On 17 October, I finally gave in to the urge to see what so many authors were raving – or ranting – about… and went through the motions of setting myself up at Amazon. Despite the fact that I’ve been debating whether or not to publish my books on Amazon for years, it still felt like a spur of the moment decision – in other words, terrifying!
I’ve had a rather negative opinion of Amazon up until now, due to the fact that you cannot make your book free on Amazon when you publish (more about that later in this post), and Amazon changes authors’ book prices without notification or permission (you have no choice but to put up with this if you publish with Amazon), along with all the negative things I’ve seen other authors and the media say about the company. Apparently the ‘changing book prices’ are sometimes due to the fact that people in different countries see different prices on books – which is more than a little annoying, since it seems South Africans are charged more for books than other countries, judging by the fact that Wizard of Ends, Book 2: Dark Creature’s price is displayed on Amazon as almost double what I priced it. I’m curious – do non-South Africans see the price as $2.99 or $5.69?
That said, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was shooting myself in the foot by not publishing with Amazon. I’ve seen too many authors state that they would not have ‘made it’ if they had not published their books with Amazon, and came to the conclusion that I would be a fool not to see for myself. I think an author’s choice of distributor and/or publisher plays a big part in whether or not an author is successful, and a lot of luck is also involved. However, to be a success, most authors also need to put a lot of effort into marketing their books, and I am taking advantage of all the tools and Amazon-friendly websites available.
So I’ve taken the plunge… and published the first two books in my latest series, Wizard of Ends, with Amazon. Only time will tell if this was a good move.
So far, I’m impressed with Amazon’s fast customer service response. I did something really daft when publishing my books – I missed seeing the ‘author’ option in the ‘contributor’ field, and, since something has to be selected in that option, I named my editor instead of myself. I corrected this immediately upon noticing it (thank goodness I took a look at the book pages as soon as they were live!), but, before I’d noticed, I had set up an Author Central account – also in my editor’s name instead of mine! Amazon doesn’t give you the option to change your Author Central username yourself, so I had to send an email request for it to be corrected. I received a reply within hours to say it was sorted, despite the fact that it was a Sunday!
My one annoyance thus far is one I anticipated – Amazon does not allow you to publish your book as ‘free’. There is a way around this, however, but it’s a bit of a hassle. I priced the book the same as the other books in the series, and then clicked the ‘tell us about a lower price’ link on the book page for Wizard of Ends, Book 1 once it went live on Amazon. Where it asks for a link to where the book is sold at a lower price, I pasted the Barnes & Noble link, where the book is free. It took a few weeks, but Book 1 is now free on Amazon.
Book 2 is currently listed at $5.69 – I would like this to be $2.99, the same price it is everywhere else. I don’t feel it’s fair that readers who purchase from Amazon pay higher prices. I’ve heard that the prices are matched faster if more people report a lower price elsewhere, so I’d appreciate it if you have the time to report the lower price. The Amazon book link for Book 2 is here, and the Barnes & Noble link for the ‘lower price website link’ is here. Thank you!
I’m still uhming and aahing about publishing some of my other books with Amazon. I will publish all the future Wizard of Ends books with Amazon, since the series is already published there, but haven’t made up my mind yet about my Legends of Origin series or my short story collections.
I’ve decided to give it a year – that should be enough time to ascertain if it’s worth publishing with Amazon or if it has the potential to be (or is) self-sabotage. I won’t be joining KDP Select, of course. I think it’s unwise to put all your eggs in one basket and, the more places your books are sold, the greater the number of readers who have access to them.
If any of you have published with Amazon, I’d love to hear your experience – your gripes as well as the things you love about Amazon.