Censorship rears its ugly head on Amazon

An increasing number of authors have complained that “politically incorrect” books face added obstacles to be approved for publication on Amazon.com.  So far that’s been a relative trickle:  but last week something ugly happened.  Margaret Ball has already raised concerns about it here, but it goes further than that.

On June 4th, Alex Berenson submitted for publication his latest work, “Unreported Truths about COVID-19 and Lockdowns: Part 1: Introduction and Death Counts and Estimates“.

Cover 'Unreported Truths'

It’s the first in an intended series of booklets dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Within ten minutes of the book being submitted, Amazon rejected it.  That time period is significant.  It means that the book was rejected without anyone at Amazon actually reading it or checking its contents.  Its mere subject was enough.  Mr. Berenson tweeted about the rejection as follows.

Berenson 1

Berenson 2

Fortunately for Mr. Berenson, who’s a well-known and widely respected reporter, he has some influential friends.  Elon Musk tweeted in response:

Berenson 3

That, plus other complaints in his support, appears to have done the trick.  The booklet was hastily approved for publication, and is now on sale.  However, less influential authors might not receive such favorable treatment.

That’s worrying enough in itself:  but during the same period, Amazon also took sides with regard to the recent riots and unrest in the USA, putting a banner on its welcome page in support of Black Lives Matter – the concept, if not the actual organization (that wasn’t clear).  This naturally attracted backlash, both from Amazon employees who felt it didn’t go far enough, and from customers who objected to a vendor taking sides at all.  Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, went so far as to republish an offended customer’s profanity-laced complaint, and dismissed it with the offhand statement that “Dave, you’re the kind of customer I’m happy to lose”.

That, taken in conjunction with the short-lived censorship of Alex Berenson’s latest book, has to give pause to all of us who depend on Amazon.com as the outlet for our books.  Many of us are locked into that company’s economic ecosystem – we don’t market through any other channels.  What if the censorship exposed over the past few days becomes more widespread?  What if we don’t fit the “politically correct” model that Amazon.com’s founder, and many of its employees, appear to espouse?  Will we find ourselves (and our books) no longer welcome on that e-commerce platform?

That’s a very serious question, and it deserves very serious consideration in these troubled times – particularly for those of us who make our views known on social media platforms (i.e. blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Gab, etc.) that are (at least theoretically) outside Amazon’s purview.  Could our social media posts be held against us by Amazon in its book approval process?  Based on de-platforming efforts we’ve seen elsewhere, I suspect that may become a factor in future.

If we haven’t already done so, it’s time to consider our alternatives, and make contingency plans in case of future issues.  That’s going to be difficult, because right now there aren’t any alternatives as comprehensive as Amazon.com.  Nevertheless, it may be time to actively look for and encourage them, and/or “go wide” (i.e. publish both on Amazon.com and also on other e-book and print vendors) instead of remaining exclusive to Amazon’s (admittedly more lucrative) Kindle Direct platform.  We’ll make less money that way (at least initially), but it may be the only way forward that offers any guarantee (no matter how parlous) of at least some authorial and financial security.

What say you, Mad Genii?

29 comments

  1. I can’t be sure, but I can say this: Amazon has applied a filter to all ads and book submissions during the pandemic in an attempt to keep people from exploiting the situation. Anything that mentions the coronavirus, or related keywords, is getting kicked back. I’m not sure I blame them – with some of the absolute nonsense I see floating around on social media (there’s a reason I’m off facebook for the foreseeable future) I really do NOT want to see that same crap attempting to legitimize itself as a book.

    1. And Amazon is the one who’s going to legitimize a book?

      I’d consider that to be a major issue.

      It might be interesting to see what other Coronavirus books/pamphlets/monographs they have chosen to make available.

      1. I’m not saying it’s a good system. I’m saying I understand why they chose to put in an automated filter. They were undoubtedly deluged with crap once the panic machine (ie the Media) got spun up. Now, do I think there needs to be a way to talk to a real person and say ‘hey, this is an actual book and not a spam…’ then yes. But do I think it is censorship? No. It is a private company, not a government. (Thank goodness. Also, ‘yet.’)

    2. Looking at the reviews on Amazon, China is pouring a lot of money and time into gaming Amazon’s review systems.

      I’d lay money on the automatic kick-back being in place because they’re being flooded with PRC spam-books which would then be bought, highly reviewed, and automatically promoted to THE thing to read on the subject.

      1. That would not surprise me. I’m not saying that the automated response is the right one. But if you pull back and look at the big picture, Amazon was scrambling to keep up on a LOT of other fronts. So they may not have had the personnel to apply to this one. Writing a script was faster and simpler. Now… that should get some attention as the initial panic has died down. Hopefully Berenson’s book will be a trigger for that.

        1. Unless I missed it, the guy went straight from getting the rejection notice to twitter. We don’t know if they had anybody monitoring it.

          I rather wonder if the only thing the script was checking for was if they’d get a fluent-in-English response along the lines of “Uh, whiskey tango, man, it’s a research paper using the CDCs for six countries, the WHO and various scientific articles” vs google translate level “why not publish my stuff?” responses as a filtering method.

          That’s exactly the method my mom’s phone system uses– it has a question that’s something like literally “push the number you get if you add one and one.” Gets 90% of the spammers right off the bat.

  2. I’ve gone wide with my books twice and the results haven’t been pretty. Even compared to my already low Amazon sales, the combined sales from a dozen other sites amounted to less than I earned in (equally low) Kindle Unlimited royalties. Some authors may have success outside of Amazon, but I’m not one of them. If the ‘zon goes full Big Brother on us, I’m pretty much done as an author.

  3. — Could our social media posts be held against us by Amazon in its book approval process? —

    Count on it. Now that Amazon has been Left-colonized, nothing anyone posts anywhere will be regarded as out of bounds for “review.” But I can’t imagine what we could do about it, other than eschew “KDP Select” and broaden our marketing scope to include the other reasonably significant eBook vendors.

  4. With the Corona thing there is the strong possibility of legal exposure for Amazon (I would speculate, anyway). If somebody buys a book with wrong information in it and gets sick, they would certainly name Amazon in the lawsuit because Amazon has money.

    This knee-jerk risk avoidance is probably what’s going on here. Anything with COVID-19 in the title gets bounced by a bot.

    They had other problems with crooked vendors selling pandemic scams, like the “plague-proof mask made of kleenex” or “genuine N-95 mask only $100 each!” etc. so no surprise they did this here.

    But, if you are a virus expert trying to get your book out there, it’s a problem. Particularly if the book is about how full of shit the WHO response is, with charts and graphs.

    Will they start to censor The Phantom’s little Angels Universe books? I would put a solid “maybe” on that.

    IF there’s legal exposure to them from an author making fun of gun control laws, or Leftie economic policies, or from saying in passing that there’s two genders in Humans, they will definitely censor them. We could live to see the legal system enshrine some of this insanity in the USA. How do I know? Because they already did in Canada. It is -illegal- to mis-gender in Canada. Thanks, Trudeau. Some lumberjack tells you he’s a girl, then you better call him Sally. Otherwise the RCMP will come to your house. Jordan Peterson is the canary in that particular coal mine.

    Therefore, I am afraid we might well be entering a time similar to Prohibition, when a religious fervor banned the manufacture and use of all manner of previously legal drugs and ultimately alcohol. The 18th Amendment was the high-water mark for the political influence of religion and the Temperance movement. It was also their bridge-too-far that ultimately brought about their downfall and defeat.

    But here we are 101 years later, still dealing with the fallout. There is STILL an LCBO in Ontario, and there are STILL dry-counties here in Canada and across the USA where you can’t buy a drink in a glass. That this is idiotic and anti-freedom does not matter. That’s how it is, and every time somebody tries to change it to be more free, there’s a huge uproar and millions of dollars get spent to keep it that way.

    But at least we don’t see a big campaign to make more counties dry. Carrie Nation, that old bird with the hatchet, is long dead, and her Temperance Movement with her.

    Karen will always be with us. When she brings a mob with her, she’s a problem.

    The solution to Karen is not confrontation. That’s her jam, she loves that. The solution is to make her look stupid. You do that by direct mockery and by doing what you want despite everything she brings to stop you.

    The solution to Carrie Nation and her hatchet was the speak-easy. They made Prohibition into a bad joke and ultimately they made so much MONEY that the government had to re-legalize booze to get a piece of the taxes back. The exact same mechanism is what legalized cannabis in Canada and some US states. Money, filthy lucre, trumps pious virtue signaling and it trumps Karen.

    One possible solution to Leftist censorship is the off-shore server. If Amazon decides they don’t want to publish my e-books because Karen, then having an off-shore source for Forbidden Freedom Fiction would make money like you can’t believe.

    What’s the hottest computer/phone game in Hong Kong right now? Animal Crossing. Why? Because the Chinese Communist Party banned it.

    If Bezos goes Full Karen, there WILL be huge money to be made in illegal fiction. Anything illegal is instantly desirable and sexy, because just having it makes you a huge rebel.

    It will be time for Get Off My Lawn Publishing, the propaganda arm of the Get Off My Lawn Party of Canada. Servers located on a blimp floating over the Pacific.

    1. a. re: Prohibition and the Anti-Saloon Movement in the US, *unprintable*. You had mixtures of wildly different drinking cultures, and mixtures of populations with different alcohol enzymes. Decades of government intervention into alcohol manufacturing had pre-stressed the alcohol manufacturing and retail industries, making them resistant to gentler remonstrations. The people then did not understand that people do not have all the same susceptibility to alcoholism. Without that proof, it would have been hard to defend the case for non-intervention against what people were seeing in small towns in the middle of nowhere. I suppose they should have just hung the drunks instead. A narrative that hangs everything of the end of prohibition on big cities/speakeasies is bullshit that even someone with your track record of mistakes should be able to see through. It went saloon, speakeasy, bar, and afterwards bars were more or less trusted not to sell to minors. That last would not have become true if the sole change in opinion was a decrease of confidence in the effectiveness of legal force.
      b) Trump’s rally apparently comes with a liability waiver. Which is probably imposed by the venue because they don’t want to be sued. The Covid models, critical race theory, the statistical ‘thinking’ behind the usual tests for institutional discrimination, the academic theory behind criminal justice reform and legalization of marijuana… These can all be understood as poor quality academic theory that has been excessively trusted, hence carelessly admitted as evidence in cases of liability. Hence driving people to reflexive avoidance of whatever will get them virtually lynched next.
      c) Carrie Nation could well be an answer. There are probably ways to put the suspect academics out of the theory business without vigilante arson, but it is a thing that could be done, potentially.
      d) Civil liability may well be a much better answer. We’ve just had a bunch of arsons, which potential brings in pro se RICO suits. If critical race theory is fundamentally intellectually bankrupt, and any person of reasonable intelligence can work that out, then the use of critical race theory to organize a criminal conspiracy may be enough to bring in the academics as co conspirators. The journal publishers and the universities have enough money to be worth going after. Soldier of Fortune’s Guns for Hire classifieds were eventually shut down by that process.
      e) Politics is down stream of culture. If a cultural consensus cannot be negotiated from shared principles, there is an alternative. Killings. All societies kill a certain number of people using force to restrain those who personal values make their behavior well outside of otherwise accepted cultural norms. If the breach is irreconcilable enough, killings may well be less harmful than the alternatives. Big tech companies have executives.
      e) There are political alternatives. Forex, HR fires someone because their wrongthink makes them too much of a liability for being sued. If wrong thinkers are not protected, why should there be a consensus to have other types of protected employment? Why not get rid of a lot of employment protection laws?

      1. Bob, take it easy dude. I’m not making a medical argument, but a cultural one. The history of what happened was messy, just like life today is messy.

        The idea is to get through it without killing a bunch of people and burning their stuff down, okay? That’s the goal.

        1. My point about your most outrageous degree of oversight was historical, not medical. Picking one simple narrative of Prohibition, then extrapolating to current policy, does not give a sound forecast. Especially when anyone with close contact with American history can work out that the simplification in question is at least not entirely true.

          It is less risible to describe the whole of the Anti-Saloon Movement as purely Karens. Even if, strictly speaking, it rather muddies the definition of Karen. That’s a slang you use, not one I use, and I’m not sure I care what it actually means. The medical stuff relates heavily to drunken violence among indians, hence whether responding to that was Karenism.

          You are a Canadian, with a lot of US experiences in New York and Arizona. There are a lot of nooks and crannies of American culture that you know very little about. There are a lot of nooks and crannies of American culture I know very little about. I might have a feel for as many as three or four places, out of more than a score, but maybe I don’t even understand the place that I have lived longest.

          As for the killings, those are not entirely in my hands. To avoid killings, there must be enough shared values for a peace consensus.

          It is not clear that your or my policy preferences necessarily leads to a scenario where peace is possible.

          Advocacy for legalization could be understood as an attempt to organize a surrender in the drug war. Black Lives Matter could be understood as a clear statement that the offer to surrender will not be accepted, and no prisoners will be taken.

          If I am wrong, and fail to persuade, that only means I am nuts, and probably should not act on my own. Which I have long known.

          If I have guessed X correctly, then we will see Y. If other people observe Y, then Y may persuade them that X was correct, despite not being something they naturally intuit. If I am acting with a large group, and am not responsible for steering that large group, then perhaps group consensus can help me sort out which parts of my thinking are compromised by madness, and which ones are not compromised.

          1. “As for the killings, those are not entirely in my hands. To avoid killings, there must be enough shared values for a peace consensus.”

            Please consider the statement: “An armed society is a polite society.”

            Now consider your assumption that there must be agreement and “shared values” for there to be peace.

            I think you will find it is entirely possible for people to get along just fine without shared values. They just need a reason.

            “Advocacy for legalization could be understood as an attempt to organize a surrender in the drug war.”

            The drug war is a huge can of worms, but -philosophically- it’s Karen. The government decided to prohibit the use and possession of a range of substances, because Karen. The underpinning of the notion is that you can MAKE people behave in a moral and ethical manner. Karen is going to make you behave, you naughty peasants.

            But the reality is you actually cannot make people behave. They will pretend while you point a gun at their head, but as soon as you leave they’ll be back to cooking meth and distilling moonshine.

            Legalization of alcohol in the US was to capture taxes, and don’t let anyone tell you different. Go look up some history, it is very evident. They don’t call them “sin taxes” for no reason.

            Legalization of cannabis in Canada has to date been exactly the same thing. That cannabis has certain medicinal uses is entirely irrelevant if you look at what the federal and provincial governments actually -did-. They set things up to make life difficult for producers, and to extract the maximum tax stream they could from consumers. The result so far has been a disaster as business after business crumbles under the weight of regulation and the hilarious lack of demand from the public. People do not want to sit around smoking weed. Its boring.

            Medical use is way up, which is nice, but they don’t get much tax from that.

            “Black Lives Matter could be understood as a clear statement that the offer to surrender will not be accepted, and no prisoners will be taken.”

            Black Lives Matter is a bunch of neoMarxists rioting, orchestrated by the socialist faction of US society of which the media and the DemocRat Party are parts. #BLM/Antifa are very few in number, and getting fewer every day thanks to the government anti-terrorist agencies going after them. Pretty soon the media will have to get back to freaking out about murder hornets and the Kung Flu.

            Bottom line, if you see a problem, do some math and the answer comes back: “KILL THEM ALLLLLLL!!!!!!” then you probably dropped a decimal in there somewhere.

            1. The drug war is a huge can of worms, but -philosophically- it’s Karen.

              No, it’s not.

              It’s “I do not want to get killed by that idiot over there who fried his brain” and “I do not want my kid getting his brain fried from one dumb mistake.” Not to mention the ever popular “I don’t want to have to kill my brother because he fried his brain and is attempting to kill me” and of course the rather well known effects of theft to support the habit in those predictably rendered unable or unwilling to earn the money for their vice.

              I have lived the wonderful results of “oh, it’s their body”. The folks who started making those rules lived through worse.

              Just like suicide, pretending that it’s entirely a personal choice requires ignoring those who have to clean up the mess.

              Please remember the parable of Chesterton’s Fence– and that “they’re karens” is just a different flavor of “their reasoning is inherently invalid because the result is in conflict with my beliefs.”

              *************

              Please consider the statement: “An armed society is a polite society.”
              Now consider your assumption that there must be agreement and “shared values” for there to be peace.

              It’s “polite” because people will kill you.

              Plus, “polite” is a description for a sub-group of shared values.

              1. Phantom,
                I’d come back partly to apologize, because I eventually realized that my initial response was unfair to you. Your account of Prohibition seems less willfully difficult when I recall that you had probably been talking to New Yorkers, and taking what they said at face value. That really does seem to me how the New Yorkers would understand it by default. I was wrong to speak so strongly to you, and I’m sorry.

                As for whether I am being absurd with the rest of it… I think you need to be thinking in terms of more profoundly alien cultures.

                Civilization is a frame of mind.

                There really do need to be shared values about what disputes aren’t worth escalating, which are worth escalating to the legal system, and which are worth more serious measures. Suppose you and I have a dispute over traffic. If we agree it is not worth murder, we don’t kill each other. If we agree that it is worth murder, maybe we kill each other, and the rest of society is well rid of us. If I think it is worth murder, you disagree, and I get the jump on you because you aren’t thinking about the possibility, what happens next? a) Concerned citizens, who disapprove, may 3S because of clear dangerous lunacy b) cops may arrest or kill me c) if the society is particularly wealthy and soft, it may choose to require from cops extra special care to avoid injuring me. (The vast majority of historic and prehistoric societies are not so wealthy and so soft that that they would have done so for an ordinary peon.) The alternatives are all leaving me wandering around a clear danger to others. Which is not peaceful for the others.

                You, a Canadian, may have enough experience in a society where the tradeoffs were imposed by an imperial power that you could be blind to other possibilities for creating order. Remember, I have so little experience with Canadian civilization and culture, that I worry that the current PM puts modern Canadians in Atzec, Imperial Japanese, or early 19th century Comanche territory where peaceful coexistence is concerned. You are concerned about him also, but not in that way and degree, because you have more information about the truth of the matter. (Also, you don’t seem to have achieved my levels of paranoia.)

                US was also a mixture of cultures, hence tending to naturally lack shared assumptions about how disputes are to be resolved. But order definitely was not imposed from the outside by a central power, it was bottom up. That bottom up consensus was negotiated, and part of the negotiation was killing people whose behavior too greatly offended the sensibilities of the other locals. Now, some of those killings were wrong and horrible. And in modern times, relatively few, but that is because the varied American cultures have grown more similar in values, decreasing the level of violence.

                Remember the context of “if I live, I will kill you, if I die, I forgive you.” That principle developed precisely as a mechanism to prevent trust for and reliance on government. If there is not a widespread trust in courts to resolve disputes, you tend to have disputes addressed by revenge culture. Which is a state of low level war, not peace.

                Civilization is a frame of mind, and there may well be some type of thinking fundamental and essential too it. If there is a chemical that interferes with that thinking, people will be unable to be civilized under the influence. Widespread use of such a chemical would be incompatible with civilization. I cannot prove that there are any such chemicals. I know of several chemicals that have most likely been proven to fall short of that level of impairment. If any such chemical exists, and widespread use is a possibility, there would be a trade off between civilization and permitting use.

                Yes, the drug laws are an imposition on personal choice. The murder statutes are also a decision collectively to impose penalties on acts carried out for personal reasons. Since the public sees fit to ban preemptive vigilante killings, it may also choose to ban the use of intoxicants that may be associated with violence. If a given intoxicant is particularly likely to give rise to violence, vigilantes will otherwise be tempted to kill those who are publicly intoxicated, but have not yet carried out an act of serious violence. Vigilantes, unlike cops, are not being paid to assume the risks of spending extensive time handling the mentally-ill-but-not-deserving-to-die with kid gloves. Either the public has the cops deal with some of the druggies as they are to deal with the other publicly mentally ill people, or you will see private citizens taking action. And the mentally ill are why God gave the Inuit ice floes.

                Being mentally ill in a society that doesn’t have the wealth and patience for the nice options has always sucked. There is no society that is so wealthy that it can tolerate every single member being delusional and out of contact with reality. Now, while the rate of recreational drug use is not fixed by physical law, I may be borrowing trouble to worry about it ever reaching all that high a rate. That may simply be me being crazy.

                If I act on that crazy by serial murder, or mass poisoning, or other such act profoundly in conflict with the values of society, society absolutely has a right to act to stop me. Which could easily include a vigilante killing, and if putting me down went to trial, a possibility of jury nullification.

                Shared values are absolutely important, and at the same time open to negotiation and people changing their minds.

                I would never start a program of killing druggies on the retail scale while a) I still have a chance to convince the public to carry out an industrial scale killing b) I’m still aware that I may be simply insane, and that events may yet prove me incorrect.

                I am definitely not so good and so loving that I can force myself to ignore the possibility that unsettled times provide to convince people that I was right all along. But, deep down inside a part of me hopes that I am wrong, will not be successful at convincing people, and the thing will blow over without worse things happening.

                I am flat out not prepared to concede points to a theory that was not anywhere near sound enough to make me drop the mass murder/mass killing goal when I first started having to wrestle with it. There are very sound reasons to conclude that I am wrong, but “people have no right to impose behavioral norms by force”, or similar formulations, are not one of them. As a practical matter, groups of people have always killed humans, and it is pointless to use theory to wish that it never happen. Minimize, yes. If possible, only justly, yes. There are definitely valid arguments for a softer approach to the drug war.

    2. Get the best books from us: Banned By Amazon Publishing! We bring you the stories that They don’t want you to read! Buy now!

    3. > If Bezos goes Full Karen

      Amazon started as an online bookseller. Then they became a general merchandiser, and then an online flea market, then audiobooks and streaming video, and now they’re putting their main efforts into “cloud.” I just spent ten minutes trying to find out what percentage of their sales or profits came from books, but the only thing that popped up was 7.2% in 2011. Which was ages ago in Internet Time.

      Bezos has a pretty full plate, legislators are howling for regulation or breakup of his company, and books are only a very small part of Amazon’s business. I don’t think Bezos *cares* about Amazon’s book business, not specifically.

      When businesses reach a certain size – often much smaller than Amazon – the beancounters start talking about “consolidation” and “core business.” I wouldn’t be surprised if their book business got sold off. Even if nothing changes, it’s a shadowy backwater perfect for SJW infestation.

      Bezos isn’t the one to be watching; the people who will be putting the screws to you are several steps down the management chain, and likely getting less accountable all the time.

  5. Lurker here. I’d like to see some occasional updates on alternatives to Kindle, from the point of view of both readers and publishers. Thanks.

    I know Kindle dominates now. I also know dominance is not necessarily permanent. I’m old enough to remember Myspace. And AOL. I’ll vote with my feet, but who’s on the ballot?

    1. This. I don’t want to give up my KU – but for books I purchase, I’m willing to go elsewhere, but where? Kindle’s “buy next” button is handy, but often non-functional so not that big of a loss.

      I also don’t know how ‘closed’ a Kindle actually is. It’s easy enough to side-load onto it, but could some other site whisper-synch? Technically, probably (think of all the cross-system IM clients). Legally might be a different story. Off-shore is an interesting issue there, too. Might China host (and not allow access to it from within China) a “banned in America” bookseller just out of spite? They quite clearly don’t care about IP laws, so hacking a Kindle interface would probably dandy.

      1. How about “any Android tablet” and an app that connects to someone’s online book store?

        A bunch of writers could band together, call themselves something like “Science Fiction Writers of North America”, hire someone to write the app, and hire a host to build and maintain their web site. Then the members could put their current works and backlists on it, put the word out that sfwna.com was *the* place to get new stuff, and the dedicated readers would find it quickly enough. And they could have complete control over sales, earnings, and accounting.

        If there was a real-world equivalent to the SFWNA, they would surely have done this a decade ago…

        But no, that’s just silly.

        “There can be only one!” And somehow, that has come to mean “Amazon.”

  6. While there are tech issues to sort, the real problem right now is that the ‘Zon is where the readers are, and the readers are there now because that’s where the writers are.

    Writers who aren’t there are nearly invisible.

    And all of us, baring any young’uns present, have been here before. When we couldn’t buy books except at the store, when only the right authors got sold, when there was hardly anything to read. When we couldn’t see the invisible writers that we wanted to buy.

    We know what it takes to break a publishing model, half of what this site is are ways to deal with tbe shift. Sure, the ‘Zon was the tool that broke it last time, but they’ll break just the same way if it comes to that. The readers will stop. The readers will reread. The readers will read fanfic or whatever else scratches their reading itch.

    It doesn’t have to be a perfect does-all-the-things and runs-on-everything app right out of the box. If you want to read the book, you’ll read it in notepad: you know that, I know that, and it’s probably publishing throughout time’s worst nightmare that readers will read any format if they want to read the thing.

    It just has to be available and it has to be known. Some here have fan groups of thousands. Some have of tens. Either way, get something going, even if it’s just in .rtf, take it to the fans and ask them to advertise, as soon as the ‘Zon makes a move. Because it needs to look something like this: ‘Zon declined to publish Book #15 of Series, ‘The Plague in the Moon’. You can get it and other books at website. Tell your friends, please!”

    Nothing gets a reader going like being told they can’t read the book they want, and we’ve had just about a generation of getting the books we want when we want. That changing isn’t going to go well for those who’d change it unless the change is so subtle and so quiet that no one sees it.

    And today, everyone has a megaphone.

    1. Readers already found their way from brick-and-mortar stores to Amazon. They can find their way from Amazon to somewhere else. Particularly if you point them to the new place from within the books you have on Amazon now, and on your web site, etc.

      There’s also the factor that, even with the most fair and unbiased search and suggestion system Amazon might try to implement, your work is dumped in with umpty-many other books, all looking pretty much the same to the potential buyer. Cover art just like everyone else’s is supposed to be good, and blurbs that could apply to half a genre instead of your specific book.

      That’s not marketing, that’s camouflage. But like “Amazon uber alles!”, it seems baked in to indy…

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