My Love/Hate Relationship with Amazon

As a self-published author, one of the most frequent questions I get is, "Are your books on Amazon?" While some other questions like, "Is it an audiobook?" or, "Can I buy it at my local Barnes and Noble?" are increasing in frequency, the basic fact of the matter is that Amazon rules the online retail platform. Look, I get that people want to get free shipping on a copy of my book and I can't offer that via any other sales avenue. I understand there's an amount of trust that goes into buying books on Amazon. After all, that's how they got their start: selling books. Unfortunately, because Amazon is the ubiquitous place to buy practically everything, some people won't bother to head to other retailers or online sites to buy a book by a self-published author. For those independent authors who only want to do print-on-demand (POD) paperbacks and/or Kindle eBooks, this is great! I'll admit that I can purchase relatively...
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What to avoid when asking for reviews

For almost a year now, I’ve been writing reviews of books and posting my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. At first, I began doing this because I started signing up for giveaways on Goodreads. My plan was to read the books, review them, then use them as prizes for the participants of National Novel Writing Month in my region. When I realized it was also easy web content for my website, I dove wholeheartedly into these reviews. After all, I had been writing movie reviews for many years, so 300+ words on a book I just read shouldn’t be too difficult. What I did not expect was that soon people would be contacting me to review their books. When I received my first request to review a book, I was flattered that someone had found my review on Amazon and decided that they liked my review enough to send me their book to review as well. However, I soon realized what...
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