I know, I know. The scribed white elephant no one wants to talk about. I feel compelled to explore my relationship to Amazon further, though, and in doing so a few considerations emerged that I want to share.
I’ve only published one book through Amazon, and it’s done two (good) stints through the KDPS (Kindle Direct Publishing Select) program. It’s book one of a series, which will also be brought to life through Amazon.
A lot of you probably read J. A. Konrath’s post a couple of weeks ago on going all-in with Amazon’s KDPS program, and how it has worked out well for him. For the record, if you don’t know Konrath, or haven’t subscribed to his blog, he is The Shit Indie Prophet, where the straight dope on the publishing industry is concerned. Not your genre? No matter. Follow him and learn. You’ll be glad you did.
Despite the airtight financial logic in his decision, I confess, I’m one of those knee-jerk reaction types who completely balks at turning over my hard-won indie efforts to a corporate entity. I’m not speaking of Amazon, in general, but specifically to the KDPS program. For those who don’t know, when an author agrees to use the KDPS program, that ebook cannot be available in ebook format anywhere else online for 90 days. So, screw those of you who fall outside the Kindleverse, inother words. But, as Konrath pointed out, competitors are nowhere close to providing the service, exposure, thus sales, thus income, that KDPS does. In the end, going all-in doesn’t lose you anything, given the statistics.
Why would an author publish indie, anyway? Most tell me it’s to maintain independence, thus control. For many it’s a better financial choice, and for even more it’s a more feasible psychological choice. Life in a slush pile is as exhilarating as it sounds, so some indie publish to circumvent that shame. Few realize this about me, though I always wanted to self-publish, a romantic artistic nod to Blake’s literary contributions. I still love the idea of that artistic license, though I’m fully aware of today’s industry demands. And of my bills.
Yes, I agree that Amazon has largely done well to support its authors and improve the platform they provide all who publish through them. I also see that hesitation at this point is purely based on speculation of what the giant might do, and not at all on what its track record has actually been. You know by now, though, that I’m very connected to the spirit of things, and it seems contrary to come to the teeth-gnashing (I like hyphens a lot in this post) decision to publish indie… with the entity every player in the industry is trying to compete with.
Does that sound very indie to you? It doesn’t to me. In fact, those kinds of faux ‘we so bad, we make you rad’ perceptions of Amazon’s indie promises have helped make them dominant corporate force that they are. Sure, you have control of the book throughout its stint in the program. Sort of. My point is that no one has to do it. It’s a personal, professional choice.
I will say this–the spirit of competition that KDPS inspires in its competitors to provide better platforms is incredibly indie, and perhaps through that challenge the market will flesh out wider options.
What do you think? Is Amazon Indie? Would you go all-in? Have you?