Fun, Amazing, Etc.

This is the official blog of indie author / adventure writer Andy R. Bunch, author of the fantasy book, "Suffering Rancor." As always, I'll post funny or amazing things I find in my travels or from poking around online. This is a great place to kick back and relax a bit. You may note that I’m not too clean or too dirty. For more information on my book, go to Here are links to first two books and

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Amazon Breakthrough Awards

There's been a lot of controversy among my Indie friends about the Amazon Breakthrough awards. In addition to the points I make below, publishing with an amazon ISBN would tell the Indie bookstores not to stock you. They hate amazon.

I don't think there's any "one way" that's "likely to work." As more information about publishing comes to light I become more and more grateful I chose the path I did, and more aware of the places I could have made better strategic decisions. 

What I mean is this. Anyone who makes it to a place where writing is their sole income (and that income is a living wage) is a statistical outlier. Interview 1,000 of them (or should I say all 1,000 of them), and you'll doubtless get 1,000 unique paths to success. Probably most took some variation of plan A or plan B. But my point remains. I can't tell you that the breakthrough award won't work for someone. 

Every writer must be free to choose the strategy they feel best about, and every writer will undoubtedly have to adapt as they go. Both Luck and Skill will always play a factor, but so will training and hard work. 

I don't think anyone in NIWA would say, it's wrong to try for the Breakthrough award. At least not in the way we'd say don't pay someone $1,000 to format your book, or don't sign a contract without reading it. We might lobby for or against it, but it's a strategy you might choose. I think the key is to do it with eyes wide open. Have a reason and know what you're giving up to get what you're after. 

The same goes for pursuing success through traditional publishing. As long as you're prepared for them to maybe not publish your book for 2 to 4 years, probably not actively promote it, give you a tiny royalty share, throttle your release of titles to one a year, hold onto the rights to your characters etc. for years even when they let the book go out of print, and black ball you if you don't sell like gangbusters in the first 8 weeks--gasp for air--it's not WRONG to want to have a hybrid career in the hopes that it will lend you the perception of credibility in the eyes of the consumer. 

I truly believe that Indie success will take more effort, but have less risk and earn more money. But that doesn't make it the right choice for everyone. I think the big controversy with the breakout award is this...

Contracts are always written to favor the entity who's proposing the contract. Writer's need to read them carefully or hire an attorney or find an agent. By targeting "breakthrough" novels amazon could be seen as courting inexperienced authors who are less likely to spot some issues in that contract. That's assuming they let you read it before deciding to enter the contest, which I'm hearing that they don't. Also they are making noise to the effect that they won't allow negotiations. That essentially says, hey this favors us--take it or leave it. 

So first off, if all those things might be true than weigh that before signing. 2nd the passion a lot of NIWA folks show in their reply on this forum is likely that some writers seek the validation of winning $50K or getting a traditional contract, etc. If that were someone's motive, how likely are they to think twice before signing a contract like this. You're not making a decision to maximize profits you're making a decision to gain legitimacy. 

At it's core, the breakthrough novel award could simply be a strategic decision, but certain aspects of it do also smell predatory. 

Andy's Axiom #1 If you write a quality novel, one that could become commercially successful with only your marketing knowledge and effort, at some point you'll meet someone willing to help you make them a fortune on it.  

That's why I'm an Indie!

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