Book Sales, Writing Stuff

On Pulling Out KU

It’s been a while, but I’ve got a good reason for it. I always have a good reason for it. Like law school and, as my newsletter subscribers are already privy to, my next book. (Note: I’ll post info on that on my blog later, but if you want information before that sign up to my newsletter)

Anyway, my God, it’s been one hell of a week or two in the writing world, particularly in Romancelandia with the revelation that Cristiane Serruya plagiarized a bunch of romance authors and books (with the count being as I write this,  at least 51 books, 34 authors, 3 articles, 3 websites, & 2 recipes). I’m not really here to talk about that though. I’ve always been the person not to rehash the things that a bunch of others have done much better. So just search #copypastecris on twitter and you can get caught up on the story.

But even though I’m not here to talk about that, the scandal and the surrounding discussion around it, including the current vicious culture of Amazon’s Kindle Store and it’s KU program that allowed something like this to happen, has just confirmed that I need to do something that I planned on doing at some point anyway: Pull out KU and go wide on other retailers.

My intention was never to stay exclusive to Amazon. I’m not really a huge fan of the way KU abuses legitimate authors while allowing scammers and cheaters to thrive and make bank. It did do its job of getting me some visibility and a kickstart which for that, I’m grateful, but that doesn’t mean I have to tolerate the abuses forever. So I think with this latest scandal, it’s about time that I pull out.

So what does that mean? It means that if you have a KU subscription on Amazon, my books will no longer be available for borrowing. You will still be able to get the book on Amazon, but you’ll also be able to get it on Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple Bookstore, and whatever other retailers that I can so readers can choose their favorite store.

The removal from KU also means that I may (I’m still not sure) make All the Little Things a loss leader and make it permanently free or drop the price to 99 cents. I won’t know for sure until I put out this next book, which, again, I’ll talk about more later, but if you want exclusive info before I post on this site, subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t yet.

This post really just serves as a heads up to be honest. Didn’t just want it to happen without notifying readers who may have been banking on borrowing it at some point. ETA: I sent a request to Amazon shortly after posting this asking them to remove all the books as of March 2, 2019, thinking they probably wouldn’t even get to it until this weekend. And literally, a few hours after that they were like, yo! Done. So they’ve already been pulled. Sorry! Didn’t mean for that to be so sudden.

Now to finish this next novel and anxiously wait for 9 a.m. tomorrow and the PokemonDirect Announcement.

I need to vent, Personal Stuff, Random Stuff, Writing Stuff

On Customer Service and Publishing a Paperback…

If you’ve done any work in customer service at any company that has a pretty decent reputation for its customer service like I have, you get really annoyed when you receive a less than stellar customer service experience.

I mean like damn… it’s been like that all week. In everything….

Fair warning that this is a long rantful post. So if you wanna know the gist, skip to the TL;DR at the end.

As you can see in the title, I’ve been working on publishing paperbacks of All the Little Things and All the Uncertain Things. I decided to do a trial run with All the Little Things first on Createspace.

Long story short, everything gets approved by the reviewers, but then I get a proof in the mail and the page numbers are off, not to mention I didn’t like the white paper but that’s not the important part here. The important part is the page numbers. Mind you, that whole process took a week.

So I go save my interior file as a PDF and upload it and fidget with the cover since I changed the pages from white to cream… Createspace promises a 24-hour turnaround but it’s been more like 60-hour turn around so I got ready to wait.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to open a discover checking account for the purposes of separating my writing money from my other money. They needed pics of my license (front and back) to verify my identity so I sent it and waited… Seven days later, no response so I call and ask what was up.

“We need a pic of your social,” says the rep.

“Oh really?” I ask. “And when were you all planning to call and tell me that?”

“Good question. I don’t know. I just see the account manager documented all this. Send the social and call back Wednesday since it takes 2 to 3 business days to process,” says the rep.

Cue me taking slow breaths and rolling my eyes. But the guy was nice and it wasn’t his fault.

Cue Createspace emailing Friday telling me to resize the cover… I do that. Cue early Monday morning Createspace telling me to do it again. So I angrily email them at this point because I’m using their template and following their directions and I don’t know what the hell all those technical design terms mean.

I could wait for them to email me back, but I don’t have the patience to wait a day for them to reply and then another almost 3 days of waiting for them to review it again. So I move on to try KDP’s paperback service. I heard it improved since it started and rumor is Createspace is going to be phasing out paperbacks for indies so I may as well.

I format not just All the Little Things, but All the Uncertain Things for paperback and send it away. It fails review in ten minutes because of the cover…. the problem is, I’m not clear what the problem is because I’ve never had this problem before.

After resending obsessively 3 or 4 (or was it 5) more times in the next hour and sending an email that’s going to take another day to respond to, I hunt the internet for a number directly to KDP.

Thanks to kboards, I figure out you can get to them from Author Central. Which I do. Mind you, I’m already upset on the phone because one 1) their emails about what’s wrong are vague and 2) I had to hunt down a number because, for whatever reason, they don’t want people calling them when they have issues.

After 20 minutes on the phone, I get the answer I needed about the cover. Expand the cover all the way to margins to fill in all the red space on the template to make sure there isn’t a white border when the book is trimmed and that should solve it.

….

THEN WHY THE FUCK DON’T THEY JUST SAY THAT IN THE EMAIL INSTEAD OF ALL THAT TECHNICAL BULL! WHY NOT MAKE THE DIRECTIONS ON THAT TEMPLATE MUCH CLEARER?

And yes, I know I’m biting the hand that feeds me, but I get to do that when said entity hand belongs to is fucking us authors over anyway.

The fix literally took me about ten minutes. And in hindsight, it’s probably what was wrong with the cover on CreateSpace… The problem with CreateSpace is that they accepted a cover just like that with no questions asked. Not only accepted the cover but also overlooked that the page numbers were off after the second half of the book. Way to be so concerned about quality and shit.

Obviously, Createspace is now in my doghouse.

This rant is too damn long as it is, so I won’t get into how my apartment lease workers didn’t send my welcome package after I signed the lease so I didn’t know I couldn’t pay my deposit and prorated rent online…

I won’t get into how All the Little Things now has a paperback, but now it’s showing an inflated price instead of my price by a different seller and now I’m waiting for yet another email response.

I also won’t get into how Discover hasn’t called me back.

Needless to say, my expereince working in customer service has spoiled me.

TL;DR: Createspace’s reviewers and customer service suck. Discover’s customer service is ok, but sucks because they didn’t follow up to tell me they needed more from me. My apartement’s office customer service sucks. And KDP’s customer service sucks too.