I haven't written a ranty blog post in a while, and I know others agree with me on this subject. (While I'm here, I am ranting at 5am so please excuse typos.)
Here's the thing.
I take, on average, a month to write my first drafts. That's hours upon hours of hard work put into it. Blood, sweat, tears, and yes, time away from my daughter. Then after a round or two of revisions, it goes to my CP and betas. Then revisions. Then back to them. Then revisions. And some more revisions. Then it goes to my proofreader. Then revisions. And then it goes to another proofreader. And then revisions. And more revisions. And then a few more.
Then comes the cover. That - if you take into account I also do the print covers - can take me anywhere from one hour, to six. And then formatting for print and eBook.
That's a lot of time and work gone into a book in, for me, the space of two months. I'm blessed with the ability to write fast - yet others can take a year to write a book. It doesn't mean one is worse than the other, or that one author cares more than the other, it's just how we're made. I can fire off ten thousand words in a day if the mood strikes me and to some people that is crazy.
So WHY do Amazon let people get refunds on eBooks?
Isn't it the silliest thing you've ever heard? Would you buy a book from Barnes and Noble then go and return it just because you didn't like it or you'd finished it? Of course you wouldn't. That's why you'd go to a library. You have the option to read books for free and then return them. If you like it, you buy it. So why do people refund on Amazon?
I wish I knew. Myself, I can't seem to comprehend it. It's one thing if, due to formatting or conversion issues, the book in question (whatever it may be) is unreadable. But if it's not - is it right to refund because you don't like it? Morally, I don't think so.
Us authors are people too. *gasp!* SHOCK HORROR.
We have a life outside of writing, and every time we sit to do something writing related we're taking time away from our families. For some of us that's time away from our children - and every minute we spend away from them is a minute we'll never get back. Do the refunders consider that?
It's not about money. I don't write for money. I don't write to have my name known. I write because it's an all encompassing need, a desperation to get a story out. When I'm in full writing mode, I live and breathe my characters. I laugh, joke and cry with them. (Does that make me sound a little insane? Eh, probably.)
But writing does pay - and while it's not enough to live off, it's a nice little bonus in my pocket every month/quarter. It means I can buy my daughter that new pair of boots I've been eyeing up, it means I can take her out for the day to make up for time spent hunched over a computer. It means I can treat my hubby. And it means we can save for that car we need so badly.
Every person who refunds after reading an authors book is essentially stealing. They're stealing the book and the time that went into it, therefore stealing from their families and children. Is that dramatic? Probably, but most truth in life is. That's why it's called the truth.
I'm not the only person to believe this. I've spoken with several people lately and in the past who think the eBook refunding is wrong. There can't be an author out there who accepts it, and if there is, I'd like to meet them to find out why/how.
As an author, eBook refunding is wrong and actually kinda hurtful. (Sheesh, was my book THAT bad you felt the need to return it?)
As a reader, I couldn't imagine doing it. I recently read a book I didn't enjoy as much as I hoped, but would I get a refund on it? No. I'd never dream of it.
Kindle allowed indie and self-published authors that first step into being published. We'll always be thankful for that. It's allowed many of us to fulfil our dreams and write a book. But there are so many loopholes in that system, and a flaw is the refunding.
I guess the question is... What can we do? I'm not quite sure.
(I mean, we could totally go after Amazon's offices with pitchforks and blazing torches. While fun, it may just be a little medieval. Think Shrek. Poor guy.)