Stingy Bastards—An Author’s Gripe

Hello Everyone. It’s been a while since I’ve done a blog post (lazy me) but today I’ve been incited into doing one by an ungenerous, some would say stingy, reader.

I’m not sure if it’s the same for all authors, but when I log into KDP (Amazon) to check my sales figures (every day, more than once, and no, that doesn’t make me weird) I’m always a happy squirrel when I see the number increase, even if it is only by one. Each sale is another time my book is going to be read, and I find it most exciting (if you gauge from that, that I live a generally boring life, you’re probably right ;)).

Well, today I logged on as soon as I woke up (stop laughing). I was sooooo happy to see that I had sold 1 copy of my book of short stories, Dark Spaces. This was the only copy of that particular book that I’ve sold all month, so it was extra exciting. Imagine my horror when, this afternoon, I logged in again and it had been returned. What the hell? Who would do this? It’s only $2.99 for goodness sake, and not only that, it has only 4 and 5 star reviews and has been edited and proofread so it’s a good product (there’s no accounting for dodgy taste but that’s another topic…). The book is only 10,000 words so is a quick read and therefore, a target for the Amazon returns policy which states that a customer can return an e-book within 7 days of purchase.

My summation is (and I could be wrong, but I doubt it) that the person read it and returned it for no other reason than wanting their $2.99 back. They can’t have returned it for lack of quality, and since you can read a sample, they knew what they were getting. Do they think I sit on my pile of gold and jewels cackling crazy laughter all day as I rub my hands together and stare at my KDP figures to see that I’ve sold 50,000 copies today? No wonder we writers can safely wear the tag “Starving writer”.

I can understand if someone accidentally clicked on ‘buy me’ or it was a present they didn’t want, but for all of you who can afford to buy e-books and return them because you’re a stingy bastard (I can hear the dismay at my strong language from here, but I think it’s time I said what I, and many other authors, think) you are not nice and are taking money, albeit a small amount of money, from a person that has worked hard to produce something that would take you more than ten minutes to read, when you will probably go out and buy a coffee that costs more and takes five minutes to drink.

I work a day job to pay my bills, and writing is a passion that must be part time. Don’t assume the authors you are buying from are any richer than you, because we are probably not. Any joy I felt at seeing that sale this morning has quickly evaporated. I’d like to ask all those stingy bastards out there to please reconsider before fleecing an author—how would you like to go to work and when it’s time to be paid, the boss waves the money in front of your face then puts it back in his pocket?

For the record, there are many, many readers who don’t return books and I salute you and thank you for your support. You good guys rock!

Ok rant over. Normal services will resume with next blog post :).