Don’t Muddy Your Brand

Thought for the dayMy teen-aged son loves to attend truck pulls at exhibitions. He only has his beginners, but he’s itching to get behind the wheel and has created elaborate schemes that would see him get there before he has his full driver’s licence. He has yet to successfully carry out a scheme, but his mind is always working on it.

The videos he captures at these truck pulls are mashed together and posted to his YouTube channel. After a big pull at the end of August, I told him I’d share his link on my Twitter feed, thinking I’d be helping him spread the word so he’d have more subscribers and more views.

“You can’t do that,” he said. “You’d muddy my brand.”

For a guy who has no problem getting muddy on his four-wheeler, he had a real problem with mud on ‘his brand’. He knows little about marketing – or does he?

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No One is Surprised: CreateSpace Closes and KDP Print Takes Over

Amazon CreateSpace KDP PrintBetween putting the laundry in the washer and hanging it on the line and while I was making pancakes for my youngest child, washing dishes and waiting for the buzzer on the oven to go to indicate the cinnamon rolls were ready for extraction, an email popped up in my inbox.

The subject told me all I wanted to know, and if Amazon thought they’d surprise me, they couldn’t have been more mistaken: CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing to become one service

I didn’t bother opening the message; I was too busy, and I knew what it was all about.

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KDP Print Now Provides Proof and Author Copies

KDP Print ProofA welcomed message arrived in my inbox this evening. Amazon’s KDP Print will now provide self-published authors with the option of purchasing a proof of their book before it goes on sale for the public. The message also stated writers could purchase author copies.

In my post, dated April 17, 2017 (read Amazon’s New KDP Print Feature is Bad News for CreateSpace Users), one of the major drawbacks of KDP Print over CreateSpace was the inability to order proofs and author copies.

CreateSpace marked its proofs with a large “PROOF” across the last page. KDP Print will take this one step further and “have a ‘Not for Resale’ watermark on the cover and a unique barcode but no ISBN”.

I’m not sure why the extra security is needed since proof copies were the same price as author copies and if a proof was good enough, more copies could be purchased. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

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A Sincere Thank You

To everyone who has downloaded the free, Kindle-version of Shadows in the Stone since it went permanently free at Amazon, thank you. It has gone up and down in the standings the past week, reaching as high as 23rd in free Kindle Store.

At the moment, it sits at #43 in the Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Epic category in Canada.

If you haven’t picked up your copy yet to read now, later or some distance year in the future, you can download it from Amazon.ca and Amazon.com.

Every download gives the book more exposure.

Amazon’s New KDP Print Feature is Bad News for CreateSpace Users

The first news I heard about KDP Print was in an email from Amazon on February 15th. Since then, I’ve read articles, blog posts and comments about it and watched the praise given by Amazon for this service dwindle quickly.

In the email, Amazon announced they were making print book publishing easier for writers. They stated, “KDP prints your book on demand and subtracts your printing costs from your royalties, so you don’t have to pay any costs upfront or carry any inventory.”

That’s what CreateSpace does. Sort of. I believe CreateSpace takes the cost of the printing of the book from the sale price, then takes a cut of the royalties. Until I see the numbers and do the math, I am unsure which service will offer a better financial deal for authors.

The message also stated, “It also enables you to receive consolidated royalty payments for paperback and eBook sales. You can view combined reports and manage your print and eBook publishing from one website.”

Except, I’m okay with visiting two sites to get my sales reports. In fact, I prefer CreateSpace’s sales report much more than I do Kindle’s. Kindle’s is not straightforward and too clunky to find answers quickly.

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Books with Table of Contents in the back of eBooks targeted by Amazon

New FlashAmazon is an extremely innovative company – and usually quite responsive to self-publisher’s concerns – but sometimes it gets things very wrong too.

Today is one of those times.

I’ve received several reports from writers threatened with having books removed from sale, and heard even more worrying stories from others who had their titles actually removed from the Kindle Store without notice.

What were these authors guilty of? What crime did they commit for Amazon to adopt such heavy handed treatment? Something completely innocuous: the Table of Contents was at the rear of their books instead of at the front.

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Simple Tips to Make Your Book Description Standout on Amazon

Lessons in Self-publishingConfession: When I uploaded my first book to Kindle many moons ago, dozens of things ran through my mind…

  • Is anyone going to read it?
  • Is anyone going to like it?
  • Will the interior formatting pass Kindle’s inspection?
  • Will the cover be the right size and quality?
  • Did I miss something that will make it not appear on the website?
  • Is the ISBN correct?
  • Am I spelling my name right? (Yes, I worried about this too)
  • Am I choosing the right key words?
  • Is my description good enough?
  • Are there spelling mistakes in the description?
  • Will the power go out before I complete the publishing? (Okay, that’s my worry today because of the blizzard outside.)

Publishing for the first time can be overwhelming. The goal is get the book uploaded and to not get bogged down by unimportant details. Worrying about all these things I listed gave me no mindset to focus on individual aspects of the eBook publishing process.

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Amazon Warning Readers About Mistakes in Your Books

New FlashA few days ago, I read a post by a writer who was deeply concerned by a message she received from Amazon. It caused her to immediately jump into action to solve the problem before one of her books was stamped with a big yellow warning sticker informing readers the book had issues.

A worst case scenario would be this sticker.

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Treat eBooks like Websites and Update them Regularly

eBook UpdatesEach January, I take a few weeks and update my eBooks – all of them.

This doesn’t mean I edit the stories. It means I update the file with new information and refresh what might have gone stale in the past twelve months. I also add details on things to come, such as the release of a book.

How long will it take?

Updating eBooks take less than an hour per book across all venues. It will take longer if you have not gathered the necessary pieces of information or you are unfamiliar with formatting.

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Amazon Reviews

EllsworthWe all know how important reviews are for authors and books. They can help sell a book, and they can help deter others from buying a book. Some authors call reviews the life-blood of sales. However, I’ve visited a few book-sellers’ pages and looked at popular books and found no reviews—not one. I know they sold well, so why wouldn’t they have reviews?

Reviews sell books to a certain audience, but not to the readers who don’t go online and seek reviews.

Readers look to reviews for an honest assessment of the story to help them to decide if they want to read the book or not. When there are dozens, perhaps hundreds of reviews for a book, there’s usually a wide range of ratings. I’ve seen popular books with many four and five star reviews, but they also have one-star reviews. That’s because one book doesn’t please everyone.

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Update on Canada Tax Information with the United States

FREE KINDLE READ:
Shadows in the Stone

Something amazing happened during my seven-month hiatus away from writing: the tax worries and hassles that plagued writing entrepreneurs in Canada had eased. In fact, it’s so darn easy now that no one—absolutely no one—has an excuse for not completing the tax form to prevent the IRS from claiming 30% of your royalties from your books.

More than a month ago, CreateSpace sent a message to update my tax information. I meant to take care of it, but like many things since March, it got lost in the chaos of life. The deadline came and went, but fortunately CreateSpace—who really wants my business—extended the deadline.

If I didn’t update my tax information, I would no longer be able to sell through CreateSpace. They certainly didn’t want that to happen, so a grace period of thirty days was awarded. This time I took advantage of the notice and stayed up late one night to see what the fuss was all about.

The questions were straight forward and easy to answer: Was I a US citizen? Did I have a business in the US? Etc.

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Kindle Revises Payment Plans – For the Better

New FlashI received the following message in my inbox recently. It means that many of us won’t have to wait to reach a certain amount before we are paid royalties for our books.

The message reads

We’d like you to know about an important update to your Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) account.  As of December 16, 2013, the minimum threshold amount has been removed for accounts selecting Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) as their payment method.*  You will now be paid 60 days after the month your royalties are earned without needing to meet a minimum threshold amount prior to receiving payment.

You will receive an EFT payment from KDP for any royalties earned that were previously under the minimum threshold. To see if you have royalties awaiting payment, check your Royalty Reports at: http://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/reports
 
While there is no action necessary, you can review or update your EFT banking information by Amazon marketplace any time, by visiting the “Your Royalty Payments” section in your KDP Account at: http://kdp.amazon.com/account
 
Kind regards,
The Kindle Direct Publishing Team

*Note: The EFT threshold for royalties earned from sales on Amazon.com.br is still R$20 for Brazilian publishers and $100/£100/€100 for non-Brazilian publishers.

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The Results of the Free Promotion

LifeNearWaterComingSoonOver the weekend I ran a promotion at Amazon for Nova Scotia – Life Near Water. It was only the second time I had enrolled a book in the Kindle Direct Publishing Select Program (KDP). The first time was back in 2011.

This time I watched the numbers as readers freely download the anthology to give me an idea of how things worked. Over the course of the three days, my book went from cricket-chirping land (I had published it only a few days beforehand) to number one in Canada in the free anthology category.

Here are the overall results of books downloaded:

United States: 27

Canada: 17

United Kingdom: 6

Denmark: 2

Japan: 1

Only 53 books were downloaded, but that was enough to drive me to the top position in Canada and 458th place overall across all categories. The highest point in the United States had me sitting at 35th in anthologies (6,169 overall).

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Second at Amazon.ca in Anthologies

Wonderful news! Thanks to everyone who has downloaded my first anthology Nova Scotia – Life Near Water the book is ranked 2nd in Anthologies in Canada (Amazon.ca). It’s number 628 overall in the free Kindle store. (as of Sunday September 29, 2013, 1:50 pm Atlantic Time)

SecondinCanadianAnthologies

Thank you to everyone who has made this possible. I appreciate your overwhelming support.

The short story collection ends its Free promotion at 11:59 pm (Pacific Time) today (Sunday September 29th). If you haven’t downloaded the book and would like to, Canadian residence can click here. Those in the United States click here. If you’re in another country, visit the Amazon website designated for there.

I’ve also have downloads in the United Kingdom, Denmark and Japan.

Again, thank you to everyone who has supported me and downloaded my book.

UPDATE: As of 5:25pm Atlantic Time, my anthology is number one in Canada. Wow. This is amazing! Thank you.

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Free eBook Download for Kindle

My short story collection Nova Scotia – Life Near Water is enrolled in Kindle Select, and from now until Sunday September 29th (12pm Pacific Time), it is FREE. The regular price is $2.99. Canadian residents can download it here, and those in the United States will find it here. Thank you for your downloads. Everyone counts. The paperback version will be available soon.

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