Those of you who’ve popped in here before will know there have been a few glitches with Amazon, and the latest was an email last week alerting me to 10 typos in the text of Turn of the Tide, which, if I didn’t sort them and re-load by the 4th February, would result in the book being flagged as having ‘issues’.
Now I wasn’t responsible for the production of the original text, my publisher was, but having bought back the rights, of course it’s my pigeon. It wasn’t the easiest thing in the world for me to edit the ePub file using Calibre in fact as I’d never done it before it took me an entire day. First to find the rogue errors (not easy – although Amazon helpfully provide the locations, those numbers don’t relate in any way to page numbers in the hard copy, nor to the system of numbering in ePub), then to fix them, heart in mouth in case I scuppered any formatting, and finally to upload the new version onto Amazon. I have to confess here that of the 10, there was one I didn’t find, so I’m just praying others don’t either! It did seem a little strange for Amazon to consider less than one typo in every 10,000 words, and all of them very minor issues – a missed out initial r in murmuring for example – as something that would ‘significantly impact on a reader’s experience’. But hey-ho, I’ve learnt something (hopefully) useful.
Postscript: I’ve just learnt that Amazon would consider 10 – 15 errors in a book of 3000 locations to be sufficiently significant to flag. So my 10 in a book of 4773 locations definitely shouldn’t have done. Ah well…
Yesterday was the start of my first ever countdown deal for Turn of the Tide on Amazon (US). It took me a while to sort out the technicalities – fortunately you can play about with the buttons until you (think) you have what you want.
First decision: the number of price increments – I’m not sure why I went for 3 – or maybe it was auto-suggestion as the example that Amazon provided was 3. Is there some significance to 3? Some hidden reason that only the Amazon computer knows? Maybe. Anyway I’ve gone for 3. $0.99 / $1.99 /$2.99 and I’m happy with that. But will any buyers be?
Then there was timing – how many days would I have at each price level? Thinking in terms of days would have been straightforward and convenient, but Amazon, in their wisdom, counts in hours. Of course that makes the system extremely flexible – I could have gone for 27 hours at one level and 33 at another and so on, but I took the simpler option – 3 days, 2 days and 2 days – 72 hours, 48 hours and 47 hours. I’m not quite sure how I ended up 1 hour short on the last day, but I’d had sufficient of a struggle to get that far, so 47 hours it stayed.
And finally – the biggest decision of all – would I do it in both the UK and the US simultaneously, or separately. Amazon allows one promotion in a 90 day period on each book enrolled in KDP Select. But having discovered that each territory is considered separately I decided to try the .com site first and then at a later stage try the UK one, thus perhaps maximising the promotional value. (Or maybe not – time will tell.)
The unintended consequence? Looking at the .com site from Britain does NOT allow anyone to see a countdown deal that only applies to .com – I hadn’t realised that – mild to moderate panic that the deal wasn’t happening, especially as I’d signed up to a promotional site – fortunately free to use. After a flurry of Facebook posts and sending ‘help’ notices to Amazon someone in the US I discovered all was well – the deal was up and running. Amazon even helpfully sent me a screen shot to prove it.
Everyone says to expect a spike in sales…I’ll keep you posted (but I’m not going to hold my breath).
Three months on since setting up my own imprint, publishing my second book A House Divided and buying back the rights to the first Turn of the Tide, what am I doing now?
Research – It’s fun to buy books and feel virtuous while doing so, after all they are essential research material… Even more fun delving into them, even if they (and the experience) aren’t always what I expected.
Winning the toss was a little book on Henry of Navarre and the Huguenots.
My first experience of reading non-fiction on a Kindle and I must say I prefer hard copy – much easier to flip backwards and forwards and mark the text. I have added highlights, but am not absolutely sure how (or if) I’ll be able to find them again. The content was a mix of fascinating and slightly shocking – the quotations from letters and speeches (if they are accurate, as claimed) provide wonderful insights into Henry’s character, but some of the author commentary is outspoken and definitely not pc.
I was hoping a book on the plague in 17th century Italy would provide information relating to the early years of the century, but no. However as with a lot of research, the wealth of information it did give of later periods kept me reading right to the end (and just maybe might be the basis of an entirely different book, once my 3rd book in the Munro series is done and dusted.)
But I’m putting it well away out of temptation’s reach for the time being and turning to French Peasantry in the Seventeenth Century, which is looking, at first glimpse, very useful indeed.
Now here’s the thing – I love research. I find it endlessly fascinating and generally the difficulty is pulling myself away from research to start writing. But just now that isn’t an issue because although I’m gathering a lot of information, what I haven’t found (yet) is an historic event that has so caught my attention that I have no choice but to write about it. And so, as yet, I haven’t fixed a time frame for Munro no 3.
There are several more books awaiting my attention though, and any one of them just might contain the ‘nugget’ I’m looking for.