"The notion that such persons are gay of heart and carefree is curiously untrue. They lead, as a matter of fact, an existence of jumpiness and apprehension. They sit on the edge of the chair of Literature. In the house of Life they have the feeling that they have never taken off their overcoats."
- James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times

Monday, January 16, 2012

Amazon, schmamazon

In theory, I should despise Amazon. They are the Wal-Mart of the Internet, offering goods and services at such low prices, they decimate any mom-and-pop endeavors in the area, blighting towns and only hiring part-time employees so they don't have to offer any benefits. Amazon is out to rule the world, and so far, it seems that nothing will stop them.

And yet.

As an author, I'm damned happy they exist. I've uploaded my books on Kindle and created paperbacks on CreateSpace, and they are for sale in the Amazon store nearly immediately. Amazon lets me set up an Author's page, where people can come and see if I'm legit or just a fly-by-night, one-trick-writer, full of typos and horrid grammar. They make it easy for me to get my books to market, and they pay me monthly. Yes. Monthly.

Let's consider the rest of the industry: Barnes & Noble, Sony, Apple, Kobo, blah-blah-blah. At Barnes & Noble, we have the PubIt! feature, but I can't set up an author's page and they pay every 60 days. I can't figure out how to even load my own books on the rest, except to go through Smashwords. Don't misunderstand - Smashwords is a great vehicle for uploading to all e-readers, but I'm only paid a month after every quarter end.

Not as friendly as Amazon.

As much as I love people of all e-races and e-readers to have access to my books, I tallied last year's numbers and saw that I did less than 10% of my total sales on all non-Kindle devices put together.

So I'm trying an experiment. I've signed up for the Kindle Select Lending Program, for my newest book, "Are You There Erma? It's Me Gayle". For 90 days, this book will only be available on Kindle. For the next FIVE days, it is being offered as a free promotion.

This is day one, and it's at #1,093 in the Free Kindle Store, #3 in Humor, Essays and #4 in Humor, Parenting and Families. It feels a little icky to be handing out all these free copies, but we'll see how the free rankings help my sales once the free promotion shine wears off.

If it gives this book the boost I'm hoping for, I may have to go with nothing but Kindle for all my books. Sorry, Nook-folks, iReaders, Sony-ites. It's all Amazon's fault. They're treating me too nicely.

And for all you Kindlings, you've got til Friday to get Are You There Erma? It's Me Gayle. What are you waiting for?


Tameri Etherton said...

Is it bad that I consider you my trail blazer for all things epub? In my mind you wear a snazzy cape and are the do-good crusader for all of us unpubbed authors.

I'm super curious how this lending thing works out for you... I have some friends who are thinking of trying it and I'll let you know what their experiences are as well.

Since I own the book on Kindle and in paperback already, I won't be a part of the promotion, but I'll certainly pimp you out to all my friends!

Gayle Carline said...

Some days I wish I had a snazzy cape so I could pull it over my head and hide myself. So far, there's been no lending, but stay tuned. I'm in this select program for 90 days.

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