Sorry I have been out of the loop. My sister came to visit, so I took a little vacation time to hang out with her. I will have to admit, releasing my second book at the beginning of her two week visit probably wasn't the best promotional planning...lol.
As you may know, I officially released the second book in my Dion series, Where Will You Hide?, on July 21st. I also decided to take advantage of the KDP Select program with Amazon. I did write a blog lamenting the fact that Amazon is trying to take over the world (read it here) and my hesitation to join, but many authors have reported success with the program. Since it is only a 90 day commitment, I decided to give it a try.
I enrolled both of my books in the program, and did two free promotional days for my first book Where Will You Run? on 7/23-7/24. Thanks to shout outs from Ereader News Today/ENT (website, Facebook), Paranormal Book Club (website, Facebook), and some of my awesome author friends; I had a significant number of downloads. It was a crazy two days. Since then, the sales numbers for both books have been steadily rising inlcuding some borrows. That is great news! However, I was also exposed to a couple of Amazon policies I was not aware of. Surprise!
First: The royalty policy. If your book(s) is priced between $2.99-$9.99, you are eligible to receive a 70% royalty. I sell my books for $2.99, so I qualify. Sounds like a great deal. However, when I looked at my royalties report, I noticed that several of the book sales were listed at a 35% royalty instead of 70%. When I emailed Amazon about the discrepancy, I was told that the 70% royalty only applies to purchases in some "territories." The places listed were Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Great Britain, Guernsey, Germany, Italy, Isle of Man, Jersey, Lichtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, San Marino, Switzerland, Spain, United States, and Vatican City. Now that may sound like a lot of places until I actually looked. Andorra? Isn't that where Gandalf was born? I'm just kidding. Andorra is actually a small planet in the Andromeda Galaxy. There were several other odd places like Guernsey and Vatican City. What's missing? Australia, Central and South America, Japan, China, Africa, Russia, and other places that should be obvious inclusions. I'm not sure how they decided what "territories" should be included, but they are missing a huge chunk of the market which damages an author's earning potential by effectively cutting royalty earnings in half while Amazon makes approximately the same amount on the sale either way. Amazon won't tell me where those books were purchased from, so I just have to trust them. Uh...right. You do remember; I am a bit paranoid.
Second: The other fun Amazon policy I found was their ebook return policy. I had never had any returns, but after getting several this past week, I decided to check it out. Amazon will give a full refund for an ebook as long as the request is received within 7 days of purchase even if it has been read. No, I'm not kidding. People can purchase a book, read it in a few days and return it for a full refund. You may be thinking "People wouldn't do that Michelle." Consider this, the Kindle Prime membership costs $79.00 per year and you can "borrow a book" a month according to the information I found, so I am assuming that is just one book. However, you could buy a book, read it, and return it in the same week for a full refund. That's an average of four books a month at no cost. There may be some small print somewhere that limits the amount of ebook returns a person can make, but I couldn't find it. On the Kindle forums, there were several people who mentioned that they hoped people didn't take advantage of the return policy. Several others responded by saying that Amazon wouldn't let people do that. They obviously have more faith in Amazon than I do.
I don't mean to sound jaded or more paranoid that usual. I understand that Amazon needs to make their customers happy, so they will buy more products which may mean that authors get the raw end of the deal at times. I signed my deal with Amazon, and I have to live with my decision. I will just have to see how things play out over the next 90 days. Would love to hear your experiences with KDP Select, Amazon policies, or opinions on the subject.