Doomsayers and fearmongers
I keep reading articles about how the self publishing industry is being attacked by Amazon and we are all going to die. Okay not that bad but it feels like it some days. They never seem to have any joy or hope in their articles. In here I wanted to look at some of the myths out there and have a go at shedding some light.
1. Free books are banned from reviews.
I saw someone complaining that we should stop giving away free books as you can't review them because Amazon said so. First of all the quote they use isn't about free books, it is about being an Amazon customer who has actually bought stuff instead of free things. I get this. it is a great way to attack Bots and scammers who sign up and download a few free books then start reviewing. Instead Amazon expects people to have bought a significant amount, I've heard it is $20 but don't quote me on that, before people can review. In fact Amazon would prefer reviews from books given away free because there is less of a connection between the author and the reviewer. This is to maintain some robustness to the whole system.
2. You can't know the people who do reviews.
Okay this one has a caveat. Anyone who is vaguely a friend or family can't review your books but bloggers are not considered friends. And yes you can give them a free book. There is a caveat in the Zon rules just for this particular situation. That is because this is how the big five get their reviews. They have set reviewers who they send a free book to and they write reviews. They even pay people for reviews so for the Zon to say you can't give away books for reviews they would be shooting themselves in the foot. Also don't be stupid and let Amazon into your Facebook. That way they can see who you are talking to and friends with and they will delete those reviews. Also when you copy the link make sure you only take the first part and not the tracking stuff at the end of the address. Amazon can see that you sent out the link when you do this.
3. That Amazon don't like self published authors.
Amazon wants products it can sell. Self published authors are now producing half of the books out there. Half. For Amazon to do anything mean to self published authors is just stupid when it comes to supply and demand. I think this rumour has been started by traditional publishers as it serves them if self publishers start to worry as they are their biggest competitor.
4. KU is from the devil
KU was brilliant at one stage. It made Amazon a lot of money. The thing is everyone wanted a piece of the pie and then of course that slice got smaller and smaller. The payout isn't nearly as nice as it used to be but there are still some benefits. It does mean that going wide is more favorable at the moment as there are fewer authors there. Though I must say it is pretty sad that Pronoun crashed and burned.
There are some things that Amazon does that are weird and slightly evil. Most companies make sure there is a transparency among departments but there is a reason why the right hand doesn't know what the left is doing is a saying. But Amazon is as transparent as thirty inch steel. We seem to think that the Zon should share things with authors like we are part of the business. We aren't. We are customers as much as the readers. This is normal. I'm on other sites where vendors share a site. I don't know the names of the other vendors let alone what else is happening on the site, but I get paid and that is all I expect. Frankly, Amazon pays me for books, makes it easy to be published and tells me up to date sales info. I won't be looking at teeth any time soon on this gift horse.