Tag: KDP

It’s here!

Those of you who follow my weekly posts on Mad Genius Club know I tried something new with the print edition of Vengeance from Ashes (special edition with exclusive material). Instead of going with Createspace or one of the other POD platforms available for indie authors, I tried out the new KDP Print option. I did so with a great deal of trepidation. I don’t like change and I really don’t like not having the option of getting a hard copy proof before turning a print edition loose in the wild. Still, I’d heard both good and bad and, well, it wasn’t going to cost me anything to give it a try.

I’ll admit, two things really helped make my mind up. The first was the ease of setting up everything. Basically, all I had to do was have the pdf version of the interior and cover files ready to go. All the information I input for the e-book edition was automatically imported for the print version. No having to go back and forth between pages to make sure everything matched. So that was the first thing going in its favor.

The second and most important factor is price. Doing the print version through the KDP dashboard allowed me to set the price for the book lower than I would have been able to if I went through Createspace or some of the other POD platforms. That means I can price my book more competitively with print books from traditional publishers. That is important.

As for timing, the files were accepted and approved by KDP for the print version in about the same amount of time as I’ve had to wait before with Createspace. However, the time between order and delivery were much quicker. Because I ordered directly from the Amazon product page, and because I have a Prime membership, I received the book 2 days after I ordered it and did not have to pay shipping. That is much quicker than I’d had to wait for a proof to be delivered from Createspace.

Now, this is where the math gets a bit convoluted. Using Createspace, I could order proofs or author copies at a discounted amount. If I remember correctly, the last time I ordered author copies for a book with approximately the same page count as the special edition of Vengeance, it cost $4.99 (give or take a few cents). Then shipping was added on top of that. All totaled, it cost , for a single volume, approximately $9.00 (It was a few cents under that but I don’t remember how much). Because I was ordering author copies at the discounted rate, those copies did not count toward my author ranking, sales ranking nor did I receive any royalties for the sales.

I ordered the book for $10.99. Because I’m a Prime member, I didn’t have any shipping costs added on. I also earned $1.74 in royalties for the purchase. That means my total out-of-pocket for the single copy I ordered was $9.25. That is within the margin I was willing to pay when considering what I had been paying Createspace, especially when the sales actually count for ranking purposes. So far, so good.

A friend of mine who is a very successful indie writer let me know that he has been contacted by Amazon and he does have the option of order proof copies of his print books. My guess is that this is an update to the program they are slowly rolling out. To order a proof, your book must still be in “draft” status and you will pay the printing cost for your book ($4.86 in the case of Vengeance) plus shipping. All Amazon shipping options are available EXCEPT Prime shipping. So, the speed with which you want the proof will impact your overall cost. You can also order up to five copies of your book per proof order.

When that option is available for me, I’ll report on what the final pricing breakdown is.

So, as the title of this post says, I received my copy of Vengeance yesterday. Other than being a bit miffed because the book had not been packed properly — the box we too big and one corner was crimped as a result of it moving around while in transit — it looks good. Here’s a picture.

VfA special edition

For the print edition, click here.

To pre-order the e-book edition (release date next Tuesday), click here.

And the latest news is. . .

Late yesterday afternoon, I wrote a blog post for today. No, not this one. It was written with the hope it might turn into one of those situations where “if you say something/do something, the opposite will happen.” In this case, I was continuing to cover the ongoing problems with Amazon, my frustrations, etc., and trying to figure out what my next step should be. While I can’t say all the problems and concerns have been resolved, it looks like things are getting better and steps are being taken to discover just what can be done to try to alleviate some of the damage done.

Specifically, yesterday after responding to the mind-blowing email from Amazon KDP support asking for more detail about the reason I was upset, I talked with some folks I trust and then I emailed Jeff Bezos. I doubted he would see the email but I hoped it might help clear the logjam I’d been facing. What I hadn’t expected was a call from the woman my email had been forwarded to. We had a nice discussion and I am currently waiting for her to get back with me on a couple of matters.

In the meantime, it does appear that the book has been consistently available for purchase and download since 6pm CST last night. I am still worried about the hit my sales have taken and the number of returns by understandably upset customers who received the wrong file. But at least it looks like the page is now stable — although I will be keeping a close watch on it today to be sure.

Here is where I ask for your help, my friends. If you pre-ordered the book, you should have received an email by now from Amazon saying there is a new file and your copy needs to be updated. I hope that anyone who purchased the book before yesterday, pre-order or not, has received that email. If you have not, will you leave a comment below this post to let me know?

If you did receive the wrong book, whether you received the email or not from Amazon, and you purchased it on the 18th or later, please let me know in the comment section. It will help me when discussing the situation withs Amazon later.

Finally, if you have not received the correct file (and the easiest way to tell is to check the title of the first section of the book. It should be “Grounded”) contact Amazon and ask them to push through the update. Leave me a message when you do. Again, it will help me discuss the problem with them.

One last question, I’ve decided that the best way to thank you for bearing with me through this fiasco is to write something new in the universe. It needs to be something with Ashlyn and company as the leads. It will be either a short story or novella. Here’s your chance to tell me what story you want told. Do you want a prequel sort of story, maybe one that deals with the circumstances leading up to her court martial? Or how about her time as a shiny new Marine? Or maybe how about first joining the Devil Dogs? Or is there another story you would prefer me tell? (No promises I will use a particular suggestion, but this is your story. It will be offered to those of you who have stayed with me during the problems with Honor from Ashes this week. I’m still figuring out the best way to do this, but I want you to have the story first and for free before it goes up on Amazon for sale.)

In the meantime, when you’ve finished reading Honor from Ashes, I’d appreciate it if you would leave a review. Oh, and spread the word to your friends that the book is now available.

Honor from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 3)

War isn’t civilized and never will be, not when there are those willing to do whatever is necessary to win. That is a lesson Col. Ashlyn Shaw learned the hard way. Now she and those under her command fight an enemy determined to destroy their home world. Worse, an enemy lurks in the shadows, manipulating friend and foe alike.

Can Ashlyn hold true to herself and the values of her beloved Corps in the face of betrayal and loss? Will honor rise from the ashes of false promises and broken faith? Ashlyn and the Devil Dogs are determined to see that it does, no matter what the cost.

Amazon tribulations — Day 3. Are they over?

I wish I knew. I am exhausted, frustrated and more than a bit angry over this whole process. You know me. I have been one of Amazon’s biggest supporters, especially when it comes to indie authors. But this week has sorely tested that position. In case you have missed the trials and tribulations, you can catch up here and here.

But here is the short version. On April 9th, I uploaded the final file for Honor from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 3). I did my usual checks of my file before uploading it as well as checking the preview file. I missed one thing — I had inadvertently left the ASIN for Duty from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 2) on the copyright page. Whether that is what started the saga of woe or something else, I don’t know and doubt I will ever find out. Amazon says I uploaded the wrong file. My records say I didn’t. But the ultimate result is that everyone who pre-ordered the book wound up getting Duty instead of Honor. I received notice from Amazon of the problem and that they had removed the book from sale bright and early Monday morning. Within half an hour of seeing the email — and half an hour or receiving it — I uploaded a new file, once I knew had the right data and content. It then took somewhere between 18 – 24 hours for the new file to become available. Except it wasn’t, not for those who had pre-ordered it. They had to call or email Amazon and ask them to push the new version through for them.

What really concerns me comes down to two simple things: the first is the inability to get any solid answer out of KDP tech support about why the snafu happened in the first place and why the product page kept switching between having the book available for purchase yesterday and then saying the book was not available. The second is the fact that you simply cannot talk to a tech support person after 9pm CST. Related to these two is the fact that this snafu has resulted in more returns than any book I’ve written to date as well as a handful of one-star reviews complaining about getting the wrong book. Both of which impact my bottom line, my author ranking and my ability to use certain marketing venues for the book.

Today, Amazon is supposed to call me back. I hope they do but I am not holding my breath. If the call doesn’t come in during the time frame I was given, I won’t hesitate to call them and to escalate to the next level up.

In the meantime, at least for the moment, the product page does appear to be working  If you have tried downloading the book earlier and ran into problem, please try again. If you have downloaded the book and discovered it was actually Duty, please go to the support page and ask Amazon to call you. Explain that you have the previous version and ask them to push through the new version. If you continue having problems, please let me know.

With all this going on, I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to make this right to those of you who have been impacted by all this. What I think I’m going to do is write a new story — whether a short story or novella — in the Honor and Duty universe. I will figure out how to get it to those who have weathered this storm with me so you get a copy before it goes on sale. More on that as the plan details are firmed up.

Finally, if you have read Honor from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 3), I’d appreciate it if you would leave a review. Thanks!

A Cautionary Tale Follow-up

I have now basically lost two days of work because of the problems surrounding the publication of Honor from Ashes. I went through some of them this morning and was hopeful that things were going to get better. For a while, they did. However, over the course of the day, I have been in contact with Amazon, specifically with KDP, three times by phone, multiple times by e-mail, and the problem continues.

Here is the latest:

  • If you pre-ordered Honor from Ashes, you have to call Amazon to get the correct version of the book downloaded to your app or your reader. I have requested they push through the new download but it doesn’t appear that they have been doing so.
  • If you want to buy the book and you go to the product page, you may or may not get a notice that the book is not currently for sale and that the publisher has been contacted. Big wrong there. My last notification that there was a problem with the book occurred yesterday (April 18th at 0725 hrs). All other notices from Amazon since then have been emails in response to me contacting them.
  • I have been in contact with Amazon in the last half hour, only to learn that KDP tech support does not — apparently — work at night. So nothing can be done to correct a technical problem until tomorrow. So sorry, go to bed, silly author, and we will do something — maybe — to help you tomorrow.

In the meantime, this is costing me sales, author rankings and is frustrating to not only me but to everyone who has been trying to buy the book. I apologize and wish there was more I could do.

Right now, I am furious. If there was an alternative to Amazon that gave me the exposure and customer base Bezos and company does, I would go with it. I know, intellectually, this will be corrected. But the damage to this book will have been done and somehow I doubt Amazon will make any attempt to recompense me for my financial loss.

All I can do right now is ask you to bear with me and keep checking back. I will update here, in the comments at Mad Genius Club and on Facebook as things change.

To give an example of why this is so frustrating, in the time it has taken me to type up this short post, you can once again buy the book on Amazon, although the “under review” notice is still in place.

I pray for patience and hope this can be worked out tomorrow.

A Cautionary Tale

(Reposted from Mad Genius Club.)

Update at the bottom of the post.

Yesterday probably had to be the worst day in my life as an indie author. Release days are always nerve-wracking. Will people buy your book? Will they like your book? Or will they say your baby is ugly and laugh like mean girls? All of that paled into nothingness when I woke to find an email from Amazon telling me they had pulled Honor from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 3) and it would not be on sale until I fixed the issue(s) reported by customers.

Gulp! The book had only been out for hours when the email had been sent. What was wrong?

I scoured the email for an explanation and the only thing it told me was “Metadata & cover image are of “Honor from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 3)”, but the ASIN contains “Duty from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 2).”

What?

So, at 0730 I was trying to figure out how in the hell I had managed to upload the wrong file — except nothing I found showed that I had. The only possible explanation I could find was that I had forgotten to do one thing when I copied the legal page from Duty from Ashes to the Honor from Ashes file was change the AISN. The rest of the text was correct — in my upload file but not in the file that was being sent to those kind folks who had pre-ordered my book.

So, I did what any reasonable author would do in that situation: I panicked. I cursed. I even cried a little. But then I pulled up the base file, changed the AISN and re-uploaded it to my account. I also sent an email to Amazon at 0806 to let them know I had done as they asked. Then I blogged over at Nocturnal Lives to let folks know what was going on.

And I waited.

And I waited.

And I waited some more.

And still Honor from Ashes was removed from sale. At one point, you could hit the buy or read for free buttons but you would get an error message. Then the dreaded “this item is under review” language hit the product page.

And the returns continued.

At 1022, I sent another email to KDP to find out what was going on. As with the earlier message, there was silence. Around noon, I went to my dashboard for KDP and sent a message to the help desk, asking for an update, noting that I was losing money and all I could do was tell those who were hitting my boards on Amazon that I had done what had been asked of me but was as much in the dark right now as were they.

I spent the day, gritting my teeth, unable to work, as I watched the returns continue. Fortunately, those who checked the boards, saw what was happening and they, in turn, took to the two one-star reviews to explain what was going on. But the damage has been done. There are now reviews for Honor from Ashes, claiming it is nothing more than a reprint of Duty from Ashes under a different title. Any new readers who might consider buying the book may be run off because of that.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I did finally hear from Amazon at 2238 hrs last night, almost 20 hours after their initial email to me. Again, they alleged I uploaded the wrong file — but did not include the file so I could check it myself. Okay, I can live with that. I don’t like it, but I can live with it. However, there was nothing said about how long it would be until the book was once more available for purchase. (Note, too, that after I uploaded the new file a little after 0800, I received an email from them saying it was “live” at 1242 hrs. It showed on my dashboard as being live. The preview of the book on the product page showed the new file almost instantly. And yet it was still not available for purchase.)

I asked again, how long. So far, I have had no response.

I kept busy on the Amazon boards that deal with the book, answering questions, assuring readers that I had done everything I could and it was in Amazon’s hands. Their frustration over the delay matched my own — and I will be in contact with them when I figure out how to thank them for their patience.

Sleep was fitful last night as a result. Would I wake up this morning to find the book still unavailable? Even if it was finally available, how deep would the damage be? Returns had been taking place all day. Negative reviews were coming in. How would all that impact the first “day”/week sales?

So, when I finally rolled out of bed this morning, I very hesitantly checked email. Sigh. Nothing from Amazon. So I went to the product page, fully expecting to find it still reflecting the fact it was “under review”. Fortunately, it is now “live”. You can buy it or borrow it under the Kindle Unlimited program. Unfortunately, there are now two 1-star reviews. The only saving grace is the 4-star review (leaving an average of 2-stars — GULP!) and comments from those who had been following the boards to the reviewers that they needed to wait until Amazon made the correct file available. I thank each and every one of those fans who responded to those reviews. I hope those reviewers go back and edit their reviews but I’m afraid the damage has been done.

This entire affair has shown the one real fault in the KDP program, whether you are in KDP or KDP select/Unlimited. There is no way to pick up the phone and call them when you first see a problem. You are limited to e-mail. Sure, if the emails go on long enough, they may call you but that doesn’t help in situations like the one I faced where time is of the essence. It has left a sour taste in my mouth, as well as in the mouths of my fans.

Does this mean I will look for an alternative to KDP? No. It is the big dog in the game and moving away from it would be more than counter-productive. It does mean I will be even more careful about my uploads. It means I will continue trying to find out exactly what happened and how to avoid it in the future. Most of all, it means I need to those who read the book and enjoyed it to post positive reviews to counter the negative ones.

In the meantime, I will edit the product description to note that the previous download problems have been corrected. Hopefully, after a week, that will stem the damage that has already occurred. I don’t know.

All I can say is “damn it” and censor myself from saying anything else.

In the meantime, here is the link to the NOW live product page:

Honor from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 3)

War isn’t civilized and never will be, not when there are those willing to do whatever is necessary to win. That is a lesson Col. Ashlyn Shaw learned the hard way. Now she and those under her command fight an enemy determined to destroy their home world. Worse, an enemy lurks in the shadows, manipulating friend and foe alike.

Can Ashlyn hold true to herself and the values of her beloved Corps in the face of betrayal and loss? Will honor rise from the ashes of false promises and broken faith? Ashlyn and the Devil Dogs are determined to see that it does, no matter what the cost.

UPDATE: If you downloaded the book as a result of pre-ordering it, please confirm that you have the corrected version. It appears that some people have not automatically received it. Check your settings (Manage My Devices and Content/Settings) to see if you have automatic updates turned on. If not, you may need to delete the file from your device — NOT your account — and re-download. If that doesn’t work, contact Amazon and let me know. Amazon should respond quickly and get you the correct file. If not, I need to know. Thanks!

It’s the first . . .

and the cries of dismay and disdain have already begun over on the Kindle and KDP boards. Folks are in a panic because they checked into their sales dashboards this morning and — gasp — things have changed. How dare they do that! Oh, wait, you mean I should have read that e-mail Amazon sent detailing changes to how they report and pay out for loans under Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Select? But it is soooo much more fun to just bitch and moan.

Yeah, you guessed it. I’m already fed up with those who are complaining about the new changes. Some simply didn’t read or understand what the change would be. They don’t like change and this is a big one, at least when it comes to what your sales dashboard shows you. Some authors are getting pleasant surprises when they log on and see that they have already had thousands of pages read this month. Others are getting kicked in the teeth because they are in single and double digits.

So here’s the thing — and, yes, Amazon could have handled it a bit better. When you look at your sales dashboard, there are now two separate graphs. The first one shows the number of sales for the month. The second one shows the number of pages for “borrowed” titles. The issue is that it zeroed out the totals for the previous months because — duh — the reporting parameters changed. For those who want to see how many titles were borrowed last month, go to your monthly reports and check it there.

Now, there is one thing I do wish Amazon was still giving us — the number of borrows. It would make it easier to see how many borrows are being converted into completed reads. It would also let us see if there is a point in time where the book is losing readers. The best thing we can do right now is make a guess based on their page count. By the way, Amazon, why not give us the “normalized page” count for our title (in other words, on our dashboard, tell us what this number is so we can use it to figure out how many books are being read through.)

I’m going to withhold judgment on the new payout program for a couple of months. Right now, it looks good but that is just a few hours into the program and without knowing how much we’re going to be paid. I don’t believe for a minute that we will get the monies Amazon used in its example. Still, that would be a very nice surprise if it was even close to that.

Oh, one other idiocy seems to be running rampant on some of the Kindle related boards this morning and it revolves around returns. Now, no author likes seeing anything other than a “0” in the return column on the monthly report. However, returns happen, even for e-books. Amazon has a 7 day return period, if I remember correctly. There are exceptions to that, if you get the right customer service rep.

Here’s the thing about returns. There is always going to be that customer who accidentally hit the buy now button. I’ve made that mistake once or twice. When I did, I instantly asked for a refund. The only other time I’ve asked for a refund is when the book was so badly formatted that it was basically unreadable. I shouldn’t have to do the author’s — or the publisher’s — job and reformat a book I just bought just to be able to read it. I have never asked for a refund when I’ve bought a book and discovered I simply didn’t like it. The few times that has happened, it was my fault. If I had read the free sample, I wouldn’t have bought the book in the first place.

Now, there are some folks who will “buy” a book, read it and then return it. They are related to those folks who will “buy” a dress or a shirt, wear it once to a special event and then return it. The only thing we, as authors, can do is look for a pattern of returns by genre of books, etc., and then report it to Amazon. The company does take a look at things like that and will take action against a customer who is a repeat returner without good reason.

For the fellow who was bitching about Amazon and how evil the KDP program is because he’d had eight sales and six of those had then been returned, instead of blaming Amazon, he should be looking at his work product. Either he has the world’s worst luck or there is something very wrong with his book. It could be formatting. It could be he has it so badly tagged and described, readers are downloading it thinking they are getting one sort of book only to find it is something completely different. Or it could simply be so poorly written that the readers aren’t able to get through it. None of that has anything to do with Amazon.

One last not about the new reporting figures for Amazon. Because it is the first day of the new system, don’t panic if you log on and get a “down for maintenance” or similar note. Refresh the page or come back a few minutes later. I’ve had to do that this morning and so have others from what I’m seeing on the different discussion boards. Now I’m off to work. Three different novels are calling my name, demanding that I write them NOW!

Where is Chicken Little?

I can’t tell you where Chicken Little is, but I can tell you where his cousins and siblings are. They are hanging around the “Amazon is evil” campfire and on some of the Kindle boards. They are running around, pointing their fingers and crying “foul” over changes to the KDP Select rules pertaining to borrows. Now, I will admit I have some questions about the new program but I also have been one of those asking for changes to be made.

What are those changes and why are so many folks panicking?

Starting July 1st, those titles in the KDP Select program that are borrowed will be paid according to the number of pages read instead of a set sum based on the Global Fund being paid to every title once a reader hits the 10% mark. You can read the initial announcement of the changes here.

As you read the announcement, you’ll see some general figures thrown out. I’ll admit I’m a little leery of the numbers Amazon uses but I’ll leave it to those not math-challenged to work out whether they are complete hand-wavium or simply putting a positive spin on something that is possible. Frankly, I look at it as a mix of both because it assumes a certain number of pages read as well as a certain amount of money in the Global Fund. However, there is one fact about the new program that I do like and I am going to give the program a chance, albeit I will be watching it closely, because of that particular change.

Under the current program, a title enrolled in KDP Select garners $1.40 each time a reader passes the 10% mark. Until that happens, the author receives nothing. Now, $1.40 per qualifying borrow is better than nothing by a long shot. However, that is $1.40 no matter how long that “book” happens to be. So a short story that has only 2,500 words and cells for 99 cents gets the same “royalty” as a 100,000 word novel. Further, that short story is more likely to qualify for the royalty than the novel because that magical 10% mark can be reached before the reader actually gets to the story. For the novel, you are talking several chapters at least (on the whole).

Because of this, a number of authors — yours truly included — had been calling for changes to the program. We looked at short stories earning more for borrows than they earned when they were sold. It was an inequality in the system that needed to be addressed. Amazon has listened and is attempting a change. Whether that change will work out or not, I’m not sure. I do know that I will give it a chance.

It is up to you to decide if you are going to enroll — or stay — in the system. I urge you, however, to do your homework before making a decision. Do not rely upon articles like this that make it appear that this pages read = amount paid applies to all downloads. It doesn’t. This is only for the “borrows”. You will still get your standard royalty for purchases.

What is going to be interesting — in a scary, fascinating, can’t look away sort of way — is another change that will come with this alteration to the program. We will now be able to see how many pages of a book were read. To me, that is sort of like keeping track of our sales, in that obsessive sort of way so many of us do, and our author ranking. It’s a great ego boost when the rankings and sales go up and a kick to the gut when it goes down. One thing about it, it will let us know if readers get to a certain point and then stop. That is the sort of thing that can help identify a serious flaw in a book.

I will be interesting to see how this plays out. I expect to see a lot more about it middle of August when we see our reports for July and know for sure how much we are being paid under the new program.

Should you abandon the Smashwords ship?

One of the things I’m constantly advocating to my writer’s group, and basically to anyone who wants to write and who will stop and listen for a few moments, is the need to keep on top of what is happening in the publishing industry. The best way to do this is to keep an eye on publishing related blogs and sites such as Publisher’s Weekly. I also tell folks that, just like with the news, you have to read both sides of the story and then try to glean the truth from the facts you find. Maybe that’s the blood of all the journalists in my family tree and that runs through my veins but I’ve always believed in double and triple checking your facts before making an informed decision. That’s not always possible but you have to try.

One of the blogs I regularly turn to is The Passive Voice. I like the site for several reasons. The first is that Passive Guy, the owner of the blog, does a great job of pulling together posts and news articles about the industry that are of interest. More importantly, in some ways, PG is not only an author himself but he is also an IP attorney, iirc. So when he talks contracts, I tend to pay close attention.

Two of his recent posts caught my eye for different reasons. The first is a link to M. C. A. Hogarth’s post about why she is leaving Smashwords and closing down her page there. The second is about the impact of the new Kindle Unlimited program on the best sellers list — I’ll be discussing that one in a separate post.

(If Hogarth’s name is familiar, it might be because she is the one who had to fight for the right to use the term “space marine” in her work. The short version is that Games Workshop last year told Amazon that she had infringed on their copy right by using the term in her work. She hadn’t. GW had trademarked the term in relation to games only. You can read more about it here and here.)

Those of you who have read my posts here or over at Mad Genius Club know I have little love for Smashwords. Years ago, when there were few places for self-published authors to sell their work — and when self-published authors were viewed with a great deal more disdain than they are today — Smashwords was a pioneer. It gave us a place to not only sell our books in a number of different formats but it also gave us access to stores we wouldn’t have access to otherwise. Smashwords developed their meatgrinder which allowed you to upload a DOC file and they’d convert it to all the required formats. And all was happy with the world.

Until Amazon brought out its KDP program, followed by B&N’s PubIt and then others.

Their programs evolved while Smashwords’ didn’t — and, btw, I hate the meatgrinder.

So, seeing that Hogarth had decided to leave Smashwords, I read with interest her reasons why. Her answer, in brief, boiled down to this:  The answer, in brief: I hate the Smashwords interface. I hate that they are fussy about uploaded documents and have mysterious/inexplicable delays shipping my work to retailers. I hate their quarterly payment schedule. I despise their customer service. Or lack of thereof. And I dislike that they have this quasi-retailer face.

To which I say, YES!

Everything she says as she describes her reasons in further detail, I’ve experienced. Add in the fact that Smashwords pays quarterly — which means you may be paid for books sold six months ago depending on when the retail outlet paid Smashwords — and a spreadsheet that drives accountants to drink and, well, it isn’t fun to work with. Then there was the book I oploaded and, when I started checking the various versions, realized that the conversion process had somehow turn the text in over half of the book into small caps. Small caps! Nowhere in the document I’d uploaded had there been small caps. Yet the meatgrinder managed to insert them. It took weeks and multiple uploads of new files to get that fixed.

Frankly, Smashwords just isn’t worth the time and aggravation. At least not for me. I will admit, I put Vengeance from Ashes up on it when the novel first came out. But I uploaded an ePub file and did not use Smashwords as distributor to any other stores. The book is not avvailable through them right now because I’ve opted to take it into the Kindle Unlimited program and, in the week or so KU has been available, I’ve had more downloads through that program than I had sales the two months previously on SW. Assuming the KU program pays about the same as the old KOLL program, I will have made more money through the loans than I did through the SW sales.

At the end of the KU period, I may take VfA back to active status on Smashwords. I will take it active again on Draft2Digital to get into Apple, B&N and Kobo.

What about you? What are your thoughts about why Hogarth — and others like her — are moving away from Smashwords?

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