Friday, October 29, 2021

So, A Thing Happened

So, a thing happened.  I can't remember if I talked about it here or over at The Writing Spectacle, but this is the gist of it...  Earlier this month, I got a letter from Amazon.  It talked about illegitimate page reads and how they weren't paying for those or some such nonsense. I read it, thought it was a general letter to authors in the KU program, and filed it in the Archives.  Then I dilly-dallied checking out my September numbers until a few days ago.  Imagine my surprise, when the report showed a big fat zero in the place where it should've shown money for my page reads.

Then I remembered the letter.

I went into the Archives and pulled the letter out.  I guess it wasn't for everyone after all.  At the bottom, it said if I had any questions to reply to the letter, so I did.  I got an auto-gram stating it could take up to 5 days to research my case.  This morning, I got a new letter telling me basically nothing.  It did assure me that my account is still in good standing, but reaffirming the fact that illegitimate page reads were not going to get paid for.  But not actually saying my page reads were illegitimate or what have you.

Basically what I took from the reply was that those page reads I had in September are gone and I have no recourse to get my big whopping $3.79 from Amazon.  Sort of a 'so sorry, Charlie, but you're screwed.  Thanks for playing and we appreciate your business.' kind of thing.

Except now I don't feel like I can trust Amazon to give me a definite accounting of what I'm getting paid.  I mean, it's always been a case of trust.  Authors have to trust all of their sales outlets to give them the right numbers and then to put the right amounts into their bank accounts.  We have to trust the booksellers to not screw us royally.  And I can do that.  I have done it for over 6 years now.  Except now I can't.

Amazon wants me to continue to trust them, but they don't trust that my sales are real sales.  As if I somehow got someone to make up page reads somehow and risked my account in order to bilk the big 'Zon out of less than $4.  I'm the chick who found a pricey cell phone at the lake and then did my damndest to find the owner, including waiting around at a safe location for someone to come pick up the thing.  I'm the gal at the Walmart who stops the dude whose dollar just fell out of his pocket.  I couldn't have been in on it.  And since I wasn't in on it, they have got to be somehow thinking there's a Robin Hood character randomly faking page reads so the little guys like me can have pennies out of the big KU pool.  I can't parse it any other way.  

And they want me to remain exclusive with them throughout all this.  Except if I can't trust them to report the right page reads to me, how can I trust them to report actual sales?  How can I trust that tomorrow they won't tell me my book sales are illegitimate and they aren't paying for those either?  =o\

I've been a good little author.  I was on the frontlines defending Amazon when anyone would say anything negative about them.  And they thumbed their nose at me.  

Now, taking my books off Amazon would be stupid.  They're still the biggest fish in town and cancelling my books on there would be like cutting off nose because I ran afoul of a skunk.  Still need my nose, even if sometimes it encounters something that stinks.  But I am taking my books out of KU.  I can't see any other way around the lack of trust there. 

Unfortunately, a whole bunch of my books just re-upped for a 90 day stint.  If you're a subscriber, and you still want to read my books through KU, you'd better get cracking.

I managed to get Ugly and the Beast out just as it was renewing.  And Cinder Ugly a day before it went.  Sleeping Ugly should be out on the 1st.  That's one series.  As for the rest of them, they fall out eventually.  

I had hoped to do some kind of sale thing, but right now, I'm too meh.  I need to start thinking about going wide with all of these, which means changing back matter, etc.

It sucks.  Truly.  And you might think 'All this over $3.79???', but what if it was $379?  Or $3790?  Put it another way... What if it was $4 from me and $4 from you and $4 from every author in the KU program?  Why are we even in this thing if they can do this to any of us with no reason, no explanation, or anything?

They kicked me, who's no bigger than a guppy in the grand scheme of publishing.  I wonder how many other guppies they kicked this month.  

So, I'm out of it.  As soon as I can be out of it.  It was good while it lasted.  Time to dust off my Draft to Digital account and see if I can't pick my sales up off the floor.  A MODEL CURSE will be the first series to launch there.  I'll let you know about that and about the other series and singles as they become available widely.

By the way, don't look for me to do NaNoWriMo this year.  Maybe it'll be a NaNoEdMo if I can get my head out of my as... armpit long enough to get back to work on Untitled Fantasy, but there will be no new words.  


  1. I came out of KU a couple of years ago - D2D gets my books out to readers I'd never reach through Amazon. And, yes, the trust thing crosses my mind, but I imagine being wide is better on the whole and certainly more enjoyable in terms of sales and reach. Good luck and thanks for the post.

  2. I went wide this year. Best thing I ever did. I also stopped all AMS ads. My sales went up when I left KU. I learned which stores to go direct to and which to use an aggregator like D2d. This month I've made the most I've ever made in my author career. Going wide is definitely the right choice. Check out the Wide for the Win FB group.

  3. I like D2D. I don't have huge sales there but they are picking up and I am slowly getting books placed on Hoopla and getting some royalty from library reads there. Their Books2Read gives us a universal link to use. A reader can click on it and go to a landing page with ALL the etailers listed. They are easy to work with and responsive. Of course, they're HQ is local to me so I could just show up on their doorstep to argue. LOL They've never given many anything to argue about and they are always looking for new outlets and new ways to servce their clients. Unlike the 'Zon.

    I didn't get that letter but I have had 4 days this month with ZERO page reads, 4 days with under 50 pages, a handful under 500, and the rest hovering around 1K. I remember the days when I got 20-30K page reads a day.

    I need to make a calendar of when the books still in KU come off and decide between now and then whether to take them all wide. I'll keep watching my numbers.

    And....LG distracted me. I've done like 20 other things and just now realized that I hadn't finished and posted this comment. *makes Geico commercial Chainsaw Guy Face™* Have a good weekend!

  4. You don't have to wait the 90 days. Send them an email saying you want out and they will let you out. This isn't a new thing, they've been letting authors out for almost a year now. Good luck

  5. I'm sad that Amazon has become so unreliable, but I'm not willing to do the work to go wide. 97% of my sales are in paperback, anyway.

    I hope D2D nets you far more sales!