Approaching a Crossroads

It has been a long time. A very long time. And now we’re approaching a crossroads. Lament for the Living Book 2 should have been released by now, but it hasn’t. But do not be concerned, the crossroads isn’t about whether or not Book 2 is happening or not. It definitely is happening, but I’m currently in a quandary as to where it’ll be published.

Lament for the Living Book 1, The Deluge of Elias, and Hannibal House have all been published on Amazon as the main platform, with Lament for the Living and Hannibal House also being available through the outlets fulfilled by Smashwords (Hannibal House is free through Smashwords).  Amazon has been where the majority of sales of my titles have come from, but I’m becoming increasingly unhappy with their business practices.

Issue 1: They seem to have no morals regarding where they advertise, which means that their advertising helps fund sites and/or content that are completely opposite to my own personal ethics. I have reached out to them on more than one occasion regarding their advertising, and they are subject to the spotlight of Sleeping Giants whose aim is to “stop racist and sexist media by stopping its ad dollars”. I wholly back their mission, but like them, both Amazon and Jeff Bezos have failed not only to respond to our concerns, but have remained completely silent on the issue of where they advertise.

Issue 2: Amazon is inept at dealing with scammers who exploit the Kindle Direct Publishing platform and instead target and punish legitimate authors. David Gaughran has posted extensively on these scams and his own experiences of trying to get Amazon to take these concerns seriously, and do something about the scammers. He has presented masses of evidence to Amazon about the issues and their responses have been as overwhelming as they have in regard to their advertising ethics: none.  That is until now, where they appear to be taking some action against legitimate authors instead of scammers as detailed in this report by David Gaughran.

Personally I’ve been a strong advocate for Amazon in the past. I’ve got Kindles (standard and Fire), Amazon Prime, a Firestick, and they’re usually my go to place to buy everything from rubber gloves to motorbike parts. But that looks all set to change. As a platform Amazon seems to becoming more toxic and unhinged as time goes on. Their business ethics and level of competence in dealing with issues are nowhere as high as I expect them to be.

So here’s the crossroads: Lament for the Living Book 2 is now penciled in to be released in the Spring/Summer of 2018. Unless Amazon addresses the issues of their advertising ethics, and start using more precise tools to identify and punish spammers rather than a sledgehammer-tipped blunderbus I’ll be leaving the platform completely.

I’m not prepared to support an unethical platform financially by buying and using their products, and I’m certainly not prepared to place my work on a platform that is akin to a petty and vengeful god.  The decision will be made closer to release of book 2, but right now it’s not looking good for my relationship with Amazon.

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