Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Amazon Missteps

There have been some new changes to those who indie publish on Amazon. This will affect those who publish exclusively, and for those looking for a publishing contract. The new ad system and the loss of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.

The new ad system is only available to KDP Select members. It is listed as Promote and Advertise. This will create clickable ads for consumers that leads to the product's Amazon page.

I've done ads like these, they don't work so well. I'm doubtful about the efficiency of the ads themselves, and I don't like the $100 minimum. That is the amount that has to be put in for these ads. Whether they work or not, Amazon profits $100 per participant. A $25 or $50 would be more reasonable, as authors wouldn't lost out on much if the ads do little for their sales.

A $100 could go towards purchasing a decent book cover. It can cover domain costs for a personal website. Buy a nice WordPress template or two. An author can stock up on some physical books to sell at events. They can spend the money paying contest fees and get their book some awards.

I won't be using it, and I don't feel anyone else should either. 

Next on the list is the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award (ABNA, as I don't want to type that out anymore) is gone. It is now rolled into Kindle Scout. This means there is no ABNA for 2015. If you were looking forward for a chance of a publishing contract with Amazon, it has to go through Kindle Scout.

This is a major loss of value to Createspace. This was Createspace's deal. Once a year authors would submit their work in a chance to be picked up by Amazon Publishing, of which there were multiple prizes if their book was selected. It was an incentive to choose Createspace over other POD services that are not being boycotted by most bookstores.

Restricted genre choices. Kindle Scout only accepts three genres at the moment: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Thriller, and Romance. The ABNA had more options which included General Fiction and YA Fiction. It may be true that those may be allowed if the book is "squeezed" into those categories, but it is still a downgrade from what was originally available.

The Grand Prize Winner of the ABNA would receive a $50,000 advance and contract, and other first prize winners would receive a $15,000 advance and contracts. With Kindle Scout, everyone gets a flat $1,500 advance upon signing. This is a rather deep cut on spending.

I would have liked the ABNA to be reformed if the prize money was the issue. Maybe the Grand Prize Winner has a $20,000 advance, and first prize winners $7,500. That seems manageable. It would also keep value in Createspace and allow more genres to participate. 

If you were looking forward to the ABNA, sorry. If you think those ads are going to help you, sorry.