The Giant that is AMAZON
Amazon for Readers
I love Amazon. In fact, while drinking coffee I just ordered two eBooks this morning (added to the hundreds more on my Kindle). At the first of the school year, we found a book on the bubonic plague, rush delivery, for a report my teenager had to write. He turned in his paper on time. My college student found two of his textbooks this semester, at greatly reduced prices, because he didn’t want to wait several weeks for the university bookstore to restock. Don’t get me started on my one of a kind, first edition books that I found through Amazon. Absolute treasures. If you ever come by my office, I will gladly show you. Amazon has changed my world for the better.
Amazon for Indie Authors
From a writers prespective, Amazon can be an entirely differrent exprience. More specifically, ASIN: B01M0K6F6G FLASH, The True Story of a Rescue Horse.
I have been promoting this eBook heavily because this horse is somewhat of a celebrity in our local area. My business plan was to fund print copies from eBook sales. With just two events I reached close to 1000 people in the first month of release. At one school of 700, we know of at least 300 kids who had FLASH on their phones before they went home that day. I can count at least 50+ friends and family who told me they ordered it as well. Total sales for that time period according to Amazon: 10.
Ten. That’s the number I reported to the professional photographer, making her split $3.08. We have spent a year working on stories about FLASH. There are four on Amazon, with six more titles in production for my new Rescue Animal Series which launched in September 2016. FLASH was enrolled in Kindle Select making it free for subscribers, which did gain me a few five star reviews and it did reach #5 on a bestseller list under Nonfiction Children-Lifestyles-Farm and Ranch. That’s exciting, but Amazon does not provide numbers of free downloads so I have no idea which of my promotional efforts were effective during that time period. Facebook ads? The school event? The email blasts? The Twitter or Instagram posts? I have no idea the final amount I’ve spent in promotion, because thinking about adding up those numbers makes me nauseated.
Where do KDP authors go to find the aswers they seek? There is no service phone number. Maybe I have my banking information or the pricing page set up wrong? There is no address where I can send a letter to request an audit. The instructions are to post my concerns on a public forum where other Amazon KDP authors can weigh in on my issues (a unique service offered by no other business owner ever). Amazon makes for a horrible business partner. After I finish this blog post, I’m going to post my concerns on the forum. In the meantime, I’ve suspended all advertising promos and cancelled all future events. I had big plans for FLASH in 2017, but I’m not spending any more energy (or $$$) for someone else to gain the benefit of sales from this book. That’s just bad business. My book sales have flat-lined. This relationship Indie Authors have with Amazon is an unbreakable bond. They are our savior and our frustration. My Amazon Author Page looks alright with a few book covers. I’m writing and getting my work out there, and yet if no one is buying or reading my books, then I’ve failed in finding potential readers. How can I make this relationship better for my business and for my creative soul? There are a million new books published every year. This is a long, long marathon to reach and find potential readers. There really is no finish line.
Moving forward means I’ll probably be uploading more books to Amazon this year; the children’s book creator is a genius tool. For Indie Publishers, Amazon does offer the best option because so many people love them as much as I do. I’ll be buying more books from Amazon for certain. They make it so easy. But as a business owner, I do not want to give up on this picture book series. There is still work to be done.
I’ll let you know if I find out anything from the forum. In the meantime…we’ll just keep writing.