Publishing is a business but it often feels like a game. Sometimes you win, you often lose, but for some reason we word addicts keep putting everything we have into this giant gamble.
Some of us do it for the love, some do it for the hopes of money and celebrity, others just hate themselves. Haha On the level, writing is one hell of a privilege. Developing a style and a fan base takes skill and a lot of hard work.
Unfortunately no matter how hard you push yourself there is always a system in place that often seems created to knock you down. Sure getting an agent is rough. Playing the indie market beats you up, but at least offers additional creative freedom.
There is a price for that freedom though
Corporations and services do not offer indie authors the same courtesies they offer big name authors. The big 5 (the top most established mainstream publishers) protect their interests.
To survive the indie writing world, and author must protect their interests but that becomes difficult when services like giveaways on goodreads are now a pay-for service. Yes, now goodreads, a FREE website that makes money off of ads, is now charging authors to give away copies of their books for free even though the author is still in charge of obtaining that stock and mailing said free copy to the winner. And it’s no minimal service fee, we’re talking over a bill. Yeah $125 is the going rate for an author to now host a goodreads giveaway.
Remember that when you sign up to win.
Amazon is more confusing. They haven’t tapped author’s pockets too much, but they know how to hurt indie authors in other ways. Not only did they scoop up Kirkus behind the scenes (which charges $500 per review), they have such a convoluted view of what is a legitimate review that many indie authors see their hard earned reviews ripped off the site because amazon “suspected” that it broke the rules.
The rules for book reviews are that:
Reviews cannot come from friends and family- Okay I get this despite the fact that I wonder where the hell a small time author is supposed to start to grow a fanbase if they can’t even go to their friends and family in the beginning. Back when I was a singer, friends & fam was always where my first ticket sales came from. But sure, amazon wants “unbiased” reviews because they are SO concerned about their customers. (No they are concerned about pandering to the big 5 so they keep getting a bigger cut of the sales).
Reviews that are not from a purchased copy must be stated as such: Basically every pro reviewer who goes on amazon to review a book they received for free in exchange for an honest review must disclose that was the agreement. Goddess forbid they forget, or the author just gave away a free copy (which usually costs us $), to see a review posted and then quickly removed.
No one ever seems to hear of amazon fucking with top seller’s reviews. They specifically police indie authors as if we’re out there scamming people.
Indie authors are screwed everywhere they go. We have to pay for our own stock, our own promotions and marketing, and now they want us to pay for reviews. That’s what this comes down to. Authors who PURCHASE a $500 kirkus review don’t seem to have nearly as many struggles as those of us who find it a conflict of interest to pay that much for a paragraph vaguely describing our book.
There is always a lot more going on behind the scenes than anyone ever knows. This week I’ve taken a few hits and it makes me question the validity of publishing. It makes me question every aspect of the industry.
Some days you’re up and some days you’re down.
This is why writers are crazy.