First – I must warn you: This is one of the longest posts I’ve ever written.
Whoa. I get an email from Amazon then BAM! My email inbox fills up with my author friends all looking to each other for advice.
For those not in the know: The letter from Amazon straight to it’s authors asks us to argue on their behalf. More specifically, to let Hatchett know how we feel about their behavior and then CC Amazon. **facepalm** This is exactly what Hatchett is doing.
We have a bunch of A-List Hatchett authors speaking out publicly on behalf of their publisher. . . a publisher that has been caught red-handed colluding with the other major publishing houses to keep eBook prices high. What? For Real? Yep – for real. To the tune of $166 Million in restitution. That’s right, what they did was so horrendous their penalty was in the amount of $166 MILLION. I can’t even wrap my head around that kinda dough.
And their authors sound like morons when they, themselves – the rich and famous – are defending Hatchett’s desire to keep the price of eBooks at $14.99 to $19.99. Let me educate you one damned minute…in most cases, these are as expensive or MORE expensive than print. And it costs roughly $5-7 (for a person like me, cheaper for a big house like Hatchett) to print an 80,000 word novel ….your average good sized novel. An eBook? Well, once it’s been edited, formatted and uploaded, the only cost is to Amazon. They must maintain the computing ability to store each and every eBook, distribute it and track sales for reporting to the authors, publishing houses etc. Then they have to be certain that their reporting is accurate and that monthly distributions are going out on time and are 100% accurate. So the cost…is all on Amazon’s shoulders and Amazon is the one saying the prices should be lower. How in the hell does this make sense to argue against?
So again, we have rich and/or famous people defending the need to charge you more for the eBook with relatively zero cost to produce (in comparison). To the person who isn’t rich and famous, they sound like idiots. They sound like pompous assholes and they sound like they’ve been given a poorly written script by their publisher to defend their illegal activity while smearing Amazon. I’m silently protesting by not buying any books by Hatchett ever again. If I miss out on a great novel…well too bad. I’ll live with it. There is a sea of great books to read I don’t need yours. Thank you very much.
Amazon has IMHO taken the high road until now. Now they’re reaching out to the little guy – those of us who don’t get the same exposure as the very people they’re fighting against and asking ME to fight THEIR battle? They’re asking me to contribute to crashing Hatchett’s email server! Why? Why would I do that?
Amazon didn’t offer me anything for being an author; to thank me for staying self-published. I don’t get a pre-order button, an Amazon representative, more exposure now that I have more books published with them. They just said – Do this. Well, I don’t like being told what to do. And now, I have a conundrum. Do I want to do it anyway? I mean, if all the authors are hopping on this bandwagon, painting their faces blue and gold screaming about freedom as we right off to battle atop our horses, do I want to be stuck in this battle?
Nope. Plain and simple Amazon. I appreciate how easy you make it for me to sell my books on your platform. I appreciate the fair 70/30 split you give me. I appreciate having an Amazon Author Page so that people who are interested can see ALL of the books I’ve written and learn more about me. But give me the same tools you give the big guys if you want me to fight them. Stop letting people serial return books. Give me a pre-order button. Put my book next to a Hatchett Book or Random House etc. Because we’re not on a level playing field. It’s difficult for us to get to the point to sell our books – to reach new fans. Your marketing goes to the very people who tried to bully you. Yeah – fight your own damned battle. You have the means, the staff and the money. I’m no one’s monkey. I’m not a puppet. I don’t like feeling obligated to contact anyone.
It’s not that I don’t appreciate your position – I completely and totally support what you’re trying to do. But…leave me out of it. I’m not making enough money at this to even pay a mortgage or car payment. I implore you, do not do what Hatchett is doing. Do not ask your authors who are already overworked and underpaid to fight for you – to speak for you. I don’t want to look as stupid as Hatchett’s authors do at this point in time.