Dear Amazon, Please Start Working Better With Authors


I love you. I’m on a first name basis with my UPS man because I order so much stuff from you.

As an avid reader I went nuts when the Kindle came out and have owned every model since the original. You make it way too easy to purchase books on a whim and I can travel the world with my entire library at my finger tips.

Two years ago I published my first book, Content Rules, and I began to appreciate you from the author perspective. Learning all the things you do both for traditional publishers but also for self publishers made me appreciate you even more. I appreciate all you give me via Author Central and hope you keep adding to the features there.

But, last week you turned on me as an author and that is what I’d like to talk to you about.

My latest book, Amazing Things Will Happen,  is scheduled to hit shelves on December 4th. As a marketer I’ve been planning out my launch plan for months.

If you are not aware, authors spend months and sometimes years to write a book and then will spend even more time planning out and marketing the book. The better they marketing the book, the more they sell. You want them to sell as many as possible because of course that makes you money.

Smart authors will learn their way around social media or work with someone if they don’t understand it to market their book. I ran my own marketing agency and have helped plan and run tons of campaigns. When it is my own product you can be damn sure I’m going to use every skill I’ve got to make sure people know about and buy my book.

Then, Thursday night I see a tweet from an excited friend saying that Amazing Things Will Happen had appeared on his Kindle. I was completely confused and then checked and sure enough it was on mine as well. A quick look at your site and there it was with a new publication date for the Kindle version of November 6th.

I wish I could say that I stayed calm and cool, but instead I flew into a fit of rage.

All my planning had just been thrown into the dump because you decided to jump the gun and have a competitive advantage over Apple and Barnes & Noble to sell the ebook version.

Now, I understand you doing this. You are about making money and from a business standpoint I completely understand the move. You were completely in your rights to do this in your agreement with my publisher.

What I want you to realize though is that if you worked with authors and their publishers to plan this out things would go much smoother. As an author I want to work with companies who help me sell more books. I have no allegiance to any one bookstore, but I’m willing to establish them.

If I knew this was going to happen I would have worked up a special plan to push the Kindle sale to everyone I knew. People have been eager to read the book and instead of the trickle out of news that happened because I was surprised, it could have been a coordinated effort that would have resulted in many more sales and more money in your pocket.

How can I ever fully trust you again after you did this to me? Now I’m in the weird position of having to explain why my book is only available in one format and the rest of the world has to wait. That makes no one happy and when asked I have to point at you and say “ask them.”

While books may not be your top importance any more, they are your roots and you should never forget them. As publishing houses begin to crumble because they refuse to evolve you are going to have even more authors coming to your site. Work WITH them and you could own the space. If you keep doing silly things like this that upset authors you’ll lose something great.

I’d love to talk about this more if you are interested. You are ahead of your competitors in every way and if you became partners with authors you could do even more. If you don’t decide to perhaps Barnes & Noble or iBooks might. Whoever makes friends with the authors wins.

Have a great day and happy holidays.

C.C. Chapman


PS- Thanks for your affiliate program too. I use your links whenever I link to products on your site like I did in this letter.

  • Remember my whole rant about Amazon, CD Baby, and Pandora? Yeah, that was pretty much Amazon’s fault, followed by CD Baby’s unwillingness to be straight with musicians about the problem. Amazon (like most people making money from other people’s content) doesn’t seem to give two shits about their content creators. I really will never understand this phenomenon.

    • I do remember that.

      I get it, Amazon is about selling as much stuff as possible. That is their business and it makes complete sense to me.

      But, I know that they could and would make even more if they partnered up with the people who are giving them products to sell. What is MOST confusing to me is that I don’t believe they do these sort of surprises on self publishers. So not only are they snubbing me, but they are snubbing the big publishing houses? That makes no sense.

  • I understand everything you just wrote above. But I finished the book after buying it on the Kindle. For some reason that interactions that you had where you mentioned your book was available in the Kindle made me jump into amazon and have it pushed towards my iPad Kindle app.

    The content was so good that I could not let it go and read it less than two days.

    I am currently going over it so I can create a review on my blog and on Amazon.

    I guess that maybe next month I would have not had the time to read the book. But I already did!

    I hope this surprise works to your advantage! 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing the story. I know people are buying it, reading it and enjoying it and I appreciate that.

      In the end I want as many people as possible to read the words and take them to heart. A year from now I hope I look back at this and just giggle and roll with it.

      • Something I left out. I do agree that Amazon works with authors as the critical and important partners they are.

        I am sure you will be giggling soon enough… Quack Quack!

      • WELL said *big grin*

  • That awkward moment when you tweet about a (AWESOME) book and the author didn’t know it was out yet 🙂

    • EXACTLY!

      But, thank you so much. If you hadn’t tweeted I wonder how long it would be before I found out.

      At a minimum it would have been another whole day because I know my son came home from school and asked, “Hey did you know your book is out now? It showed up on my Kindle.”

      At that point I had calmed down enough just to laugh and reply “yup, I heard.”

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