Stop Freaking Out

I’ve been involved in self-publishing for a few years now, and one of the things I see a lot in this business is what I like to call FREAKING OUT. Whether it’s about sales, lack of sales, reviews, lack of reviews, low reviews, or a random affront, it seems like writers are always freaking out about something.

That’s cool. I understand freaking out, being stressed, and reacting to it. It happens.

But what I don’t understand is the wild jumps to conclusions and the idea that everything is a personal attack bent on destroying you.

By and large large companies like Amazon are not out to get you. They are out to make money. They aren’t going to go out of their way to personally hurt OR help you. They want your books to sell so they can make money. That’s it. They aren’t a sinister, evil empire trying to hold you down. They aren’t cheating you at every turn. They are trying to sell as many books as they can with as little muss and fuss as possible.

Writers seem to think that maintaining copies of millions of books, web pages for them, and stats is a piece of cake, and that recalculating reports should just take a minute or so. That is not how it works. The amount of data processing required is immense.

Writers seem to think that selling eBooks anywhere in the world should cost the same because the internet is everywhere. That is also not how it works. Different countries have different taxes, fees, and laws. And those differences affect the bottom line.

Big companies processing millions of items every day have glitches, delays, and crashes. That’s just part of doing business. If a report is delayed or something isn’t right, that doesn’t automatically mean THEY ARE OUT TO GET YOU! It is much more likely that there was a system problem and they are working to get it sorted out. Contact them and work to get it resolved. Freaking out and playing the conspiracy card is not going to help you.

Writers seem to think that sales should immediately show up in reports. How hard can it be? they ask. Well, I’m a computer guy, and I know how hard it can be to update reports for millions of items multiple times a day. Report systems are always going to take second place behind sales systems. It’s far more important to be able to sell things than it is to be able to provide realtime stats on sales to authors. In traditional publishing authors would have to wait MONTHS for sales numbers. Not days. Not hours. Months.

So, before you go ballistic about something that absolutely, positively occurred just to spite you, think about the more logical conclusion: something probably went wrong, a job crashed, a report didn’t run, a server rebooted,…. Contact the company and ask politely. Find out what really happened. Don’t just break out your air horn and make a fool of yourself.

And remember that you are living in luxury. You can publish a book and have it go live in a few hours. It used to take years. You can see sales reports daily. It used to take months. You can upload fixes daily. It used to take months and cost a lot of money.

Don’t look a gift horse in the ass. And don’t be one.

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