“There is a crack in everything;
That’s how the light gets in.”
Leonard Cohen, Anthem
I was pleased to announce my latest publication yesterday, The Big Splash, a novella by my alter ego Kit Marlowe. It’s a bit ironic that this breezy, madcap adventure has run into a bit of a limbo problem. While you can get it in a variety of formats (including a Kindle-ready mobi) at Smashwords (go on, go get it) it’s not showing up on Amazon yet due to a glitch.
This is a problem.
While Smashwords is great (and you can buy the same files you would get from other sites for the same price) most people go to Amazon. It’s not a monopoly; it’s the thing next door to it though. You can Google a bunch of opinions about why Amazon does what it does and seeks to completely control the means of distribution for just about every purchase, but I’ll let you get on with that yourself.
There’ll be a quiz later.
So my publisher tears out her hair and reloads the file for the umpteenth time only to have it once more disappear into a digital crack that none of the publishing team at Amazon seem to be able to find. Load: disappear: reload.
You can’t phone up customer service. She’s emailed back and forth, gone to the discussion forums to see if someone else has had similar issues. On and on and on — she’s understandably frustrated about this particular issue, but considering the stepped up publishing schedule on track for this year, the problems of the model are abundantly clear.
Amazon is great as long as you don’t have a problem. But when you do, it can be difficult to sort it out. And frustrating. Any writer who has received one star reviews because a customer couldn’t work out a technical issue or some other unrelated issue knows the irritation and the helplessness against the monolith.
So, doubtless I’m losing sales. Fortunately, I’m in it for the long haul, so little disappointments have to be taken in stride. But it’s not the first time I’ve had misgivings about the monolith (though I’m a part of it, too).
Can we do anything about Amazon? Or is it already too late?
Our little executive toddler is feeling poorly: Mark is off watching over her while her mum is down with a bug. May everyone get well quickly.