A word on publishing exclusivity

You’re a publisher, or you aren’t.

There, I said it.

This will be my last KU run. As an author, I’ve seen a change in the way publishing services do business, and it’s crap. It’s absolute, undiluted horse manure.

Exclusivity is just a way to gain control of a work without buying in and getting rights. It’s, dare I say it, a con game.

YOU get me to basically hand you over three months of my fiction, and I, in turn, get the amazing opportunity to limit my sales only to your targeted audience. I must rely on your platform to bring in sales and find my readers, however, I’m still promoting my own work. You just stand there and look pretty.

That’s the problem. These providers are selling their popularity in exchange for product. However, it takes more than just a platform to sell a book, doesn’t it? So, what do I get again in exchange for publishing with you alone?

Yeah, I can’t think of anything either. THIS is the problem.

I’m your customer if I am not your product. It’s that simple. So, what should I be getting in exchange? Advertising that’s FREE would be nice, and you better have some site pull too. Oh, how bout some targeted product placement and blog opportunity to reach readers? Because, you see, I actually came to the table with something to actually SELL  I have a book.

You need to offer me something in exchange. If my book’s not worth something, then why would you want it? If it is, why would I basically give it to you for free for a couple months just hoping for royalties?

You are either a publisher, or you aren’t. I am either a product or a customer. This is fundamental. But, the truth is, as a fellow author pointed out to me, Amazon is more interested in selling ads to me, than selling my books to the people who use their site, and that’s not publishing.  That’s getting me to buy your ads while pretending to DO something for me.

Right now, the pile on in publishing is insane. There are so many authors that ads don’t work. There are so many scams that kindle unlimited is getting a name for themselves, and that means the author pay out is slipping. Sure, no one notices at the top of the pile because you have enough payout to reinvest your  lottery winnings back into … you got it… Advertising, making you just the biggest Amazon customers, but not really their product because you bought a Bookbub, Facebook time and all those other ads, too, right?

Amazon didn’t do anything. None of the “publishers” who require exclusivity do anything but build a site. And, sure, they come. Sort of, but at 2.99 a book the Zon is making more money off the author’s ads most of the time. That’s why they don’t care much about the scam books on KU, but they care very much about authors using BookBub right now. One cuts into the bottom line. Guess which one?

I will say this to authors, until we start valuing our work, the industry will continue to devalue it. As far as I’m concerned, I tried exclusivity. It sucks. I won’t do it again, but, mark my words, as long as authors will buy the snake oil, they will just keep selling it.

I dislike what Trad publishing has done to the product, making it all homogeneous, unremarkable fluff. I still don’t like that, but you know what I can say for traditional publishers… They paid for what they sell. It was a transaction, and the author was part of the product to be built on, as they should be. It was, at least, about selling books.

You are either a publisher, or you are not

2 thoughts on “A word on publishing exclusivity

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  1. Great post, Jolie. I’ve been debating putting my new novella up on KU, so I appreciate your thoughts. They mirror mine about limiting my books to one vendor (Amazon). After talking to other writers and reading your post, I’m going to use every venue I can to sell my books. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

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