Thursday, July 7, 2016

Discouraged… nothing less

There have been a lot of changes to Amazon and how it sells books since I broke from my agent and started on this solo indie adventure.  A few years ago, the process of self-publishing an ebook was much simpler. You wrote a manuscript, edited, formatted, designed a cover, uploaded the file, and poof… it was available for sale all over the world. If the story you wrote was any good you just might have sold a bunch of copies. If you were hard-working and totally devoted to your craft, you just may have eked out a little living from your endeavors. But for how long did it last? Not long at all.

In a competitive market, Amazon had to adapt quickly to keep its authors and new source of generous royalty income from being eaten up by other publishing sites. How did they do this? By introducing Amazon Prime. Authors had to pledge their allegiance to Amazon exclusively if they wanted the numerous benefits offered by this service. Of which I did, and I’m not complaining one bit.

However, as in all industries there are those unscrupulous individuals who uncover flaws in the system and will extract as much from it as they can before being caught. I’m talking about the Kindle Unlimited program where authors get paid by the number of pages read. I am also a participant in this program and highly recommend it as a means for readers to discover new authors at no cost to the readers. Sounds like a great idea until you realize that a small group of so-called authors can produce vast amounts of nonsense books with massive page counts only to have their friends download them and then the “author” gets paid for the pages.

So, why do I care when I’m not abusing the system? Because these people are siphoning the funds that are supposed to go to legitimate authors who’ve written legitimate books. Where I once believed the KU program was a beautiful gateway bypassing the traditional publishers and their arrogance, I now see it as a means to get hucksters rich. I will stay in the program (of course) because I want my books available to the masses; I just hope a better lending system with better safeguards will be implemented before the KU author fund runs dry.

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