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  • Writer's pictureMichael Parker

Amazon or Indie: which way to go?

Two weeks today and we’re off to UK. After all the moving around over the years this will be our last move. (I won’t include the ultimate one that we all have to go through). We will be settled in Pagham and looking at a change in our lifestyle after seventeen years in Spain. Apart from the small sacrifices that are necessary when moving house, one part of my routine that is on hold at the moment is my writing. Although I still have times during the day when I could sit down and write, I find my creative flow is impeded because of other things on my mind. Some writers might say that this is a poor excuse. If I was writing for a living I would agree, but I’m not; it’s only a hobby. So the tools are put away and the ideas will continue to germinate in my mind until they can take shape and form once I am back into a routine.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to the prospect of my next book — the one I am supposed to be writing — and whether I should offer it to my publisher of go straight to Amazon. The reason I am in a bit of a quandary over this is because my next book, Past Imperfect, is due out in January in hardback, and I am looking forward to holding it in my hand and giving myself a gratuitous pat on the back. Having your work published by a traditional publisher is still no mean feat these days, and it is still nice to think of myself as being traditionally published.

But there’s another reason (maybe a ton of them) why I am considering this. Because I am from the old school of writers who have gone through the mill of finding a publisher or an agent — rare as hen’s teeth for many wannabe writers — I have a soft spot for the old way. But as pleased as I am for what I have on Amazon (eight titles), and have sold reasonably well, I now feel that Amazon are moving the goalposts and making it more difficult for writers like myself who do not have a series of books to offer in box form. They have also introduced KDP Prime service for authors whereby they can have up to ten books available at once on a loan basis. This shift in the way they encourage readers means it offers quantity at a low price. I could say quantity against quality, but that has to be the opinion of the people who buy books.

I have had some fun with my books on Amazon and enjoyed good results from time to time, but my rankings almost always sink back to the 200,000 mark after a promotion. When I see my rankings shoot up, it brings a huge smile to my face, but I know it’s only a sale of maybe one or two books. If I have the quality that readers want, then my rankings would be a lot higher, and in a more permanent position. The only way to do that is to build a readership, which is an antediluvian concept from the time before Amazon and the closure of many public libraries. I am failing to do that and wonder why I should add another title to my list on Amazon. Would it make a heap of difference to my position there? Probably not. So for that reason I think I would prefer to see another hardback of mine sitting on the bookshelf next to my other nine titles. My immediate problem of course is to finish the book and offer it to my publisher. She may not like it, which means I will have to resort to self-publishing. I will continue to battle against the odds of course. I will carry on promoting and marketing my books and looking for ways to open the flood gates, but at the moment I am swamped, like thousands of us, by the other indie writers all competing for the same bit of space. Wish me luck!

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