Dear Mr. Bezos

Dear Mr. Bezos:

Your net worth just passed $95 billion. A mind-numbing number.

Do you ever pause at a price tag? Worry over paying the bi-annual property tax? Waver between buying gas for your car (or paying the electrical bill for the Tesla) and taking mass transit? Or, as most authors do, use the blank side of already printed paper to fashion a document? Perhaps at one time in your life, but now I’m afraid that from the throne atop that money mountain your vision never meets the ground, but is rather dazzled by the golden coins at your feet. I don’t begrudge your wealth. You’ve worked hard and earned every penny. Changed the way western civilization lives, in fact.

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But Amazon now wants to charge the author for any giveaways they wish to do through Goodreads, and not a few pennies: $119 for regular and $559 for “premium” placement.

I’ve been writing seriously for over a decade. No one paid me an hourly wage for that first novel, nor the second, not even the third. If they had, at U.S. minimum wage I would have a $50,000+ check in my bank for each project. Common thought by the reader is that once the book is sold, the publisher’s advance makes that up. Maybe if your name is Dan Brown, or Isabel Allende, or even a nouveau named, Gillian Flynn. Otherwise, a lottery ticket carries the same chance at garnering income from writing.

Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on Unsplash

The majority of traditionally published authors receive no marketing for their work, no advances that pay for their time beyond what the average person Sierra Leone sees (where workers expect $0.03/hour). So why DOES anyone write. Well, see this on that: The Why of Writing

I love writing. It’s my addiction. Painful at times, I’ve experienced some of the lowest lows of my life related to the craft (i.e. rejection, and that oft-used question mark after the notion of self-worth), but Everest-sized highs, as well.

In the end, you, Mr. Bezos have become just another dealer of this drug called writing. Writers are hooked. You know we hang by our fingertips, reaching for the calm of that keyboard. And like any dependency, it’s expensive in so many ways. Friends and family don’t understand our isolation; the “do not disturb” sign on our office doorknob at all hours of the day; our memory drain because our minds are on the story and not on them; our inability to join a lunch or an outing because of “work.” What work? We don’t have a real job, right?

Shall I go on?

In the end, why is this Goodreads give-away business important to keep affordable for the author? Who needs it?

You, Mr. Bezos.

Ask any Indie bookstore, the businesses who are in it for their passion for books and authors (only love would prompt them to continue their shove against the broad shoulders of Amazon): Every book given away promotes an author, broadens the reader base, and SELLS more books. A concept you obviously understand well.

Jeff, please come back to earth from your lofty pile of coins, join the real world, and promote those who BEGAN your journey into the Gilded Empire:


Photo by Parker Byrd on Unsplash

Take the survey: How do YOU feel about the “Price of Giveaway?”