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Posts Tagged ‘CreateSpace’

Amazon, the Empire strikes back

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on September 15, 2018

Amazon has consciously cultivated the image of writer’s patron and author’s best friend. Along with the Kindle device there’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) which has launched a number of new voices and sometimes allowed writers to earn decent money. Hugh Howey was discovered by serializing his novel Wool on KDP. Then there’s CreateSpace, Amazon‘s self-publishing arm which allowed authors to easily produce attractive print-on-demand analog books with digital accompaniment. And Amazon-owned Goodreads has permitted writers to promote their works through a variety of built-in gimmicks. Finally, the Amazon website had a giveaway feature which gave authors the opportunity to promote and distribute their work online to build their name and boost their presence.

All that has dramatically changed a few years ago. First KDP instituted a devious “revenue sharing” scheme to pool the sales of KDP-exclusive works and dole out a portion of the earnings to their writers. Then Amazon severely restricted the self-publishing services it offered through CreateSpace before deciding to fold CreateSpace into KDP, eliminating it altogether. Finally Amazon has recently gutted its giveaways, making it much more difficult for non-name authors to build a reputation and create a buzz for their work by using that marketing feature. Goodreads’ giveaway policy has also changed, but less drastically.

Writers who’ve ignored Amazon’s predatory, monopolistic business practices, or thought they could criticize Amazon while taking advantage of the few seemingly generous/liberal byproducts of the company’s terrible methods, are now hoist with their own petard. I went with IngramSpark and Barnes & Noble when I decided to self-publish my novel 1% Free, refusing to consider KDP or CreateSpace from the start. But I did use Amazon and Amazon-owned Goodreads to give away the Kindle and POD versions of my book. While Goodreads remains a viable if more limited way to give away analog editions of my novel, Amazon’s giveaways have become a nightmare. They no longer work for struggling authors nor for small product sellers on Amazon generally. When you make a pact with the devil…

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