From author Chuck Wendig:
Yes, Amazon, you know I have to start with you, first. How can I not? You’ve dominated the 2014 news-cycle, haven’t you? Amazon is increasingly the Wonka Factory of publishing: calliope music drifting from its colorful chimneys as great burping tubes upchuck new programs and initiatives and algorithms into the river. Sometimes we stare in wonder at your multiplying glories, basking in the power you’ve given us. Other times we regard you with alien horror, and we whisper to one another, I think they make Kindles out of little dead girls. We know you do amazing things. And we’re also really worried about the things you might do.
So, here’s my 2015 wishlist for you.
1.) Drop the exclusivity on Kindle Select and Kindle Unlimited. Here’s how you keep people publishing with you: just be awesome. Do no evil and be continuously aggressive in being better than everyone else. But forcing exclusivity — and worse, doing so by making the authors (effectively) pay a cost — is really weird, and sounds like you’re hoping folks will buy in without realizing what they’re doing. It’s corrosive and erosive and, ennh.
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4.) Your pricing window is artificial. Stop forcing it. $2.99 to $9.99 is fine, but you don’t need to restrictively force that pricing window — just give the 70% on everything. The price of e-books will shake out fine because buyers and publishers will wibble-wobble until they find What E-Books Should Cost At This Moment. And besides, you muddy your own pricing waters with Kindle Unlimited. “Keep the price between $2.99 and $9.99,” you say, “unless of course you’re in Kindle Unlimited, in which case do the opposite because that’s the only way you earn well per download.”
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DEAR BIG PUBLISHERS:
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1.) Quit the sly wink-wink vanity publishing. That time has come and it reeks of sinister mustache-twirling authorial sweat-shops. I’m not saying there’s not a place for you in the interstitial author-publisher realm, but charging exorbitant fees for essentially nothing is Not How Publishing Should Work. You know it, and you’d never tell an actual author friend to do it, so stop doing it. Stop it! Bad Author Solutions! Bad.
2.) Okay, the 25% e-book royalty thing? Gotta change. Someone, please please please, take the move to to change this. Up it. You’ll be heroes. We’ll carry you around the city square — ticker tape and flung candy and consensual sexual favors, ahoy. You make more money on e-books while we, the author, make less. Either up the rate or make it based on list price rather then net price (“net” meaning, on the money after lots of other little fees and percentages whittle it down). If you want to counter self-publishing, and polish your own apple a little: make this one change. We will sing paeans to you. You have my sword. And my axe. And my sweet kisses.
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4.) It’s time to talk about non-compete clauses. I understand why they exist. I do! You’re still beholden to physical print books and the bookstores that sell them. I understand that if your author, Damien Caine, releases one supernatural thriller with you and a different supernatural thriller with a separate publisher — and these releases happen fairly close to one another — that someone like Barnes & Noble may make the difficult call of stocking one book over another. Still, a lot of your non-competes are overly restrictive — they’re like, YOU CAN’T PUBLISH A TWEET WITHOUT CHECKING WITH US FIRST and it’s like, hey, whoa, ease off the stick, hoss. Writers these days need to make a living and that sometimes means writing diversely across genres, age ranges, publishers, and formats.
Link to the rest at Terrible Minds and thanks to SFR for the tip.
Here’s a link to Chuck Wendig’s books