Dear Indie Author: Are alarm bells ringing?

There you sit, master or mistress of your own destiny, Indie author extraordinaire. You have five books on the Amazon bestseller list and you’re not doing too bad on iTunes either.

Then you wake up.

It’s just a dream. A damn dream! You wipe the cold sweat off your brow. Wait. You remember. It wasn’t a dream. It was real…but…but

People got greedy

Companies GOT greedy. That’s why it all fell apart. They wanted to increase their margins (whatever they are). They wanted to maximise profits. They wanted to…dare I say it…control their product.

Control you.

Really? Those nice people at Amazon? The lovely guys at Lulu? All those fine, upstanding bods at Smashwords?

You betcha!

People generally get very greedy, very quickly.

Ka-ching! There’s money in them there hills…

You see, there’s a big market out there in cyber world. And there’s a battle going on for its soul. Companies can both take a slice of Indie authors and the people who buy their product. They can begin to dictate, they can squeeze your differentials (oooh, matron…and no, I have no idea what that means either).

They can even crash and burn those bridges and leave you without a way to peddle your wares.

We’re ripe for the picking. We should be classed as vulnerable adults. It they can abuse us, they will. If they can keep us in line and make us behave, they will. Even now, some faceless corporate whore is plotting against the Revolutionary Indie Author Movement.

Those little beeps your PC makes? Maybe that’s Amazon trying a bit of mind control (well you did download that free hypnosis MP3) or iTunes putting out sneaky subliminal messaging.

Call me Mr Paranoia

The discussion point at the Feckless Goblin is this: Are the major players like Amazon and iTunes mobilising to slap us Indies in the face? Is our brave new world about to disintegrate around us? Is it all a dream?

Your thoughts, as always, are most welcome. Jot them down in the comments section below.

8 thoughts on “Dear Indie Author: Are alarm bells ringing?

  1. Well, yes and no.We always have to remember that amazon (lulu, etc) are businesses, not people. So they exist to make money. They can’t make money without books and authors, so part of their goal is to keep the people who make them money reasonably happy.Note I say reasonably.They don’t have to actually make us happy, but they have to find the amount of BS we will tolerate before chucking it in. This is also where competition helps us. The more marketplace choices there are for us, the more it keeps these companies honest, because we can say, “Well, amazon have shit customer service, so I’m going to go with the brand new service [x] instead and amazon can suck my toes.”I’ve heard several authors say they’re making as much money with B&N’s direct publishing as they are with amazon. Sadly, that service isn’t available for us UK folks yet. Google books is something else to look out for in the future.So, yes, for now, amazon has us over a barrel, but as more players get on the field, the more honest they will have to be and the more happy they will have to keep us.You aren’t wrong though. 🙂

  2. I do think it’s something to potentially be concerned about but right now, there are enough places to try getting things published that I think the competition are too busy looking at each other to worry about their authors. If a service offers 70% royalties to an author, then a competitior is hardly going to offer 30% and expect the author to choose them first. The more services there are, the more difficult it becomes to make sure your book is as available as possible, but at the same time, it also keeps them competiting with each other instead of with their authors.

  3. I vote for India and Icy’s view. Right now is the sweet spot — hopefully, these publishing companies are too busy trying to steal the Big Bone from each other that we authors are not getting a lot of attention from them right now. At some point we may be forced to bend over, but again, the more competition between these guys the better.

  4. I tend to agree.. however, I’m keeping in mind the stress a fellow writer has recently gone through with one of these companies (actually two) who screwed her over so badly it took about a month I believe to work it all out (they listed her book as being written by her husband at one point) and when she continued to stand up for her rights they tried for public humiliation on Facebook to see if they could shut her up.Conspiracy? Hm. As much as I know there are good people out there, business IS business. To think the new publishing sphere has opened up without a domination gameplan in mind is optimistic. No matter your venue of sales/publication, it pays to watch your back.

  5. Bring it on, I say. Competition in the marketplace is fantastic for writers. We didn’t have these choices 10 years ago when I explored writing, so it’s the perfect time to jump in and take advantage of all the options open to us. With social networking, the word spreads quickly amongst the writing community, and those who are paying attention will rise to the top. Corporations are usually very slow to react to trends anyway, so I’m not worried about them. I’m too busy looking at how to use them.

  6. They can bring on the cha-chinging, because indies have more to lose (literally) than the big pubs. We are taking home 70% royalties. If you take away some marketing expenses and other minor expenses, there’s still plenty to give up…but don’t tell Amazon I said that. Or did they already hear me? Tap Tap Tap…check check…1…2…1….2. Damn, I think I found a bug.

  7. I certainly hope distributors aren’t gearing up to make indie folks sad. But who’s to say? I’ve only been following the publishing industry for about a year and a half but have seen a lot of flux. I like the changes I’ve seen thus far but can’t imagine things will settle down so soon. Perhaps more good is on the horizon, perhaps doom.Like folks said, we’re working with businesses who are out there to make money. The 70-30 split was an excellent move, in my opinion since it encouraged authors to raise prices. Even if we’re looking at the lowest ($2.99), Amazon’s cut is $0.95 versus the $0.65, less expenses, for the same piece of work.The more win-win situations they can present, the better it is for business. Of course they’re prone to brain farts, like that fiasco with the buy links.

  8. Very interesting. I’ve just read Weirdmage’s article on Amazon’s hidden extra charges for international sales.http://weirdmage.blogspot.com/2011/02/amazons-hidden-extra-charges-does.html

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