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Messages - Mercia McMahon

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Writers' Cafe / Re: GDPR and Website Cookies
« on: May 22, 2018, 02:16:25 PM »
Requiring explicit consent contravenes EU web accessibility law because those with dexterity problems can only make limited use of a mouse before the pain becomes too much to continue. Most explicit cookie consent banners persist until you click with a mouse or tap on a touchscreen. Those banners often block a substantial proportion of the website thus reducing the ability of those with dexterity issues to enjoy the same experience of the website as other visitors.  Many business website simply have a statement in the footer or header stating that the site uses cookies, which complies with accessibility law and I have yet to see an accessibility compliant website that goes beyond implied consent.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Amazon going the way of B&N?
« on: May 22, 2018, 11:02:46 AM »
Amazon were refused an EU patent for One Click as it was trying to patent the sanguineous obvious. The US patent has expired.

I wasn't aware that B&N had gone under except in the imagination of many kboards posters and a few excitable web authors.

In terms of Nook it was not a B&N policy, but Kindle Select that killed off B&N's then likely achieving an ebook duopoly with Amazon.

Writers' Cafe / Re: GDPR and Website Cookies
« on: May 22, 2018, 10:49:28 AM »
Here's link that lays out the requirements (according to one source):

That is an unofficial website giving an opinion in a way to generate clickbait. As it states there is only one reference to cookies in GDPR, but omits to mention that this is because cookies are dealt with elsewhere in EU law. TL/DR a fleeting paragraph in a later law cannot abrogate the actual law on the topic of cookies unless it specifically states that it is changing the face of the text in that law.

The argument over the requirement for more than implied consent has been going on for as long as (indeed longer than) the EU cookie law has existed. The bureaucrats will continue to insist that implied consent is insufficient until the courts determine that it is sufficient.

EU cookie law draws a distinction between ads that change for each visitor (e.g., Google AdSense) and ads that are static (e.g., Amazon affiliates). The former requires a cookie warning on the website while the latter does not. I stopped using Google Ads so Google disabled my account and now won't reopen it. I did so to allow me to comply with the law without using the cookie banners that breach EU disability law. Requiring explicit consent is in contravention of the EU law on accessible websites as it makes reading a website more difficult for someone with dexterity issues than for other members of the population.

A wonderful irony is that the cookie consent javascript used by many sites is a key campaigner against the law

Writers' Cafe / Re: D2D vs. Smashwords
« on: May 22, 2018, 01:00:25 AM »
I followed through on my idea of removing all my books from Draft to Digital and going with Smashwords exclusively. As I publish little and market less I sell very little. This is due to being time poor with the day job, so I decided to switch Apple (where I've only sold freebies direct) Barnes and Noble, and Kobo (where I've only sold one paid for book direct) back to Smashwords. I nearly switched back to Kobo direct when I spotted that Smashwords only pay 38% for Kobo sales outside US or Canada, then I realised that my one sale on Kobo was in Italy and that money sits permanently unpaid in my dashboard, so 38% is better than unfulfilled promises of 70%. I originally signed up to D2D for their epub production with no intention of distributing through them, but used them as my main distributor when Smashwords were USD only. I was always negative about having Draft to Digital listed as a seller as the name sounds amateurish and I wish they would rebrand officially as D2D. I was even more negative about having $8 sitting for a couple of years on my D2D dashboard due to most sales being direct. That is why I switched Tolino from Smashwords to D2D and eventually the cunning plan worked and I made a sale that triggered the payment from D2D after a single Tolino sale took me over the 10 minimum. So now Tolino distribution has gone to Smashwords (as has everything else bar Amazon) and I've delisted all books at D2D thus sacrificing the non-selling options of Playster and 24S.

Depending on the war theatre in question the soldier could meet or talk about the European-based 442nd Infantry Regiment, the Nisei (Amercian born Japanese) only regiment that won more US decorations than any other regiment. Or in the Pacific theatre there were Nisei working as translators.

Yes I plan to close my redundant newsletter account that never more than a few personal friends as customers so I never wrote a newsletter I just tell friends face to face if something is coming out. Now I have to remember the name of the major newsletter company so that I can cancel my account hopefully before 25 May.

Writers' Cafe / Re: D2D vs. Smashwords
« on: May 18, 2018, 04:22:23 AM »
There is not much that D2D do that Smashwords do not, but a lot that Smashwords do that D2D don't. Since Smashwords finally allowed price setting in other than USD a major reason for not using it has gone. The payment system remains the main difference for those of us in countries able to get direct to bank payments from D2D, but I am minded to close my D2D connection now that I finally made a sale to to go over the $10 minimum (thank you Tolino). Smashwords pay by PayPal, but like Amazon and Google Play are happy to pay however small the amount, which helps someone like me who sells little and goes direct when I can.

As a sometime satarist I have to point out that it is very serious indeed and as an Irish person I rejoice in the serious silliness of Jonathan Swift.

And you know what? This entire circle of ridiculous B.S. is entirely our own fault as a community, because it is only in the last couple of years that indies have actually started to care because NOW IT IS STARTING TO HURT THEM. But I have been saying since 2004 we needed to collectively be more vigilant about the scammers and review sellers. That we should have been taking a more active role in reporting the sellers when we came across them and discouraging other authors from resorting to such tactics. But for a decade, all I heard was "It isn't my job to police Amazon", or "What other authors do isn't my business," or "It doesn't impact me so why should I worry."

Yet when Amazon asked for author help to locate those advertising review services on social media and I did so, Amazon responded by getting a supervisor to give me a firm (email) talking to. I replied "Fine you asked for my help, I gave it, you complained about me helping you as requested, so I will never help you again no matter how hard you beg."

Its way more than smart quotes. You cannot use (pound signs). You used to be able to when I started on kboards in early 2014, but then a software upgrade rendered me pound poor and diamond rich.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Alternate History-Historical
« on: May 10, 2018, 02:04:34 AM »
The most important aspect of an alt history is that it is a novel. Why would you be describing food? If you do it had better be relevant or it will read as if you are showing off your research rather than getting on with telling the story. Do not go overboard on the research. I probably know more about Tudor history than most people on this board, but it is others who write Tudor novels. Nor should you be overly worried that you might get something wrong. Most history books get a lot of their stuff wrong. At the weekend I visited a museum that told me on the interpretation boards that Ireland left British rule in 1948 (they confused the status of Northern Ireland and the Irish Free State), that Constantine began the process of turning the Roman Empire into the Byzantine Empire (the latter never existed except in the minds of lazy historians) and that the first law of religious tolerance was in Hungary in 1568 (about 1250 years after Constantine enacted religious tolerance in the Roman Empire). Write the story and accept that in this over-preening social media age that someone will want to show off their knowledge and prove your history wrong and probably in the porcess reveal themselves to not having paid attention in class or have had the misfortune to remember one of the erroneous bits in a history book.

Writers' Cafe / Re: U.S Immigration for authors.
« on: May 09, 2018, 03:56:56 AM »
The ESTA visa waiver programme requires that at the end of the maximum three month stay you return to your country of origin. There is no restriction on returning immediately, but no guarantee you won't be turned away at the airport of US entry. I was nearly turned away at Seattle on the grounds that ESTA was not intended for three month stays. They are and the over-burdened London embassy asks British passport holders to only apply for a visa if staying over three months, but that does not stop problems at the airport. You can cross into Canada while in the US on an ESTA, but you are warned that there is no guarantee of being re-admitted to the US. So I gave up the idea of a short break in Vancouver and took the West Coast train to Portland instead.

Writers' Cafe / Re: So I think Amazon has terminated my account...
« on: May 07, 2018, 01:25:31 AM »
Can you say how you did that? I'd love to but keep thinking each person is only supposed to have one Amazon account.

I emailled them via the Contact form and got a swift reply (so probably a bot) asking me to create a new KDP account and then contact them again to ask for the new account to be linked to my books. Once that was done they automatically cancelled the old KDP account. Note that your books are copied across to the new account, but the sales history is not, so you need to download spreadsheets etc before the accont is deleted (or a day or two afterwards as the old KDP account works for a while longer). I had my personal/KDP accont under my business email address and was able to change this to a personal email address and immediately set up the new KDP account under the business email address.

Writers' Cafe / Re: GDPR
« on: May 05, 2018, 11:22:51 PM »
The EU admits that its website cookie law went too far and that it failed to tackle the major players they were targetting while forcing smaller businesses to put up cookie warning notices that annoyed site visitors. The EU cookie law is still in place. GDPR is something similar: an attempt to target big tech that actually hits small businesses. The EU largely follows the Napoleonic tradition of law: regulate everything. This leads to disquiet from those with legal traditions descended from the British Empire that prioritise individual freedom. Doing business internationally means dealing with differing national traditions of how business is done. On the internet this usually means that one country's law can impact on the enitre network, e.g., a Facebook page requires an address because German law requires an address and Facebook does not want the responsibility of blocking German residents from reading your page. The EU will not come after a small business, see cookie law, but in targetting big tech they give a legal framework within which an individual can take a case against a small business. EU website law is why I dropped my idea to professionally design websites, because anyone who finds your site inaccessible can sue the designer.

Writers' Cafe / Re: So I think Amazon has terminated my account...
« on: May 04, 2018, 12:09:34 PM »
I don't write much nowadays, but its cases like this that led me to get my KDP account separated out from my personal Amazon account. I hope Julie this gets resolved as these cases normally do, but Amazon should not be subjecting anyone to their whack-a-bot Artificial (claims to) Intelligence.

Writers' Cafe / Re: The BBC do a piece on Amazon fake reviews
« on: April 30, 2018, 07:56:18 AM »
Fact checking.  It's a thing.  For people who do news.

Not in the British media. Trust me, I fact check them all the time.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Appearances Matter
« on: April 29, 2018, 02:23:29 PM »
Whether they're called biscuits (UK) or cookies  (US), the fact that the word digestive is involved is what raises eyebrows for many of us.  With no other context, I would think they're some sort of aid to remedy an unwanted digestive issue.  Like when Grandma used to suggest castor oil.   :-\

A bit like my surprise when I came across alimentary noodles, but worrying about food with the adjective alimentary (lit. nourishing) or digestive (lit. relating to the process of extracting nourishment from food) is like expecting all food with the adjective blue to taste as inedible as a blue carbuncle. Alimentary, my dear Watson.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Website hosting suggestions - UK
« on: April 28, 2018, 02:22:53 PM »
I use Smart Hosting who give you unlimited websites and email addresses for 2.99 per month. They were a UK startup and are now owned by another UK company Krystal. The offereings by Krystal are not as low priced as Smart Hosting itself.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Appearances Matter
« on: April 27, 2018, 08:06:25 AM »
Interestingly enough, the examples I can think of where the imprint was most clearly misleading were situations in which someone had a web presence for the publisher--and presented it as a functioning publishing company, complete with a (fictional) staff and a "not currently accepting submissions" message. (The latter implies that, at some point, the "company" did or will accept submissions.)

I remember the website of a regular kboarder stating that. I had the plan if I succeeded as a self-publisher (I didn't) to publish talented but undiscovered authors to give them a boost my publishing business and its website. I think at one stage I even had a not currently accepting submissions statement inspired by that kboarder's site and had one of my books broken out I would have changed that to accepting submissions. But then it wouldn't be kboards if some authors were not making fictional mountains out of imaginary moles on other authors' faces.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Amazon customers afraid to turn on their Kindles
« on: April 27, 2018, 02:20:08 AM »
When I come to the end of a KU subscription I download ten books and turn off wifi on my Kindle. While I am ploughing through the big read I use the Kindle app to send any new purchases to. The worried customers seem to be concerned that their account has already been banned and they do not want to connect their Kindle in case the ban takes effect on their library. Tell them to use the Kindle app if they are worried about their account already being closed. Of course they may not be worried at all. Sounds to me more like a bit of hacktivism: probably some Facebook group is encouraging members to sign up to email lists then send these concerned emails to try to get authors to campaign for their cause.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Scrivener alternatives?
« on: April 17, 2018, 07:43:08 AM »
The problem I have is, like many of the other alternatives suggested, you will most probably need to convert to Word at some point. Most editors and proofreaders want your manuscript in Word format. Then you have to take the changes from that Word doc and merge them back into your Scrivener manuscript, or whatever alternative you are using. This can become a nightmare trying to keep all the different versions of your manuscript in sync.

Not with Jutoh. It exports to ODF, which can be opened in Word for editorial assistance. Then do a reimport from the Word file after you have assessed the editor's suggestions and other than having to redo chapter divisions you are good to go in Jutoh with exports to epub and mobi. That is why Jutoh became a publisher focused piece of software unlike its indie author origins, which its Scrivener rival south of the border continues to focus on. Sync can however be a nightmare in another sense. Jutoh updates the file every time you open a file even if you make no changes and that can lead to mistakes where changes made on a machine not connected to the internet are overwritten. Not much of a problem though if you use a sync service with file recycling such as MegaSync. 

Writers' Cafe / Re: Scrivener alternatives?
« on: April 15, 2018, 04:26:33 PM »
For ease of moving chapters around and output to epub and mobi without going through the format problems of Word I highly recommend Jutoh. I also like its Scraps sections that allow you to add notes or abandoned chapters without them impacting on the word count. I prefer to write in VIM, but that is too techie for most people coming from a Word background, although its what most journalists use nowadays. I use Jutoh for ebook work as I found that my home baked epubs produced in Sigil were being rejected by Apple and Jutoh now has an option to cut down on its over the top style names in the epub output.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers [MERGED]
« on: April 11, 2018, 07:35:29 AM »
The loophole HAS been closed in most devices.

Except on the cloud reader.

Many people read on devices that Amazon no longer updates. The most popular reader (other than smartphones) in London is the eInk Wifi thanks to it being pushed at one point in Waterstones (our Barnes and Noble) and Argos (a discount store). eInk Wifis have not been updated since before Page Flip was introduced.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Publishing to iBooks, Rent a Mac Services...
« on: April 10, 2018, 03:59:06 PM »
The Pay As You Go option in MacInCloud lasts a long time so long as you log in at least once every 60 days. If you do not the PAYG account is cancelled.

Writers' Cafe / Re: THE LONDON BOOK FAIR - Is anyone else going?
« on: April 09, 2018, 03:18:58 PM »
Much as I would have like to have gone I have to earn my crust elsewhere having not won the literary lottery. A mid-week day time conference is not doable for me despite my London location.

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