Posts tagged: surviving publication

Plucky Grandmother Fights Amazon and Loses. And then Wins, Maybe

Those of you who’ve following my Plucky Grandmother series, here and here, will know that I’d scheduled promotional days where two of my Kindle eBooks will be offered free. The promotion is this weekend, October 12, 13, & 14th.

Except that one of my books which is supposed to be in the event, The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy, was/is listed on Apple’s iBookstore. I didn’t know it until Amazon told me about it. If you’re in Amazon’s KDP program, which allows you to give away your Kindle eBooks, you’re not allowed distribute anywhere else.

During a series of supremely unhelpful emails between Amazon and me, I attempted to explain that I wasn’t flaunting their rules, but trying to fix a mistake. Apple was having trouble getting my book off the iBookstore. When I got no answer, I assumed I lost the argument. Then I received the following email from Amazon.

The Angel Is Accepted in KDP!

The email congratulates me on getting my eBook into the KDP Select program. But it’s been in the program since May. It’s already had one KDP Free Promotion. Was that email Amazon’s way of saying, “We hear you, Sandy, here’s a few more days to get The Angel exclusive to Amazon?” I have no idea. Bizarre.

The only way I’ll know is to wait and see if The Angel is free tomorrow. Oh, the surprises of the morn!

Just in case  The Angel is not free,  I lowered the price to 99 cents. I’ve contacted about a million sites  on the Net telling people the book was going to be free. I didn’t want people to be disappointed when they click the page and it’s not free. Ninety-nine cents is as low as Amazon allows a price to be set. I did my best.

Here’s some info about the books in the promotion. I’d give the Tales from Earth’s End Saga, of which The Angel is the first book, an R rating if it was a movie. It contains violence, strong language, and sexuality. I don’t write like a grandmother, but I don’t go over the top, either. The books are about the end of the world, a police state and fight for survival. A long way from Oz.

The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy

The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy

The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy  The first book in the Tales from Earth’s End Saga gets the ball rolling. What’s the ball? The planet Earth. Tomorrow morning, a nuclear holocaust will destroy the planet. Two people carry the keys to survival: A teenage boy and an intergalactic traveler. And a bunch more fascinating characters, too. The book is an ensemble piece where the prize is survival.

Winner of 4 national awards, including the Gold Medal in Visionary Fiction at the IPPY Awards.

This book will be free, maybe, October 12, 13, & 14. If it’s not free, it will be 99 cents. That is still a deal!

 

Lady Grace

Lady Grace

Lady Grace: A Thrilling Adventure Wrapped in the Embrace of Epic Love Tales from Earth’s End Saga, Book 2. Here’s a review that says it all:
FIVE STARS! A MODERN SCI-FI MASTERPIECE Lady Grace was first-rate science fiction and one of the most absorbing page-turners of that genre that I’ve read in years. Author Sandy Nathan exhibits the imagination of Ray Bradbury combined with the whimsicalness of Douglas Adams. That’s high praise, but it’s warranted. The story includes so much action; tense, suspenseful drama; and two charming love stories that it’s irresistible.” J. Chambers, Amazon Top 50 Reviewer (#29 at this writing)

This book will be free October 12, 13, & 14.

 

Sam & Emily: A Lovestory from the Underground

Sam & Emily: A Love Story from the Underground

Sam & Emily: A Love Story from the Underground Tales from Earth’s End Saga, Book 3.The book is a love story; it focuses on a relationship and has a different feeling than the other two books. This is my favorite book. Here’s a review:

5 stars out of 5! A gripping story of life after the world ends . . . fascinating and reminiscent of Stephen King’s epic masterpiece – The Stand.  Sam & Emily is by far my favorite . . . in the series.  It will leave you thinking well after turning the last page.
Todd A. Fonseca, bestselling author of The Time Cavern

This book is not included in the promotion, but will be in future promotions.

 

 

Tales from Earth's End

 

Tales from Earth’s End: The Boxed Set  A giant eBook containing all three books is in production!

This set is not included in the promotion, but will be in future promotions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s it! Until the Plucky Grandmother speaks again–– don’t let ‘em push you around!

Sandy Nathan, Award-winning Author

Sandy Nathan’s writing has won twenty-two national awards. She’s won in categories from memoir, to visionary fiction, to children’s nonfiction. And more.

Sandy’s  books are: (Click link to the left for more information on each book. All links below go to Kindle sale pages.)
Sam & Emily: A Love Story from the Underground (paperback. Kindle coming)
Lady Grace: A Thrilling Adventure Wrapped in the Embrace of Epic Love (paperback. Kindle coming)
The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy
Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money

Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could

Stepping Off the Edge: Learning & Living Spiritual Practice

 

 

 

Plucky Grandmother Loses Battle with Amazon, Wins with BookBaby. Apple’s Trying Hard to Be Helpful

The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy

The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy - The subject of controversy. You wouldn't think an angel could cause this much fuss. The Angel occurs the night before a nuclear holocaust wipes out our world. It features an extraterrestrial visitor who comes to Earth on a mission to save her planet and a sixteen-year-old tech genius who has the skills to save our world. It's won four national awards, including the Gold Medal in the IPPYs and the Visionary Fiction category in the Indie Excellence Awards. It is available on Amazon in print and Kindle formats, though not in the KDP program any more.

If you wonder what I’m talking about in the title, check out yesterday’s post.  My eBooks are on Amazon’s KDP program, which means you have to distribute your eBooks exclusively through Amazon. This gives you the right to give away your books as a promotion for 5 days out of the 90 day enrollment period.

One of my books inadvertently was left on Apple’s iBookstore when I signed up for KDP. I didn’t know about it. Amazon found the book for sale on line and told me I had 10 days to get if off the iBookstore or get kicked out of the KDP program. (This was about ten days ago.) I found out that  BookBaby.com, my secondary distributor, had pulled it off the iBookstore site six months ago.

For some reason, my book, The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy, stayed for sale on the iBookstore.

Why? I don’t know. Apple doesn’t know. They’re working on it. But! I have a KDP promotion scheduled THIS WEEKEND, October 12, 13, and 14. I’ve advertised it. I’ve promoted it. I want to go through with it.

I wrote Amazon and explained all this, asking for a few days for Apple to figure out the problem and let me do this weekend’s KDP program with one less worry. I sent Amazon records from BookBaby indicating they had pulled the title from the iBookstore. I sent copies of my emails to Apple & their response. I got down on my hands and knees and begged. This is Amazon’s response, taken from their email earlier today:

Hello Sandy,

When you choose KDP Select for a book, you’re committing to make the digital format of that book available exclusively through KDP.

Publishing your content in multiple parts or a varied format on another site is not acceptable. All content made exclusive to Amazon in KDP Select must remain for sale on our site only. However, you may choose to make up to 10% of your book available on other sites as a sample.

During the period of your book’s enrollment in KDP Select, you cannot distribute your book digitally anywhere else, including on your website, blogs, etc. However, you can continue to distribute your book in physical format, or in any format other than digital.

Be sure to look at the KDP Select Terms & Conditions here:
https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=APILE934L348N

If you have additional questions about KDP Select, check out our Help pages:
https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=200798990

I hope this helps. Thanks for publishing with Amazon KDP.

Regards,

Michael G.
Kindle Direct Publishing
http://kdp.amazon.com

It doesn’t matter to Amazon that you’ve done your best to comply with their rules and thought you had. You can be petitioning God for help for all they care. It doesn’t matter if you need a few more days, or if your mom died. It doesn’t matter that you’ve been a loyal Amazon customer since the company was founded. Amazon says they’re committed to providing the best customer service ever. Not for suppliers. Read the letter again.

In contrast, look at Apple’s response to my pleas:

Dear Sandy,

Laura here from the iTunes Store. Your request was escalated to me for further assistance.

I have escalated the issue to our engineers with a thorough description and included the image of removal. I hope to hear from them in 2 to 3 days. As soon as I hear from them I will contact you with an update.

Thank you for your patience in this matter.

Sincerely,

Laura
iTunes Store/Mac App Store Senior Advisor

Their estimated date of being able to fix the problem is too late for my promotion this weekend. But isn’t that cool? Which company is truly committed to customer service? Really makes me want to buy an Apple iPad or one of the new, small tablets they’re putting out.

Dump the jungle, go with the sweet fruit.

Sandy Nathan, the Plucky Grandmother

Sandy Nathan, Award-winning Author

Sandy Nathan is the winner of twenty-two national awards for her writing. She’s won in categories from memoir, to visionary fiction, to children’s nonfiction. And more.

Sandy’s  books are: (Click link to the left for more information on each book. All links below go to Kindle sale pages.)
Sam & Emily: A Love Story from the Underground (paperback. Kindle coming)
Lady Grace: A Thrilling Adventure Wrapped in the Embrace of Epic Love (paperback. Kindle coming)
The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy
Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money

Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could

Stepping Off the Edge: Learning & Living Spiritual Practice

 

Plucky Grandmother Fights Amazon, Apple, and BookBaby over KDP Promotion

The subtitle to this article is: Why is The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy selling for 99 cents (or more) October 12, 13, & 14 when it’s supposed to be free? It’s because of WHAT HAPPENED.

To qualify for Amazon’s KDP program, in which Amazon allows you to give your book away five days out of the 90 day enrollment period, you have to pull distribution of your eBook from all the other distributors, giving Amazon exclusive rights to market your book.

Yes, that means yank it away from the iBookstore (Apple and the iPad, etc.), Sony, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Baker & Taylor, Copia, eBookPie, etc.  This is supremely monopolistic behavior on Amazon’s part, something that causes all economists to cringe and then foam at the mouth. I am an economist.

But I stuffed my principles to jump at the chance to give my books away. Why? Smart people have made fortunes doing it. I wanted to give it a chance. (See Cheryl K Tardif, How I Made Over $42,000 in 1 Month Selling my Kindle eBooks. Cheryl did it with the KDP program. That $42 K got my attention.)

I pulled distribution of my books from everywhere and gave exclusive rights to Amazon. I already have had two successful KDP free days with my books. The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy and Lady Grace did very well, hitting #1 and #3 in their categories. Many more copies were downloaded than my “commit seppuku on the front lawn” figure of three. That’s right, my lowered expectation was three (3) downloads or I’d off myself. There’s an article about this. A funny one, with a video of an Eddie Murphy look-alike.

Despite the grueling work of letting as many people as I could know about my giveaway, I decided to do it again. My sales did increase after the books went back up to their normal prices.

I scheduled the KDP free days. That’s when IT happened. I received the following email from Amazon:

"GET THAT BOOK DOWN, SANDY!"The email says that we’re still selling The Angel on the iBookstore and we had to get it off within ten days or the book would be tossed from the KDP program and demoted to regular status, where we could sell it for 99 cents instead of giving it away.  I didn’t know that the book was distributed by anyone but Amazon, but, clicking the link, I found out it was true.

Hmm. I have had a successful KDP promotion with this book, with Amazon happily giving it away for two days. I guess their ever-vigilant staff missed its rogue status.

When we decided to go for the KDP program early in 2012, we had BookBaby, a distributor of eBooks to all the neat places mentioned above, remove our books from their terrific distribution sites. To do this, we forfeited the $99 we paid to be part of their system.

So, the right to give my books away has already cost us $99, plus whatever we would have made selling through all those other channels.

BookBaby‘s not taking the book off of the iBookstore jeopardizes my new giveaway this weekend. I’d already told various blogs and other sites that The Angel would be free. More than that, I’m doing a humongous blog tour, and have they announced that the book would be free.

I immediately and laboriously  emailed Apple (It’s not easy to figure out how to get into the seller side of  the iBookstore.) and BookBaby, trying to get The Angel‘s sales off of the iBookstore and exclusively on Amazon. I’m currently at five emails from Apple customer service. Their response can be summarized as: ‘You have to contact BookBaby and get them to remove it.” And, “We feel your pain  . . .” No, it was: “We’re really sorry and wish we could help.” But then they didn’t help.

I moved on to the BookBaby site, determined to find some way to contact someone, since they weren’t getting back to me after my first email. I found the site extremely counter-intuitive, but I finally discovered the page I’ll attach below.

Are you relating to this, indie authors and publishers? The total opacity of the system and the impossibility of getting a real person to help you. The sense of being lost in a hostile, incomprehensible world. We indies deal with this all the time, on EVERY friggin’ thing about getting our books in print and posted somewhere where at least our MOTHERS can read them. It’s a nightmare. Write a comment if you feel my pain.

This is what happened next–I found this on BookBaby:

BookBaby Removed The Angel from the iBookstore Six Months Ago

This is taken from the secret innards of our account. It shows that BookBaby removed The Angel from all the places it sets books up back in May. April for the iBookstore. They did their job.

So why isn’t it removed? I asked Apple that and have not heard back from them. I also  added the following, “You say you care, so do something.” Maybe I said a bit more politely.

Then I responded to Amazon, sending them the above screen shot and an email explaining that I’ve done everything I can. I’m an individual caught in the middle of three corporations: Apple, Amazon, and BookBaby. I’ve acted in good faith. The outcome is out of my control. Could they cut me some slack and at least let me do the KDP promotion this weekend?

I haven’t heard from Amazon, either.

Did you ever think it would be so hard to give your books away?

If you find a listing of free books this weekend and The Angel is on it, and you find its not free when you go to the book’s Kindle page, I’m sorry. I’ll get it marked down to 99 cents if I can.

Why go through all this? I contemplate this all the time. Is it worth it? Should I grant Amazon exclusive rights to distribute my work? Is the frustration worth the payoff?

One reason that I didn’t balk at giving Amazon distribution rights is on the table above. Our Total lifetime sales through BookBaby is $13.09. It’s not hard to walk away from that.

The reason that Amazon can demand monopolistic tariffs and conditions from sellers is that it is a monopoly. It has the books, and it has the customers, too. You’ll make a zillion times more on Amazon than anywhere else, at least in my experience. Plus, it’s easier to deal with one giant corporation with its rules and ways than a dozen.

Who knows? Maybe in the next five days one of the giants will get back to me and this will get handled. Or maybe not. Now to contact all those blogs and tell them that The Angel will be free this weekend. Or not.

Sandy Nathan, Award-winning Author

Sandy Nathan is the winner of twenty-two national awards for her writing. She’s won in categories from memoir, to visionary fiction, to children’s nonfiction. And more.

Sandy’s  books are: (Click link to the left for more information on each book. All links below go to Kindle sale pages.)
Sam & Emily: A Love Story from the Underground (paperback. Kindle coming)
Lady Grace: A Thrilling Adventure Wrapped in the Embrace of Epic Love (paperback. Kindle coming)
The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy
Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money

Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could

Stepping Off the Edge: Learning & Living Spiritual Practice

 

 

Ringbinder theme by Themocracy