Since I accepted an offer from Montlake Publishing in October, many of my published author friends have been asking me what it’s like working with Amazon as a publisher. Like me, many of them have jumped into the indie-publishing pond, releasing backlist and frontlist as ebooks. Some of us have had amazing success. I know I have. My Perfect trilogy soared up the charts when I released it last April, and spent more than a month in the Top 100 for Romance at both Amazon and Apple.
Given the success I’ve achieved on my own, some authors have wondered why I’d give up the control and freedom of indie publishing along with some of my royalty, and if I think it was worth it.
Why I chose to partner with Amazon
Notice I said “partner with,” not “sign with,” the more common term authors use when discussing a new publishing contract. When Amazon first approached me about publishing my final backlist title as an ebook, I hesitated. (Actually, they approached me about the new material I’m working on, but then they realized I still had one backlist title available.) Even just giving them a backlist title worried me, despite the marketing power I know they wield. Working with any publisher had come to equal giving up control. My print career basically died because of bad choices made by my previous publishers. Did I really want to open myself up to the potential for that kind of mismanagement again?
But reading posts online by authors like Lee Goldberg, Barry Eisler, and Joe Konrath about their experience with Amazon as a publisher, and talking to my good friend Connie Brockway, gave me the courage to take a deep breath and take the plunge. I’m so glad I did!
Working with Amazon has been nothing like my experience with traditional publishers. Rather than giving up control, I’ve been treated like a partner working with them on a project. I’ve had input on everything, including the cover and marketing strategies. I feel respected, not just for my talent as a writer, but as a business person with ideas that have value.
Is it worth what I gave up?
Financially, I won’t know for sure until after my Montlake release comes out, but from what I’ve witnessed so far, I think the answer is going to be a resounding yes! I predict my sales will more than make up for the lesser royalty. As for giving Amazon exclusivity, I researched what percentage of ebook readers use various devices, and discovered a huge percentage of non-Kindle owners read on their phone. So, anyone with a smart phone, iPad, or computer can download the Kindle app free. As for the Nook, Sony Reader, and Kobo, readers can convert a Kindle ebook into a file that’s compatible with their device with a free software download called Calibre.
My First Montlake Release, Coming January 17
At Last, my first release with Montlake, was originally published in print by Signet with the title Unforgettable, but we’re going for a complete new package. I think both the new cover and new title fit the story much better.
I was holding on to this final title because it has a music soundtrack that goes with it. I was hoping that with the digital revolution, I could figure out a way to bundle them together. Partnering with Montlake has given me that opportunity. We are in the final days of preparing At Last, both the ebook and the soundtrack, for their digital debut. In the coming days, I will blog about the process, and hope you’ll follow along. So, more to come. But so far, working with Amazon has been a breath of fresh air.