One of the questions I was asked recently, was about the site Goodreads. I briefly looked at it over the weekend, thanks to the Yearly Fall Cold that someone always manages to bring home. It looks like a great way to be able to chat, add comments and reach more voracious readers and authors. Once my head stops spinning long enough to think straight, I'll give it a go. (Honestly, it's taken all afternoon just to update the backgrounds on my blog and website, and normally that's an hour long thing. At most.)
About Amazon...they are making it very uncomfortable to publish with them by putting their desire for money ahead of an author's best interests, trying to stick it to other publishers by using authors and their royalties as the pawns.
Here's a true for example: With them, I cannot set the price on Hacker (or any other story) to $.99 - unless I am OK with a being paid 35% of $.99. This option also gives Amazon exclusive rights to randomly make that story free, no matter what I want, and I have no say in how long any promotions last. If I want control of how my novella is promoted, and want 70%, I MUST make it $2.99. They just recently opened India up to eBooks. But in order to get the 70% option, I have to give them my book, and ONLY them, for 90 days before anyone else can have it. Conceivably, that means it could take Nook and iPad readers 4-5 months after that to get any of my latest books, just to get a fair deal with Indian readers. Huh?
While Amazon does have a price matching ability, it takes someone cluing them in, copying and pasting the link, and their bots hunting it down. I told Amazon about the $.99 price at Smashwords, and Hacker is still over priced. (It was published the 15th, I told them the 16th, and it's still $2.99.)
Now, don't get me wrong, I use Amazon for LOTS of my personal shopping, and love them. But as an author, I'm very ambivalent about continuing to publish with them. Smashwords has the Kindle (.mobi) version of all my stories on their site, so Kindle users will still be able to download and read them...but not using Amazon means a few extra steps for Kindle users. I want my stories to be as accessible as possible, but Amazon's becoming more heavy handed as time goes on.
Please don't misread my comments as greed...I have two part time jobs, separate from my children and home...I am NOT writing to become insanely rich. I write because I love to, and because the stories in my head won't leave me alone until they have been released out into the unsuspecting public.
BUT, just because I'm realistic enough to know that my pocketbook isn't destined to be as thick as JK Rowling's or Stephen King's, I am NOT willing to roll over and let someone stick it to me just because I'm an indie author. All income helps, but sometimes it's just icing on the cake of reality.
Julie L. York