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Readers Against Indie-Publishing – The Wrong Battle Is Being Fought
Recently I’ve been following a discussion on the Amazon forums about how to avoid indie authors. When I saw the title, I frowned and clicked to start reading. Given the title, the negativity was expected, but it was quite harsh at times.
It’s no secret that the indie scene is underrated in almost any medium. There are many differences when looking at the independent creation of art forms such as books, films, paintings and the like. However, in each scenario there is usually a higher authority that the community looks to for the latest and greatest. In books, of course, it’s traditional publishing.
However, back to the topic, the prejudice in the topic was quite obvious. Readers don’t want to sift through low-quality books, and they want to skim what they see. Low quality is not what was said, they want to remove indie books and only see books from major publishers.
Such a shame…
However, there is also an argument that can be made. However, this is going wrong. The answer is not to remove all indie books from search results, but to change KDP’s publishing standards. I think changing it to the following would be an effective approach for readers, Amazon, and independent authors alike.
First, divide the publication into two categories. Free or for sale. Books published in the free category are generally published in the same way that all books are published on Amazon now. There would be no standards and no special area of Amazon’s e-book store dedicated to free titles. Those who publish something for a small group of friends or family, or authors who want to offer their book for free, will be able to publish it using the system there.
The main change will occur when a given publisher chooses to sell a book. At this point, you’d do everything the same as you do now, except the book won’t go on sale until a little later. Instead, it was postponed pending review. At this point, people might start saying that Amazon isn’t going to pay people to read books by independent authors, that there will be too many volumes added to it every day.
And this argument will be very valid.
However, there is a solution that can be beneficial to all parties. Thanks to digital downloads, creating and sending entertainment is no longer difficult. No need for physical copies, just a few mouse clicks and you have it. This is the point that should unite Amazon, readers and independent authors. The review process involves sending free copies of eBooks to well-established reviewers and bloggers or other beta readers. They test their quality both in terms of story and editing. Each book is sent to more than one reviewer and their reviews are scored. If the quality meets certain standards in each area of the criteria, rather than the overall score, then the book will be published for sale on Amazon.
At this point, readers may have some questions, such as why e-books are special and how Amazon can trust the word of reviewers and bloggers about what to publish. How will it be created, maintained, etc. These are all valid questions to be discussed with the parties.
What I can say though is this. Amazon has nothing to lose by giving reviewers free copies of ebooks. What they will gain is a large amount of material that will be easier to convince consumers to buy. The current mentality of independent publishing seems to be to make a handful of money from each and do it with every author who publishes. Wouldn’t it be much more efficient to have quality products that people didn’t have to ask so much before buying? Some say Amazon makes money off the deal, so they don’t care. If this is true, they should care. They may technically be making money with the current system, but they are losing a lot of money that could be made. The independent book market is damaged, and damaged markets don’t sell well.
This situation will help to correct this. With these reviewers Amazon partner, in exchange for money if they want, or other perks like being featured as an official Amazon partner, free books, or as it’s handled, the independent publishing world will see a boost.
Digital downloads are a great way to make money and offer the convenience of sending to anyone on Amazon at no cost to them. This will encourage authors to expand into the e-book market if they are currently publishing only in print. E-books are a growing trend, and Amazon recognizes this. The more digital downloads they have, the more money they make without having to store, package or ship anything.
Many profitable reasons have been presented for Amazon, but what about the indie author? What does he get out of it? What he gets is less anonymity and a stamp of approval. These are two of the biggest hurdles for any freelance writer. Readers were burned by many sub-par pieces, stories that didn’t even seem to have been written after being spell-checked or read. All indie authors struggle to overcome these two roadblocks. If your books were available to reduce these two stigmas, sales would be much more likely. More sales means more recognition and more recognition means more readers. Amazon will be able to promote indie works, resulting in more sales for both them and the authors.
At this point, I would like to outline how I envision the review process. The books will be evaluated in different categories as mentioned. Each category would require a certain score, which would be determined after compiling the results of each reviewer’s scores and comments. It won’t be based on whether you liked the story or not, but on the quality of the writing, frequency and quality of errors, etc.
I’m not saying that doing all of this will be easy. Change rarely happens. It is possible for things to continue as they are, but the market could be irreparably damaged. Amazon, and probably many other businesses that offer independent publishing services, need to consider how they approach their publishing game.
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