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Messages - tknite

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1
Hmm.

I just checked my paperbacks on .ca. My prices are as they should be. CAD$ based on US$. 

I'm wondering if looking at it with my Canadian IP makes the difference.

Seems to me that the CA pricing box in KDP doesn't "activate" until you change the price from the default, so if you don't touch it, it'll still do the US to CA price conversion on Amazon CA. However, I'm not sure if you can activate the box by updating something other than the price, so it may very well be that the next time you update any of your paperback books for any reason, the CA pricing box will activate and then your CA prices will be too low. Also, it might activate on its own at some predetermined point in time Amazon has yet to tell us about.

Erring on the side of caution, I would go ahead and just change all the CA pricing boxes to the appropriate CAD number. Which I did. It was annoying, but it looks like amazon pushed through the price changes in a matter of minutes. (Also, my CA prices now look a lot "prettier" on Amazon CA, since they're no longer currency conversions.)

2
Writers' Cafe / Re: Wow, so no one's talking about the new KDP dashboard?!
« on: November 14, 2018, 06:42:33 pm »
The new graph is actually easier to read (for sales), but is there no way to filter which book sales are being shown or is it exclusively just a summary now?

I couldn't find it. I tried clicking on the book cover but it wasn't giving me an option to select a filtering to just show sales report for book 1 or book 2.

That's at the top, where all the dropdown boxes are: Dates, Authors, Books, Marketplaces, and Formats. You click on Books, and then select which books you want to show. This is actually a vast improvement over the current reports, because you can select any combo of books you want and see their sales trends.

3
Writers' Cafe / Re: Thousands of ebooks pulled off Amazon?
« on: November 10, 2018, 01:15:31 pm »
This is not a new "glitch" (and frankly, I'm not entirely sure it IS a glitch, based on my exchanges with the KDP service reps). A few weeks back, there WAS a glitch where random books were showing up as "unavailable" in the US store to US customers. As far as I know, that issue has now been rectified--one of my titles was affected but went back on sale in a couple days--but watching the availability behavior of books over the past couple weeks, I'm becoming more and more convinced that that original glitch was an accident caused by intentional changes to regional book availability that Amazon is currently in the process of making.

When I released my latest book on 11/2, I got emails from multiple non-US readers who frequently purchase books in the US store, telling me that my new release was showing as unavailable to them. Sure enough, when using a proxy server from their countries, the book does indeed show up as "unavailable."

Looking further, I found that if I go to my KDP dashboard, hover over the LIVE indicator, and click through to "See title availability details," my new release (and, in fact, all my books now--because it's SPREADING) are showing up as "Limited Availability" on the US and UK sites. Clicking the dropdown shows that there are numerous countries whose residents cannot purchase my books in those stores, and that includes people from Australia and New Zealand.

Interestingly, the availability of my books in the US store to AU/NZ residents keeps alternating. They were available again the other day, then suddenly switched back to unavailable again today. I have no clue what that's all about, or why the regional unavailability doesn't ever apply to every book in the store, just a seemingly random assortment.

Anyway, after my readers started emailing me, I emailed KDP, and after a bit of back and forth, I got this interesting runaround answer:

Quote
Limited Availability :

As you can see under "Limited Availability "there are few countries where your eBook is not available for sale.

Kindles and Kindle content are currently unavailable in those countries because of country/region specific restrictions, your title is not available on those locations.

We value our international customers and hope to make Kindles and related content available in more locations in the future.

I found that last line particularly interesting, because I know for a fact my books WERE available to people in those regions as recently as a few weeks ago, and I also know for a fact that many books still ARE available to residents from those regions in the US store. It's all very...odd.

Now, I'm not going to claim I have any idea what Amazon is plotting behind the scenes, but I'm struggling to figure out how this unavailability issue, which has now persisted for weeks, can actually be some random problem introduced by a glitch in the system. The longer it goes on, and the more answers like the above I received from KDP, the more I'm convinced this is in fact the result of planned, large-scale regional availability changes on Amazon's part (changes that, like all major Amazon updates, have resulted in glitchy and inconsistent behavior in the stores).

That's my two cents, anyway. I may be totally off base, but that's the best I can come up with.

4
Writers' Cafe / So I started a second pen name...
« on: November 19, 2015, 06:40:43 pm »
Yup. I finally bit the bullet and branched out into a new genre with a second pen name.

My first urban fantasy novel, Soul Breaker, came out today (it's in my sig). :)

My strategy thus far has been not to keep it a secret in any way, shape, or form, as sci-fi and fantasy do have a crossover audience. So I announced the book to my usual newsletters/mailing lists and am promoting in on my Therin Knite social media. So far, I've gotten a decent response. Nobody's complained that I diverged from the sci-fi goodness to poke around in urban fantasy.

So, I guess I'm good to go? Maybe?

I have all my typical pen name stuff set up: Amazon Author Page, website with newsletter sign up, Goodreads author account, etc. Only thing I didn't do was create separate social media profiles for the new name, because that would WAY too much to keep up with. Between freelancing, writing, and blogging, I can't deal with two of every social media account. It's just not going to happen. They'll have to deal with the Therin Knite name.  :P

Anyway, did I miss anything important? Or does anybody with multiple pen names have any tips for managing them? Any challenges you've come across?

Just want to make sure I didn't miss anything that could bite me later.  ;D

5
Writers' Cafe / Re: cover artist
« on: August 31, 2015, 10:05:11 pm »
Hey, I've seen some of your covers around before. You're very talented! :)

6
Writers' Cafe / Re: Print book formatting issues
« on: August 31, 2015, 05:29:49 pm »
Also, what are rivers?

Rivers are when justified text ends up awkwardly spaced, leading to huge white spaces between words. When a whole bunch of lines on the page have these spaces, they look like "rivers" on the page. If you google "justification rivers" and go to images, you'll get a whole bunch of examples.

7
Writers' Cafe / Re: Print book formatting issues
« on: August 31, 2015, 05:21:36 pm »
I do print book formatting freelance, and I generally strike a balance between best typesetting practices and time spent on the book. If I had to spend hours and hours of extra time trying to hit every single typesetting rule and convention, I would have to charge substantially more for my services, which would price many indies out my services altogether.

Many indies aren't willing or able to spend a lot of money on print formatting, since print versions are usually more of an afterthought than anything else. Many indies do paperbacks because it looks professional to have the option -- or they're good for giveaways -- not because they expect a million print sales.

So what I do is make good-looking, genre appropriate layouts/designs, and then place the text as best I can without spending ten years trying to get every little rule in there. My standard is squared-off pages (always) and minimal widows/orphans. I won't let a widow in if it takes up less than half the line, because anything shorter than that sticks out (in my opinion). Also, I use hyphenation, as well as InDesign's justification settings, to avoid rivers.

But really, as others have said, the average reader just isn't going to notice these things. In my opinion, it's a bit of a waste to spend an exorbitant amount of money (more than your book might make back) to get a "perfect" print interior when the average reader isn't going to notice or care that you went out of your way to do so.

As such, my primary goal is to give an author a book with a genre-appropriate interior with good visual appeal. I want it to look good and read well.

8
Writers' Cafe / Re: Trim Size
« on: August 26, 2015, 06:26:36 pm »
How low are you trying to go on retail price here? At 54k, I'd go with a slightly larger font size and a tad more spacing to make the book a little bit bigger, so it seems like you're getting your money's worth. But if you want your book to be fewer pages (i.e., cheaper), I don't think you have much to worry about. 54k will not add up to a very large book unless you skew the font size and spacing to make it larger. At 6 x 9 or 5.5 x 8.5, or even at 5.25 x 8, 54k will not a big book make.

Obviously, if you want it at the lowest possible price, you'd go 6 x 9, but I agree that that would look too thin unless you blew up the font/spacing, which would defeat the purpose of using 6 x 9 by adding more pages. I think you'd be fine using 5.25 x 8, honestly, at 54k, but if you want to make it a few pages shorter, then I guess 5.5 x 8.5 would work, as long as you keep adequate margins and font/spacing. Don't squish it in there will small fonts and nonexistent spacing just to reduce your page count -- it'll become hard to read.

Make sure you keep a good balance between readability and page count.

Anyway, long story short: you can make it work at 5.5 x 8.5 or 5.25 x 8, just by adjusting your font size/spacing/margins. I would avoid 6 x 9 for a book that short.

9
Writers' Cafe / Re: Identifying series order on cover necessary?
« on: August 20, 2015, 04:47:03 pm »
I add book numbers with my shorter series (say, ten books or less), but for something like Echoes, which is really long, I just identify the series. The reading order is specified on my Also By page of every book -- when I actually get enough books out in the series, the series will have it's own reading order page separate from my general Also By page in every installment.

In case you're wondering, the only reason I'm doing it this way is because higher numbers look kinda weird on a cover...

10
Writers' Cafe / Re: TV tropes - did you know about this?
« on: August 12, 2015, 05:38:15 pm »
Oh, Lord. TV Tropes. They need a popup that comes up when you land on the homepage that lets you know you'll be on the website for about 10 years before you find your way back to the rest of the internet.  ;D

11
Writers' Cafe / Re: I thought it wouldn't hurt but... It did.
« on: August 07, 2015, 05:56:40 pm »
I wouldn't really use Goodreads to gauge overall reader consensus of you work, namely because GR is a social media site for books. People don't use GR the same way they use Amazon.

People (myself included) use GR as a way to keep track of reading, including DNFs and books they aren't interested in reading. I've had several people one star my books with no comment -- because they didn't read it. They saw it in a giveaway I was running long before the release date and marked it one star because that's how they mark books that don't interest them. Other people use named book lists. Other people leave comments about why they aren't interested. And so on and so forth.

Anyway, as a result of this social media setup, GR members tend to use a lot more one stars and they tend to be a lot more (and more frequently) vocal about parts of a book they don't like. Because they're not talking to YOU, nor are they really talking to anyone in a "professional" reviewer capacity. They're talking to their fellow reader friends, and they're using their honest thoughts and feelings to do so.

So, don't get too down about GR. It's a whole different monster than Amazon, or any other retail site.

12
Actually, how wide it is seems to depend on your page composition. When I went to one of my books, Solace, it was six books wide. When I clicked on one of yours, I got four books wide because there was one of those Amazon-sponsored book ads on the right-hand side of the page.

Like you, I'm not sure why they made that change, except for perhaps it allows you to look at a bigger selection at a time. If you keep clicking down until you get to the end of the also boughts, you can quickly scroll up and down through the entire list, as opposed to continually clicking the left or right arrows to view a few at a time. Also, it's a tad more obvious that there IS a list, because by default it shows partial covers from the second row.

I'm guessing Amazon is just up to its usual tricks: trying to get more people to buy more books. If more also boughts catch your eye, maybe you'll be drawn to look at more and eventually buy more? -shrug-

EDIT: Oh, looks like it's another test, if some people can't see it yet. Which makes sense...

Here's a screen shot:


13
Writers' Cafe / Re: Do You Make Money From Your Blog?
« on: July 28, 2015, 04:41:41 pm »
Eh, I make a few dollars here and there, but nothing major. I use Amazon Affiliate links and ads by Infolinks. I just link all the books I mention in reviews, highlights, new releases posts, recaps, etc., and then Infolinks just sticks ads around my blog. I just use it as a stream of (very minor) passive income, earning a few bucks here and there as people read through my posts and buy books they're interested in.

14
Writers' Cafe / Re: How long are your chapters? (Poll)
« on: July 26, 2015, 08:29:45 am »
I chose the "varies wildly" option because what I consider a chapter changes for every book. Echoes installments tend to have 3-6k chapters, with 2-3 scenes each. Arcadian Heights books tend to have 5-10k (or more) chapters with a highly variable number of scenes each. Chapter length is largely determined by a book's overall structure, and my book structures tend to change with each series, so...

15
Writers' Cafe / Re: Pen names question
« on: July 25, 2015, 11:35:12 am »
What are the pros & cons of using the same name vs multiple pen names?

The obvious answer to this one is that having multiple pen names requires a lot more effort when it comes to social media -- if you intend to keep your pen names wholly separated from each other. You need multiple accounts, one for each pen name, on all the social media you use. So multiple Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc., etc. That's quite a lot of extra work, especially if social media presence is a big thing for you.

If it's not that big a deal for your sales strategies, then multiple pen name accounts might not be a huge concern.

For those who write under multiple pen-names, how wide do you run with each pen name. Do you only exclude genre with obvious conflicts - for example erotica vs sweet romance, or do you run with a separate pen name for narrow sub-genre?

I use a separate pen name when there's a significant genre and STYLE difference. I have two science fiction pen names, one for my sarcastic sci-fi thrillers that take place in futuristic settings (so, a pretty specific genre setup), and one for (MUCH) less sarcastic, more speculative-type, epic length work, including space opera and metaphysical/visionary epics of various SF sub-genres, that run about 120k or more.

I have a third pen name for contemporary crime thrillers.

However, none of those pen names are a "secret" to my fans. I announce books for all three via my Therin Knite social media and such. The only reason the different pen names exist is for branding purposes. I feel the need for there be a clear delineation between books with very different themes and tones -- while some of my audience will surely cross over between two or all three pen names, a significant chunk of them will NOT. I want there to be a clear indicator to my fans, present and future, which of my book represents the genre(s) they read.

I don't want somebody picking up a epic, solemn-toned, 130k space opera novel, thinking it's going to be in any way similar to a snark-filled 90k Echoes installment. There are very clear stylistic differences involved here. I want to make them easy to identify, so that all my fans can pick the books that work best for them without any confusion.

16
Writers' Cafe / Re: How much do you pay for your book covers?
« on: July 18, 2015, 05:38:22 am »
Well, people have already told you that it varies, a lot, but here goes:

For my Therin Knite name, I first started with covers that cost less than $200, but now I've moved to a designer who's about $300 per book cover (print included). For a different pen name, I've also recently commissioned custom illustrated space opera covers that are about $900 a piece. Finally, I have several very pretty SFF pre-made covers I've "collected" (most of which I haven't used yet) for less than a $100 a piece; those I intend to use for shorter works or stand alone novels.

17
Writers' Cafe / Re: 'Liking' reviews on Goodreads
« on: July 13, 2015, 07:22:20 pm »
I only like reviews by people on my friends list -- AKA, your review shows up in my activity feed, and I like it the same way I like all your other reading activity. If you're not on my friends list, then no, I don't like your review. I feel it's kinda creepy to let a reader who's had zero contact with me know I'm WATCHING them like Big Brother. I do read all my reviews, sure, but I don't engage in any contact with people who haven't established contact with me.

If you've indicated you want contact with me, by friending me or emailing me or commenting on my blog posts, etc., I'll respond by liking your reviews and commenting on your blog posts and retweeting your tweets and all that sort of stuff. Of course, I won't just respond to stuff related to me. I'll respond to your activity in general...which may include things about me.  ;D

But, no, as a rule thumb: No prior contact from them equals no contact from me.
 

18
Writers' Cafe / Re: CS formatter?
« on: July 11, 2015, 02:28:12 pm »
I do book interior formatting. (My website link is in my signature.) What kind of formatting are you looking for? Basic formatting, or something a little more special?

20
And speaking of cover changes... Someone was talking about GoodReads in another thread... My novels over there still show the old covers, and I have NO IDEA how to change it. Months ago, I THOUGHT I'd contacted someone about changing it, but nothing ever happened, so maybe I did the contact wrong or something?? Any clue how to fix that?

You can't actually change GoodReads covers once a book is out. (They only make exceptions if you haven't distributed ANY books with the old cover.) You can only create another version of the book. GoodReads tracks all different versions and editions of books, so once you've got one out with a certain cover, they won't let you delete that listing. You just create another one with the new cover and combine editions, so you end up with a list of multiple editions that people can click through to select the edition they own.

You can just add new listings for your books with the new covers. :)

EDIT: Forgot instructions. To add a new edition, you go to the book page. Above the "Get a Copy" buy links menu, there's a little teeny menu in green that says "all editions | add a new edition | combine." Just select "add a new edition," fill out the book info, and upload the new cover (on the far upper right of the new books form).

21
I agree with everybody else: the last one. The stars look really odd in the other one.

22
Still says pre-order here in the US (east coast). It must be a rollout -- says your book comes out July 6th, AKA about three hours from now in my timezone.

23
Writers' Cafe / Re: Have You Posted to Your Blog Recently?
« on: July 03, 2015, 08:09:25 am »
I'm finally starting an ARC mailing list. :)

http://tknitewrites.com/want-free-books-sign-up-for-my-arc-list/

24
Writers' Cafe / Re: A little late, but, ah...First Sequel Experience!
« on: July 03, 2015, 07:56:07 am »
Thanks, everybody! :)

Hmmmm... more echoes! Grats mate. Cover artist name please?

Oh, and cover artist is Adam at http://www.aroundthepages.com/index.html

25
Writers' Cafe / A little late, but, ah...First Sequel Experience!
« on: July 02, 2015, 04:09:13 pm »
Yeah, so this is about a month late, but...

I finally got my first sequel out! :D

-drumroll-

May I present you with Epitaphs (Echoes #2)!



Echoes #1 was my debut novel, released at a point where I knew just about nothing about self-publishing and was totally stumbling around in the dark. Now, a little wiser as to the ways of the publishing world, I released Epitaphs with an actual battle (read: advertising) plan.

Firstly, I got my Echoes cover redone (which reminds me I need to update my forum signature) and created a new overall series cover style that I plan to follow through to all the subsequent series books.

Then, I did a really big promo push for Echoes directly after the release of Epitaphs -- if you subscribe to a number of different bargain book newsletters, you probably saw it multiple times -- and, as a result, I managed to hand off a little over 300 copies of Echoes in 2.5 weeks. A personal best for me. By a longshot.

I also had immediate sell-through of Epitaphs that added up to roughly 25 copies. I'm hoping to see more trickle in as some of those Echoes sales pay off. :)

As of now, my promo plans have died down, and Echoes is back to a $2.99 price point, with Epitaphs at $3.99. I'm planning to get out Encodings (Echoes #3) sometime around Thanksgiving or Christmas, at which point Echoes #1 will finally go permafree.  ;D

So far, my sequel experience has been largely positive, thanks in no small part to you guys here at Kboards. You taught me all sorts of tricks, like mailing lists and giveaways and which ad sites are the best. If it wasn't for you guys, I probably would have fumbled the ball again like I did with Echoes originally.

If you guys have any thoughts about things to do between now and the release of Echoes #3 in a few months, I'd love to hear them. I'm always up for some more pointers.

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