Self Published Authors, You’re Being Dumped!


If you’re a self published author, get ready for some disappointing news. Your usefulness is coming to an end. Yes, you have all worked very hard for very little return in building an empire to be exploited by multinational enterprises, but sadly, your job is almost done and it’s time now for you to be given the ‘boot’.

It all started a year or so back with the Amazon’s KDP Select program that offered ‘manna from heaven‘ in exchange for granting Amazon exclusivity to your books. And yes, it was very nice for a few months, until the rules were changed. Without notice of course. You see, the problem was that self published titles were just way too popular, so their ‘weighting’ on bestseller lists had to be reduced. From 100% down to 10% of their value.

Yet even after this dramatic change, these pesky self published titles managed to claw their way to the top of bestselling lists. Not something that would have pleased the Big Six I’m sure. So more work needed to be done.

The next move came with the massive deletions of reviews on self published titles. No, not the paid reviews by registered Amazon reviewers working on Fiverr, but those nasty reviews written by pesky self published authors who actually read a book and honestly posted a review. Clearly Amazon believed that this was just not right that authors should be allowed to review books, even though major publishers have wrought  the book review system for decades and habitually use well known authors to write book reviews. But what’s a little hypocrisy when an end needs a means.

If these measures weren’t enough to ‘kill off’ these pesky Indies, then came this new move.

‘Add to all this the unexplained changes in Amazon’s algorithms that keep the books in the KDP program from competing with publishing house titles as best-sellers.’ [Source]

My understanding of this last change was to preclude self published titles from appearing alongside major published titles in the ‘Customers Also Bought’ widget on Amazon book pages. Judging by my own ebook sales, it has worked spectacularly well, as my unit sales have dropped off a cliff from October to November.

So what happens after the destruction of self publishing?

To fill the new void that is going to be created by ‘killing off’ the Indies and genuine self published authors, the Big Six are now offering their own self publishing services. Simon & Schuster are the latest to offer this …..

This is not self publishing. It is old fashioned vanity publishing that charges anywhere between $1,500 and $25,000 to publish a book, with little chance of success. In fact it is a very old fox in new sheep’s clothing – Author Solutions and Author House. My advice has always been, do not walk away from them, run away! Vanity publishing has such a bad reputation, but as it has now been renamed and re-marketed as self publishing, everything is ok. Right? Wrong!

If you’re a self published author, the message is clear, and get ready for more bad news in the near future. All your free ebook giveaways were for nothing. You were all just way too popular for the good of the publishing industry, who are now struggling to afford their champagne lunches every day. But boy, did you help sell millions of Kindles. Well done. But you’ve served your purpose, now pack your bags and get the hell out of publishing!

Of course, I could be completely wrong about all this.

  1. Avatar of Jack Eason
    Jack Eason says

    Until Amazon give me the push, I’m staying Derek. The numbers of copies sold re my books say something completely different. Take my novel The Seventh Age as a shining example – 4011 copies sold (02 Dec 2012) so far.

    If your right – fine, no problem, we all move to Smashwords. I’ve yet to see any actual proof. All I do see is conjecture. 🙂

  2. Avatar of Andrew J. Sacks
    Andrew J. Sacks says

    Derek, thank you for the heads-up. Many self-published writers may not be as fortunate as our colleague Jack.

  3. Avatar of Elizabeth Lang
    Elizabeth Lang says

    A somewhat biased view of things, because it is NOT JUST SELF-PUBLISHED titles which are being targeted, as this article wants to suggest. I am an author from an indie press and I have been targeted too.

    As for algorithms changing. Like I’ve always said, people (whether self-publishers, indie published or trad published) who have taken advantage of the KSP are a bunch of chumps. Amazon was just using you to sell Kindles. It had no real interest in authors. It couldn’t care less about them except as expendable tools it would dump the moment it could make money somewhere else. Amazon has a reputation of stabbing people in the back once it has them in their grip. It did that to the publishers and now the self-publishers. I’m not surprised at all. I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop to wake up the self-publishers to reality.

    And seriously, going with Amazon is not the same as vanity press? Amazon has made vanity press far more acceptable. Vanity press is for people who think they should be authors and use their own money and resources to get published. In the old days, people would use their own money and resources to do covers,etc. and get books printed and so they could sell it. How is that different than what Amazon does?

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