Since the conception of self-publishing, we have all heard of the vultures known as Vanity Press. Those are the publishers that guarantee more than they ever can deliver and charge high prices for their services. When an author wakes up and realizes the publisher has overpriced their paper and eBooks, and taken them for a ride by pushing for more paid services, separating themselves from the vanity press the author finds it to not be easy. Most often, the author tries to walk away with something and usually gets nothing. Legal battles can then ensue, and the company usually files for bankruptcy, leaving the author farther in the hole, with zilch, and dismay in the publishing world.
For me, it is disturbing that this is still happening today. Many of those services have closed shop only to reopen under a different name, but using the same underhanded business model. For them, it is always about making money from the authors who don’t know better. I have hoped and wished many times to be able to get information to these authors before they make a horrible mistake. Sadly, I often don’t learn about them until it is too late.
We see this played out with Amazon in a slightly different manner. While they don’t charge outrageous fees, they’re promising that by being published through them, they can give you more exposure, and you can make more money than through traditional services. What they fail to tell you is that they don’t open their distribution channel to all the bookstores. They keep everything in-house with exclusive contracts and slightly lower printing prices to make the author believe they are getting a better deal. It all sounds great, but when you step back and look at the bigger picture, it’s causing authors to lose even more money because they have to compete against millions of other authors doing the same thing. Thus, Amazon has created a monster of a machine that pushes authors to spend more money through their advertising programs, in hopes of making more money through their exclusive contracts that pay higher than others. It’s a perfect con game of drawing attention to what can be while sticking their hands in your pockets and taking from you without you realizing it.
To be noticed on Amazon, there are several factors to take into consideration. Reviews are a free valuable aspect, but they still cost the author money since the reviews can only come from direct sales through Amazon. If that doesn’t work, then an Amazon author has to spend money on their advertising program to get recognized in some format by the Amazon reader. This cost of advertising is not cheap and needs to be done regularly so that the author remains relevant. Few authors understand the concept of keywords, and other tricks of the trade to help lower the cost of advertising, while also improving sales. It can be done, but for a small number of authors. As more and more authors begin to learn this process, the process itself becomes invalid and everyone has to create a new way to stay ahead of the game. A vicious cycle that most authors don’t have time for, nor the desire to deal with it.
With Amazon being the largest bookseller in the world, what is the alternative? Keep giving them the money and allowing them to take advantage of authors in their system? Authors know that they need to be listed on Amazon to have more opportunities to sell their books. But what if there were other ways to walk away from Amazon, and create a system that pays authors their fair share so they can make a living and have their investments in advertising pay off for them? Would the authors abandon Amazon?
The answer would seem like a logical, yes. However, to do that, whatever system is created must have enough buyers in their market to give the author a reason to leave Amazon. The Amazon book market is such a small part of their system these days. Amazon would not even notice a rival taking that small part of their business away. At the same time, they know that they have hooked buyers in such a way that what amount of business they would lose would barely be noticeable in their profit margin. Thus, their attitude is one of not caring what the authors do or do not do.
Still, for another online bookstore to accomplish the goal of paying authors their fair share, they must spend millions on advertising their business to both readers and authors to convert both of them from Amazon, and build the business.
In today’s mental mindset of being against the 1%, the growing resentment of Amazon’s founder, who will become the first trillionaire by 2023, is being seen. Both authors and readers can help each other. It is a partnership between authors and readers. Authors provide great books to readers, and readers will pay fair prices, knowing that the majority of the money is going to authors as their fair share, which means they make more money through the new system, then they ever would through Amazon. Whether an author makes enough to earn a living, is entirely up to how good their book is, both storyline and quality of writing, and how much effort the author puts into marketing.
All of this has come together in a grassroots company known as Indie Lector, LLC. Their business model is designed such that authors can earn up to 80% from book sales while giving readers great stories. Also, the business is set up, so authors learn how to better market and sell their books through their sister organization, Authors Marketing Guild, LLC, a membership owned business.
But none of this means anything if authors have not reached their point of frustration about not earning their fair share. Slowly, indie authors realize that they must market their books properly to compete against big publishing houses and other authors. It is the cost of marketing and general publishing that is causing authors to finally, even if slowly, wake up to the fact that they cannot make money unless they sell a lot of books. But why do that if Amazon is getting the bulk of the money?
Authors can see the value of earning from $5 - $8 profit from the sale of their book vs. only $1 - $2 of profit per purchase through Amazon. Why spend the same amount of advertising dollars if you are earning less with Amazon than you would with another company that is dedicated to teaching you a more effective ways to market?
The answer seems logical, but sadly it continues to be lost in the blinding glory of Amazon. The Authors Revolution is slowly gaining momentum, and it’s time for authors to wake up and stop feeding the monster of false hopes and dreams. Their dream of writing and becoming successful now has a partner that helps them achieve that on many levels. Join the Revolution at https://IndieLector.Store
B Alan Bourgeois is an award-winning author, an award-winning speaker, and the founder of many organizations that help authors and readers, including Indie Lector and Authors Marketing Guild. He has been working with thousands of authors over the past 10 years educating them and giving them an opportunity to earn their fair share. He is the author of the Authors Revolution Workbook and soon the Authors Revolution fictional book.