And I have Amazon Infatuation Syndrome.
It started nearly four years ago, when I decided to forego sending query letters to agents, after reading Joe Konrath’s blog from top to bottom.
I independently uploaded my first novel to Amazon’s various retail platforms and sold 5,000 copies (with minimal marketing) within 6 months. I quickly decided that self-publishing through Amazon presented a viable path to becoming a full-time writer. I published my second book (in a completely different genre) one year after my Amazon debut, selling 8,000 copies in six months. A new book followed every six month—all while I worked a lucrative day job and dreamed about the day I would resign to pursue full-time writing. Each book brought me closer, until I finally developed enough sales and readership velocity to escape the gravity of an easy, six figure salary job. Amazon didn’t write my books, but they played a more than nominal role in my quiet success. For that, I’m a little infatuated with Amazon.
Nate Hoelfelder at The Digital Reader thinks I’m deluded because I’m happy with Amazon. Read his article. His blog post is the latest reaction to the ongoing corporate negotiation battle between Amazon and Hachette Publishing. In essence, he says that corporations only care about the bottom line and cannot be your friend. Friend? How about business partner? How about EXCELLENT business partner? Then, he goes on to say that Amazon’s words are meaningless, because they are a corporation spewing PR desperation that should be taken for face value.
I understand the concept of “acta non verba,” which is why I judge my friends and business partners by their actions more than their words.
Here’s a run down of the actions Amazon has taken to earn my trust and friendship.
– They promptly (every month) and transparently pay 70% royalties on my titles. I can see my sales figures and calculated royalties through an always-accessible, near real-time sales report system).
– They allow me to control pricing, so I can optimize product performance based on market conditions. They also provide me with real-time analytics to decide the best price point.
– They don’t require onerous contracts or knee-capping non-compete clauses. I can terminate my contract at any time. The most “draconian” non-compete measure implemented by Amazon’s Kindle Direct Program requires 90 days of exclusivity, in exchange for enhanced marketing tools. Kindle exclusivity has netted me over $35,000 since its inception in late 2012. I’m feeling dewy-eyed.
–I retain the necessary rights to expand in all media, like audiobooks, foreign sales, movie/TV rights. I earn a significant portion of my income from these media, and plan to expand my presence further.
–Friendly and responsive customer service across all platforms. They’ve quickly resolved every issue I’ve brought to their attention
–They’ve provided marketing opportunities that have allowed me to grow readership drastically.
–They market my book every second of every day through customer emails, matching preferences on related books’ sales pages, and search algorithms. I didn’t sell 5,000 copies of my first book in six months through any genius marketing plan of my own.
–I’ve sold 55,000 books over the past 12 months, all through Amazon.
–They’re nice! I’ve personally met everyone directly involved with the different Amazon platforms. No evil smiles. This crew genuinely cares about authors, and we all share a common vision. To sell more books! As an author, if you’re suspicious of that sentiment, you have a serious problem on your hands.
BUT I DON’T JUST LIKE THEM AS AN AUTHOR!
As a customer:
–They shipped a basket ball stand (60lbs at least) for free because I paid roughly $80 to be a member of Amazon Prime. I recoup at least five times the cost of membership in free shipping every year.
–They provide hassle free returns on nearly every product I’ve purchased. I don’t hesitate to order an item. If I don’t like it, I print a return label, tape up the same box and get a refund immediately. I’m lazy like that. Beautiful!
–The only items I can’t find on Amazon are ammunition, guns, cigarettes, booze, and pornography. Apparently Hachette’s parent company, Lagardere, had a tough first quarter this year due to the loss of cigarette sales in Hungary. Now that’s a company to be proud of! Sorry, that’s my AIS shining through. Forgot my meds.
If supporting Amazon as an author and customer means I suffer from Amazon Infatuation Syndrome, then so be it. I’m infatuated.
To read more about this curious syndrome label, and how it is utterly preposterous, please check out Hugh Howey’s most recent post and David Gaughram’s guest post at Words with JAM.
and Amazon qualifies as a good friend. Will that change?