Home » Amazon, Smashwords » “Amazon Is Playing Indie Authors Like Pawns,” says Smashwords founder, Mark Coker

“Amazon Is Playing Indie Authors Like Pawns,” says Smashwords founder, Mark Coker

22 October 2012

From Smashwords CEO Mark Coker via How to Successfully Self-Publish:

Every indie should get their books distributed to as many retailers as possible. Every author should be at Amazon, but they should avoid the temptation to enroll in the KDP Select program because of its exclusivity requirements.

From a global market share perspective (and this is a global market!), Amazon’s share is declining over the last few years. Authors who go exclusive – even if only for three months at a time – are harming their ability to capture this global growth.

The other retailers are rising in importance. Keep an eye on the Apple iBookstore (already in 32 countries), Barnes & Noble (rumored to be going global soon) and Kobo (has always had a global focus).

Smashwords-distributed authors have seen impressive growth at these three retailers over the last 12 months, especially at Apple. Apple’s the dark horse in this race, and probably the biggest single threat to Amazon’s dominance.

Amazon is playing indie authors like pawns in its greater battle to harm other ebook retailers by getting authors to make their books exclusive to Amazon. Unlike Amazon, Apple doesn’t attempt exclusivity, and doesn’t do draconian price matching. Amazon’s the only retailer that threatens its authors with account termination if they don’t obey Amazon’s strict price-parity requirements.

. . . .

If KDP Select dropped the exclusivity requirement, I’d be a big supporter of the program.

Link to the rest at How to Successfully Self-Publish and thanks to Dan for the tip.

Amazon, Smashwords

81 Comments to ““Amazon Is Playing Indie Authors Like Pawns,” says Smashwords founder, Mark Coker”

  1. I’d really like to see this emphasis shift from blaming the authors to exhorting the other retailers to *step up their game* – I mean, really.

    There’s a REASON people are still opting into Select/KOLL. No other retailer provides the tools for visibility and discoverability that Amazon does. Rather than imploring authors to resist, how about the other retailers get their acts together and start offering something of value to indie authors? Stop treating us like an afterthought or red-headed stepchild. Kobo free titles are invisible and authors can’t even track the number of downloads. Apple has arcane requirements (although some authors have managed to crack that nut). And we all know about B&N…

    No, I have never opted in to Select, but I can see the appeal.

    • Anthea, I totally agree with you but I also agree with Coker, too. Authors should use as many retailers as they can to distribute their books but in return those retailers should make it easier for authors to do this. That includes a more user friendly interface and promotion tools. The very things that Amazon offers. Maybe in the future, Smashwords will pick up on this.

    • Zingo, Anthea.

    • I know I’m repeating myself but as much as I’d prefer to make my books available via all outlets it simply does not make financial sense for me. I’ve tried all outlets and the one constant was invisibility. I am not invisible on Amazon.

      If my books had sold via Smashwords (a single book in six months) and Nook (12 books in six months) I would never have signed with KDP Select.

      Seriously – it’s all about visibility and the Benjamins. And that’s that.

      • You should have waited longer. You don’t see the momentum until AFTER the six month window. I quit looking at 6 months, and three months later, I had over $50 accrued. Another month or two and had my $75+ payout. Within the next quarter, I had already made over $80. It takes longer to get steam on Smashwords because it’s a distributor to retailers instead of a retailer itself. Your books get pushed instead of going instantly live.

        • Forgot to mention, I had earned a whopping $10 for the entire 6 month window.

        • That doesn’t work for everybody. My momentum died and never picked up again. I finally went to Amazon where I’m making fairly steady sales. I was a huge supporter of Smashwords to start with, and I know it still works for some people. But I’m getting tired of Mark Coker beating the same old drum. Amazon works for me and Smashwords no longer does, even signed up for Prime.

          • Not my point. Six months is too short a window to know. That’s my point.

            • What about AFTER six months?

              My total take on Smashwords for my titles hasn’t passed $500 over the past year.

              On Amazon, I’ve made over $50,000.

              Things work differently for different folks on different sites, but it does appear that, for the vast majority of us indies, Amazon is king.

              • After about a year, it makes sense to make that business decision. I was responding to someone who pulled their books before she could even know if they would sell. It just takes that long.

                • I disagree it takes that long. I started making fantastic strides within two months. There are no set procedures here–and defining an artificial timeline around which one should conduct business doesn’t sound like good advice.

                  Can you explain the reasoning behind your six month “release time?” True, Smashwords is a consolidator, but it only takes about a month for titles to pop up on Apple and Kobo, if that long. Diesel I don’t know about, and I go direct to Amazon and B&N myself.

        • I’ve had similar experiences with getting stuff via Smashwords — it takes FORbloodyEVER to get stuff to other places, but B&N is trickling in, much as Amazon was only trickling in, to start. (And with better royalties, to boot; via Smashwords, I can get 60% of a 99c short story, not 35%!)

          I have a small number of Smashwords-buying fans (10 or 20 semi-guaranteed sales for anything I put there) and SW makes it easy for me to send my mom a free copy via coupon. I don’t think I have enough books to make it worthwhile to do free promotions, either, so even 3 months of Amazon-only is too much for me.

          (Re: Smashwords fans. I’ve had someone ask me whether he should buy via Smashwords or Amazon, and when I said it was up to him (Amazon: sales rank, slightly quicker payout; Smashwords: better royalties), he picked Smashwords. The no-DRM, multi-format files SW provides were important to him.)

  2. I have plans hopefully in the new year to publish and I will for now not do the KDP Select. I agree with some of the comments that were said. It sounds like by what some of the authors said that the other retailers have to step up their game.

  3. Maybe. Maybe not. Assuming most authors are big boys and girls, and smart enough to know what’s in their own self interests, I think they participate in KDP Select with their eyes open.

    I’ve never participated because of the exclusivity requirement and the fact that for some unfathomable reason (and trust me, I’ve tried to figure it out) my stuff seems to sell well on Nook. I go there through PubIt! and conversely, my Smashwords sales (Apple, etc.) have always been a very small percentage of total sales. I suspect other folks have had different experiences.

    I respect Mark Coker and what he’s accomplished, but suggesting that Indie authors are mindless pawns being duped by the evil Amazon seems a bit over the top. I think everyone (or at least most folks) opting for KDP Select know exactly what they’re doing and why, the same as those of us who aren’t participating. Anyone can crunch the numbers and come to their own conclusion. Today’s great post by David Gaughran is a case in point. It’s a choice.

    Personally, I don’t want traditional publishers controlling my work, nor do I want Amazon (or Smashwords) telling me what to do. I kinda think that’s what “Indie” means.

  4. I think it is a tool, and if authors are wise and have their eyes wide open they can use it to help with their sales. Personally, I don’t find it appealing at all. But that’s MY choice. **shrugs**

  5. I was in KDP Select for 6 months, and it kicked started my sales to the point I’m paying some big bills with the royalty check (the Mortgage!). KDP Select is a three month option, not a lifetime indenture, so I don’t see how making that choice for a short term contract in return for invaluable visibility and sales tools can be harmful to Indies. When it takes weeks (and sometimes longer) to have changes get pushed out from Smashwords (like pricing and book descriptions) as opposed to the days or even hours it takes Amazon to make those same changes, I’ll be happy sing their praises. I’m not in Select…at the moment, but I’m certainly glad I tried it out.

    • Glad to see that you had success with KDP Select!

      I used Smashwords for the first book in the Mara Cunningham series, but not for the second. As you say, it takes days or weeks for changes to be pushed (I had a book at $0.00 for nearly a full month on Kobo!). Getting access to Apple’s platform was nice, but I don’t know if it’s worth the additional effort of formatting a .doc file to Smashwords’ specifications. Now that I can publish to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo directly, there’s less of a use case.

  6. I almost relented and gave KDP a try, but it’s too restrictive. Not only can I not sell at other outlets, I can’t even put my work on my website! I publish web serials. Most of my customers (currently) are people who come to my site first, read a chapter or two, then decide to buy the whole thing.

    I don’t have the time, patience, or polite vocabulary to try to manage a business relationship where you are also viewed as a competitor.

  7. I’d take Mr. Coker more seriously if my own sales through Smashwords weren’t so pathetic. Same with Kobo, same with B&N. I might actually go back to KDP Select if the others don’t pick up through the holidays.

  8. I am making more money at other retailers than at Amazon.

    I don’t think the problem is that other retailers aren’t as good at Amazon at what Amazon does. The problem is that building real, solid discoverability — regardless of vendor — takes time and effort.

    At the same time, I understand people jumping for the short cuts Amazon provides. If you can make more money now… a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, right?

    The only problem I see in how authors approach it is that they are creating self-fulfilling prophesies. They are creating a whole business model that relies on Amazon, so they don’t succeed elsewhere.

  9. Read David Gaughran’s post (featured on Passive Guy yesterday) on why, after initial scepticism, he is a convert to Kindle Select. Amazon never refers to authors as ‘dupes’ .Apart from being the smartest guys in the room, they treat authors as adults rather than surly children, and I respect them for that. And they have built the digital pool in which we are all swimming.

  10. Amazon is playing Indie authors like pawns?

    Interesting. What are Indie authors playing Amazon like?

  11. Doesn’t Amazon help some pawns become Queens? Amanda Hocking, for example?

  12. Give me a break. Amazon is the only website people know about outside the world of writers, reviewers and hardcore readers. Real people (regular, casual readers) don’t even know Smashwords, the Nook, Kobo, etc, even exist. Fact. And no one should bother disagreeing with me either because I’m always right about everything.

    Oh man. I’m going to get reemed, right? EEP. Oh well, had to say what’s on my mind.

    • Sorry to disappoint you, but I actually think you made a good point! :)

    • As a reader, I hated Amazon and did all my book shopping through B&N (Nook). It’s only as a writer that I finally relented and worked both sides.

    • I have to disagree here.

      The writers and publishing people I know are all crazy for Kindle. The non-publishing people I know all have Nook. (Except for the Canadians, who seem to have Kobo.)

      Again, I love Amazon, I am a stockholder with Amazon. I read on a Kindle keyboards. Kindle is a really big pond, and people can make a good living without ever venturing out of it… but it is a subset of the reading audience.

      Something to think about: there were successful self-publishers out there long before Kindle. Most of them were not publishing fiction, but some were. They generally sold the books directly off their blogs, and sometimes even eBay. The fiction writers who did this usually had a serial or webzine – where they published fiction, not advice on how to get rich at Amazon.

      And they are selling to audiences that may never hit a bookstore or library… even Amazon. So they’ve been under the radar.

      Amazon makes for a really big niche — and niche marketing is really big these days — but by itself, it is a niche.

      • The non-publishing people I know all have Nook. (Except for the Canadians, who seem to have Kobo.

        There’s a good reason for that: No B&N in Canada.

    • I’ve got a Nook. I adore it.

  13. I’ve read people on both side of the fence…those who say they get few sales on non-Amazon platforms and therefore use KDP select…and those that have their work distributed to other platforms as well as Amazon and do well.

    And what strikes me is that different writers get different results – and there’s not enough information given to make an informed decision as to which route is best for authors.

    In my ‘day job’ when confronted by something this, rather than making an assumption that one way is inherently superior than another, we’d test and track.

    And that I suggest should be something that everyone aims to do. For some folks, KDP Select may be the way to go – for others spreading your work around to the other platforms may be the way to go. Testing both routes will at least give information to help make an informed decision…rather than guessing based on different author’s experiences (which may not be relevant to you).

    My 2c.

    • “And what strikes me is that different writers get different results – and there’s not enough information given to make an informed decision as to which route is best for authors.”

      I completely agree. Each writer can only talk from their own experience. I know a lot of writers do well with KDP Select and prefer to keep their work mostly with Amazon. I’ve tried Select and found it didn’t work well at all for me. I also have some nice sales happening with B&N, Kobo and Apple. Who’s right? All of us. It’s about what works for each writer and figuring that out takes experimentation.

      It also takes flexibility and being able to notice when things change and shift. It’s definitely becoming a more global world with ebooks.

    • Also, every BOOK is very different from one platform to another. And one month is very different from another. For each book.

      It does make it hard to “test and track” — you simply can’t do it short term.

      • Camilla

        Good points.

        Although ‘testing and tracking’ is essentially simple, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. And the point about months being different is highly valid….Dean Wesley Smith blogged recently about ‘the seasons of publishing.’ Which was an interesting read.

        Also another point I didn’t cover…Platforms change too. What’s to say that Kobo (or even Smashwords!) won’t up their game and actually improve their platforms so that readers can find our stories?

        • Smashwords has already started a few months ago with the “also bought” list anytime you add something to your cart. (Along with the older “also by this author”)
          Kobo has a LONG way to go, speaking from a buyers perspective. I want to see ALL the new (category) fiction when I browse, not just the ones from major publishers.

  14. I can’t quite manage to believe Mark when he says he respects Amazon. Increasingly he has been coming across as embittered against them. And this argument is just silly.

    Of course, every author needs to think AT LEAST twice about every business decision they make. But that’s what Select is, a business decision. It’s not some sort of draconian trap that Amazon is setting for Indies. It’s an option which obviously is designed to be beneficial to Amazon (that’s business), but certainly isn’t exploiting anyone.

    Whether or not you think Select is a good thing for authors to participate in, Amazon certainly isn’t being evil for offering it.

    • “I can’t quite manage to believe Mark when he says he respects Amazon. Increasingly he has been coming across as embittered against them. And this argument is just silly.”

      I’m so glad I’m not the only one who sees this. He constantly repeats how much he respects Amazon while he’s trashing them for one thing or another. And Apple can do no wrong in his eyes. From his article:

      “Unlike Amazon, Apple doesn’t attempt exclusivity, and doesn’t do draconian price matching.”

      Doesn’t matter that they colluded to raise prices, though. They’re saints.

      • “Doesn’t matter that they colluded to raise prices, though. They’re saints”

        Exactly.

        That’s what felt off about this article to me. How can any writer support Apple without thinking about how Apple threw its hat into the ring with the Big Six? Anything that strenthens the Big Six is bad for authors.

        I’ve heard enough about Coker to respect him, but I think he has an agenda. Amazon is his big competition. Why go through Smashwords if you can just upload to Amazon? He has a vested interest in this fight.

        • Well… yes, he does. He’s running a business and he wants it to succeed. Why would anyone be surprised that he has a vested interested in that?

          The question isn’t “does Coker have a vested interest in this,” but rather “is Coker’s vested interest ultimately beneficial or detrimental to self-published authors?”

          The answer is kind of complicated. Amazon also has a vested interest in this. Right now, Amazon’s vested interest is pretty darn beneficial to us because they’re the 800 pound gorilla in the room. But Amazon is much, much more than just self published books. They’re much more than books, period, these days. I buy most of my computer stuff from them these days. I buy a lot of clothes from them these days. To be quite honest, I buy more non-books from Amazon than books. And I have to keep that in mind: this publishing stuff is only a part of their grand design.

          Meanwhile, Coker is sort of betting the farm on us. But wait! Before you think I think that makes Coker the winner here, I’m really not happy with Smashwords as an organization. I like the idea of Smashwords, and I’m impressed with their distribution channels, but the way Smashwords works makes me want to cuss even when my daughter is in the room (and I’m working really hard on not doing that!) Amazon’s operation simply works better than SW does. Even though most of their support is automated and responses are canned, I get more useful automated, canned support from Amazon than I do from the people who work Smashword’s support desk. I have more freedom in how I publish with Amazon than I do with SW. Amazon pays monthly! Amazon does direct deposit!

          Right now, Amazon has the better deal, hands down, no question…

          … that said… I don’t think Amazon is going to be a good long-term deal. They have a history of making their business deals great up front, and then, once they become an indispensable part of your business, demanding a new deal that benefits them far more than it does you. So I want other options. The options, sadly, do not currently pan out for me. But those options need to be there, or some day we’re all going to find ourselves screwed.

          Just my opinion. I expect most of you will disagree.

          • The only bit I’m going to disagree with is Smashwords customer service. When they DO get back to me, their help is superlative. When Amazon finally does, it rarely helps, and I’ve had one issue hanging out there for months now. I can’t run a Kickstarter until they decide they’re okay with me having a pen name.

            • I know a few other writers who are very satisfied with SW support, but each problem I’ve had with them — including one where I essentially wasted an ISBN number on one of my books there because they don’t have the technology to update their database — has made me want to give them up entirely. I guess it varies from person to person, but my experiences have been horrible.

            • I agree with that, support from Smashwords is fantastic. Amazon? Not so much.

          • Just one point, Amazon does NOT do direct deposit unless you have a US bank account in the US. A little difficult for those of us who don’t live in the US. One point for Smashwords is they will pay by Paypal.

            • @Christopher:

              ” I don’t think Amazon is going to be a good long-term deal. They have a history of making their business deals great up front, and then, once they become an indispensable part of your business, demanding a new deal that benefits them far more than it does you.”

              Do you have examples to cite for this? (Amd I’m not being argumentative or disagreeing, I’m gathering information).

              TIA.

              • I’m going to have to formally (and apologetically) walk back my comment here, because after dutifully searching for all the incidents I half-remembered, the only incident I can find outside of book publishing is a lawsuit Toys’R’us brought against Amazon in 2004, and the details of that were substantially different from what I was going to talk about.

                Within publishing there’s more information, but given all the back and forth over the DOJ antitrust thing it’s harder to find reliable, neutral sources of information.

                In 2010 Amazon tried to force Macmillan to drastically lower it’s prices, and when Macmillan refused, they delisted all of Macmillan’s titles. This didn’t go well for Amazon, and they relented after Bezos complained about “Macmillan’s monopoly on all the titles they owned.” (That’s almost a direct quote. I did a comic on that when it happened, because it was *hilarious*.)

                Other than that, there are only two incidents I can find that are credible, and not innuendo:

                McFarland and co being required by Amazon to give them a discount of over half off the cover price of their books, or be delisted:

                http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120408/LIFE/204080312

                They did roughly the same thing to the Independent Publisher’s Group (IPG), according to Melville House:

                http://mhpbooks.com/return-of-the-thug-amazon-removes-buy-buttons-for-thousands-of-ebooks-from-indie-distributor-that-wont-play-ball/

                However, even these articles are, um, “weighted.” And they are only two, and two does not equal a trend. They have however been spun and re-told and held up by about a billion blogs out there, so I probably got caught in a magnificent game of internet telephone, took those two stories and their variants, tacked it on to the Macmillan story, and came out with the apparently erroneous idea that this is a pattern of behavior.

                In short (ha! Too late!), what I’m trying to say is the paragraph you quoted is wrong: there’s no history of them doing this, there are only examples, and while the examples do make me nervous, it’s not fair for me to point to them as proof of institutional behavior.

                Still makes me uneasy, but that’s paranoia bred from dealing with the computer industry more than anything else.

                • @Christopher

                  Thanks for coming back and posting those examples. Very interesting to read. I really admire Amazon and what they’ve done…but I’m not an unquestioning fanboy.

                  So far I’ve not found many examples of self-pubbed/indie pubbed authors having problems with AMazon….most of the problems tend that I’ve come across tend to be ‘Customer Service’ errors. (E.g. I know one author whose account hasn’t been editable for about three weeks…driving her mad as she has three books to publish).

                  But I’ve not found instances of anything malicious going on by Amazon with regard to self pubbed authors. If anyone has any, I’d love to say those stories shared.

            • As a point of information, Amazon WILL do monthly direct deposits on Amazon UK sales to a UK bank account. It’s the US sales that (irritatingly) come by dollar cheque which costs about £6.00 and a couple of weeks to complete over here – and my bank does it quicker than most. I live in hope that they will change, eventually. I trade antique textiles on eBay, and Paypal works well for worldwide sales.

        • How can any writer support Apple without thinking about how Apple threw its hat into the ring with the Big Six?

          Apple threw its hat into the ring with “agency pricing” all over it. As an independent author, I love me some agency pricing. (…I’ve been reading too much of Sarah Rees Brennen’s blog…) So long as the hat doesn’t become “agency pricing for the Big Six, and we play silly buggers with the self-publishers,” that’s not a bad deal.

    • I wouldn’t be surprised if Coker was peeved at Amazon. He’s had the “Distribute to Amazon (coming soon!)” thing on the Dashboard for aaaaaaages. And ages. And aaaaaaaaaaaaaages. I suspect that he’s been trying to make a deal with Amazon and being — unsurprisingly, as he is their competition — brushed off. Getting onto Amazon would do wonders for his “one-stop publishing” business, but Amazon… really has no incentive to do this except for die-hard “SMASHWORDS FOREVAR! AUTHOR SMASH!” writers who are also major sellers. (And indeed, if one sells large numbers of books via the Smashwords distribution channels, one can access Amazon via SM, too — but it’s done “by hand.”)

      Meanwhile, he does have an agreement with Apple (and Apple has apparently worked enough with SW that they’re able to ship to Apple more quickly, though Apple does tend to take a while to approve “mature content” books (*pout*)), and it’s in his interests to speak well of Apple — some SW authors have hit Apple’s best-selling lists, which can only improve SW’s income!

      So, just from results and zip-all “insider knowledge,” I can see why Coker would sound frustrated and angry at Amazon, and fanboyish at Apple. One of them works with him, and the other… apparently doesn’t.

      • What bothers me about that is not the fact that he has an agenda. An agenda is normal thing to have. It’s that he doesn’t admit it.

        Stating something (Amazon is using authors as pawns) as fact, without acknowledging that you have a vested interest in the outcome, has a name. Manipulation.

        I don’t know Coker, and it’s very possible he’s not even aware he is doing that, it may not be intentional. He may even believe that he is trying to persuade people to do what is best for them. But unless he acknowledges his agenda, it goes from being an opinion piece, to an article where he is trying to persuade people to do what is best for him and his company.

        We get enough of that from the Big Six. I hope he re-thinks this.

        • It says right in the first two lines of the article that he is the CEO of Smashwords.

          *shrug*

          • Well, I don’t think everyone knows what Smashwords even is, much less what agenda the CEO is likely to have.

            Not exactly transparancy.

            • I would say that anyone who doesn’t realize that “Smashwords” might possibly perhaps maybe be involved in the e-publishing business… isn’t really paying attention. Further, in the text itself (not the part PG’s quoted), it says in the 4th paragraph, “Smashwords-distributed authors have seen impressive growth at these three retailers over the last 12 months, especially at Apple.”

              At the bottom of the piece, it says, “Mark Coker is the founder of the ebook distributor, Smashwords.”

              That’s pretty transparent that Smashwords distributes authors, and is therefore in competition with Amazon. Any author who doesn’t have enough reading comprehension to pick this up most of the time… (Allowing for bad-brain days.) Well, I hope they have really good editors, because poor reading comprehension doesn’t say much for their ability to wordsmith.

              • I disagree. Transparency is something the author of the article does, it is not something that is required of the reader.

                It’s not transparent to say: Hey, it’s up to the reader to inform themselves, and if they don’t, well tough luck on them. Although, I agree an informed reader is a good thing, that does not release Coker from his ethical responsibility of stating his agenda clearly.

                This is an example of stating an agenda:

                “Hello, I am Mark Coker. I have a deal with Apple, but Amazon refuses to deal with me. So, know that I have an investment in this battle, but I also have a concern I think is separate from that, and I want to inform you about it”.

                That’s a transparent statement.

                Not saying a statement like that, in an anti-Amazon article that informs writers they are being used like pawns, is manipulative.

  15. All things being equal, I wish KDP Select had been around when I published “Orpheus” last year. I have really good reviews now, and I’d love to enroll it in Select once I write the sequels, but I don’t want to lose my good B&N reviews.

    Does anyone know if B&N reviews are recoverable if you choose to unpublish a title for a period? I didn’t see anything in the PubIt! FAQ.

  16. Without sounding too much like the complete novice that I am…

    Why don’t authors first publish using the KDP Select and allow Amazon the 90 days of exclusivity? In that time make good use of the free promotion tools and allow the Amazon magic to (hopefully) happen.

    Assess sales through the 3 month period, and if by day 85 you aren’t selling well simply remove the title from Select. Then take the book to all the other channels for distribution, keeping it in the Amazon store as a standard KDP title.

    Obviously if the book is doing well under the KDP Select programme then renew it for another 90 day period. And keep doing that until it starts to clearly lose its sales momentum before taking it to the others.

    As I said, I am a complete ignoramous with these things – I’m a reader not a writer.

    • Greg, more writers are doing this. Some of the more popular ones do not, since it makes their readers on other platforms very unhappy to have to wait 3 months to buy the release in their preferred format (yes, there are ways around it, but the reader *still* feels disrespected). Of course, we’d all love a rabid fan base like that. ;)

      Keep in mind that the Select program isn’t even a year old yet, so there’s lots of people still figuring out how it’s going to work (or not) in their particular release scheme.

    • Greg, that’s exactly what authors should do as one of the many alternatives in their marketing scheme. Use KDP as a spring board for as long as it works, after that, publish with Smashwords. 90 days or 180 days is nothing over the long run. There is another attractive feature about Amazon if an author has multiple books, Amazon will publicize your other books as they come available. I don’t know this, but is KOBO, and Apple doing that?

  17. I do object to being labelled a mere pawn for experimenting with Select. And as Greg says – it is only three months at a time. You aren’t exactly selling your soul. The most any of us can do is crunch the numbers and adjust what we do accordingly, for ourselves and for individual books. It’s part of what makes the whole business so interesting. The comments underneath the original article make fascinating reading though!

  18. This pawn will be maximizing profit now, ignoring Coker’s desires for the future direction of the industry.

  19. Mark should perhaps spend less time thinking about Amazon and more time delivering on this promises. I can’t remember the first reference I have of his ‘in development’ meat grinder by-pass, but it’s been at least 2 years.

  20. I’d like to think I was being mature the first time I read this. Its past 1 AM local and I know that is no longer the case. As such, I feel like a song!

    “If you’re biased and you know it clap your hands”
    *clap clap*
    “If you’re biased and you know it clap your hands”
    *clap clap*
    “If you’re biased and you know it, then your words will surely show it. If you’re biased and you know it clap your hands!”
    *clap clap*


    We now return you to your regularly scheduled maturity, which is moderate at best.

    I am of the view that while the KDP select offers boons, it may be by fluke chance that your book takes off on another site instead. Yes, there are other epublication platforms that offer a perk to go exclusive, but it is essentially the same cheese in a different mouse trap. When parts of it boil down to luck, would you rather have a lotto ticket for 5 different lotto games or just a double play ticket on one?

    Skill is vital too, but a lucky placement on page one of ‘this just came out’ might be the lightning strike you’ve been waiting for.

    In full disclosure, I can only conjecture as I don’t have anything ‘released’ yet.

  21. Heya i’m for the first time here. I found this board and I find It really helpful & it helped me out much. I am hoping to give something again and aid others such as you aided me.

  22. This is an easy argument for me.

    I sell 1000’s of copies every month on Amazon; I sell 10 or 15 copies on iBooks; I sell 3 or 4 copies on Smashwords; I sell 1 or 2 copies on Nook.

    QED

  23. Ooo, a spammer got through!

  24. You’re right, ABeth. He’s gone now.

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