rubbishAfter getting involved in a number of online discussions recently about self publishing, and of course accepting a bit of ‘Indie Bashing‘ that is becoming a habitual crusade for some, it dawned on me that these debates and discussions weren’t about Indie publishing at all. They were about Kindle publishing vs. traditional publishing.

When seen from this perspective I have to say that it’s very easy to draw a conclusion that self publishing, when defined as Kindle publishing only, could easily be viewed as a huge swamp of rubbish that makes it very difficult to find a decent read amongst the dross. Kindle publishing has in my mind, become a nasty social media publishing platform that is now unfortunately a free for all free ebook portal that has been taken over by marketeers, scammers, spammers, trolls and manipulators. Along with this is a book review system that is now so corrupt it’s just laughable.

I must admit that my feelings about Kindle publishing have been changing over recent months and has led me to start withdrawing my titles from Kindle KDP Select, and perhaps in the not too distant future, from Kindle entirely.

It’s common knowledge that the Kindle platform has about 60% market share for ebook sales, but living with the biggest isn’t always necessarily worthwhile when it leaves a nasty taste in your mouth. Over the last 12 months, I have given away more than 40,000 copies of my ebooks under the KDP ‘Free ebook promotion’ system. While I have benefitted from increased sales on some of my titles, and perhaps broadened my name recognition, when my free ebooks are added to those of other Kindle authors, surely it’s Amazon who have benefitted the most. Free ebooks sell more Kindles and this is what my free copies have helped achieve. I just don’t want to contribute to this aspect anymore.

My own reasons for writing and self publishing have never been about making a living from writing. It’s been about expressing myself and hopefully finding readers who would like to understand what is in my head and what I’m trying to say. But sure, I like readers to buy my books as they did take me a long time to write. Writing is not my job, but it’s still work.

Whether it be stories touching on death, religion, conflict, relationships, love or just poking my tongue at the crazy species we are, I love to receive reactions from readers who have read one of my books. But not from Amazon ‘trolls‘ who are bent on deriding and abusing in a warped attempt to attract attention. As for Amazon forums, well, the less said about these cesspits the better.

Then there are the 1,000s of  ‘How To Make A Million On Kindle‘ promoters who want to show you how to make $5,000 a month on Kindle for just $12.95. I stumbled across one today promoting a fully automated system to generate Kindle ebooks. Heaven forbid!

It’s a sad decline. I have been self publishing in one form or another since the late eighties and I have to say that the Kindle platform is now becoming just another social media site, infested with scams and trolls, and not a genuine publishing platform.


The Corrupt Kindle Culture
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6 thoughts on “The Corrupt Kindle Culture

  • 20/10/2012 at 4:06 pm

    Hi, Derek. Here I am.

    I freely hold my hand up as one of the ‘Bashers’ as you say. That said, as you know, it’s not about self-publishing or all of the authors. It’s about those who misuse the ‘opportunity’ to make quick money. I could type up my address book if I wanted and publish it. Does it have any value for anyone? No! But that’s how the market is like: lots of terribly written books, many have great premises but are badly executed, and nobody can tell me readers enjoy the dross some authors throw at them.
    I’m all for expressing yourself, going your own way, doing it yourself, but 99% of self-published authors, particularly those who publish with KPD, are there to make money. And I think if you want to make money, you better offer a good product. Off the wall and raw doesn’t mean it needs to be bad quality.
    Those 1% who publish for the reasons you’ve given are rare. And even those (including you) often have enrolled their books in the KPD select programme, happily reporting about the increase of their sales. Why? Because they would like to make a few bucks, too. Which, don’t get me wrong, is fine by me. But I don’t buy the ‘I just want to be different’ speech; most ‘real’ indies would like to become a big name, and nobody can convince me otherwise.
    I never made a secret that I self-published because I want to write for a living, and also because my unconventional cross genre couldn’t find a home. I believe in my books without a big rewrite to fit the style of a publishing house, and reviews show rightly so. Sales, however, are a different matter. LOL Ah well. Guess I’ll have to keep writing then. Good thing, I’ve not yet run out of material. :-)

    • 20/10/2012 at 5:24 pm

      I agree Stella. Everyone would love to be discovered and ‘make it big’. But in my case, after nearly 30 years of doing this, I think my overnight success lottery ticket has been well and truly lost. I’m not under any grand illusion, but hey, a little beer money each month isn’t that bad a want is it?

      When I entered KDP it was for a few reasons. One was to have a central point from which to promote my ebooks and of course to increase sales. But also to consolidate scattered income streams from book sales from different sites as withholding tax is a problem when you live outside the US. It’s a problem for me with Amazon UK as well. But unfortunately, Amazon have now opened all their new Kindle stores and pay from each individual location. By cheque, which is even worse as I get hit with bank fees on top of withholding tax. So it makes sense to go back to Smashwords, who pay by Paypal and consolidate all royalties.

      But on the creative side, I’ll remain wanting to be different.

      • 20/10/2012 at 10:17 pm

        LOL Oh well. I think the overnight success stories are rare. Most people write for years and hone their skills. If you accidentally (and I think that’s the case with all those sudden success stories) write and publish something the public goes after, then: jackpot. But it’s good you’re making some income, which is a nice by product of writing.

  • 20/10/2012 at 9:24 pm

    I agree with you, Derek, that the free promotion aspect of KDP should be used sparingly; I’m going to do it once, but only briefly, just to give myself a boost now at the beginning of my indiepub life, but will not be doing it after that. I’ve also priced my book higher than many other KDP books because I feel, as a whole, I put much more thought, skill, time and effort into my book than most other indiepub writers do, and I want the my pricing and promotion to reflect that.

    Overall, I agree with what you’re saying here, but I think you just need to be a bit patient and ride things out. These are still the early days of KDP; over the next few years, the wheat will be separated from the chaff, the cream will rise to the top, the (insert next cliche here) … things will settle down. The spammers and the genuinely crap writers will mostly be gone, having moved on to their next money-making scheme. The real writers will be left to determine the true future of indiepub and KDP after that.


  • 21/10/2012 at 7:59 pm

    Derek, that’s pretty much why I didn’t got the KDP Select program. My books are on Amazon, but also on Smashwords in all formats. My readership is growing, slowly, but growing. I know I’m in for the long haul, but that’s okay. I’ll continue to slog along with this marketing business and hopefully get my name out there.

    • 21/10/2012 at 8:15 pm

      I think you’re on the right track Darlene. I do have to admit though that KDP looked very promising in the first few months after I enrolled, but it all faded away rather rapidly after that. It seems to me that Amazon ‘cheated’ the early adopters by degrading free book downloads to 10% of value. A big drop from 100%. So it’s back to where I was 12 months ago, and very happy to have received a ‘welcome back’ message from Mark Coker at Smashwords. He was right. KDP Select was and is very bad idea for authors, and readers.

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