Episode 86 – Alan Moore, Marie Force, and the Discount Double-Cross

people like this. Be the first of your friends.

 Question of the Week: What’s the deal with Amazon? Are they dropping the ball or are we just expecting too much and why?

With Bryan back from his walkabout, he and Jim discussed the latest in the self-publishing sphere. After giving a hat tip to their patron Jonathan Small and his book Ascent ( http://www.amazon.com/dp/B013TH3N7M ), the death-defying duo covered tips on autoresponders, forging relationships, and what to ask a publicist. News stories included Amazon falling down on the job, the Authors Guild’s fight against the “discount double-cross,” Alan Moore’s pro-self-publishing rant, Dean Wesley Smith’s business advice, and the five-year anniversary of Marie Force’s first self-published book. This week’s Question of the Week: What’s the deal with Amazon? Are they dropping the ball or are we just expecting too much and why?
What You’ll Learn: 
  • An interesting tip and bringing new perspective to your email list
  • How nine months of planning can birth some effective marketing
  • What you should aspect prospective publicists
  • How Amazon has come up short for indies
  • Why the Authors Guild is asking for trad pub contract changes
  • What Alan Moore said that set the indie world ablaze
  • How to treat your author career like a business
  • The story of Marie Force and her eight-figure success
Links:
Question of the Week: What’s the deal with Amazon? Are they dropping the ball or are we just expecting too much and why?

get show updates

  • Eddie Jakes

    Still listening to the show… Just shocked that you guys liked Watchmen. It’s one of only three movies I’ve ever fallen asleep at. Lol

    • People like different things. Period. For which we should be very grateful.

    • Bryan

      I think Jim liked it more than me, but I was still a fan :).

      • Eddie Jakes

        I thought “From Hell” was a good adaptation, most of the others just didn’t have the storytelling depth that Alan Moore’s is really adept at. I can never forgive League of Extraordinary Gentlemen for making Sean Connery want to Retire lol

  • Should definitely emphasise that Alan Moore *hated* every adaptation of his work. He refused to accept any money for Extraordinary League of Gentlemen. I’m not saying he was right, but if he thought you were going to judge him by the films then he would not be impressed. Horrified and disgusted would be more likely. 🙂

    Read the comics if you want to know whether you like his work or not.

    • Eddie Jakes

      JD Salinger had issues with Hollywood too. I think it’s in his will that the film rights are protected.

    • Bryan

      Will do!

  • I noticed in my recent Amazon Affiliates email that books weren’t even mentioned in the reward percentages. What you said on the show was right: they don’t make the majority of their money from books anymore. It’s a small piece of a much larger pie.

    I don’t think they want to give up that small piece, but they can afford to change it and see the effects.

    Also, I think they have their eyes on the Spotify model, from what they’ve been doing. From a reader’s perspective, a monthly subscription is a far better deal than buying individual books. From Amazon’s perspective, it’s better too, as they’ll get even more money with the subscriptions.

    Our goals and theirs just might not align for much longer.

    • Bryan

      I suppose we’ll see.

      • By the way, have you guys noticed Amazon has taken away the price filter from the search? Coming so soon after they got rid of the “free” keyword, it seems like they’re trying to move customers away from downloading free books. At least ones outside Select.

  • WarrenBluhm

    It was good to hear Jim in a playful mood again with the return of the sound effects. Note to Bryan, stop being so irritated by the effects, they’re fun and it’s an audio podcast, fer cryin out loud. Embrace the possibilities of audio!

    • Bryan

      Ugh. I hate possibilities ;).

  • Edwin Downward

    I don’t know if the KU and Pre-book issues are related. We’ve known all along that AZ would manipulate KU returns based on internal business considerations we know nothing about. As to the Pre-book glitch, it’s big, but it could just as easily be a one-off miss on the IT side. Any attempt to read more into such news requires far more evididence than I am aware of.

    • Bryan

      Yeah, I think aside from a few isolated incidents, the pre-order thing may just be an occasional IT slip through the cracks.

  • Daniel Martone

    I think they are just throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks… only problem is, when you are a company the size of Amazon, what you’re throwing can do some serious damage to the wall. They’re never going to stop selling books and I’ve always thought the idea that they would suddenly cut the royalties in half was absurd. If Amazon ever did that, you’d see a mass migration away from them and to some lucky company… either one that already exists like Apple or Kobo, or to someone new.

    • Bryan

      That’s a really great metaphor :).

  • Daniel Martone

    Oh, and to jump in on the movies based on Alan Moore’s work… Thought Watchmen was nearly perfect… didn’t care for the change to Dr. Manhattan being the threat, but other than that, I think they used the comic for the film’s storyboards. And League was better than what people give it credit for… its big mistake was the addition of the Tom Sawyer character (what so U.S. could identify??)… did not need that character.

    • Bryan

      Still haven’t seen League, despite my love for Sean Connery.

      • Daniel Martone

        People say that this was the film that drove Connery out of acting… bad experience, lots of fighting with the director. Again, I think while the cast didn’t have anything against the actor playing him, the Tom Sawyer role changed Alan Moore’s story too much… made it sappy with a dose of “golly gee”.

  • Daniel Martone

    And on another note… Jim is always talking about someone creating a side loading app to load mobi files into readers, which would in turn open up the market. This can easily be done with out an app. Currently, Amazon allows you to put up to 5 additional emails on your “send account”, allowing emails from those accounts to send directly to your account… easy. Now, if Amazon ever closed that loophole, an app could easily be created that would just move a file directly into the correct folder on your smartphone (sideloading it)… this is also easy to do manually and shouldn’t be difficult to automate with an app.

    • Bryan

      Good point. Book Funnel is now the big app doing this.

      • Daniel Martone

        I couldn’t find their app in Google Play. They do seem to have a signup page for their website, but no other info.

        • Bryan

          I think they’re strictly through web. I haven’t tested it out yet, but I’m signed up.

  • Joseph Jammer Medina

    I don’t think anything has really “happened” to Amazon. I may be wrong, but is it possible that this kind of stuff has always happened to some writers in the past several years? Maybe this is jut the first time we’ve been made aware of it, and as such, perhaps it just “seems” like it’s getting worse? I think a lot of people are waiting for the other shoe to drop on Amazon’s success, and this may just be the result of that. Then again, I don’t rightfully know the truth, so who am I to say?

    • Bryan

      That’s a good point. It’s very possible that it’s just rare for folks to speak up about it in a public forum.

  • Eddie Jakes

    I’m just getting started selling on Amazon, but I just think they are more focused on other things at the moment.

  • Chris Shumate

    Great show this week. Here’s what I think about the Amazon issue. If I remember correctly, you guys have mentioned before that Amazon sells books and it’s likely a loss leader for them to get traffic to their site to buy bigger ticket items. If it wasn’t the SMBS, then I’ll need to check further. If Amazon sold books as a loss leader to their site, it’s likely they’ve bought some mahogany desks and Cheshire cats to pet and reevaluated their business model. Perhaps it’s time for books to no longer be a loss leader for the giant. It’s a business and they seem to be pivoting to make money from their efforts.

    I don’t think they’re dropping ball, per se, but I do think their righting the ship to make books a viable business model for them, as well as the authors.

    There again, maybe they’re in cahoots with Hachette and the ebook pricing model for Amazon was part of the behind closed doors negotiations. That’s my tinfoil hat conspiracy theory.

  • Wait…Bigfoot porn???

  • When you’re the best player in the biz, it seems to me it’s easy to focus your attention elsewhere to improve something else for a while. Meanwhile you have a pack of ferocious pigmy wolves who all think you should be focusing on them. Amazon does a lot of different stuff. I bet they’ll be back with us soon. I think we expect too much from someone who has already thrown their best at it. Trouble is… It’s been a while and we’re an expectant bunch. I figure Amazon will overhaul that interface soon and we’ll all be screaming like Facebook users after something’s been moved an inch to the left. Then we’ll get used to it and the process will begin all over again. I think they could use some help in the reports business though. I appreciate the excel file, but I’d like a quick pie chart of any profits with a neat month by month button. thatisall.