Amazon Shafts Former Indie Author (via @sarafawkes)

'Amazon shafts someone' is hardly a headline worth noting. However, finding out the sneaky way in which they will shaft you can help you brace a little for the inevitable. In this case, Amazon published a new edition of independent author Jamie McGuire's book. This author had previously self-published the same book on Amazon. Amazon therefore decided it would offer all previous purchasers the chance to get a refund for the original self-published version of the book (in direct contravention of their own within-7-days-of-purchase refund policy). The kicker? Well, the difference being refunded was going to come straight out of the author's pocket, since that's how refunds work:

It appears that Amazon has sent a mass email to everyone who’s ever purchased the self-published version of Beautiful Disaster. They are encouraging readers to request a refund. When asked why they are offering this refund, Amazon customer service has given several different reasons, the most common is problems with content. THERE IS NO PROBLEM WITH THE CONTENT OF BEAUTIFUL DISASTER, and it makes no sense for them to encourage a refund for a book that has already been read and enjoyed 6+ months later, but that is the only information I have for now.

Customer service admits that if you do NOT get the refund, your copy of BD will NOT be affected. If you get a refund, they are offering to reimburse the $4+ difference it costs to purchase the $7.99 version, but what they aren’t telling you is that **I** am paying for every refund.

Sara Fawkes breaks down the email that Amazon sent to Ms McGuire, and details her own experience when she received an email from Amazon, generously offering to help her save money by shafting the author:

I found this story difficult to believe; Amazon surely wouldn’t be this stupid, would it? I purchased BD as an indie book in 2011, long before the author signed a contract allowing the novel to receive a wider, worldwide distribution.

Yet, an hour ago, this is the email I received in my inbox[.]

Read on here:

Simon & Schuster Pushing a Dodgy Vanity Imprint (via @indieauthor, HT: @pecunium)

True: You need professional quality work if you are self-publishing. False: You should pay a dodgy vanity publisher to do this for you.

True: Simon & Schuster emailed April L. Hamilton from Publetariat some spam, which included a bribe:

Your blog is an important resource to help authors navigate the variety of self-publishing options. We believe Archway is a unique new service for authors, and would be valued by your readers. The Archway Affiliate Program enables partners to earn a $100 bounty for each author they refer who publishes with Archway.

True: April eventually calmed down and replied:

I have always advised indie authors to avoid vanity publishers, and AuthorHouse is one of the most notorious among them. The reputation of AuthorHouse as an overpriced, under-performing scam agency far precedes its name. I have warned many a writer away from AH in the past, and will continue to do so in the future.

I am very disappointed to see such an august and respected publisher as S&S moving into this new, arguably predatory market area: pairing up a respected publisher with a vanity press to offer desperate would-be authors various, fee-based "services"---any of which the writer could retain him- or herself from freelancers at a fraction of the cost---and/or a publishing contract offering terms that virtually ensure the publisher will turn a profit, but the author will not. Surely the strongly negative reaction to HarperCollins' Hydra imprint hasn't escaped your notice?

Seriously, Simon & Schuster is a big publishing firm. This kind of dodgy behaviour sounds more like ... Simon & Shyster.


There is more, so do read her considered response here: