[Weeping with joy] FINALLY!

Ready or Not (concept only)Ready or Not is available in print!

At this very specific moment only this store but it should be on Amazon by the end of the day at earliest, sometime tomorrow or Thursday at the latest.

Available to other places (BAM!, B&N, your local mom & pop’s ordering system, etc.) … well, really, they could be as early as for Amazon, but more likely they’ll start showing up around Friday and trickle in over the next week or so.

9781482631173 is the ISBN you’re asking for (yes, you can just say “Ready or Not by Jaye Em Edgecliff” or “What do you have by Jaye Em Edgecliff” or whatever, but this theoretically saves time and is really handy for putting in some search functions at some bookstores).

In any event, please enjoy.

I’m not sure if I should scream, cry, or both

English: A kitten crying.

English: A kitten crying. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, I figured out the trouble with Ready or Not, sort of.

My initial problem was that the PDF had decided to be 8.5in x 11in.  The book is 6in x 9in.

The program I’d made the PDF with was refusing to make a 6×9 PDF.  Even though it has done so in the past.

So I use a different program to make the PDF.  YAY!  Fits … but now Createspace is convinced that something is off the edge of the page … which isn’t … and wouldn’t let me approve the proof.

So I use another another PDF creator … proof is approvable!  Yay!  Excess blank pages are randomly inserted into the middle of sections of the book, one of them near the beginning so that page … n/m, just awkwardness happens.  Oh, and to top it off?  Suddenly one of my fleurons is 72dpi, despite the fact that I copy/paste the same image every single time and there are over 100 in there, just the one near the top of page 16.  I’d ignore it, but since I need to fix the blank pages, I may as well figure it out too.

Oh, and why must I use a PDF?  Because Word refuses to embed all the fonts I used, CreateSpace doesn’t have all the fonts I used, and LibreOffice, OpenOffice, Pages, and KOffice all don’t embed those fonts either.

Ready or Not – Print Edition: Still delayed

Ready or Not (concept only)For those who prefer a nice physical, bound book to hold in their hands … I’m sorry but I’m still working on that for Ready or Not.

Theoretically this should be ridiculously easy and all, but Createspace is what I go through for the print because it’s the highest quality Print On Demand publishing service after Lightning Source, which I’d prefer to use but lack the Photoshop skills necessary to get the cover and page layout right in a single go and thus would get obscenely expensive.  Problem is, though, that Createspace apparently hates me.  It’ll lay the pages out pretty neatly while I’m experimenting along the way still writing the book and such; then I upload the final document file which, in theory, ought to be perfect since I’ve been testing along the way … … … random badness happens.  In this case it keeps setting the pages several inches too high up and to the right.

So far I’ve found all the things not causing that.  I pray it’ll only be another few days to a week before it’s up, but it could be as many as two or three more weeks.

I’d go with a publisher and save myself these headaches, but I’d be simply trading them in for different headaches.  At least this way I keep full control and don’t have to worry about some artist getting strange ideas about what my covers should look like (for those who think an author has control of her cover art through most publishers, all I can say is, “that is adorably naïve, honey.”), higher royalties, an editor I know well and trust not to decide to rewrite the book for me (yes, it happens), and control over release date (sort of).

Getting fed up with Amazon

Warning:  I’m highly annoyed, in a foul mood, and not much inclined to be remotely charitable to a certain major corporation just now.

Well, my 75% off sale is up and going. … except Amazon.

They were one of the first places I set the sale, but they haven’t seen fit to post the new price.

I contacted their support and, after an unprofessionally long wait (most others respond within hours if not minutes, Amazon typically is best measured in days) they replied … the price change page hadn’t loaded properly so a key step was missed. Lovely of then to finally say so this morning. Got it sorted, and it’s been almost 12hrs … still no change. Should I mention that the price hasn’t even dropped through automatic price matching yet?!

This is not my first issue with Amazon, and I imagine it will not be my last. Simply put, they can be decently professional to their consumers, to judge by anecdotes at work, if people need to return or exchange something, but in their inter-professional dealings they are, frankly, insulting. So much so that if they were not currently such a major bookseller that I sell more copies per month there than I do in all other estores combined in a quarter, I’d drop them.

They have the slowest response time when contacted for issues and their responses are less attentive to what was said. Their terms are among the worst in the industry. Their format is obtuse and needlessly complex; not to mention stiflingly proprietary. Their KDP site, while not horrible, is not so intuitive as others. Finally there is the treatment: you are a charity and potential customer, not a serious business interaction – you are inundated with offers for premium services you can buy and denied options afforded to larger publishing houses (pre-orders and certain options that Tor has without exclusivity that little ol’ me mayn’t have).

Why say all of this? Information is a powerful tool. Most people perceive Amazon and Kindle in a very positive light. Certainly they are not Satan manifest, but neither are they the greatest company on Earth.

For those who prefer companies that treat everyone interacting with them with equal respect and professionalism I recommend Apple, Kobo, and the group behind All Romance eBooks (all of whom carry my book).

I’m not saying to cease using Amazon nor to trash your Kindle … but if you are already feeling a bit dissatisfied, perhaps this is one more reason to look at that iPad or similar you’ve been eyeing.

Trick-or-Treat: Free books!

Well, book.

Love or Lust coverLove or Lust is free tomorrow through 4 November.

Now, there’re catches:

  1. I can’t make the print book free.  Seriously, I don’t have that kind of control over the pricing.  There’s a minimum, and the price is already not much above that.
  2. I can’t set it free in all eBook retailers.  Sad, but true.  Some will set themselves.  Amazon, for example.  I have no control of WHEN they’ll do so nor when they’ll set the price back.  Weird, but true.  As I recall Nook and Amazon were the only places, though.  Or was that Kobo and Amazon?  Oh well, if it’s 31 October and the price isn’t changed … that’s why.

That’s it.  It’s the same thing you’d pay us$3.99 (or various other prices around the world — I’m in 51 countries, give me a break here) for, just free for the Halloween weekend.  A gift to celebrate Samhain and wish everyone a fun fall, a happy (early or belated depending where you’re standing) Thanksgiving, and so on.

I hope you’ll take advantage of it.  Tell your friends.  Etc.

And Amazon joins the fun

So, it turns out, today, that Amazon decided to price match my Labour Day weekend sale.

So!  Until they put the price back up (I’ve actually got to look up how to make sure they do that) Love or Lust is free for the Kindle!

And this is why subscribing is a good thing

Well, it helps anyway.

This weekend Love or Lust will be free from every retail source I can set it for.

Kindle will, if I have anything to say about it, be included but Amazon’s funny about that sort of thing.  I can’t actually set the book to free, I have to set it to free elsewhere and then report the lower price or hope that their crawler discovers the price and lowers it automatically.

All others should allow a setting of the price to Free.  Exactly how long the price change takes to go through … Well, I’m going to be setting up the prices tonight and this afternoon.  That should have the price fixed starting tomorrow (some will be starting at some point today if it processes fast enough) and I will run it through Tuesday — though some might take long enough to process the change that the free price will be in effect through part or even all of Wednesday.

Before anyone gets too excited, this is only the eBook.  Print copy is still full price.  It going on sale, sadly, is something the individual retailers control, not I.

Happy Labour Day weekend to all my American friends.  To the non-Americans … we’re having a holiday here in the states, so you get a book discount, rejoice.

OW! My brains hurt!

I don’t get it.  I really don’t.

Looking at my Amazon sales ranks it would seem that selling copies of the books lowers my rank and not selling them raises it.

No I don’t mean my numbers get closer to 1 in the former, and further in the latter … I mean my chart-toppingness decreased with sales and increased without them.

I wish I were kidding, but one example involved going down several ranks after selling four copies in five and a half hours.  Not bad, actually, but has been better.  I wouldn’t have thought anything of it, as I said, could be better.  Except over the course of another six hours I sold zero copies and my sales rank improved.

I’ve a terrible feeling that Amazon’s algorithm for their rankings has a divides where there should be a multiplies or vice versa.  Or an add where it needs a subtract or similar.  That has to be it.  And remember folks, the people doing this math are probably the same programmers responsible for the security of your purchase, account, and payment information.  I know I’m impressed.

Do Amazon and Createspace rip off Indie publishers with failure to correctly report sales?

Outrageous! Sadly, though I can quite believe it. I don’t trust Amazon; I work with them only because I must.

I know I’ve other authors, indie especially, following this blog. Surely you’ve seen this happen as well. Make noise, look at the good it did Ms Hogarth with the Space Marines debacle! We’re writers, damn it, let’s remind Amazon why you treat bards ith utmost respect!


Guest post by John. R. Clark, Managing Editor at AgeView Press

When AgeView Press Indie pubbed the book FLYING SOLO in May of 2012, the author, Jeanette Vaughan  immediately began tracking sales.   She heard from excited friends and family who immediately emailed when ordering their copies.  The first sales were off of Createspace’s e-store with the title ID number given to the author.   Then, through Amazon, a week later, when the book went live on the site.  Finally on Kindle, when the ebook format was completed.

Initially, things appeared kosher.    People exclaiming that they had ordered the book, were showing up within a day or two on the electronic royalty reports with a reasaonable accuracy.    But by June and July, sales descrepencies were noted by the author from customers claiming that they had purchased the book directly through Amazon, not an Amazon affiliate.    Many of these sales were simply not listed.The author contacted…

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How does Amazon work, I wonder

I really must say, the ranking system on Amazon fascinates me in a morbid fashion.

It is, really, the personification of many of the reasons I actually deplore the degree to which digital technology has permeated our society. Only through the advent of complex computers could such Lovecraftian mathematical models and algorithms be achieved on an hourly basis.

Something that has profoundly improved my position on the top 100 lists, or the overall sales rank lists: not selling any copies for nearly 12 hours. This, in one case, increased my rank in one category by something like 12 places.

An example of something that hurt my sales rank severely: selling about 4 copies. This, in one case, lowered me by more than 20 places.

Some things observed by other authors: raising and lowering your price has profound impact directly related to the price change (raise price, improve rank); existence of a film version – an author helping to puzzle out this ranking model had books with and books without movie treatments and confirmed that despite equal or worse sales, the ranks for the movied tales ranked higher; reviews (quantity) – it would seem that no reviews is better than some, but if you have any several is best … number of stars irrelevant, 40 1-stars is better as far as can be determined than 8 5-star.

Something with strange weight within the algorithm: 1-star reviews. They seem to hurt more than a 5-star helps. The fact that rating is used at all in the ranking is unique to Amazon, which troubles many consumers and creators alike since Amazon does not discourage people from reviewing things that they have never used/owned/etc nor take issue with people saying so in the reviews; and there’s no way to flag for removal a review for a radiant heater that reads (regardless of how many stars) “I really don’t like duck sauce” – while I pray that such a review for such an unrelated circumstance is merely the construct of my own strange mind, I do know that people will review things unrelated to the product or its quality.

I’ve actually had to resist the urge to consult astrological charts to determine if ranking trends correspond to any stellar alignments; I’m fairly certain, though, that Mercury’s position relative to Mars has some profound bearing upon the Hot New Releases Top 20 for Mysteries.

Ah me, but the eternal question: if it weren’t for computers and the internet wold my work be published? Frankly, I’m not a fan of computers and the internet as a rule. They’re useful tools in moderation, truly. I’m fond of some of their applications, like email. While I agree with Louis L’Amour regarding people relying on word processors to do too much of their writing for them, leading to sloppiness, I still would be loathe to be transferring my manuscripts to typewriter instead of Pages. Still, I would happily renew my acquaintance with my postman and invest in a big, solid Underwood if I could escape the perversions wrought upon society by the virulent proliferation of computer technologies …I miss simple electronics, such as 1980s and earlier televisions & radios {wistful sigh}.