KDP newsletter

KDP Newsletter: Amazon Review Rules To Make You Smile

Here are some interesting parts of the most recent KDP Newsletter, and a few rules and guidelines about Amazon reviews that are guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Here’s the good stuff first.

How to write a good book description. Good to know for all authors, especially those who didn’t come up in the trenches of the query wars like I did. (You learn this when you learn to write a good query letter.)

One of the most crucial elements to selling a book can also be one of the most difficult to create. The book description is your lead in, your chance to hook a reader and get them to crack the cover and satisfy their curiosity. Even in an online environment, the book description can bridge the gap between having just another title among a sea of choices and a sellable book worth reading. Read more about how to write an effective book description, courtesy of CreateSpace.

Make your own book covers. More useful info.

Want to create a cover for your book? Try our Cover Creator tool currently in beta to quickly create a high-quality cover design for your book.Read more

Now for the part that will make you smile.

I’m not posting it in full, because most are just too ridiculous to bother with. But there is a link below.

No comment from me this time. It is what it is.

Q & A on Amazon’s Customer Review Policies

Lately there has been some confusion around the guidelines Amazon uses to evaluate Customer Reviews. Customer Reviews are meant to give customers genuine product feedback from fellow shoppers. Our goal is to capture all the energy and enthusiasm (both favorable and critical) that customers have about a product while avoiding use of reviews designed to advertise, promote, or mislead customers. Below are answers to some common questions we receive on Customer Reviews. For more detailed information please visit the Customer Review Guidelines.

Q. Are authors allowed to review another author’s book?
A. Yes. We very much welcome Customer Reviews from authors. However, if the author reviewing the book has a personal relationship with the author of the book they are reviewing, or was involved in the book’s creation process (i.e. as a co-author, editor, illustrator, etc.), that author is not eligible to write a Customer Review for that book.


Q. Can I write a Customer Review of my own book?
A. No. You are not eligible to review your own book, but there are other ways to communicate with your readers on Amazon such as
Author Central.

Q. Can I pay for someone to write a Customer Review for my book?
A. No. We do not allow any form of compensation for a Customer Review other than a free copy of the book provided upfront. If you offer a free copy of the book in advance, it must be clear that you welcome all feedback, both positive and negative.


And there you have it, right from Amazon. You can read the rest of the rules at the link I’ve provided above under Customer Review Guidelines.

Check out my post tomorrow. I may have a bridge in Brooklyn for sale…or maybe a bag of magic beans.    

Kindle Direct Publishing Newsletter

The reason why I always post things from the (KDP) Kindle Direct Publishing Newsletter is to let others know what’s going on, and to show what so many indie authors are doing things these days. I’ve posted about how I’m a fan of “Downton Abbey,” and that’s largely because I find the changes the characters were going through during post Edwardian times are fascinating. In many ways, 100 years later, we’re going through the same changes in this century. Publishing alone is changing constantly, on a daily basis sometimes.

I’ve indie pubbed four works of fiction through KDP and I’ve enjoyed the experience. I haven’t done anything in a while because I’ve been contracted with publishers, but I do see myself going back in the future and indie pubbing more works. My reasons for doing this are strictly for the control it gives me. And this control covers many areas of getting an e-book out, from creative to actual book pricing…think business person now, not author. I’ve also been able to offer free book promos with my indie books that wouldn’t have been able to offer with publishers.

The following would probably be the most important things for authors who haven’t done this at all.

From my inbox:

Kindle Select News

You can earn more money and reach more readers by enrolling your titles in KDP Select. Once enrolled, you will earn a share of the global fund amount every time your book is borrowed from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de and Amazon.fr.

For February, the KDP Select Global Fund amount is $1.2 million, including the regular monthly fund of $700,000, plus $500,000 bonus. A total $2.2 million bonus amount over December 2012-Febrary 2013 has been added on top of the regular fund amount so you can earn even more money. In the month of January, KDP Select-enrolled authors earned $2.23 each time their books were borrowed.

KDP Upcoming Events

Making plans to attend London Book Fair, April 15-17, 2013? Visit KDP in Earls Court exhibition hall at booth V555.
 
Tip of the Month…Should you Attend a Writer’s Conference?
 
Here’s a link to the article at Amazon. They claim you should. I’m on the fence about this, though. I think if you have the time and the money to spend, go for it. On the other hand, if you don’t, I wouldn’t worry too much. There are people who’ve made avocations out of going to these things and I’ve never seen them with big books or on any bestseller lists. For many, it’s more of a social get together than anything else. But as I said, if you feel so inclined, it certainly can’t hurt. Just don’t feel it’s the only way to succeed in publishing.
 

Amazon/KDP News; Global Fund; Why I Don’t Promote Some KDP Authors

Here’s the latest Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing news (KDP) about the Global Fund for those enrolled in KDP select. Below that I’ve posted a few things from the KDP newsletter.

The rest of the newsletter is about other KDP authors who write fiction, one of whom I’ve read before, who has had some success. But I don’t feel the urge to promote any of them. I also know one of them self-published in several places, including Amazon, through a literary agent’s e-publishing service and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you can get a deal like that I say take advantage of it and run with it. And more power to you. But since I did self-publish alone, without anyone’s help, and I figured it all out on my own and not with a literary agent who has connections and knows her way around publishing, I don’t feel the need to promote someone who does have that advantage…and doesn’t talk about it openly in public, eh-ver. I’m on the fence about whether or not that actually is self-publishing, because these e-publishing “services” aren’t much different from small e-presses. I could start one myself if I wanted to, and I just might do it in the future.

Don’t get me wrong. Anyone who reads this blog knows I’m the first to promote authors I don’t even know, who don’t need the promotion and will probably never promote me (John Irving for one). But I do draw the line sometimes, and sneaky self-promoting authors who need to get over themselves is just about where that happens (smile). Sorry, you know I never mention names when it comes to things like this. The fact is that some authors will stop at nothing to make a buck. Why give someone who doesn’t deserve it more free promotion? I will say it’s no one who writes gay fiction, gay romance, or anything male/male romance. 

From my inbox:

Since you are currently enrolled in KDP Select, we wanted you to know the total bonus amount is increasing for the global fund. A $2.2 million bonus, over December 2012-February 2013, will be added to the regular monthly fund amount. For January, the global fund is now $1.7 million in total, up from $1.4 million. The remainder of the $2.2 million bonus amount will be paid on top of the regular fund in February.

Remember, you will earn your share of the fund amount every time your book is borrowed from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de and Amazon.fr.

As side note, I didn’t actually know too much about the Global Fund, and I really took advantage of KDP Select because I believe in book sharing and I like to think e-books can be shared at least a litte like print books are still being shared.

And here are some of the more important things for the most recent KDP newsletter, via my inbox:

As we start 2013, we are grateful for all our KDP authors! We are excited to continue expanding globally and developing new features on your behalf. Here are some highlights from the last year:

  • Kindle Format 8 launched, Amazon’s next generation file format offering enhanced features.
  • KDP released impressive author stats and milestones for KDP Select-enrolled titles being borrowed from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
  • KDP launched in India, making books published through KDP available in the Kindle Store for India.
  • Kindle Owners’ Lending Library launched in the UK, Germany, and France offering authors enrolled in KDP Select expanded reach in Europe.
  • KDP launched in Brazil, Canada and Japan, helping authors publish their books in their native country and language. Check out the new KDP sites: kdp.amazon.com.br, kdp.amazon.ca, kdp.amazon.co.jp.
  • KDP Select adds $1.5 Million Holiday Bonus to the global fund for authors.

Thanks again for a great year. Best wishes and much success to you in 2013!

Here’s a link to a few promotional tips that too long to post here. Some look interesting, though mostly boiler plate. I haven’t tried any so don’t quote me. But what doesn’t work for one might work for another.

https://www.createspace.com/en/community/community/resources/blog/2012/12/27/two-not-so-typical-resolutions-for-writers

And here’s some advice from a KDP author that’s not bad.

Guy Kawasaki, tech guru and author of APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book, shares his five tips for independent authors.

1. Write for the right reasons. Writing is an art form,http://cts.vresp.com/c/?Amazon.com/196670beec/7a9dfa5b8b/16945e5a7c and a book is an end in itself—don’t write a book


Your Voice: KDP Author Guy Kawasaki

  solely because it is a means to an end. The good reasons to write a book are the desire to enrich people’s lives, to further a cause, to achieve an intellectual milestone, and to get something off your chest. The bad reasons are to make a lot of money or to increase your consulting or speaking business.

2. Build your marketing platform. The hardest part of making a book successful may be marketing, not writing, it. Unless you have a great publicist with a powerful publisher, you are the “vice president of marketing” of your book. It takes a year to build a marketing platform, so get started at the same time as you’re writing. If you wait until your book is done, it’s too late. My recommendation is to spend two hours a day writing and one hour a day on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
3. Hire a copy editor. If you’re going to self-publish your book, the worst way to try to save money is by not hiring a professional copy editor. Copyediting is a specialized and refined skill—to use a medical analogy, only a fool would self-diagnose and self-medicate in an emergency. The goal is to produce a book that is as good as, or better, than a book from a large traditional publisher. You cannot do this without a professional copy editor.
4. Test your eBook. In a perfect world, what you upload from Word and what online resellers deliver as an eBook would match. Every page, image, line break, and font would be right. This isn’t a perfect world. The bugs and glitches that can appear because of the conversion process from manuscript to eBook will shock, depress, and enrage you. You need to test your eBook on every platform that people will read it on: computer, tablet, reader, Macintosh, Windows, Android, and iOS. Don’t assume that any conversion process is 100% accurate.
5. Never give up. There are qualities that every published author shares: first, they wanted to give it all up. Second, they didn’t give it all up. Writing a book is one of the most difficult tasks in life. Fortunately, or maybe because it’s so difficult, it is also one of the most rewarding tasks in life. When you feel like you can’t type another word, can’t re-read another draft, and can’t face another rejection, remember that every author goes through these phases. It’s only the successful ones who never give up.

Kindle Direct Publishing Now in Japan…

I usually post something about the Kindle Direct Publishing Newsletter, and this time I’m excited because KDP is now in Japan. I have a nice readership there and I hear from these readers all the time. Though I’ve never been there, it’s in the top ten of my places to visit list. And I’ve been collecting vintage Satsuma for many years (photo above). To the point of obsession. There’s just something about it that relaxes me.

In any event, this is from my inbox:

Announcing KDP in Japan

We are very excited to announce Kindle Direct Publishing is now available in Japan! Your KDP published books are now available in the Japanese Kindle store, provided you had indicated rights to distribute in Japan when publishing your book. To review your preferences for a title sold in Japan, simply visit your KDP bookshelf. Visit kdp.amazon.co.jp to publish your books in Japanese, or any KDP supported language, and you can experience chats in the Community Forum or interactions with customer service in Japanese.


NaNoWriMo 2012: The CreateSpace & KDP Chronicles, Part 1

http://cts.vresp.com/c/?Amazon.com/fbbcf49e93/7a9dfa5b8b/1a44d88bb7Around the world, hundreds of thousands of authors are beginning National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). It’s a month of furious writing to reach a 50,000-word goal in 30 days, and authors at CreateSpace and KDP are getting in on the action. Even some of our colleagues from both sides are taking the challenge and will be using their free time to write those novels alongside you. Click here to read more.


Marketing Tidbit of the Month
How to Connect with Your Readers

What is best-selling author Karen McQuestion’s secret to connecting with her fans? Establish a personal connection with readers by holding drawings on your blogs and social media where you give away copies of your books. When you send out the book to the winner, include a personal note and encourage them to write a review on Amazon. Don’t take your readers for granted and respond to your reader’s comments on social media and on your blog. For more tips on connecting with your readers from our CreateSpace friends, please click here.


Your Voice: KDP Author Aaron Patterson

Aaron Patterson, author of Sweet Dreams, shares his experiences with KDP.

http://cts.vresp.com/c/?Amazon.com/fbbcf49e93/7a9dfa5b8b/674c9ef0e9/qid=1352158298&sr=1-2-entI worked construction for 11 years when I decided to write my first novel Sweet Dreams in 2008. I never imagined I would even finish, let alone have ‘real’ people read it! When I was done with the first draft, I began looking into how to publish. I soon realized that it was one-big-mess. I was one of the lucky ones, as I never have written a query letter or submitted to a publisher. I decided to start my own publishing house (StoneHouse Ink) instead. Most writers will look for an agent and try to get a big publisher but I did not want to spend years looking when I could do so much on my own.

Starting my own publishing house was not a hard decision, and I knew that my worth as a writer, was not in gaining the approval of a publisher. As I researched Amazon and how to go about publishing a book I found the KDP program. It was really easy to use and I figured, “What the heck!.” I did not even know what an eBook was but did not want to miss out on another way to sell my book.
Three years later, I now have 40 authors and over 60 titles, and I get to work with international bestsellers like Vincent Zandri, Les Edgerton, Melody Carlson, and many others. My own books, because of KDP and the services Amazon has to offer, have allowed me to go from, out of work and living on food stamps, to a full time income. Now that I am a full time writer, I must admit, I am a little spoiled. I don’t think I could ever work a ‘real’ job ever again.
After publishing that first novel at the end of 2008, that first year I did not have much in sales. I found out about eBooks and began to market online through social media. My sales went from 12 downloads a month to 2,000-4,000 downloads a month in just one year! Today, with four titles to my name and a few short stories, this month I will move multiples of that number. This is HUGE, amazing and should I say it? EPIC! I know… and to top it off, the KDP Select program has helped to make our titles with StoneHouse Ink go crazy. We moved over 60,000 copies just a few months ago on one of our titles, The Lonely Mile by Allan Leverone.
I get asked all the time, “What is your secret?” Work. I look at my writing as a job. By educating myself I learned how to use social media and the other platforms Amazon has to offer, such as Search Inside The Book, CreateSpace, Author Central, and KDP Select. All these tools helped to get me where I am today.

I am excited for the future and can’t wait to see what Amazon rolls out next.
– Aaron Patterson


Featured KDP Books

77 Days in September by Ray Gorham
http://cts.vresp.com/c/?Amazon.com/fbbcf49e93/7a9dfa5b8b/e9bcf02af9On a Friday afternoon before Labor Day, Americans are getting ready for the holiday weekend, completely unaware of a long-planned terrorist plot about to be launched against the country. Kyle Tait is settling in for his flight home to Montana when a single nuclear bomb is detonated 300 miles above the heart of America. 77 Days in September follows Kyle and his wife, Jennifer, as they are stretched past their breaking point, but find in their devotion to each other the strength to persevere.

Deity (Covenant) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

http://cts.vresp.com/c/?Amazon.com/fbbcf49e93/7a9dfa5b8b/dd206a45a7 Alexandria isn’t sure she’s going to make it to her eighteenth birthday–to her Awakening. A long-forgotten, fanatical order is out to kill her, and if the Council ever discovers what she did in the Catskills, she’s a goner… and so is Aiden. But as her birthday draws near, her entire world shatters with a startling revelation and she’s caught between love and Fate. One will do anything to protect her. One has been lying to her since the beginning. Once the gods have revealed themselves, unleashing their wrath, lives will be irrevocably changed… and destroyed.

Confessions of an Alli Cat (The Cougar Chronicles, #1) by Courtney Cole

http://cts.vresp.com/c/?Amazon.com/fbbcf49e93/7a9dfa5b8b/9cd2a58aa6Thirty-five year-old Allison “Alli” Lancaster has it all–a fabulous job, a beautiful 15 year-old daughter, a hilarious BFF and a gorgeous house with a pool and Jacuzzi in an exclusive Las Vegas neighborhood. What she doesn’t have is a husband, because she kicked her lousy, cheating ex to the curb nine months ago. She also never thought she’d meet someone else who had the very real potential to change her life forever. Enter the new guy. He’s gorgeous, refined and mature. He’s also marriage material. But that poses a problem for Alli, who renounced the institution of marriage when she renounced her ex. What’s a girl to do?