I'm not here to tell people to stop criticizing Amazon. It's a big company, motivated by profit, and when it pulls a dick move, it should be held accountable like any other. I want you to criticize. For a self-published author like me who is too lazy and unknowledgeable to dig up information on his own, I depend on you critics to help me make informed choices. I'm only here to ask you not to beat a few particularly stupid dead horses.
The biggest dick moves people seem to be talking about these days are the KDP Select program, and the recent Kindle Unlimited program which is part of it. That's like a dick move on top of a dick move. A double dick move!
Whenever I see an article about self-publishing on my Facebook feed, I'll click on it. And as a KDP Select subscriber, I'll seek out articles on how to better leverage the benefits that the program offers. Like I said, I like to be informed.
The biggest problems people seem to have with KDP Select and Kindle Unlimited (For those of you who are unfamiliar with these programs, I've discussed them more thoroughly HERE.) are the exclusivity requirement for Select and the "unlimited" part of Unlimited. These are legitimate concerns, and should absolutely be discussed. But it would be nice if your criticism was better thought out than...
3. Why Would You Let Them Give Away Your Hard Work For Free?
First of all, no one's giving away shit.
Kindle Unlimited is a subscription. Customers pay a flat fee to borrow and read all the ebooks (included in the program) that they want. Authors get paid a share of a pool of money which Amazon reserves specifically for this purpose.
Don't like the shady, fluctuating payment arrangement? Talk about that.
Don't like the fact that high-profile and traditionally published authors seem to be getting a better deal out of this Unlimited thing than us indies? Talk about that.
Just don't make shit up.
2. If Amazon Has All The Power, They'll Start Treating Authors And Customers Worse!
Speaking of making shit up, this is entirely speculative nonsense.
Seriously, do you stay in the house all day for fear of getting hit by a meteor if you step outside? I've got some bad news for you, bucko. Your house isn't as meteor proof as you think.
There's not a whole lot of point in worrying about things that might or might not (read: almost certainly won't) happen. And acting according to your imagination-induced fears may actually be hindering you. What if, say, you're a kick-ass author whose books would be all over the charts if you were enrolled in KDP Select, but you're only reaching a fraction of the people you otherwise might (and in turn making only a fraction of the money you otherwise might) because you're afraid of how Amazon might choose to wield its great power some day? Speculative fear works both ways.
Amazon hasn't gotten to where it is today by dicking over readers and authors. It makes money by selling my shit. From where I sit, it seems highly unlikely they'll do an about face and start jacking prices up and cutting author percentages (or whatever it is you might fear will happen.)
But hey... now I'm speculating. And what do I know? Not much, admittedly. But I know this...
If Amazon ever does try to dick me over, I'll simply take my business elsewhere. There are plenty of booksellers out there. Amazon knows this, which is why they're trying to encourage the whole exclusivity thing. And it's not like a Walmart moving in and driving all the little Mom-and-Pop shops out of business. These other ebook-selling outlets are websites. They're not going anywhere. There's not a whole lot of overhead or physical inventory to worry about in this business.
Encouraging exclusivity by offering me extra means of promoting and selling my books is not, as far as I'm concerned, a red flag. It's a smart business move.
Now, if Amazon ever up and decided to cut my percentage, or increase the amount of time I need to keep my books exclusive to Amazon (reminder: Enrolling in KDP Select is only a 90-day commitment), then I'd give some serious thought to jumping ship.
Or if they ever decided to change the terms to something like 'By publishing your books on Amazon, you are agreeing to sign over all of the rights to your work all eternity blah blah blah...' then yeah, I'll be on the first plane to Fuckthatshitistan.
But (and here comes some speculation again) they'll never do that, because they're not fucking retarded.
1. Don't Put All Your Eggs In One Basket!
This is the one that burns my cookies the most. I find this particular tired old maxim a little misleading and inapplicable to the exclusivity requirement of KDP Select.
What does it mean to put all of one's eggs in one basket? And why should one avoid doing that?
The answer, of course, is that if you drop that one basket, all of your eggs are destroyed.
By diversifying your egg-carrying in multiple baskets, you still might lose a few eggs (you drunk, clumsy farmer), but you minimize your risk of losing them all.
Here is an example of that proverb being applicable outside of a literal hen house.
You're looking to secure your family's future by investing your life savings in the stock market. Your cousin Barry just went public with his dildo company, and those big plastic dicks are just flying off the shelves. So you dump all of your money into Barry's Dildos Inc., quit your job, and wait for those sweet, sweet dividend checks to start rolling in.
A week later, Barry's face is all over the news. The dildos had a minor design flaw, and now women and confused teenage boys all over the nation are exploding.
The business folds up, and you're left with nothing but an explosive dick in your hand. You would have been wise not to put all of your eggs in one basket.
Here is another example. See if you can spot where the metaphor starts to fall apart.
You write some books. You succumb to the Amazonian temptress's massive bosom (In this metaphor, breasts will represent the perks you get through KDP Select. Perky breasts.), and put your tick in her box.
Suddenly, Kindles everywhere start exploding because they're made out of the same plastic as Barry's dildos, and the once mighty Amazonian Empire crumbles to ashes.
The business folds up, and you're left with nothing but your books, (which you are now, of course, free to sell wherever you like), a nice pile of money which you made while times were good, a solid fan base who will still be looking forward to buying your new books wherever they are available, and an explosive dick in your hand (you really need to get rid of that thing before someone gets hurt).
Can you spot the difference?
Maybe I'm coming off as a devoted disciple of Amazon. I'm totally not. I'd ditch KDP Select in a heartbeat (or at least once my current 90 day cycle expires) if I thought I could be getting better exposure and making more money without it. But for now, it's been treating me pretty well.
So talk. Criticize. I'm listening. Just stop saying stupid shit.