Amazon may be “The Everything Store,” and perhaps that’s what CEO Jeff Bezos is most interested in. However, writers are the beneficiaries of his interest in books. He started just selling books from publishers, but he made them cheaper than anywhere else, easy to order with “one Click” and gave fast shipping. And that’s not even counting inventing the Kindle and its later versions which has turned readers onto digital instead of paper books. Not that paper is dead or ever will be, but most writers report their biggest sales come from e-books. Some are making six figures and many have quit their day jobs because of that income.
Thanks to Amazon, self-publishing has taken off in a big way too. True, there was lots of it going on before they came along, but it was by vanity presses and a few scams where authors paid huge sums to get their books printed. Amazon’s prices are low and the books are high quality. If you price your self-published e-book between $2.99 and $9.99, you get to keep 70 percent of the price and payment is made monthly, not every six months like the BPH.
In addition, Amazon publishes books, and so many writers query them with manuscripts, it’s sometimes hard to get the work looked at, much less accepted for publication. Their lines include Montlake Romance for romance novels, Thomas & Mercer for mystery and 47-North for science fiction. There are also imprints for translated works, literary fiction and classics, among others.
Wait. That’s not all. As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, Amazon hosts Kindle Worlds where best-selling authors create “worlds” to which writers can submit novellas, and if accepted, receive 35 percent of the price of every copy sold.
And there’s more. Within the next 45 days, Amazon will begin another program for writers in which full-length novels can be entered for possible publication with advances and a guaranteed minimum income. I won’t name all the other perks, but it’s an awesome list. I suspect the goal for this program is to lure authors contracted by the BPH (especially Hachette) because those writers can only dream of getting such a good deal from them. It’s no secret that the big publishers treat their writers very badly, with terrible contract clauses, to say nothing of keeping 82 percent of the money so they can afford their New York offices and fancy lunches.
But even if that is Amazon’s goal, I’ll be happy to sign on and try to get one of those deals. I’ve already been treated well by Amazon, with the books they self-publish for me, as well as having my romance novel SOUTHERN STAR in their Montlake imprint and my novella, THE WEDDING GUEST, in a Kindle World. I’m not earning six figures, but I’m a very happy camper.