I’m a writer. I love writing. I’ve been writing since I was seven. My first poem was published shortly after my seventh birthday. That was over thirty years ago. So, for me to consider not writing is a huge deal. But that’s what I’ve been considering the past year and most certainly in a big way the past few months.
Why, you ask? Are you running out of ideas?
No, in fact I have many ideas but no inclination to write them. The final straw came when I read on Facebook that Amazon have begun to remove reviews from author’s books; the reason seeming to be that the reviewer knows the author and therefore the review cannot be genuine. If you’re not aware of this and have written reviews for your favourite author, then do check to see that they are still there.
I interact with my readers. I have friended many of them on Facebook. It seems this may have to change and that upsets me beyond words. This is not the only reason I’m disillusioned. But let’s go back to where the disillusionment started.
Some time ago and I can’t put a finger on when it happened I got sucked into what I term ‘The Chart Race.’ I’m referring, of course, to the Amazon charts.
I use to sell books at £1.99. I never wanted to sell books at 99p. I was adamant when authors reduced their books to a low price that I never would. I also said that if it continued many of us would have no choice but to sell books at 99p. But low priced books continued to be seen on Amazon. Many authors sold their work for as little as 77p. You couldn’t buy a magazine for that. Readers then expect cheap books. Why wouldn’t they?
What does that say about an author’s work? It takes six months to a year to write a book, providing you are serious about it. It takes months to edit. Authors put their whole being into a story. To sell your work for less than a cappuccino in Costa coffee is degrading. It also under values your work, your time and commitment. I find it painful to say I’m only worth 99p. I’m worth a hell of a lot more. Why were books cheap to begin with? I believe it was so authors could race up the charts. The chart war began. Everyone wants to be in the charts. That’s clear because of the FB posts telling us where authors now are in this chart. Books are released at 99p every day. It is impossible to compete and I have decided I don’t want to. The prediction that 99p books would damage the book business has come true. The reason Amazon are now removing reviews is because the business of posting fake reviews is real. Sock puppeting is a term for the practice of faking favourable reviews on Amazon, in an attempt to inflate ratings of the author’s own work. It’s clearly unethical. But now it is almost impossible for Amazon to differentiate between genuine and fake reviews, so they are removing all that seem even slightly suspicious. So, a loyal reader who has enjoyed a relationship with their favourite author is now being penalised by having their reviews removed.
This is the fault of the ‘Chart Race’ A no holds barred quest to climb the Amazon chart.
Social media, of course, has the ability to make us all too aware of how well others are doing. It produces a sense of failure in many of us. We begin to question everything. Do we have a good family life? Are we successful? Do we have enough Facebook friends? Why doesn’t my husband buy me bouquets of flowers? Why hasn’t that celebrity followed me on Twitter too? Why is my hair not that gorgeous? Why can’t we afford to drink champagne on a Friday night? Why am I not that high in the Amazon chart? Why, why? Am I useless? Am I failure? And finally, if you’re an author, how can I get my book up in the chart? The answer: Drop my price.
I’ve seen authors fall out with other authors because of the chart race paranoia.
Of course, I will be called bitchy. Or people will say ‘sour grapes’ No! I just want to write good books and sell them for a price I know they are worth. I’m worth more than 99p. I don’t need to post constantly about how well I’m doing. I don’t write for praise. I write because I love it and I love it when a reader tells me how much they enjoyed it. If they now are unable to do that, then it no longer feels like a business I want to be part of. I’m moving away from the chart race. It doesn’t interest me. I’m interested in writing good books. If readers only want 99p books then I guess they won’t have mine. I have to see it as their loss not mine.
My latest book ‘When Archie Met Rosie’ is currently 99p on Amazon but that will go up in price soon. It’s worth far more than 99p.
I will link to my books below if you are interested. If you have bought read and reviewed my books, I thank you very much and I hope you will think £1.99 is a reasonable price to pay for a book.