KDP Select, Smashwords, Making Revisions to a Self Published Novel and a Reader’s Complaints

I realize the title of this post seems random, but that’s the kind of month I’ve had. It began with a complaint from a reader, a case of Shingles (I didn’t know what it was so I ignored it at first) and the joyful process of refinancing our house. (I mean, does anyone really need to know that much about you?)

I have to say that getting an email from Amazon about complaints from a reader was a lot like getting a letter in the mail from the IRS. There was the initial heart in the throat sensation as I wondered what I could have possibly done to trigger a complaint. There were four complaints about The Devil’s Own Luck from this reader. Fortunately, only two were valid–‘you husband’ instead of ‘your husband’ and ‘t hree’ instead of ‘three’–and they were easily fixed. But the communication made me take a closer look at both books and I decided that The Bewitching Hour and The Devil’s Own Luck could use some improvement.

The first thing I did was change my covers.  Though I liked my previous covers, I never felt like they were quite right for the genre of Regency Romance and after hours of searching in Dreamstime.com (I’m in love with this site) I found graphics I thought worked better. Both books have also been reformatted and a few additional typos were found and fixed. I’m really happy with how they came out. Yvonne Betancourt, who did my formatting, www.ebook-format.com  suggested that I go ahead and put out the trade paperbacks (I don’t know why I drug my feet on this) so we’ve been working on that, too. They’re almost done and I’m pretty stoked with the results.

I’m almost nine months into self-publishing on Amazon. I’m not getting rich but I’m also not complaining. They deposit money into my bank account every month and will continue to do so as long as somebody is willing to read my books.  I’ve decided I want to see how I do with Smashwords and various independent sites, and since Amazon’s KDP Select program requires an exclusive for 90 days, I didn’t renew it. My books are still on Amazon, but won’t be available on the Kindle Lending Library and I won’t be able to take advantage of the free promotions the Select program offers. There are two schools of thought on this. Some writers think KDP Select is the best way to go, others believe it’s best to have your books on as many sites as possible. There isn’t near the competition on Smashwords but they also don’t have the customer base that Amazon does so I have no clue what will happen. I’ll keep you posted.

My experience on KDP Select has been, overall, pretty good. Self-promotion may always be slightly outside my comfort zone, but I’ve gained insight into the business of self-publishing and that’s boosted my confidence. I’ve made more money than I’ve invested, so other than advertising, any checks I get from now on, will be profit.

If I had to take everything I’ve learned over the past 9 months and condense it into one  single thought, it would be,

Follow your dreams, but take your brains with you.

Over the next few months, I’ll be blogging about my experiences with Smashwords. Rather than posting every week (something I haven’t done in a long time) I’ll be posting original content about twice a month and will reblog as I run across other posts I think are valuable.

Catch you later!

Have a great week!

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About Diana Douglas

Diana Douglas, author. Coorganizer of the Arizona Novel Writers Workshop. Member Arizona Historical Novel Society, Member BooksGoSocial Authors, Transplanted Texan. http://www.meetup.com/Arizona-Writers-Workshop-com http://twitter.com/#!/themodernscribe
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7 Responses to KDP Select, Smashwords, Making Revisions to a Self Published Novel and a Reader’s Complaints

  1. Liz M. says:

    Thanks, Diana, good info, and funny as always! (Hope your shingles weren’t too bad.)

  2. Kaye Munroe says:

    Frankly, the complaints you mention are so petty, I think the person complaining needs counseling for her control issues. In the past, these sorts of errors are what made first editions of print books valuable! I’d advise you not to take them to heart, as this sort of nitpicking indicates more of a problem with the reader than the writer!

    To me, serious issues are major ignorance of grammar and punctuation, or blatant historical inaccuracies. Yes, authors need to put out the best product possible. (Some of the self-published books I’ve gotten were so poorly edited they were essentially unreadable.) But this kind of complaint strikes me more as the obsession of an insecure know-it-all whose only sense of personal power comes from bullying others, and you shouldn’t let it get to you.

    • I have to agree with you, but was trying hard not to say it. The only thing that really bothered me was the time it took to straighten it out. It was annoying, but I didn’t take it to heart. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. A couple of things, Diana:
    1. I had too many typos in my first edition, too. No one complained but, when they were pointed out I fixed them. There are probably more in there, but fewer. And I’ve had people tell me that those mistakes DO make the first rum more valuable.
    2. I am published on Smashwords and my results are terrible. I haven’t earned enough to get even one commission check yet. I really hope your results are better. I had trouble formatting my book to get it into their premium catalog, so I had to pay someone to do it for me (putting me well into the hole) and so far I’ve sold 4 copies. Based on my experience, I’m going to stick with Amazon for my next book and save the headache of Smashwords formatting.

    Hope your shingles cleared up without too much bother. Take care!

    • I may come to the same conclusion about Smashwords, but historical romance seems to do well on it, so time will tell. I paid to have both books formatted and it was very reasonable. You might want to check the link I’ve listed above if you have a need for formatting on your next book.

  4. Pingback: 5 Reasons Why Michelle Obama Should Leave Barack for Rush Limbaugh (Or, Pick the Blue Pill) | The Arkside of Thought | Poetry, Philosophy, Politics & Life

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