment system for borrows and Kindle Unlimited. If you’ve been paying attention to any of your favorite Indie authors, you’ve probably seen the outrage.
*** deep sigh***
Seriously, Amazon, what the hell? You wanna pay us based on pages read???? Absolutely not! The fact that there’s any author in the world that thinks that this is a good idea is a concept that I am unable to comprehend. And it’s not because I’m worried that someone will start my book and not finish it. It’s not my business if a reader purchases my book and doesn’t finish it. As an author, I can’t spend my time policing readers and trying to force them to FINISH A BOOK. (I can only do that with my friends. You know who you are. I mean seriously, you still haven’t finished Game of Thrones?). However, I purchase way more books than I write. My TBR list looks like the number pi. It just goes on forever. I may not get to a book right when I buy it. So can you imagine that an author looks at her KDP account in August and sees that she had 100 borrows but when she gets her royalty check, none of those borrows had been read far enough to generate an actual payout because her readers have other things going on in their lives? I think this is so bad.
I don’t feel like explaining in detail. I have some author friends who did for me already so if you’re interested in knowing how your fave indie author is now being stiffed by the company she/he publishes with, you can read it here, here, and here.
As if this wasn’t enough, this happened.
Read Imy Santiago’s full story here and then head to Change.org and sign the petition for Amazon to get their act together
About two years ago, Amazon took away my ability to leave reviews on ebooks that I bought, simply because I tried leaving a review for an author that I was a beta reader for. The Indie Author Community is known for having writing peers and when I read a good Indie book, I like to leave reviews. I received the same email that Ms. Santiago did…twice. Then they took down every review I’d written and basically told me to stop trying or risk my account being closed.
This happened two years ago. I’ve been bitching about it since. Now, I’m glad that more people are paying attention because these are not isolated incidents. Amazon is trippin’ for real. First, they’re going to Big Brother our Kindles and monitor how much we read. Now they’re policing our computers for data to decide if my Twitter, Facebook, tumblr, and other social media accounts indicate that I virtually “know” an author. It’s ridiculous and must stop. They need to answer for the BS and inconvenience they are causing their own customers.
Imy Santiago’s Blog post: http://imysantiago.com/2015/07/02/amazon-a-virtual-marketplace-or-big-brother/