One year ago I struggled with the decision to publish my fourth book. The upfront costs to me include new book formatting fees (at least $100), new book fees and proof costs through Ingram’s Lightning Source ($105) for POD “print-on-demand”, plus the cost of ordering copies at a reduced price to sell locally ($100+). I hesitated with this decision because I had no certainty of big sales, considering the small market I might have for a local personal memoir.
I started writing and publishing books back in 2008. This has been a generally positive experience for me, but things have certainly changed recently. The full extent of these changes was revealed to me in this past month by one of my new readers. She was excited about purchasing my book, because she had just bought a home near here. She contacted me through e-mail and reported back to me what she had paid for a “NEW” copy of my book on Amazon. She even shared her invoice with me. From this I could easily see that the book she had purchased was not POD and not new, meaning that neither my printer or I would be reimbursed for this purchase.
But amazingly enough, there has been a silver lining for me in all of these disturbing discoveries. I have started building some great relationships with my readers! I have discovered that they are truly on my side against the big, bad book industry. That reader who shared her invoice with me, returned her book this week and ordered a “fair trade” copy directly from me. I am slowly convincing other readers to buy only from me, instead of buying “fake new” or used copies where the author receives nothing from the sale.
If nothing else, this movement has renewed my faith in the generosity and thoughtfulness of my readers. They seem to enjoy having a personal relationship with me as a fellow human being, instead of the harsh, impersonal experience of ordering a book from a multinational corporation. And, BTW, I have made back my investment in my new memoir, but only by working directly with my readers.
I started sharing my e-mail address online over a year ago, because I love hearing from readers or potential readers. I’ve also learned how much fun it is to work directly with you! Contrary to what you might think, I love to hear from you! Ask me about my books and how I ended up crowning myself the “Midlife Crisis Queen.” Learn from the mistakes I made when I lost my job at age 49. See why I developed such a strong interest in midlife psychology. Tell me what you are trying to learn in your own life, and I will tell you if I can help.
Reading and books are always about relationships and I love building new ones!
Well, it finally happened, or at least I first heard about it this week. I learned from one of my new readers that she bought a “NEW” copy of my book through Amazon. My books are print-on-demand (POD), so I waited to see a sale on my Lightning Source sales page. Guess what? No book was printed and they showed no sale…ever!
It’s official. Amazon is now selling new copies of my books without paying me a dime! I don’t know how or how long this has been going on. The only reason I heard about it this time is that I knew the buyer, and she sent me a copy of the Amazon invoice. They sold my book for under $7 without charging for postage. Yes, books can be very cheap when they stop paying authors altogether.
The way this system is supposed to work is that Amazon sends a request to my printer (Lightning Source) to print a copy and they send it to Amazon. I am the only one who is supposed to be able to buy new copies from the printer at a discounted rate, to sale direct to local customers. Apparently Amazon has found a way around that system now.
You would think a book company would not want to screw over their own authors. WRONG!
Amazon will screw over anyone for their own profits.