The Amazon Alternative that’s a Golden Opportunity for Indie Authors

Dustin Koski
3 min readApr 10, 2021

At the time of writing, Amazon is battling scandals such as allegations that it interfered with the vote for employees in Bessemer, Alabama to unionize. There is also a class action lawsuit that Amazon conspired with major publishers to fix prices. While indie authors don’t have anything like the means to put a serious check on Amazon, it’s understandable if they don’t support this morally questionable company, whatever the potential costs.

Copyright Jay Reeves, AP Photo

Honestly the rewards for working with Amazon aren’t as great as its high profile would lead you to believe. Self-publishers get 70% royalties from their books. Sure that’s great compared to what a lot of traditional publishers pay, but 30% is still a significant chunk to lose.

So I’d like to direct your attention to Now indie publishers know it primarily a video game publishing platform, seeing as how its first claim to fame was when the low tech game Flappy Bird debuted on it and as of 2018 it hosts 120,000 games. However it also publishes all sorts of books from manuals to art collections, and now it includes novels.

Copyright Thunder Lotus

Because of its newness, the fiction section of isn’t full of heavily-promoted mainstream books. This allows unique and truly novel stories such as Incident Pit, Love, Despite Everything, and current champion Sapling to stand out properly (and being a niche, alternative company is exactly as site creator Leaf Cochran said he wants it.)

You knew when I said “unique” I meant “weird,” right? Copyright takes a relatively modest 10% of sales, although that rises to 30% for anyone that doesn’t provide a tax ID number. Additionally writers/publishers are able to customize their store pages. While there won’t be the massive cross-linking that Amazon will allow some books early in release, those who can direct significant traffic to their page can make it stand out to a much greater degree, and such lofty claims as “#1 bestseller” are much more reachable.’s “pay what you want” system not only offers huge flexibility, but there’s the possibility of offering bonus content to viewers for modest additional fees which can help easily expand the scope of a work in a lucrative manner. Also many customers have been willing to leave “tips” for creators by paying above and beyond the set price.

So if you’re an author in the early stages of a career that has decided to go the self-published route, you’ll be cheating yourself out of some solid revenue if you neglect

Dustin Koski loves books so much that he helped Jonathan Wojcik write one called Return of the Living, a post-apocalyptic comedy about the first sighting of a living creature in a world where everyone became ghosts long ago. Naturally it’s available on He can be followed on Twitter too.



Dustin Koski

Dustin Koski is a stagehand with IATSE Local 13 and a librarian who has written numerous articles and scripts with millions of views.