The Indie Author vs. Amazon

I’ve seen it countless times. My fellow indie authors losing the fight against the giant corporation. I’ve been lucky. I’ve never had to personally experience too many issues from them. Until today.

On September 2nd, 2021, I placed my personally best selling book, HAWK, on sale. Originally, $3.99, I dropped him to $0.99 because I had two promotions offered to me. The first, a Kobo deal for the US and Canada. The second, the coveted BookBub deal for 9/15. I couldn’t pass up the opportunities, so I placed it on sale on all platforms from 9/2-9/19. Now, this is a longer period than I’d normally place my sale for. But again, the promotions.

On top of that, in an effort to maximize efforts, I applied to and scheduled several paid newsletter promotions, as well as swaps with fellow authors.

For non-authors, let me explain a few things. It’s EXTREMELY RARE to get a BookBub deal as quickly as I did. It was only the second time I applied. And they’re expensive. Hundreds of dollars, reaching hundreds and thousands of new readers. Also, Kobo is an online seller of ebooks, audiobooks, etc. Another great opportunity, although a but cheaper. Paid newsletters run anywhere from $5 to $100 and more. They send your book out to their subscribers, who are literally signed up just to get all the deals. Swaps with fellow authors means, I send their book to my list, they send my book to theirs. It’s a common way to cross promote.

Now, that everyone is caught up, let me be perfectly clear. Amazon pays it’s indie authors less than any other platforms. ANY OTHER PLATOFORMS. Apple pays me a larger royalty per unit, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, Kobo, you name it, they pay more than Amazon.

Even so, as an indie author, Amazon has always been and still is where the majority of my income as an author is generated. The indie author is chained to Amazon whether we like it or not. I used to be a Kindle Unlimited author. Meaning, my books were exclusive to Amazon, not sold anywhere else, and thus ensuring I was 100% dependent and at the will of the Zon. Now, I know plenty of authors who remain KU authors, and make a great living doing so. Good for them. I’m not saying they’re doing it wrong. But it wasn’t working for me. I found that a full read on KU was about half of the royalty I got for selling an ebook outright. So I pulled out of KU in 2020, determined to “go wide” and make it.

In June of 2021, credited much to the success of HAWK, I was able to qui my day job and become a fulltime author. So imagine my dip in income by one, putting HAWK on sale, and two the moment today that Amazon STOPPED selling HAWK and sending me a bullshit email that it’s come to their attention I may not have rights to the COVER IMAGE. This book was originally published in February 2021. So I ask you, how is it just now, two days into my sale, coming to their attention.

Side note: please rest assured, as a graphic designer, I do have the rights. It’s a freaking stock image for crying out loud. So I sent them an email back showing the invoice, the license history where I purchased it, and some scathing comments threatening to sue them for loss of income AND my paid promotions if they don’t put my book back up. Oh but the paperback? Still on sale. Odd right? It’s the same cover image. How convenient that it happens to be my ebook that’s on sale.

When I quit my job in June, it wasn’t because I was suddenly making a six figure income. I am NOT making that kind of money. I’m making a little more per month than I made at my day job. But THIS is my income now. This is how I pay the bills, feed my children. And Amazon, the machine, makes it harder and harder for indie authors as time goes on. They make us jump through hoops, prove our identities over and over again, our rights to the words, to the images, you name it, we have to appease.

And I’m tired. I’m tired of them, being a cog, begging with my hand out to them. I went wide to ensure I didn’t have all my eggs in one basket. I went wide because WHY would I only have one place, one source for income when that place has proven time and again they will find a way to mistreat me? I went wide because I believed as a creator, I deserved a decent wage for my product. And I believe Amazon fails to do that for me.

I know this is a rant. I know it feels like a rant. I’m not trying to say, “poor pitiful me, look what Amazon did” but rather what I’m saying is, “I’m an author, and I deserve better treatment than this”.

So, my next endeavor in attempting to get further away from relying on Amazon, is to begin selling my ebooks and audiobooks directly. Direct sales isn’t about rank. It’s not about the coveted orange banners from Amazon, or making a bestsellers list. It’s about income, plain and simple. It’s about ensuring that I can continue to be a full-time author and pay my bills as such. It’s what I want more than anything.

And none of this is possible without your help. You are, after all, my readers. At the root of it, YOU ARE THE REASON I CAN BE AN AUTHOR FULL TIME. And for that, I am eternally grateful. So please know you can get my books through many other retailers. Know that you can order paperbacks directly from my website and Barnes & Noble. You can get ebooks from everywhere, including library services. And from now on, you’ll be able to buy ebooks and audiobooks directly from me through Payhip as well. Payhip is basically an online store to deliver digital content. And while they’ll charge me a small fee, it’s nothing compared to what the Zon makes off me. The files will be compatible with any e-reader you have. You can still read them on your kindle, nook, etc.

The only difference is, you’ll be supporting me directly. I’ll make a larger royalty per sale, and you won’t be giving any money to the Zon or wherever else.

My books will still be on the Zon, of course. If that’s where you’re comfortable buying, well, that’s fine. Just know you don’t have to.

I’ll be working for the next several hours to upload all my books to my Payhip. Here’s my direct store link and since the Zon fucked with HAWK, he’s the first one I uploaded.

MY STORE: https://payhip.com/KatSavageBooks

Thank you for your continued support. It means the world to me. And I’ll continue to do my best to create for you. I just have to make sure I’m financially stable to do so.

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