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Mile Markers

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Pierwalker Log: January 9, 2019

Writing start: 10:52 A.M.
Finish: 3:31 P.M.
Total new words (est.): 800
Edited (est.): 6200

1. Failure: Off

2. Book Three Melody: Read-through of chapter thirteen

3. Ant Story: Off

4. Fractalverse V5: Off till next Monday

5. Cheapery St. Heroes: BII: Off till next Monday

6. Rapscallion: 400 new words
Notes: Completed! I'll start the primaries tomorrow!

7. Gilligan: 400 new words
Notes: I know I'm really close to the finish line, but am unsure where it is. Maybe tomorrow I'll get clued in.

8. T-Bag: Off

Special Projects: Time permitting: work on "Becoming" later

Extra notes: Last year was the worst year in terms of royalties since I started publishing in 2011. By a lot, actually. Last year I earned just under $22. The next worst year after that was 2012, when I earned just under $34.

I have had a difficult time coming to grips with it.

My mom used to say, "Keep your mouth closed and your ears open, and you'll learn all you need to know about someone."

As it turns out, that pithy advice also works with problems like this.

Turns out my record-low year wasn't my fault. It was Amazon's.

Amazon punishes indie authors who refuse to publish exclusively with them, as is the case with me. I publish as widely as possible, and on as many platforms as possible.

You'd think that would give me an advantage, but it very much doesn't. Amazon, to some estimates, controls almost three-fourths of the publishing market. Everyone else--Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo ... are also-rans. Amazon sets the terms, and everyone else is pretty much obliged to kiss their enormous bloated ass.

If you refuse to publish exclusively with Amazon, Amazon punishes you by essentially disappearing you in any search results. Since people rarely scroll past the first few entries of any new product, you're basically screwed six ways to Sunday.

Welcome to my world.

Amazon has tightened the screws gradually on "content providers" like me, and last year they really went whole hog with it. Now they've got sponsored content ads--yet another way to fleece those "content providers" in exchange for visibility. Lots of authors are going for it. The problem is, such a program further punishes people like me who refuse to play along. We're now doubly invisible.

I've thought for many days about what I should do about this. Here's my answer.

I refuse, from now on, to link back to Amazon from this blog or my Reddit profile page or subreddit--or from anywhere else, for that matter. From now on, I will only link to my Payhip product page and nowhere else where my published works are concerned. I won't link to other retailers either: I have had my issues with all of them in the past, and am, to put it mildly, fed up.

Payhip is a great platform for authors. If you are one, I can't recommend it strongly enough.

Publishing is an ugly business. It's cutthroat, wildly egotistical, greedier than you can imagine, backstabbing, and monstrously hypocritical. It's only gotten worse since indie publishing took off, and social media took off.

Here's the thing. I refuse to be a Tower asshole. I refuse to play the game, one in which I have no chance whatsoever of winning. I refuse to play a game that is fundamentally unfair, that is in fact damning and dehumanizing and mendacious. Book marketing is no more reliable than walking into a Las Vegas casino, popping a dollar into the first slot you see, and expecting a jackpot. It's a horrendous waste of money. Claiming anything else is to live in denial and delusion.

Besides, obscurity suits me. Life is much easier and less complicated if you aren't a Tower asshole. People who discover my work--good for them. I hope they do the decent thing and evangelize it a little. I don't expect that at all, because 57 years of life have taught me that very few people are decent. In the end, it always comes down to the same thing: I get up in the morning and I write.

Everything else is just dryer lint.