How dare we encourage people to use Amazon – they’re the enemy after all aren’t they? Surely, Amazon would be the last company Joinavision would be recommending people buy products from – right?
For a long time we have avoided Amazon, suggesting people buy from any other source. When we discussed using Amazon for our book recommendations it felt like we were going against everything we believed in. We spent hours researching all the other on-line book distributors – some were already owned by Amazon but all the rest were still owned by billionaires who seemed to be doing very little good with their vast wealth. There was no company that was a guiding light in the world of affiliate links.
I decided to self-publish Celestia, in part because I didn’t feel any publishing house would want to publish a book that empowers children and makes people question the world we’re living in, but also because I felt more empowered by taking this route. It meant I wouldn’t be beholden to large publishing houses that could censor, change or put my book on a shelf never to be seen again with me unable to sell it because of copyright laws. Companies such as Amazon make self-publishing incredibly easy compared to how things used to be. Instead of printing a thousand or so books, that may or may not get sold, Amazon has a print on demand service so if only one book gets ordered only one book gets printed. That alone saves a vast amount of trees and energy.
But on top of that Amazon pays a commission to people recommending products from their site – a pretty fair exchange if you ask me. That money we can put to good use – to buy land which can be shared with the community, to buy pubs or local buildings that can be used for community spaces and to support people from low income families to becoming financially independent.
We tried setting up affiliate links with other companies but it took hours and hours and we were still no closer to understanding how things worked. Just like self-publishing Amazon makes affiliate link marketing very easy.
We were so keen to use small independent book stores but when I approached our local independent book shops they weren’t allowed to stock self-published books. Not quite so independent then. That means as a self-published author, without companies such as Amazon, I wouldn’t be able to sell my book anywhere apart from markets. Every self-published author we know sells their books on Amazon. They see it as a way of getting their message out there. If the book isn’t on Amazon people probably won’t buy it meaning all their hard work of writing it goes to waste.
We’d love to find somewhere else we can use and if anyone knows of a better platform please do let us know – we are always open to change. In the meantime we will be using the Amazon affiliate link to promote books that have inspired us – note that all these books written by free-thinkers are on Amazon too. Every author tends to come to the same conclusion.
Where possible we will promote products that don’t have any middle man but please know that any money that goes to Joinavision will be spent with community in mind. Everything we do has a community focus and if Amazon helps us achieve that quicker than if we do it alone, then we are thankful we at least have an opportunity to grow.
If you feel so opposed to buying one of our books from Amazon then please do use an independent book seller – preferably your local one. If you use an on-line one do your research before purchasing something from there – you may find the road leads back to the hands of a similar CEO to Bezos. That’s what we found.
Amazon has also supported many people who came away from their jobs when lockdown happened. Maybe their business was closed or they left the NHS because they didn’t want the jab and felt they had no choice but to leave a profession they loved. Someone on Joinavision pointed this out to me when I was saying how we must avoid Amazon at all costs. It made me question what I was asking people to do and I started to see how Amazon can help people who need to work from home.
Writing a book often takes years – Celestia took me about six. Learning how to promote it is even harder than writing it. I spent months avoiding promoting it because it was on Amazon, a company I’d refused to buy anything from for years. My book remains un-read, un-promoted and not earning me any money to support my family. I continue to write book two in the hope that when that’s published there will be a more ethical way of promoting it.
In the meantime we hope Joinavision members understand our reasons for using this platform.