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Messages - Bob Stewart

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1
Anyone thinking that dealing with the different states directly won't be a pain in the butt has never had to deal with the State of New Jersey.  ;)

The obvious solution is to let third-party payment systems, like Paypal, collect the taxes and remit them. It would cost another bit per transaction, but would easily be worth it.

2
Writers' Cafe / Re: Alternate History-Historical
« on: June 21, 2018, 09:28:02 AM »
Just curious as to what categories you choose at Amazon. The only one I've found is Fantasy/Alternative History.

3
Writers' Cafe / Re: Author Central screwing up description....
« on: June 04, 2018, 08:14:49 AM »
I think you all missed my point: I didn't edit the description in AS, just submitted an editorial review in that field. (Which had it's own quirks, like removing spaces for no apparent reason).

The description from KDP showed up on the AS page, but I didn't do anything to it there. Their system has acquired a new degree of bugginess.

4
Writers' Cafe / Re: Has anyone here purchased a Kirkus Review?
« on: June 03, 2018, 03:48:16 PM »
I did it and received an OK review, not starred, but positive. I could pull a quote out of it. And I got a listing in the print pub they send to the book trade.

But if I had it to do over again, I would have spent the money on ads at Facebook or something like that.

Here's a post on the subject: https://selfpublishingadvice.org/publishing-is-a-kirkus-review-worth-the-price/

5
Writers' Cafe / Author Central screwing up description....
« on: June 03, 2018, 03:38:10 PM »
I'd already learned the lesson not use Author Central to make changes to a book's description.

But what I didn't realize was that using it to add something like an editorial review would result in the removing of all the line feeds/paragraph breaks from my description.

Why that happens, I can't say. The description shows up in Author Central just as I entered it in KDP, and I made no changes there. Still, just by adding the editorial review, the description got screwed up. Re-submitting it through KDP fixed it, but not for the paperback. Hopefully resubmitting that through CS will fix it.

Just an FYI for anyone else who'd made the mistake of using Author Central....

6
Writers' Cafe / Re: Ingram Spark discounts
« on: June 03, 2018, 01:26:30 PM »
One thing to keep in mind, that discount is NOT what bookstores actually receive. Distribution costs are deducted from that share as well. Those costs, from what I've been able to glean, vary depending on how many books a given retailer buys in a given month, etc.

But as notjohn points out, since no bookstore is going to stock your book, it isn't really isn't a big deal.

Your book will be listed at B&N.com, Indiebound, BAM, etc.--and available for special order at B&M bookstores--no matter what number you pick. So I would give yourself a similar royalty to what you get at Amazon through Createspace. For me, that was 40%.

7
Writers' Cafe / Re: Amazon adopting the blockchain technology
« on: May 27, 2018, 12:52:02 PM »
2019-2020 => the fiat currency world wide is ditched for cryptocurrencies, centralized yes, as in controlled by the banks.

In 2008 you saw how just how powerful banks are without the backing of the powers that control those fiat currencies.

The value of a sovereign fiat currency is that it MUST be accepted for all transactions, including taxes, etc.

And cryptocurrencies live only at the whim of the same authorities that control those fiat currencies. They could begin issuing rulings tomorrow that would render them all but valueless. And the better cryptocurrencies are at fulfilling expectations, the more likely that will be.

8
Writers' Cafe / Re: Google Play: Price changes and series...
« on: May 22, 2018, 12:30:20 PM »
My guess is you forgot to include tax in the price, so it was added on top of the 0.99 price.

As for Q2, the pages for my series have always been created automatically, so I have no advice for you other than make sure there are no discrepancies in spelling, numbering etc.

No, I don't think I did include tax. Thanks.

My books have actually been in the system for years. Maybe I'll save them all without the series name and #, then put them all back and save them again... Kind of jiggling the handle on the toilet. ;-)

9
Writers' Cafe / Google Play: Price changes and series...
« on: May 22, 2018, 12:05:39 PM »
Question #1: I had an international BB so needed to set the UK prices to .99 GBP at GP.

I set up a price change with "USD : 0.99 : WORLD,-CA,-GB,-AU,-IN"

And then lines for each of the others, such as: "GBP : 0.99  : GB"

On the day of my BB, I got an email saying the UK price was incorrect at GP so they wouldn't be linking to it. I had no way of checking, other than to look the settings I input and they looked correct. CA, AU & IN did reset correctly.

Did I do something wrong, or was this probably just a hiccup in the system?

Question #2: To get a series page at GP, do I need to do something specifically? My books have always listed series names and #s, but I've never gotten a series page.

Thanks!

Bob

10
Writers' Cafe / Re: Amazon going the way of B&N?
« on: May 22, 2018, 10:18:34 AM »
I was thinking the same thing. Speaking as a reader, I used to love browsing Amazon for new books. Now, it's just exhausting with all the advertising clutter. Plus, pushing down the "also boughts" seems like a real mistake, because that was the best way to find books suited to my taste.

Yeah, I really think Amazon jumped the shark at some point in the last year or two. And not just with the ads/clutter, the number of third party sellers of counterfeit merchandise has gone through the roof. You have to be incredibly wary with all sorts of products nowadays.

Meanwhile, B&N, Kobo, Google, and Apple have almost no ads, load fast, and look clean. Back in 1999, that was what distinguished Amazon.







11
Writers' Cafe / Facebook Ad reporting down?
« on: May 14, 2018, 03:12:33 PM »
I had several ads that were supposed to go online today at FB, and though they are shown as "active", there are no impressions reported.

Is this a system-wide problem, or did I screw something up?

Thanks.

12
Writers' Cafe / Pre-order reporting ex-Amazon
« on: May 10, 2018, 03:44:58 PM »
I have a pre-order wide, directly at B&N, Kobo, and Google, and through D2D at Apple.

Do any of these report pre-order sales before the the release date?

Thanks,

Bob

13
...
I wish Amazon would give us good tools to advertise our books. It would be a win-win.

Yeah. I've never been that successful with FB ads, but at least they're predictable. If X worked last week, you'll have about the same results tomorrow. With AMS it's as if there's some randomizing agent at work.

People talk about honing the ad text, etc., but how can you do it if things shift willy nilly? I just don't get it.

14
By "inventory" do you mean placement? Or do you mean sales? I'm confused.

Browse incognito and search for your ads. Then decide if they're being served (1) at all or (2) in the right places.

AMS makes almost no sense almost all the time.

Sorry, I meant impressions.

They seem to be putting twice as many AMS ads on a book's product page (although maybe not all are seen if people don't scroll down.) So I would have guessed it would mean that impressions were easier to come by. But what's happened is, that impressions are harder to come by--for the same books, ad text, etc, and even at a higher bid.

The only explanation that seems reasonable is that the ads have become much more popular and people are bidding much higher CPCs.



15
I've run a number of moderately successful ads on AMS over the last year, and the results have always been absurdly unpredictable, but lately they just don't seem to work at all.

If fact, while Amazon appears to be displaying twice as many ads (and making that many more impressions available), inventory seems way harder to come by--even when upping the bids 50-100%.

Have the ads just become way more popular very quickly?

16
They can try,  but I also hope that this will lead to more monitoring of requests.  I doubt this will even be a blip for the PTSO,  but trademark requests can be challenged and rejected quickly with little costs. 

I think the Patent Office will realize this was at least a minor screw up on their part, and also the dangers inherent in letting authors trademark common words.

It's interesting the RWA got results so quickly from Amazon.

17
Writers' Cafe / Re: GDPR
« on: May 06, 2018, 12:41:16 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.

That makes a lot of sense to me. I think many people are expending a great deal of time, anxiety, and even $$ on this needlessly.

And even if they go after smaller fish, if you state clearly what the list is used for and the subscriber had to double-opt in, there isn't much likelihood the EU going to target you.

18
There was a lot of discussion about this on the Author Support Network FB group last night. What I pulled from that discussion was that there was a comment period between when this was filed and when it was approved and that if someone had objected during that period it would've been easily thrown out. But no one was monitoring those filings so no one did. Now that the mark has been approved it becomes a much more serious issue and much harder to challenge. And anyone impacted by this needs to be very proactive about doing so.

I'm surprised they allowed it anyways.  And I believe  it could still be taken away if someone challenged it who'd been using it longer, or challenged it on the basis it's a generic term for bare-chested men. ;-)

But of course, who'd spend the money doing that...

19
There definitely can be a lag. One came for my new novel by my pen name just a few days ago, five weeks after I put it up at least. It's in pre-order and will be until the middle of the month, the email was worded "coming soon from".

I really don't think you can trigger it, other than by putting the book up.

20
Writers' Cafe / Re: Print Book Advertising on Amazon
« on: April 30, 2018, 03:23:11 PM »
I can second what Cassie said. The reason (I think) is that though the ads are only available for Kindle books, they run on pages for paperbacks and hardcovers, too.

21
Writers' Cafe / Re: Any Goodreads librarians?
« on: April 27, 2018, 01:07:30 PM »
My memory is that was last time I asked there, I was told it could only be changed if it were a new edition, etc...

23
Writers' Cafe / Re: Can anyone explain NetGalley to me?
« on: April 24, 2018, 08:47:15 AM »
The huge difference between NetGalley and things like Hidden Gems and others is this: NetGalley is CURATED. Bloggers and reviewers through NetGalley have to be approved and had an existing web presence. Bloggers who are part of NetGalley aren't just readers looking for free books. They are serious book critics and people who WANT to review books. As others have said, these are going to be much more critical because they are writing for THEIR readers. Most of the other similar services which are much less expensive have zero curation. Pretty much anyone that signs up for free books is added to the list.

I actually just popped for a six month listing for a book I'm promoting fairly heavily (I'll give a full report later). I've had a few dozen requests on NetGalley and while they claim it's carefully curated, the evidence I've seen argues the contrary. I've had people with no real web presence at all, or any other credential. Or a blog that's not reviews, just personal ramblings, last posted to three years ago... Anyone claiming any connection to any school can get in as an educator, or a library as a librarian. And they need not ever have posted reviews anywhere. One person was listed as "media", this consisted of a blog where she flogged marketing seminars.

Part of the problem, I think, is that there's a rather obvious back door to the actual reviewer sign-up, which anyone who's been granted access could share at will. I created a reviewer account to test my book links and didn't need to make any claim to posting reviews anywhere.

24
I'm running a very low spend Facebook campaign to my fans only on a $3.99 preorder. It's a Boosted post at only $1 / day to my FANS ONLY....
....

I'd like my chocolate now. (But errr ... maybe those numbers are less than impressive. I'm just a midlister!)

Thanks all! Personally, I'm still working up to the midlist, and I won't tell you after how long...

I haven't publicized it at all to my email list, etc, and will definitely do that after I discount to $1.99. And this is a pen name without much of a base anyway. I'll just wait until it comes out of pre-order as planned.

My wife is an avid baker, and when we were younger (and burning a lot more calories) she made all sorts of incredibly decadent chocolate desserts. Theses days they come with a cost.  ::)


25
What if I ask my wife to bake us something chocolate, will I get some answered then?

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