by L.J. Sellers, bestselling author of provocative mysteries & thrillers
I suspect that blogging during the week after Christmas will be a lot like going into the office at this time—eerily quiet, with only a few other diehards around. But I'm trying to keep the site live during the break, so I'll be posting all week and running some favorites. But to start with, here's a recent (and updated) post from my own blog.
I asked for the takedown because I had enrolled The Sex Club in the Kindle Select program and it requires exclusivity. So the fact that it was still selling there could have gotten me kicked out of the program. I did everything possible to correct it—including sending a legal "cease and desist" letter—but retailers are notoriously slow about taking down books, especially if they’re selling. (After 10 days, they finally removed it.)
I distribute to Kobo, Sony, Apple, and various other retailers through INgrooves, and this was not the first time I’ve had to deal with the discounting issue. For those not familiar, here’s the short version: Amazon will not be underpriced. If a competitor puts an ebook on sale, Amazon matches the price. This can be a serious problem for authors who make most of their money from Amazon and need to control what price their books sell for on Amazon.
When I starting losing money on Amazon, I see my mortgage payment for the next month disappearing. Which led me to finally withdraw all my books from INgrooves. The small amount of money I make from other retailers is offset by the profit I lose from the discounting issue.
My only hesitation, as always, was readers. I want them to have full access to my books, regardless of their e-reader device. But I’m running a small publishing business (Spellbinder Press), and I have to make smart business decisions. I have to be able to track and predict profit.
Also, I have to remind readers that my most of my ebooks are available for purchase from my website.
Other writers tell me I should upload to Smashwords as my distributor, but that doesn’t fix the discounting issue. And I’m tired of continuously having to scan the other retailers to ensure they’re not undercutting my ability to make a living from Kindle sales.
Pulling my books from INgrooves leaves me with ebooks available only on Kindle and Nook. But what I sell on B&N/Nook every month won’t even pay my cell phone bill.
After I see my first bonus payment from Amazon for enrolling in the Select program, I’ll have to decide whether keeping my Detective Jackson books on B&N is actually worth it. I predict I’ll be exclusive to Amazon by the end of the next year. Some people may see this as a sell out. But I have to make a living, and I’m worth more than minimum wage.
Readers: Can you sympathize with this decision?
Writers: How do you deal with the discounting issue?