Oh, beHave!

I would apologize for the following rant, but I’m really aggravated. 

I am not trying to poke a stick at a hornets nest.

Really, I’m not.

If you have self-published on Amazon’s KDP, you recently received a letter from the Amazon Book Team. For those who haven’t, you can read it here.

I am tired of this embarrassing public spat between businesses. In a time of social media, where we know if someone picks their nose and eats the boogers, has an ax to grind, hates liberals/conservatives/moderates (you pick), is religious or not, wants to cause a kerfluffle, OR hasn’t taken a dump in 4 days, there is a lot of information on the internet. Sometimes, it’s better to keep the fingers off the keyboard.

Love this image

Companies put out press releases that are presented as fact, when they are not. We see lies about diets, lifestyles, health, politics, and public shaming all given a platform. It is EXTREMELY difficult to sort through this mess. All it takes is for one person to take a fact out of context and blog/share/tweet (or whatever) their opinion and, VOILA!, we have a viral sensation that leads sheep to the slaughter.

okay, I need to think of puppies and rainbows and dragons…nope not there yet…almost…

And I’m back.

There is power in social media. The power itself is benign. The intent by which opinion is spattered upon the windshield of vehicles cruising at light-speed down the information highway is not always good. If our vision is restricted, how can we see things that are actual threats?

Amazon and Hachette Book Group’s public pissing contest is enough to leave a reader and author running to wash themselves off in bleach. I do not want their cooties. They’ve decided to put their dirty laundry on display. Each have used social media to ‘leak’ information, under the context of letting the readers and authors know the truth.

What Amazon and Hachette Book Group has done cannot be stuffed back behind closed conference room doors. We have established and not-so-established authors slinging ‘Amazon is right!’ or ‘Hachette is right!’  Seriously, it’s like being in a valley during elk mating season with the bugling cries of un-mated elk bull are echoing off the mountainsides. A sad and desperate attempt to lure a elk cow from an established harem (not going to happen).

We, the readers and the authors, are left with bad feelings and confusion.

As a self-published author, I chose to use the established distribution paths available to me via Amazon and Smashwords. My writing is found all formats. I did extensive research about costs for the self-publishing route and the more traditional route. BOTH, paths cost the author money (check out this timely post by Rachel Aaron). It is a very personal decision about what path an author takes.

I feel (strongly) that the reader is being screwed when it comes to e-books that cost over $9.99 (I feel even that is too high). When publishers feel they can charge the same as a trade-paperback for an e-book, my knickers become truly bunched.

Think about it, there is only space on the server that holds the inventory. Server space is infinitely cheaper than the traditional warehouse model. An e-book does not take up physical space, there for the basic costs of stocking and transportation for an e-book is not there. The rest of the costs are simply editing (which can be very expensive), cover art (quality not cheap), and formatting. Only editing and over art are comparable to hard copy costs.

Okay, I’m winding down and breathing.

My message to the business wunderkinds that felt this spat should be made public – YOU’RE FIRED! (whoo! felt good to channel the Donald)

Suck it up Amazon and Hachette. Time to act like adults and BEHAVE.

thus concludes this rant–for now.

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9 comments

  • Glad you got that off your chest.

    • Sometimes you just have too. 😉

      • I understand. 🙂

  • I’d been thinking of going the Smashwords/Amazon route. Maybe I’ll leave my novel where it is – on a USB stick – until they grow up. Risk is, I’ll be dead by then.

    • I’d still choose the path I’ve taken. It’s about getting your book out there and understanding the royalty models. Putting yor work out into the wild really does feel good.

      • I think it’s the need for relentless self-promotion that puts me off the most, but as you’ve pointed out, traditional publishing doesn’t help there either.

        • Once we decide. We can’t be shrinking violets. I’m not a fan of the tweeting and posting incessantly about my projects. I think the key is to let the world learn about who you are. As each project comes out, there is a plan for marketing. That plan should be a step beyond what is comfortable for you. Whether you query and get an agent and a book deal or go selfpub, the expectation is now that you put the time, effort, and money into marketing. I’ll be honest, it’s a lot of work. But I’ve met people that I truly enjoy. That’s a win for me. 🙂

  • I got this letter too. I do have an opinion on who’s right about the pricing model but seriously, Amazon, you don’t drag the kids into it when Mommy and Daddy are fighting …

    • Amen!

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