So you can read my books

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I SENSE A DISTURBANCE IN THE FORCE_Storm Clouds for Indie eBooks in 2013

Anne R. Allen has written an excellent post on those storm clouds:

As in the movie, INCEPTION, what we have been told is not necessarily so ...

Yes, it is.

Take FACEBOOK ... but not at face value ... not anymore.

1.) Promoting your work on Facebook.

Facebook is still "free" for family and friends, but now you have to pay to use it for marketing. Meghan Ward talked in her post this week about "Promoted Posts", which Facebook launched in May of this year.

"For $5 $10, or $15, Facebook will make your post more visible within your followers’ news feeds.

If you don’t promote your post, only a fraction of your followers will ever see it."

Facebook's changes mean that only about 16% of all your followers now see your regular posts.

If you want more people to see them, you have to pay around $50. Even for fuzzy cat photos and funny family antedotes.

2.) Remember John Locke?

Garnering lots of of Amazon reviews was his great secret to success:

 His "how I made millions" book claimed this was due to his expertise in targeting the right reader.

But it turns out his expertise was actually in buying fake reviews.

The paid review and sock-puppet review scandals that rocked Amazon this summer after revelations by Locke--and an embarrassing number of others--have resulted in a draconian crackdown on all Amazon reviews.

The L.A. Times reports that many authors have found their reviews disappearing.

Some popular legitimate reviewers have had all their reviews (of indies and trad-pubbed books alike) deleted with no explanation.

And authors who question the arbitrary removals are told they'll be banned from selling on Amazon forever if they dare to question any action by the Great Zon.

Even Amazon advocate Joe Konrath thinks they've gone over to the dark side with this.

3.) The Dark Hand of the Dreaded Zon is reaching out ...

Amazon now bans authors from reviewing other authors' books in their own genre!

  They claim this is because their TOS guidelines ban reviewing by a "competitor," and this protects against attacks on rivals by sock puppets.

 But they delete positive and negative reviews alike. And not only from authors in their own genre.

 Some people have been told all published authors have been banned from reviewing. I have not found this out for my own few reviews

They are also deleting reviews by anybody with a name similar to the author.  Poor Dan Brown!

4.) May The Odds Ever Be NOT In Your Favor:

Selling mass quantities of 99 cent ebooks used to be the path to become a bestseller on Amazon.

BUT…not anymore!!!

Due to the agency pricing/cost-fixing schemes and the resulting Department of Justice settlement with a few of The Big Six Publishers –

with several more holding out for litigation, many Big Six/TradiPubs are lowering their prices to between 99 Cents and $3.99.

Also…and this is HUGE

Amazon’s algorithms have definitely changed to favor the TradiPub books at these lower prices."

There was also a change in the Amazon algorithms last May that give a 99 cent book sale less "weight" in sales rankings.

To be counted as a full "sale" a book has to sell for $2.99 or more.

5.) Getting featured on Kindle Nation Daily, E-Reader News Today, Pixel of Ink or other sites for e-book readers used to soar your sales.

Recently the big sites for ebook promos announced they will be severely restricting the number of free books they list, due to a firm request from Amazon.

6.) Publishing is a business ... an evolving, drowning business.

Hug your cat for the warm fuzzies. Watch your back with sharks.

a.) HarperCollins, moving to more ebooks, is closing one of its biggest warehouses, and seems set to gobble up Simon and Schuster.

b.) Simon and Schuster has launched a new scary-scammy self-publishing wing by teaming up with the vanity publisher Author Solutions.

c.) Yes, the Author Solutions which was recently acquired by Penguin, which was recently purchased by Random House.

d.) And Random House is launching several new digital-only imprints.

e.) Ditto HarperCollins' Avon imprint which is actually soliciting your NaNo novels. Surprised about that? So was Anne R. Allen.

f.) But with Amazon's success against the Big Six, it no longer needs the Indie's for its bottom line as it once did.

7.) As you've seen above ...
a lot of the most powerful marketing strategies of the "Kindle Millionaires" are no longer viable or possible even.

The self-publishing seas have changed while we weren't looking.

On ancient maps were often scrawled across the forbidding oceans: HERE BE MONSTERS.

Perhaps those same words now apply to 2013 for Indie eBook authors?

What do you think?

* {This work, Solitude, is in the public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author, Frederic Leighton, plus 100 years or less.}


  1. I read Anne's post on Sunday. Some of it is scary. But that means everyone has to expand their options and look for other ways to succeed.

  2. When too many people jump on, the boat tilts.

    Business is about the bottom line and entangling consumers. When too many people tell you how to 'use' the system, then the system is usually going to be revamped.

    This was a long and very informative post (I read Anne's R. Allen's post as well).

    Thanks for highlighting the info.

  3. Alex:
    I am basically the Wiley E. Coyote of self-publishing. I try to think of new ways to promote myself but only wind up with a headache!

    I just heard of this article today, so I wanted to share the highlights of it and give the link to get the rest of it.

    I figured if I hadn't heard of it and only found it by way of an odd Google Search, many of my friends might not have heard of it either.

    I am afraid that Amazon might do what Wal-Mart did in its beginning: crush its local competitors then up the price of its goods when it is a monopoly. Shivers.

  4. Craziness, it's just become absolute craziness.

  5. Heather:
    Hasn't it though? I took one look at John Locke's face on the cover of his HOW TO book and thought "Snake Oil Salesman." It was his eyes and the expression on his face. Sigh.

    Amazon needed Indie eBooks when it was tackling the Big 6. Now, when it has won its lawsuit, we are not needed as much, if at all.

    It is slightly unsettling, isn't it?

  6. I read the Anne Allen post before and the main thing that frustrated me about all the news was that Amazon is changing it's algorithms so it's playing nicer with traditional publishing. Not entirely fair, but it is a business, so I guess such a move is to be expected.

    The self-publishing lot of us will just have to become more creative to garner attention, and I still don't know exactly how to do that! I'm working on figuring something out, though. I do believe that a good, well-crafted story will hold its own against the changing tides, but it's getting it up on the top of the ocean that's the trick.

  7. Lara:
    Yes, changing its algorithms seems like rigging the game. But Big Business has done that from before the time of the Robber Barons.

    I could be the new Ray Bradbury and you the new JK Rowling, but if no one hears of us, our novels will wither.

    How do we get the internet world beyond author blogs to take notice of our works? Even SHADES OF GREY didn't catch on until it was in print.

    I know solutions are out there waiting to be found, but as I've said: I'm the Wiley E. Coyote of eBooks. :-(

  8. Hi Roland .. a great warning post - and thanks for pointing everything out so clearly ..

    .. I read 'Hug your cat for the warm fuzzies. Watch your book with the sharks' ... not quite the same, but definitely the same connotation ... had to laugh at myself ..

    It's an interesting world - everyone protecting their own interests as best they can and easier if you're at the top of the tree ...

    Cheers Hilary

  9. Thanks Roland for the information. It is a good reminder for me that I am writing because I love to write and the money making part is only a bonus. If I were to think otherwise, I would also have a severe headache.

  10. Hilary:
    We write from our hearts so it is sometimes easy to forget the publishing business is a business first and foremost -- so watching your back with the sharks who think only of the largest profit margins is a must if we are to survive the cold ocean of business.

    Thanks so much for visiting and staying to talk awhile. :-)

    I love to write. It lifts me as nothing else can. Still, my dream is to be self-supporting as a writer. From the storm approaching me and my fellow Indie authors, it would seem it will stay a dream. There are much worse fates.

    May your Holiday season be a really great one -- and no headaches! :-)