Self pub’d Indie authors have many options as far as publishing our works. Some are good and some….not so good. For my print edition of Running Northwest, I used Amazons POD (Print on Demand) option called Createspace. The process is generally easy now that I know what I am doing. I like the way the books turn out more or less and so do my customers who have actually bought them. That being said a mass-market paperback size option would be nice for the lower print cost and then lower sale price. RNW is being published in a 5×8 size, it’s okay but not great. It looks wonderful though just a bit big.
When someone buys a paperback off Amazon.com it comes from the same place, the same factory in the same state as those ordered from my e-Store through Createspace. I will not compare the royalty numbers between the two on individual sales but let us just say that authors get more when a copy is ordered directly through Createspace than when ordered from Amazon.
Marketing print editions of books is no easy task for any indie author even with the expanded distribution option available on CS if they do indeed use the CS platform. I have read changes have been made recently in the catalog available to bookstores and other retailers which order through expanded distribution so that Indie authors like me are on “even” playing field with traditionally published authors. I would love to see one of the catalogs and see for myself since I question it. I wonder though just how “even” that playing field actually is.
As I said before Amazon owns Createspace. This brings up some issues and problems that I have with the whole process and dual existence of the two parts of the same company. The biggest being is this: If you were to order Running Northwest in print from Amazon.com, sometime later my position on Amazon’s sales list for print books would jump up. Sometimes it is a big jump or a little.
NOW! If you were to order the print edition through my CS e-Store guess what happens? NOTHING! My sales rank on Amazon would not jump one little bit. You could order five copies for your mom and your mates and nothing would happen.
This is the frustrating thing since amazon owns CS. When a writer goes through the process of publishing, his or her book through CS it actually gives you an option to publish a Kindle ebook version at the end of CS setup process. They do this to make the process faster and easier, which could be great (I did no use it). I do not think for a minute Amazon really wants to help authors as much as help their own bottom line which I get….I don’t like it much but I know it’s a business. They are not here to make me feel good about myself.
I have sold faaaaaar more books via my CS e-store than I have directly through Amazon.com. This sucks because I can only imagine how much higher Running Northwest would be on the rankings if those sales from CS were reflected in them. It sucks for me and other writers as well. I’m not saying I would be top 10 or even top 100…hell probably not top 1000 (YET) but anything higher than my current rank of 13,203,937 in physical book sales would be nice and might help people notice my book as well as others. The fact that these CS sales do not reflect on sales rankings makes no sense and to date I haven’t been able to find a rational reason why this is the case. The reason for things being done this way. Why is Amazon.com seemingly biased against its own subsidiary, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform? Is Amazon just biased against books printed on actual paper or just those by Indie Authors who use the CS platform? It took me awhile to find a print edition of a book by an Indie author on the list and I went far past 500.
As an author it almost feels like I am forced to make a choice with Amazon. This being either get a higher royalty on a sold book or get a boost in my sales rankings. When people ask me where they can order my book from what I am supposed to tell them? What is the smartest things business wise? I still haven’t figured this out yet.