Why is it hard for an indie to break into full-time author status?
One word. Amazon. They are the biggest bookseller in the world. Seems like a great platform to sell your work, right?
It's a twisted road of lies and fuzzy math that only benefits the Zon. Let me tell you a story about what it's really like to be an author.
When you publish, there are two roads you must choose between, Kindle Unlimited where you are paid around .004 cents per page read for the first reading of the book, but you must be exclusive to Amazon. Or you can choose to go wide where you only make money on actual books sold. Oh, and just for fun, Amazon will take over 60 days to pay the author, even though they received the reader's money immediately after purchase.
The math works out to this. Your book is 7.99. Amazon gets 2.40 when you sell a copy, they also get a 30-cent delivery fee on a basic formatted book, additional fees are charged if the author has chosen to add design elements. Then there is ad spend to get people to see and buy your books. Amazon and it's evil twin Facebook have their hands out there too, taking another $3-4. With this kind of pay-to-play model the only person that benefits is Amazon and it is very normal for indie authors to be upside down and actually thrilled when they break even. This doesn't even take into consideration the $800 you paid for professional editing and cover design. After spending the better part of a year writing a book, it can take over a year to break even in this business model, some authors never break even at all.
Break-even? I can't pay a mortgage when I break even. I can't eat break even. I can't buy dog food when I break even. This madness had to stop.
How do you know how many books are sold? You have to accept whatever number Amazon reports to you. There is no transparency, no paper trail to back anything up. You have to trust the biggest company in the world is telling you the truth who has a long standing track record of crushing the little guy in favor of corporate greed. Are they? Who knows? I seriously doubt it, but there is no way to check this information. There is no way to verify what they are telling you.
To make matters worse, Amazon's liberal return policy allows a customer to buy and read the entire book. Then return it for a full refund and do it again. UTTER MADNESS. Can you go to dinner and then after your plate is empty and licked clean, tell the cook you changed your mind? NO WAY. Would the chef make you a second, third, and fourth meal that you gobble down only to ask for a full refund again. Um....NO!
I've decided to take my power back. To make the best place to buy my books be in the bookstore I created and since I don't have to pay that hefty fee to the retailers, I've decided to pass the savings on to my readers.
Can you trust this website to get the books you've ordered? Absolutely! When you buy a physical book from me, I autograph it and give it a kiss for good luck. Then I hand the package over to my gothic teenage elf who drives this precious cargo to the post office where it eventually lands on your doorstep.
Your purchases help a small family with a dog who is addicted to rotisserie chicken skin survive. I appreciate every book that is ordered, and every reader I have entertained. I get a thrill when I get a notification that you have ordered my books and always do a little happy dance when I receive the notification.
Does Jeff Bezos shake it for you when you place an order? Doubtful.
Thank you for helping make my dream to become a New York Times Bestselling author inch a little closer. Some day we will accomplish this goal together, until then, I will be on a mission to connect with readers who love my books.
Without a doubt, I know I have the best fans. Your messages and words of encouragement have appeared exactly when I have needed them most. When I've reached a moment where I am ready to throw in the towel, a new one will appear and prevent me from giving up on this dream. I love each and every one of you.
XOXO Ninya aka Blair Bryan