Amazon and me

I’ve been concerned about Amazon charging the full retail price of $24.50 for Matcher Rules, as I mentioned before and I’ve niggled away at the problem, and I’ve (sort of) solved it. I sell the paperbacks myself, on Amazon, at a lower price.

Amazon does not do price matching for books, and it took quite a bit of pounding around on their site to find this out, because the back end of Amazon is not as well-organized as the front end. True, it’s better than Lulu, but Amazon does have more money. I got a definitive answer from a chat session with an Amazon rep. One of my friends who has his privately printed memoirs for sale on Amazon gave me some pointers and I set myself up as a seller. So when you go to Amazon for Matcher Rules there is a choice of prices for the paperback. Remember I have to buy the copies from Lulu and get them shipped to me, so I’m cautiously offering them at $18.00 plus shipping so my costs are covered.

There’s no answer on Lulu as to why they are not listed as a seller on Amazon, with their discounted prices. My guess: Lulu has a legal agreement with Amazon which precludes them doing this, and I suppose it makes sense because it’s always possible to buy a book directly from a publisher but you don’t see those publishers as sellers on Amazon. Also, Amazon has a contract with Lulu as a POD supplier where orders through Amazon get 24-hour fulfillment, unlike the rest of the orders including those from authors.

However, according to other authors on Lulu’s discussion forums, Amazon will lower their prices without notice and at random, leading to the bizarre situation where it can be cheaper to purchase copies of your own book from Amazon and pay less than you pay to Lulu. There may be some time limit or other trigger event affecting the price, which can then re-set to full retail. The mysterious ways of supply and demand? Phases of the moon?

Right now, the cheapest way to buy a paperback of Matcher Rules is on Lulu, followed by ordering it from me via Amazon, then directly from Amazon. And no, you can’t send me an email and order the book directly because I’d like as much ISBN-tracking as possible for statistical purposes and (ahem) tax records. Right now if I read the rules correctly this qualifies as a hobby but perhaps in the future it won’t. I can hope.

Bookshop Santa Cruz

My local independent bookseller, Bookshop Santa Cruz, has a consignment program for local authors. I provide the copies and they display in the ‘Locals’ section and also in the Fantasy section. I’ve also arranged to be mentioned in their online newsletter.

Of course, I couldn’t resist going to see, and there, in the Fantasy section, was Matcher Rules right next to Tanya’s Huff’s newest paperback. I love the alphabet!

The woman browsing next to me thought I was absolutely crazy when I took the picture.

Matcher Rules paperback now available

The paperback of Matcher Rules is now available for ordering.

The proof copy arrived today and the printer did a very nice job. PDF is obviously the way to go with Lulu publications because the text was locked in regarding placement, fonts, size, and graphics. The cover was perfect.

I was very jazzed to see it. Creation of an OBJECT has so much more emotional charge than creation of bytes on a screen.

I’ve ordered a few more copies to sell on consignment through my local independent bookstore. That should be an interesting process.

Backing Into The Future

I’ve decided to self-publish Matcher Rules, my first novel, as an ebook. I’m also planning on a POD copy via Lulu, although I have more doubts about that.

Why self-publish? Well, this is the end result of a great deal of thought, self-doubt, and research. In an ideal world I’d be able to land an agent, and eventually sign a contract with a professional publisher. The more I query and send out manuscripts the less confidence I have in what is now the publishing establishment. Even for established authors, the publishers seem to be doing less and less. Authors are expected to do more and more of their own marketing and promotion, publishers are cutting back on the number of hardcopies printed even for popular authors, and books go out of print within months of publication. The publishing conglomerates are less and less inclined to take a chance on new authors — and frankly, would like those authors to fit in a certain demographic.

Ebook publication, I suspect, is being used as another filtering tool by the publishers. A few years ago self-publishing an ebook was the kiss of death: no reputable agent or publisher would consider any subsequent work. Now, successful ebook authors are being offered straight contracts, because they have, without costing the publishers a dime, demonstrated their ability to craft a tale and sell novels. Like all businesses, publishers like a sure thing.

All business aside, I’m publishing Matcher Rules on my own because I believe in the story. I have always re-read my favorite author’s works. I’ll remember part of a plot or a favorite character and I’ll re-read for pleasure. To my great delight, I found myself doing this with Matcher Rules. I was re-reading the manuscript because I loved the story and the characters and wanted to spend some time with them again. And, without false modesty, I’d like to give other people the chance to do the same.

Right now I’ve signed a contract with a cover designer and I’m vetting the manuscript one final time before trying the Smashwords conversion. I’ll post on how it’s going, and I’ll also post on the go or no-go decision on Lulu. Right now, a self-published print book looks like an enormous amount of work, but at heart, I’m a Luddite. If I can, I will, so I can hold the story in my hand — in paper.


Very first acceptance!

My flash story ‘Three Sisters’ has been accepted by Golden Visions Magazine for the Spring 2011 issue. I’m very pleased. Oh hell, I’m overjoyed. (I don’t do blase very well.)

Strange are the ways of publications. I tripped over the magazine on a mailing list posting and realized the story was sitting, already formatted and fresh from a rejection, on my desktop. So I sent it out, noting their posted response time was 4-6 weeks.

Six HOURS later, I get an email. I assumed it was an auto-reply acknowledgement. It was a nice note from the editor, accepting the story. I read it four times before it sunk in. I must have just hit it right.

When I get the published url, I’ll add it to this page.