I’d intended to write a different sort of post today (something I’ve been meaning to do for a week or so now) but something happened earlier which has left me slightly amused and more than a little perplexed. So, in times like these, I turn to my blog like most of the kids do these days, and air my grievances for all to see.
Right. As regular readers know, ALT is out now. I’ve made no secret of it. Like any author with a book for sale, I try to get the word out and keep the book in the public forum for as long as possible. Twitter is one of the ways I do this. Every day, usually in the morning, I’ll send out a tweet about ALT. Sometimes there’s a link to the website. Sometimes there’s a link to the book discussion. And sometimes there’s a link to the Amazon Kindle page (which is the lowest price point). I’ll probably switch things up soon so that it points to Smashwords, too. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Today, like every week day (I rarely send the ALT tweets on the weekends), I did what I usually do.
Then I went about my day. A couple of hours later, I started seeing retweets about some bookseller ranting about direct links to Amazon. For most of the day I thought I might have been a catalyst since our tweets sync on the time line, but it seems that isn’t so. Unless, of course, I’m an expert on bookselling (doubtful). In any case, I discovered earlier that this fellow had blocked me for reasons unknown, but which I suspect had to do with my direct link to ALT’s Amazon page.
To play devil’s advocate for a moment, I can understand his venom. Amazon is, to some extent, killing indie booksellers. Why drive across town to a store when you can order a book and have it delivered the next day? Or have it delivered wirelessly in seconds? The industry is changing, and it’s unfortunate that the Mom & Pop shops are feeling the worst of it.
But, as a publisher and an author, I can’t afford to have any illusions about where my sales are going to come from. Amazon is the biggest kid on the playground right now, with the biggest audience, and it’s just so damn easy to buy something from them. I fully expect 75% to 90% of ALT’s sales to come from Amazon. That’s a fact.
However, I’m not adverse to selling the book in other venues. It’s on B&N. It’s on Smashwords. It’s on iBooks and the Nook store. It’s in Powell’s. It’s soon going to be sold by Foozago. I’ll be updating the ALT site shortly to reflect these things. I support all of these – but I’ll support Amazon more, because more people are going to shop from Amazon than they will the others. I’m partial because I have to be.
Part of the guy’s tweets just seem like rants, like he’s been bottling it up for a while and just wanted to get it off his chest. That’s fine. Everyone should do that. But to say you’ll cut off orders because you saw an author linking directly to Amazon? And then block people (including potential customers) because they have a dissenting opinion? Fuck that. If he’s not happy about the current status quo, he should be spending his time brainstorming ways to trump Amazon rather than bitch about it on the internet. If he wants authors to start tweeting links directly to his shop rather than Amazon, he needs to give them a reason to.
Tomorrow I’m going to do my daily ALT tweet. It will probably be a link to Amazon. That’s the way it’s going to be for a while.
So there ends my own rant. A real post will probably follow tomorrow. Feel free to chime in with your own opinion. I won’t block or ban you if it’s contrary to my post. I’m not a dick like that.