The Reality of Amazon in Publishing

Amazon

Every so often, one of my authors will email me or instant message me and ask about something that has occurred on Amazon. Maybe they can’t find their book or maybe their book is being offered at a discounted rate, or maybe its something else. What they want is for me to solve the problem. However what they don’t realize is just what a complicated relationship there is between Amazon and publishers. Actually that’s true of distributors and retailers in general. The following may shed some light on the realities of dealing with any retailer, as well as some specific aspects of dealing with Amazon.

1. Publishers make prices, but retailers can change prices. A publisher can decide that a book is worth $20.99 and that’s what the book will cost on the publisher’s website. It’s also what the book will cost if you buy it direct from the author. But if you buy the book from Amazon or some other retailer, you may note that the price is sometimes discounted. Sometimes the discount is small and sometimes its large. This discount can effect royalties authors receive. The publisher has little control over the discount, because the book is being sold by a third party.

2. Kindlelicious. Another service Amazon provides is Kindle. Publishers can sign up for different types of kindle accounts. For example, you can sign up for a kindle account where you only offer e-books through kindle or you can sign up for one where you offer e-books through other sites. Obviously Amazon prefers you sign up for a kindle only account. There are some features you will get with Kindle only, but its always a toss up because not everyone wants to use Kindle.

3. Subscription based reading is becoming a reality. Amazon has set up a subscription service where you can read over 70,000 titles if you pay a monthly fee. The books aren’t free (the subscriber is paying a fee) but you won’t get as much royalties as you’d like because its essentially a library. This will become more of a reality for the publishing industry and you can’t do much about it because the retailer is still paying you for the content.

4. Publishers print the books and ship them out, but retailers sell the books and hold the balance of power. Publishing has always been an industry where the retailer holds the power. The retailer is the middle person in the equation and as such is for the most part dealing with the customers. Publishers accept this because of the exposure books get, but also accept that as a result retailers set a lot of the rules for the relationship.

Even if you self-publish, you still end up dealing with retailers of some type. For example, if you write a book and want to sell it, where do you go? Amazon, because you know amazon provides you an opportunity to get in front of your audience. But when you do that you also understand that Amazon is dictating the terms because you need them more than they need you.

My point in writing this post is just to explain that while publishers can and will do their part to represent their authors interests, they nonetheless have to deal with the retailers and that relationship isn’t an equal one by any measure. Knowing that can help you the author understand why some things occur on amazon and other retailer sites.

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How to Handle Book Reviews

 

Your book is written and published. Finally people can read it and hopefully those people will get the messages you wanted to share in the book. However, it also helps if your target market knows that your book exists. This is where book reviews come into play. Publishers will typically send out review copies to book reviewers, but you may know of some book reviewers that are bloggers that you also want to review your book. You might also send review copies to podcasts that you want to be interviewed on. A review copy can be a pf of your book or a print version of your book. At Immanion Press we typically send out pdf review copies of the book, which we found works well. If you know a reviewer that you want your book sent to, ask your publisher to send a copy of your book to that reviewer and provide contact information to the reviewer.

A book reviewer is someone who will write the review for your book and post it on their website or magazine. They may also share it on websites such as amazon, goodreads, and library thing. The book reviewer will read the book to review it, which means that they’ll share both what they liked or didn’t like about the book. The review will not necessarily be a five or four star review, and could even be a one or two star review. As the author, you have to keep in mind that the reviewer is still promoting your book. You may not like the review, but it will be an honest one.

I’ll admit when I had my first few books reviewed, I didn’t always handle the reviews as graciously as I wish I had. It’s important to realize that the person reviewing isn’t making a personal attack. They are reviewing your book and sharing their opinion. Whether you agree or disagree isn’t relevant and it can actually make you seem controlling if you comment on the reviews that have been offered (unless you are answering a question in the review).

If you, as an author, have a website (you should, if you don’t) I recommend linking the reviews to the page for your book. That way readers can see what others have said about the book. You should also include a link to the amazon, good reads and library thing page for your books so that people can see reviews left on those sites, and offer their own reviews. If you want people to write reviews on those sites, I suggest posting a link to your social media and asking people to write reviews. You might get some reviews, but remember they may or may not be favorable. Book reviews do help with the sales of your books. When people see reviews it helps them decide if they will buy the book.

The most important thing you can do is step back and recognize that whatever reviews you get are the ones you’ve gotten. Some will be good, some will be bad, and yet all of them will speak to what people thought of your book. You can’t control their reactions to your book, but you can accept them with grace and appreciate that someone took the time to review your book.

 

 

Now on Kindle: Turquoiselle and Para Kindred

Now on Kindle: Turquoiselle and Para Kindred

Two Immanion Press titles newly available on Amazon Kindle:

Turquoiselle
by Tanith Lee
Amazon US Kindle | Amazon UK Kindle | IP Book Listing 

Para Kindred: Enigmas of Wraeththu
Edited by Storm Constantine and Wendy Darling
Amazon US Kindle | Amazon UK Kindle | IP Book Listing 

Both books are also available in trade paperback edition.

Amazon Shop Integration

Purchase titles from Immanion Press/Megalithica Books directly from our new Amazon shop. Customers can now find all of our books (in print and digital editions) in one place. For increased convenience we have created two shops to allow customers to shop and ship in their own currency.

To start shopping, simply visit our new Shop Immanion Press page on the left, choose a shop and start shopping.