Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Thoughts as a Self-Published Author on Amazon's Latest Marketing Strategy

I am now part of that massive book give away known as kindle unlimited. Yes, if you are on Amazon's subscription model, you can read Pen and Prejudice for free. So if you've been panting to read this book but just couldn't cough up the $1.50, you're home free for $9.99 month.

This is what happens when you self-publish through Amazon. You acknowledge that you know have no rights over your book. Which isn't a whole lot of different when you sign a publishing contract with a legacy publisher, however, the difference is that they won't give away your book for free. They actually want to make a profit off of you.

I am the first person to admit that the Amazon system is efficient and highly professional with no glitches. I am as pleased as punch with the end product. I've had people tell me that it looks like a book from a mainstream publisher, and I agree. It looks damn good. Okay, Amazon knows what it's doing. They've proven that over and over again. They are smart, fast on their feet, and they aren't afraid of technology; in fact, they embrace it. I can't say the same of the traditional publishing hierarchy.

Having said that, I'm truly perplexed at this new marketing strategy. Will this be the ultimate match to the gas-soaked rags that currently constitutes the publishing industry or it will be a gigantic stumble (Patricia Holt? Thoughts?)? What I do know is that all the people like me, who have published ebooks with them, are now part of this new distribution model, and that I am now writing for free. I might get a small bump on my traditional mysteries through Poisoned Pen (which is what happened when I debuted Pen and Prejudice), but I imagine this bump will be short-lived.

So what am I not getting? First of all, the point of publishing with Amazon direct's publishing arm is that you actually have an opportunity to make some money, assuming that traditional publishing gave your novel a pass. Which is what happened to me. I have a modest (VERY) following, and I thought, hey, people might buy the book if I put it up. I'll price it dirt cheap (I make like 25 cents on the ebook and something like $1.00 on the paperback), and maybe I'll get some sales. I did get some sales. But now that I am part of the great unpaid masses, what is going to propel me to EVER publish with Amazon again, since it is obvious that they will be dumping all these self-published novels into the subscription queue? Assuming that none of the big publishers play ball with them, who is going to populate this subscription strategy if you can't make any money. They need content. Who is going to provide the content if it's free to the readers?

Not me.

I truly don't understand this. Why in the HELL would I publish with them again? I have a backlist so other sales are certainly possible, but what of those people who do not have a couple of books under their belts? And by that I mean books that publishers actually charge for. And that you as the author get a cut of.

Again, what part of this equation am I missing?