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The Independent Authors Guide to Breaking Free from Amazons Grip on Success

Updated: Nov 30, 2023

Discover the secret strategies independent authors are using to liberate themselves from Amazon's stronghold on their writing careers!

As an independent author, the road to success can often feel like a daunting uphill battle. In recent years, many authors have become heavily reliant on Amazon for book sales, putting their fate in the hands of a single retail giant. However, it's important to remember that success is not defined by retailers, but by the creativity and tenacity of the author themselves. In this guide, we will explore how independent authors can thrive without solely depending on Amazon and take control of their own destiny.

The Amazon KDP Dilemma

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) has undoubtedly revolutionized the self-publishing industry, offering authors worldwide exposure and easy-to-use publishing tools. While this platform has its advantages, it also poses some challenges that independent authors need to be aware of.

One of the major drawbacks of relying solely on Amazon is the issue of exclusivity. By enrolling in Amazon KDP Select, authors are required to grant Amazon exclusive distribution rights to their eBooks. While this can increase visibility within the Amazon ecosystem, it also means sacrificing the ability to distribute and sell your books on other platforms.

In addition, Amazon's pricing and royalty structure can limit an author's control over their work. The platform sets strict price caps and offers a fixed royalty rate. This means that authors have little influence over the pricing and may not receive the royalties they feel their work deserves.

Furthermore, Amazon's promotional opportunities are not always accessible or effective for all authors. The algorithms and rankings can be unpredictable, making it challenging for independent authors to gain the visibility they need to succeed.

Understanding How To Succeed As A Creator

While Amazon can undoubtedly provide a platform for authors to publish their work, true success lies in the hands of the creator. It is crucial for independent authors to focus on honing their craft and building a strong author brand.

Taking time to develop writing skills and produce high-quality content is paramount. Focus on creating engaging and memorable stories that leave a lasting impact on readers. A unique voice and perspective are key to standing out in a saturated market.

Building a strong author brand is equally important. Readers appreciate connecting with authors on a personal level. Engage with your audience through various channels such as social media, author websites, and email marketing. By building a loyal fanbase, you can create a community that supports your work beyond any single retailer.

Amazon Is A Traditional Publisher

It's essential to recognize that Amazon should be approached as a traditional publisher, not just a self-publishing platform. They have criteria and limitations that may restrict an author's creative freedom and hinder innovation.

By accepting Amazon's terms, authors inadvertently give up control over the publishing process. Formatting, cover design, and other aspects of the book may not align with an author's vision or branding. Additionally, Amazon's strict policies can lead to potential title rejections, limiting an author's ability to explore niche genres or experimental ideas.

Instead of considering Amazon as the primary publishing avenue, independent authors should view it as one among various publishing options. Alternative platforms and methods for self-publishing, such as Smashwords, Draft2Digital, or even partnering with hybrid publishers, can offer more flexibility and control over an author's work.

What To Do When Amazon Rejects You

You've penned a remarkable book. It's been through the meticulous stages of editing, page design, and layout proofing. Despite your efforts, Amazon's review process delivers a rejection. The reasons remain elusive, and the boilerplate email responses add little clarity to the situation.

Frankly, the 'why' is inconsequential. Even if you manage to resolve the issue and secure a listing for your book on Amazon, there's no assurance they won't remove it again. It's their platform, and they wield the authority to do as they please.

So, what's the plan?

The initial step involves ensuring you haven't committed any actions warranting rejection. This includes scrutinizing for copyright infringement, plagiarism, and other overt errors. Double-check that your images are properly licensed, and your quotes are accurately attributed.

Following that, delve into the art of selling directly to your readers.

Cease investing time solely in the pursuit of 'getting on Amazon' as if that's the sole goal of your content business. Many creators are liberating themselves from dependency on Amazon to foster continuous business growth. It's a path you should consider.

Steering Clear of the Amazon Dilemma Back in 2019, I authored a piece highlighting the 'dilemma' that Amazon poses for authors. The fundamental idea is that Amazon's ease of facilitating publication and sales on the Kindle store or via print-on-demand might make other retail or publishing avenues seem unnecessary.

The allure of a one-stop shop is enticing, isn't it? Given Amazon's stranglehold on the retail market, it's easy to understand.

However, therein lies the dilemma: the misconception that a single solution is the best one.

Contemporary creators are awakening to this pitfall, actively working to diversify their product offerings. This isn't to dissuade you from publishing and selling on Amazon. Still, if dependence ensues, you run the risk of forfeiting the ability to sell your books.

Avoiding the Amazon Trap: Selling Direct To Your Audience

One effective way to thrive as an independent author without relying heavily on Amazon is to sell directly to your audience. By cutting out the middleman, you can have more control over pricing, royalties, and distribution.

Building an author website is key to establishing a direct connection with your readers. You can showcase your books, offer exclusive content or bonuses, and build an email list for direct communication. Utilize social media platforms to interact with your audience, using it as a tool to create a community around your work.

Email marketing is an excellent way to engage with your readers and keep them informed about upcoming releases, promotions, or even exclusive offers. Through regular newsletters, you can forge a deeper connection with your audience and foster a sense of loyalty.

The Benefits of Diversifying Your Distribution Channels

While Amazon is undoubtedly a significant player in the book retailing world, relying solely on one platform can be risky. By diversifying your distribution channels, you can reach a broader audience and mitigate the impact of any one retailer's policies or changes.

Embarking on direct sales offers several significant advantages that extend beyond liberating yourself from dependence on Amazon as a retail platform.

Enhanced Revenue: Direct sales enable you to retain 100% of the profits. In contrast, other retailers, including Amazon KDP, deduct a portion of your sales, in addition to any printing and shipping expenses you might incur. Increased earnings become a pivotal consideration when opting for direct sales. A higher return per sale diminishes the necessity for an extensive audience to achieve comparable financial gains.

Absolute Control: Marketing your books on your personal website grants you unparalleled control. This encompasses the authority to set prices, select shipping methods, and present exclusive discounts and promotions to your readers. Moreover, you assume command over your fans' experience on your site, enabling you to encourage their participation in your mailing list.

Expanded Content Sharing: Directing the sales process allows for seamless suggestions of supplementary products or the promotion of additional content you offer. When visitors navigate your website for purchases, their exposure is confined to your content, products, and creations. This stands in stark contrast to Amazon's aggressive marketing of additional products during the shopping experience. On your site, customers exclusively encounter your offerings, maintaining their interest and enthusiasm for your creative works.

Cultivate an Audience: Perhaps the most crucial benefit lies in the opportunity to cultivate your audience. Even if you possess a robust social media presence, curating a mailing list provides superior access to your fans. Nurturing a following that ardently appreciates your content paves the way for sustained success. With such a dedicated audience, the reliance on online retailers diminishes, as your fans eagerly seek your content directly from you.


As an independent author, success should not be defined by a single retailer. By breaking free from the grip of Amazon and diversifying distribution channels, you can take control of your own destiny. Focus on creating quality content, building a strong author brand, and directly engaging with your readers. Remember, you are the creator and the master of your own success.

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