Amazon’s Merger with Createspace is a Disaster

Author’s note: I never excelled in math, so if I fuck up here, feel free to correct me. I won’t get angry. In this instance, I’d adore it if I was wrong. Furthermore, if you don’t give a fuck about publishing-industry news, you can skip this post. If you’re wondering what I’m going to be talking about, here’s the tl;dr:

Amazon is a bag of flaming dicks aimed at a prolapsed colon. Disaster imminent.

Last month I ran a little experiment. I dropped my novel BAY’S END down to the lowest I could set the price, which was $9.65 in the Amazon Marketplace. In case you don’t know, Kindle Direct Publishing only allows you to sell your books above a certain price so that they (and you, admittedly) still make something. This left me with a profit of $1.83 per book, and literally a penny ($0.01) if someone ordered through expanded distribution (Barnes & Noble, their local library, so forth). I then went over and ordered my book from Amazon as a customer, using Amazon Prime two-day shipping as my delivery method. The book arrived three days later because it took them a day to print/ready the book for shipment. Cool, cool. Onward.

Now, you’re supposed to be able to buy your books at a discount through KDP, where you’re only paying Amazon to print and ship, and you make nothing off the transaction. For reference, my cost per book for BAY’S END is $5.65 per, which will be important in 3…2…1:

I then ordered what’s called an “author’s copy” and paid the $5.65 plus $3.88 for shipping. The printing alone took two weeks, and then the book arrived five days later, which is a business week itself. Wow… Okay then.

Let’s recap with some math, shall we?

$9.65 – $1.83 = $7.82

If I’m to show my work, that’s the cost of my book, shipped to me free two-day shipping because I’m a Prime member, minus the royalty I eventually get for ordering my own book through Amazon Marketplace and not KDP. That’s a total cost to me (eventually, given the royalty reimbursement) of $7.65, and I get the book in a total of three days because it takes a day for them to actually print/ship the book.

Now, what happens if we do the math on the “cheaper/discounted” author copies?

$5.65 + $3.88 = $9.53

In this case, the “author copy” cost me $1.71 more…

Again, if I show my work, that’s the cost of the book, plus shipping, AND the book takes two weeks to print, plus another week to get to me because it’s coming USPS first-class mail. And in case you’re wondering, no, you cannot use Prime to order author copies.

I don’t think I have to add anything to that. It’s ridiculous. It makes zero sense. Absolutely inept fuckery on Amazon’s part.

Sorry for the business/industry post, but I’m legitimately pissed and confused. I save almost two dollars per book by circumventing the author copy nonsense, AND this method also affects ranking, because you’re buying copies from Amazon Marketplace and not KDP. So not only are you having to jump through hoops, but it can also been seen as you gaming the system to raise your ranking by ordering your own books, when all you’re trying to do is save money ordering copies of YOUR OWN BOOK.

I’m done. This is stupid. The Createspace merger is a clusterfuck, and I honestly have no idea if they’ll ever fix it, because no matter what, Amazon makes their money.

Take care of each other,

E.

 

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Neo-Levels of Bullet Dodging

We dodged a bullet yesterday. Actually we dodged a tornado, but it felt like we were under fire. While we did have a tree down, we have no structural damage. The tree landed on my office, but I had that joker built to storm-shelter specifics, so the tree is just sitting on the roof. If you look closely in the bottom right hand corner you can see my walker. Yes, it’s back to the walker because I also fell and cracked my head open last week, so yay, me, right?

tree on office

Third month of the year and I have dealt with the Septic Tank Apocalypse, the massive fuckery and fuckup that is Amazon’s merger with Createspace, and now a close-call with Mother Nature. I think it’s easy to say it’s been a bad year for me, but I’m trying to remain positive. Years ago, I would have melted down after one of these events. Not now, though. And part of that is due to the amazing support of the community on Twitter, Patreon, and YouTube. Many thanks, folks.

I wanna talk about this Createspace fuckery a little more because I truly cannot believe how bad it is. Forget the shipping delays and price increase. How about this: I submitted the paperback version of EVERYTHING IS HORRIBLE NOW three weeks ago and they denied it saying the final size of the cover should be 11.27”. I’d submitted 11.26” based on an old Createspace template. Oops. No harm, no foul. So I upload one for 11.27” and…they denied it again. This time they said it should be 11.26”. What the fuck? Anyway, so I revert to the first size, and guess what? They sent another denial stating it should be 11.27”. No one is willing to help at Amazon, either. They all say, “The book must meet the required dimensions.” Or in Amazonian, “Fuck off, pleb.”

At this point I’m tearing my hair out. I’m unbelievably close to nuking everything I have on Amazon and taking my books elsewhere, or only selling them through my website. Would that hurt my income? Of course, but this name isn’t my only source of writerly income anyway, plus there’s the YouTube ad money, so I’d be fine. The only issue is, that decision would alienate new fans and I hate the thought of that. But they’re being alienating anyway. It’s daily I’m asked when the paperback version of EVERYTHING IS HORRIBLE NOW is coming out and every day I have to offer up the excuse that I’m at the mercy of the Great and Mighty ‘Zon.

At the moment I’m trying to alleviate stressors, so I’m staying away from social media even more than I was before. I’m cutting my hour-a-day down to thirty minutes and focusing on preparing the CRUELTY AND JOY chapbook series for Patreon.

By the way, if you haven’t signed up for that yet, the deadline is March 31. Just an FYI, I won’t be publishing anything under this name for the next five years anywhere other than Patreon. I don’t use Patreon to pay bills. 100% of the money raised on that site goes right back to the Patrons in the form of free paperbacks and chapbooks. I also use the money to source editing and cover art, like the fantastic cover for CRUELTY AND JOY that A Stranger Dream created for the serial. Just amazing work, and absolutely perfect. That’s pictured below. If you click on the cover art, it’ll take you to Patreon, where you can sign up.

c&j 1

And finally, I haven’t read much of shit this week. We started the absolutely massive HOUSE OF LEAVES buddy read on March first and I just got through the introduction last night. Chelle and I have put pause to THE HUNGER because it turned into a romance, and neither of us enjoy the genre, so I’m not sure we’ll ever finish it. I started reading HOUSE OF LEAVES to her and so far we’re both enjoying it.

I think I’ve gone on long enough for today. How have y’all been? Lemme know in the comments below. Thanks again for all the support and well-wishes on Twitter in lieu of the storm. You guys are awesome.

E.

Important videos of the week:

 

 

 

NO HOME FOR BOYS Pre-order!

NO HOME FOR BOYS will not be getting a wide release thanks to Amazon fuckery, so the only way you’ll be able to get a copy of the paperback is to a) be a Patreon supporter of mine, or b) pre-order one directly from me. NO HOME FOR BOYS is the final book in my All Things Lead to the End series, and ties directly into the world of CRUELTY, and CRUELTY & JOY.

I have two pre-orders for signed paperbacks that just went live. If you’re a Patreon supporter, you’re getting NO HOME FOR BOYS for free at the end of March, and you can add PENNIES FOR THE DAMNED to your order for $15. Everyone else can order one or both of the books below. US only for right now, please.

no home for boys pb 2019 (1)

NO HOME FOR BOYS: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=9MVPYCYM5KYML

pennies for the damned ebook 2019

PENNIES FOR THE DAMNED: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=RZYD7B9TGSKBL

Or you can order both of them and save $5: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=G5S9XCW4T67F2

Thanks for the support!

E.

 

Dean Koontz and the Shitty Update

Last post of February and, man, will I be glad to flush away this month. Quick update on the bathroom situation I spoke about in last week’s blog: some of the shit got under the linoleum in the bathroom and hallway, so I had the flooring replaced. The guys who came did a fantastic job. Their boss was a douche, though. The guy showed about fifteen minutes before his crew and told me, “I had to hire Mexicans, so you might wanna hide your jewelry.” In case you don’t know, I live in the south, so this is par for the course. Dude had a set of balls on him, though, because he’d met my wife and he still said that shit. (In case you don’t know, my wife’s black.) I shook my head and walked away, leaving him to his measurements. I know some of you will ask why I didn’t fire him on the spot, and the answer is simple: had I told him to leave, his crew wouldn’t have been paid for the day.

Anyfuck, here’s the before and after.

shit floor.jpgclean floor.jpg

 

They had to remove the toilet to lay the new linoleum. The smell when they lifted the toilet…motherfuck, that was nasty as hell.

Completely off topic, someone just emailed me (literally just checked my mail while I was writing this and found her message) and sent photos of her high school yearbook. Seems she had Dean Koontz as a teacher. Here’s the photo she sent:

IMG_0916.jpg

That’s wild. He looks so young and talented, absolutely nothing like himself!

I’ll stop.

Thanks for the pic, Babette.

Other than the flooring situation, I’ve had a fantastic week. Thank you to everyone who sent words of support and tales of solidarity. Made a rough situation a little more sufferable. I’m just glad my bathroom no longer smells like an outhouse. My poor daughter (Autumn) kept going to my mother’s house to use the bathroom because every time she used ours she got sick to the point of vomiting. I’m happy to report back that she can now use her own bathroom without her meals returning.

I DNF’d three books this week. Couldn’t get into a single one of them. One of those was written by an acquaintance of mine, so I won’t be mentioning it here. It wasn’t bad, it’s just not my thing. Doubt I’ll even return to it, but I’d try something else from them in a heartbeat. The other two were MR. SPLITFOOT, by Samantha Hunt, and ZOMBIE, by Joyce Carol Oates. I will retry MR. SPLITFOOT when I’m in the mood for dense writing, but I’ll be donating the Oates book. I’ve tried reading it six times and I’ve finally learned my lesson. The  book is written in an experimental style, where some sentences start with ampersands (these things &) and to be honest it fucking annoys me. Do y’all have any pet peeves like that? Any formatting or usage you can’t stand? I know some people hate italics. I have no idea why, and it doesn’t really matter, because I have plenty of things that irk me that might otherwise seem like a nothing-burger to someone else.

I finally picked BROKEN MONSTERS, by Lauren Beukes, off the shelf. I loved THE SHINING GIRLS but I’d forgotten just how good her writing is. Anyway, I’m enjoying the mess out of it right now. I’m still reading THE HUNGER to Chelle, and we’re liking it, but it has to go back to the library before the end of the month and there’s no way we’ll be done by then. I’ll likely go ahead and buy it so we can finish. It’s not something I foresee myself rereading but it’s a solid four stars right now.

Does that mean I haven’t finished a single book this week? Yes, yes it does. It sucks, but sometimes life gets in the way. Having your bathtub fill to overflowing with shit definitely deserves all of your attention. Meaning, it’s not something one can overlook for long, ya mean? Instead of reading, I’ve been speedrunning Resident Evil 2. I’m currently stuck on the Playthrough A’s final Birkin battle. It sucks, but I have faith I’ll beat him within the week.

How y’all been? Lemme know in the comments below.

E.

Ain’t This Some Shit?

Holy shit what a couple of days it’s been. If for no other reason I’m writing this blog to organize my thoughts. Second goal is to have a written documentation of the events that unfolded on Valentine’s Day, 2019. Thirdly, I want something I can point to when someone asks, “Where have you been the last few days?” I’ve been through the shit, both literally and figuratively. Lastly, I wanna make myself feel better, because this shit has me in a black mood. So let’s talk it out.

Thursday, V-Day, I used the bathroom, as one is wont to do upon first waking, and as one also does, I flushed the toilet. There came from the pipes a burbling, then a bubbling, and finally a great rumbling, like the bellyache of a buried god. Needless to say, I got the fuck out of the bathroom, hollering for my wife, as any strong, independent man will do. Chelle hollered her usual, “What, fool?” (Gregor, if you’re reading this, you’ll know she didn’t call me “fool”.) About the time she said “Fool” there was a sound like someone was trying to talk under water. That sound would persist for almost an hour.

At the end of this hour, the bathtub had filled with shit. Literal shit. Feces. The human variety. Threaded through this mass of anal leavings was veins of undissolved toilet tissue, like the caramel swirl in Moose Tracks. I thought toilet tissue decomposed in a septic tank. Seems it takes longer than I imagined, because what I imagined was instantaneous. Yeah, not so much.

The bathtub effluvium escape didn’t stop there. The speaking-under-water sound had stopped, but the shit just kept right on coming. It overflowed the edge of the tub, splashed down on the step (we have a garden tub, peeps; that’s how much shit there was), and proceeded to cover the bathroom floor. This was the master bathroom, so the carpet in the bedroom I share with Chelle was ruined. A good three feet had to be cut away. It now resides in our trash can, which is stationed at the curb because it smells just heavenly; I mean holy shit.

This all happened over the course of an hour and a half, total. That’s when the near-constant onslaught of sewage stopped pumping from the tub drain, at any rate. What started as a simple bubbling turned into about $1,500 worth of damages. The carpet in my room will need to be replaced because there’s no way we’re gonna find a remnant that even remotely matches the seventies-era bullshit that once was, and the emergency shit truck cost another $600. Why so much you ask? Well, it was Valentine’s Day, which I’m only assuming is a federal holiday in the world of shit removal, because everyone I called said it would be Monday, at the earliest, before they could get here.

Fuck that noise. I continued to call, extended my search to the next town over, then finally two towns over, in glorious Deatsville, where a gentleman named Bruce, a septuagenarian who’s been pumping poo his entire life, was on call for emergency dookie dispatch. Bruce came to our rescue for double the going rate, which was $300*2. Good guy, even if he was ridiculously expensive. He pumped our pooper and told us a gleeful tale of how ours was the third worst case he’s ever seen. Honestly, to the two that beat us, I’m sending you my sincerest condolences. If yours was truly worse than ours, you have my sympathies to the umpteenth degree. Bruce then postulated that there had been a gas build up in our tank that popped when I flushed the john after my post-awakening constitution. The resultant pocket of air caused a reverse suction, much like how you get gasoline out of a car’s gas tank with a length of water hose. And blamo, tub fulla shit. He said he was surprised it didn’t keep going until the tank was empty, but was happy, for our sake, that it didn’t. Me fucking too, Brucey, ya goddamn optimist, you.

Alas we were left with a bedroom, bathroom, and bathtub filled with shit, our own waste come back to visit us like bi-polar in-laws hopped up on crank and tequila. We took a quick jaunt to the nearest Dollar General to buy supplies, returned packing heavy, like a Schwarzenegger movie, plugged in the Shop-Vac, and got to work.

I filled a six-gallon Shop-Vac a dozen times. And that was just the bathtub. Where’d I put all this shit? Right back where it came from. No telling what my water bill is gonna be like, seeing as how I must’ve flushed a hundred times between Thursday evening and Saturday morning. Chelle and I worked in shifts (Shit Shifts, if it pleases ya) until it was done. In between cleaning crap, I played Resident Evil 2, which I’m currently learning how to speedrun, and Chelle spent her off hours playing Borderlands 2 with Chris. Autumn was spared any refuse removal because she’s only thirteen and Chelle and I aren’t goddamn monsters. All in all it took us thirty-two hours of sucking and flushing and scrubbing to clean everything to the point that our house didn’t smell like a Louisiana rest area in August. (If you’ve driven through LA in the summer you know exactly what I’m talking about.)

How glad was Chelle that I got the use of my leg back this month and was able to help her? I don’t think such happiness can be measured by mortal man.

So yeah, I didn’t get any reading done this weekend. Too exhausted. Could I have been reading instead of playing RE2? Sure. Did I want to do anything but kill zombies and other G-virus monstrosities in the quickest possible way? Fuck no. But you wanna know the most impressive thing about this entire situation?

The amount of people on Twitter who, in response to my tweet of “Today is a bath tub fulla shit kinda day. Fuck you, Septic Tank.” had this to say:

“That’s shitty.”

Fuck all y’all.

Seriously, though, if it wasn’t for you, this would’ve been an unmanageable disaster: physically, mentally, and monetarily. The only reason I had the $1,500 to take care of this mess is because all of you show me so much support by buying my books, watching the YouTube content, and pledging on Patreon. I’m lucky enough to support a family of five (my mother included, now) solely on the income from my creative endeavors. That amazes me. You guys really saved our asses. I’m a lucky guy to have such a wonderfully supportive community, even if you do have the shittiest sense of humor.

deuces and smooches

E.

 

WALK THIS WAY!

This week marks the first week I’m back walking. Yes, you read that right. I’M WALKING! Ever since Friday, my son and I have been walking down to the end of the driveway and back, about 50 yards round trip. I haven’t had to use my walker, either. These walks are completely unaided, which is the first time I’ve been able to do so since my fall several months back.

And my doctor said I’d never walk again. Guess I showed him, eh?

Man, I’m happy. I’m looking forward to bumping up the distance slowly but surely until I’m back to walking two or three miles a day. I miss my walks. Chris, my son, has been my little cheerleader, so I plan to continue taking him with me instead of listening to audiobooks like I used to do. It’ll give us more time to bond, which is always a good thing. He’ll be seven this April, and it’s about time we started going more in depth about how to treat women, and all that good stuff.

I finished THE WINTER PEOPLE, by Jennifer McMahon, but that’s all I finished this week. I’m almost done with my secret project. It’s going exceedingly well. I’m actually not enjoying the book (the secret project) but what I was able to connect to the Dark Tower and the King-verse overall definitely made this read a success. I hope to get to THE GROWNUP, by Gillian Flynn, this week, but we’ll see. Chelle and I are reading THE HUNGER, by Alma Katsu, or I should say, I’m reading the book to her, about twenty pages a night, like we did with INFINITE JEST (David Foster Wallace) last year. I love reading to her. It’s one of my favorite pastimes, and it helps give us more time together without the kids in our hair.

Today on Twitter and Patreon I announced the All Things Lead to the End omnibus to some confusion, so I wanted to repeat it here. I will no longer be publishing independently, meaning if I can’t find a publisher for my new books, they won’t be released anywhere aside from Patreon in serialized format. Orders and pre-orders that have already been placed will continue to ship as per usual.

The big news is that NO HOME FOR BOYS will not be getting a standalone ebook or paperback relead unless you’re a Patreon supporter, or you buy the paperback directly from me. The only digital release the book will get is inside the All Things Lead to the End omnibus, due out sometime in June (Patreon supporters get it in March). The omnibus will not be getting a print release due to it’s size (556,000 words, 962 pages). The omnibus includes the complete Bay’s End storyline, consisting of every novel, novella, and short story set in the fictional small town of Bay’s End that is canon to the All Things Lead to the End sequence of events. The list of works included is as follows:

BAY’S END

FOG WARNING

THE SOUND OF BROKEN RIBS

THE BEDDING OF BOYS

EVERYTHING IS HORRIBLE NOW

“Cinder Block”

“There Were Other Versions of Us”

NO HOME FOR BOYS

CRUELTY

An Excerpt of CRUELTY & JOY

And that’s everything. Patreon got the cover reveal of All Things Lead to the End today, and you guys will get it next week. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Even if you don’t have questions, lemme know what you’re currently reading, or start a completely different discussion.

See y’all next Monday!

E.

 

My favorite videos this week:

Please Let This End Soon

We’re into the second month of the year and I’m mentally exhausted. The release of EVERYTHING IS HORRIBLE NOW has been one disaster after another: what with design issues, shipping problems, missed orders, and multiple other fuckeries, both with the limited edition and the independent version.

If these many problems happened in such rapid succession to anyone else, I wouldn’t believe it. I’m honestly considering writing a nonfiction novella (maybe even a novel by the time this experience is in my rear-view) called EVERYTHING IS (REALLY) HORRIBLE NOW, but as previously stated, I don’t expect anyone would believe the chain of events. Suffice it to say, me and everyone involved with this project will be glad to have this book behind us.

And I still have the release of NO HOME FOR BOYS to look forward to in June…so yay…

Had this kinda thing happened to me last year, or any other year previous to 2018, I would’ve lost my shit and dug myself a hole to hide in. I’d be vague-posting and shit-stirring on social media in an attempt to take my mind off the bigger issues, which in turn would’ve caused more issues, and the cycle would have perpetuated. This time, though, I’m pretty chill. Tired, but chill, if you can dig it. I face every issue as it surfaces and because of that I’ve been able to maintain an even keel. This needs to end, though. And soon.

On top of all that, the fasting either isn’t working or I’d gained so much since my last visit that, if I did lose weight, it isn’t showing on the scales yet, because I’ve gained four pounds. I didn’t start this fasting business until January of this year, and hadn’t seen my doctor since October,so it’s very possible I simply gained a buttload of weight over the holidays. And no, I’m not working out, so it’s not a matter of new muscle weighing more than old fat. But, hey, even if the fasting isn’t working, at least my grocery bill is smaller.

I know I sound defeated but I’m truly not. I’m even smiling as I type this because I’m still in a good headspace. Especially since I’ve been dealing with and fixing the issues to the best of my ability, which happens to be sufficient. Who woulda thought? Also, I finally have a baseline set, so if I continue to gain weight, I’ll be able to tell when my next doctor’s appointment comes around in May. So all is not lost. At least not in my mind.

One more thing: after the last blog post my Patreon supporters damn near doubled in size, so thanks for that, you sexy so-and-sos. Really looking forward to sharing CRUELTY AND JOY with y’all.

I finished WALLFLOWER (Chad Lutzke) and THINNER (Stephen King writing as Richard Bachman) last week and loved both. WALLFLOWER hit some triggers of mine, but I managed to get through it with only a mild cause of crawling skin. This fourth readthrough of THINNER was my best experience with the book yet, and the first time I’ve ever walked away from it with a positive opinion. Hated it the last three times. Still trying to understand what changed in my life to make me appreciate it nowadays.

Finally, the rollercoaster that is Stephen King fandom reared its ugly head when his new novel, THE INSTITUTE, was announced last Thursday. I was stoked until I saw the cover reveal and read the excerpt on Friday. Looks like we’re getting YA King, and the last thing the world needs is YA King. But we’ll see. I wasn’t expecting to love THE OUTSIDER as much as I did, and now it’s in my top five. I’m apt to say that  I’ll likely love it based solely on the fact that it is not ELEVATION.

How are y’all doing? What’re you reading. Let me know below.

E.