Posted by & filed under Publishing and Publishers. 15 comments

As many of you already know, earlier this year my book Skyland Book I: Abominations came to rest quietly on the digital shelves. Now, it needs your help. I need your help. After some… uh… disagreements over distribution in the Smashwords catalogue – which distributes to all the major online ebook retailers – Skyland was published separately to Amazon, which accepts public domain books like mine.

Skyland CoverAmazon is an important place for authors. It’s one of the biggest online marketplaces for books and a recognized and convenient marketplace for readers, reviewers, and vendors alike. One-click shopping, ranking algorithms, and also-bought recommendations give books a much wider reach and a chance to stand out in the chaos and also give readers a good chance of finding things they like. I like Amazon. But I also like my ebooks free.

With Skyland still free on Smashwords, Amazon’s price matching magic should make it free in their catalogue too. However, their magic can be slow. Of course, authors can report lower prices themselves, but this doesn’t always speed things up and sometimes result in the book being removed completely! My hope is that more voices mean more of a response. What brings more weight to the argument is if readers do this as well.

AmazonPriceMatch1So how can you help? Tell Amazon to match the Smashwords price! Here’s how:

1. Go to Skyland‘s page on Amazon.

2. Scroll down Product Details

3. Click on Tell us about a lower price.

4. Input the address of Skyland’s Smashwords page and the price of $0.00

5. Feel good about helping an indie author!


With Skyland Book II fast approaching, I’m eager to resolve all publishing problems. Publishing (at least, doing it well!) sure as hell isn’t easy sometimes – especially when you like to rock the boat. That’s why I’m offering my eternal gratitude to anyone who can take a couple minutes and do this! You can help out with just a few clicks…… 

And if you really want to help this author share this post, tweet it, like it, and as always, share, share, share!

Eternal Thanks.


P.S. For the moment, it’s Skyland that I really want to go free because Book II is on its way, BUT  if you have a few extra minutes and are in need of extra good karma you can let Amazon know that my other titles are free too!

15 Responses to “I Need Your Help: Get Amazon to Free Skyland!”

  1. Gray

    I’ll be honest, I don’t fully understand your insistance on ‘free’, Aelius. Free can be great, and I do get the open source culture and free culture movements, they’re important, but I don’t necessarily think the sole emphasis needs to be on free. For me the most important thing isn’t whether culture is free, but whether it’s accessible (affordability being key), and I think you can do that without giving it away. You’re a fantastic writer with a unique voice and you deserve to eat like anyone else.

    I’m sure you’ve probably weighed it up before, but don’t you potentially hamstring yourself by giving away your work? In a market flooded by choice ‘free’ can sometimes be equated with ‘inferior’, as grossly incorrect as this might be. You run the risk of being overlooked and you shouldn’t be. Another potential problem with ‘free’ is that it feeds into this kind of superficial and transitory cultural consumption, a skim and trash mentality. I see this with my friends and music, for instance. They have hard drives full of music they never listen to. They download an album, give it one run, and discard it because it didn’t ‘grab them immediately’ and there is so much other new and free stuff out there that they don’t feel like they need to ‘waste time’ with something that doesn’t grab them from the get go. The problem here is that the best music (like most art) often doesn’t grab you immediately, it gains texture and depth with time. They’re the albums you’ll be listening to 10 years later. The ones that hook you immediately are often fleeting ear candy, forgotten next week. Stories can be the same, some of the best start slow and ramp up, they take time and an investment to adapt to and assimilate a writer’s style and universe. I guess I just feel like often if people pay for something they are more likely to invest time in engaging with it and your work deserves that.

    Just some thoughts that no doubt you’ve already contemplated. Anyway, on principal I have decided to help you out both in the way you asked, and by buying Skylands off Amazon! You can’t stop me damnit!

    • Travis McCrea

      I don’t think Aelish minds getting paid for her work, it’s the fact that she likes linking to her Amazon account more than the other… and she feels guilty linking them to a page which requires them to pay to get her book when they can go to TUEBL or Smashwords and get it for free. She is an amazing writer who I am enamoured by, but having her first novel go our for free will only bolster the sales and distribution of further books.

      Also the physical book obviously has a cost involved with it… The people who download the ebook should be double charged and many of the people who really love the ebook will buy the physical copy to support the author. Aelish is doing the right thing, but I would encourage you to buy her physical book (from her… AB EDIT: the *special edition* physical book that will be up in a few days :) ) which comes with amazing packaging and a link that will give you an exclusive ebook edition that you can’t get for free (or paid) on Amazon or anywhere else!

      • Anonymous

        Yeah fair points Travis. I think there are definitely some benefits to providing the book for free and it could work to drum up interest. But I dunno, I also feel like she shouldn’t feel guilty about attaching a price to her work. There are downsides to free too, I guess that’s all I’m saying. Fantastic idea providing the ebook for free with the hard copy. You should list that in the Amazon description Aelius!

      • aeliusblythe

        Wow, I go to sleep and miss all the fun here!

        But anyway, yeah, that’s about it actually.
        I don’t really feel guilty about charging for my work – although it does feel disingenuous sending people to Amazon when I know perfectly well that it’s all up for free on Smashwords. But that’s not really it, I don’t actually see anything wrong with selling books. In fact, I hope that one day I will get to a level with my work where selling is no problem at all!

        Right now, free (on my part) is a business decision. And it’s actually a pretty arrogant one at that! Basically, I think I’m good. I honestly believe that if I can get my book in front of people, that they will like it and they will support me, and right now I’m at the getting-it-in-front-of-people stage, and for that I believe Amazon + Free are my best bets.

        For example, with Skyland, for every book I sell, I have about 10 downloaded for free on Smashwords. And yes, you are right, Gray, that, like with your music fan friends, many of those downloaders won’t read the book. Or they’ll glance at it and dump it in the dusty, dark corner of their desktop never to be seen again. But some of them do read it. I occasionally get emails about my stories, reviews and comments on them crop up around the internet every now and again, people mention them in a way that lets me know they read more than the blurb on the back cover….

        It’s slow going, building an audience, and I’m not in a rush. But the business side of me says that if I can translate those free downloads from Smashwords (which most non-writers don’t know of) to Amazon, then I have a better chance of raising my visibility. More visibility = more potential audience = more potential sales from the things that I do put a price tag on. I see the stage that I am at right now (the free stage) as a step towards recognition (and thus sales) rather than the endgame itself.

        • Gray

          Yeah I can understand that strategy and it’s a good one. I sincerely hope you get the following you deserve! I haven’t read Skyland yet, it’s been sitting on my reader for a while now but I have a perpetual backlog of books, so I’m looking forward to getting to it soon. Like the poster below I found you through Stories About Things, which I thought was fantastic. So thanks for the writing, and free or not, keep doing it 😛

          • aeliusblythe

            Thanks for the encouragement! I WILL keep writing no matter what – that’s the best thing about not doing it for the money, I’ll keep writing no matter what. Hope you get around to reading Skyland one day, but even if not, your kind words here are seriously appreciated. :-)

    • aeliusblythe

      But that being said, Gray, I really do appreciate the support and kind words. I do sometimes feel guilty about charging for ebooks, and it is good to reinforce the idea that there’s nothing wrong with doing so.

      (……..after all, I am a pirate… my books can always be found for free somewhere, if you know where to look…………
      😀 )

    • Jaswinder

      Mr. Rennie!I can’t believe after all these years I have sumlbted across my all time favourite teacher from Lakefield! Wow! Congrats on the books. Will definitely have to read them.You’re English classes are still talked about and the passion you inspired us to have for the written word is still there. Thank you for inspiring my educational and life journey and for installing in me a respect for educators who truly care. I can still hear you calling me Macalliffe! every morning!Go Leafs Go!

    • aeliusblythe

      Carrie is great – I LOVE how she helps to spread the word about small time authors and fellow bloggers!

      Glad you liked Stories About Things, thanks for picking it up! Reviews are ALWAYS helpful (yes, even the bad ones!) and always better late than never. :-)

  2. satelliteeyes

    I second pretty much everything Gary said. It’s all fine to make sure that your book is available for free in a lot of places, but it looks to me like you are actively making it difficult for people to give you money and that should never be the case. Even if there are only 5 people who want to give you $1 each, you shouldn’t be saying ‘well, gee, I don’t really want that $5 until it’s $100 or $1000 and coming from more people. Take the damn $5 and buy a sandwich or a beer or new pair of shoes, or whatever you need.

    If someone like Gary, or like Carrie loves your book and wants to pay you for it (try before you buy, I’m for it), how would they do it? I can’t find a Paypal button on your site, you’ve got Skyland posted on Smashwords for free and you’re trying to get Amazon to offer it for free. I know the paperback costs money, but what if someone only wants an eBook but wants to give you money? How would they? You’re leaving money on the table Yeah, right now it’s only $5, but you shouldn’t feel bad about taking it.

    In light of Google shuttering Reader, a friend of mine posted this article about free services. It’s talking about a different industry, but I think it has some bearing.

  3. silvershadowfly

    Ah Aelius, I’m checking in on you again, as I feel it’s been too long! I’ve helped you out by clicking on that link for the UK Amazon page – I hope it helps!
    Also I’m promoting your book on the Inkwell forum’s Twitter account (we have a wordpress webzine now to publish members’ work) and even though we don’t have thousands of followers, we have a good couple hundred (lots of indie authors that can help RT about it). It might not be much, but at least it’s something. :) Congrats on your published titles.

    • aeliusblythe

      Ohh yipppe! (Also, HEY. It’s been a while.) Thanks for the help and the encouragement – it is superwell appreciated! I didn’t know the Inkwell was on Twitter – definitely following now. I regret not being able to participate more in forum life. Sadly, I’ve let almost all of my forum memberships slide! At some point, I took a hard look at my collective internet wordcount, faced up to questions like How is it I can knock out 2000 words a day in writing about writing, but I can’t finish NaNoWriMo?, and forced myself to shift some priorities around. :-(

      Most of my literary socializing and writing about writing now comes in the form of 140 character bursts – which is way more manageable at the moment!

      • silvershadowfly

        Don’t worry, I understand that! I think writing in short bursts of 140 characters is much more manageable and easier on the eyes as well – I’m pretty sure there’s a Twitter book floating around describing those social interactions.
        And no worries on the help either. I’d very much like to read your novel, I love the blurb already and think it’s right up my street. I promise, when I become a taxpayer again and not one of the unlucky unemployed, I will pick up your novel and pay for it, since I reckon that writers should get some money for their hard work, but in the mean time Inkblots Twitter will help promote them. :)



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