Friday, January 20, 2012

Why December Ink might bite it...

(Or be severely limited in the future)

I do not love self publishing. I don't get off on it, or get a rush from it, or feel like I am particularly awesome at it. I do it because I have work I want out there, I wanted to try my hand at it, people buy it and readers seem to love having a vast array of works to choose from.

That may be changing for me and December Ink.

Wednesday night I was just about to go to bed when I received an email from Amazon saying:

During a review of your KDP catalog, we have found that the content of some of the books you have uploaded is freely available on other websites.

...Please reply providing one of the types of information listed below to confirm your rights to distribute each of the following books...

Your entire catalog will be removed from sale on the Kindle Store within one business day until you confirm your rights to distribute these books.

I freaked out. I admit it. The first worry was them cutting all my works (something I shouldn't have bothered to worry about, you'll read why in a moment). The second, more screaming Mimi worry in my head was that someone was using my content. Without my permission. My words. My work. The stuff I spend all day doing and making myself nutso over.

So I responded to Amazon, trying to stay calm, trying to give them my statement and assure them it was mine and give them information that backed that fact up. I responded IMMEDIATELY...within five minutes. Despite the late hour.Link
Then I thought of something else and sent a second email. (Because I am mental and yes, I panicked. I couldn't decide if I was angry or upset or sick. I was all of them.)

Next, I went to Amazon and surprise, surprise...I did not need to worry that they *might* cut my content as stated. They *had* cut my content. Immediately.

All December Ink works still showed: covers, blurbs, ratings etc. But no pricing, and each one said CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE.

I was sick. It was past midnight. I was supposed to be in I did what any sane woman would do, I sent *another* email. (((LOL)))

I slept for shit, as any of you who are writers can imagine. I tossed, turned, fretted and fumed and when I was up not much past six, my content had been restored. But no word from my buddies at Amazon. So to me, the issue was not settled. And wouldn't be until I had it in writing. Which as of this posting, still has not happened. So to me, I feel like at any moment my work might go poof again! Oddly, not so upsetting right now. I'm pissed.

Which brings me to my point. Is it worth it?

For some of he phenoms out there, the ones I read articles about who have self published and earned hundreds of thousands--in some cases millions!--of dollars, it might be. For me, not so much. My concern is the amount of time and bullshit I would have to go through for a fistful of dollars for some of these titles.

Wednesday night (which was actually the wee hours of Thursday morning) I was ready to pull the whole fucking shebang. December Ink? What December Ink? Gone, thank you very much. No need to look twice, it's gone, baby gone.

But there are a few titles that do very well. One of them has gotten a super nice nod in the erotica community from Violet Blue herself.I'm super proud of that book and the authors inside. And honored, let's face it, that they trusted me with their work.

So, my thoughts now turn to bullshit versus payoff. I am thinking that I will be taking a Reaper's scythe to my title list, at least on Amazon, seeing as how they choose to deal with things. (As one reader/twitter bud @CovertAlias said, they should suspend payment not sales. So if you turn out to be in the right instead of the wrong, you are not losing your sales. If you turn out to be a DIRTY STINKING WORD THIEF...*ahem* simply don't get your money).

What I'll be left with will be an enormous amount of previously pubbed orphans. But probably less worry and stress. So, unlike what I'm usually saying to you readers...I guess I'm saying: Keep an eye out for less of me in the coming year. At least the self pubbed part of me. Sigh.

If you have thought or opinions, or God help you, a horror story to share, feel free to do so in the comments section. I encourage you to do so.

p.s. Random Googling of snippets of both titles provided by Amazon as questionable revealed nothing more anywhere that I could find but several excerpts posted on blogs as promotional posts. One on another writer's blog (clearly labeled "By Sommer Marsden) and one on my former blog Smut Girl which is um...TITLED...Smut Girl / Sommer Marsden. @.@


  1. Holy Christ on a bicycle. I would've had a freaking heart attack getting that letter from Amazon. I'm thoroughly angry for you, reading that they pulled your books so easily. And what is it with them not giving you answers? WTF?

    Your self-pub label inspired me to build my own. I know I've talked to you about that in the past. I would be very, very sad to see December Ink go, but I can certainly understand the reasoning (and stress) behind any changes you make to December Ink. I hope you'll continue to self publish, even if not through Amazon. There is always Barnes and Nobles, and Smashwords. Of course, I'm not advising, just hoping to still see you putting your work out there.

    Many hugs. C

  2. Hey Sommer,
    Whatever you choose to do I'm backing you 115%. I hope you hear from Amazon at some point soon...though they like to be fickle with their email replies. Good luck! You've got more than one fan that'll continue to support you no matter what!

  3. It sucks when you have 24 hours to respond. God forbid you were on vacation. One reason I don't use Google+ (they give you 48 hours to respond before killing your account).

    I hope you do keep selling stuff. There are other places that would love you and I doubt screw you over so much (smashwords comes to mind).

  4. Good luck with everything, Sommer. I would love to know what prompted all of this. Amazon is the place I make the bulk of my sales so leaving it would be the end of my miniscule writing career.

  5. Hey, all. Sorry I was sooooo slow to answer. :)

    Cora, I'm on all those places. I think a culling of titles I feel are sort of defunct would make my life a bit easier. But I also think that it will be more severe on Amazon. Less of a chance to have to deal with this b.s. again, ya know?

    Elise, thanks babe! I sure hope so :)

    t'Sade, I know right! I guess 24 hours isn't so horrible though because apparently they cut it all immediately anyway, so the number they slap on there is irrelevant. And I am at Smashwords etc. and will continue to be. At least for the time being.

    Mia, Thanks for the luck. I'll take it. :)


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