I’m going to admit right off the bat that my brain is not fully functional, at least not for much more than caring for Mom. One week ago today, she had reverse shoulder replacement. She’s doing great, especially considering her age. By day two post-op, she’d cut the pain meds down to half. By day four, she cut them out entirely except for at night. The problem is she is right-handed, profoundly right-handed and it was her right shoulder they replaced. So, for the next five weeks or more, that arm is in a sling and she can’t use that hand for much more than holding her cellphone. She hates asking for help. I am trying not to hover too much and I am once again sleeping–or not–like I used to when my son was a toddler.
But that also means I’m out of the loop about what’s going on in the world of publishing. Well, not exactly out of the loop but what I have been privy to isn’t for pubic consumption–yet.
So that leaves me with what to write about today.
First off, for those of you who have published your print books through Createspace, Amazon is finalizing the migration of those books to KDP Print. Check your dashboards. There is a very simple, three-step process to import the books and link them to the e-books and audio books you already have.
However, while making the migration, take a hard look at the print books (hell, do it with the e-books as well) and see if you need to update your covers, change anything with the interior, etc. This is the perfect time to do so. Also check your blurbs, your key words, sections, etc.
Now, this could be the shortest post I’ve ever done but I decided to check out KBoards, something I haven’t done in a while. One of the topics that caught my eye started with a post that said something like this: “I got scared when I read about Amazon removing books and closing accounts because of KU problems. These authors were innocent and I didn’t want to become the next victim. But now my income has been slashed dramatically. Whatever should I do?”
After I quit rolling my eyes, I scanned some o the comments. They run the gamut of “evil Amazon” to “go wide” to “follow the rules and you don’t have to worry”. The problem is, the author starting the thread did what so many others did at the time. They knee-jerked in fear. They saw how some authors were caught up by mistake in Amazon’s latest round of purges and panicked. They either didn’t trust themselves to be following the Terms of Service or they didn’t think they could spare the time to fight for their rights. All they saw were the “Amazon is evil” and bought into it hook, line and sinker and fled the ship without first checking to see if there was a lifeboat available.
Here’s the thing, mistakes on both sides are going to happen. But you as an author have to treat this as a business. You need to make sure you are following the rules (the ToS) and you need to regularly check to make sure you know what those rules are. Then you need to do your market research. Find out how your genre and sub-genre of books sell on the other sites. Most of all, when the horror stories begin, don’t buy into them without doing your own research. What you don’t need to do is panic at the first sign of possible trouble. If you do, the battle is already lost.
Another thread caught my eye as well. A new author posted about receiving a 2-star review complaining about how they needed a proofreader due to all the problems with the book. Most indie authors have received reviews like this at least once. What made this one stand out was the author in question followed the “Amazon Customer” link for the reviewer and discovered something very interesting. The reviewer is an author as well. In fact, they are an author in the OP’s genre.
The OP, wondering if they smelled a rat, then checked out the OP’s author page and clicked on one of their books. Seems like the reviewer was in sore need of a proofreader–and more–themselves. So was this a case of “do as I say, not as I do” or of jealousy? Who knows. More to the point, it doesn’t matter. That sort of behavior is what drives authors crazy when they are on the receiving end of it. As for the reviewer, it is bad form. It makes you look like you are trying to torpedo another author.
So what do you do if you see a book in need of help? As an author, especially if I know the other author, I will drop them an email or PM them and ask if they’d like some feedback. I appreciate it when I get that sort of information. Even though I have an editor and someone who proofs my work, things slip by. If you, as an author, aren’t convinced, I have a challenge for you. Go back to one of your earlier works. Preferably something that’s been out for several years and that you haven’t looked at for at least a year or more. Open it up and read it with a critical eye. I guarantee you that most of you who do will find not only proofreading errors but will find parts of the book or story you’d write differently now than you did then.
As the reviewing author, perhaps you should check your own work before casting stones. There is a reason why most authors I know don’t leave book reviews. Nothing on the internet is anonymous for long. So don’t think you can hide behind the anonymous “Amazon Customer”. Remember that the review you leave will reflect on you, not just as a reviewer but as an author. Don’t become that author behaving badly we’ve seen the horror stories about.
As for what all this means? Simple. Writing is our business. We need to treat it, all aspects of it, as such.
Now, if you don’t mind, Mom is napping and I’m going to do the same. Until later.