Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Ask PZM: Feb 2016 - KDP

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I answer this question I want to clearly state that AMAZON IS ALWAYS CHANGING and therefore any information can be outdated or incorrect the moment it is written.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:

Error issue:

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. 

Preview link:

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:
http://www.phylliszimblermiller.com/cia-fall-guy/

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*



  

22 comments :

  1. Good to know! Have two books on Amazon with a publisher but have been considering the KDP or other self publishing route. Thanks for the info, Phyllis. Your posts are always helpful. :)

    Joylene, thanks as always for being the lovely hostess. :) Appreciate you sharing your space and keeping us in the know.

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  2. Thanks for the information, I just embedded my books on my blog/website.

    Wonderful!

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  3. I've not heard of Scriggler. Thanks for the news! :)

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  4. Hi Joylene and Phyllis - useful information for one and all - I will check out Scriggler too ... Amazon ruling is a bit much! But so many books have errors in - the UK versions are going to be interesting/fraught with errors .. cheers Hilary

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    1. Also there's the difference in spelling for Canada, United States, and UK. I wonder how they'll keep them separate when a novel is available in all three countries?

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  5. My publisher doesn't use KDP anymore. They didn't see it as an advantage anymore for their authors.

    I'll be checking out Scriggler. Thanks!

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    1. Comment from Phyllis (Both of us are having issues with leaving a comment):

      Chrys -- Do you mean your publisher no longer sells Kindle ebooks on Amazon? Or do you mean that your publisher no longer uses the KDP Select option?

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  6. Scriggler is new to me- so I will have to check it out. I didn't know that Amazon and the ebook error issue. Interesting for sure! Thanks for sharing. :)
    ~Jess

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  7. I love the embed preview option! The book looks great on your site and the Preview is so easy to click. I have to mention something funny though. When I clicked your preview, I got a message saying "This preview isn't available in your country." (Egypt) Yeah, Amazon won't download any ebooks to "Africa" including Egypt, and consequently, it won't let me even look at them. If I do a search for my own book (title/author name), I get nothing. I still love the embed preview thing. If I use it, it's amusing to note that others will be able to read the preview--and I won't! Thanks for the info! :)

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    1. That's just not right. Is it a technical problem? if so, someone needs to fix it.

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  8. Interesting post. I'm glad I went back and re-edited my books as there were quite a few typos and formatting errors that I fixed. I have mixed feelings about KDP flagging books for spelling as fantasy and sci-fi books have made up names for people and places.

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    1. They mentioned they'd be on the lookout for made up words. Guess we'll have to wait and see. Thanks, Stephen. Hope you feel better soon.

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  9. I love that embed code that takes you to the preview. I still haven't put it on my website, but I have put it on my to do list.

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  10. Interesting about the changing "spelling error" alerts. I'll have to forward this on to my publisher and make sure there are no issues. Thanks!

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