Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Amazon and Self Publishing


So you want to self-publish with the hopes of quitting your day job, or maybe you like the idea of seeing your book in print, but mostly you like the convenience of publishing on Amazon. Not every writer is happy with Amazon, and if you follow the news, that probably doesn't come as a shock. Now, authors are upset with Amazon because of their program Kindle Unlimited.  

What is Kindle Unlimited? It is a program that offers readers a chance to read over 700,000 titles for a nominal fee of $9.99 a month.

This is a great idea if you want your story being read, but not a good idea if you depend on the commissions from your book sales.

As an artist you want your voice heard and your work reviewed by the biggest audience, and that is one of the benefits of self-publishing on Amazon. It is the age old question about what is more important to the artist? Is it the money or the creation that has the greatest value? Just because it has value to the creator, does it carry any value to the reader that pays for the book? Amazon readers might expect the best deal, and there lies the conflict with art in a consumer world.

As a business person an author values their work and desires the appropriate compensation for their work, and Amazon offers writers a big chunk of the profits. It isn't easy to self-publish and make a profit, but at this point in the game Amazon is the best place for an author to make a profit and do it with minimal risk.

Yes, an author could use the traditional route to get their work in front of readers, but that doesn't that always mean the author controls the finished product or how that finished product makes it to the hands of the readers.

Is this a good business idea for Amazon? This model hasn't seemed to hurt the movie industry, because Netflix hasn't meant the end of video sales. It just gives people the convenience of watching lots of movies and televisions without the cost of cable or cost of purchasing DVDs they might not want to own. 

The author doesn't need to stay in the program or even sign up for the program, but a self-published author that depends on the income generated from book sales might panic when income drops.

It might be too soon to say that Kindle Unlimited is a bad idea, but right now some authors are upset with lost income created by the system. Amazon might respond to author concerns, but at this moment they are trying something they hope works.

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