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Messages - starkllr

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Writers' Cafe / Re: How long should a cover change take on KDP?
« on: August 12, 2020, 05:32:42 am »
What was wrong and how did you fix it?

The color profile was "sRGB" which is not right, and it needed to be "RGB".  There's a setting in photoshop to define it.  I still don't know what the color profile DOES, but Amazon is happy with it now.

Writers' Cafe / Re: How long should a cover change take on KDP?
« on: August 10, 2020, 06:00:30 am »
I finally did that last night, and they explained what the problem was.  Apparently the "color profile' of the cover files was wrong, which I was able to fix in 30 seconds.

Still, it would have been nice if they'd, you know, communicated that to me some time in the week I was waiting to see them go live.  For a company with cutting edge technology, Amazon kind of totally sucks at communicating when there are issues with your books and what to do about them.

Writers' Cafe / How long should a cover change take on KDP?
« on: August 09, 2020, 08:51:55 am »
So I decided to rebrand one of my series, and I got new covers for the three books (to date) in the series.

I went onto KDP last Monday, August 3rd, and uploaded new eBook and paperback covers on there, and emailed ACX support for the audiobook covers.

As of now, the eBook covers for all three books have not updated on the product pages yet (right now, they're all showing "no image available", not even the old cover), and only one of the 3 new paperback covers is showing.  None of the audiobook covers has been updated yet, either.

This seems...kind of crummy, and ridiculous.  There's nothing even vaguely objectionable or worthy of any human review on the new covers.  Should it really take a week to not even reflect the updates yet?

I've emailed KDP customer service twice (Thursday and yesterday) with no response at all.

To contrast, I'm wide, distributed through Smashwords, and I uploaded the new covers there, too...and by Tuesday morning, I was seeing the updated covers at Barnes & Noble nook store and on Kobo.

Writers' Cafe / Re: IngramSpark Taking a Stand
« on: February 25, 2020, 10:33:55 am »
In theory, this sounds good.  In practice, how will #3 be enforced?

"Books or content that mirror/mimic popular titles, including without limiting, similar covers, cover design, title, author names, or similar type content."

Making your cover look recognizably like the covers of popular books in your genre is the single most common piece of marketing advice I see here on Kboards and pretty much every other place indie authors congregate. 

Writers' Cafe / Re: Any opinions on the American Dirt controversy?
« on: February 06, 2020, 11:42:17 am »
What puzzles me is why a publisher would invest and then spend a fortune to promote something without a detailed marketing plan, including vetting....unless controversy is the publicity they sought in the first place.

I think that's ultimately the reason behind all of this.  Say what you will about the execs and marketing folks at the big trad pub houses, but they are not morons.  I think they - and the author - knew exactly what sort of publicity they would get, and whatever they're saying in public, they're laughing all the way to the bank.

Writers' Cafe / Re: "Why should I care?"
« on: February 06, 2020, 11:36:58 am »
John Rogers (creator of "Leverage" and "The Librarians") has that question as part of his rules of writing:

"Who wants what?  Why can't they have it?  Why should I (the reader) care?  If you can answer all three questions, you'll be a better writer."

Writers' Cafe / Re: Author Beware: My ACX Nightmare with Amazon
« on: January 13, 2020, 09:35:29 am »
I read part of this thread and I have no idea how to use ACX promo codes properly.

A couple of questions still stuck into my mind:
- Could anyone use the promo codes to redeem books other than it was published with?
- How scammer exploit promo codes?

Before the change to the new promo code system last fell, you could redeem any audiobook with a promo code.  You'd shop on Audible, add the audiobook to your cart, and then enter the code at the end to "pay" for it.

Now, the code is very specifically tied to the book.  You don't go to the book's page and add it to your cart, you go to the promo code redemption page, enter your code, and then the book shows up in your cart and it's "paid" for with that code. 

I suppose you could return the book later and get an Audible credit back to use on something else, but i don't know if that actually works or not.

What I personally could use, rather than someone running my marketing and ads over time, is someone/a service that will read a couple of my books and tell me exactly what genre I ought to pitch them as, what (in general at least) the covers should look like, and which well-known authors are comparable matches to me as a starting point for reaching out to find new readers.  Because I have not ever been able to crack that (I haven't written to market and my books straddle the fence of a couple or more different genres).

If I had that info, I'd be in a far better position to try and learn how to make Amazon and/or FB ads work with at least some hope of a positive return.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Is Comic-Con type event promotions worth it?
« on: January 09, 2020, 09:42:52 am »
Just attending the convention, rather than having a vendor table (which start at $3600)? What would you do on-site to promote your book?

It'd be a much better bet to get a table in Artists Alley ($350).  I've considered doing that at my local event (Awesome Con in Washington DC), but what I see as the big problem is that I'm not much of an extrovert, and the idea of having to be "on" for 3 days straight and talk enthusiastically to strangers, 10 hours each day, gives me hives.

Writers' Cafe / Re: ACX promo question
« on: December 05, 2019, 09:20:03 am »
I've done something similar - offering an audiobook of the reader's choice in my monthly newsletter.

What I do is set up a google form with two fields - a fillable box for their email, and a pick-one radio button question listing all my audiobooks so they can pick which one they want.  Then I just put the link to the google doc in the newsletter.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Audible Captions lawsuit
« on: August 24, 2019, 04:42:16 pm »
[quoteI think you're all making a big deal out of nothing. Most buyers won't use the feature, and those that do are probably people who will have a better experience than they would otherwise (hard of hearing or using earbuds in a noisy location, etc.)[/quote]

I agree with this.  I guess I just don't understand who the target consumer for this is.  If you have difficulty hearing and can't adequately hear the audiobook, the Kindle version of the book is pretty much guaranteed to be cheaper than the audobook anyway, so why would you buy an audiobook to hear every third word and read along for more than it would cost to just buy the eBook and read it?  I guess if you have a big audible library and then develop hearing problems it would be  nice to be able to read along and not have to purchase a whole bunch of books you already paid for, but I'm guessing that's a rare situation.

<i>If you want to make this about the differently-abled, a more apt analogy would be for Amazon to put out a Braille version of one of my books as an extra in-house feature, without compensating me for the new edition. It's not okay.</i>

So long as I got paid for sales of the Braille version, I don't think I'd have an issue with that.

Everything still works. It's simply not as easy. The market is maturing. The honeymoon period is over.

This is a good thing.

Not for those of us who are falling farther behind every day as the marketing bar is constantly raised, and the cost and amount of effort to even try to remain visible gets higher every day.  That sure as heck isn't "good" for my bank account balance, or my sanity.

Writers' Cafe / Sendy Questions
« on: April 11, 2019, 05:50:24 am »
In an effort to cut expenses (since sales are basically flat, and I can't justify spending $70/month for mailchimp anymore), I decided to switch over to Sendy.

It's been a process, and a learning curve (a lot more of one than the website, demo and testimonials made it seem, I have to say).

I managed to put together a decent-looking newsletter, figured out the proper settings on my webhosting to create the cron job to allow the emails to be sent, and yesterday around lunchtime I hit "send" on my list of 6,500 subscribers.  I have (per the Amazon SES settings) a send rate of 14 emails per second.  Some quick math tells me that 6,500 emails at 14/second should go out in 474 seconds - a bit under 8 minutes.

It took 8 HOURS for all the emails to finally go out.  And the response from the developer is that I should switch over to hosting on the Amazon Web Services system, because everything is slower on shared hosting such as I have (my website is hosted by Go Daddy; well, a company bought out by Go Daddy a couple of years ago, anyway).

Can anyone who uses Sendy tell me if there's any way to get better performance without switching to AWS (and paying someone to do the install for me, and paying an additional monthly fee for it), so that it doesn't take all day to send an email out to my list?

Writers' Cafe / Re: Baltimore Mayor Busted for selling her own books?
« on: April 04, 2019, 06:17:06 am »
As an author who struggles to sell 100 books a month and hasn't seen a profit yet, I want the Baltimore mayor to rot in prison for the rest of her life for this.


John Smith has a problem. He’s a retired cop whose pension just got wiped out, and he doesn’t know why or how. Now he needs to find a roommate to help pay the bills.

Sam has a problem. He’s a six-foot-tall talking cockroach and he doesn’t know who created him, or why, or how. Now he needs a place to live.

Thrown together as roommates and amateur detectives, Mr. Smith and the Roach realize their problems might be related.

But those problems are far more complicated than they imagined, and before all is said and done, they’ll run afoul of a Russian gangster, an imprisoned Mafia don, a crooked Wall Street banker, a mad scientist and, maybe worst of all, Mr. Smith’s baby sister.

Can they get to the bottom of an unbelievable plot before someone exterminates the Roach – and Mr. Smith – for good?

(only $0.99 this week - special holiday season sale!)

Available on Amazon -
Also at all other retailers -

Writers' Cafe / Re: Have any authors here narrated their own novel?
« on: November 08, 2018, 07:54:48 am »
If I had to listen to my own voice for 10-12 hours straight, I'd kill myself.

So, nope, never narrated one of my own books, never will.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Anybody selling paperbacks after the big move to KDP?
« on: October 29, 2018, 03:48:06 pm »
Forget selling paperbacks - I want to know how anyone even gets one up for sale with this crappy new KDP paperback system.

I've been fighting with it for a week to try and get one stupid 120 page novella up as a paperback, and despite multiple efforts from my cover designer, several calls to KDP support, several emails to KDP support, and several hours wasted, I still don't have a paperback.

Createspace was about a million times easier to work with than this horrible new piece of garbage.

Jeff did a cover for me, for a book that I hope to have out before the end of the year, and it's just fantastic:

Writers' Cafe / Re: Help! My website got hacked
« on: August 15, 2018, 11:40:03 am »
I got hacked a while back (host my own WP installation, and GoDaddy ultimately is the hosting company), and I installed the WordFence plugin, which dealt with the initial problem, and has prevented all further hacks to date:

I also installed WP Hide Login, which replaces the login page with something else you choose (and which theoretically hackers won't guess), and that also works really well:

Writers' Cafe / Re: Any UK authors with audiobooks on here?
« on: August 01, 2018, 11:46:40 am »
True, but then they have to get a separate account, and log out of their US account on their audible app, etc.  Most customers aren't going to do that.

Writers' Cafe / Any UK authors with audiobooks on here?
« on: August 01, 2018, 09:12:05 am »
If you are, maybe we can help each other.

I'm in the U.S. but I have 100+ UK-specific audible download codes, which I can't really do much with.  I'm looking to trade some of them to authors in the UK who may have US-specific codes they might not be able to get much use out of...

Writers' Cafe / Re: Anyone from the US got 2 seconds?
« on: August 01, 2018, 09:10:10 am »
I'm in the U.S. and I'm seeing $0.99

Writers' Cafe / Re: Smashwords - weird metadata error
« on: July 24, 2018, 05:46:43 am »
It wasn't in all caps. 

I trued taking the series title out of the title, in hopes that will fix the problem. 

Writers' Cafe / Re: Smashwords - weird metadata error
« on: July 24, 2018, 05:16:56 am »
I'll try that, thank you!

Assuming that's right, it would have been nice if they, you know, actually SAID THAT in their error message, so I didn't have to be a psychic to figure out what they want me to fix.

Writers' Cafe / Smashwords - weird metadata error
« on: July 24, 2018, 04:41:54 am »
So I uploaded new editions of my books to Smashwords, and I got a message that they need modification to be entered in their Premium Catalog, but I can't figure out what they want me to do:

"• Please format the book title in your Dashboard: Settings to Title Case. This only concerns your Metadata, not your cover image or the interior of your book.

What does this mean?  I can't see anything in the Settings that matches up with that message, so I have no idea what they want me to do.  Can anyone explain it to me (pretend I'm a complete idiot and use words of only one or two syllables, please)?

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