Tuesday, February 12, 2013

All indie authors please read this

I woke up this morning, checked my books stats, and nearly retched at what I saw. My Amazon ‘likes’ which took me two years to build are gone on all my books. At first, I thought it was a mistake and then I delved further.

Seems Amazon has decided to get rid of all ‘like’ buttons and tags for books and products. Why, you ask? I have a theory.

The rise of indie publishing and authors self-publishing and selling their own work has skyrocketed. And not just in the publishing world, in all aspect of the entertainment industry. This last Grammy Awards is a perfect example of how independents are taking over. More than half the awards went to artists who published under their own labels. Even the song of the year has no major label backing.

So, why is Amazon so afraid of independents when they appear to be gaining popularity, respect, and success? They’re not. It’s the big publishers who are.

Independent authors are usually also marketing machines and spend hours promoting their own books. And one of the best ways was by encouraging readers and friends to ‘like’ and tag. Which book would grab your interest more, one published by Random House that has twenty ‘likes’ or an independent book that has 300 ‘likes’? That’s what scares the big three. Getting rid of the ‘likes’ and tags greatly diminish the opportunity for readers to stumble upon a book just by searching random keywords. What was once a level playing field between indies and the traditionally published author has become greatly skewed. And that only hurts the reader looking for a good story.

All my books had many more than 100 ‘likes’ each and I think that definitely drew attention to the content. Think about it, if you had two books side by side, both with great reviews, one book with ten ‘likes’ or one with a hundred, which would you take a look at?

My sales have dropped since Amazon incorporated these new “indie buffers” so the big publishers can sell more books. What puzzles me is why Amazon would continue to try and keep the independents from selling thousands of copies? After all, royalties is money no matter who is selling. It just doesn’t make good business sense to hamper a segment of profit.

Though Amazon gives traditionally published books precedence over indies, as the recent Grammy Awards showed, there is no stopping the rising tide of new age artists. The internet will allow us to sell our books worldwide forever with no limit on the possible audience. Whether on Amazon, Smashwords, Nook, Kobo, or any of the thousands of other bookselling sites, a good story will always find its readership.

That said, I bid farewell to the combined 2,500 + ‘likes’ my books used to have and I thank all those that took the time to check me out and hit the buttons. I ask that you re-tweet and repost this blog to as many sites and social media as you can to let Amazon know that the indie author is here to stay and we can all work together to share our stories with the world.