The more they stay the same. Which is another way of saying always read the fine print, be prepared to zig when you really want to zag, and always do your research. In other words, today’s post is going to be a bit of a hodge-podge of topics that I came across last night and this morning when doing my research for today’s post.
Let’s start with Amazon–and, no, this is not an invitation to blast Amazon just because it is Amazon.
First is the good news for indie authors. Amazon has finally decided to take action to combat the quick read and return strategy that has been advocated by certain folks over on Book Tock and other sites. If you aren’t familiar with this, some people (and I use that term loosely) advocated that their followers buy e-books from Amazon, read them in a day or two and then return them for a refund. Under Amazon’s policies, this was allowed without explanation. I started noticing an uptick in returns about four or five months ago. It never hit me as much as it did some authors, primarily romance authors, but it was still concerning.
Amazon finally listened to authors and groups representing authors and announced it would be changing its return policy for e-books.
The planned change will go into effect by the end of the year. Any customer who wishes to return an ebook after reading more than 10 percent will need to send in a customer service request, which will be reviewed by a representative to ensure that the return request is genuine and complies with Amazon’s policies against abuse. This process will create a strong deterrent against buying, reading, and returning ebooks within seven days, and readers who attempt to abuse the return policy will be penalized under Amazon’s policies.
Let’s hope this slows the abuse of the system down some. While I don’t want to assign ill-will to readers who did this, they need to understand that Amazon is not a lending library. When they “buy” a book, read it and then return it for a full refund, authors are the ones who get hit financially. If that book isn’t in KU, there is a good chance it is available for download from sites like Onedrive, which means the book can be borrowed and returned and the author still gets royalties from it.
Also from Amazon is news of a new Kindle coming out in a little more than a month. The Kindle Scribe will still be an e-ink ebook reader but there’s one big change. This will be the first Kindle where you can use a stylus to make notes on e-books you’re reading, PDFs, and other document formants. Unlike the Remarkable 2 and some of the other e-ink tablets that allow handwriting, annotation, and purport to be e-readers as well, this looks like it will do both functions well. The one drawback is there doesn’t seem to be handwriting-to-text conversion upon release. But that should come. The Scribe also differs from the Remarkable 2 in that it will be backlit–a big drawback, imo, for the Remarkable tablets (and I love my Remarkable).
The Scribe will have a 10.2″ screen. That makes it the largest Kindle currently available. It will also have more lights than any other Kindle, even the Oasis, at 35. Whether the Scribe will live up to expectations remains to be seen but I’m excited to see what it can do.
Next up, AI-generated art. Several of us, myself included, have blogged here about apps like Midjourney to create art. We have also given warnings to be careful because of potential copyright issues going forward. Along this line, Getty Images has joined a growing number of sites to ban AI-generated images. So, if you are going to be using Midjourney or similar apps/programs, be sure you read not only that app’s terms of service but the TOS for wherever you are posting the image(s).
As noted at The Passive Voice, such copyright challenges will probably occur sooner, rather than later. I don’t doubt it because I have seen too many images where someone wanted to create a science fiction scene and the space ship is much too similar to something out of Star Wars or the female character shown is FemShep from Mass Effect. So be wary, be careful, and read the ToS.
Finally, going back to a frequent topic here: book covers. This is something that’s been on my mind for a couple of weeks and came to the forefront yesterday when one of the other authors I follow did a discussion on YouTube about covers. I was going to link to it but, duh, lost the link in my pre-caffeinated state. But, never fear, Written Word Media had pretty much the same list as the video did.
Please take a few minutes to review the article. Remember that what sells your books for the most part these days are the cover and the blurb. So here are a few reminders about your blurb as well:
- Make sure it grabs the attention of the reader and makes them want to read the book. The blurb isn’t a synopsis of the book. It is a tease.
- Make sure you don’t have any spelling or punctuation errors in the blurb.
- Make sure you have white space between paragraphs. Nothing bothers me more than seeing a multi-paragraph blub without spacing between paragraphs. It tells me the writer didn’t take time to proof the product page and makes me wonder if they bothered proofing the book.