Amazon Publishing Tip: Author Name

When  you publish your book on Amazon, be extremely careful with your author name. Be certain of the name you want to use before you publish your first book. Don’t use a slightly different name for your second book.

When you complete the details of the book during the publishing process, enter the name exactly as you want to use it for the rest of your publishing career. While you can jump through hoops and spend time discussing the matter of changing it with Amazon, save yourself the hassle and do it right the first time.

When I say enter the name exactly, I mean exactly. Understand that Amazon sees your name as it would a file name. Diane McGyver is not the same person as Diane Lynn McGyver or Diane L. McGyver or Diane L McGyver or Dr. Diane McGyver. No, I’m not a doctor. I’m using this as an example.

When you use exactly the same name, the computers at Amazon automatically link your books and create an author page with your author biography and a list of your books. Readers will find all your stuff in one location.

Amazon will not link Diane McGyver with Diane L McGyver. Readers will click on Diane McGyver and see books only published by her, not Diane L. McGyver.

If you make a mistake or tweak your name, you cannot change it in the detailed information. It, like your title, is permanent. Unless you go through the hassle of explaining the situation to Amazon and hoping they will understand and change it.

The easiest thing to do is use the same name from the start.

Kindle Create Issues

On April 1st, I wrote a post about using Kindle Create for the first time. You can read it here: Using Kindle Create to Create eBooks.

The first eBook I formatted with Kindle Create came out exactly as I thought it would. At all stages, the formatting was what I made it to be. There were no surprises. I even bought the eBook as a customer would and opened it with my Kindle App for laptops. All was well.

Yesterday, I used the program to format the eBook for The One We Forgot to Love by Sandy Totten. She hired me to create it and while I could have manually made the eBook, I decided to use the program because it had a few features that made formatting easier and the text more pleasing to the eye.

One benefit of using this program is, the eBook is live within hours, not days. In truth, I usually see an eBook live within 24 hours, but I think it can take up to 72 hours.

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KDP Print Introduces Hard Cover Books

A few weeks ago while signing into KDP, a new feature caught my eye: hard cover books in beta testing. Finally. I’ve been waiting for this for a few years. If you publish your books through KDP, you now have three options to choose from: eBook, paperback and hard cover.

While many still create their books only as eBooks, they should reconsider physical books because that’s the only way some people still read. I’m one of them.

Giving a reader options, possibly one other writers don’t provide, may result in a sale.

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Results for January FREE Book Promotion

My survival and adventure laced with romance novel Northern Survival has done quite well since it’s release in September 2020. I’m using this book as my flagship. It’s a quick read, contains all the elements most of my novels do (survival, adventure, romance) and has been well received by readers.

For the next couple of years, I’m going to focus my promotions on this book to introduce Diane McGyver to new readers, who will hopefully check out my other books. My philosophy at this time is to have one book promoted like crazy that does excellent and leads to my other books instead of spreading my energy thin to promote multiple books. I’ll let you know how it goes.

In the three months it has been available, Northern Survival has sold (as of December 31, 2020) 498 copies and the number of pages read by Kindle Unlimited Members is 21,441 (x $0.0045 = $96.48). Since the book is about 200 pages, that’s about 107 copies read, give or take. Several readers may have read only part of the book and lost interest or was distracted by life.

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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

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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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