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I AM UNAVAILABLE (maybe you are too)

November 15, 2018 by in category The Write Life by Rebecca Forster tagged as , , ,

This morning the wonderful author, Mindy Neff, forwarded a blog post by David Gaugrhran. I had to read it twice to understand that Amazon had a problem and it affected me. Somehow many of our books are now unavailable for sale in the European market. Most of these markets are very small and those readers access  Amazon through the U.S. portal. Granted I don’t sell many books in Malta, but I would like to have a presence there. But these weren’t the only markets in play. Australia – a huge market for me – is compromised. The UK, another market where my sales were solid is now nonexistent. Canada also is showing unavailability.

I had noticed the sad state of affairs on my dashboard in the last few weeks, but I put it down to a change in fashion. Perhaps people were tired of thrillers; perhaps another sub-genre had edged out my procedurals. Now it seems that – best guess – the new software Amazon put in place to comply with the EU’s demands to protect their population from information gathering and sharing might be at fault. I applaud the effort Amazon made for compliance, but I am disappointed in the lack of communication regarding the problem.

There is also good news to be gleaned from this. First, the community of authors is generous. Thank you Mindy for passing along this information. Thank you David Gaugrahn for explaining the situation as you know it. Both have allowed me to be proactive in contacting Amazon. I haven’t heard back yet, but through the grapevine I understand Amazon is working hard on the problem. Next, this was a wake-up call for me. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the amount of information coming my way. Like a reader skipping to get to the end of a book, I can miss things that are crucial to my business. I am recommitting to staying on top of things. Finally, such an ‘event’ reminds me why I went wide. While I have an aversion to selling my work to one outlet based solely on principal, this reminds me that there are also real reasons not to so so. With Amazon dark in so many markets I am still available through Smashwords itself and the platforms to which they deliver.

Maybe now is the time for you to take a minute to reassess your publication strategy. Selling only through Amazon might be a perfect match for you. As for me? I want to do everything I can to remain available.

Rebecca Forster started writing on a crazy dare, now she is the USA Today and Amazon best selling author of over 35 books. Her thrillers have been called “Perfect. . .Impossible to put down” by the CBS legal correspondent, Laurie Levenson. Rebecca is married to a superior court judge and is the  mother of two grown sons.

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