Thursday, 20 February 2014

Amazon - Knight In Shining Armour or Emisssary of the Dark Side

Okay so I‘m not the greatest author in the world. Maybe I will never make the best seller lists but that’s no excuse for ripping me off.

As Indie authors we know how difficult and time consuming it can be promoting our books. Sometimes I feel like Hansel lost in a forest of social media never able to find my way out with new trees being planted around me all the time. HELP!!! Then one day I discovered a clearing in the wood. It wasn’t a house made of candy but an enormous edifice called Amazon - pretty appropriate for an empire in the forest!

I was enticed inside with the promise of self publishing on Amazon’s incredible electronic device called the Kindle. Amazon dangled before my eyes a dazzling array of world wide distribution rights and sales channels. I was tempted. Well more than tempted actually. I didn’t think twice. No more submitting work to publishing houses who just weren’t interested or agents who were even less so. The publishing dragon had been slain, or so I thought.

At the moment I am wondering if Amazon is my Knight In Shining Armour or an Emissary of the Dark Side. 

WHY the sudden change of heart?

It’s all down to personal experience.
My first published book on Amazon’s Kindle was a novella entitled ‘A Christmas Carol Revisited’. It had received an excellent review on BBC Radio Wales and in December 2012 the New York City Bar Association adapted it for a concert in the City Bar Building in Manhattan that proved a great success. I duly got some sales on Amazon.

So far so good, with Christmas fast approaching I bombarded my Twitter (4,000+) account with promotional tweets courtesy of Social Oomph. APOLOGIES TO ALL MY TWITTER FOLLOWERS I BOMBARDED!!!! Guest bloggers promoted it on their sites and my Google+ groups also got the full treatment! While I wasn’t expecting to top the best seller list I was expecting some sales. Some hope, NADA, NOTHING, NOWT!!! Not one measly sale showed up in my reports for November or December. I had more sales on Create Space and I hadn't done any promotion for any of them.

Okay, you’re probably thinking this is the case of another deluded would be writer with no talent and less hope having a gripe. You may be right but unfortunately my experience is not unique.  John R Clark, Managing Editor at Age View Press wrote on this very issue under the title:

Alright! Seems like there might just be a wicked witch lurking in them thar woods. So, what to do?
As I see it we can sit back and hope things improve OR do something about it ourselves.
BUT WHAT - How can we possible influence the LEVIATHAN that AMAZON has become?

I have an idea. Take a look at the lottery widget on the right sidebar.
What I propose is that we set up our own AUTHOR’S LOTTERY using the free widget (see sidebar).
Instead of winning money everybody who opts in would have to agree to buy or download the winning author’s book (reasonably priced or free!) either from Amazon or from the Author’s website.
At least this way the winner each week would know for certain that their book had been downloaded x number of times and could check with their Amazon Sales Reports. It would also give most Author’s a much needed boost as well as a little income. Everything would of course be based on TRUST.

Every Friday at 11.00 GMT I would click the ‘Pick a new Lotto Number’ button on this blog.
The author whose number was drawn would be notified. His/her name and details of where to download his/her book would be publicized on this blog.


To show your commitment all you need do is enter your email address and name in the subscription box. Once you have done this I will allocate a number. Mine for example is 1.
I will set up another page on the blog with each other’s name next to their allocated number.
I am using a free version of GET RESPONSE software for the simple reason if not enough interest is shown after posting this blog I will abandon the idea. I don’t intend wasting money pointlessly also. . .
AS A WRITER YOU ALL KNOW HOW PRECIOUS TIME IS! None of us can afford to waste it.

Hopefully enough of us will grasp the potential of what authors can do if we decide to stand together and help each other.

To make it worth your while subscribing I plan to run a number of courses designed to help you promote your books using social media. These will be delivered by email and the first course focuses on Twitter. It's called The Twitter Authors Marketing Crash Course. Some of the things you will learn about include:

  • The man who has made it his business to help authors build their readership on Twitter.
  • Free tools that will make your Twitter marketing extremely effective.
  • Integrating Twitter tools in Wordpress.
  • How to chat in 'real time' with your followers.
  • How to schedule regular postings using free or paid tools.
  • The basic rule you MUST follow.
  • Mistakes to avoid at all cost.
Please email me if you have any thoughts or suggestions at
WARNING: I am a married man and therefore impervious to abuse.

I think its's time for us Kindle authors to circle the wagons! What about you?

Next Week
Expand Your Literary Horizons.
Also - update on the Author's Lottery.

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