Hey, folks. R.J. here.
Rather than give you an impersonal cats’ eye view of a rather troublesome problem I’m facing, I have the wheel on the blog for today.
I am strongly considering, after the release of Catnapped, pulling all of my titles from Amazon. Right now, there is a plague of “armchair editors” who are reporting issues on Amazon, which result in quality notices and threats of book suppression (AKA, our books are pulled from sale) if we do not adhere to the editing recommendations these armchair editors are making.
Booked for Murder was reported and threatened with a quality warning this morning.
The armchair editor reported four errors. One was not a mistake. One was a mistake in the backmatter, which was a sample of an unreleased book. Two were small typos in the book. This is an error rate of approximately one in sixty thousand words.
Yet Amazon’s stance is if I do not fix these mistakes, within 72 hours, my titles may be flagged or removed from sale.
Enough is enough. I have not had a day off in 31 days. I work often over 14 hours a day. I have an editorial staff of 16 people, myself included. I am doing my best.
My best is not good enough for Amazon.
No other vendor has a report issues tool. Do you know what other vendors do? They have review tools. Reviews inform a reader if there are problems like this in the book. Readers are not stupid. They can check reviews.
So, if you want to help a lot of authors out, please take the time to email firstname.lastname@example.org with an email requesting that they permanently disable the ‘report issues’ function allowing armchair editors to make critical commentary on the interior of a book.
It is not Amazon’s job to quality check a novel. They allow samples, and readers can check the samples. They allow returns, so readers can return a shit quality book if they would like.
There is no reason for this tool to exist.
When you email email@example.com, include the following:
A polite greetings,
A complaint that the ‘report issues’ function is creating substantial issues for your favorite authors, and if the quality warnings continue to exist as is, when it’s not Amazon’s job to provide editorial of books, your authors will leave for other platforms.
Make a statement that you do not want to stop reading on Amazon, but if your favorite authors leave, you will leave, too.
(This is important, because Amazon only cares about YOUR dollars. They do not care about the authors. At all. This is well established.)
Close with a thank you for their attention on this matter, and they hope they will bar random readers from having editorial control over novels.
Sign it, send the email.
That’s it, that’s all. Vocalizing complaints to Amazon is the only way this abusive tool will be changed.
Frankly spoken, I do not want to leave Amazon. The majority of my income comes from Amazon, and ultimately, if I have to leave Amazon, my career will enter its death throes. I will only be writing for enjoyment, and when the money I’m putting aside to pay for production costs in the future dries up, understanding I may have to leave Amazon because of this tool, that’s it.
This is the inevitable conclusion; I’ll write for myself, and my career will be over. I will no longer be able to publish. I won’t be able to afford the bills, and I won’t have the heart to scrape together pennies when I’m fully aware there will be armchair editors thinking they’re helping, when in reality, they are not.
I’ll probably return to my previous career as an editor, helping authors write stronger, better books. I may format for people. I’ll probably also paint and do a lot of things I’ve sacrificed to write books. I might find a nice office job doing secretarial work or office gophering.
I actually like office gophering. It’s fun. I enjoy scrambling around doing Jack of All Trades work. I like solving problems for people.
There are a lot of things I like doing that I simply don’t, because I want to write more and better books.
I have not yet discussed this issue with my husband, but the truth is? He’s probably as tired of me as the days I just sit and cry because yet another armchair editor had a book flagged on Amazon, and they’re threatening to remove it from sale. Yet again.
Because 16 people working hard on a book still isn’t enough to make a perfect book.
I’m tired of the stress of checking my Amazon backend daily to see if there’s a new warning I’ll have a book pulled.
It’s happening two to three times a month now.
I love my readers. I love writing. But I don’t love this writing environment. I’ll always write books I want to read.
But I won’t take it beyond finishing the book and self-editing it to my satisfaction. I may share the books with friends. I may not. The death of a career doesn’t begin with a heavy workload.
It begins with armchair editors.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve worked hard to make this career what it is, but there comes a point where enough is enough.
The end of my career looks to be beginning with armchair editors, because I have had enough.
The paycheck isn’t worth the entitled armchair editors, it’s not worth the multiple times a month of Amazon flagging my account because of a handful of typos in long books.
And no, extending publication times aren’t going to remove those handful of typos. I literally have sixteen people, myself included, combing the books for errors. And we still miss errors.
This is the nature of books. It will always be the nature of books.
I love my job, but not enough for this.
Catnapped is the last book I’m promising will be available at Amazon, and I will not be setting up any preorders for future titles.
Something has to change, and I’m sick and tired of rolling with the punches and dealing with the threats from Amazon.
Please email Jeff.
Publishing books is not worth my health or my sanity, and the stress levels of dealing with Amazon threatening quality warnings and suppression are becoming lethal. Literally.
Enough is enough.
I’m sorry, but enough is enough.
Ask Amazon to change, because I cannot deal with armchair editors anymore, and I am tired of fighting with Amazon to be ‘allowed’ to hold my creative rights.
Because right now, I’m being forced to change my words to an armchair editor’s standards.
And no. Just no.
Those are my books and my words, and I’ve had enough.
Please email Jeff.
Thank you for listening.