They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me
dr_phil_physics

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Dear Jeff Bezos -- One Is Not The Norm

From My Amazon.com Front Page Today

While I manage to use Amazon for a lot of things, whether for good or ill, I was rather taken aback by this:
Dear Customers,

"Did I cry over some of these rejections? Absolutely. Did I feel inadequate, untalented, hurt? Yes. Did I doubt my ability to craft a story that readers could fall in love with? You bet."

That's Jessica Park, who hit road block after road block trying to get her book Flat-Out Love in front of readers. You can read her incredible blog post on IndieReader (also picked up by HuffPost) detailing her perseverance and how she finally succeeded by doing it herself with Kindle Direct Publishing. It's heartwarming and tells a powerful story about what KDP makes possible.

Kindle Direct Publishing empowers serious authors to reach readers, build a following, make a living, and to do it on their own terms. Readers get lower prices, authors get higher royalties, and we all get a more diverse book culture (no expert gatekeepers saying "sorry but that will never work"). KDP is already meaningful--22 of our top 100 best-selling Kindle books so far this year are KDP books--and more great stories are being published every day.

You can find Flat-Out Love here. Thanks for being a customer.

Jeff Bezos
Founder & CEO

Here's The Thing

Yes -- there are people making money selling e-books. And there are people making money selling their books to traditional publishers. And some published authors have gone the self-publishing e-book routine with certain books. So? There are also people not making money selling e-books. And there are people not making money selling their books to traditional publishers. And some unpublished authors have gone the self-publishing routine and lose money in the deal.

The thing is, this sort of gushing broadcast letter I don't think is aimed at the successful published author. I think it's to trap writers who haven't sold or haven't tried to sell their work -- hey I can act like a Big Name Successful KDP Author, too! And without necessarily doing the hard work of, oh, actually writing a successful book. Remember that line "22 of our top 100 best-selling Kindle books so far this year are KDP books"? There are no qualifiers there. How many of those 22 are previously unpublished? How many are established writers either playing with KDP or putting their backlist up? Am I supposed to surprised that Amazon's powerful merchandising system manages to sell KDP titles for the Kindle to Kindle users? Without context, there's no reason to leap in, sign up and expect the riches to roll in for any manuscript.

Read Jessica Park's blog entry. It's whiny self-congratulations, as far as I'm concerned, and acting all hurt about those mean big, nasty, clueless, thieving and mean big publishers, despite claiming traditional publishing credits. So she couldn't sell a YA book about a non-YA protag to a YA publisher. Color me surprised. Get a better agent.

Sorry, Jeff. You're not yet the savior of the American book industry, though you are a powerful and useful force. We just don't yet where this is all going. Your trumpet cries are not yet justified, especially when I feel they'll lead to unrealistic self-publishing dreams of the vulnerable. Yet I am conflicted in the sense that as a possible route to failure, going the KDP route is probably better than Publish America and other scammers.

Dr. Phil
Tags: amazon, e-books, kindle, rants, scams, self-publishing
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