Author Olivia Boler

writing is fun
April 25th, 2014

Why Does KDP Hate Me?

Unfortunately, there was a snafu with my Kindle Direct Publishing account, and my special sale was cut short today. I hope to have it up again, but here’s what I take away from the experience:

When I decided to independently publish my novel, I went with Smashwords first because they have a wide distribution, not just on their own website but also with other major retailers—iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, etc….They don’t have a deal with Amazon, so I put up my book there later, unaware that Amazon had this KDP Direct program. What is it? Basically, if you publish your ebook exclusively with Amazon, you can do a couple of promos. One is a free giveaway of your book, run for up to 5 days. The other is discounting your book, again for 5 days. You also apparently get a slice of some profit-sharing that I only vaguely understand because I find such things tedious, even though they’re important.

I hesitated to take my book off Smashwords. They are great to indie authors, and they don’t ask for exclusivity. But sales had become non-existent, and I wanted to get some traction and exposure, that would be simple to run and not too time consuming. I took the book down and signed up for KDP Select. That was a mistake. I should have waited a couple of weeks because it takes a while for all of Smashwords’ partners to take down your book from their websites. KDP immediately sent me a warning. They have creepy crawlers out there, just looking for you to mess up.

When I was sure that I was in the clear, I went ahead and put the book up for free in March. It was great! Tons of downloads. Then, yesterday, because KDP has some kind of time constraint on when you can offer the Kindle Countdown Deal (the discount), I put the ebook up for 99 cents. Yay!

This afternoon, I got another robot-like email from KDP that “our records indicate that we previously informed you that submitting non-exclusive content to KDP Select is not acceptable and may result in loss of KDP Select benefits” and “as a result of repeat violations of the KDP Select exclusivity requirement, we have removed all of your books from the KDP Select program. Your titles remain available in the Kindle Store.”

WTF!?! (Deep, calming breaths. But why is it suddenly so hot in my brain???)

They sent a link (so helpful!) to the offending site, and sure enough, there’s my book on a French site—FNAC, actually, where I used to go shopping when I lived in Paris 20 years ago. How do I like them pommes? Not very much.

I contacted Smashwords about this, and got an immediate (human!) email response. They are going to work on getting this down, and they didn’t even call me a traitor for leaving them. Sniff, sniff!

Back on Amazon, my discount promo was taken down within an hour.

So, word to the wise, if you want to play with KDP, go ahead, but take advantage of KDP Select before you upload to Smashwords. Your iTunes, B&N, etc. friends will grumble, but it will definitely save your grief and time.

April 24th, 2014

Kindle Countdown Deal

I’m putting on my retail cap to tell you that from now through April 30, 2014 (that’s a Wednesday), the Kindle version of The Flower Bowl Spell is only 99 cents. That’s 2 bucks off the regular price, a 67% discount. What a deal! So tell your friends to buy up and enjoy the wonders of Wiccan Memphis Zhang and her crazy supporting cast members.

Click here to go straight to The Flower Bowl Spell Amazon page. Happy reading!

April 3rd, 2013

Above the Belt

Someone was snarky to me on Twitter recently. She was one of my “followers,” and I followed her as well—blindly, because, unless it’s porn-related, I will follow pretty much anyone. This explains my sudden popularity with Korean-language Tweeters.

I admit that I don’t have the thickest skin and I can be snarky, too. Not the greatest combo on the psyche. But I try to reel in the snark when it comes to those who aren’t in a place of power. Politicians, celebrities, the wealthy—I think they are kind of fair game. But me—I’m none of those things, so by my own rules, I should be left alone.

At the same time, I’m putting myself out there because I’m trying to be a successful author, to place my books into the hands of as many readers as possible via social media (it’s like a cheap, easy date). I know I’ve made myself vulnerable to some lunatics and just garden-variety grouches because of this, but that doesn’t mean I have to play along or engage in a flame war.

So, please (the magic word!), let’s try to keep things civil. Let’s be mature. And if you don’t have anything nice or constructive to tweet, don’t tweet anything at all.

Thanks to SweetClipArt.com for the image. Peace!

 Image courtesy of sweetclipart.com. Peace!

October 26th, 2012

Been There Done That: The Agent Search Revisited

I’m starting the quest for an agent again. Why would I do this to myself? Why would I endure this agony? This time, I’m looking for representation for a children’s chapter book I drafted over the summer. I won’t say too much about it (no jinxies, please), except that I think it has a shot, yet I can’t really say why. And that’s why—it’s been said, but I’ll say it again!—authors should not be relied upon to promote their own work!

Someone I know and respect in the biz read my query letter and said I need to point out what makes my book special. What makes it different from all the other children’s chapter books out there? At the same time, how is it similar? Why would kids want to read it, and why would a publisher want to buy it? What’s commercial about it?

This is the stuff that drives me crazy and makes me want to call it quits. I went for a walk/errand-run this afternoon, which is often how I work things out that are bugging me. But my brain is tired. I imagine what it would look like if I got an MRI. There would be this dark, dead zone where creativity and problem solving happen. I’m pretty sure of it.

I should try to end this post on a positive note, so I’ll put this out there: Maybe all I need is a nap.

Go, Giants!

May 24th, 2012

P.O. Boxing the Author

Yesterday, I went to my local post office and rented out a P.O. box for the first time. Since I’m doing a lot of writing “business,” i.e. promotion, I thought it would be a good idea to separate it off from my home. With my first book, 12 years ago, I considered doing the P.O. box thing, but in the end, it seemed like too much of a hassle. And I had a publisher, so even though I was doing all of my publicity, I could use his P.O. box as the return address. Nice and professional.

Now, since I’ve self-published, I want to put on a professional front, even if I have kind of sort of no idea what I’m doing. Publishing and the promo that goes with it are not my business, per se, at least I don’t think of them like that.Writing is my work and being a writer is my vocation, my profession. So, it’s time for the box. Plus, I have kids this time around and I’m dealing with a lot of mail to and from people I don’t really know, to put it bluntly (although, if you’re reading this, you’ve all been awesome! :D). Sure, we’ve chatted via email or LinkedIn messages or online forums—but there you go, the term online forum just ignites a CAUTION sign in my head.

What about you fellow bloggers, authors, and writers—do you have a P.O. box or are you all right with the world knowing your home address and with the possibility that someday, some “friend” might show up at your door?

May 4th, 2012

Pinterest your novel

Even though I didn’t go with bookbaby for publishing The Flower Bowl Spell, I get emails from them every so often with promotions and tips. This last one had an article, “Pinterest for Authors” by Chris Robley that I found worth a read.

I’m a member of Pinterest, having dutifully requested an invitation to join after hearing some ladies at a Superbowl party going on about a website where they could “pin up” pictures of crafts and recipes that I thought was called “Pin Twist.” Much to my chagrin, my Google searches came up with zilch, until I stumbled upon a Facebook friend’s Pinterest update on her Timeline. Ohhhhhhh…Of course I’d gone wrong by looking for real words. Anyway, I received my begged-for invite, and started pinning and repinning and following…Mostly, I pinned pretty things and stuff having to do with my children. But I didn’t have any idea how to use these online pin boards for my writing.

Pinterest Logo

Not so anymore! The bookbaby blog post makes a number of helpful suggestions like pinning images of actors who could play your characters, or photos of where you write, or the notes you take. You can also promote authors you admire (instead of always promoting your own writing) or pin places you’d like to visit while on book tour (a reading in the Virgin Islands, anyone?). I chose to go with the suggestion of pinning the settings from my novel. You can check it out here on my brand new The Flower Bowl Spell Pinterest board.

And don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest! I promise to follow back. :)