Updates: Income and Amazon

First, a follow-up to my 2011 Writing Income post. My 2011 income jumped significantly from last year, which has been lovely. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the numbers I posted were pre-tax.

Having pretty much completed our 2011 taxes, it looks like we’ll be paying roughly $8000 to the state and federal government. This also means paying significantly higher quarterly estimated taxes for 2012.

I’m okay with this. I’ve been setting a fair amount of money aside, because I knew this was coming. And I certainly don’t object to paying my share for the services I and my family use.

That said, it’s still rather gut-wrenching to see that final figure come up in the tax software…


And now, to Amazon and my mysteriously changing e-book price. As of yesterday, I’ve sent five e-mails to Amazon’s KDP support about this issue. To their credit, Amazon has responded within 2-3 days to each of my messages.

Unfortunately, it’s not the same person responding each time. First it was Dieter, who said they’d change the price back, but didn’t tell me why it had been lowered in the first place. When I wrote back for clarification, I got a response from Aishwarya, who linked me to their terms or service and pointed out that they had price-matched my book to the Kobo price a month ago (but didn’t explain why they had done so again). Then Craig e-mailed and said my price was now $2.99 … ignoring the actual questions I asked.

Next time, I asked if they could escalate me to someone who might answer my questions. I got an e-mail back from one of the KDP Executive Customer Relations people, who again pointed to the lower Kobo price from a month ago.

I’ve written back to ask him to clarify if he’s saying Amazon will price-match to month-old listings even if your book isn’t currently offered for a lower price anywhere.

It’s conceivable that Kobo or someone else briefly dropped the price to $.99 this month and then restored it, and that while I didn’t see this, Amazon did. Especially if they’ve got search spiders automatically checking competitor prices and marking down their own. I find this scenario highly unlikely, but I can’t rule it out.

The lessons I’m taking away thus far:

  • Amazon responds quickly, and if it’s an easy question, they’ll probably take care of you within a day or two.
  • If it’s a question requiring follow-up, things get a lot messier.
  • Amazon has a higher level of customer support; if you’re not getting a satisfactory response, ask them to bump you up the chain.

A few other Amazon-related items have hit the news lately…

As before, I’m not trying to paint Amazon as the kitten-hating, puppy-kicking, Smurf-stomping reincarnation of all things Evil. But as an author, this is the sort of thing I think it’s important to be aware of.


To end on a completely different note, I just received my first fart question at Ask A Goblin