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Feedback Q&A on Self-Publishing

by Ron Kurtus

Readers have sent in a total of 20 comments and questions on Self-Publishing issues. They are listed according to date.

You can read them to further your understanding of the subject.



List of next 10 letters

Topic

Title

Country

Amazon Advantage Program Has music books for sale USA
 
Exporting with Kindle Plugin for Adobe InDesign Export to Kindle is greyed out Canada
 
Amazon Advantage Program Should I can contract with existing publisher? USA
 
General My book sales have dropped USA
 
General Idea for a children's book USA
 
Amazon Advantage Program Can't get into my Amazon account USA
 
Amazon Advantage Program Selling children's audio books USA
 
General Seeking distribution for new book USA
 
Selling Books Through Amazon Advantage Program Can't access Amazon Associates account UK
 
Kindle Can a Kindle read all e-book formats? USA
 

Next 10

 




First 10 letters


Has music books for sale

Topic: Amazon Advantage Program

Question

May 14, 2015

private seller: Music workbooks w/teacher's editions, music notebook w/reference pages, sheet music w/attached CD, CD in jewel case, inspiring messages book. Please help me categorize these products. I need the name & address of your fulfillment center.

Carole R. - USA

26001

Answer

It sounds like you have some individual items that you would like to sell, as opposed to some self-published works. You can sell them through the Amazon Advantage Program or on eBay. Also, you might check with the music department of your local school to see if some teachers would be interested.

We aren't in the fulfillment center business.

Best wishes in selling your items.

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Export to Kindle is greyed out

Topic: Exporting with Kindle Plugin for Adobe InDesign

Question

March 25, 2015

I have noticed that Export for Kindle is greyed out on InDesign CS4 on Windows 8.

Do you have an idea as to why this is so? The book is indeed open and it works on Windows 7. Is this a Windows 7 vs 8 issue?

Thank you.

Daniel - Canada

25861

Answer

You need to have downloaded the Kindle Plugin for InDesign.

It should work with ID CS4 for both Win 7 and Win 8.

Note that the present Adobe InDesign CC strategy is to have users export to an EPUB file that Amazon can then convert to the Kindle MOBI format. However, the Kindle Pulgin should still work for CS4.

I hope that helps.

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Should I can contract with existing publisher?

Topic: Amazon Advantage Program

Question

December 14, 2014

I published a title with Dog Ear Publishing earlier this year, "Crashing Streams of Change" I am now my own publisher and plan to join the Advantage Program to sell my book. Would I need to can my contract with Dog Ear in order to sell my book through the Amazon Advantage Program?

Moulton - USA

25645

Answer

Right now, your book is listed on Amazon.com as published by Dog Ear Publishing. Probably, they are the publisher-of-record for the ISBN of the book. You may have to get a new ISBN for the book to list yourself as publisher. That may not be worth the trouble.

With any publishing house, the authors often needs to market and sell the books themselves. You could get copies from Dog Ear and sell through the Advantage Program, or you could have the books printed elsewhere and sell through Advantage.

I feel that the best route is to have the book printed and distributed through Amazon's CreateSpace or IngramSpark. In that way, you don't have to have the books shipped to you and then deliver to the buyers.

You might check with Dog Ear to see what is the best route to take.

I hope these ideas help. Best wishes on selling your book.

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My book sales have dropped

Topic: General

Question

November 4, 2014

I found your site great. Thank you so much for offering to help. I have a few questions. First, I have a book on Amazon which has kind of run out of steam. I waited too long in between revisions. My books are the Super Job Search series. The last one was dated 2011. BUT, over the past four years, I have done a complete rewrite and the book has grown from 352 pages to more than 450. Also, I made it interactive with my website. All links referred to in each chapter are shown on my website by chapter and will appear also on the app I programmed in 2012 and published in 2013. Rather than release it immediately, in September I put it up in NetGalley.com to gather as many new testimonials as possible and that paid off with 30 outstanding ones which appear on the cover and inside the front of the book. I priced the book way below what it should sell... at $19.95 list, which competes favorably with other career books. The book is now at the printers in Michigan. I would like to know:

1. I have a long-standing merchant account with Amazon. In the early days they purchased from Baker and Taylor and that was a piece of cake. Now, I see that I have to deal directly with Amazon. So, I have it my mind to try to get an order from Amazon in advance so I can drop ship some of my initial order (1,000) copies directly from the printer to Amazon. It is not clear if I can do this as I do not want the book appear online with them when it won’t be available until the beginning of Dec. Can this be done or do I have to have the books sent to me in Los Angeles only to send them to perhaps back to some out-of-state address. If it can be done, how can I do it? It will cost me at least $.50 to $.80 a book to ship from LA to wherever their warehouse will be.

2. I would like the labels that the printer places on the cartons to confirm to the Amazon spec. I tried finding that spec out and got lost in a handful pdfs. Can you please tell me simply what labels you place on the cartons that meet with Amazon’s specs? How many labels per carton, where do you place them and what info is on each label? I assume you ship inventory to them and do not use POD. My book is priced so low that I have to be careful or I’ll make just a few bucks if I am lucky. I am relying on the eBook version to make a reasonable return.

3. My book is priced at $19.95 and I will have a Kindle version. What price do you recommend me charging for the Kindle? I was thinking of $8.99 or maybe $9.99. I assume that Amazon will most likely discount the trade paperback down to $13.95.

If you want to learn more about my book, please check out....
http://www.superjobsearch.com/html/sjs4.html

4. Is there any way of speaking with a help desk live person instead of only submitting questions online which is terrible. I don’t get answers that make sense.

Thank you in advance very much for your advice regarding the above questions. Best, Peter

Peter - USA

25496

Answer

One reason your book has run out of steam is that it is not listed for sale through Amazon. A number of third-party sellers have it available at reduced prices.

If you are coming out with a new edition, it is worthwhile to have it published through Amazon's CreateSpace program. You get much better visibility on Amazon, as well as distribution through other channels.

It is also worthwhile to follow up with self-publishing through IngramSpark, which used to be Lightning Source. This gives added international distribution.

It is better to let them do most of the selling. Having 1000 books printed and then trying to sell and ship them is not really value-added.

The links for your books should go directly to Amazon, as opposed to try to sell and ship them yourself. As a user, buying from you does not seem appealing. Have links for the Kindle version go directly to Amazon and for the EPUB e-book version to Barnes & Noble.

You might trim down the size of your book. Even 350 pages is quite a bit. These days, book with less pages sell more.

Your price seems to fit within the range of similar books. The Kindle book price seems high. I often think twice before buying a Kindle book at $9.

I hope these ideas help. Best wishes for success in your book sales.

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Idea for a children's book

Topic: General

Question

August 22, 2014

I am a children's writer and I am working on a picture book for grades K-5 which uses magnetism as the storyline and I have a question. I wonder if you might be so kind as to help me out.

The title of the book is Magnetic Magic and young Dena delights the little kids at the pool by performing tricks with magnets. Of course, she doesn't fess up that she's using magnets, she calls it magic. In comes this new kid, Mark, who tells her is not nice to fool the little kids. Dena simply doesn't care. Mark then hands her a map from 1905 and dares her to find the spot. Here's where the declination comes in. Using the NOAA site, I came up with a change of 10° W from 1905 to 2015 on the line that seems to pass through Virginia. Our heroine can't find the treasure using the directions on the map, but eventually she finds the treasure and realizes the directions were wrong. Mark fooled her just like she fooled the little kids. He lets her know that magnetic North has changed over the years. In the end, Dena lets the little kids know that it's magnetism, not magic.

The way I have written the story, the quest takes place in a small town and the kids walk in search of the treasure. I just want to make sure that can happen in such a small place. That is, when she marks her route using a protractor and the 1905 directions, ten degrees over could just be a couple of blocks away, not miles away. Doing the math and plotting in my head and on a map, I believe this will work, but I want to make sure before I submit the manuscript.

I plan to submit the manuscript to Arbordale Publishers. They publish engaging stories that touch on science, but include four pages of hard facts and educational text on the back of the book as well as many pages of more educational text, games, and activities on the book's website. My first book for Arbordale was on the recovery after Mount St. Helens' eruption. The book was named Outstanding Science Trade Book by the National Science Teachers' Association and the Children's Book Council. They will be publishing Sounds of the Savanna, a book about sound as told through a story on prey/predator interactions in the African Savanna, in 2015. I also write educational text for the Smithsonian Science Education Center. I would love to chat with you about this if you have a minute. I will be happy to call you if you let me know the number.

Thank you so much for considering my request.

Sincerely,

Terry Catasus - USA

25309

Answer

Congratulations on writing another children's book. It looks like you have a good writing background, as well as getting awards.

I got s little confused concerning your story line. I'm guessing that the 1905 map indicates where a treasure is buried, according to the inclination of a compass pointing at the magnetic North Pole. Since that pole moves slightly each year, they would have to calculate the position according to the 2015 position of the pole.

That might be too difficult for 5th graders. Also, it seems to be getting off the theme of properties and experiments with magnets. Perhaps it could be changed to something like finding an old iron mine, using a compass.

Feel free to contact me to talk about your book and stuff.

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Can't get into my Amazon account

Topic: Amazon Advantage Program

Question

July 2, 2014

I can't get into my account again. Your on line info is messed up?

Bob - USA

25078

Answer

Although you can use Amazon Advantage to sell books you have in stock, it is better to do future publishing through their CreateSpace program.

However, you should be able to log into your account from Advantage. If you can't log in or forgot your password, there is an option to reset the password.

Other than that, you can try to contact Amazon to see what the problem is. Best wishes in getting this problem resolved.

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Selling children's audio books

Topic: Amazon Advantage Program

Question

June 5, 2014

What is the best outlet to sell children's audio books? And also, to put my manuscripts on to Kindle.

Thank you.

Sandra - USA

25040

Answer

If your audios are in CD format, you can sell them through Amazon Advantage under the music section. Also see Selling on Audible for information.

Check out Kindle Direct Publishing to get your manuscripts on Kindle and listed on Amazon.com.

If you want your books published as hard copies, Amazon's CreateSpace is good. You will also be listed on Amazon.com

I hope that helps. Best wishes in selling your children's books.

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Seeking distribution for new book

Topic: General

Question

May 29, 2014

Dear Mr. Kurtus,

I have been around and around trying to figure out what path to take in the self-publishing of my one book on the Modoc War. My situation is as follows:

A year ago, I self-printed several copies of my Modoc War book, Modoc
Vengeance. I donated all copies to museums and individuals in the Klamath Falls area where the war took place.

Having received good reader feedback, using the same printer as last
year (United Graphics - Mattoon, Illinois), I would now like to publish Modoc Vengeance nationwide on a profit-making basis.

Modoc Vengeance is not a candidate for POD (print on demand) because it is 340 semi-gloss/color pages and POD doesn't do semi-gloss.

Using my own printer, I would like to find someone who will do everything else, i.e. warehousing, customer fulfillment, marketing.
Of the several fulfillment services that I have investigated, it
has boiled down to Amazon Advantage and Pathway Book Services. The problem with the latter is that using them will create an added
warehousing cost that can be avoided if I use Amazon Advantage.

My main question is this. Say I have United Graphics print 2500 copies of my book. Can I send all 2500 copies to Amazon Advantage
for warehousing, or do I have do find my own warehouse and only
be able to send copies to Amazon as they may request, in small doses?

Thank you for whatever advice and suggestions you may give me.

Daniel - USA

25004

Answer

I assume that you have an ISBN for your book. If not, go to Bowkers to purchase one, as well as to get a barcode. Bowkers also has some distribution services.

Although you can get your book listed on Amazon.com through Amazon Advantage, it is a pain and costly to send them a few books at a time.

You might look into using Amazon's CreateSpace service. They can do color, and will get your books on Amazon.com without having to send them copies. See Complex Custom Interior for some information.

Another good choice is to have your books printed and distributed through IngramSpark. They print colored books and the books are distributed worldwide through Ingram Books and Baker & Taylor.

I think these are better choices than getting a bunch of books in your garage.

Also, check into the SF area self-publishers group to find out what others are doing.

I hope these ideas help. Best wishes on getting a best-seller.

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Can't access Amazon Associates account

Topic: Selling Books Through Amazon Advantage Program

Question

January 29, 2014

How do you get Amazon Advantage to communicate properly? I received an order, could not access my account and asked how I should to this. I was then asked for all the details of the Amazon Advantage Account which I could not access! I then get a statement that the order is cancelled. I now have a new order - maybe I'm not a member - although I was - surely they could clarify this????
I am uneasy about the impersonal relationship with this big company. I sent some books as requested. I do not remember receiving any money form Amazon Advantage as a consequence. How can I get them to review my account and let me know where I stand?

- UK

24471

Answer

I believe that the US version of Amazon Advantage is separate from the UK version. You should log in at https://affiliate-program.amazon.co.uk/ to see your account information.

The US version is at: https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/

Hopefully, one of them will have your account records. You can also check Help at the bottom of the login page.

In my experiences, they seemed pretty helpful. However, it can also be confusing.

Best wishes with your efforts. Let me know how things turn out.



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Can a Kindle read all e-book formats?

Topic: Kindle

Question

March 30, 2013

Can a Kindle read all e-book formats?

Jeff - USA

23571

Answer

The MOBI file is made for the Kindle. The device can read PDF files, but they have limitations. Amazon.com is looking into allowing the Kindle to read EPUB files, that are used with the Nook and iPad e-readers.

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Summary

Hopefully, this reader feedback has helped provide information about Publishing issues.


Produce a good product


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Self-Publishing topics

Feedback Q&A on Self-Publishing




Self-Publishing topics

Organize business

Decide to start business

Start publishing business

Run business

Publish hardcopy book

Printing preparations

Complete manuscript

Design book

Send to printer

Sell books

ePublishing

Prepare to market

Convert format

Check Copy in eReader

Submit

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