Going Free is Dead

Posted: March 13, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

You got to sit at the big boys’/girls’ table–and then they realized you were sitting there.  Huh?  December 2012, Amazon announced KDP Select.  Tons of us jumped in, many of us made some really good money from it. 

That’s when things started to change.

Publishers started to complain.  Traditionally published authors joined in the cacophony.  Why?  Indie authors were shooting up the charts and that was taking money out of the pockets of people/companies with big money in the game.  That’s when downloads, which initially counted on a 1:1 ratio for your sales coming out of free, started to slip.  The ratio fell to the point where it is now.  Where is it now?  If you don’t get into the top 100 in free, might as well not do it.

If you sense a bit of an edge from me on the issue, you’re insightful.  No one expected the gravy train to last forever, but it was remarkable to see how quickly Amazon adjusted against indie authors to mollify the traditionally published world.  Now, Amazon takes away likes and tags from books.  Ask yourself this question.  Who did the best job getting likes and tags?


So, free is largely dead.  Now, Amazon takes likes and tags away which hurts indie authors in a plethora of ways.  Is it a death knell to indie authors?  Certainly not, but it’s another data point in a trend.

And that trend is that not much has changed.

An important concept in the law, where I spend most of my time and make most of my money, is “standing.”  I ask myself, has the standing of indie authors changed in the last two years?  My honest answer is not really.  Will it change?  If it hasn’t changed yet, what will be the catalyst for that happening?

Do you really think they’ll leave the door unlocked and let indies sit at the dinner table again?   How full is your glass? 🙂

  1. I also noticed that Amazon removed perfectly fine reviews.
    I do think that overall the self publishing standing has been elevated and surpassed the negative connotation for most part of simply being “vanity press”. It became a threat to the established industry and although the holes were quickly repaired, there is now constant leakage.

  2. Ryan Brooks says:

    More’s the pity for Amazon. It’s obvious that indie authors are the way of the future. If they don’t provide the service that we need, someone else will. Attica! 🙂

  3. Roger Tharpe says:

    Just to let you know on the US site there are no likes on the UK site there still is. My book has no likes on the UK site though. 😦 http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1934561010

  4. Richard Wells says:

    As purely a reader, and not a writer, does Amazon make any money when they “sell” a free book written by you? Or do they hope to make money when I buy another paid book of yours because I liked your free book?

    • Derek Blass says:

      Hi Richard—no one makes money when the book is free (author/Amazon). Purpose is to get exposure for the book (author), and to bring fresh books to the forefront (Amazon).

  5. michael says:

    First Amazon arbitraily deleted perfectly legitimate positive reviews and allowed clearly malicious or spiteful negative reviews to stay. Then they reomved tags and likes, making authors’ books harder to find. I’ve heard they also have adjusted their ranking algorithm to favor traditionally-published books.

    The result? Many, many independent authors are reporting on their blogs that after these changes, their strong, consistent sales have been plummeting. Amazon needs to change all this at once.

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