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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On another forum (not to be named per kb rules) a couple of authors from a traditional background who are now epubbed have come up with a "vetting" system.  They have already sent a letter of suggestion to Mr. Bezos about their scathingly brilliant idea.

One bought an ebook they didn't feel met their standards of what should be allowed to be published.  They said people like that are pulling down the quality of ebooks.  They further went on to explain (after I protested this) that customers will soon flee from ebooks and run back to trads as there is no "gatekeeper" system.  Their idea is quite simple.  You may publish one book to kindle.  However, until you have earned 300.00 on that book, you can not publish another one. 

I explained that for me and others like me, our books may be very niche and not have a wide appeal.  That doesn't mean they aren't good.  But at .99 cents, it would take forever to reach that threshold.  I told them this was a disservice to their fellow authors and that there already is a "vetting" process in place.  It is called Refunds and Reviews.  But they threw tons of facts and figures at me and I don't know enough to be able to answer. I backed out gracefully, wished them well and asked for their well wishes back.  I told them if their idea is implemented, I would need all the luck I can get.

What do you all think?  Should I be upset or nervous about this?  At what they are proposing, I might only be able to publish once a year.  No different from the wait time on trads.  This has got me very upset.  To set themselves up as the gatekeepers by suggesting this is pretty arrogant.  We all want good quality, but one of the best things about epubbing is the freedom and not having to wait months and months to publish. Am I upset over nothing.  It smacked of elitism to me, as well.
 

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JeanneM said:
What do you all think? Should I be upset or nervous about this? At what they are proposing, I might only be able to publish once a year. No different from the wait time on trads. This has got me very upset. To set themselves up as the gatekeepers by suggesting this is pretty arrogant. We all want good quality, but one of the best things about epubbing is the freedom and not having to wait months and months to publish. Am I upset over nothing. It smacked of elitism to me, as well.
Ignore them. It's the third stage of Gandhi's Admonishment.

First they ignore you
Then they laugh at you
Then they fight you
Then you win.

We're at the fight stage and they're swinging at the shades of history. Let them exhaust themselves in a battle that nobody will join.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks, Nathan.  :)  I don't understand why trad published authors leave trad publishing and then try to turn the place they ran to, into a mini-me of the big 6.
 

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I wouldn't worry over it. Just keep writing. One argument they do have in their favor is the editing of most eBooks. Find someone that is NOT family to edit books. I have and do use an editor. Our reputations are on the line when we publish our books. It's great to have the luxury of getting our books on Kindle or via Smashwords, but it's also too easy, which allows people to push their manuscripts out for the world to see before they are ready. Editors are a must, whether traditionally published or not.
 

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Think about it this way: Let's say you have a readership of just ten people. If you are only allowed to publish a single book, Amazon takes its cut of $10. If you publish two books to the same audience, Amazon takes a cut of $20.

Which scenario do you think Mr. Bezos would prefer?

Your couple of trad authors are basically just doing the lobbyist shuffle. Their futures are in doubt, and instead of trying to adapt to the new opportunities available to them, they'd rather ask that the rules be changed back to something they're comfortable with. The most they can expect is a "Thank you for your input" form letter.
 

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I don't think there is any chance of it happening.  This is nothing new by the way.  I was at BEA listening to a lectur on the death of books and the presenter brought up quotes since publishing started. I should dig them out but some of them that caught my eye.

- When Guttenberg's press came into use there were those lamenting the caligraphy and illuminations that were done by hand.
- And of course when paperbacks came out it was deemed that pulp books would destroy pulp as we know it.

Technology continues to advance that makes more books available to more people and cheaper.  It's never destoryed civilization yet - I don't think it ever will.
 

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Amazon will always tweak. It's the nature of the business.

Unlike mainstream publishing, however, Amazon management knows that the ebook marketplace is substantially bigger than the 350m reported by the AAP. They also know that they make a lot more money from having indies out sell mainstream. They practically invented the Long Tail and that's really where their bread is buttered.

 

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JeanneM said:
On another forum (not to be named per kb rules) a couple of authors from a traditional background who are now epubbed have come up with a "vetting" system. They have already sent a letter of suggestion to Mr. Bezos about their scathingly brilliant idea.

One bought an ebook they didn't feel met their standards of what should be allowed to be published. They said people like that are pulling down the quality of ebooks. They further went on to explain (after I protested this) that customers will soon flee from ebooks and run back to trads as there is no "gatekeeper" system. Their idea is quite simple. You may publish one book to kindle. However, until you have earned 300.00 on that book, you can not publish another one.

I explained that for me and others like me, our books may be very niche and not have a wide appeal. That doesn't mean they aren't good. But at .99 cents, it would take forever to reach that threshold. I told them this was a disservice to their fellow authors and that there already is a "vetting" process in place. It is called Refunds and Reviews. But they threw tons of facts and figures at me and I don't know enough to be able to answer. I backed out gracefully, wished them well and asked for their well wishes back. I told them if their idea is implemented, I would need all the luck I can get.

What do you all think? Should I be upset or nervous about this? At what they are proposing, I might only be able to publish once a year. No different from the wait time on trads. This has got me very upset. To set themselves up as the gatekeepers by suggesting this is pretty arrogant. We all want good quality, but one of the best things about epubbing is the freedom and not having to wait months and months to publish. Am I upset over nothing. It smacked of elitism to me, as well.
Amazon makes money whether the books are of high quality or not. This is just old school wanting a gatekeeper--but gatekeeper costs money to implement. Many traditionally published authors don't like the competition of indies with no "validation" -- more competition might mean a reader doesn't buy their books.

Why worry? If Amazon changes the rules it won't be because a couple of authors are whining about quality. Now if readers have issues with quality, that's a different story. And Amazon has already started implementing letters and notifications if too many copies are returned for "formatting" or "quality" issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You have all made me feel so much better.  Thank you.  What you say makes so much sense.  I wish you had all been there to discuss these points, I am so ill equipped to argue with facts and figures.  :)

OK, this has freed up my time to obsess over something else now.  Thank you!  ;)
 

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JeanneM said:
Thanks, Nathan. :) I don't understand why trad published authors leave trad publishing and then try to turn the place they ran to, into a mini-me of the big 6.
Exactly! It's as if they're saying, "Well, indie publishing is fine for all us previously-trad-pubbed, but not the rest of you rabble."

Amazon is making a lot of changes, and they will continue to do whatever maximizes their profits. Their existing tools measure quality quite nicely: reviews, refunds, complaint buttons. The dollar amount someone makes from a single book is not a measure of the book's quality; it's about marketing, some luck, and as you said, the size of their specific, niche market.

Limiting the # of ebooks an author can put out would not serve Amazon's goal. A lot of people look at the number of books an author has written as a quality measure itself. They might not be interested if they think the author is a one-hit wonder. And what about folks who are producing series books? No one wants to buy the first, if they might have to wait months or years to get the second.

--Maria
 

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rhondastapleton said:
I wouldn't even worry about it--honestly, I don't see this going anywhere.
+1

Who are they to me? Nobodies. And I set a publishing company up to release my work, so if any indies need a publisher who isn't a snob - once I've figured it all out and have money to spend lol - I'm here :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thank you Anna and Ilyria!  Ilyria..you are right.  And I shouldn't allow myself to become intimidated like this.

Anna, I'm going to go check that link right now. :)
 

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Nathan Lowell said:
Amazon will always tweak. It's the nature of the business.

Unlike mainstream publishing, however, Amazon management knows that the ebook marketplace is substantially bigger than the 350m reported by the AAP. They also know that they make a lot more money from having indies out sell mainstream. They practically invented the Long Tail and that's really where their bread is buttered.
YES! The idea of trad authors taking down indie's is scary, sure, but hey, look at the indie's taking down the trad authors, right? I'm sure Amazon has to play both sides of the field here to be nice to everyone, but just remember, for every book you sell at your $0.99, Amazon gets to keep $0.69 of it for doing nothing else but storing the data and having it on their site... and remember, Amazon has lots of servers (I heard they make more money off their servers than books). Why would Amazon want to cut anyone out when they make money off us? Sure, the editing thing is a worry, but there's trad books that have lots of errors too. And, as I've said before, the READER will decide. If they read a book that is poorly written and edited, they won't come back. And don't forget, because of the success of Konrath, Hockings, and a few others, people are jumping at this gig like it's free money. It's not and a lot of people will bow out soon enough... there's tons of people uploading a book they wrote because they wrote it. Okay, fine, they'll sell some, but will they have the next one - and the next one - and the next one? A lot won't and they'll fade away. Right now, this indie / kindle publishing gig has gotten SO much buzz.
But from my eyes, I look at it this way... in the past week, I've purchased the new Dean Koontz book (trad) and purchased an erotica novel (indie) and a zombie novel (small press)... so there, I support all three worlds.

And if Amazon had the guts to do something like this, we'd still write. We'd find other ways to publish our books. The one BIG advantage we have now, here, is numbers. (And for a lot of people on these boards - sales figures.) Smashwords is growing and if Amazon did something, I'm sure other places would pop up to take over where they left off.

But I doubt Amazon would do something like this... they make money off each purchase.

-jb 8)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thank you, Jim.  That was a great post and now I'm thinking that there really is nothing to worry about.  It just really bothered me when I saw the post.  It seemed so...I don't know...snobbish in a lot of ways.  It made me feel like one of the unwashed masses who need not apply.  I feel this way sometimes around highly educated people...and they do seem to be that.
 
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