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Megazver
Jan 13, 2006


Hugh Howey just launched Self-Published Science Fiction Competition, the scifi counterpart to Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off.

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Fuschia tude
Dec 26, 2004

THUNDERDOME LOSER 2019



Ccs posted:

Part of me is curious if you changed the characters ages and kept them as cats whether it would work. A lot of people grew up on Redwall and so forth, maybe they'd be more open to a story featuring animal protagonists that wasn't necessarily for kids. There's already comics like Blacksad and so forth that do this.

Also things like Night in the Woods, which is definitely not YA.

Grand Theft Autobot
Feb 28, 2008

got the catch game sewed up

Leng posted:

Oh. That is not a good reason for targeting the YA market. And that inspiration is really cool. If that's what got you all fired up to write the book, then stay true to that instead of twisting it into something else that it isn't.

Also:


If you had pitched this to me as "Redwall, but for grown-ups and from the POV of cats" I would buy this as a reader, no question.

I appreciate you saying this, and the rest of you.

I don't really want to rewrite The whole thing to fit in a genre that I clearly didn't write it for. The feedback I got from other people who are more "Would read Redwall for Adults," suggested that I change up the introduction and work on buy-in for the reader with the protagonist.

I think I'm gonna stick to my original vision on this and approach my rewrite with plot clarity and flow in mind, rather than with remaking the language and characters.

DropTheAnvil
May 16, 2021


I am debating on creating a short-story anthology of a few pieces I have, and have been trying to come up wtih a blurb. I am hitting a bit of a stonewall, since most of the short story anthologies on amazon are using their clout and prestige to market the book. Ursula Le Guin I am not, and I don't think my name will sell any books.
I have a few comp titles that I am mimicking the blurb off of. Would you be able to let me know what you think, and if you have any short story anthologies you can recommend, I would love to research them!

Comp Title:
https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B0180T0INQ/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1
https://www.anvilpress.com/Books/bad-endings

Title Of Book:
The Light Shines Through

Advice:
Do not start with a rhetorical question.

Blurb 1
In The Light Shines through readers will encounter two immortal thieves scouring Belgium, one of them desperately searching for a legacy, the other hiding the answer. A wayward child searching for his grandma jumps to a family reunion full of time travelers. A TV desperately trying to save its owner.
Each story explores incredible characters in unique situations, and how each of them reacts to the dark storm clouds in their lives. And in the end, they will learn that even in the darkest of times, the light shines through.


Blurb 2
Two immortal thieves scour the night, one of them desperately searching for a legacy, the other hiding the answer. A wayward child searching for his grandma time travels to the family reunion, only to encounter future consequences. A sentient TV desperately tries to save its owner, but finds it lacks the power.
Each of these five short stories explores incredible characters in unique situations, and how each of them struggles in their bleakest moments. In the end though, they will learn that even in the darkest of times, the light shines through.

Breath Ray
Nov 19, 2010


go with 2.
i dont see that consequences can be anything but future.
you use searching twice in 2 sentences
you cant scour and hide at the same time id have thought

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




Blurb 2 is better but I’m a bit mystified by parts. How are legacy and answer in opposition to each other? “Future consequences” is vague and a bit weak. “Finds it lacks the power” makes it sound like the tv fails and that gives away the ending, maybe put something in about struggling against limitations instead? Not sure. “Incredible characters” sounds a bit overblown but I guess marketing copy is gonna be like that. I would still try to find a more interesting word. I would get rid of “though” in the last sentence.

DropTheAnvil
May 16, 2021


Thanks everyone! I slept on it, and edited it a bit more. Are there any rules/advice on having "Comp titles" in your blurb? ((See first paragraph))

For fans of speculation fiction and Apex Magazine comes a debut collection of short stories that focuses on the human struggle during dark times.
Two immortal thieves scour the night, each desperately trying to create a legacy. A wayward child searching for his grandma travels through time to the family reunion, only to encounter past consequences. A sentient TV tries to save its owner, despite its programming.
Each of these five short stories explores unique characters and how they struggle in their bleakest moments. In the end they will learn that even in the darkest of times, the light shines through.

Sally Forth
Oct 16, 2012


DropTheAnvil posted:

Thanks everyone! I slept on it, and edited it a bit more. Are there any rules/advice on having "Comp titles" in your blurb? ((See first paragraph))

For fans of speculation fiction and Apex Magazine comes a debut collection of short stories that focuses on the human struggle during dark times.


Speculative fiction and Apex are a bit too vague to be useful comps - it'd be more effective to pick a couple of writers who've been published by Apex or have released similar short story collections and explain what it is that your stories have in common with theirs in terms of prose/characters/themes/etc. "For fans of Alex Shortstory's sharp, incisive prose and Robin Bookman's engagingly flawed characters," or whatever though even that's quite woolly - you know your own work well enough to be more specific.

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

Ccs posted:

So this might come in handy for people: The Self Published Fantasy Blog Off is coming up and I thought "it'd be cool to submit to that, too bad my book is trapped as a KPF file and thus stuck inside the Amazon ecosystem, whereas bloggers require the files provided to them in Mobi for review."

After some googling I downloaded Calibre and installed a KFX plugin that people SAID would convert the KPF file into whatever I so desired. Fantastic!

Oh, but tragedy, what it actually did was just give me my crappy old Docx file I had originally uploaded into Kindle Create without any of the nice formatting I later added. Oh well...

But in a last ditch effort I searched "KPF" on Calibre's main page. Turns out Calibre doesn't expect anyone to have downloaded the KFX plugin, and thinks they're being helpful by instead just grabbing the Docx inside the KPF package and loading THAT in. But if you disable the plugin that comes with the program that grabs this Docx, and then enable the KFX plugin in its place, you can then convert your nicely formatted KPF file into a Mobi, an Epub, a what-have-you. Hooray! Managing to escape the Amazon ecosystem while still geting all the benefits of their formatting feels nice.

Edit: Although I'm not sure this has anything to do with it, today I can't find my book when I search for it on Amazon.com. It's still there, still enrolled in KU, still searchable on Amazon.ca, but the .com just sort of vanished it. I'm wondering if for some reason converting it to a mobi alerted Amazon somehow and they've decided the punish the book by hiding it, or it's just a weird glitch...

one question: is there a specific reason why you're using Kindle Create?

Draft2Digital can format ebooks pretty easily, and doesn't lock you into a proprietary file format. if you need to add backmatter or change the TOC, it's pretty easy to open the files in calibre and manually add/edit what you need.

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


It's launch day and one of my ARC reviewers FINALLY got back to me after sitting on the book for a week and finds an error that got missed in all the rounds of revision.



I would leave it except the point of the book is to teach language so I can't have that error in it.

So I spent my morning redoing all of the files and am uploading revised ones to IngramSpark and KDP now. It's going to be too late for the preorders so oh well. It's literally ONE character and not all that important a character, so whatevs, I will cop to it in the next newsletter that I send out when the blogger posts her review and offer anyone who bought a copy with the old error a free ebook as comp if they forward me their purchase receipt.

ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




DropTheAnvil posted:

Thanks everyone! I slept on it, and edited it a bit more. Are there any rules/advice on having "Comp titles" in your blurb? ((See first paragraph))

For fans of speculation fiction and Apex Magazine comes a debut collection of short stories that focuses on the human struggle during dark times.
Two immortal thieves scour the night, each desperately trying to create a legacy. A wayward child searching for his grandma travels through time to the family reunion, only to encounter past consequences. A sentient TV tries to save its owner, despite its programming.
Each of these five short stories explores unique characters and how they struggle in their bleakest moments. In the end they will learn that even in the darkest of times, the light shines through.


You already got some good advice and blurbs for collections aren't easy to do well, but I gotta chime in:
The first part of the description for the stories is far more interesting than the second part, because you're trying not to give any spoilers while building suspense. This doesn't really work as others pointed out because saying ''consequences happen'' isn't saying much. Lean instead on atmosphere/imagery. There's no need to provide a synopsis of the stories, you just need to sell them.

Also agree with previous poster about mentioning Apex Magazine.
1. Apex doesn't have a big readership to begin with and a big chunk of its readers are other writers.
2. It publishes a lot of authors so it doesn't really say much about your book besides ''It's sorta spooky dark fantasy stories.''

Just pick an author you think your readers might also like instead.

Megazver
Jan 13, 2006


Name dropping Apex Magazine would work, if these stories got actually published there. If not, pick a couple of popular writers to compare yourself to, yeah.

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


First global day of release and I've hit #1 in new releases for my category on Amazon!

(it's #41 on the best sellers list for the same category and it's a really niche category so I don't think all that many copies sold, but whatever, I'll take that screenshot of the little best sellers tag for promo purposes)

Amazon KDP is supposed to have launched in Australia finally, so I tried to set up my KDP paperback for that. Went to order a proof copy and still can't select "Amazon.com.au" as the location. Screw it, I'm gonna publish it anyway, nobody is ordering the paperbacks and I just got a box from IngramSpark for my own website sales so

Trying to figure out what extra bonus I'm going to offer for ordering direct from me is hard though. And part of me is just going, leave the first book alone and get onto writing the next one, because that's the best marketing. And another part of me is like, you still haven't written to all the libraries, you should do some read aloud story time sessions at the local libraries and maybe you'll sell some copies, plus schools.

How do the rest of you manage your schedules between continued marketing of the first/recently published book and writing the next?

divabot
Jun 17, 2015

Divabot, how are you not publishing on Substack already?


Leng posted:

Trying to figure out what extra bonus I'm going to offer for ordering direct from me is hard though.

just signing them's a great start really. Offer individualised dedications!

Leng posted:

How do the rest of you manage your schedules between continued marketing of the first/recently published book and writing the next?

oh, the usual way:

(it turns out that sometimes publishers do things)

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

divabot posted:

just signing them's a great start really. Offer individualised dedications!



Signed copies are great.

If it doesn't cost too much, maybe some exclusive artwork would be a good incentive too?

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


divabot posted:

just signing them's a great start really. Offer individualised dedications!

KrunkMcGrunk posted:

Signed copies are great.

If it doesn't cost too much, maybe some exclusive artwork would be a good incentive too?

Signed copies it is! The exclusive artwork is a great suggestion - I've been doing some as part of a weekly ongoing content thing for social media (they're basically 4 panel comics, but for writing Chinese characters, based on the concept from the Sinfest calligraphy comics) and they could be easily adapted into custom bookmarks. I'd like to figure out a way to make them multi-purpose though, like you could cut up the bookmarks and get a little matching card game or something for your kids that would help teach them visual recognition and recall of the language. "Buy a book directly from me and you get a signed, personalized copy plus a random bookmark, which is not available for purchase from anywhere else..." etc.

I've been answering a lot of posts on the IngramSpark Facebook group that keep getting liked so I also decided to start a second YouTube channel on the self-publishing process because I feel way more comfortable with making long videos than I do making random "engagement" comments and posts on Instagram and Facebook so we'll see how this goes. I watched a lot of YouTube videos when I was researching getting into this and there's a lot of stuff that most booktubers/authortubers aren't addressing that I feel like are way more important than watching someone upload their book to KDP for 10 minutes. Maybe it's just my perspective coming from an accounting/finance background though since the second YouTube channel won't be producing content for kids, at least I can monetize it later for another income stream (which I can't do on my other channel).

Finally I got some really good news! Amazon and at least one other retailer must have pushed data to Ingram Spark today, because I got some data in my print sales dashboard. According to that, I've sold 85 copies of the hardcover and 52 of the paperback (137 total) and 1 copy of the ebook on KDP (I really have no idea who that might be). I can't get a sensible consolidated publisher compensation report from IngramSpark but the bulk of those sales did come from the US (I'm guessing Amazon.com put in an order due to the traffic and pre-orders going through on Amazon.com) and that report says my net publisher compensation is $606.97 (I'm at the lowest discount setting and no returns so I shouldn't get hit with any nasty surprises for return fees). That means I've broken even on all of my title related costs, so I have a chance at recouping my other set up costs and making a profit if I put in some more time marketing and promoting the book.

Now somehow I need to find the time to write the second book.

DropTheAnvil
May 16, 2021


Just wanted to say thanks for the comments on my blurb. I rewrote it, managed to get it to the point where its not good, but I know I put the effort in.

Dunno if this is allowed, but I used booksidemanner.com for some copy edits, and they were awesome! Now, onto making a cover

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Leng, I’m enjoying (sort of?) reading about your struggles. Very informative, if daunting.

I’m also thinking about covers. Considering drawing my own for my crappy novel, even though illustrated covers are not the genre convention. Unless it’s a book featuring a witch protagonist in a cozy mystery, which mine is not. I realize that’s probably shooting myself in the foot. Maybe I’ll just draw it and see if I hate it.

ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




newts posted:

Leng, I’m enjoying (sort of?) reading about your struggles. Very informative, if daunting.

I’m also thinking about covers. Considering drawing my own for my crappy novel, even though illustrated covers are not the genre convention. Unless it’s a book featuring a witch protagonist in a cozy mystery, which mine is not. I realize that’s probably shooting myself in the foot. Maybe I’ll just draw it and see if I hate it.

What's the genre?

newts
Oct 10, 2012


ravenkult posted:

What's the genre?

I’m actually not sure of the right genre yet. Paranormal mystery? Psychic detective? Sci-fi mystery? Mystery? Police procedural? It doesn’t fit neatly into any of those, although there are very similar book series in each of those categories.

Still, none of those have illustrated covers as the norm.

Fate Accomplice
Nov 30, 2006




newts posted:

I’m also thinking about covers. Considering drawing my own for my crappy novel, even though illustrated covers are not the genre convention. Unless it’s a book featuring a witch protagonist in a cozy mystery, which mine is not. I realize that’s probably shooting myself in the foot. Maybe I’ll just draw it and see if I hate it.

your cover is more important to sales than the quality of your book.

if there is any well-spent money in self publishing, it is on covers.

DropTheAnvil
May 16, 2021


newts posted:

I’m actually not sure of the right genre yet. Paranormal mystery? Psychic detective? Sci-fi mystery? Mystery? Police procedural? It doesn’t fit neatly into any of those, although there are very similar book series in each of those categories.

Still, none of those have illustrated covers as the norm.

Ohh, you're lucky. Lot of Urban Fantasy/Psychic Detective covers you can follow. Might want to look at A Murder of Mages cover. (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23590634-a-murder-of-mages)

Actually, I could use some help. Most of the pre-design covers I look at are more Person/Object in frame, which isn't something I can do with my anthology. I found a cover I like



Would I be completely crazy if I asked any of these pre-design cover places to mock up a cover like the above?

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


newts posted:

Leng, I’m enjoying (sort of?) reading about your struggles. Very informative, if daunting.

Thanks I appreciate the feedback! The thing that gets me is it SHOULDN'T be daunting. It's just that the whole process is poorly mapped out and not documented anywhere and this drives me insane as somebody who spent over 15 years documenting process work flows. No wonder people get so confused and frustrated all the time–I got confused and frustrated all the time and I went into this understanding how the publishing industry works at a high level (the actual mechanics of it on the other hand...I've only seen the author's side of it before, and only in the work for hire type of arrangements. The illustration and typesetting and distribution and marketing, all of that is new to me).

newts posted:

I’m also thinking about covers. Considering drawing my own for my crappy novel, even though illustrated covers are not the genre convention. Unless it’s a book featuring a witch protagonist in a cozy mystery, which mine is not. I realize that’s probably shooting myself in the foot. Maybe I’ll just draw it and see if I hate it.

Fate Accomplice posted:

your cover is more important to sales than the quality of your book.

if there is any well-spent money in self publishing, it is on covers.
This, though I caveat with "assuming your goal is to make money off your book" with a secondary caveat of "assuming your goal is to get people unrelated to you to read the book". If you're self-publishing just for the hell of it to learn the process and so you can have a finished copy of your writing in your hands to pass out to family and friends, then not so much.

Honestly though, I like your book and I think you would have an audience so you should invest in your cover. Spend the money on hiring a cover designer if you're not confident in doing a good cover; draw your own cover and post it here for critique; or spend the time you would have spent doing a cover on your book doing extra work that would pay for a cover designer.

Leng fucked around with this message at 18:49 on May 29, 2021

ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




DropTheAnvil posted:





Would I be completely crazy if I asked any of these pre-design cover places to mock up a cover like the above?

This isn't a good cover though.

What kind of a book / what genre is it?

DropTheAnvil
May 16, 2021


It will be a short story collection that I'm making. I'm going into it with no expectations, and It's been a lot of fun. I've already learned a ton of what not to do!

Zaepho
Oct 31, 2013



Leng posted:

Thanks I appreciate the feedback! The thing that gets me is it SHOULDN'T be daunting. It's just that the whole process is poorly mapped out and not documented anywhere and this drives me insane as somebody who spent over 15 years documenting process work flows. No wonder people get so confused and frustrated all the time–

Wait a few months and KDP or Ingram or somebody else will change something on you again.

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

Zaepho posted:

Wait a few months and KDP or Ingram or somebody else will change something on you again.

ha, yeah, the reason this isn't well documented is because the workflow is constantly being tweaked by Amazon, and competitors. It sucks if you're navigating it for the first time, but it's better to have storefronts making changes than not, imo.

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


Zaepho posted:

Wait a few months and KDP or Ingram or somebody else will change something on you again.

KrunkMcGrunk posted:

ha, yeah, the reason this isn't well documented is because the workflow is constantly being tweaked by Amazon, and competitors. It sucks if you're navigating it for the first time, but it's better to have storefronts making changes than not, imo.

Yeah, I get that the specific screens, buttons, etc are gonna fluctuate over time. But things like the order in which you set up pre-orders, etc - those should be relatively stable unless these players make bigger changes to how they operate. The hardest part about documenting a workflow is the initial step of mapping it all out; after that it's just periodic review to make sure it's current.

Welp, another one for the YouTube channel project list!

My current problem is I actually had a random sale on Google Play! Except the customer then reached out to me and said that the format of the EPUB on Google Play is all screwed up. Apparently what counts as fixed layout on Apple iBooks and the Calibre ebook viewer does not count as fixed layout on Google Play.

I freaking hate ebooks. So instead of diving into the next book this morning, I'm going to be spending my time reading through THIS guide:
https://bisg.org/store/viewproduct.aspx?id=6974109

Which was buried in a Google help page and hopefully be able to fix this issue with the Google Play layout. FML.

EDIT: so 3 hours later, I've figured it out and I have a fixed layout EPUB3 that looks fine both on iBooks and Google Play Books...IF I side load these into the apps. For whatever bizarro reason, uploading the same file as the "content" file in Google Play doesn't work and the layout ends up super messed up after Google's done whatever 6 steps of processing to the file. Trying to reload it at the moment to see if it's definitely on Google's end or if I had a brain fart and uploaded the wrong file before.

EDIT EDIT: It was an app caching error, which can be fixed here: https://support.google.com/googleplay/answer/3238095

Leng fucked around with this message at 03:54 on Jun 8, 2021

divabot
Jun 17, 2015

Divabot, how are you not publishing on Substack already?


Leng posted:

My current problem is I actually had a random sale on Google Play! Except the customer then reached out to me and said that the format of the EPUB on Google Play is all

I only bothered with Google Play 'cos it's the only general ebook store I could find that sold PDFs.

Even then, I have to be sure to tick a box to make sure people can actually download the PDF they paid money for.

I get a few sales of the epubs too, it's worth bothering with like Smashwords is, but if you can't get Google to work then don't sweat it too hard.

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

Does anyone here have experience advertising pre-orders? What platforms work?

I was thinking about throwing down on some cheapo facebook and Bookbub ads. Maybe A/B test some blurbs?

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


KrunkMcGrunk posted:

Does anyone here have experience advertising pre-orders? What platforms work?

I was thinking about throwing down on some cheapo facebook and Bookbub ads. Maybe A/B test some blurbs?

I kind of half-assed mine and I regret it. What I did:

1. Post in some Facebook groups with my target audience and ask for beta readers
2. When the slots filled up, asked people to sign up for a mailing list to be notified about when the book came out
3. Set up a book page on my website
4. Once pre-order links were available and most of the info had replicated from IS to the major retailers, I posted an update in the Facebook group with a link to the book page

Platform will depend on your audience. I have not done ads yet, but will probably run some on Facebook and Instagram, which is where my customers hang out. I set up a Twitter account but it's mostly just to sit on the handle, I don't really post there.

I have heard from other forums that A/B testing blurbs using Facebook ads is a good way to refine what's working and what's not. I'll probably do that for my next book as well, though I think I'd use a small ad spend and funnel people to pre-order, then use the best performing blurb to run a bigger campaign on release week.

I did a bunch of ARCs as well, and so far, I'm not sure it's been worth the effort. We're nearly a month post release and I'm yet to see an actual review from any of them. I think if I were relying on ARCs to drive pre-orders, I would need to organize them a lot earlier than I did, and also get a definite agreement in place regarding the timing of their review. Likely the next time around, I'm going to reach out to different people for ARCs.

Sponsored giveaways are also popular in my niche, because of specialty book retailers. That's something I've got on my list for next time around.

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

Leng posted:

I kind of half-assed mine and I regret it. What I did:

1. Post in some Facebook groups with my target audience and ask for beta readers
2. When the slots filled up, asked people to sign up for a mailing list to be notified about when the book came out
3. Set up a book page on my website
4. Once pre-order links were available and most of the info had replicated from IS to the major retailers, I posted an update in the Facebook group with a link to the book page

Platform will depend on your audience. I have not done ads yet, but will probably run some on Facebook and Instagram, which is where my customers hang out. I set up a Twitter account but it's mostly just to sit on the handle, I don't really post there.

I have heard from other forums that A/B testing blurbs using Facebook ads is a good way to refine what's working and what's not. I'll probably do that for my next book as well, though I think I'd use a small ad spend and funnel people to pre-order, then use the best performing blurb to run a bigger campaign on release week.

I did a bunch of ARCs as well, and so far, I'm not sure it's been worth the effort. We're nearly a month post release and I'm yet to see an actual review from any of them. I think if I were relying on ARCs to drive pre-orders, I would need to organize them a lot earlier than I did, and also get a definite agreement in place regarding the timing of their review. Likely the next time around, I'm going to reach out to different people for ARCs.

Sponsored giveaways are also popular in my niche, because of specialty book retailers. That's something I've got on my list for next time around.

I just split off people from my mailing list for ARCs. Just straight-up asked if anyone would like to volunteer, and said I'd take the first X number of people who responded. It has worked decently. ARCs are funny in that, you'd assume people who sign up for them would actually, like, download and read the book and leave a review, but a maximum of only about 50% of people actually *do* those things, ime.

Anyway, I guess I'll run some FB ads. I have a couple early reviews that I'm going to pull quotes from and put in the ad image.

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


KrunkMcGrunk posted:

I just split off people from my mailing list for ARCs. Just straight-up asked if anyone would like to volunteer, and said I'd take the first X number of people who responded. It has worked decently. ARCs are funny in that, you'd assume people who sign up for them would actually, like, download and read the book and leave a review, but a maximum of only about 50% of people actually *do* those things, ime.

Yeah, I was thinking of going that route next time. With my ARCs, I was targeting people in my niche who already had a following (mommy bloggers) because I had the hope that they would post the review on their PLATFORM which would drive more people towards the book. But they are so busy posting other stuff that I think your approach would work much better - at least it would translate into Amazon or Goodreads reviews.

newts
Oct 10, 2012


Dumb question incoming…

Is there a way to see what keywords or categories people are using for their books on Amazon? I’m trying to figure out keywords for mine and it’s a confusing mess. Like, there are some appropriate ones if you search in the kindle section, but not in books, or vice versa. Some books that are very close to mine have seemingly nonsensical tags or categories: ‘Vampire Fiction’ for a book with no vampires in it, for example. If I search in books for ‘psychic detective’ I get a few books like mine, but if I search in kindle for ‘psychic detective’ I get nothing but erotica shorts (not even paranormal mystery, just random erotica, no psychics, no detectives).

I knew this would be a slog because I already have trouble searching out books I want to read on Amazon using keywords.

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


newts posted:

Dumb question incoming…

Is there a way to see what keywords or categories people are using for their books on Amazon? I’m trying to figure out keywords for mine and it’s a confusing mess. Like, there are some appropriate ones if you search in the kindle section, but not in books, or vice versa. Some books that are very close to mine have seemingly nonsensical tags or categories: ‘Vampire Fiction’ for a book with no vampires in it, for example. If I search in books for ‘psychic detective’ I get a few books like mine, but if I search in kindle for ‘psychic detective’ I get nothing but erotica shorts (not even paranormal mystery, just random erotica, no psychics, no detectives).

I knew this would be a slog because I already have trouble searching out books I want to read on Amazon using keywords.

Yes there is! I don't know what everyone else is using, but I am using Publisher Rocket: https://publisherrocket.com/

It is not free, but it is a timesaver and it's not subscription based so I went and bit the bullet and paid for it. I use it to look up comparable titles and then reverse engineer their keywords/categories.

Edit:
PS - check your email

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

poo poo man, I forgot how useful canva is for making ads.

Paramemetic
Sep 29, 2003






Fallen Rib

I was recently approached by an audiobook publisher with a reasonable offer for audio rights I'm not using, however, they require that any ebook I have published have text to speech disabled. I have my book on KDP which of course naturally does this. I've emailed KDP and they suggest I need to reupload as a non-reflowable document.

I assume this means like... Formatting an ebook in a fixed format? This sounds horribly onerous.

Any advice on how to either accomplish this or get text to speech disabled on Kindle ebooks?

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


Paramemetic posted:

I was recently approached by an audiobook publisher with a reasonable offer for audio rights I'm not using, however, they require that any ebook I have published have text to speech disabled. I have my book on KDP which of course naturally does this. I've emailed KDP and they suggest I need to reupload as a non-reflowable document.

I assume this means like... Formatting an ebook in a fixed format? This sounds horribly onerous.

Any advice on how to either accomplish this or get text to speech disabled on Kindle ebooks?

Can't help with the disabling text to speech, but I did my own fixed layout format ebooks because I have a kids book.

Leng posted:

I freaking hate ebooks. So instead of diving into the next book this morning, I'm going to be spending my time reading through THIS guide:
https://bisg.org/store/viewproduct.aspx?id=6974109

That guide will basically tell you what you need to do, so if you have Calibre and some basic knowledge of HTML, you'll be able to muddle through it. I have plans to do a video explaining EPUBs but I won't be able to get around to doing that for another week or so.

EDIT: the HTML principles are you need to define a fixed size viewport and then define all of your elements in it. If this is a novel, you're gonna be in a world of pain doing it by hand. Vellum doesn't support fixed layout EPUBs, though Pages does if you have a Mac: https://support.apple.com/en-au/HT202066#:~:text=Fixed%20layout%3A%20If%20you%20want,heavy%20or%20multi%2Dcolumn%20documents.

Beware that EPUB exports from Pages might not play nice on any platforms other than Apple Books, because Google Play and KDP both choked on my export out of Pages. I ended up dropping Apple Books distribution entirely and went with a handcoded EPUB via Calibre to Google Play and then Amazon Kindle Kids Creator to KDP, since my publication date was before Amazon switched to EPUBs.

There are some other methods (like converting a PDF to a fixed EPUB) that I can't personally vouch for as I've not experimented with it. Example: https://issuu.com/editions-heta/docs/pdf-to-epub-fxl-preview

Leng fucked around with this message at 04:46 on Jun 23, 2021

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




Searching online I found that Amazon got into a scuffle with publishers over Text to Speech. I’m guessing that it was only the bargaining power of the big publishers that allowed them to disable TTS on their books though, and that with self published authors Amazon will not allow any easy way to disable that option.

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Daric
Dec 23, 2007

Shawn:
Do you really want to know my process?

Lassiter:
Absolutely.

Shawn:
Well it starts with a holla! and ends with a Creamsicle.


Amazon’s argument, and it’s a good one, is that the speech to text captions they wanted to be able to do for Audible books are an accessibility feature that is badly needed. My wife is dyslexic and really struggles reading. She can do audiobooks but if she’s not doing something like driving she’ll lose her focus. But when she’s able to read something and listen at the same time, she’s locked in.

She was super excited about the captions option Amazon was trying to push through but then the big publishers shut it down.

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