UPDATED: Why Amazon deleted all my ebooks

UPDATE: Rethana’s Surrender, Rethana’s Trial, Colors of Deception, Shadows after Midnight, and Stains of Grace are once again live at Amazon. And the reviews for R’S TRIAL and STAINS have transferred. HALLELUJAH! Hopefully, the other books’ reviews will transfer soon. (Draft2Digital has notified me that I shouldn’t be surprised if it takes a week or more for this to happen [if it happens at all {I remain dismally skeptical on this point }].) (I hope I got that punctuation right.)

(You should interpret my overuse of ( ) as an indication that I am keeping a stiff upper lip, old chap.)

To my dismay, D2D also corrected my misconception that ranking would transfer. Ranking will, in fact, NOT transfer. I guess it’s not such a big deal for me, since I’ve never ranked terribly high anyway…but it really sucks for a ton of other D2D authors who DID have a decent ranking. Great sympathies to them. This situation is so very frustrating for all of us.

~C.

Hile, lovelies,

Once upon a time, you might recall, I wrote a review of a great tool for writers called Draft2Digital. In brief, Draft2Digital (D2D) does all the work for me of uploading my books to the vendors Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, CreateSpace, and Barnes & Noble. I called D2D “the only thing you need to self-publish.”

Thanks to Amazon, I’m having to rethink that assessment.

I still believe 110% in the D2D model. It works fantastically, it saves me time, and it’s more author-friendly than its competitors (mainly because it was conceived of and executed by writers).

But for reasons* unknown to me, Amazon this week decided to remove all ebooks published through Draft2Digital. According to D2D, Amazon claims that D2D is…

“…in violation of [Amazon’s] terms.” Amazon gave D2D “…no opportunity to appeal or correct their complaints, and showed little concern for the impact that action has had on [D2D’s] users….”

–Draft2Digital,
January 31, 2014
February 4, 2014

Amazon’s course of action was to block D2D’s access to its account and to de-list all ebooks published through D2D. Notably, all notification I’ve received on this situation has come from the very apologetic Draft2Digital. I have yet to receive a single communication from Amazon.

Today is when the fit really hit the shan (thank you, Zelazny). One of my books, Rethana’s Trial, has disappeared from Amazon entirely, because I only ever had the ebook for sale. (I am remedying this by at least finally getting around to uploading the paperback file to CreateSpace.)

The rest of my novels — Rethana’s Surrender and all three Demons of Saltmarch books — are still available at Amazon in paperback, but the ebooks are gone. I’ve still got ebooks for sale at Kobo, iTunes, and Nook, but those sales are barely pocket change. Since ebooks at Amazon comprise most of my sales, you can imagine where this leaves me. (READ: high and dry.)

Oh, and the A Consortium of Worlds anthologies in which I have short stories — available only as ebooks — have disappeared just like Rethana’s Trial. So much for those.

I probably don’t have to tell you that I am beyond frustrated over this situation. Today I spent a total of 6 hours filling out tax info at Amazon, as well as filling out information on five different books and uploading book files and cover art.

I was involved in getting the Consortium of Worlds anthologies on Amazon, so I’ve at least worked with their Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) system before. But that was several years ago. And there’s a reason I went with Draft2Digital in the first place: SO I WOULDN’T HAVE TO TAKE THE TIME TO LEARN USER INTERFACES AND FILL OUT FIELDS AND UPLOAD FILES.

GAH.

I’m relearning/learning KDP in the middle of knowing that I’m losing sales as we speak. No, I’m not a best-seller, but I at least make enough on my novels to contribute to the grocery budget every month. And that happens to be money my family needs. Amazon is directly responsible for taking grocery money out of my pocket — READ: food out of my baby’s mouth — and oh honey you better believe that burns me up.

No, nobody’s gonna starve. But things are going to get a little tight around here if I can’t fix this fast.

However, since all five of my novels were indie-published (meaning I didn’t have to do all the uploading to D2D myself in the first place), I’m having to hunt down mobi files and cover art files and make sure I’m uploading everything exactly the way the original files were uploaded. Otherwise I lose my rank and all of reviews.

Oh yeah. There’s that, too. If I don’t do it all exactly right, the ranks and reviews of all my books won’t transfer to my new sales pages, and it’ll be like I’m starting my indie/self-pub career from scratch.

No, I don’t have a high ranking. No, I don’t have a lot of reviews. But I fought hard for what I do have, and to know that I might lose it all in one fell, Amazonic swoop is just utterly demoralizing.

I’m mad. I’m frustrated. I’m irritated. I’m discouraged. I want to sling profanities haphazardly.

Really, I just want to cry.

But I’m not going to cry. I’m going to do what I have to do to get my grubby hands on the mobi files and the jpg files and the rest of the info I need, and I’m going to get those ebooks back up on Amazon. And if the rankings and reviews don’t transfer, then so be it. I’ll start over. Because, yes indeed, friends and neighbors and assorted pets, I AM IN THIS FOR THE LONG HAUL, no matter how long it takes or how hard I have to work or how discouraging the road gets at times. This is a roadblock, and I’m going to flatten it.

Noli nothis permittere te terere.

I’m also going to watch this a few times because it’s FUNNY.

MAKE ME FRIES.

__________________

*I have my suspicions, but it’s probably good form to keep those to myself for now, considering that I have no shred of evidence that certain big-name companies have anything at all to do with this situation. 😛

The Only Thing You Need to Self-Publish

…besides a story that you’ve written, of course. ; )

Out with the Old

Okay, so you’ve written this novel, right? You’ve fact-checked, proofread, edited. Your beta readers have feedbacked the whole thing. You’ve rewritten, cut, killed your darlings. You’ve (hopefully) retained the services of an editor to catch all the errors you’ve missed (because you did miss them — trust me). You are ready to publish this work. You’re ready to feast your eyes on your sales pages at Amazon Kindle, Kobo, iPad, Nook.

Now what?

Last week you would’ve had to access Amazon Kindle, Kobo, iPad, Nook, and go through the entire publishing process at all four vendors, each of whom has a slightly different process that you would’ve had to figure out.

I don’t know about you, dear inklings, but the two times I’ve gone through the whole thing just at Amazon and Barnes & Noble (my publisher has done it for me the other two times), I found it less than exciting, less than simple, less than user-friendly. The best I can say is that it didn’t suck.

But that was last week.

That was old technology.

You heard me right. Uploading to all the different vendors individually is obsolete. This week, there’s a new service available

that will do it for you

in a single upload

AND WILL DO IT FOR FREE.

This new kid in town, my dears, is called Draft2Digital, and it is cramazing.

In with the New

 

D2Dlogo

 

Draft2Digital does exactly what the name says it does: takes the final draft that you’ve created in your word processor, converts it to the different formats necessary for the different e-readers, and spits out lovely, professionally formatted e-books at the various vendors. Draft2Digital does this at no cost to you. They lovely folks at D2D don’t get paid until you start selling books (marketing and selling, btw, are up to you). For saving you a ton of time, work, and headache, all they get is a small cut of whatever royalties you make off the book you uploaded.

Because they love writers, that’s why.

I got the happy task of beta testing D2D, and lemme tell ya, it was easy. What would’ve taken me hours upon hours (spread over several weeks, no doubt), took about 10 minutes. I got to preview my ebook in each of the different formats, and it looked perfect. D2D even generated a copyright page, an About the Author page, and a Table of Contents for me. I didn’t produce a single drop of authorial sweat.

What’s also tremendously cool here is that D2D pulls all the sales info, sales rank, stars, and reviews from all the different vendors and displays it all in one place. So you don’t have to go skipping about from site to site checking all the stats and trying to figure out just how many books you’ve sold and how many reviewers have said nice things about your baby novel. D2D does it all for you.

You want this, writers. You know you do. Because we’re all in it to write, right? The more we can load the business burden onto someone else’s shoulders, the better, right? Because that gives us more time for writing, right?

Right. Draft2Digital has the shoulders. It’s the singular hub of your entire writing business. All you gotta do is upload.

It’s still in the beta testing stage, so there are a couple of kinks. I, for one, write my stories in Google Docs, so I had to contact D2D to ask how to make it work. The good news is that the fix was simple, and the fix worked. And in the FAQs, the D2D people promise to get the Google Docs thing worked out. So I’m down wid it.

If you wanna beta test this beautimous operation, you can request an invite here.

THIS IS BIG STUFF, PEOPLE. This is the kind of thing that revolutionizes industries. Why? Because it makes people’s lives easier. The e-books of self-publishing and indie publishing have already made legacy publishing obsolete. Draft2Digital is the next step, and it’s a huge one.

Me, I’m excited to be stepping along with it. So go hop on board, me lovelies, and get your beta invites while they’re hot!

Kindlebook Writer (sing it!)

So. A couple of months ago, I blogged a post entitled Paaaaperbaaack Wriiiiiterrrrr (sing it!). There might have been more or fewer “a”s, “i”s, and “r”s there; I haven’t counted them. But, in case you couldn’t tell, I was referencing the old favorite, “Paperback Writer,” by The Beatles.

Every since then, it’s been in the back of my mind to write some parody lyrics applicable to our modern e-book age. So, without further ado or don’t, here is said parody. Enjoy!

“Kindlebook Writer”

(Tune: “Paperback Writer” by The Beatles)

Kindlebook writer
Kindlebook writer
Writer, writer…

Dearest Twitter peeps,
Do you Kindle? Nook?
In a month, I wrote
A NaNoWriMo book!

Kindlebook!

It is fantasy,
And it’s really good,
And I need the cash,
So I want to be a
Kindlebook writer.
Kindlebook writer!

It’s an epic story
Of a dragon man,
And his elven wife
doesn’t understand.

His son is working
For the Witches’ Guild.
It’s a funky job,
But he wants to be a
Kindlebook writer.
Kindlebook writer!

It’s three thousand pages,
Electronic-wise.
You can swipe the story
‘Til your Kindle dies.

The sequel only
Took me half a week.
My dear spell-check helped me!
And I’m gonna be a
Kindlebook writer.
Kindlebook writer!

At Amazon
It is now on sale.
You can buy it now!
Come and buy my tale!

Review it now!
Give it five gold stars!
I could use the boost,
And I’m gonna be a
Kindlebook writer.
Kindlebook writer!

Kindlebook writer!

________

Thank you, thank you. ; )

P.S. Just to clarify: Rethana’s Surrender is, in fact, *not* about a dragon man with a cantankerous elven wife and a witchly-employed son. That would make an awesome story, though, so if any of you want to write it, please do!

Okay, Scifi & Fantasy Fans, This One’s for You


Ladies and gentlehobbits, I present to you:

A Consortium of Worlds, Vol. 1 (Fall Issue)

This is the first issue of the new Consortium Books quarterly, speculative fiction, short story e-magazine for Kindle and Nook. If you don’t know what spec fic is, just think sci-fi and fantasy with, in our case, a little dash of steampunk and mythology thrown in. It’s a yummy stew of otherwordly writerliness, and, as you might have guessed, I highly recommend a generous helping!

Buy A Consortium of Worlds, Vol. 1 (Fall Issue) for $2.99 on Kindle!

Buy it here for $2.99 on Nook!

My ingredient for this recipe comes in the form of a high fantasy short story, “Dead Reconning.” I’ve set it in what’s known anecdotally in Consortium circles as my “Triad universe.” You’ll find out more about the Triad universe in Fall 2012, when Consortium Books publishes my first epic fantasy novel, Legend’s Artisans: Schism (working title).

But. “Dead Reconning.” In this story, Wolf Dornsson and Lendry Bersallir, his lady fair, are trying to escape both Lendry’s disapproving father and the general, countrywide menace of undead elven soldiers. There’s adventure, romance, heroicness, argument, grotesqueness, grossness, and sword-fighting. It’s a light-hearted romp with a backdrop of darkness, and I kinda like it. I hope you will, too!

My fellow cooks in the Consortium of Worlds kitchen are:

Buy A Consortium of Worlds for Kindle or for Nook. Happy reading!

Cover art: Image by Yours Writerly Drawingly; trade dress by Amy Nickerson Design.