Well, ain’t that a bitch. You spend all your videogame time on writing a book, pump a bunch of money into all kinds of professional sounding stuff, get a good looking cover done, and then you try to get your stuff published.
Now, I’m not so delusional that I’m walking up to an established publisher and handing them my manuscript, even before I knew the kind of shit publishers can pull. Fortunately, there are options a plenty for budding authors.
In the United States.
If they want to use either Amazon or IngramSpark.
But Jeff Bezos needs to refuel his spaceship and IngramSpark is an obtuse dinosaur. Still, I’m a big boy and I’m not handing my baby off to some publisher who thinks they know what’s best. I’m boarding the USS Amazon.
The boarding process was pretty easy. Sign up, set up your account, tell ‘em where you want all that beautiful money to go, and upload your book. So far, so good, so what.
I wrote the thing in English so I could reach a bigger audience. The Netherlands are nice and all, but it’s not exactly big. So I diligently set the checkmark for “worldwide,” set the price in dollars and synch the rest of the prices to that, and off we go. You’ve read about all the fun I had with that, I won’t bother you with it again. My psychiatrist says I shouldn’t dredge that up again.
Let’s fast forward to right now. My girlfriend had the clarity of mind to look up my book on Amazon.nl, which I thought was pretty cool. You get to see your own book and name pop up in the search bar and– MOTHERFUCKER! How the hell is my book priced at 48,99? What the fuck is this? Rubles?
No, that’s in euros, alright. I had Amazon call me back about this and it turns out that “worldwide” doesn’t mean “the whole world.”
Yes, I was rather confused about that too. Dig this: The book written in the Netherlands, by a Dutch author, doesn’t have the rights to be sold in the Netherlands.
Worldwide only covers a few marketplaces, like US, France, Germany, Japan, Australia, Italy, Great Britain, Estonia, Spain, and all the other countries literally fucking bordering the Netherlands. My book can’t be sold in my home country, where currently, let’s face it, my only potential fanbase sits. And that brings me to IngramSpark.
The setup process there is obtuse and they’ll fleece you under the pretense of keeping quality in the bookmarket.
Shit, motherfucker. I tried to up the quality by correcting mistakes I found, but I had to pay 25 bucks before I could upload the corrected manuscript. Fuck you and the quality you rode in on, and have the decency to admit you’re trying to make money off my inability to type “bannanana.”
Sadly, if you want any kind of proper distribution, IngramSpark is just about the only choice. If you want the option to get into real bookstores, you need IngramSpark. If you want to be sold in marketplaces not covered in Amazon’s worldwide, you need IngramSpark. If you need IngramSpark, you need to settle for less royalties, because a retailer will take their cut, and then IngramSpark is going to take a little cut of what’s left. Take out printing cost, and shipping, and you basically find yourself begging Netflix to buy the rights because that shit is not going to make you rich.
I talk about money a lot, but I’m not in it for the big bucks, I promise. It just stings a little that there’s a bunch of muppets who wait till you’re done doing all the work and then ask 30-40% for what’s basically the digital version of moving papers from one side of the desk to the other.
I will be looking into how to cut out the middleman.