Today, I’m not as sick as I was last week, Thank goodness. However, there are many things I’m going to discuss. All of them personal, some of them business minded, and a very few impersonal items that are probably going to make people chuckle amid the sea of seriousness I’m about to float in. So, starting with my number one concern these days… Amazon.
Hello Amazon, anybody home? Earth to Amazon, you’re being too heavy-handed! Before folks think I’m clobbering Amazon and talking negatively, I want to nip that right now. It’s the other way around. Amazon is clobbering me, and at the same time, clobbering my growing base of readers. I believe in a firm but mutual business relationship, one that is beneficial to readers and two, a working relationship that actually makes us both money. Let us go look at my Amazon Author page, and then I’ll explain what happened. See my Amazon Author Page by clicking this linked sentence.
If you noticed, the Kindle version for my Valinthia series is no longer offered on the paperback sales page. If you want to know who is at fault, you need to look no further than Amazon itself. All over the Internet at every other retailer who sells ebooks, you can find Defenders of Valinthia as a free download. The two sequels are at a bargain base price of $2.99 and will stay that was indefinitely. So what happened at Amazon? I could make this post into a novella by copying and pasting the emails between me and Amazon’s KDP team, but that would be detrimental. I want you to read the whole blog post in less than an hour. So I will summarize. I wanted them to make Defenders of Valinthia free for my promotional period, like it was intended and achieved at every other ebook retailer. They said… No. I asked why not? Passion of the Different is free through their price match system, and the two sequels are at the 99 Cents range on purpose. It’s a slightly older work of mine, one I thought could go on discount to introduce people to that brand of my fiction. When I originally did that four months ago, the series started to sell. People started to read it, like it, and explore the sequels. If the strategy is starting to make us both money, why not employ the same strategy for my Valinthia series?
Amazon pulled out the heavy handed club and clobbered me. Amazon controls the market, and Amazon controls the prices. If they choose to price match, it’s an Amazon decision, not the author/publisher’s decision. So I politely emailed them back, saying that the Valinthia series isn’t being looked at. I only sold one copy on Amazon since it was published. It’s selling everywhere else, and I wanted the people who shop Amazon to take notice too. That usually happens in a price based promotion, where the first book in a series is free. It will generate interest, and the sequels start to sell when readers find out the writing is something they will really enjoy. The reasonable reply I made was countered with another clobbering reply. Amazon still says no. Amazon says I need to stay in line, as it’s in their Terms of Service for me to stay in line, and be a good little publisher/author who stays silent. Amazon also forgets that I’m not just a publisher/author. I’m also a customer who provides them a product. Oh well.
If Amazon won’t benefit their customer base, their avid fans who have yet to find me among the sea of thousands of other titles, it’s their own fault. I politely tried. I really did. Seeing that they won’t price match Defenders of Valinthia to gain attention for those who love the genre it’s intended for, I don’t want to alienate any readers who pay for it at Amazon, just to find out that it’s free everywhere else. This was only intended as a temporary promotion. Because Amazon clobbered me, and our ability to make money together, and to keep our customers/readers happy together, I had to remove the Kindle edition from Amazon’s digital shelves and make the marketing strategy a permanent one at every other retailer who isn’t Amazon. The paperbacks are still there, and the Passion Trilogy still retains its Kindle format because well, they’re selling. They’re getting sharp reviews. Customers are enjoying the novels, like any author would want for their work. Do you know what it does to my very name though, to pay $2.99 for Defenders of Valinthia, just to have them find out it’s free everywhere else? They won’t blame the store. They’ll blame the publisher/author, because most readers are under the assumption that the publisher/author has 100% price control at Amazon, which isn’t true. I can’t have that dark cloud forming over my writing. Because Amazon won’t acknowledge a winning marketing strategy that benefits readers and earns sales, and basically tells me to shut up about it… not in those words, but in a broad, general form of legal speak, I won’t punish my future readers. It’s bad enough I removed the Kindle editions from the paperback sales pages at Amazon, but I had little choice. I don’t want to offend new readers to my series through a pricing equality issue.
So, the moment that the Passion Trilogy stops selling at Amazon and just sits there, I will pull their Kindle editions from Amazon as well. I want all of my Kindle edition novels made available at Amazon. I really didn’t want to pull the Kindle files from that platform. Like I said, if Amazon continues to make their publishers/authors look like the bad guys in the price/marketing departments, authors like me who really care about their readers won’t have a choice but to pull their products. But hey, I’m only talking about Amazon here. Everywhere else that ebooks are sold, I’m in full control of pricing and promotions. Nothing is surrendered there. It’s all good, their markets and readers are benefitting. Both series, the Passion Trilogy and Valinthia Saga, are being discovered and selling at those online stores. If Amazon wakes up and stops clobbering me over the head, then they can share in that strategy as well.
Now I’m done talking about that major thorn in my side, one of the bigger questions I probably generated is, “Where are your ebooks books being offered at?” I’m going to make a list and provide major linking here, so look for your favored retailer that’s not Amazon and go pick up a few freebie novels today! If you like the beginning ebook of either series, the sequels are there in all their glory, right where they should be! Please note; you’ll be seeing my non-fiction ebooks as well in these links, so select your choices carefully. One is adult themed, and not meant for the under-age. (It’s a self-help book about sex. Yeah, I wrote one of those a few years back.) (Second Note: Not all the retailers have my most recent release available yet, Heroes of Valinthia, at the time of this post. The processing is in place. Expect to see it everywhere within a few weeks, if it’s not visible today in any of the following places I’m about to list!)
Smashwords is a good place to start! Every ebook format ever produced for one price, including Kindle! Just scroll down to see the list of every book I have on sale.
Another great online retailer is Barnes & Noble, who is my largest download/sales platform over every other retailer. I love those guys over there. They help me to help my readers, and the reviews reflect it. They also recently expanded into the International market, taking my fiction global.
The next market responsible for awesome downloads and sales is at the Apple iBook Store. Those folks are superb at getting my books made available in 50 different countries, world-wide. It’s very exciting for a writer like me!
Sony Ebooks has an online store I’m gaining popularity with, as their readers also benefit from getting my series starter novels for free. Those folks are cool as all get out. They update my changes quickly, and for that, I’m thankful for their hard work in getting my fiction to their customer base. Thanks Sony!
Did I mention that most of my short stories are also free? They cross many genre, from horror to fairytale fantasy to science fiction, but the $0 prices are for readers to discover my writing. I won’t be upping that at all on those title. It’s closing in on Christmas, send some of those links to people you love and say here, look, those titles are free forever now! Enjoy! Merry Christmas! Oh, apologies, the links aren’t done. I’m in more online stores than ever these days! Onwards with the list and links!
I’m also over at Kobo Ebooks! Their search engine is a little more broad than the others, so there’s like 46 titles, but only twelve of them are actually mine, and they’re all mostly the first ones. While they’re a little less subtle on their search engines, you’ll notice that different books in different markets will have different reviews. I find the differences fascinating. One place will love a short story, another not so much, hehe. Still, Kobo rocks! It’s a great place to find ebooks, especially since they list mine as well. ^_^
Diesel Ebooks is another great online retailer for my novels. Every time I visit over there, I see improvements to their selections, improvements to their user interface, and just well, a great place to find my books if you have their website on your favorite retailer’s list. What makes Diesel rock is you can earn store credit just by writing reviews. The amount you’ll get is listed right there on the ebook sales page. Also, read the reviews there from a reader who wrote her honest opinion about the Passion Trilogy. Good stuff, makes me blush in such a good way.
I’m also listed at three companies that I can’t link directly to my ebooks. Why? They create the software for specific devices that sells ebooks, like tablets and phones, that the PC cannot normally access through a direct channel. You may have heard of them, you may not. One is called Page Foundry. They list ebooks through various gadgets. I’m linking to their company sites here, not the ebooks themselves. In order to find me, you must have the gadget they’re listed on, and search for my name from there. Another one, which requires specific software, is called Blio. While the parent company is called Baker & Taylor, another software ebook outlet through them is called Axis 360. Why these places rock is more than just carrying my ebooks. They’re embracing ebook distributors like Smashwords by providing their customers with access to great fiction and non-fiction.
As you can see, Daniel A. Roberts and his writing is just about everywhere. (I do not talk about myself in the third person often, but it sure sounded interesting to try it! lol!) I’m there for more than just customers and readers. I want to entertain these people with my writing. To give their investment of time and money something of value. Look how much we pay just to see a movie, which is done and over with in short order. You can own it outside of the theater, but at another cost. With an ebook, you own it forever, and you can revisit the pages and enjoy the theater of the mind years down the road, and it never seems to get old.
I want to wish everyone who sat through a little more than two thousand words of this post, a very Merry Christmas. I will still come back here and post updates about my novels and other things, but today, you got an eyeful. Thank you for your time. I will be updating again next week, but it will have nothing to do with Amazon. It will have everything to do about future projects, what I’m currently writing about, and why my next release will be my final non-fiction ebook about a very sensitive subject. Some of you who know me well will understand. Others who don’t know me so well will get to know me in powerful detail, as this subject has a fifteen year history with me and my family. The subject? Autism.
Until next week, have a safe December. Stay warm!