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Messages - Harald

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1
Writers' Cafe / Re: Stuck in the stone ages
« on: April 30, 2018, 12:00:17 PM »
I was also at a recent book festival and attended one of seminars. And sure enough, most of the talk was about the trad pub model. When it came time for the Q&A, I was about to ask an Indie Self-Pub question when, to my surprise, about half the audience started peppering the panelists with Indie questions. Two of the three panelists didn't know what to do/say, but one was totally on top of it. She was mobbed at the end with walk-ups.

2
Writers' Cafe / Re: Look Inside for different formats question
« on: April 30, 2018, 11:51:38 AM »
There are random books that show the digital Look Inside. It may be a problem whereby the publisher fails to upload a PDF of the book to Amazon, so Amazon has nothing to work with.

CreateSpace seems to hustle that PDF over to the mother ship without fail.

When KDP Print Beta first came to live with us, the print Look Inside routinely reverted to the Kindle version, though that seems to have been remedied now.

OK. It seems like it should work with each Look Inside showing its respective version. I guess I'll see!

3
Writers' Cafe / Re: Look Inside for different formats question
« on: April 30, 2018, 07:31:44 AM »
There is sometimes a gap between when the book goes live and when the print look inside appears. During that time, the ebook look inside is used. After that, the typical pattern is for them to be different. I'm not sure what causes the other exceptions.

Good to know. Thanks, Bill!

4
Writers' Cafe / Re: Look Inside for different formats question
« on: April 30, 2018, 06:35:47 AM »
Normally, the ebook and print Look Insides are different. I have seen it where they are linked to the ebook version, but that's not the default.
The print Look Inside has a random show a selection of pages (Surprise Me) which can get annoying if it shows spoilers.

Hmmm... that may explain some of the goofyness I'm seeing in print Look Insides. Thanks for this input.

5
Writers' Cafe / Re: Formatting
« on: April 29, 2018, 09:35:54 PM »
text > HTML > Sigil > epub. Perfect.

(and InDesign for print)

6
Writers' Cafe / Look Inside for different formats question
« on: April 29, 2018, 09:25:50 PM »
Finalizing my Kindle and print formats for new book. Need to keep some Front Matter differences between the two. Now realize that I'm not sure if AMZN will create individual Look Inside samples for each one, or just use one for both? And if so, which one? I've seen examples of both ways of doing this in the AMZN store with different books.

Also, what is AMZN's "Look Inside the Book" print program and how does it differ from the auto-generated "10%/Sample Chapters" in the KDP/Kindle process?

Thanks!

7
Writers' Cafe / Re: Sigil Previewer?
« on: April 29, 2018, 09:22:51 PM »
For a couple years now, Sigil has for all practical purposes been a WYSIWYG software. I keep three panels or windows open at all times: a narrow one for the Book Browser so-called, the list of files or sections; a larger one (about half the computer screen) for the Code View editing window; and a medium-sized one (about a third of the screen) for the -- wait for it! -- Preview. As I make changes in Code View, they almost instantaneously appear in the Preview. I can't imagine why you'd need anything more than that. [...]

Yep. I do what notjohn does. And use the Kindle Previewer 3 at the end (and look at the Log for warnings). And do the epubcheck. And also check the epub file frequently by double-clicking on it (on Mac) and having it open the whole thing in iBooks, which is very book-like. Works every time.

8
Writers' Cafe / Re: Need Category Choosing Help
« on: April 27, 2018, 07:29:01 AM »
One thing to keep in mind is that the list of categories/sub-cats you can choose from in the KDP dashboard during publication is very limited vs. the sub-cats actually available on Amazon.

It's a good idea to look up books that are similar to yours and note the list of categories they rank in (shown below the sales rank info). Choose the ones that align best with your book, and after you publish you can email KDP support and ask them to add your books to additional sub-cats. They're really good about making the additions.

Excellent suggestion, SallyRose; I had forgotten about that. I had always assumed that KDP auto-generated the Sub-Cats from keywords and other factors (e.g., book description), but to actively ask them for additional Sub-Cats is a point well taken, and I'm now adding that to my Post-Launch Mkting Plan. Thanks for the input.

9
Writers' Cafe / Re: Need Category Choosing Help
« on: April 26, 2018, 07:42:59 PM »
It's always a shame to let an opportunity for visibility go to waste, I'm just cautioning against stepping too far outside your target audience as that can be damaging.

I see what you're saying (and knowing your focus on Also Boughts in launch strategy), but here's the thing: I don't see a natural #2 Category that hits my target audience. "Fiction > Native American & Aboriginal" still seems the closest, even though Native Americans are only a small part of the audience. My core audience is: "livers and lovers of the history of NYC [the city]". And I don't see a top level Category for that. Of course, I've got that covered in my Keywords. So unless I hear of something better, guess I'll just stick with my current #2 Cat. Other opinions welcome.

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As for Amazon Decoded - sorry, you should have got a download link either when joining, or if you were on my list already, but I'll PM you a new link now (and let me know if you have any trouble!).

Got the PM and the link to Amazon Decoded. Have already started it. Thanks!!

10
Writers' Cafe / Re: Need Category Choosing Help
« on: April 26, 2018, 02:14:06 PM »
I think you need to be careful here. I remember trying out Action/Adventure with my historicals, and then running a promo and getting a bunch of sales from readers who wanted something quite a bit more like a thriller. And not only did they not enjoy the book, my Also Boughts were scrambled and my halo post-promo was... a dead cat bounce. Tough to rebound from that too when saddled with bad Also Boughts. (And the alternative isn't much better: being visible to the wrong readers who don't buy your book and it doesn't look so hot to the algos then...)
So keep it as relevant as you can, always. Having vaguely thriller-ish aspects isn't enough IMO.

Good advice as always, David. Now I'm wondering if I *need* to pick a second Category. Does anyone just pick one?

BTW, I'm reading Let's Get Digital v3; good stuff! But question for you: How do I get Amazon Decoded if I'm already on your mailing list? Thanks.

11
Writers' Cafe / Need Category Choosing Help
« on: April 26, 2018, 01:37:54 PM »
Getting ready to launch my historical fiction omnibus and am wondering about my two main "Set Categories" choices on Amazon KDP. #1 is obvious: "Fiction > Historical". But I have some choices for #2. For my shorter books I've used "Fiction > Native American & Aboriginal" (I have both NA and EU main characters). That seems to work but I'm wondering about changing that:
-- Fiction > Native American & Aboriginal (current one thinking of changing)
-- Fiction > Action & Adventure (I have a lot of both)
-- Fiction > Sagas (it's a "single-generation saga"; think "Pillars of the Earth")
-- Fiction > Thrillers > Historical (there are Thriller aspects although not the main thing)

What's a good Best Practice for making this choice? What's most important? (AMZN says things like: Be accurate, Be specific, Don't be redundant, and Find Examples... I'm trying!)

THANKS!

12
Writers' Cafe / Re: Release Plan - ISBN
« on: April 15, 2018, 06:55:25 AM »
Harald, I publish a handful of other authors, and a couple of small independent bookstores that carry our books don't have a contract with Ingram. Big stores do, but small independent stores (according to my phone call with I/S - it was all very surprising to me) don't unless they ask for one. When those two stores want books, I ship to them directly from C/S and give them a discount (while charging enough to ensure we get our royalties).
Very interesting! I will consider. Thanks.

Quote
Edit to add:  Regarding returns, we haven't had any yet (and I doubt we will, from these two stores - we've been doing this for five years now), but our policy states we won't accept returns after two months (with some other stipulations, such as that the books need to come to us in the same shape they left C/S). As a very small business, I prepare for the possibility of returns by holding the money in the bank until the two month term is up.
Good strategy.

13
Writers' Cafe / Re: Release Plan - ISBN
« on: April 14, 2018, 05:32:12 PM »
Would it be possible for you to handle fulfillment to these specific stores directly? Then you could just order copies in bulk at production cost and offer those stores whatever terms you want.

Hmmm... I hadn't thought of being in the book distribution business (shipping, returns, etc.), and I don't live in NYC so would have to ship them, but Hmmm... you may be on to something. I will investigate. Thanks for the idea.

14
Writers' Cafe / Re: Release Plan - ISBN
« on: April 14, 2018, 03:05:19 PM »
If either publisher charges a fee for the ISBN barcode, there are several sites on the net that will provide it for free.
Just Google "barcode"

Thanks, OkeyDokey, but I'm the publisher (self), and CreateSpace and IngramSpark both provide them for free (once you have the ISBN, in IS's case). Keep in mind that the ISBN number is different than the bar code. You need both.

But good tip to know.

15
Writers' Cafe / Re: Release Plan - ISBN
« on: April 14, 2018, 02:13:26 PM »
Unless you have a very solid marketing plan aimed at brick and mortar stores, and you believe you have a very good chance of getting on the shelves, there is absolutely no reason to use anything higher than the minimum 30% or 35% (depending on market) wholesale discount through IS. You're just leaving money on the table at that point.

Good point, but here's the thing: I have a targeted mktg plan for specific physical stores as my content is very location centric, and I have a good chance with some in that market. And if they won't look at me for anything under 53-55% (e.g., strict policies), then I might be willing to eat it with other retailers if I can get into these particular stores (assuming I can't break out discounts per localized regions). And because I'm talking about the biggest media market there is (in U.S.) and with very unique content related to that specific market (OK, it's NYC), it's also about "awareness" in that crucial market. Whatcha think?

Quote
As to the IS template, yes, the barcode is a separate object in the ID template that you can position as you like. And the bleed is 0.125", same as CS. I know some use the same cover PDF for CS and IS, but I prefer to use separate ones (using IS's template for that version) since they use different thicknesses of paper, so the spine is slightly different.

Yeah, I'm also planning on creating a separate ID file for I/S. I wish I could just download the template to check it (like CS), but I/S won't do that without going through the whole process, and I'm not ready for that yet. Your saying the bleed is 0.125" is good enough for me at the moment. Thanks.

16
Writers' Cafe / Re: Release Plan - ISBN
« on: April 14, 2018, 12:01:13 PM »
Not necessarily, if the third-party seller is ordering from IngramSpark instead of going through Amazon/CreateSpace. It depends on, among other things, how much of a discount you've set  on IngramSpark. If a third-party seller is ordering from I/S instead of C/S, I assume they're wanting the bookstore discount, which means you may earn less on that sale (depending on how high you've set the discount).

Edit: We cross-posted, RDS, but yep. If I were using C/S Expanded Distribution for sales through other stores I'd earn less than I earn by using I/S to sell through other stores (because C/S is a middleman in that case and they take a cut). But a sale through I/S with a 55% discount will earn me a smaller royalty than a sale straight through Amazon/CreateSpace.

Thanks to both of you on these details. But this is one reason I'm thinking of starting with C/S direct-to-reader ("Standard Distribution") at first. Then moving into expanded sales via I/S later and dealing with the discounts and all that. 55% is standard book retail discount, but I doubt I'll make much--if any--money on that. 30-35% is better for me but not attractive to retailers. Oy! And if I'm right that more sales will come from ebook, then maybe my print books will end up just being loss leaders. Lots of issues!

17
Writers' Cafe / Re: Release Plan - ISBN
« on: April 14, 2018, 11:21:06 AM »
...Regarding bleed, it is interesting that they require 1/4 inch, because their margin of error for printing is 1/16 (CreateSpace's is 1/8).

And that I/S Creation Guide file you link specifies 1/8th-inch for any Interior bleed. Go figure!

18
Writers' Cafe / Re: Release Plan - ISBN
« on: April 14, 2018, 11:01:02 AM »
My paperback is published through KDP Print and IS using the same ISBN. I started this thread http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,261932.msg3643342.html#msg3643342 to ask why books sold on Amazon were showing up in my IS sales report. I have since figured out why this is happening. The reason is that third-party sellers are winning the Buy Box on my Amazon product page. When this happens, the third-party sellers fulfill the order through IS. ...

Interesting, RDS. Looking at it right now, your paperback is Amazon all the way. It's just your hardback that's third party (Prepbooks). ***But in all cases, the author is getting the same royalty, whether Amazon or third party, right?

19
Writers' Cafe / Re: Release Plan - ISBN
« on: April 14, 2018, 10:26:45 AM »
Thanks for this link, MClayton. Valuable. Hoping the bar code is on a separate layer on the InDesign template so I can just slide it where I want (my design requires Bottom Right) and copy over my CS ID elements. One odd thing I see is that they're asking for 1/4-inch on outside bleeds. 1/8-inch is industry standard. Tells me they don't have a lot of confidence in their bindery trimming! (and I have a very tight allowance on that with my licensed image sizing specs)

Re: promo code: I think I must have signed up just after that, so never got the email. But I'll confirm with them.

20
Writers' Cafe / Re: Release Plan - ISBN
« on: April 14, 2018, 09:10:52 AM »
By the way, if you're doing this anytime soon, I/S is running a special through June 30. Upload your book for free by using promo code SELFPUB. (Title set-up is usually $49 for paperbacks).

Yeah, I was told that, although don't see it on their site. Will confirm with them. $49 will go to the ISBN purchase! Thanks again.

21
Writers' Cafe / Re: Release Plan - ISBN
« on: April 14, 2018, 09:10:11 AM »
Right - C/S will insert the bar code. With I/S, it depends. If you download their cover template, the bar code is sent with it. You, or your cover designer, would need to then place it on the finished cover.

I do my own covers in InDesign. If I can get the bar code from their template, then bingo. But I'll confirm with IS. Thanks!

22
Writers' Cafe / Re: Release Plan - ISBN
« on: April 14, 2018, 08:48:19 AM »
When you use the same ISBN for both I/S and C/S, Amazon nearly always automatically defaults to C/S when someone orders your book. C/S is their company, after all. ...

Aha. Good to know. That makes sense. Also about not using CS's "ED". This also preemptively answers my question about the "not in stock" issue with outside suppliers like IngrmSprk. I hate throwing up roadblocks in front of readers.

***Related question: According to my notes, I only need to purchase the ISBN # for CS and they will insert the matching bar code, correct? And is that the same for IngrmSprk, or do I also need to purchase the bar code separately for them? (It's a separate purchase on Bowker)

23
Writers' Cafe / Re: Release Plan - ISBN
« on: April 14, 2018, 08:18:34 AM »
Thanks for solid reply. But bummer for my plan. I assumed I could opt-out of IS for AMZN entirely (for print) but if not, I may need to do what you suggest: go with a purchased ISBN for print from the get-go, and just use that ISBN # for both CS and IS.

***However, wouldn't there still be a conflict when I later add IS print distribution, even if using the same ISBN? Or is this what you mean by saying: "... sourced either through CS or IS, as Amazon chooses." Is this how Amazon solves the duplication problem?

24
Writers' Cafe / Release Plan - ISBN
« on: April 13, 2018, 07:18:07 PM »
Preparing for a launch. Historical Fiction. My own LLC imprint. 578 print pages. Have already test-printed three book iterations using CreateSpace ("CS"), and they're perfect. Am now facing the ISBN issue/question before going live. Would appreciate any inputs you may have on the following plan:

1. For the Ebook, I've had decent results with KU and Reads for my shorter books so I plan to start off with the Ebook in KU and having NO ISBN #. Once I approach the 90-day exclusivity window with KU, I'll re-evaluate and decide if I want to go wide and if I might need a purchased ISBN.

2. For Print, my initial focus is on Amazon. My thought is to initially use CS as my printer/conduit to the Amazon store (for "in-stock") and just use the free CS-assigned ISBN. No AMZN Expanded Distribution.

3. Then, depending on how things go, I'll consider purchasing of a Bowker ISBN (I'm in U.S.) for a new edition that would be available for all other outlets: other online retailers, bookstores, libraries, etc. And maybe use IngramSpark INSTEAD of AMZN Expanded Distribution for that.

One issue with a CS-provided ISBN could be Advertising. It won't be a problem for AMS ads, of course, but not sure about BookBubCPM, Facebook, ENT, Robin Reads, etc., and if they require a Bowker-purchased ISBN or not. The same might go for book industry awareness efforts like industry reviews, contests, etc.

This isn't everything on my release plan, of course, but I need to make a decision about the ISBN issues above soon.

Appreciate your thoughts about my plan and if I'm missing anything. Thanks!

----------
041518 UPDATE: Based on the good inputs below, I've decided to purchase my own ISBN # (for Print only) and use it for Standard Distribution on CreateSpace and eventually for expanded distribution on IngramSpark. Feel free to add more comments below.

25
Writers' Cafe / Re: A New AMS Thread
« on: January 31, 2018, 07:59:45 AM »
[just posting to follow - for some reason "NOTIFY" button not working; will re-enable]

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