Q: Are there any new things with KDP – Kindle Direct Publishing?
Disclaimer: Before I answer this question I want to clearly state that AMAZON IS ALWAYS CHANGING and therefore any information can be outdated or incorrect the moment it is written. I just read, for example, a newly published book (the author asked me for a review) in which I found, to the best of my knowledge, a mistake about KDP ebook pricing.
Thus this warning: No matter what anyone, including me, writes about online features for social media sites, Amazon, or any sites, you should check for yourself whether that information is accurate.
Now on to what is going on with Amazon at this moment:
It appears that as of February 2016 Amazon will be putting a warning on Kindle ebook sales pages whose ebooks have some mistakes such as spelling errors or formatting issues. In addition, ebooks with more serious issues will be removed from the Amazon site until these are corrected.
Here is what you should know about taking action into your own hands:
When you upload an ebook via the KDP dashboard, there are two screens. The first one includes the upload function for the book’s text. I do not believe that when you first upload a new ebook you get the error message (although I may be wrong and you do get the error message immediately).
But if you return to the ebook’s KDP upload screens after the ebook has gone live, if there are spelling errors you will see an error alert (scroll down on the first of the two screens). Do NOT overlook this alert as I admit I have done in the past. In fact, return to the KDP dashboard now and check all your ebooks.
If there are spelling errors, correct these. If the words are correct, such as in a fantasy story where you have made up words, you can tell KDP to ignore the spelling error alert for these words.
Do this now to get ahead of this change in KDP. And, if you are not the publisher of your ebooks, ask your publisher to check the error alerts in the KDP dashboard for your ebooks.
On the plus side, KDP ebooks now have an option on the book’s Kindle sales page for a link or embed code to the preview of the book.
In other words, instead of sharing the Amazon sales page link of your ebook and hoping the person will then click on the book’s preview option, you can send someone directly to the preview. Or you can embed the preview on your own website.
Here is an example of the link to the preview of my spy thriller “CIA Fall Guy.” Yes, the link is quite long, and I have left it this way rather than using a shortened URL so you can see it in its entirety. If I were sharing this link on social media, I would use a shortened URL option: https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B00895AKMQ&preview=newtab&linkCode=kpe&ref_=cm_sw_r_kb_dp_cSORwb1X5APFQ
And look how nice this option looks on my website when I used the embed code that gave me this photo of the book cover with the clickable link FREE PREVIEW under the photo:
To find the link and embed codes for any Kindle ebook, scroll down on the right-hand side of a book’s Amazon sales page (make sure you are on the book’s Kindle sales page and not the physical book page) and to the right of the Pinterest icon you will find – click on this for both the link and embed codes and then choose which code you want.
Q: Any suggestion of a site on which to share fiction or nonfiction material?
While I have written of other sites that I have tried, Scriggler.com is the current free site with which I’m experimenting.
Although the site’s interface is not as user friendly as it could be, I’m finding Scriggler a very good site for sharing both short stories and opinion pieces. (There’s also a poetry category.)
Have a look at my profile at https://scriggler.com/Profile/phyllis_zimbler_miller to see the kinds of material that I’ve been sharing on this site.
What I have found particularly interesting is that, about four days after I post a new contribution, Scriggler promotes the story or article link via its Twitter account of @IScriggle.
Now I can’t tell whether this is true for all contributions. My theory is that someone at Scriggler reviews the contributions before deciding which ones are shared via Twitter.
Q: Any suggestions for books on writing and courses on screenwriting?
I often read books on writing, and one that I recently found very helpful is Jeff Gerke’s “The First 50 Pages: Engage Agents, Editors and Readers, and Set Your Novel Up For Success.”As I write this, the book has a 4.8 out of 5 rating on 46 reviews on Amazon, and I think this rating is well deserved. (Full disclosure: I borrowed the Kindle ebook format from my local library, although the book would be worth buying.)
Also, I just finished the Maximum Entertainment online course from ScreenwritingU.com and found it incredibly valuable. As part of the homework assignments I rewrote several scenes from one of my screenplays after learning how to make these scenes more dramatic. I am now signed up for a ScreenwritingU.com course on dialogue. And, yes, these are paid courses although quite reasonable.
Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of fiction and nonfiction books on Amazon. She blogs on book-related topics at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com
*If you have a question you wanted answered in Ask PZM: March 2016, please forward it to cluculzwriter at yahoo dot ca and I'll pass it along*