15 Ways To Improve KDP – Progress Report

Originally posted on David Gaughran:

kindle-direct-publishing The London Book Fair is underway again which makes it a perfect time to review the list of suggestions I presented to KDP last year.

As regular readers will know, I crowd-sourced a list of feature requests, bug fixes, and common problems via my blog and the most popular self-publisher hangout, Kboards.

The KDP reps at the Fair spent a great deal of time going through your list of suggestions. They asked for clarification at various points and I was able to follow up with them by email afterwards.

At the same time, a parallel effort led by Marie Force, Laura Florand, and Diana Peterfreund presented a similar list of suggestions at NINC in October last year. There were probably more such efforts too.

In any event, here’s the checklist, with progress (if any) indicated.

1. More Data! (see original request here)

A very common demand was for…

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Why Amazon (Probably) Gave You Free Money This Morning

Originally posted on TIME:

Tuesday morning, select Kindle users woke up to an unexpected Amazon refund.

The money is the result of an Apple eBooks anti-trust settlement between various publishers and the Department of Justice. Publishers and Apple were accused of conspiring to fix select ebook prices when the iBookstore launched. Apple is still fighting the suit but publishers decided to settle.

Thus, anyone who bought an ebook from HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, Penguin, or Macmillan between April 2010 and May 2012 that made it onto the New York Times bestsellers list got a $3.17 refund. Non-bestsellers got 73 cents. (Minnesotans received $3.93 and 94 cents.) The refund has already been automatically added to customers’ Amazon accounts.


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Pride, Perfectionism and Anger—Confessions of a Recovering Jerk


Brilliant. I too am a recovering perfectionist, and jerk. Hard to admit it, but it’s so…

Originally posted on Kristen Lamb's Blog:

Image via QuickMeme

Image via QuickMeme

I am one of the most blessed people on the planet. Truly. I’m not a millionaire and may never be, but I’m infinitely rich. I wouldn’t trade the wonderful people I know personally and on-line for anything. This is a tough post to write because it’s vulnerable. But I know that all of us struggle and fail and fall and often what keeps us pressing is to know others have been a mess (or still are one). It’s why I’ve branded everything I do under We Are Not Alone.

I have a confession. I am a Recovered (Recovering?) Jerk. It would be nice to lie to you and tell you I never have my moments, but I do. Thankfully, they are much rarer than they used to be. Today, I’d like to talk about some of my Jerk Reformation. It could be a BOOK…okay a SERIES of…

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Ebooks: is it a genre thing? Definitely…


Yes, epublishing is a genre thing. And that’s not a bad thing.

Originally posted on David Hewson:

I’m temperamentally inclined to favour anything that casts aspersions on the value of social media. Also any article that can get Joe Konrath to make his charmless, boorishness more public than ever has to have something going for it.

Just such a piece appeared in the Guardian by Ewan Morrison a while back, entitled ‘Why social media isn’t the magic bullet for self-published authors’.

In a typically ill-mannered comment Konrath, Stephen Leather’s alter ego across the Atlantic, booms…

How many hours did (this article) take, Ewan? Hours you could have spent working on a book that you self-published, which then earns money indefinitely?

I’ve got a short story on Kindle which took me a few hours to write, which has earned me more than $10k. That seems like a much better use of a writer’s time than writing for the Guardian.

The idea that anyone would write for…

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These 11 apps are the key to productivity


Want to be more productive? Great ideas in this article — you’ll save time and energy.

Originally posted on Quartz:

A few weeks ago I talked about using a system of reward tasks and “enjoyable” activities to motivate yourself to get things done. A lot of readers asked me what tools and apps I used to keep on top of my tasks and assignments.

An email account combined with Evernote is sufficient for most people to manage their complete productivity universe. This combination offers a robust feature set: messaging, reminders, note-taking, recording, lists, writing, annotation, journaling and even photo archiving. Exactly the kind of app efficiency the voice in my head wants me to achieve: “How many apps are you going to download? Why don’t you just find a couple of apps that between them do as many things as possible?”

Over the years, however, I’ve learned to ignore that voice completely. Instead I have a somewhat contradictory task-app strategy. In combination with the tasking system I mentioned last time…

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Suck It Up & Writer Up—Preparing for Greatness


Great advice. Just take one baby step at a time, and keep stepping… :-)

Originally posted on Kristen Lamb's Blog:

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 9.58.49 AM

Social media doesn’t work. Blogging doesn’t sell books. We’ll have to put out massive amounts of time and effort for no pay-off. We’ll have to learn HTML and how to manipulate algorithms to succeed and this is all for nothing. If we blog, we must write Pulitzer-quality content, but don’t bother. No one will read it, anyway.

Social media and blogging are the most soul-sucking, life-draining tasks we’ll ever have to do as authors. Quit while you can. If you aren’t already a mega-best-selling author, no one will care about you, your work or your blog.

Feel inspired?

Unless off the grid traveling, I’m always engaged with social media. I keep my “finger” on the pulse of what’s happening in my platform. Over the weekend, a Twitter follower shared an article and asked me for my thoughts.

I won’t even bother linking to the article because my goal here isn’t…

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Publish or selfpublish? Advice for the 2014 writer


Excellent advice from Roz Morris.

Originally posted on Nail Your Novel:

7345133320_0dd41c6fc1_c This post is a tad late as I’ve had an oversubscribed weekend, first hosting a workshop at the London Author Fair and then teaching at the Guardian selfpublishing masterclass. In all that whirl I’ve met a lot of writers and would-be selfpublishers and thought I’d share some of the advice I gave most frequently.

1 Whether you intend to go indie or not, learn about selfpublishing

- then you’ll know how to weigh up the value of a publishing deal. As well as the money (which usually won’t cover the time you spent writing), a publisher offers editorial guidance, copy editing and proof reading, cover design as appropriate for the audience, print book preparation, publicity using their contacts and reputation, print distribution.

As I’ve said in this blog post, all of that is services that indie authors do for themselves. Some (not all) are easy to source and manage…

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Ulysses, an interesting, eccentric writing app for OS X


If you’re a Mac user and a writer, give Ulysses a try. You’ll like it. :-)

Originally posted on David Hewson:

Sometimes it doesn’t pay to be the first in your field. Scrivener started off as an innovative fledgling among writing apps back in 2007 and now is a piece of software used by writers, researchers and journalists around the globe. But as Keith Blount has freely conceded since Scrivener first appeared some of the inspiration for its approach to writing came from an app that’s still less well-known — Ulysses , now in its third incarnation from its German developers The Soulmen.

Being then minded to buy just about every writing app that appeared on OS X I picked up Ulysses 1 (at quite a price I seem to recall) when it first came out and then upgraded to Version 2 — and still never used it. From the start Ulysses has taken a very left field view of the writing process. It set out to be minimalist before minimalism…

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10 rules for writing a synopsis


Wonderful advice if you hate writing synopses. (They’re fun, if you approach them in the right way.) Tip — try writing your synopsis before you start plotting. It’s a great way to kick off your novel.

Originally posted on BRIDGET WHELAN writer:

Carole BlakeI’m away for a few days so here is something from a year ago which I think is still interesting – synopsis training.
The agent Carole Blake, author of From Pitch to Publicationsays that any story can be boiled down to:

What does the main character want, and what’s stopping them from getting it?

If there’s no conflict, there’s no story.
Here’s a couple of examples she gives:

What does Macbeth want? To be King of Scotland.
What’s stopping him? There’s already a king, with two sons as his heirs.

Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy:
What does Gabriel Oak want? To marry Bathsheba Everdene. What’s stopping him? She becomes a woman of property, and falls in love with the wrong man.

I’ve yet to meet anyone who actually enjoys writing a synopsis but it is an essential writing tool – especially if your aim is…

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Havisham: A Novel, by Ronald Frame – A Review


This book is on my TBR list…

Originally posted on Austenprose - A Jane Austen Blog:

Havisham A Novel by Ronald Frame 2013 x 200Dear Mr. Frame:

I recently read Havisham, your prequel and retelling of Charles Dickens Great Expectations, one of my favorite Victorian novels. Your choice to expand the back story of minor character Miss Havisham, the most infamous misandry in literary history, was brilliant. Jilted at the altar she was humiliated and heartbroken, living the rest of her days in her tattered white wedding dress in the decaying family mansion, Satis House. Few female characters have left such a chilling impression on me. I was eager to discover your interpretation of how her early life formed her personality and set those tragic events into motion.

Dickens gave you a fabulous character to work with. (spoilers ahead) Born in Kent in the late eighteenth-century, Catherine’s mother died in childbirth leaving her father, a wealthy brewer, to dote upon his only child. Using his money to move her up the social ladder…

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