So this just happened…
As the 9/1/17 release date of The Ties That Bind’s third edition draws near, I’m doing a little cyber housecleaning to make things look all clean and pretty. What I’ve found is a complete mess.
Yes, yes, it’s inconvenient and complicated to have a “third edition.” It’s hard on you and it’s hard on me. I’ve learned my lesson, I promise. But still – there should be a cohesive listing on book sites such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. whereby a “first edition,” “second edition,” etc., can be identified as such. Keep things organized and attractive. Turns out, Amazon is really good at working with authors to get the listings right.
What I found as I was attempting to consolidate, however, should concern every writer. And it’s something every reader should be aware of as well: bogus listings & third party sellers.
On each of my first two books, there is a bogus entry, complete with bogus identifiers (ISBNs/AISNs) attached as a separate “format” or “edition.” For instance: Embers From Ash and Ruin was released on e-book and paperback formats…but Amazon lists three versions. Two are paperback, and each paperback has a different identifier.
Huh?? I can’t even figure that out. How would I expect my potential readers to? Someone, somehow, is essentially “pirating” my book right out from under my nose.
Of course, third-party sellers who do this typically charge an outrageous amount of money for the book. Most people would never consider paying over a hundred dollars for a book – especially by an unknown like me. But others mess with writers by obtaining the book and selling it cheaper, which gets the author into problematic situations with retailers such as Amazon.
Whichever the scenario, the problem is they’re doing it. And it’s ugly.
There’s another problem, as well. However they got their hands on a “new” copy of my book in order to sell it, I didn’t get any royalties from it. Sure, Embers is still in print (for now) while I prepare for it’s relaunch, but Ties has been out of print on the first edition since October 2010 and the second edition has been out of print since May 2017. I can promise I’ve received zero royalties on these “new” copies being offered under these additional “formats” or from any purchase from a third party seller.
Good news is, I’m aware of the problem now and am working with Amazon to get this all fixed up. In the meantime…
- When you buy books, please be aware of who’s selling them. It’s great to get a copy of a new book for a reduced price, but know that you may be getting a lesser quality product. Often, third-party sellers offer “new” books that are really just previous “advance review copies” (comped to various reviewers ahead of a book launch) or imperfect copies printed off and subsequently returned to the distributor due to calibration errors of covers or skewed pages. Is that really what you want to pay for? Also, if you’re getting an author’s “new” book from a third party seller, chances are, the author isn’t getting any royalty from it.
- I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…and again and again. When you do buy our books, please not only read them but review It’s hard out there. And hey, I get it. It’s not always convenient or at the top of your “to do” list to do the author a solid by taking time out of your day to type up your feelings and observations on every darn book you read! Further, if you didn’t really like the book, you may feel bad about writing a review at all. But trust me. There are ways to convey your thoughts without being cruel. And we really do need and appreciate the feedback.
- Check out your book listings every quarter or whatever. Try to do it on every site they’re listed on. I haven’t gone through the rest of the sites and therefore don’t know if other online retailers will be as nice and easy to work with as Amazon if I find errors, but I guess I’ll find out. It needs to be done. The messy, muddy, illegal listings will impact our sales. Readers don’t want to sort through 24,521,354 listings of the same book. It’s confusing. And frankly, unattractive.
- Pass this information on to other writers who may benefit from the head’s up. Anyone finding out about book piracy or any manner of other scams should take it seriously. Not just for themselves, but for all of us out there. Act on it. There are tons of sample “cease and desist” letters to deal with these thieves. And make sure you work with the retailers to deal with them.
Technology’s fantastic, and it’s enabled many fledgling authors to take charge of their work. But with that comes the responsibility to manage the business side of things as well. This extends beyond sales figures and finances. If we’re to compete with traditionally published authors backed by the heavy-hitters, we need to dress for the part. Solid stories, good writing, professional editing, and gorgeous covers. All dressed up and ready to go!
Um…do these books make me look fat??