Are Amazon’s published authors being shafted?

capture

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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Without Reviews Books Don’t Sell!

bookreviews

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 CĂ©leste 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 CĂ©leste’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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Cyber Bullying On GoodReads

It’s to be expected given that it is now wholly owned and controlled by Amazon, who allow cyber bullies to attack anyone and everyone who publishes books. A lot of rhetoric abounds from both sites about ridding themselves of the problem, and yet to date nothing positive has happened. While I’m all for freedom of speech, there are limits!

Cyber Bullying On GoodReads.

Creative writing courses are killing western literature, claims Nobel judge

I totally agree with what Horace says. How about you?

Creative writing courses are killing western literature, claims Nobel judge.

The Publishing Establishment’s Delusion | Just Publishing

Derek exposes the way the publishing establishment sees Indies

The Publishing Establishment’s Delusion | Just Publishing.

For Goodness Sake – Think Before You Act!!!

stupid-signs

I’ve said this all before on several occasions. But apparently you decided to keep on doing it anyway…

As writers, whether seasoned or a newcomer, explain to me why it is that you have totally swallowed the marketing ploy created by your publisher(s) that giving away hundreds, sometimes thousands, of copies of your books is somehow financially beneficial to you?

The only ones who benefit from your moment of completely misguided naivety, or should that be madness, is your publisher and one particularly evil, not to say tight, group of readers. I refer to those individuals who know that sooner or later you will become desperate enough (or should that be foolish enough) to decide that it is a good idea to give the product of all your hard work away for nothing! Think trolls, pedants, armchair critics and good old fashioned skinflints. Letting the first three get their hands on a free copy of your book gives them all the ammunition they need to tear apart your reputation as a writer even before you have established one! Just take a look at all of the one star reviews on sites like Amazon if you don’t believe me…

Before you join in with this idiocy, take a moment to think it through. There is absolutely nothing wrong with giving away a dozen copies of an eBook online, or a dozen signed paperback copies at a book fair, or in your local book shop just once. It makes total promotional sense. Number one, with the paperback, the cost of getting that many printed is negligable. Number two, despite what eBook publishers may say, the cost of producing an eBook is practically zero. If those who got their copy from you this way like what they read, they will soon spread the word.

The nasties usually don’t attend book fairs and bookshops…

Put your thinking caps on for a moment. If instead of being a writer you were a painter, or a sculpture, would you give your work away to get yourself noticed? No, of course you wouldn’t. So why do you think that you will become popular among readers if you give away hundreds or thousands of copies of your book(s)?

Once again I ask you to think before you act. While your eBook or paperback may be free to the readers for a promotional period between two to five days, your publisher still receives a financial reward simply by delivering the copy to the readers, while you get nothing.

Let’s face it people. You decided to get your book published. You spent many months slaving over it. In a lot of cases, you spent more money than you could afford at the time having it edited as well as getting the cover made. Giving away thousands of copies will not help you recoup your financial outlay. Only real sales do that. While you may believe that it is a good idea, take it from one who knows – it isn’t! Divide the total cost of your outlay by the retail price of the book. That will give you some idea of how many copies have to be sold before you begin to see any profit in the form of royalties.

If the loss of thousands of pounds/dollars etc in the form of royalties doesn’t bother you, I give up. You are a hopeless case. I’ve mentioned all of this in previous posts. So have many other seasoned writers. Yet, each day I come across more and more writers giving away precious copies of their book, hoping to be recognised, even though they know they are playing into the hands of the literary vultures waiting in the wings, hoping to feed on the next writer’s sheer desperation.

You know that it is totally ridiculous and yet you still do it. Why? For your own sakes, not to mention your dwindling bank accounts, cease and desist! You wrote the book. Therefore you are entitled to reap any financial reward derived by its sale.

 

Why Are Publishers Giving Away Bestselling Books for Free?

 

 

Why Are Publishers Giving Away Bestselling Books for Free?.

Why does any publisher do it? To shift books and expose books to a jaded reading public, and to increase their revenue. They certainly don’t do it to keep their writers happy!!!

There But For The Grace of God Go You

 

homeless_1836463cThe inch-high conical spikes, with pedestrians in the background

We may live in the twenty-first century, but for millions of us poverty is a daily reality. Here in the United Kingdom, we are appalled by the endless stories in the newspapers and on television about millions of people in other countries living in squalor, wondering where their next meal is coming from while our very own homeless are worrying about where they can find shelter and something to eat.

While England is one of the richest countries in the western world, we currently have one third of the population (eighteen million) living below the poverty line. Of that eighteen million, several hundred thousand people here are homeless. This makes no sense at all when you consider that currently there are over seven hundred thousand empty homes across the nation. It begs the simple question, why don’t we take care of our own poor and starving first, before sending millions of pounds of aid to other countries?

Answer – no politician gives a damn about what is happening on the streets of his/her own country. All the heartless bastards care about is pleasing their rich backers and looking good among their international peers! The age old divide between rich and poor is still with us. While the rich grow richer, the poor are increasingly put upon.

Instead of the government and local authorities doing the decent thing, they make things worse. In their obsessive drive to economise and cut back on public spending, all benefits which the poor by necessity are forced to rely upon are cut, making basic accomodation unaffordable for many. Which is why so many people are forced to sleep in doorways. Recently some local authorities and businesses showed their true colours by installing spikes (see photo above) to discourage rough sleepers. In several instances, thankfully their callous response was publically exposed, forcing companies like the UK’s major supermarket chain Tesco to remove the spikes from outside their buildings.

While wages, benefits and the state pension are not increasing, prices are. For many people these days, visiting their local food bank each day or week has taken over from spending in the supermarkets and high streets. In fact the number of food banks springing up across the UK is on the increase.

Believe me I know what it feels like to be on the recieving end of the State’s indifference. Due to no job being available to me back in the middle of the first decade of this new century, I had a major mental breakdown. Consequently I became homeless. With no immediate help available, out of necessity I was forced to sleep rough. Being written off by society at the ripe old age of fifty-three back then was a shock to the system. Even though I am now retired and housed, existing on a minimum state pension, paying the ever increasing bills or feeding myself is still a toss up.

No one reading this should feel smug. It happened to me. It can so easily happen to you. In this day and age, becoming homeless and poor is just a short step away for all of you if you lose your job. Just because you live in a rich western nation is no guarantee of financial security. By the same token, if our government can’t, or won’t, house the homeless, our politicians refusal to honour the referendum result to leave the EU should come as no surprise either!!

Has George Orwell’s nightmare vision finally become reality?

big-brother-1984

To my way of thinking George Orwell’s dystopian nightmare vision of society, ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’ is on the verge of becoming the norm.

Instead of his fictitious character ‘Big Brother’ being in charge, dictating what will happen, whether we like it or not each and every one of us are being controlled by ‘Big Business’ in its many forms, largely thanks to their sycophantic enforcers – our current crop of politicians, who make up the worst parliament since the English Civil War!!!

There was a time not too many decades ago when the business community looked after its lifelong workforce by rewarding their loyalty, often working in conjunction with the various Unions to improve the worker’s lot. No longer.

These days what passes for the union movement in many western nations is largely toothless.

At one time there used to be a marked difference between political party’s. Here in the UK, the Tories have always represented the conservative and business minded, while Labour unashamedly used to represent the ordinary working man and woman.

No longer…

Whether we like it or not, in the relentless pursuit of profit at all costs, many branches of big business, in particular the world’s stock markets and major banking groups, now control every aspect of our lives.

How much longer will the workforce put up with being treated abominably? In effect what we now have is capitalism gone mad! What’s the alternative? Is there one?

Here in the UK we currently have a system where to massage the unemployment figures and please the business community, our politicians have introduced a new concept in the labour market called Zero Hours.  It is an employment contract used here which while meeting the terms of the Employment Rights Act of 1996 by providing a written statement of the terms and conditions of employment, does not oblige the employer to provide work for the employee, nor does it oblige the employee necessarily to accept the work offered. Although given today’s climate, you would be a fool to turn it down.

The employee is expected to be on call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. He or she only ever receives minimum wages for the number of hours worked.

Zero-hour contracts may suit a tiny minority, but most people in the general working population, including those with mortgages to repay and a family to provide for, run the very real risk of zero money most weeks, thanks to the unpredictable hours and earnings. Is it any wonder that so many people now make use of food banks to feed themselves? I think not.

There is a very real possibility of the use of Zero Hours contracts becoming a tool to reprimand employees for any trifling reason. This raises the issue of how workers can adequately assert their employment rights or maintain decent employment relations.

More and more people are falling under this umbrella these days. While the reduction in unemployment figures may look good on paper, it does nothing for the average man or woman formerly laid off by their previous employer. In effect we have entered an era of slave labour.

Come the next election, I firmly believe that apart from the political headache of Scotland holding a vote to leave the United Kingdom, the current Tory led government will struggle to be re-elected. But what is the alternative to their ‘let them eat cake’ attitude? The Labour party is certainly no longer a viable alternative, being equally as bad as the Tories when it comes to sucking up to big business. That just leaves the Liberal Democrats. God help us all if they ever got into power!!

In my own case, as a pensioner I have to consider whether to feed myself or heat my home during the winter months, thanks to the exorbitant power bills I receive. If you are wondering, I choose to eat.

The time to end party politics once and for all is on the horizon…

Are we happy?

 Iain Duncan Smith MP. Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Iain Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

With all that has happened here in the UK recently since this coalition government took control I begin to ask myself the question – are we really in a recession, or are we being conned? I firmly believe that we being dragged back to a time when the average human being in this country was required to doff his cap or touch his forelock whenever an upper class twit entered the room? This is the twenty-first century Mr Prime Minister, not the nineteenth!

Our government has broken or gone back on every election promise it made concerning the elderly and the poor, when they clearly promised in their election manifesto to look after those self same people. Instead of instigating cost cutting measures within institutions like our National Health hospitals, which used to be the envy of the world for their caring attitude towards patients, you should be increasing the amount of money available for them. Is it any wonder that so many people are now dieing due to lack of care when the nursing staff are no longer dedicated professionals, but poorly trained agency employees, often without a working knowledge of the language, with a complete lack of compassion?

Not too long ago our completely out of touch Prime Minister wanted to spend a few million on a nationwide survey asking the populace whether or not we are happy – what was he thinking?

Students rioted over the proposed massive hike in tuition fees being proposed and who can blame them. If and when the new crop of students graduate, on average most will be saddled with a massive debt of approximately £40,000!

Regarding those among the population who are unemployed for various reasons; instead of making their existence even worse than it is at present, why not forcibly encourage the businesses of this land to create worthwhile, financially rewarding jobs instead of directing the unemployed to seek demeaning below minimum wage jobs, merely to make the government statistics on employment look good to the world at large.

Some people have even been forced to do work for zero pay to receive their Jobseekers Allowance as evidenced by the recent successful case brought against Iain Duncan Smith’s Department of Work and Pensions by a young woman brave enough to stand up to his bullying regime.

Our government is busy emasculating this nation’s vital armed services, while at the same time making promises of men and arms in various conflicts across the world. What use is a modern navy without a fully functional aircraft carrier complete with its fighter aircraft ready for action at a moment’s notice wherever it may be needed to help defend the realm? Plus, what use in an airforce without its jets and the bases to operate them from, or an army without adequate up to date weaponry and body armour?

Plus, think of the thousands of people and their families whose livelihoods depend on those armed forces bases and the personnel running them, who, if this insanity is allowed to become law, will join the swelling ranks of the unemployed.

The answer to your question about the nation’s happiness Mr Prime Minister, no we are not happy when your target the elderly, or those who through no fault of their own are disabled plus the ever swelling ranks of the poor. Nor are we happy that you seem determined to place our country’s defences in a precarious state while kowtowing to the very people who caused all of the financial problems in the first place – the greedy investment bankers!

I am now firmly of the opinion that here in the UK the inmates are running the asylum…