I read an article over on Writer Beware! about Amazon reviewers ripping books with a one-star rating because they didn’t like the publisher’s eBook pricing policy.
They went out to Amazon.com and left scathing reviews on an author’s piece of work, a chunk of their life, because the reader didn’t like the price.
I can’t wrap my mental arms around that at all. Not at all. This is similar to my buddy Yellowcat (with whom I don’t always agree) receiving bad tips because the restaurant is too cold, or too hot, or isn’t decorated the right way, or the food was late coming out, or for any other reason she can’t control.
Unless the book is self-published (and these aren’t, these are major authors from major publishing houses), the author has no control, at all, over the price of their eBook. None. Zero. The publishers set that, and they often get backlash from Amazon about the policy too.
The embattled publishers unanimous cry is “We’re a business too! We have to recover our cost no matter the book’s format! Have mercy! Pay our prices! Don’t let big mean Amazon bully us into reasonable pricing! Costs! COSTS! We HAZ DEM!” But Joe Konrath did a pretty scathing job of dismantling those claims on his blog, and no one can say he doesn’t know what the publishing industry is like, because he was a relatively successful mid-list author for a long time before he jumped to self-publishing eBooks and blowing the industry away. Check out his blog if you’re curious: A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing.
As a self-publisher, if your eBook is priced out of the market with other books like it, or the general consumer doesn’t find your talent level worth the ask price of your product, then you’re not able to deflect those one-star ratings you get. You earned them. But if you’re a publishing house author who can’t control their own title, never mind pricing, what can you do in defense of your work? How can you stop your book from sinking like a Bumpy Brownfish to the bottom of the toilet?
This is yet another reason why I don’t like the gatekeeper system for publishing, why I think eBooks can and SHOULD extinct that model if not its self-aggrandized and self-important, overly-subjective POS archaic industry as a whole. I hope it does, actually. I’m not afraid of the gatekeeper system, but I’m not the huge proponent of it I used to be, either. And I don’t need it for validation of my ability anymore. Why should I? All that means is that a few opinions – nothing more – of my work aligned to get me on a shelf somewhere and the publicity and marketing is still going to be largely my responsibility. Why should I do that for a paltry share of profit and a weak advance?
What do you other writers think? How about YOU, readers? Do you like having someone else determine what you can and can’t get to read, or do you want that power yourself? And would you trash a writer because of a policy of a publisher the way these readers have? or would you rate the book rather than the publisher on the book site?
Sound off, let me know, and most of all have an awesome weekend!
God bless you all,
©DarcKnyt All rights reserved
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