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Messages - RPatton

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Newsletter swaps - Yay or nay? (conditions)
« on: September 04, 2019, 08:51:00 am »
I tend to be very cautious now, so usually no. The conditions have to be perfect. And by that, I mean I want references, mother's maiden name, and your second grade teacher has be nominated for the best teacher of the year award five years running.

I got bit hard by doing a promotion with authors who I naively trusted (and who knew exactly where my ethics fell on the spectrum). So basically, those four or so authors burned me for doing any kind of swapping without me doing some serious digging and if there's even a whiff of a relationship (no matter how loose) with anyone I know to be shady, I walk away. For a while, even doing a swap on Bookclicker was enough to black ball an author.

Writers' Cafe / Re: New book review service (Free option)
« on: September 03, 2019, 10:18:21 am »
I'm not so sure about this answer as it relates to KU. Yes, Amazon does allow authors to give away review copies. But if one is in KDP Select, then, unless I'm mistaken, an author would need to give away their ARC copies BEFORE they join.

Here is the actual section from KDP (Bolding is mine):

When you enroll an eBook in KDP Select, you're committing to making the digital format of that book available exclusively through KDP while it's enrolled in the program. You can continue to distribute your book in physical format or in any format other than digital.

All content enrolled in KDP Select must remain for sale through the Kindle Store only. If the digital version of your book appears to be available for pre-order, for sale, or for free elsewhere (such as on your website or blog, or a third party’s website), it is not eligible for KDP Select. Adding new content (such as bonus content, author's commentary section, etc.) to a book that's available elsewhere will not satisfy the exclusivity requirements. See the KDP Select Terms and Conditions for complete exclusivity requirements.

However, you may choose to make up to 10% of your book available on other sites as a sample, as well as continue to distribute your book in physical format (including print on demand books), or in any format other than digital. 10% is roughly the length of the Kindle Free reading sample.

You may also provide professional reviewers with a copy of your book via email for the purpose of editing, proofreading and helping with other quality improvements. See the KDP Select Terms and Conditions for more information. When you enroll a boxset in KDP Select, none of those books can be offered elsewhere.


Please note that if your site lists these books 'for free from author' that appears to be against this exclusivity ruling. Also, the last paragraph granting rights to give a copy of the book to PROFESSIONAL reviewers in no way states for the purposes of review. Again, I'm thinking to stay safe, an author would need to go thru this process BEFORE going into KU.

That being said, this looks like an awesome resource for authors and I thank you for making it available! I may be contacting you to put my next book up--prior to it going live though.

That only applies to sales. Several different people have received confirmation from Amazon directly that it is okay to distribute a limited number of review copies even if the book is available in Select. You can also offer to give away a book for free through your newsletter if it is in Select. What you can't do is offer it publicly. As long as the group receiving the copy of the book is in a closed/limited group, there is no problem.

I have no problems with links going to my sign up form. It's through Mailchimp at the moment, and has been like that for years. This is what everyone I know has been doing, without issue.

This is something not actively enforced, but I imagine it's something they might do in the future.

Writers' Cafe / Re: KDP print sizing
« on: September 02, 2019, 08:36:24 am »
Just out of curiosity, what's the difference in trim size and what did you set your margins at? If it's the difference between 5.25 x 8 and 6 x 9, then that's an operator error. If it's only slightly different from the set trim size, that's an expected variation.

POD printing has a lot of variation so sometimes it's easier to adapt formatting to those variations. Ingram sets the minimum safe space at .5". (I say it's because the trimmer they use is sentient and has an intense hunger for paper spiced with ink that can only be satisfied by a to tight trim.) KDP/CS uses less for their minimum. It's why we see such tight margins in Indie trades. If you treat KDP books as having a .5", there's more room for over trimming.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Wide Boxsets who has them? = )
« on: September 02, 2019, 08:14:48 am »
I already have a Bookbub. I have book one free later in the month on a Bookbub feature deal. The series is 4 full length novels.

Put the box set together, then in the back matter of book 1 include a link to the next book in the series or the box set.

If you are wide and have 3 or more books, I don't think there's a compelling reason not to put together a box set. I also think it's sometimes nice to include a little bonus in a box set. Either an extended epilogue, something you might have for your newsletter, or an "interview" with the main character. But then, I don't think of box sets as just a collection of books in a series. For me, it's a special edition with all the books in one volume and I want to make it special.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Back matter connecting new books
« on: September 01, 2019, 06:54:01 pm »
There is no hard set rule on what qualifies as a new edition, except it has absolutely nothing to do with changes to the back and front matter. A new edition signals to the reader that the book content has changed significantly, and not just adjusting formatting or fixing typos. A significant change includes (but not the only reasons) adding or removing a chapter. In nonfiction it could be correcting outdated information (but not errata, which is easily handled by a list at the end).

As far as the 10% goes, I think you are thinking of the "bonus content" rule. According to Amazon, a book must end at the 90% or greater mark. Since ebooks don't really use pages the way we think of them, you can't gauge by pages. My recommendation is to update the files then check the previewer to see where the last line of the book ends. 90% or higher, you're fine. I have heard of people dinged with a book ending at 88%, so I would recommend erring on the side of caution.

Also, it's not only KU books that need to comply with no more than 10% backmatter/bonus. All books published through KDP have to follow that rule.

I'm just getting started setting up a mailing list. I thought that putting a link to your list signup in the back of your books was standard practice, but now I'm hearing that Amazon does not want you to put in a link to any form that requests an email, which a landing page obviously does.

However, the rules do say that you can post a link that offers relevant content to the book, which you can offer through a reader magnet via your mailing list. So...which rule reigns supreme? Anyone here have links to their mailing lists in their books who can tell me how it's going?

My understanding is that as long as the link goes to a landing page and not the form, it's okay.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Wide Boxsets who has them? = )
« on: August 31, 2019, 06:24:12 pm »
We're talking about digital only "boxes", and I've heard that lately Amazon doesn't like digital only books being called that.

I know they won't let you label a print collection as a box set, but hadn't heard about digital getting hit.

I suppose it makes sense, since box sets make me think of separate books and not multiple books in one volume.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Google Play pricing
« on: August 30, 2019, 10:02:10 am »
There's no increase, there's a currency exchange based on the current exchange rate, or you can price it yourself in the correct currency for the region.

So if I price a book at $2.99 US for the world, Google takes that price, converts it to other currencies and puts it on the market for that price. Or... I can can price according to country or region, taking the current exchange rates and VAT into consideration.

Most people have profiles set up for regions. I use US (USD), UK (GBP), AU (AUD), CA (CAD), EZ (EURO), and World -US, -UK, -CA, -EZ (USD). (Note: if using a spreadsheet, using USD twice can cause issues). This way I can keep my prices consumer friendly.

If you set your price for 2.99 USD for the world, it won't discount in US, CA, or AU, but will for the rest of the world. So it will take 2.99, convert to local currency, then discount the price.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Contemporary romance authors
« on: August 27, 2019, 06:09:51 am »
Hi there. I'm a traditionally published children's author in the UK, but plan to launch a series of romcoms as an indie. Does anyone know if there's a romance authors' community on here or anywhere else?

More than happy to answer any questions about trad publishing btw ...

Many thanks.

There are plenty of Romance authors around here, but Romance Divas is probably one of the better Romance forums.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Audible Captions lawsuit
« on: August 25, 2019, 06:05:56 am »
Screenwriters went on strike because they weren't getting paid for DVD episodes. (The strike killed quite a few promising series that came out that year.) Writers should get paid for their work, regardless of how that work is presented. And if the terms change after they agree, then they should be able to opt out.

Audlbe can caption all the books they want, as long as the authors are either compensated for their words appearing in another media or able to opt out.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Audible Captions lawsuit
« on: August 24, 2019, 10:17:19 am »
So I don't get this... the ADA basically says that certain actors have to make things available to everyone. For the hearing impaired, this includes closed captions for TV shows (There's also captions for visually impaired that describes the action). But that's because there isn't something already in written form. Before audio books became a thing, they were a program for the visually impaired started by the US government.

There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to have captioning on an audio book because there is a print version already available.

The only thing I can think of as for why it was suggested, is the amount of TV shows where people are turning on CC because they are having trouble understanding the dialect. But again, there isn't a print version that a TV follows exactly. I think I get what they were thinking, but at any time someone should have raised their hand and said, 'yeah, no, and here's why...'

My understanding is that the entire front matter is counted towards the 10%. It's why many of us have limited front matter, so as not to reduce the actual story that shows. I'm uncertain whether they count the cover image they insert, I know it was worked out by someone years ago how things like this work.

So, in the looking at other things, I realized that the 10% isn't word based if there are images involved. If you have an image in the front (cover or graphic for something else) it represents a larger percentage of the book than just words in the same space. If it doesn't make sense, break down the idea of words even further to bits of data. An entire book consists of X bits and the look inside represents .10x bits.

Writers' Cafe / Re: KDP Ebook stuck in draft pending Select review?
« on: August 23, 2019, 10:14:09 am »
This is hard to answer because we don't know the subject or genre of the books. If you are writing erotica, it could be a content issue. If you aren't and they are relatively clean, it's probably a glitch. Too many unknown variables means it's hard to diagnose the actual problem and offer helpful advice.

Fairly certain the 10% takes from the entire book, so all of front matter counts.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Has anyone ever tried this? (cover question)
« on: August 23, 2019, 10:08:16 am »
I was checking out some pre-made covers just for fun and started to wonder; does anyone ever buy a premade cover, and then write a novel backwards, inspired by the cover image?

It's risky, because you might buy a cover and then not be able to come up with anything good, but it just seemed like a really cool way to generate ideas. Has anyone done this who can share their results?

It happens a lot more than you think. I have a few covers just waiting for a book to be written. Something about the cover called to me and I picked it up.

For some people looking through premades is a hobby and that leads to inspiration. I also know of a lot of authors who grab covers without having books for them because something about the cover calls them. In fact, I hit a little stumbling block and looked through the portfolios of my favorite cover artists to get past it.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Bookbub has a competitor now?
« on: August 22, 2019, 01:24:30 pm »
I ran a YA fantasy with them as well as a contemporary romance. Both had about 67 downloads. It cost $200 at the time. That was for the main list. I also ran those books on their genre lists (The Portalist and A Love So True) which performed even worse per ad dollar spent. It's possible with sell-through to the rest of the series that I actually broke even, but definitely not something that happened immediately. Looking at the dates now this was in 2017 so maybe they've improved since then.

Yeah, definitely not worth it.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Bookbub has a competitor now?
« on: August 22, 2019, 06:46:22 am »
I looked into them a while back but couldn't even figure out how to apply.

For me it's not fully disclosing prices for genre only newsletters. If someone doesn't tell you the price up front, there's usually a reason why.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Amazon and Ingram Spark
« on: August 21, 2019, 07:04:18 am »
From what I was told, retailers would not wide distribute a book (print or ebook or otherwise) with an amazon assigned ISBN ONLY.

Unless the book was really popular, and it's being talked about all over town, a Createspace/Amazon KDP Print book without an ISBN, is not going to be featured on other bookstores. Even if it would be, the publisher would be "Amazon or Print Publishing". etc. I don't know about you, but I would like to see my own company or print name on the sell page. Bah. However, Whether this is ebook or print. Maybe the rules have been changed, and I'm misinformed. I stand completely corrected then.

No I'm not confusing this with the amazon select ebook terms at all. That's a whole another issue.

If the author wishes to use other free printing services that don't require ISBNS (like Barnes and Noble Nook for example etc.) then that's that. Again, that's an exception.

This is categorically false.

Other online stores carry print books under Amazon's expanded distribution and have since the Create Space days. Getting them  into a brick and mortar store is far more difficult. And at least in BN's case, they want to see X number of print books sold online before they are willing to consider carrying them in the store.

This is how the ISBN system works and how Ingram plays a huge role in that system.

ISBNs identify not just a book, but the publisher of that book. The more ISBNs you buy, the cheaper they are. Amazon uses the same ISBNs as everyone else, including BN, D2D, and anyone else who offers "free" ISBNs. They can do this because they are buying an ISBN for a dollar, if that. Amazon owns those ISBNs and is the publisher of record. If someone is selling only on Amazon, it doesn't matter, but when using Expanded Distribution it can matter if your goal is to get into brick and mortar stores. If that isn't your goal, then again, it doesn't matter much.

Amazon is not a POD Clearing house the same way IS is, so they outsource ED to IS. That means your books showing up on BN are showing up because its in the IS catalog because Amazon added it when you selected ED.

Using your own ISBN is a business move and is helpful so that there is not the exact same book out there with 3 different ISBNs, but it doesn't help getting your print book listed on BN.

And every print book that is sold through a store requires an ISBN. BN requires an ISBN. The only times an ISBN is not required is when the publisher clearly states that the book is being used for personal reasons (family cookbook, memorial book, whatever).

KDP Print books can also have that "out of print" or "limited stock" message as well. This usually only last for a week if that, and more stock is printed. Ingram Spark/Lightning Source doesn't play like that. They print books really fast, and offer overnight shipping if you like.

While I don't doubt this is possible, I have never seen it. I have seen the delays or limited stock, but usually only during holidays. The point of POD is that Amazon doesn't keep X number of books available for every book. They'd never include that banner because it was hit at least 3/4ths of the books available for sale.

You can call amazon customer service (or email, whatever), and the sale pages will automatically be merged if it's the same title and edition, unless it's an abridged version, or translated version etc.

It still doesn't solve having multiple editions of the same book. Sleeping Cat's advice most closely follows best practices for self-publishers and is good advice that several other very successful self-publishers share with others and follow themselves.
That's a solution to that, which I assumed everyone knew about.

Writers' Cafe / Re: A potential competitor to KDP select?
« on: August 20, 2019, 06:29:06 am »
Either way, I can't see Google's eBook rental presently doing much for indies, until they either extend the 'rental' period, or open it up to indies more, or both.

This is pretty much a move made with Trad books in mind and has nothing in common with KU other than the "borrower" not having permanent access to the book.
If I have to wait months for a hot ebook from my library and don't really want to spend 14+ dollars for it, I'd rent it for a few weeks for a few dollars. Or maybe I'm going on vacation and have the print version of a book, but don't want to lug it around? I can rent it for a few weeks and not worry about giving up any carry on space.

It's not worth it for all books, or even most books, but I could see using this for some situations. Especially since the book probably won't be available on Amazon.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Protecting against piracy
« on: August 17, 2019, 06:13:22 am »
The other thing about piracy is to just quit worrying about it. They're "stealing" ebooks, which cost you... how much, exactly?

But they could have been sales.

Maybe. Maaaaaybe. Likely not. People who pirate don't buy.

Regardless, there is nothing you can do about it except play ring-a-roses whackamole. It gives you anxiety and stomach ulcers and it's just not worth it. The meds are too expensive for one. It also makes you a miserable person to  be around.

A great study was done in the UK (without any grants from the MPAA or RIAA) showing that pirates, as a group, actually spent more money per year on digital content than non-pirates. They also displayed higher levels of loyalty and forgiveness. When it came to making recommendations, they tended toward often, where non-pirates tended toward seldom.

Because the industry doubled down on how bad pirates were, they can't backtrack, but and executive at HBO made an official statement once about GOT being the most pirated show - it didn't impact their sales at all, in fact, the DVD sales exceeded projections.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Email from amazon
« on: August 10, 2019, 09:10:17 am »
How does ignorance make anyone sympathetic? Especially when that ignorance stems from being too lazy to read the contract you signed in order to sell books.

I sure hope no one takes advantage of you at some point and preys upon a vulnerability.

I specifically mentioned predatory "gurus" who are exploiting not only Amazon but people who don't know any better. I'm not saying it absolves them, but a little compassion isn't always bad thing.

Writers' Cafe / Re: KDP account has been 'closed'
« on: August 10, 2019, 09:07:35 am »
It can be for permafree books. The incident one of my books was involved in was a permafree book going from 20 to 5,500 downloads in one day. I contacted Amazon IMMEDIATELY about it and asked them to rank strip it rather than ban me. They were very kind and helpful, and asked me a lot of questions about who I had been advertising with, how many downloads I usually got, had gotten on X day, and other things I can't remember now. They were very detailed and I was glad I had notes. They didn't rank strip me in the end, which was nice.

Yeah, and I agree. I was more responding to a specific post rather than the overall thread. I have heard of more than a few authors who have taken preventative action and reached out to Amazon as soon as they noticed odd behavior.  In all of those cases, Amazon has never once accused them of wrong-doing, but instead took their concerns seriously and looked into it.

The premise that rank bots are unimportant for anyone except KU authors is faulty on just about every level.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Email from amazon
« on: August 10, 2019, 06:51:20 am »
It often goes like this:

"But I didn't do anything wrong."

"Are you strictly adhering to their TOS?"

"TOS? What's that?"

"The digital agreement you signed when you registered with KDP."

"Oh. I didn't actually read that. I just clicked I AGREE."  ::)

There are also a lot of predatory "gurus" out there. One has admitted to having his account terminated multiple times and then causing other account terminations because of his ad management. I've seen some of those same gurus claim everything is fine, when it fact everything is against the TOS.

While ignorance isn't a defense, it should a least make us sympathetic. And what of the people who unknowingly engaged with bad actors? They might find themselves guilty by association for continuing to engage with them over a long period of time.

Not saying anyone is guilty or innocent here, but there might be more than just the account owner willfully or ignorantly breaking the TOS.

Writers' Cafe / Re: KDP account has been 'closed'
« on: August 10, 2019, 06:45:35 am »
I doubt they care as much about rank, which can change hourly anyways, than about reads, which is where the money is actually determined from.

Only those in KU are the ones obsessed with rank, even more so than actual sales.  Wide authors couldn't give a flying bleep bleep about it.  They care more about sales (the money).

You're making a few assumptions here and while some might have been true last year, not so much anymore. With the 10% bonus cap, it's far more difficult to maximize the reward to the risk of using bots for page reads. Instead, you can lower your risk and use rank to gain visibility, which in turn generates organic borrows and reads. Watching a few of the authors who appear to utilize questionable tactics looks as though they are following this approach since the books are too short to maximize on the KENPC.

Another assumption is that (at least this is how I read it), you believe I am in KU and therefore obsessed about rank. I am wide and while I am not obsessed with rank, I am concerned about some of the actors in  my genre. Each time they pull a fast one, they mess with the landscape and while am not fixated on rank, I still rely on certain algorithms to boost my visibility. When those algos are manipulated by multiple publishers/pens in a genre who insist on incorrectly catting books in my cat, then yes, I do care whether they are manipulating rank. Page reads don't bother me because I'm not part of the pot, the page rate is irrelevant to my bottom line. Rank is not as important for wide authors, but yes, it does matter.

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