Being an indie author is a bit like BDSM. Both partners share control, reap the benefits and enjoy themselves.
That’s what I thought until Amazon got a little too demanding for my likening.
I got an email from those kind folks at Kindle Select, letting me know that one of my books was found on another retail site. For those of you who aren’t familiar, Amazon has a great platform for indie authors to publish ebooks – Kindle Direct Publishing. And they have a Select program, where you give Amazon exclusive rights to your book in exchange for several perks and benefits. It also allows readers to select your books from millions of others in Kindle Unlimited, which is a subscription service, like a library. This gets you new readers which may be willing to try out an unknown author.
It sounds like a great deal and maybe it still is. But to get all these good things, you can only sell your books on Amazon. No iBooks, B & N, Kobo…nowhere but Amazon. And I’ve gone along with it for years, happy with the perks of being included in the program, and telling myself most of my royalties come from Amazon, so what am I missing out on with the other retailers? Until I got this email.
“…result in your entire catalog being un-enrolled from KDPS and suspended from re-enrollment into the program.”
The words entire catalog and suspended got my attention.
To be fair, it was an oversight on my part that led to the discovery. I kind of forgot that I had (Holly had ) left Unexpecting for sale on Smashwords, another retailer that distributes to B& N and iBooks. My bad. But they didn’t have to threaten to un-enroll my entire catalog! That’s 21 books by Anna Ellis, penalized because my alter-ego Holly Kerr made a boo-boo! Not to mention the other titles by her (4 books) and another also published by Three Birds Press.
It was a pretty effective threat. I admit, it scared me. The royalties from Amazon are my bread and butter, allows me to bring home some bacon.
And then I got angry. At Amazon.
At the control they were attempting to evoke over my books, my career. I had decided to independently publish my books so that I could retain control. One of my books (Holly’s) is with a small press and I can’t do anything with it. It drives me crazy. To keep control, I decided to do it myself. Yes, I didn’t follow the rules, but should my entire catalog be made to suffer?
So I’ve decided to remove my books from Kindle Select. All of them.
They will still be sold at Amazon, but readers will no longer be able to borrow them from Kindle Unlimited. They’ll have to pay for them.
I hope those readers who enjoy my books via Kindle Unlimited will forgive me but I needed to take back control. How Kindle Select demands exclusivity of books has been a sore point for many indie authors. I’m a little slow, but it’s finally pissed me off too.