Saturday, August 9, 2014

Why Am I an Amazon Select Author?

I have been asked this question many times since the debate with Hachette started.  Why are you an Amazon Select Author.  The truth?  Well the truth at first is that I could not afford to be anything else or I thought so at the time. I have learned a lot since then but even now I do not expand beyond Amazon.

But why?

First:  When I had no money but I had a story, Amazon published it through createspace for free.  No minimum purchase.  No upfront fees.  No inventory on hand.  Just.. here is my story.  I was working full time and knew from previous business experience there was some benefit in this as my time is also worth money.  Instead of panicking about filling orders and different sites, I could leverage my time to writing and publicity.

Second:  I have long known and agree with Amazon's position with Hachette that a lower price tag means more sales and when you leverage those numbers that it will mean more profit to the bottom line. Amazon recently released this information and I have used the same tactics when I owned a gift store.
My ebook

"E-books are highly price elastic. This means that when the price goes down, customers buy much more. We've quantified the price elasticity of e-books from repeated measurements across many titles. For every copy an e-book would sell at $14.99, it would sell 1.74 copies if priced at $9.99. So, for example, if customers would buy 100,000 copies of a particular e-book at $14.99, then customers would buy 174,000 copies of that same e-book at $9.99. Total revenue at $14.99 would be $1,499,000. Total revenue at $9.99 is $1,738,000. The important thing to note here is that the lower price is good for all parties involved: the customer is paying 33% less and the author is getting a royalty check 16% larger and being read by an audience that's 74% larger. The pie is simply bigger."

Third:  My time is worth money. Especially now that I have to battle cancer.  By not keeping track of  the many websites and portals, I have leveraged my time to free it up for more writing.  I have heard, you could have more sales if you listed your book here and here and here.  Maybe, maybe I could.  But I am not writing to be rich and famous.  Oh, I won't lie, that would be nice.  However, by having a single portal without paying additional people a share of my profits, I have freedom of time. This means more to me than a few more sales.

Fourth:  Profit: Okay, let us be honest.  Profit makes additional writing possible. The more reduction of financial stress, the more creative I am.  I am making enough profit doing things the way I am doing that I had already given notice to be a full time Independent writer before I found out I had cancer.  Even now if the face of cancer, I know if I don't stop doing what I am doing, there will be enough profit to pay the medical bills.

Fifth:  What about the new Kindle Unlimited?  The jury for me is still out on this program.  My sales immediately dropped when Kindle Unlimited came out.  Little self disclosure here:  In July, my book was borrowed 610 times in the US with a profit of $1366.40.  I averaged 2.24 per borrow prior to KDP select starting.   My book, Outcast, when sold at $2.99 only brings in  $2.00 in profit.  Assuming that the amount I receive per borrow stays above 2.00, I am actually better off if my book is borrowed. That just makes good financial sense.  However, I am waiting for the first report to come out to see what the price per borrow was when Unlimited was introduced and that will decide for me.

Lastly:  What if it changes?? What if you quit making such a good income because Amazon squeezes down the profit margins?  These are questions I have been asked.  Contracting Cancer has only solidified something I have always believed.  I can't live in tomorrow.  I can't future trip and run around panicked trying to leverage against something that has not happened.  I don't have the time or energy for such a waste of energy against something that might NEVER happen.  If it does happen, then I will take it like I live life, one day at a time.  However, for Amazon to sell books, they have to have authors.  The truth is, no great outlet ever squeezes their supplier out of existence.    But if it does happen, if the worst shoe drops, then and only then will I jump a ship.  It make no sense to me to jump off a ship that might sink some day.

I hope those of you that have bought in to Hachette's media campaign will at least take the time to read this article . Authors are not United on this issue as Hachette claim,   I have learned that over time, loyalty often triumphs diversity.