English-based Indies who are not American have a harder time in life. New possibilities for publishing come and go for everyone, all the time, but non-U.S. authors deal with continual annoyances that have nothing to do with their writing per se, but their nationality.
If nothing else, one must do more with paperwork, internet bank accounts and so on to be part of the Indie scene (which is dominated by the U.S. in the English-speaking world). But the real disadvantage is that we non-Americans are never in on the ground floor. For example, the Scout program below just came on tap today:
Thanks for your interest in Amazon's new publishing program. We want
you to be the first to know it's called Kindle Scout and we're now open
for submissions in select genres!
Kindle Scout is reader-powered
publishing for new, never-before-published books. It's a place where
readers help decide if a book receives a publishing contract. Selected
books will be published by Kindle Press and receive 5-year renewable
terms, a $1,500 advance, 50% eBook royalty rate, easy rights reversions,
and featured Amazon marketing.
We will be inviting readers to join and nominate books in a couple of weeks. Submit your book today!
This latest effort by Amazon is limited to those with a U.S. bank account and a U.S. tax identification number. (In other words, you have to be American with a U.S. bank account and no, Payoneer and its ilk are not acceptable. Sorry about that.)
I'd been examining the edges of this program and growing increasingly excited. One book, I've kept thinking, could be sacrificed on the altar of lower returns in order to increase readers for my other books. I was more than a little dismayed to learn such a move is currently impossible for non-U.S. authors. I wanted to phone Amazon and say hey, I do have American cousins. And they live in Seattle! (Does that give me an in?)
There is a bright side to being rejected. (I'll bet most of you don't believe me, though.) Back in olden times, when our newspaper chain was switching from hoary linotypes to spanking new computers as a means of producing newspapers, the smaller daily newspapers got the new system first.
The reasoning, I imagine, was that a big screw-up at a small newspaper would be less embarrassing than a big screw-up at a newspaper in metro Toronto or Vancouver.
One Brit noted that she made it a habit to think of the U.S. as a 'testing ground' for Amazon programs. By the time all the kinks were worked out of the Scout program, she said, it would be next introduced in Britain.
While she contends this places the Brits in an enviable position it does nothing for the rest of us. Both the Brits and the Germans already have Kindle Unlimited. Canadians don't even have their own author pages (we're rolled into the U.S. ones.) I suppose I should be grateful I'm Canadian and a stone's throw from the U.S. Due to the vast distances, I think the ones hardest hit in the English-speaking world are the Aussies and New Zealanders. Amazon and everyone else is after urban markets with population concentration since they are the most profitable and cost-effective. Countries contained within relatively small areas that boast large populations are inevitably going to have the advantage in this marketplace.
Nuts. I would ordinarily console myself with the usual Canadian fallback ("well, at least we have health care"), but that's not good enough in a matter of the heart (and writing is a matter of the heart).
Non-U.S. indie authors who write in English have simply got to bite the bullet and accept it: thanks to the Internet, we are all free to publish anywhere, but U.S. authors currently have a definite advantage in selling their stuff.
The one thing that cheers me about the whole situation is the potentially large number of would-be authors who will be 'drawn' off by this new program. And perhaps their reception by readers will be so dismal that some will give up writing altogether. Few authors are stubborn enough to continue when no one likes their stuff. So the program should help clear out a bit of the dead wood.
If you are a non-U.S. author, keep telling yourself that adversity breeds success. I know I focus more strongly on a goal when I figure it's not going to be an easy win. And I always do a better job under those circumstances, too.
Better to be last and best, eh?
Give It Back, my medical horror thriller about organ transplantation goes on sale tomorrow (Sept. 15) in the U.S. You can grab a Kindle edition for 99 cents. Reviews are heavily appreciated, too.