Amazon’s Tampering With Castalia House Is A Lesson In Anti-Fragility

For content creators, we rely on platforms. This blog is hosted. Amazon sells books. Indiegogo crowdfunds. Patreon provides a stable source. Youtube provides video advertising and discussion. Twitter provides interaction with fans.

It’s a necessary part of the game if one wants to have a full career where one is actually getting their content out to the consumers.

What occurred yesterday when Amazon took down all of Castalia House’s ebooks was not only a travesty for free speech, as it’s clear they were politically targeted, but also a frightening reality for content creators — you can have one of your platforms ripped away from you at any time.

When Vox spoke with Katrina and me on the lunch stream yesterday, one of the things that struck me is his saying “you’ll notice I’m calm about it.” I definitely did notice it, but the question is why? I’d be in a panic if I were in his situation.

It’s because he took precautions to set up other distribution outlets in the event of this occurring.

What happened when Amazon pulled the books is CH got a massive SPIKE in sales on their proprietary store, where all the books are not only listed — but in higher quality formats than is offered by Amazon.

The lesson is to have things set up in a way where death on one platform will not kill you.

Whereas I’m fairly reliant on Amazon for my books, I spread my business along a lot of different platforms. I mentioned most of them above, and it’s intentional so in case one of these big tech monopoly decides to mess with Your Favorite Hispanic Author (me), there will be options and alternatives.

I like Patreon because it has a nice tiered content delivery system which makes it easy and it accepts PayPal, which is big. It provides me a decent monthly base every month in which I can rely on to pay for a portion of my editing, art production costs, and do some extra things like make maps for my worlds and commission character sketches.

I like IndieGoGo because I can crowdfund projects like comics and cover my big art costs.

I like Amazon because I sell a lot of books there.

But at the end of the day, only really Amazon would hurt me if they were unfairly ripped away from me. The others I am aware of alternatives and have back ups planned. They’re not as slick as the main sites in terms of how they work, but I’d be able to recover and mobilize quickly to enable them.

And that’s important. Castalia House has taught us that it can be a matter of time before one of these platforms changes, stops being useful for sales, any number of things can happen. I have seen amazon change their kindle unlimited from a money making machine for authors, to when they cut royalty rates, to pittance compared to what people used to get. They can do the same with ebook royalties. What will you do as an author then?

I try to exist on as many platforms as possible. For marketing, it gives people a much higher chance to find me. For anti-fragility, not relying on one platform is crucial for survival.

Right now my hit award winning steampunk novel, For Steam And Country is on sale for 99 cents. Sales have gone through the roof. Have you tried it yet? Grab it at a very low cost before the sale ends!

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