Chris Gardner

The joys of self-publishing.

Amazon-Friend or Foe?


A lot of writers hate Amazon–they’re big, corporate, money hungry and not at all like those small independent publishers who actually care about what they’re publishing, right? I can’t say I’ve loved every minute or that I’m thrilled with every aspect of the business but for a self-published author who doesn’t have money to burn Amazon is a godsend.

new the inheritance coverIt’s true they’ll sell anything–well, almost, and some of the self-published stuff is rubbish, I agree, but the same applies to small publishers who require hundreds of dollars from authors to produce their book. There are publishers who care about their books, of course; if they’re the ones paying the upfront costs it’s essential they publish only what they believe they can sell.

I’ve written about vanity publishers before and I won’t go into it again here; I sometimes feel as if I’m selling Amazon to writers out there and I have no intention of doing that. I promise I don’t have shares. I just want to let you know that it’s not so bad being a self-published writer on Amazon!

There’s also their Createspace department, where you can publish your book in POD form and they’ll distribute it to several other shopfronts for you. Then there’s Kindle Unlimited, which is a lending library. The customer pays a monthly amount and has to return the ebook, just like any other library, and the author is paid per page read. The amount, as far as I can ascertain, is not always the same, but at the moment my KU amount is about half as much per book as a sale would be, which is not bad.

Another thing I like is that it’s easy to make changes–for example I have a list in the back of each book, of all my other books, and when I publish a new one I add that to the list. I can also change covers if something better comes along, and fix typos if I discover them after my book’s published.(!) All in all, for me Amazon is invaluable and I’d be lost without it. Come and check out my Author Page or here if you’re in the UK.


Author: cmsgardnerblog

I'm a writer of fiction and non-fiction, for teens and adults. I live in Central Victoria, Australia and my books are available at

10 thoughts on “Amazon-Friend or Foe?

  1. My only complaint about Amazon is it has stopped shipping products under its Prime program to Alaska. As a consumer, I’m disappointed. As an indie author close to launching my first book, I am perturbed because Alaska buyers are going to run into this problem, so I have to buy in bulk through CreateSpace and ship them individually myself. The bulk discount almost pays for S&H but the sales won’t count individually nor can those reviews be verified.

    • I live in Alaska, too, and still get items shipped via Prime. Of course, I haven’t ordered any books that way. Maybe it’s other products that still qualify for Prime, but books don’t???

  2. i perfectly agree with you. i too have a reputed old-style publisher and all that you say about them is cent percent true. i chose amazon + createspace because i felt frustrated and short-shrifted by them. i am thankful and grateful to amazon. say, who doesn’t want to make money; so what’s wrong with amazon doing it. presently i have around 21 books on amazon & createspace, and it has given me a world-wide readership and audience that this publisher couldn’t. so i agree with your ideas Chris.

  3. Amazon is the writer’s friend. Yes, some of the works they publish are less than stalwart, but the same has been true of conventional publishers as long as there have been books. Some of the best books I’ve read I’ve ordered from Amazon. And if you’re publishing one, it’s such a relief to be spared the need to cozy up to indifferent agents and conventional publishers. Thanks, Amazon. I’m a writer. You’re a friend.

  4. Hi Christine,
    I live in Sydney and have just one book on Kindle. How do you deal with the problem of having little bits of money in different currencies that you cannot access? I am only paid, like I presume every other author is, once I hit the 100 profit in currencies other than Australian dollars. This means that currently I have money sitting in Canadian dollars, euro, pounds, American dollars – all inaccessible to me. I’d love to find a solution and actually receive the payment that my readers believe is getting to me. I have contacted Amazon directly and have got back the answer that they are working on this problem – that was 10 months or so ago.
    Thanks Catherine

    • It might be worth contacting them again! I know what you mean–I do have little bits of money owing from Canada and other places but most of mine comes from the UK or the US and is enough that I do get paid. The bank takes $12 for each overseas payment so you wouldn’t want to be paid until it was a reasonable amount, I’m sure. I’d be interested to hear if you do find a solution–my main problem is Createspace. I sell very few POD books and my account there has been at almost $100 for a few months. I’m sure I’ll get it eventually though. The other thing to keep in mind is $100 is not enough to get a payment–you need $100 net after they take out tax.

      • Thanks for getting back to me. I think that the only thing that might have any effect would be all Australian-based authors en masse contacting Amazon and pushing for a solution. It shouldn’t be hard and is certainly not impossible as Paypal pays out with as little as $1. For my first US payment from Amazon the exchange rate was poor and my bank actually took out $15 transaction fee – that hurt!

      • Yes. Personally I’d rather wait for the threshold than give it to the bank!

      • Agreed! With Paypal it is a transfer so no bank transaction fee…

  5. I fully agree.
    I had my first book published through a small publishing house, and then became part of the Indie community with my second and third books. My Indie experience was so much better – I ended up withdrawing book #1 from the publisher and republishing it myself.
    Amazon isn’t perfect, but no organisation is.
    For what it gives us as writers – the opportunity to reach our audience in several ways – I am very thankful.

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