02 July, 2015

Self-Publish Battles On

Recently, we've been hearing more horror stories about changes to self-published works that are submitted/uploaded to Amazon for their Kindle.

The latest issue is attached to their Unlimited program, where they've taken it upon themselves to pay the AUTHOR based on the number of pages read.

Under the new payment method, the amount an author earns will be determined by their share of total pages read instead of their share of total qualified borrows.

The author of a 200 page book that was borrowed 100 times but only read halfway through on average would earn $1,000 ($10 million multiplied by 10,000 pages for this author divided by 100,000,000 total pages).
We will similarly change the way we pay KDP Select All-Star bonuses which will be awarded to authors and titles based on total KU and KOLL pages read.

Not being a member of this Unlimited program, I might not have a right to voice an opinion on the topic, but these types of issues usually include a trickle-down effect that will likely affect me at some point.

The only pro I can see here is that the author will get a better idea about their readership and the amount of interest in any, one novel they upload to the Kindle.

Which means those who choose to enroll in this Unlimited program take their chances.

I'm at a loss as to the words 'borrow' and 'pay' as well. Borrow, to me, is equivalent to library lending, which is free, so . . .

The second issue appeared on my FB feed this morning. A blog post by someone who read a novel and wrote a review, but Amazon refused to post said review because they claim the reader is 'related to' the author when they are not.

Is it Amazon's business or right to make such a judgment call?

Just last week, after the Supreme Court decision to legalize Gay Marriage across the board, hundreds of thousands of FB folk hopped on the Rainbow Flag bandwagon and had it embossed over their profile pic.

Days later, we find out that FB used that app to perform more algorithms and glean still more private information about its users.

I had my own profile pic made with the help of a friend, and I used the Lithuanian flag as a symbol of my heritage.

Personally, I want my rainbow back!

I don't mind that the LGBT community use it to fight their causes, but I am miffed about the fact that now, regardless of gender interest, any form of rainbow use equates to being gay.

As a society, we have always tended toward following the leader, hopping on bandwagons, and tooting not our own horns but the loudest ones handed to us by someone else.

As social media worshipers, that bad habit spirals out of control at an all-too-frequent and no-longer-alarming rate.

Norway lemmings in Migration

I fancy myself as being the bird in flight swooping down for an afternoon snack rather than one of the thousands of mindless lemmings that do whatever a majority (or few) of the others do.

So, getting back to the issue with Amazon and their new policy . . . I think it stinks.

I think we've allowed ourselves to be manipulated, led by the nose, and hoodwinked enough now, don't you?

Why had it never occurred to the big brass at Amazon to include # of pages actually read as a part of the ratings system to begin with? And, not as a public bit of information, but exclusive to us authors as a help and not another hindrance toward our goal of being successful in the publishing business.

It can't be that they need the money and more that they are of the hording mentality just like any other conglomerate in this day and age. The pennies we earn to survive equate to billions for them, which then equates to their wanting more and more while offering their supporters less and less.

My suggestion is, if you are of the opinion that Amazon is getting too big for its own britches and wants to take you down for being a supporter, that you upload your work at Kobo, LuLu, Smashwords, or BN.

Smashwords heaps them all together for you in one fell swoop, even circulating to Public Libraries if you wish, which is cool. So does LuLu.

I'm new to Kobo, and it is Candian-based, but that doesn't matter.

And, I'll continue to use Amazon until they pull their funny business on me, at which time I'll pull right out and head elsewhere.

Oh, and one last thing . . . about that article where the reader was denied an ability to review? It might be a good idea to go back into your 'friends' and 'followers' lists and clean out the algorithm data.

Goodreads is attached to Amazon in that review department, so if you are friends with an author there, it means Amazon thinks you're trying to pull a fast one in the good review department because you're that guy's momma and not a legit reviewer.

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