Where’s Your Store? – Publica – Medium

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Here at Publica we treat our authors’ customers as their customers. When people join a Book ICO we connect them to their author. Do other platforms do that? An author’s smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain network is like their own global storefront, their real estate on the major new commercial highway. If you’re an author or a publisher interested in crypto, or you know anyone who is, this post is for you.

I’ve mentioned the FAANG before. They’re dealing with a backlash for being centralized platforms for billions of people. It can be a tough business when you take custody of people’s information as a key part of your business model. But that’s the business they chose. They’ll figure something out. Here’s what I think about the FAANG in personal life, then professional life.

That’s not your store. It’s theirs.

Whatever you think about Facebook, it’s part of the modern content world and you could have an account if only to understand it. You don’t have to make it an important part of your personal life if you don’t like what people are complaining about. It’s not part of my personal life.

Whatever you think about Twitter, it’s part of the modern content world. Use it if you like it and you don’t mind the consequences of what you might say and how your words might be misused. That’s what I do, albeit rarely. My friends reach me other ways, and professionally I write to you here.

Whatever you think about Google, it’s part of the modern content world and if you use it for nothing else, YouTube currently hosts a pretty deep archive of video history, albeit uncurated and somehow beautifully chaotic. I use Google a lot, and some things I keep away from Google.

Sorry, no comment about Netflix because I’m not in USA often enough to bother subscribing. But I’ve seen it and I get the idea.

The FAANG is a part of life now, personal and professional, but don’t let them run your life. Which brings me to Amazon, especially if you’re an author or avid reader like me.

You could have an Amazon account, not necessarily because of books, but because like Facebook and Twitter and Google, Amazon is part of modern life. If you live in a country where Amazon markets itself everywhere, you may get the impression that Amazon is as global as Facebook and Twitter, but it’s not, because it needs to deliver stuff and that limits its reach.

If you live in one of the countries where Amazon is a thing, and you write books, and you have an Amazon account, and you meet Amazon’s criteria including banking (that’s a lot of if’s), then you could also donate your books to Amazon.

Did he just say donate your books to Amazon? Huh?

Yes, I said donate, because Amazon will make a lot more money from your books than you will, and they’ll make it sooner, even if you select a higher royalty option and the limitations that come with that choice. Many authors have to select a lower royalty option and obviously Amazon keeps the lion’s share.

I’m not saying you should never donate your books to Amazon. Just don’t let it run your book life. There’s a time and a season for most anything. Please read on.

How will Amazon make more money than you, and sooner? Your customers — who you brought to Amazon to sign up and enter their credit card number — will spend a lot more on other products from Amazon than they spend on your book.

So yes, I consider your book a donation to Amazon’s business, if that’s the only or primary store where you offer it. Uploading your book and information to its store is free of charge, of course, and you’ll get royalties after Amazon gets paid. But I still like what Jonathan Zittrain said,

When something online is free, you’re not the customer, you’re the product.

That’s often understood to mean advertising and there’s nothing wrong with advertising-supported content per se. But in the specific case of Amazon’s store and your free listing, exclusivity to Amazon is a donation you don’t have to make, at least at the outset when your books may be at their selling peak.

But what about Amazon’s exposure? “Getting my book out there?” I recommend donating your book to Amazon at some point in its lifetime because Amazon stocks a pretty long tail, but don’t overrate it. I call it the mass grave. It’s there but it’s not there.

If you really want to “get your book out there,” use the Web. Gather your fans to you. Sell your books to them first. Build a permissioned email platform as recommended by Seth Godin and Ryan Holiday. Host your own website. Join the conversations wherever you find like-minded authors and readers.

But don’t let Amazon run your entrepreneurial book life. It’s not your store. It’s their store.

You can, and should, run your own store. It’s easy now, and it’s the way of the world. People everywhere can find your store on the open internet. No one can tell you how to run your own store. Keep your earnings when your books are at their most profitable. Keep your customers.

Donate your words to your fans, in context, in conversation. Let them know who you are, what you do, what you’ll stand for and what you won’t, the impact you’re trying to make, the kinds of people you want to work with.

Books are a different thing. They’re more than the words inside them. They’re your product, your manifesto, the image you’re making in our heads, your thing that we can buy in your store.

Mi Tiendita translates to My Store. Where’s yours?
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