I recently came across the latest blog post by erotica author Selena Kitt. Reading through it had me raising my fist in the air, shouting, “YES!!!” (Well, in my mind anyway. I don’t actually do things like that… really!) She basically wrote an EXCELLENT rebuttal to the email that Amazon recently sent out to all their KDP authors, asking them to rally behind Amazon in their dispute with the publishing company Hachette. It was, to say the least, inspirational.
Let me say, before going any further, I have great respect for Ms. Kitt. She’s been in this publishing game for years, and she has easily written at least ten times as many books as I have. But there are times when I find her just a little confusing.
I received the same email that Ms. Kitt did. Seeing it in my inbox did not fill me with the same sort of dread that she described. Of course, I only have five of my books listed with KDP. Not being enrolled in their KDP Select program, Amazon does nothing whatsoever to promote my books, and the last royalty payment I received from Amazon came to around four dollars and some-odd cents. Ms. Kitt, however, has dozens of books listed on Amazon, if not hundreds, so I can understand her trepidation in receiving the email, but I kind of had to chuckle just a bit when she claimed she has no horse in this race.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I just recently opened a Twitter account. Ms. Kitt was one of the first people that I followed. One of the first things I noticed was that Ms. Kitt tweets a lot. I mean, A LOT!!! Most of them being promotional tweets for her books. Usually her latest one. While to me, a novice, it seemed a little excessive, I figured hey, she’s the professional, it must work for her.
Her excessive tweeting was not an issue for me. Easy enough to scroll past them. What is an issue is how she links her books. Like 99 percent of all other erotica authors, she links her books to… you guessed it, their Amazon pages. And not just on Twitter, anytime I see her promoting her books on any social media outlet, the links are to Amazon!
That is the main thing that confuses me. I can understand somewhat that most erotica authors would do that, since most of them only submit to Amazon, and even if they do submit to other outlets they figure linking to Amazon will garner the most success. But Ms. Kitt’s books are available on a number of outlets, in fact she even has her own publishing company where they are obviously available. Instead of linking to her own website however, she continues to link to Amazon. While that may not make Ms. Kitt Amazon’s “bitch” (according to her own blog post), it’s certainly showing a generous amount of cleavage.
Unlike many, if not most erotica authors, especially ones just starting out, I have my own web page. (The very one you’re reading right now, thank you for visiting!) Whenever I promote any of my books, whether through back matter or on social media, that’s where I link to. My web pages have a listing of every outlet that my books are available on, including the limited number that are available on Amazon. I never (well…almost never) link my books to their Amazon pages whenever I promote them. There are two main reasons for this: One, as mentioned previously, only five of my books are actually listed on Amazon. Amazon refuses to list my more “taboo” stories, and I refuse to water them down enough to “sneak them through”. And two, linking to Amazon only gives them more power. It only promotes them further, and in effect perpetuates the problem. Over and over again I see author after author treating Amazon like it’s the only game in town. And over and over again, I see Amazon shooting them down one by one.
I give kudos to Ms.Kitt for her excellent blog post. In a way it came just short of rallying erotica authors to join forces against Amazon. (Almost… but not quite.) At the very least, she gives whispered rumblings that the possibility for revolt is there. This was a departure from her usual posts concerning the subject of Amazon. Usually, while she offers scathing criticism of Amazon, she more often than not follows it with advise to other authors on how to “work around” Amazon’s roadblocks. Advise that she is constantly having to update. In this latest blog post, she offers no such advise.
Perhaps that signals a turning point.