Disclaimer: these are just my opinions and I do not post solely to Amazon, so I am not in the KDP Select program and cannot give any pros or cons to said program. I publish not only to Amazon but Google Books, and, through Draft2Digital (D2D), I am also on Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, Scribd, Palace Marketplace, iBooks, and many more. I am going to be writing a blog about the pros, cons, tips, and tricks to posting to D2D as well.
Now, for the content…
We all know that Amazon isn’t the best company to work for, the hours are insane, the owner is a heartless egotistical knob, the list goes on and on. I have been an Amazon consumer for years, but I’ll be honest, when I went to publish, Amazon was not my first choice. I was originally thinking about Ingram Spark. They had better quality, I could do more with hardcover, they had dust jackets, that sort of thing, but what cemented it for me was the use of ISBN. For Ingram, at the time, I needed to buy my own and you needed one barcode for EACH format, so I’d need 3 per book, which is EXPENSIVE, so Amazon won out.
I like to give bad news first, so here are the cons:
- The support is hard to get ahold of:
For someone like me who has anxiety, having to email support and wait for a call back is nerve wracking and I have executive dysfunction until they call me.
- No Preorder for physical copies. I was told that this is coming, though they could not tell me when it would be available.
- You can’t set the WHEN the preorder or book will be available. You have to preplan it and submit the book 2 days before you want it to post or you may end up with it not being approved on time and then you’re book comes out a day late, I’d much have it post early than late. (^_^;)
- No Dust jacket for Hardcovers. What you see is what you get. (Note: I am looking into getting dust covers for my books from an independent source and selling them here on my website with preorders).
- If you publish through amazon, they will have the ISBN. Yep, this is both a pro and a con. Con because if you want to take it elsewhere, you can’t take that information, or anything connected to said ISBN with you.
- No prime shipping on Author copies. This seems like no big deal, but it really adds up because not only am I paying to have the books shipped to me, I then have to ship them out again. Yes, I have been working on figuring out the cost to ship out books, but it’s complicated.
- No set cover size. Most sites will give you an estimated size and they’ll make the cover fit. Unless you use Amazon cover creator, you have to know the number of pages and go to the KDP cover calculator, put in all the info and get the measurements you need. This can be an exhausting process, especially if you’re like me and are an artist who makes their own covers. It would be nice to have a standard size for this.
- Unless you are in the KDP select program, you CANNOT do sales or promos for your series. You read that right, and even if you are in the program, you have to go in, and request the promotion, which can be denied by Amazon. You can however, lower the price in the back office, if you don’t have the price at the lowest allowed price/royalties. I have my books set at $2.99 which is the lowest you can go with the 70% royalty.
- If you use their software for eBooks, you cannot have your own font. All specialty fonts within the book will be gone. I get around this by having a tech savvy Manager who knows coding and has a program to make the epub doc for me, which includes the fonts I’ve purchased for the books. (Thanks again, Matt)
- For those who use/like trigger warnings or content warnings, Amazon may flag it. Some people don’t like them, other people think they should be added to all books, music, shows, ect. I have heard that if you put a detailed Trigger/content warning this can cause Amazon to reject the book entirely. Tip: Instead of details, I put a general “rating” like you’d find on the back of a movie or in a commercial on the copyright page or a blank page before the book begins. Something as simple as “Rated NC-17 for violence, horror, torture, Asylum scenes, non-consensual acts, and vulgar language”(this is the rating for Kalista Book 3: A Broken Redeemer). Others have used a QR code or directed people to their website for content warnings in detail as to where they are i.e., chapter/page and how bad it is.
- They do not have a way of letting reviewers, aka those who have read the book before release, to leave reviews until AFTER the book is published and even then it won't be "verified" because they have not bought the book. Google on the other hand has a space in the "content" section for you to add "reviewers" via their email address, so they can get the eBook before anyone else and then review it so your book then has reviews BEFORE it's even published. This is a great marketing tool as well.
- No money for an ISBN, no problem: get an ISBN right from Amazon, but as listed before, you have that pesky non-transferrable feature when/if you decide to go elsewhere.
- Freedom to basically post what you want within reason, read the agreement thoroughly if you’re into publishing heavy kink, erotica, and so on. This is all subjective really as anyone can report it and get it taken down.
- If you know how to format, it’s very easy to post to. If you don’t know formatting, you’re going to have to hire someone, watch some YouTube videos, or stay tuned for my blog about that in a few weeks. (^_-) (I’ll link it here when I do.)
- Not having to deal with a publishing house, though again, this is the same with other self-publishing companies as well, so it’s not Amazon exclusive either.
I know there are more cons, than pros, but the pros I can think of are generic to the industry, and that deserves a post of its own. I can’t think of any more right specific to Amazon, and I need to get back to editing July’s release (Discord’s Nightmare), so I’ll leave it here for now. I may make amends to it later as things change, but for now.
Thank you for reading, I hope this helps you in some way.