Except of course that in telling you why I won’t be blogging about it, I am blogging about it. Oops.
Well, take out the word “blogging” from the title of this post and replace it with “writing instructional posts, explaining it in too much detail or advising anyone either way on whether or not you should or shouldn’t enroll your books”, and then you’ll understand what I really mean.
Of course, that would have been a much longer blog title. Too long.
Cue people losing their minds. Out spilled the tweets, the blog posts, the articles. The indignation, the anger, the disbelief. The contempt for the one company that has probably done more good for self-publishers than mayonnaise has done bad for my waistline. This may or may not be true but I think I read somewhere that Amazon consulted with some of its biggest selling KDP publishers before finalizing the details—a few of them are even quoted in the release. But even this isn’t enough for the aspiring masses, for the self-publishers who have sold fewer books than the average person has highlighter pens, and they’re freaking out.
Which side is right? Is this good for self-publishers, or have we just caught Amazon with their hand in our pocket? Is this a new opportunity, or just the latest step in a chain of events that ends with Amazon owning the exclusive rights to the work of every author in the world and them forcing us to burn our old books while they watch in exchange for access to a new release? Or is this just not that big of a deal and, in the scheme of things, not even very interesting?
I don’t have the answers. All I know is this:
I JUST CANNOT BE ARSED WITH THIS ANYMORE.
(YES, I AM SHOUTING.)
I don’t care what you think about KDP Select. And you shouldn’t care what I think about it either. Self-publishing is not one size fits all. You have to do what’s right for you and your career, and you should be able to do it without interference from anyone else. (Has anyone noticed that Amazon have replaced the old evil gatekeeping overlords, i.e. agents, editors and Wal-Mart book buyers, in some sections of the self-publishing evangelist world? Do those guys just have to have someone to hate?) But I have to say something about it, lest I explode, and people have been asking what I think. So I’ve decided to delete the original post I wrote in a red mist last night, and replaced it with this, the minimum I can possibly say on the subject—hopefully my first and last post about KDP Select.
This is all I’m going to say about KDP Select:
I’ve enrolled one title, Mousetrapped and Backpacked Too, which is a combination edition of my two travel memoirs that isn’t and has never been for sale anywhere other than in the Kindle store. This book costs $3.99 to buy and since I avail of the 70% loyalty rate on it, I have to make it available for Kindle lending (i.e. where people who’ve bought my book can lend it to another Kindle owner for 14 days) anyway—that’s one of the requirements for 70%. Also, it sells a handful of copies a month so I have absolutely nothing to lose by enrolling it, only potentially something to gain—more readers. I don’t think I would pull a book from anywhere else just so I could enroll it in KDP Select, but here’s what I think I would do: give KDP Select a new book for the first three months of its life (the minimum enrollment period, as I understand). Then pull it out again, and upload the book elsewhere. Why would I do this? Because I wouldn’t be in the position I am today if it weren’t for Amazon. If that ruffles your anti-capitalist feathers an uncomfortable amount then maybe you shouldn’t be publishing books at all because last time I checked, publishing—self-publishing included—was a business, not a hand-holding Kumbaya session around the commune campfire.
This is all I’m going to say about the people complaining it:
You can do what you like. I don’t care. And you shouldn’t care about what I do. But I think it’s a bit rich to be complaining about Amazon ad nauseum when you publish and sell your books through them. What’s the point of protesting if at the end of the day, you’re happy to cross the picket line? I saw a comment yesterday that went along the lines of, ‘This is IT! I’ve had it. KDP Select is the last nail in Amazon’s coffin for me. I’m withdrawing all of my books from them right now.’ Now, to me, this person sounds like a bit of a raving lunatic having a complete overreaction but, you know what? I have far more respect for that person than I do the ones who keep a foot on both sides of the fence. At least that person isn’t just being contrary to get blog hits. Their anger is real. And let’s not forget: none of this is mandatory. (And despite what someone said yesterday, it is still perfectly possible to use KDP without “accidentally enrolling” your book in Select. If you can’t figure out KDP’s simpler-than-simple dashboard set-up, then you probably haven’t formatted your book right either so, no loss there.) No one is forcing you to self-publish with Amazon. No one is even forcing you to self-publish in the first place. Here’s a little tip: do you know what I do when something makes me angry? I stop doing it. Simples.
So I’m going to take my own advice, and stop talking about this now.
Let’s never speak of this again.
Now as an antidote to all this unpleasantness, here’s a picture of a cat and dog who are friends:
Or maybe a little bit more than friends. House pets with benefits, perhaps. Either way, LOOK AT ALL THE CUDDLY CUTE FLUFFINESS.
Nice Catherine will be back on Monday. Have a good weekend!