Home « Forum « Author Hangout

Forum: Author Hangout

Amazon - KDP Select

G Younger

Has anyone used this?

They have some rules that make me scratch my head, but I'm wondering if the benefits outweigh the restrictions.

Thanks in advance.

G Younger

richardshagrin

there are lots of reasons to be wary of all kinds of Amazons. The mythological female warriors, the very large river in the jungle with snakes and other dangerous creatures living in it, and the corporation where it is their way or the highway. It appears to be difficult to negotiate with any of them. If you are willing to do whatever they decide and for them to own the stories you place in their power in perpetuity, I hope the money you make makes it worth while. They are very customer centric, and authors are not their customers. Good luck finding someone to accept your complaints, if you have some, never mind changing things the way you want.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@richardshagrin

Really? You think this thread is already dead? I, for one, was hoping someone would know the answer. :(

AJ

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@G Younger


Has anyone used this?


Yes, me (for one of my two novels).

My novel "Sexual Awakening" initially was not enrolled in the KDP Select program even though it was exclusive to Amazon (being exclusive is a requirement to be in the program).

But over time sales dwindled so I enrolled it in Select. I'm glad I did. Amazon customers who can read your novel in the KU (Kindle Unlimited) program are more likely to do that with an unknown author than buying the book. So all those pages read is found money.

Now my latest novel, "Last Kiss," is not in Select. Someday I might enroll it in Select.

Crumbly Writer

This has been discussed by Indie Authors endlessly, both here and on every other author forum in existence.

While Amazon seems like a boon, few published authors trust Amazon, as their terms always favor themselves, while they give authors little to show for their efforts.

KDP Select is an interesting twist, as it pays you for how much of your stories readers 'borrow' for free. Thus, they offer their readers the ability to NOT buy your book, but give you a pittance of what they would have paid if they had.

At one time, new authors swore on it, but only because they were gaming the system, writing serial novels of only 10,000 words (hardly more than a single chapter in a very long book), so they could receive the full credit for a 'complete book read' while only taking a month or less to produce each volume.

However, Amazon cracked down on that practice, now making it even more difficult to make any money with their practice.

I resisted, like most authors who're serious about their work, but gave in a gave it a try. One problem with Amazon, is while they report great sales figures, their payments NEVER seem to match what they claim you've sold, yet they fudge the reporting periods, so you can never directly correlate their many reports. Thus I no longer trust ANY statistics that Amazon releases about sales or author profits.

In my limited case, my book—never a big seller in any case—didn't sell any more than it would have otherwise, and the book—requiring that I couldn't sell or offer it anywhere else for three full months, including on my own website—didn't produce any subsequent sales.

Normally, any new sales on a new outlet represent new customers, so you'd expect they'd purchase your other books if they appreciated your book. However, this simply doesn't happen with KDP Select. Amazon offers it so readers get FREE books and movies as an enticement for signing up free-deliveries—guaranteeing that Amazon will make a FORTUNE in sales. Unfortunately, none of those readers are 'purchasers' of books. So while Amazon pays you pennies per book (generally around 50 cents for each book, regardless of the retail price), it doesn't make your work any more popular with readers, or boost your sales at all. And this isn't just me reporting my own sales, this has been reported across the board.

You can try it if you want, but it's better building your own client base instead. Unlike Select customers, they'll reward you for maintaining your quality. Once you determine your pricing sweet-spot, you can maximize profits. (Note: Many SOL readers will purchase your books, after they've already read it for free, simply to encourage you to continue writing (the others are generally on a limited income, so they trade positive feedback for their reading pleasure), so don't buy Amazon's 'cheaper is always best' argument!)

Replies:   Dominions Son  GySgtDave
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@G Younger

Crumbly gave a negative view of KDP Select based on the author forums he participates on. I haven't heard that from the wattpad club published authors participate in.

In fact, there's an author who made it big. So big he's thinking about quitting his day job. He lucked out because some famous Fantasy author said on his blog that if you read only one Fantasy book all year, read his (Alec Hutson's "The Crimson Queen").

Alec has a thread on wattpad discussing his publishing journey. Even after all these months he sells thousands each month. Why am I bringing this up? Because in his thread, he once said he finally enrolled his novel in the Select program and wished he had done it from day one). Unlike me, he did it while his book is still selling well.

Here are his novel's rankings as of right now:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank:

#888 Paid in Kindle Store (he used to be in the Top 100)

#10 in Kindle Store > Prime Reading > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy

#18 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Sword & Sorcery

#18 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Sword & Sorcery

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

While Amazon seems like a boon, few published authors trust Amazon, as their terms always favor themselves, while they give authors little to show for their efforts.


From everything I have read, the traditional dead tree publishers don't treat most authors any better than Amazon.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

In fact, there's an author who made it big. So big he's thinking about quitting his day job. He lucked out because some famous Fantasy author said on his blog that if you read only one Fantasy book all year, read his (Alec Hutson's "The Crimson Queen").

Alec has a thread on wattpad discussing his publishing journey. Even after all these months he sells thousands each month. Why am I bringing this up? Because in his thread, he once said he finally enrolled his novel in the Select program and wished he had done it from day one). Unlike me, he did it while his book is still selling well.

I don't doubt he's done very well, and for those authors with a broad appeal, it's definitely the way to go. But I've long recognized that I play to a very select and small readership, as my writing is very particular (I write the kinds of stories that I like to read, not the kind that everyone else likes to read).

As such, I recognize that I'll never become a millionaire author. Like most here on SOL, I'm happy for the recognition and support that my loyal fans offer me.

For the authors who write the kinds of things that everyone wants to read, it pays to give it away for free so even More people will read it, and seek out your other stories.

However, in my case, since I'm dealing with a small but dedicated readership, my sales are Not price sensitive. I'll sell just as many at $5.99 as I do offering them for free. Thus I price my books for the maximum return for me! However, I wouldn't advise other authors to follow my lead. Instead, I advise them to study their readership, and learn what they're market will support.

I suspect, most here on SOL will have very limited sales, so they key is to maximize your limited returns, rather than seeking the ever elusive golden grail that few, if any, manage to ever grasp.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

From everything I have read, the traditional dead tree publishers don't treat most authors any better than Amazon.

But what they do, is to undercut the traditional publishers, hurting those authors and cutting their sales (by not offering traditionally published authors the same search algorithms that Amazon offers it's own books).

Traditional publishers don't offer much, but they'll back you and support you across multiple books. With Amazon, one hundred-thousand selling book doesn't mean any more than a print run of twelve. They're only interested in volume publishing by a gazillion wanna-be authors.

Ernest Bywater

In previous threads on this I've said a lot, and they can be found in the archives. However, the one thing I will always say when anyone mentions Amazon is to read their terms in full and with great care. Below are copies of some important parts you need to be aware of:

3 Term and Termination
The term of this Agreement will begin upon your acceptance of it and will continue until it is terminated by us or by you. We are entitled to terminate this Agreement and your access to your Program account at any time. We will notify you upon termination. You are entitled to terminate at any time by providing us notice of termination, in which event we will cease selling your Digital Books within 5 business days from the date you provide us notice of termination. We may also suspend your Program account at any time with or without notice to you, for any reason in our discretion. Following termination or suspension, we may fulfill any customer orders for your Digital Books pending as of the date of termination or suspension, and we may continue to maintain digital copies of your Digital Books in order to provide continuing access to or re-downloads of your Digital Books or otherwise support customers who have purchased a Digital Book prior to termination or suspension. The following provisions of this Agreement will survive termination of this Agreement: Sections 1, 3, 5.4, 5.5, 5.6, 5.7, 5.8, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and any other provisions that, by their nature, are intended to survive. All rights to Digital Books acquired by customers will survive termination.

5.5 Grant of Rights.
You grant to each Amazon party, throughout the term of this Agreement, a nonexclusive, irrevocable, right and license to distribute Digital Books, directly and through third-party distributors, in all digital formats by all digital distribution means available. This right includes, without limitation, the right to: (a) reproduce, index and store Digital Books on one or more computer facilities, and reformat, convert and encode Digital Books; (b) display, market, transmit, distribute, sell and otherwise digitally make available all or any portion of Digital Books through Amazon Properties (as defined below), for customers and prospective customers to download, access, copy and paste, print, annotate and/or view online and offline, including on portable devices; (c) permit customers to "store" Digital Books that they have purchased from us on servers ("Virtual Storage") and to access and re-download such Digital Books from Virtual Storage from time to time both during and after the term of this Agreement; (d) display and distribute (i) your trademarks and logos in the form you provide them to us or within Digital Books (with such modifications as are necessary to optimize their viewing), and (ii) portions of Digital Books, in each case solely for the purposes of marketing, soliciting and selling Digital Books and related Amazon offerings; (e) use, reproduce, adapt, modify, and distribute, as we determine appropriate, in our sole discretion, any metadata that you provide in connection with Digital Books; and (f) transmit, reproduce and otherwise use (or cause the reformatting, transmission, reproduction, and/or other use of) Digital Books as mere technological incidents to and for the limited purpose of technically enabling the foregoing (e.g., caching to enable display). In addition, you agree that we may permit our affiliates and independent contractors, and our affiliates' independent contractors, to exercise the rights that you grant to us in this Agreement. "Amazon Properties" means any web site, application or online point of presence, on any platform, that is owned or operated by or under license by Amazon or co-branded with Amazon, and any web site, application, device or online point of presence through which any Amazon Properties or products available for sale on them are syndicated, offered, merchandised, advertised or described. You grant us the rights set forth in this Section 5.5 on a worldwide basis; however, if we make available to you a procedure for indicating that you do not have worldwide distribution rights to a Digital Book, then the territory for the sale of that Digital Book will be those territories for which you indicate, through the procedure we provide to you, that you have distribution rights.

Please note in these you give Amazon the irrevocable right to license and distribute your work. Which means, once you let them have at it they can sell it from now until doomsday and you can't stop them. Their full terms also lets them sell the book to anyone they like for any price they wish to sell it for.

It's a lot more involved than that, but you essential give up all control of any book you place directly with Amazon.

Replies:   Joe Long
Joe Long

@Ernest Bywater

You can terminate the agreement but they still own your book forever. Oh-kay.

Switch Blayde

@Joe Long

You can terminate the agreement but they still own your book forever. Oh-kay.


They have to. If someone buys the ebook, Amazon can't take it away from them.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

They have to. If someone buys the ebook, Amazon can't take it away from them.


Switch,

If someone buys the e-book the buyer should be able to keep that copy. Mind you, there have already been 2 cases where Amazon used their links to Kindle to erase sold books from buyers storage on the Kindle.

However, the point jplong was mentioning is under the Amazon terms you can cancel your account by terminating the agreement, and Amazon can continue to sell your book.

Replies:   rustyken  Crumbly Writer
rustyken

@Ernest Bywater

Amazon used their links to Kindle to erase sold books from buyers storage on the Kindle.


And Amazon refunded the purchase price, right?
ROFL

Cheers, RustyKen

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@rustyken


And Amazon refunded the purchase price, right?


sort of, they gave the people an in-store credit of the same amount, despite most of the buyers not being regular buyers from Amazon - and the people bitched about it claiming Amazon should have re-credited their credit cards used to make the payments because they now had to go and buy the book from someone else. Check the news archives it made a big stink at the time. There were two titles within a few months of each other.

Crumbly Writer

@Joe Long

You can terminate the agreement but they still own your book forever. Oh-kay.

That's mainly to guarantee that Amazon can continue selling your published books (via their resale market) once you've pulled your work. Also, Amazon's strategy is to store multiple copies of every book at their warehouse—without paying you for it—so they can ship it out to customers immediately, and only pay you once the sale is 'complete'. If they didn't allow that clause, they couldn't 'dump' those 'in case someone wants it' books. However, that only applies to print books they have on stock. I've never known, and have never heard, of their ever selling an ebook once an author removes it. I had a book I yanked, and Amazon continues to offer the print book to this day (offered via Createspace, an Amazon affiliate). If someone still wants to purchase it, and I get money from the sale, then more power to them!

But Ernest is right, the language is overly generic for a legal contract. However, if push comes to shove, I doubt any judge would support such an overreaching claim (assuming you had the money to fight it, in the first place).

Much of Amazon's boilerplate is left over from their earlier days, when they had plans to 'take over the world', but they scaled many of those plans back when it wouldn't fly (like shutting down each of the mainstream publishers by NOT selling any of their books). So the legacy clauses in their contracts have never been cleaned out.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

If someone buys the e-book the buyer should be able to keep that copy. Mind you, there have already been 2 cases where Amazon used their links to Kindle to erase sold books from buyers storage on the Kindle.

And the consumer response was so negative over those two cases, that Amazon swore they'd never do that again—under any circumstances. If they hadn't, no one would ever have bought any more books from Amazon if they suspected it might disappear before they ever got a chance to read it.

Still, it made sense (for Amazon) at the time. Think of the authors where someone else sells their work to Amazon under another name. Amazon wanted to be able to delete those books and return the money. They can no longer do that, as the reader now 'owns' the copy, NOT Amazon and not the author.

Sometimes, the issues can get a little messy.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Also, Amazon's strategy is to store multiple copies of every book at their warehouse—


The terms I'm quoting relate specifically to their e-book sales via Kindle, so I don't see how they can store any in the warehouse.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

I've never seen a traditional publisher's contract since none offered one to me, but from what I hear on wattpad is, when you sign it, you're selling your first born.

Authors say you should have them delete change this and that, but others say the publishers won't and you have to be willing to walk away.

robberhands

@Switch Blayde

you have to be willing to walk away.

That's the basic of every contract negotiation.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@robberhands

you have to be willing to walk away.
That's the basic of every contract negotiation.


But with contracts, there's supposed to be a negotiation. Unless you're famous, the traditional publishers will not negotiate. It's take it or leave it.

So you take it or walk away. You have the same option with Amazon.

I actually believe you're giving away less with Amazon. Some traditional publishing contracts give the publisher first option on the next book (or 2) you write. And they want all rights, like digital, print, audio, etc. Michael J Sullivan had to end his relationship with Hatchett because of that.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Switch Blayde

But with contracts, there's supposed to be a negotiation.

The less equal standing, the less negotiating, until negotiating becomes dictating. It's no fun for the less than equal counterpart.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@robberhands

negotiating becomes dictating. It's no fun for the less than equal counterpart.

I still consider it a negotiation. I think:
- 'dictating' is telling someone they have no option.
- a 'negotiation' is a process ending in one side stating a final position the other party may take or leave - they are stating their willingness to walk away. Whether or not anything precedes that final position does not change the fact it is a negotiation.

BUT, YEAH! It can totally suck having the weaker hand in a negotiation.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Ross at Play

I still consider it a negotiation.


Saying "take it or leave it" is not a negotiation. They are dictating — dictating the terms.

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

They are dictating — dictating the terms.


Which is exactly the way Amazon and most other Internet sites operate.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


They are dictating — dictating the terms.

Which is exactly the way Amazon and most other Internet sites operate.


They do. And exactly what traditional publishers do. But traditional publishers take more rights from you than Amazon.

For that matter, probably what the giants do to the smaller ones. I once read how Walmart dictates its terms to its suppliers. Don't like them? Don't sell at Walmart.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

But traditional publishers take more rights from you than Amazon.


Traditional publishers write contracts for specific periods, and when the contract runs out the author has all the rights to contract with others, and the traditional publisher can't print any more of the books in that contract unless they sign a new contract. The traditional publishers also accept some of the costs and provide other services. While Amazon demands the right to continue to sell your book forever, and insist you do everything to have the book prepared and made ready in exactly the way they want it presented to them. Both make their demands, they just have slightly different demands.

As to Walmart, they aren't the only people who put terms on what they buy. I sued to do purchasing for some companies, and if what the supplier didn't meet the terms on the order in regards to quality or time we rejected the delivery and sometimes cancelled the orders and contracts for non-performance.

In any, and every, negotiation each party has some aspects they aren't willing to make changes to, and both parties have the right to refuse to do business with the other, so they can just walk away from the situation in normal capitalist environment.

Don't like the price of the hamburgers at McDonalds, you can walk out and buy one at Burger King or another store.

Dominions Son

@Ernest Bywater

Traditional publishers write contracts for specific periods, and when the contract runs out the author has all the rights to contract with others, and the traditional publisher can't print any more of the books in that contract unless they sign a new contract.


A lot of traditional publishers in the US have required new and or less popular authors to permanently transfer the copyright to the publisher.

Joe Long

@Dominions Son

A lot of traditional publishers in the US have required new and or less popular authors to permanently transfer the copyright to the publisher.


I hold out hope that one day my book will be made into a movie, and I want royalties, dammit!

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


Traditional publishers write contracts for specific periods, and when the contract runs out the author has all the rights to contract with others, and the traditional publisher can't print any more of the books in that contract unless they sign a new contract.


Not always true. I've heard the reversion rights from traditional publishers are all in their favor. I remember one that said if your book is still in the catalog it was still "selling" and therefore the author doesn't get his rights back. Ebooks stay in the catalog forever. Several authors on wattpad bought their rights back because books weren't selling. So until the author gets his rights back, he can't publish it anywhere else even if it's not selling.

I heard the other day that some traditional contracts have a non-compete clause. So if they publish one of your stories, you can't publish a sequel with another publisher. I think someone even said if they publish a Sci-Fi book you can't publish another Sci-Fi book with another publisher. An author in the UK said that's illegal over there, but it's in some contracts.

And if you only want a traditional deal to get onto bookstore shelves, you ain't gonna get it. They get all rights: digital, print, audio, foreign, etc.


The traditional publishers also accept some of the costs and provide other services. While Amazon demands the right to continue to sell your book forever, and insist you do everything to have the book prepared and made ready in exactly the way they want it presented to them.


Which is why you get 70% royalty from Amazon, but only 15% from a traditional publisher. And to be published by one of the Big-5, you need a literary agent who takes 15% of your royalty. And worse, most traditional publishers today don't even assign editors. They expect you to pay for that before you submit. And marketing... Pretty much none is offered. When you submit to an agent or a publisher they want to know what platforms you have and what your marketing strategy will be.

ETA: And some contracts say they own the rights to your next (or next 2) novels if they want it. I remember an interview with John Fogerty (from Credence Clearwater Revival). He was almost in tears talking about his contract that said the music company had in the contract they owned his next two albums. To get out of that he gave up the copyrights to all his old songs he wrote. It's similar in book publishing.

Amazon's contracts are much more author friendly.

Ernest Bywater

@Dominions Son

A lot of traditional publishers in the US have required new and or less popular authors to permanently transfer the copyright to the publisher.


First I've heard of that happening, but it seems they're following in the footsteps of RIAA, MPAA, and Amazon.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Dominions Son

A lot of traditional publishers in the US have required new and or less popular authors to permanently transfer the copyright to the publisher.


Not the copyright. The author always keeps that. You give them publishing rights until they revert back to you.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater

Switch,

About 30 years ago I worked with a guy who had several books published. We discussed the contracts, and at the time he said the typical contracts are of two types. One is for a book or set of books, and the publisher has complete control of the book for the number of years in the contract, after that all rights reverted to the author. The other type of contract was an exclusivity contract where the publisher pays you extra each year for the number of years in the contract, and for that you have to produce a set number of books per year (usually one or two) and they can only be sold by the publisher. Each book produced has it's own contract when written.

Thus you can have something like a 5 year 2 book exclusivity contract and a 5 year publication contract for each book. What that means is: for 5 years you can't talk to another publisher about putting a book out by them, and you have to produce 2 books per year for the publisher to print. Each of those 10 books has their own publishing contract when accepted by the publisher. For 5 years from the date of the book contract only that publisher can publish the book.

Now, say an author signed the exclusivity contract on 1 Jan 2010, that means you produce 2 books a year for them in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and on 1 Jan 2015 the contract expires. Say the first book is provided and contracted on 1 Jan 2010 under a 5 year publication contract, that means the rights return to the author on 1 Jan 2015 and the author can take it anywhere after that. However, if the 2nd book for 2014 isn't contracted until 31 Dec 2014, then the publisher controls the publication of the book for the next five years, even though the author is no longer contracted to them.

Now it very likely the rules and types of contract have changed in the USA since I worked with Jim, but I suspect the basics are still very similar. However, every author has the option to walk away from any contract offered by any publisher, be they traditional or on-line, if they don't like the terms. Also, the publishers have the right to walk away if they don't like what the author is wanting in a contract or what they're offering as their book. Both parties have the right to say what they want and to reject anything they don't want. Outside of a some socialist countries, no one forces anyone to sign a contract with a publisher, the author looks at what's being offered and chooses to accept or not - be it an offer from a traditional publisher or an on-line one like Amazon or Lulu.

Some authors have accepted the contract Amazon offers, while I find some of their contract terms totally unacceptable, so i don't accept the offer and have accepted a contract from Lulu that has what i see has much more favourable terms to me. In each case each author has exercised their right to walk away from the negotiations.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


About 30 years ago


A lot has changed in 30 years. For example, back then there were no ebooks. You probably missed what I added while you were busy typing. Some reversions are simply, if the novel is still in the catalog then it's still selling. Many reversion clauses aren't by timeframe alone. They're by sales during a period of time. So for those contracts, the only way to get your rights back is to buy them back.

Did you ever see the movie "Genius" about Thomas Wolf and his editor, Max Perkins? According to the movie, it was the publisher's editor that turned a thousands-of-pages manuscript into a novel. The same editor worked with Hemingway and Fitzgerald. Times were different in the old days.

Switch Blayde

Here's the non-compete clause I mentioned. It came from Mark Lawrence, a Fantasy author people on wattpad recognized. This is how he introduced himself, "Hey all. I'm a traditionally published fantasy author and I guess I can call myself established. My work is in 23 languages now."

Here's his comment:

With very few exceptions all traditionally published authors have a non-compete clause that forbids them from self-publishing in the same "area" as their other books.

GySgtDave

@Crumbly Writer

I am constantly throwing money at SOL authors. If I have liked the first few chapters of a book I will contact the author and send some money his way to get the whole book as soon as it is finished as opposed to waiting for them to post it chapter by chapter and then if there is a sequel I will preemptively send them money.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

The terms I'm quoting relate specifically to their e-book sales via Kindle, so I don't see how they can store any in the warehouse.

I believe their contract terms apply to both cases—especially now that they're offering to automatically convert ebooks into print books for you. Since they've NEVER tried to sell any ebooks I or anyone else has removed from circulation—but do keep offering the print books they've never yet paid me for, I don't object to the practice, as long as it doesn't continue past the few copies they keep on hand for 'prompt delivery' (as far as I understand, only 5 or so books for the largely 'unrecognized' authors).

As long as the sales continue coming to me, I don't mind what games they play until they do.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I've never seen a traditional publisher's contract since none offered one to me, but from what I hear on wattpad is, when you sign it, you're selling your first born.

Most have a 'reserve clause', at the very least, which not only says you CAN'T publish anywhere else until you've published a set amount of books with that publisher, but most also refuse to pay you for audio books—even without your approval!

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Saying "take it or leave it" is not a negotiation. They are dictating — dictating the terms.

Once you have SOMETHING to negotiate with (say a proven sales record, or enough glowing reviews to promise a potential market), then you'll have something to negotiate. Why they hell should they enter negotiation with someone with nothing to offer them. In that case, they're simply offering you a 'standard' contract. Like with most publishers, you simply don't submit a book if you don't consent to the basic contract. You ONLY negotiate if they reach out to you, offering you a deal. THEN you have something to negotiate!

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

Traditional publishers write contracts for specific periods, and when the contract runs out the author has all the rights to contract with others, and the traditional publisher can't print any more of the books in that contract unless they sign a new contract.

Not quite. Often, the contract is for a # of books, and until you meet the contract, you can't sell ANYWHERE else for ANY amount of time. What's more, once you enter into the contract, they have a set amount of time (often 15+ years) where they can continue to sell your books, even AFTER you've walked away from the contract and settle with someone else. They OWN your ass in the interim! No if, and or buts!

Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

First I've heard of that happening, but it seems they're following in the footsteps of RIAA, MPAA, and Amazon.

Yes, Amazon is following in the footsteps of Amazon, while the music industry is following the footsteps of their legal arm, the MPAA!

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

especially now that they're offering to automatically convert ebooks into print books for you.


Any idea how good a job they do?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Not the copyright. The author always keeps that. You give them publishing rights until they revert back to you.

If they 'reserve the right to publish the book as long as they like', without a specific termination clause, and they also include a 'non-compete' clause, then they've essentially transferred the copyright in everything but the name and title!

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


If they 'reserve the right to publish the book as long as they like', without a specific termination clause, and they also include a 'non-compete' clause, then they've essentially transferred the copyright in everything but the name and title!


There are reversion clauses in contracts. Some are written in a way it's almost impossible for the author to get them back, but they're there. If you get them back, as the copyright holder you can then republish. If you don't have the copyright anymore, then you can't.

At least that's how I understand it.

In the John Fogerty case, he gave them the copyright to all his old songs to get out of the contract. That means he also gave up the royalties.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@GySgtDave

I am constantly throwing money at SOL authors. If I have liked the first few chapters of a book I will contact the author and send some money his way to get the whole book as soon as it is finished as opposed to waiting for them to post it chapter by chapter and then if there is a sequel I will preemptively send them money.

Heh-heh. By all means, feel free to contact me! But seriously, I have many fans without such a formal arrangement. Since I publish my books, they'll often read the entire book for FREE on SOL (time delayed between publishing and posting on SOL), while others will purchase my books as soon as they're published (give or take on the titles they're not as crazy about).

That's why I continue posting my works for free on SOL (even my Catalyst series, which I made Premiere Only on SOL and am now offering for free on Sci-Fi to help promote the lesser-known site). Not only do I get the much needed feedback about what works and what doesn't in each story, but it helps boost flagging sales after my book has been out for a while.

Replies:   JohnBobMead
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Any idea how good a job they do?

From what I've heard (online, on the various LinkedIn Author Groups), it's not bad. However, none of the people who were already publishing via other sources have switched, so it may not be a fair comparison.

As they say, those that never had never complain!

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

There are reversion clauses in contracts. Some are written in a way it's almost impossible for the author to get them back, but they're there. If you get them back, as the copyright holder you can then republish. If you don't have the copyright anymore, then you can't.

Yes. Legally, the author has his name on the Copyright, even if he never officially files it. But, the only way to regain ANY protections under copyright, they've got to PURCHASE their original copyright (not the title, but the rights TO the title) from their publishers, who'll only grant it IF they're not currently generating any income from the work.

So yes, the authors STILL retain the copyright, but it don't mean shit if you can't exercise any of the rights afforded by your copyright. Hell, the author can't even sue for copyright violations, as the publishing company sues to restore THEIR copyright claim over the property (even though the author retains his 'name' on the claim)!

JohnBobMead

@Crumbly Writer

I've got a premier membership, so I can download ePubs of the SOL stories. But I have deliberately, when I can afford it, bought the NOOK ePubs as a way of helping support the author. I only buy from Amazon if I can't find it elsewhere; this is a deliberate choice I've made, to help preserve a larger marketplace; it's also a little unethical, because a lot of the time I become aware of a sale on a title because of an email from Amazon, to then turn around and buy it from someone else who is matching that price is somewhat scummy, it's taking advantage of Amazon's aggressive marketing. I purchase from Barnes and Noble by preference, if not purchasing from a specialty store, as Barnes and Noble is one of the last major brick and mortar bookstore chains in the US, even though I haven't stepped foot in one in five years; where possible, my online purchases are from someone who has a brick and mortar location, it's my way of trying to support that type of business even if I don't physically visit them.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@JohnBobMead

But I have deliberately, when I can afford it, bought the NOOK ePubs as a way of helping support the author. I only buy from Amazon if I can't find it elsewhere; this is a deliberate choice I've made, to help preserve a larger marketplace; it's also a little unethical, because a lot of the time I become aware of a sale on a title because of an email from Amazon, to then turn around and buy it from someone else who is matching that price is somewhat scummy, it's taking advantage of Amazon's aggressive marketing.

Actually, if you're purchasing it to benefit the author, then Amazon should be your LAST choice. If they're an independent author, Amazon has the least favorable author reimbursement of ALL the independent outlets (30 - 70% vs 80 - 85%). If it's via a major publisher, then it doesn't matter, since the author sees only a minor fraction of any retail sale price (generally only some loose change for any $20 book). In the case of 3rd party resellers (like B&N, Google and Nook), authors get even less because everyone gets a third (the primary site, the author and the seller site).

I've always preferred Smashwords, because there you get to choose which format you want. However, most regular Amazon users read their books on the Amazon App, so they'll typically use that anyway.

Also, in many cases, if you purchase directly from the author or their webpage they'll do better. In the case of print books, they get a bigger share if they sell it themselves, plus, many sites allow them to embed linked code which gives them a 'kickback' for any other books you purchase after visiting their site (i.e. if you visit my webpage, decide you like my current book but end up buying something else, I'll still earn about 6% of the retail price of the other book). Although it sounds kinky, it helps everyone since readers like the "Other readers who bought this book purchased ..." links.

Ernest Bywater

Since I don't have a dedicated eReader, but use eReader software on my desktop, format of eBook doesn't matter,


I publish via Lulu in an e-pub and print book format by sending them a print ready PDF and the finished e-pub. However, I've a few people who want a MOBI format and they email with what story they want, then pay me direct via PayPal and I email back a MOBI file made by Calibre from the same source file as the e-pub. There's a large list of other output formats I can make with Calibre and I'm happy to do so for anyone who wants a specific format for their specific device.

Most of the stories I sell through the Amazon Partners network of Apple, Kobo, Amazon, B&N are those I give away as freebies. This is because by the time I pay the partnership fee and the other store takes their cut (which is a lot bigger than Lulu takes) I get next to nothing anyway. By making it free I stop them from making money off my efforts. I usually only do that with the stuff I consider to be a community service item or one I want to get a wider coverage on and don't expect to make much off, anyway.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

Actually, if you're purchasing it to benefit the author, then Amazon should be your LAST choice.


I disagree.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

Actually, if you're purchasing it to benefit the author, then Amazon should be your LAST choice.


I agree. But it might be worthwhile asking the author which outlet gives them the most cash or which they prefer you buy from.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Actually, if you're purchasing it to benefit the author, then Amazon should be your LAST choice.

I disagree.

Care to explain why? You don't want to be bothered (as a reader), or you don't think individual contributions matter?

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

I agree. But it might be worthwhile asking the author which outlet gives them the most cash or which they prefer you buy from.

Readers already do, indirectly. They typically use whichever outlet the author favors, and then remembers that when they hear they have a new book.

I use Amazon strictly to snag NEW readers who've likely heard of me before. Since each sale in that case, stands to be multiplied fifteen times if they like the book, it's worth the terrible success ratio (since I'm not a household name in publishing).

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

I disagree.
Care to explain why?


Unlike others, I like Amazon.

I've sold stories to readers through PayPal. We had the discussion, "If I send you the money how do I know you'll send the story?"

I prefer the convenience of having the sale through Amazon. 70% is a good enough royalty for me. The only thing I don't like about the sale from Amazon is the reader can read the book and return it. No questions asked.

Also, my novels are ebooks. If I send an .epub file to someone for a price, who knows what he's going to do with it or who he's going to give it to?

And, finally, one of my novels is in the KU program which requires it to be exclusive to Amazon. If I sell it outside of Amazon, I'm cheating.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

Also, my novels are ebooks. If I send an .epub file to someone for a price, who knows what he's going to do with it or who he's going to give it to?

Amazon's got a setting for that. You flag it when you submit your file, and it prevents them from transferring the story to anyone else. What's more, you can also flag a story so readers can't 'copy' the 'read more' pages. That's especially useful for the authors who publish via Kindle Unlimited, where readers got your entire book for free, but that one setting prevents (theoretically, at least) from simply copying the book to everyone enmasse. (Which, I realize now, was WHY you said you'd rather stick with Amazon rather than sending readers your book yourself.) To be truthful, though, that was mainly a technique perfected by Wes, specifically so he wouldn't have to worry about publishing his books independently. I certainly wouldn't suggest it as a viable option for most new authors.

And don't get me wrong. I like what Amazon offers me as well, but it's Not my primary sales vehicle. Instead, I view it as a link to new readers (i.e. ones who don't already know me from SOL). What's more, as I said, readers typically go to an authors primary outlet. So if you promoted yourself on Amazon, your SOL followers know to look there (if and when you ever publish any more), so it wouldn't be an issue for you.

However, JohnBobMead expressed a theme I hear often, that SOL readers purchase the book to encourage the authors. In that case, I figure directing those readers to Amazon is taking the money that was designed to encouraging me and lining Amazon's pockets with it. And trust me, Amazon doesn't need that small amount of cash any more than I do.

And, finally, one of my novels is in the KU program which requires it to be exclusive to Amazon. If I sell it outside of Amazon, I'm cheating.

That's true, but the exclusion period is only for 90-days/3-months. After that, you either have to sign a NEW exclusion contract with KU, or you're free to publish anywhere else you want to.

However, I REALLY didn't want to go down this particular rathole. There aren't many SOL authors who are publishing their books, and those discussion should be reserved to those of us who choose to go that route. I was merely responding to a single user who expressed an interest in encouraging an author by purchasing his book. If he's more comfortable with Amazon, then by all means, Buy it on Amazon!

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

That's true, but the exclusion period is only for 90-days/3-months. After that, you either have to sign a NEW exclusion contract with KU, or you're free to publish anywhere else you want to.


It's the opposite. You sign up for Select and commit to being exclusive for 90 days. After 90 days you can elect to drop out, but if you don't you remain exclusive and in the Select program. You don't have to sign up again.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

Amazon's got a setting for that. You flag it when you submit your file, and it prevents them from transferring the story to anyone else. What's more, you can also flag a story so readers can't 'copy' the 'read more' pages


I think you're talking about the piracy protection. It's called DMR or something like that. I was told not to choose that option.

But even without it, someone can't do a copy and paste. I went to one of my novels and did the "Look Inside." Then I tried to do a cmd/c (ctl/c). It would not highlight it so you can't copy it.

Now if someone buys the ebook, without the DMR protection they can give it to others. I think they can.

Switch Blayde
Updated:

I have an unrelated question about KDP.

The only reviews I have are from the U.S. at amazon.com. I always thought it problematic that other Amazon sites didn't see those reviews. I recently noticed that on the UK site (amazon.co.uk) it says: "4 reviews from Amazon.com" with a link to it. Yet the other sites I checked (like amazon.ca and amazon.com.au) say, "Be the first to review this item."

That's odd. I wonder if Amazon is changing and the U.K. is the first market. Anyone know?

Also, don't you just love the standardization Amazon follows (not!) with their URLs (e.g., amazon.ca vs amazon.com.au vs amazon.co.uk).

ETA: Actually, the link from the UK site doesn't work.

Ross at Play

@Switch Blayde

amazon.ca vs amazon.com.au vs amazon.co.uk

The last two are the international standard.
Dotcom sites have a two-letter country code, except that the 'us' code for America is omitted.
For some reason, 'co' was chosen instead of 'com' in the UK as their standard a long time ago.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

Now if someone buys the ebook, without the DMR protection they can give it to others. I think they can.

There are a couple of related settings. One is DMR protection, and another is 'allow lending' (which allows you to GIVE a copy to one other person (presumably a spouse of family member).

In my case, I tried KDP Select once, and never say any benefit (i.e. I didn't get any additional reads and NO associated sales). You tried it and found it beneficial. More power to you, but I'm unconvinced it's worth trying again given my poor results.

I'm unsure whether that's because of different writing styles, different stories or simply different circumstances.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

I have an unrelated question about KDP.

The only reviews I have are from the U.S. at amazon.com. I always thought it problematic that other Amazon sites didn't see those reviews. I recently noticed that on the UK site (amazon.co.uk) it says: "4 reviews from Amazon.com" with a link to it. Yet the other sites I checked (like amazon.ca and amazon.com.au) say, "Be the first to review this item."

I'm a member of the Amazon Associates program (where they allow you to run ads for other Amazon products on your webpages). I use it so I get a small kickback if someone buys other sci-fi books after selecting one of mine, but it keeps me in the loop.

You're right. Amazon has been discussing adding reviews from other countries, but is worried about potentially adding non-native reviews (potentially someone writing a review in German to a Canadian story page), so they're expanding it VERY slowly.

However, you'll notice that every time you publish something on Amazon, they suggest repeatedly checking EVERY single market for your own books, just so you don't miss any.

I typically don't, only occasionally remembering to go looking for them. But usually, when I do, I'm pleasantly surprised by what I find (and frequently add the reviews to my books and website as promotional material).

P.S. I frequently receive more money from Amazon for my participation in their 'Associates Program', which only pays 6% of the total sales prices, than I do for sales of my own books (all 15 of them!).

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

I tried KDP Select once, and never say any benefit (i.e. I didn't get any additional reads and NO associated sales


Since my novel "Sexual Awakening" has been out there a long time, I get more KU reads than sales. When my new novel is done, I won't release it in the Select program (just like I didn't for "Last Kiss" since it's so new), but I'm hoping that a KU reader of "Sexual Awakening" will end up buying my new one (currently untitled).

Joe Long

@Switch Blayde

But even without it, someone can't do a copy and paste. I went to one of my novels and did the "Look Inside." Then I tried to do a cmd/c (ctl/c). It would not highlight it so you can't copy it.


I scrape data off websites for fun and profit.

I haven't looked at the previews on Amazon, but I'm betting I could find a way to download the text with a script.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Joe Long

I scrape data off websites for fun and profit.

I haven't looked at the previews on Amazon, but I'm betting I could find a way to download the text with a script.

Another thing that Amazon does (for some books) is to list only random pages, rather than the first several pages from the first chapter. I have no clue how to select that option, but I know that several books appear that way in the Amazon 'Look Into' feature.

JohnBobMead

@Switch Blayde

But even without it, someone can't do a copy and paste. I went to one of my novels and did the "Look Inside." Then I tried to do a cmd/c (ctl/c). It would not highlight it so you can't copy it.

Print screen works just fine. Just tried it with one of Railroad Martin's books. It does have the drawback of grabbing the entire screen, but I pasted it into my imaging software with no problems. Suspect the apps that let you grab selected parts of the screen would do just as well.

Kindle's DRM is busted. Apprentice Alf's Calibre plug-in strips it right off; you have to be running the right version of the Kindle PC reader software for it to interface, but they archived the installation files for that version just for this purpose. I've done it with my Kindle eBooks, converted them to ePubs. I haven't given copies to anyone, that's not my style, but the Kindle DRM is not secure.

The only DRM I've had problems with are the one's that require you to connect to the website to install software; resetting Windows a couple of weeks ago uninstalled Kodak Easyshare, and since they stopped releasing updates to that software they've changed their website enough that it can't establish a connection, so it chokes on installation. I don't think they intended it as DRM; they wanted you to go to their site so you'd buy more stuff. It just means that I have to physically plug the memory card from my camera into my computer to download my pictures from my camera, instead of using the USB cable. A bit of a bother, but cheaper than buying a new camera.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@JohnBobMead

Print screen works just fine. Just tried it with one of Railroad Martin's books. It does have the drawback of grabbing the entire screen, but I pasted it into my imaging software with no problems. Suspect the apps that let you grab selected parts of the screen would do just as well.

Kindle's DRM is busted. Apprentice Alf's Calibre plug-in strips it right off; you have to be running the right version of the Kindle PC reader software for it to interface, but they archived the installation files for that version just for this purpose. I've done it with my Kindle eBooks, converted them to ePubs. I haven't given copies to anyone, that's not my style, but the Kindle DRM is not secure.

That's why few authors even use the DRM feature. Not only is it unreliable, but it also produces unreliable results, meaning many legal purchasers of books are frequently unable to read their purchases.

Why bother with something that will only piss off your most loyal readers?

As for Print Screen functionality, I've long relied on TechSmith's Snag-It, but stopped upgrading after version 11, as the newer versions stripped out the most essential benefits of the program. I use to to grab screen shots of my books, to illustrate passages, or to show other authors how I format books.

That's always the key with software nowadays. Always back it up, so if they yank functionality, you can roll back to the last working version.

To this day, I continually get notices that the New York Times no longer supports the outdated iOS software I'm running to read the content I legally purchase from them, because they disabled my ability to copy and paste parts of relevant news stories several years ago. I will NEVER upgrade if it means I get LESS service. That's why I stopped upgrading PC software (MicroShit's "Essential Upgrades" years ago, because they kept trying to FORCE you to upgrade to Windows 10, which NO ONE liked!).

I'd rather risk hacker blackmail than support the PC makers version of blackmail.

Replies:   JohnBobMead
JohnBobMead

@Crumbly Writer

Why bother with something that will only piss off your most loyal readers?

Made that complaint to Barnes & Noble recently. They've got an ad parked on their main page that you can't close, can't ignore by clicking on the web site, you have to follow it to the special interest section at B&N that it targets. I'm not sure if its still there, I programmed Ad Blocker to deal with it, but that was after most of a week of being held captive by it; as long as they have it up, it is _impossible_ to access their main page. I pointed out that this will piss off their long term customers, and anyone who isn't interested in the special interest targeted by the ad, and that it made their main page impossible to use. I got response on the other things I mentioned in my comment, but absolutely _nothing_ on my comment about the ad. As I told them, shopping at Barnes and Noble is a conscious choice, they have competitors who sell _everything_ they sell, make it inconvenient enough even the most loyal will go elsewhere. OK, part of EzzyB's snippet of Chaos 4 which he pulled from SOL when he decided the story didn't need to be written is available for NOOK but not Kindle, but pretty much everything B&N sells can be gotten elsewhere. They are NOT a monopoly, and shouldn't use a monopoly's tactics because they'll back fire.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@JohnBobMead

but pretty much everything B&N sells can be gotten elsewhere. They are NOT a monopoly, and shouldn't use a monopoly's tactics because they'll back fire.

B&N's problem, like all booksellers and newspapers (until President Trump guaranteed the continued survival of everyone he labels 'fake news' (the only ones who'll actually fact-check statements), is that their entire business model is collapsing, so they're desperately searching for any new ways to finance their enterprise. B&N is the LAST remaining national bookstore chain, and as you say, no one buys from their online site because they only sell ebooks from mainstream publishers, which guarantee the ebooks cost substantially more than the print books do (typically $29.99 vs $24.99 in the U.S.). They do not list any independently published ebooks, which typically cost anywhere from $0 to $9.99 (the average is only around $2.99 USD).

Like the ancient horsewhip trade before them, they'll continue floudering until they either discover a way to continue, or they fold, like all the rest of the national bookstore chains and other retail outlets.

I happen to like B&N, but until they carry something I actually want to buy, I'll never purchase a thing from their website, and since no one else is, I don't plan to publish there, either.

Note: Now that I'm back on Smashwords, my newest books are back on B&N through a 3rd party 'reseller' basis. I just won't bother formatting a specific B&N version and they won't list my books, though you can search for them.

Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

no one buys from their online site because they only sell ebooks from mainstream publishers, which guarantee the ebooks cost substantially more than the print books do (typically $29.99 vs $24.99 in the U.S.).


I have no clue where you got that idea from. I just spot checked a few books on B&N's website, under science fiction and romance. The e-book price was at or below the paperback price which is in the $4-$10 range ($9.99 at the high end).

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

I have no clue where you got that idea from. I just spot checked a few books on B&N's website, under science fiction and romance. The e-book price was at or below the paperback price which is in the $4-$10 range ($9.99 at the high end).

As I said, I haven't been keeping abreast of B&N's online offerings for quite some time. If the paper books are in the $4 to $10 range, then those are definitely independent books (unless they're all heavily discounting 'storage bin' prices). I'm guessing they've finally abandoned their 'ignore the burgeoning Indie movement' stance.

Guess I may need to revisit and revise my opinions of the site. My books have been available there for some time, but they were never a productive outlet for me, so I've learned to ignore it over time.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Crumbly Writer

If the paper books are in the $4 to $10 range, then those are definitely independent books


What? $4.99 to $9.99 has been the standard price range for mass market paperbacks from the major publishers for at least the last 30 years.

JohnBobMead
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


B&N is the LAST remaining national bookstore chain, and as you say, no one buys from their online site because they only sell ebooks from mainstream publishers, which guarantee the ebooks cost substantially more than the print books do (typically $29.99 vs $24.99 in the U.S.). They do not list any independently published ebooks, which typically cost anywhere from $0 to $9.99 (the average is only around $2.99 USD).


I've bought EzzyB's (Ezzy Black) stuff as ePubs from B&N, and Wes Boyd's EPubs are there, too. Robert Lubrican has 80 items via the NOOK Store.

Clearly, B&N has changed their outlook since you last checked.

Back to Top