Don’t get me wrong: I love Amazon. I have a Kindle, Kindle Fire, Fire TV, and a prime account. Most of what my wife and I purchase online is through Amazon. As a retailer, they are difficult to beat.
I also self-publish exclusively through Amazon (exception being permanently free ebooks)… and that is where I am finding myself growing in distrust.
Just today I read an article from a writer who was spurned by going exclusively to Amazon through KDP. (Found the article through The Passive Voice.) The writer gave an account of sales drops and page-read incomes that colleagues were having and how his own experience appeared to mirror similar issues. His main complaint: transparency. In other words, he and other writers could find no information on how Amazon calculated much of anything in what they do. Also noted was the behavior that Amazon was touting their own imprinted writers over indies. Yes, for those who don’t know, Amazon is both a great place for self-published indie writers as well as a publisher not unlike Simon & Schuster.
There are a growing number of writers making similar posts, having issues with how Amazon is behaving towards self-published writers.
Amazon is a business.
I am a business. Although writing is not anything close to a full or even part-time job, it is a business.
Problem is, like the writers above, I can’t figure out how to double-check or verify if anything that Amazon is doing is completely above board. This isn’t really saying that they are being devious, but it is saying that I have no way of knowing one way or the other.
But where my problem really lies is in an old clichéd phrase: “don’t keep all of your eggs in one basket.”
Amazon is growing. Not only as its own publisher, but as a self-publishing haven. More and more and more books and writers are all throwing themselves at the Amazon pool. The pool is getting larger and larger with more fishermen competing for the same number of fish. And Amazon of course is outfitting writers under its own publishing wing with tools to outcast the others.
If I were selling at large numbers, one of two things would likely happen:
- Amazon itself would approach me for a deal
- Another publishing house would approach me for a deal.
I am little ol’ Jeremy though. I have to find a way to grow my own name. Gone are the days where Amazon’s algorithms will work in favor of someone like me. I am at least a year or two too late for that. Now their algorithms will work in favor of big sellers and especially their own brand.
So… rather than be stubborn and badger people constantly to buy my books hoping that one day my numbers will creep up enough to get noticed, I need another plan. Because I can’t trust Amazon for that anymore.