Amazon vs. Beautiful Disaster

by | Mar 5, 2013 | Book Marketing Basics

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Beautiful-Disaster-by-Jamie-McGuireIt seems that people love to go off the deep end where Amazon is concerned. This morning someone tagged me in a post about Amazon offering a refund to anyone who purchased the self-published version of Beautiful Disaster. She wanted to get to the bottom of this post and good for her, without all the details I would, too. But the author posted a blog that said that Amazon was refunding copies of her book. This, of course, sent the Twitter stream and many online publishing portals into a tailspin. “Amazon is at it again!” an author’s advocate said. They are, once again, punishing the little guy. Blogs ran rampant with the news. Wait! If an author could get picked up by a traditional house, would they all face the same peril? Was Amazon offering a refund to anyone who bought the self-published version of Beautiful Disaster as punishment to the author for securing a traditional deal?

Actually, it’s much more benign than that. The original self-published book had song lyrics in it, a lot of them. You need permission to use song lyrics, bottom line. So, perhaps the Amazon email wasn’t worded correctly or whatever. Candidly, in this environment I’m not sure Amazon could have won this battle anyway. Do I think that Amazon does everything right? No, absolutely not. I want KDP to not be so restrictive and I want details on who bought my books. If you want my list of things I want from Amazon I’ll send that to you, but that’s not what this post is about. This post is about getting facts before you start a revolution.

We live in a world of instant everything and we are all reporters now. Remember that. If you have a Twitter account, you’re on Facebook, Google+ or whatever you have a responsibility to the folks who follow you. If you want to start a revolution go for it, but make sure you’re fighting the right battle.

I get that most of this was done because we want to protect our author community. When someone has wronged us we want to shout it from the rooftops. That’s great. But this kind of misrepresentation of the facts does nothing to help this community. All it does is make us look like a bunch of trigger happy people who don’t do their research. We’re better than that. Now that’s a revolution worth fighting for.

Here’s a post on the Amazon mess, note the comments and the helpful and insightful points from the IP attorney:

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  1. Iola

    Jamie McGuire has a history of not quite getting her facts right.

    One Amazon reviewer commented that she thought the story themes were a bit ‘adult’ to be termed YA. Fair comment – McGuire replied that the book wasn’t YA (also a fair comment).

    But McGuire ‘forgot’ that she’d openly asked for people to vote for Beautiful Disaster in the Goodreads awards… in the YA category.

    One commenter on that thread says:
    Unless she was confused about what ‘YA’ stood for back then she is one of the people categorizing Beautiful Disaster as YA. Link:

    I will quote/take a screenshot because controversial things have a habit of disappearing from Jamie’s blog.

    “Goodreads Awards! LAST DAY to vote!
    Tomorrow is the last to vote in this round for the Goodreads Awards! Please take a moment to pop over to the voting section and submit one for Beautiful Disaster for Best YA Fiction and Best Author to get us through to the next round! Ask you fellow BD lovers to do the same. 🙂

    Thanks and have a great weekend!


    As the commenter speculated, this post did disappear from Jamie’s blog.

    Goodreaders have speculated that perhaps McGuire has done this to raise the profile of Beautiful Disaster as a way of raising interest in the sequel, due out next month.

    What do you think? Is that a good marketing tactic?

  2. Marcia Barhydt

    Good for you Penny for clearing up this confusion. I too saw posts yesterday about Amazon and it’s good to know what this is really all about!

  3. Jen Smith (@JenSmithSick)

    Good point- a lot of people fly off the handle without all of the facts. It’s so important to pause and research what you believe to be true.



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