Bezos’ book graveyard

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Ever wondered how to remove a book from the reading public’s gaze? Simple. Publish it exclusively on Amazon!

The company’s CEO Jeff Bezos only cares about profit. When he realised he was losing money by paying royalties to each and every author who make their book available only through his company, he put a stop to the time-honoured practice.

From the readers point of view Amazon’s all you can read for X dollars/pounds per month makes sense. The problem is that because of the way it is set up, the author gets next to nothing. Why? Because no copy of the book is actually bought, only ever borrowed and read. All the author receives is less than $0.0003 of a cent per page read!

Even if you are foolish enough to spend money in an attempt to promote your book. If it is only on Amazon, after a few days it will disappear anyway alongside the millions of others in Bezos’ graveyard for books, thanks to one of Amazon’s algorithms, specifically designed to bury your book. Of course something else may account for its disappearance from the top one hundred. It simply may not appeal to the general reader. Even so, the way Amazon’s book division is set up is not conducive to long term book sales, particularly where Indie books are concerned.

You would think that a man whose net worth currently stands at US$116.8 Billion would appreciate how his author’s feel. He doesn’t. All he cares about is increasing his fortune! Since he changed the rules in his favour, is it any wonder that so many people have stopped buying a copy of any book on his lists. Instead they wait until an author realises that sales of their book(s) have ground to a halt and foolishly decide to offer it for free, using KDP’s up to five-day giveaway program, once every ninety days.

Bezos completely destroys the myth that a publisher cares for his authors, and by all accounts he isn’t exactly enamoured with his warehouse staff worldwide either. The UK ones are paid as low as £6.65 per hour.

If anyone reading this still thinks he is a good guy, take a look at his Prime Video streaming system. Currently it’s costing UK residents £7.99 per month. Then on top of that there is the cost of hiring or buying a copy of any of the films on the site. Compare that to Netflix’s £7.49 per month with no additional costs involved.

I rest my case…

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Are Amazon’s published authors being shafted?

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From their published author’s point of view the answer has to be yes!!!

While the realists among our ranks (myself included) know we will never gain fame and fortune despite our best efforts, when you become a published author you would be forgiven for thinking that once your book(s) has been accepted and published that you are entitled to receive royalties for each copy of your book sold.

That used to be the case with Amazon until they decided to change the rules to save themselves having to honour their side of the agreement in favour of the far cheaper alternative from their point of view – Kindle Edition Normalized Pages!

While the idea of being able to read as many books as you can each month for very little outlay (Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited) may appeal to the avid reader, do any of them for one moment bother to ask themselves whether or not the authors of those books are being provided with royalties for each copy of their book(s) sold by Amazon? I seriously doubt it!

While its true that we do receive a pittance in the form of a few cents for every page read, we do not receive royalties for books sold under the Kindle Unlimited program! In essence what we are subjected to thanks to our books being advertised in Kindle Unlimited is nothing short of blatant exploitation by Amazon!

While we all reluctantly give away a few free copies while promoting a work, regarding it as a necessary evil, what Amazon is doing is outrageous! In essence they deliberately abandoned paying royalties to each author in favour of KU and their cheap skate pay per page read scheme. Did it increase the number of copies bought? No! Nor does the giving away of hundreds of copies in a free promotion, despite what some pro Amazon pundits may say!

As a published author I will never ever obtain a copy of anyone’s book using KU. To do so would be to deprive my fellow published authors of the monetary acknowledgement for their literary endeavours – in other words, their royalty payment. As readers I strongly urge you to consider doing the right thing as well. Buy your copy!

I know there are many tight-fisted individuals who would argue that by getting books using KU they save money, and that in effect they are buying their copy.They could not be more in error if they tried! So the next time you chose a book to read consider paying for it.

DO NOT HIT THE BIG YELLOW ‘READ FOR £0.00’ BUTTON!!!

Before you ask – yes I do have some free copies of ebooks. In total they number less than eight, each one sent to me by their author as a complimentary copy…

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Where to find the worst films and TV programmes in the UK at the moment!

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That’s right, its Amazon Prime UK!

Like millions of others I pay an exorbitant subscription of £79 p.a. to watch any film or television series I choose on Prime, preferring it to terrestrial TV which is nothing but repeats.

The trouble is that the vast majority of what is currently on offer is complete rubbish, geared to the US! For instance, just try finding classic war films like The Battle of Britain or The Battle of the Bulge. I can’t even hire them as Amazon don’t have either of them readily available, and yet they had A Bridge Too Far and The Longest Day! How’s that for inconsistency?

When it comes to some of my favourite films like the Alien franchise, you can’t watch them on Prime either. Why? Because Amazon only offer them for sale or hire, which defeats the whole purpose of my paying the annual subscription in the first place . I’m damned if I’m going to pay even more!

While you are at liberty to watch any amount of American Prime Time television series, suitable for the mentally challenged, along with Hollywood’s ‘D’ grade movies, when it comes to quality UK made films and television series – forget it! Why is that I wonder Amazon UK?

Bah Humbug!!!

Whether By Accident Or Design, Amazon Has Become A Literary Gatekeeper.

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“Hearken to my words writers of the world. Know that once your book passes through these portals, it shall never see the light of day again unless hell freezes over first, or a miracle occurs!”

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Call me a pessimist if you must, but after over two decades of writing and publishing, I’m forced to the inevitable conclusion that despite self-publishing and print on demand still being the way to go these days, it is also the quickest way for your book(s) to rapidly disappear from the public’s attention, due to the sheer number of titles on Amazon since it became the major player in the self-publishing game.

Unless you are extremely lucky, no matter how well written and edited it may be, no matter how spectacular the cover, or for that matter, the amount of time, effort and money spent on marketing it, within a few short days after launching your book on Amazon, its destined to join the slush pile of over five million others as more and more titles appear each day, nudging your work farther down the list.

What is the alternative? Indeed is there one, given that these days even glowing reviews are no guarantee of keeping any book in the public eye for very long. First of all, don’t give up. Carry on writing. But don’t expect to be read by anyone other than your nearest and dearest if you decide to publish on Amazon in the accepted sense of the word.

My anthology of Goblin Tales is a classic case in point. More people have read the tales since I began posting them here on my blog during the last few weeks in an attempt to keep them in the public eye, than have actually bought a copy for themselves from Amazon to read at their leisure, during the entire time the anthology has been available for purchase.

This realisation, epiphany, call it what you will, gave me an idea. Why not try what Charles Dickens did back in eighteen thirty-six, even though, unlike him, I’m up against literally millions of other writers?

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The whole publishing ethos has changed so much in the last few years since self-publishing and print on demand became a reality. Everywhere you look there are people only to willing to creat covers, promote your book, review it, edit it, even format your manuscript, all for a fee of course. Therefore the cold hard reality is that they are the only ones who benefit in any way shape or form from the product of all of your hard work.

Yes but it’s what you have to do to bring it to the attention of the reading public – right? That and hawking paperback and hard cover copies of it around all your local book fairs, conventions, book shops and libraries.

Are you sure about that?

I’ll tell you what I think the problem is. It’s a modern-day catch-22 situation. Don’t publish and no one will read it. Publish on Amazon, and still no one will read it because it is one of over five million titles. Ask yourself how many people you know who actually bother to look beyond the top one hundred recommended books these days? Practically none!

What is the ultimate goal for any writer? Surely it’s to be read…

That’s true, but when your book winds up in Amazon’s slush pile within a few days of it being released, no amount of money spent, or marketing will bring it to the attention of the jaded reading public, despite what the many pundits out there with a vested interest in making money from your book may say.

Not too long ago before the sheer number of books in Amazon’s title list got totally ridiculous, the big five traditional publishing houses relied on one star reviews for any book appearing on Amazon to turn people off self-published titles. These days there is no longer any further need for this less than acceptable practice to continue, thanks to Amazon’s open door policy and its slush pile. Conventional publishing houses do not hoard titles like Amazon does. If a book isn’t selling, all unsold copies get pulped. As a self-published author you can’t even remove one of your own titles, because Amazon insists that it must stay on your Author page, just in case someone might want to return it years down the line. Highly unlikely I would have thought, wouldn’t you?

Whether we as writer’s like it or not, if we don’t want our book(s) to be read, all we have to do now is self-publish on Amazon or Smashwords. To that end, both Derek Haines and myself are seriously contemplating the unimaginable – no more self-publishing of our books.

I can’t speak for what Derek’s solution to the problem may be. Or even if we both change our minds, and simply carry on. But in the meantime I’m now seriously considering doing what Dickens did back in the nineteenth century when he serialized his first work – Pickwick Papers, to raise awareness of his writing. In my case taking a leaf out of Lucy Brazier’s book by publishing each chapter here on my blog.

At least that way any further books by yours truly won’t get buried and forgotten about before anyone has had the chance to read them. Plus by adding the post(s) as I produce them to Twitter, Google+, Pinterest etc, and the many writer’s groups on Facebook, that’s a whole lot of potential readers (especially on Twitter) for each episode, always providing they feel inclined to actually read them and not just ‘like’ them. Even what I’m proposing is no guarantee that anyone will want to avail themselves of my books. But then again, doing nothing is not an option either.

All I’m asking you to consider is to seriously think about what I’ve said before you rush to publish the product of all your hard work. Meanwhile I’ll continue on with my promise to Adele, Kate and a few others to rework and reformat Goblin Tales for its 3rd edition, this time as a paperback…

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Without Reviews Books Don’t Sell!

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I’ll say it again – without reviews, books don’t sell!

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Sunday last I posted about a perfectly good, balanced review for my latest science fiction romance Céleste that Amazon refused to allow because its author and I know each other. Since then, thanks to Derek Haines telling me how, it now appears as an Editorial Review on Céleste’s page on Amazon.com.

It’s bad enough that many people today don’t want to read a book. But for those that do, the number who take the time to acknowledge the book they have read by posting a genuine review are rarer than hen’s teeth. It doesn’t help matters when Amazon deliberately remove reviews willy-nilly, under the pretence of doing away with fake ones, while at the same time bending their own rules, when they openly offer professional reviews for a price. So how can they possibly justify their actions while removing reviews written by perfectly ordinary readers who bought and enjoyed any given book? The mind simply boggles at what can only be described as Amazon’s blatantly obvious double standards where reviews are concerned.

We writers are always telling you that reviews sell books. It’s a great pity that Amazon fails to appreciate that simple fact. After all, if a book doesn’t sell, they earn nothing, as does the author who did all the hard work in the first place…

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February 15th is the date for Céleste’s public release

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With just four days to go before Céleste is released to the general public, you now have just three more days to pre-order your copy.

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“Falling in love is always complicated especially for a disembodied artificial intelligence like Céleste, aboard the exploratory spaceship Apkallu. For her to be able to physically express her love for the man who means so much to her will be impossible to achieve, or will it?”

Find out what happens for yourselves when you read my science fiction romance – Céleste

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Eason’s best work yet, his new book Céleste combines romance and science fiction in a story that has a twist on every page – Nicholas Rossis

Romance beyond the stars abounds in this sensuous sci-fi, entwined with mission, morals and lust. Eason takes us to a place where human desire dwells in mankind and aliens alike, no matter how many light years away – D.G. Kaye

Jack Eason never rests. When he is not knee deep in archaeology, or wandering around forests in elf fables, he is busy combining sci-fi with a little added romantic spice – Derek Haines

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Here are the Amazon worldwide listings for Céleste. Just click the one relevant to you to be able to purchase your copy:

USA

UK

Germany

France

Spain

Italy

Netherlands

Japan

Brazil

Canada

Mexico

Australia

India

PS – Don’t forget to review it…

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It’s Pre-Order Time!!!

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 It’s pre-order time!

Until the 14th of this month you can pre-order a copy of Céleste for yourselves. The general public will have to wait until the 15th for it to be released. If you click on her highlighted name or the picture, you can pre-order you copy on Amazon .com right now. To pre-order your copy via Amazon.co.uk – click Here.

From now on it’s entirely in your hands!!!

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The one and only chance anyone had to get themselves a free copy of my latest scifi novella The Guardian, is at an end. As I mentioned in the previous post read hereat the end of its promotional period I said I would give the story its final edit. Well I did. Yesterday (Monday) I uploaded the totally error free version to Smashwords, Creatspace and KDP, prior to it coming online at full price.

How do I know it’s error free? Trust me, if it contained so much as a single error Smashwords would have immediately rejected it. When it comes to quality control they are extremely particular, more so than Creatspace or KDP even know how to be!

To buy your eBook copy in the format of your choice on Smashwords click here

To buy your Kindle or paperback copy at Amazon.com  click here

To buy your Kindle or paperback copy at Amazon.co.uk click here

With so many new books coming out daily, it came as no surprise to me whatsoever how few free copies were actually downloaded. The days of a free copy of any book in a promotion being taken up in its hundreds or even the low thousands are well and truly over thank goodness. In The Guardian’s case, over the five day period one hundred and five free Kindle copies were taken. If you are interested in sales statistics, here is its final rating at the end of the promo.

Amazon.com rating:

#27 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Erotica > Science Fiction

#1517 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction

Amazon.co.uk rating:
#7,003 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)

#21 in Kindle Store > Books > Literature & Fiction > Erotica > Science Fiction

In Amazon.com’s case the best it placed was nineteenth in the top one hundred free list. In Amazon.co.uk’s case it achieved even better at sixteenth.

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Well that’s it. I can do no more, except to continue advertising it on numerous social media sites, and here on my blog from time to time. Now its fate is in your hands. You need to read and review it. If you don’t, it will wind up among the millions of unread books out there. Even if science fiction, or in this case – erotic science fiction, isn’t necessarily your bag, the very least you can do is to help spread the word by reblogging this post, and by uploading the above links on your Facebook page and Twitter feed as well as any other’s you may contribute too. Plus, don’t forget to recommend it to a friend.

PS – If you do decide to follow Chris-The Story Reading Ape’s example (thanks Chris, much appreciated) by writing a review, please make sure that you post it separately on the Amazon site for your country as well as Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, both on the Kindle and paperback versions. Why? Because any review posted on Amazon.com does not automatically get added to the Amazon site you purchased your Kindle or paperback copy from in your respective countries, and vice versa. While you are at it, don’t forget to add your review on Smashwords (click on the link above) as well pretty please.

PPS – now its high time this writer took a much needed rest until next year.

Thanks

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Contributing Writers Beware!!!

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If you deal exclusively with Amazon as I have done up until now, you will be all too aware that since they introduced Kindle Unlimited and the subscription service, that royalties previously earned from the sale of books enrolled in Kindle Select began to dramatically reduce. Now thanks to the addition, on July 1st, of the Kindle Edition Normalized Pages (KENP) Read System within KU, the value of royalties paid by Amazon has got to the point where it’s now reduced to nothing more than chump change.

To give you an example, one of my titles The Seventh Age, which initially was a best seller back in 2012, (slightly over 250,000 copies) shows that so far a mere 588 pages have been read since the 1st. That is equal to approximately four actual copies of the eBook, give or take a few pages. Sounds good right? Wrong!

All the page read system has generated so far in royalties for the above book is a paltry US$2.10 before tax. I ask you, is that any way to treat hard working writers? I think not!!! Let’s face it, receiving 0.0357142857 per page read is a gross insult, not to mention the fact that for this system to work, it requires that readers be spied on? I wonder how would you react if you knew that yourr Kindle is being monitored? Plus how would you feel if you knew that the eBook you paid for, doesn’t actually belong to you? Does Amazon care about any of this? Of course not. The only thing they’re interested in is how much profit they can make from each eBook. If anyone thinks this new payment system is fair, they’re kidding themselves.

“But surely this is a case of greedy writers receiving another royalty payment for a book already bought,” I hear you cry. No, It replaces conventional royalties. They don’t appear as normal sales on KDP. It’s  part and parcel of the subscription service. You know the one – all you can read for X dollars per month. Amazon have dropped royalty payments for any book within Select and KU altogether, in favour of the new ‘pay per page read’ system, thereby consigning traditional royalty payments to the garbage bin.

If it’s allowed to continue, the only ones who will benefit from this ludicrous situation apart from Amazon itself, are the handful of contributing Indie authors to Amazon whose books sell in the millions. For the vast majority, (myself included) we all lose out big time if we continue to enroll a book in Kindle Select. Think about it!

Normally a copy of the particular book in question will cost the reader US$2.99, which creates a 70% royalty payment before tax, whether in or out of Kindle Select. So to continue receiving the same amount, I have been forced to remove all of my titles from Kindle Select, simply because there is no other way to remove a title from the KU element hidden within it with its dreaded pay by page read system. Which means that I won’t receive any royalty payments from normal sales for at least another 90 days. That’s when the current Kindle Select period covering my books ends.

Yes sales of all my books will undoubtedly slow. But at least I’ll be back to collecting standard royalties from each sale, no matter how few or far between. Putting up with Amazon’s exclusivity clause is one thing. But this time they have really shown how little they care about their contributing Indie writers. The fact is that to Amazon, we’re nothing more than cash cows to be ruthlessly exploited!

Fortunately or unfortunately depending on your point of view, so far Amazon has only applied their latest way to reduce the amount of money paid out in royalties to eBooks. But give them time. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if they’re trying to find a method of reducing royalties paid for paperbacks published via KDP. Unlike your Kindle reader or app, they can’t monitor how many pages are being read in a physical book.

While our readers won’t necessarily give a damn so long as they get to read our books, as the authors of those books, we must. Surely the time has come for all of us to consider changing publishers if we wish to continue in the world of words! Easier said than done. For my part, I’m fortunate that I don’t depend on royalties to pay the bills. Many do…

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Now, take the time to read what Mark Coker from Smashwords and my fellow Indie, Derek Haines, has to say on the subject of this underhand move by Amazon to make more money at the expense of its contributing Indie writers. Don’t forget to read the numerous comments while your at it.

It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Mark finds that he gets more and more disgruntled authors knocking on his door in the immediate future when they see how little they are being paid by Amazon.

http://blog.smashwords.com/2014/12/is-kindle-unlimited-devaluing-books.html

http://www.derekhaines.ch/justpublishing/an-open-letter-to-jeff-bezos-pay-all-authors-fairly/

Beware – Idiotic Marketing Ideas Are Here!

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A Typical English High Street

Yesterday morning I took delivery of an electric air-pump, which I need to inflate my new airbed. Now all I’m waiting for are those highly idiotic ‘please rate the product’ emails from Amazon UK. While they will expect me to rave on like a two bob watch about both products, I think on this occasion I’ll refrain. Hell’s teeth, we’re only talking about a blow up mattress and an electric air-pump, nothing special.

I hate to tell you this Amazon, but we’re a nation that still likes shopping in small family run businesses in our high streets where you get friendly courteous service. Yes there is a place for large concerns like yours where we can buy almost anything we care to name. Undoutedly the prices will be cheaper than any high street shop, but what we don’t need is all the hype and BS that goes with buying anything from you.

There is another thing which has crept in from across the pond, the sheer lunacy of sales days like Black Friday where total idiots with money to burn literally battle with one another, often violently, over products, and Cyber Monday when the emphasis is on equally insane online buying of those self same products.

I honestly don’t know how any of you feel about sales days like these, but when US based companies think that what works back home, will not only become accepted practice, but also be welcomed with open arms by the vast majority of the population of other lands, I’m sorry Amazon etal, but while the young may see nothing wrong with American sales tactics being employed more and more these days, the older generations, which is by far the majority here in the UK, usually steer well clear, preferring the peace and quiet of small shops.

Why an airbed? Two reasons. First of all because as a pensioner on a low income I can’t afford to buy a new soft mattress, necessary for a comfortable night’s sleep. Secondly, my back and other places, one of which I sit on, is now covered in various types of skin cancer, a legacy of spending forty-two years exposed to direct UV radiation from the Sun within the hole in the ozone layer down south in New Zealand. As for the ones on my back, which despite being benign are never the less painful, especially if I lay on my back at some point during the night, the doctors will only treat them if I submit to the knife once more. Or allow them to use focused radiation to fix the problem.

Will I let them near me ever again? Hell no. My previous experience with the local mob of medical specialists, was to say the least, far worse than putting up with the damned cancers. And another thing, it was radiation that caused the problem in the first place. I don’t need the side effects of any other form of radiation to add to my woes, thank you very much. Some people’s bodies are covered in freckles. In my case its skin cancer.

Rant almost over. What do I really think about rating anything? What do you think?

Bah Humbug!

PS – I can honestly say that I had the best night’s sleep I’ve had in years last night, even if the airbed tended to crackle when I turned over, and I sank into it. Why on Earth didn’t I buy one much earlier? LOL

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