Available on Amazon

So, this happened. FINALLY.

I say “finally” because I tried a few times to get my Cool Jerk and Doc Splatter books into Amazon and I’d get to the start page — or at least a page that I thought was a start page — and begin to cry. It’s really confusing. And poorly designed. It’s not user-friendly. If anything, it seems to intentionally dissuade authors and publishers from playing in the Amazon sandbox. (I remember eBay had the same problem a bunch of years ago. I didn’t want to sell anything there because its user interface was so cumbersome. But recently I went back to eBay to sell something and it was really simple.)

I needed someone to hold my pink little handie and walk me through the scary Amazon Advantage portal. My friend and fellow (San Diego) Union-Tribune alum Amy Stirnkorb heard my pitiful cries for help and used me as a human battering ram, bludgeoning me through the gates of Amazon and getting me firmly entrenched in their kingdom. It took a few days/weeks for me to hammer out all the minutia of setting up an Author’s Page and confirming with Amazon that my books do indeed exist. And now I’m — or, rather, Amazon is — taking orders.

The way I see it, customers will discover distinct pluses and minuses to ordering my books on Amazon.

PLUSES: For some reason, a lot of people seem to be more comfortable with buying books from Amazon instead of from me directly. I get that — it’s probably a lot easier for bibliophiles to just click on a Cool Jerk book and add it to their cart, especially if they’re already an Amazon customer (no need to resubmit your address and payment info). Also, maybe you have an Amazon Gift Card that you got for your birthday. And then there are discounts that pop up from time to time, and free shipping if your basket is over a certain price point. Less hassle and save some bucks. Sounds good.

MINUSES: You’re getting my book without any personalization. How cool is it when you can buy a book by Stephen King or Berke Breathed and have it signed to you and personalized with a sketch? Well, you don’t get that if you buy my books from Amazon. I’d estimate 99% of people who have bought books from me in person or via my store have requested a personalization.

On my end as a self-publisher, there are pluses and minuses, too.

PLUSES: I’m on Amazon. I get asked that all the time. For the reasons listed above, that might mean book sales from people in a rush or who don’t want to fuss around with ordering from my website. Also, there will likely be a lot of “crossover exposure” where people who buy a book from another cartoonist (like Max Cannon or David Malki) might see a Cool Jerk book pop up in the “…you might also like” window. That sort of viral marketing will help spread the Cool Jerk gospel in ways that would be impossible otherwise.

MINUSES: I’m barely making cost on my books by selling via Amazon. See, Amazon takes a 55% discount from my list price, AND I have to pay for the boxes/envelopes AND postage to send Amazon books so they can turn around and fill customers’ orders. Also, since I don’t know who’s buying my books from Amazon, I can’t personalize a book to you or follow up with an email newsletter detailing upcoming releases, store signings or convention appearances.

A thousand thanks to Amy for getting me into Amazon, and I hope to get my books to as many people as possible. But if you want a little extra personal touch (even if it’s a couple dollars more than Amazon)…


  1. Maya Carver says:

    Amazon is a necessary evil, unfortunately. Congratulations, though! Hope you sell books in a variety of markets you wouldn’t have otherwise.

  2. Clayton Stevens says:

    Millions of Amazon Prime members enjoy instant videos, free Kindle books and unlimited free two-day shipping. Is Cool Jerk Kindle-friendly, or available as a digital download?


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