How Kindle Unlimited is killing off authors — and what you can do to protect yourself

Last summer it became public knowledge that scammers were earning big money gaming Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited. The scam arose out of Amazon’s decision to pay Kindle Unlimited publishers by the page instead of by the download: the more “pages” of an ebook the consumer reads, the more the publisher gets paid. Scammers began uploading fake books with a “click here for something awesome” link at the front that linked to an ad or some other such nonsense at the back of the book; the consumer quickly realized the book was Read More …

Styles are the foundation of best book practices

Most authors who use a word processor do not use custom styles; instead, authors are in the habit of using the default Normal style and using the tab key and the formatting toolbar to customize headings and paragraphs. Unfortunately, this is a bad habit that will come to bite you later if you want to turn your manuscript into a print or ebook. It is much better practice to control the formatting of your manuscript through styles. Styles are the foundation of best book practices, in particular ebooks: when your Read More …

Coming Soon! The Point Between

COMING NOVEMBER 2015 Bestselling mystery novelist Lily Harrington has been found hanging in her home in the tiny, oddball haven of Point Roberts, Washington, and all signs point to suicide. Worried the truth will be buried with her, Lily teams up with Marcus Mantova, the sexy detective of her novels, to influence the investigation and catch her killer. Yet no sooner has Lily come to terms with the existence of Marcus, the womanizing egomaniac she had thought a product of her imagination, than dead Whatcom County detective Penelope Winters also Read More …

Changes to Japan tax on Kindle Direct Publishing

In The Global Indie Author I warn authors to pay attention to changes to sales tax in Japan due to 2014 legislation that requires all companies to charge and collect sales tax when selling to Japanese residents. Companies were given time to comply, and as of October 15 time is up. Amazon have thus announced to their Kindle Direct Publishing authors that list prices for Japan will now include 8% consumption tax. Amazon are following the same plan as they did with the new VAT laws that were executed in Read More …

Amazon to pay authors only by the page

Amazon officially announced yesterday that as of 1 July 2015 the Kindle Select Fund will only pay out based on the number of pages in your ebook the consumer reads. Amazon refer to their standard page as the Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count (KENPC) based “on standard settings (e.g. font, line height, line spacing, etc.).” The rationale behind the change was that Select was weighted too heavily in favour of short works: Kindle Owners’ Lending Library paid authors by the download regardless of the length of the book, while Kindle Read More …

Kindle Scout’s potential landmines

LAST UPDATED 9 September 2015 Back in October 2104, when Kindle Scout was first launched, I wrote a blog post of my opinion on the program. I also directed readers to Writer Beware’s post evaluating the program’s contract. Recently, I was approached by a journalist for my current opinion on the program, and the request made me take a look at the contract myself, a contract that was updated just recently, on 3 March 2015. In it I found two items in particular that raised a red flag for me, Read More …

Wattpad Day 1 statistics

Yesterday Baby Jane went live on Wattpad. Baby Jane’s baseline Wattpad stats prior to being Featured were: Reads 95 However, these are mostly mine from uploading the document and fixing line breaks. Wattpad’s system is a bit quirky that way: upload your document and that counts as a read; fix a typo and your own visit counts as another read. Also, reads do not represent readers: as the reader progresses through the parts of the book, each part clicked on counts as a read. Instead, Wattpad provides a different value, Read More …

How useful is Wattpad as a marketing platform? I am about to find out.

Near the end of November 2014, I joined the Wattpad site to see if it would be a useful tool for connecting with readers. I uploaded a few chapters each from my novel, my self-publishing manual, and a work in progress. I was active for about a month on the site but work took over and I admittedly dropped off the radar. Then out of the blue I received an email at the end of March from Wattpad with an invitation to feature my novel, Baby Jane. “Featured” is a Read More …

Image handling in ePubs reaches new level of inanity

Placing images into ePubs has always been an issue. At the heart of the problem is the myriad ways that device and app manufacturers have programmed image handling. While Amazon have remained consistent with their sensible shrink-to-fit approach, ePub device and app programmers have been all over the map. And it is only getting worse. So bad, in fact, that I stopped providing conversion services for clients with image-laden ebooks. It’s not that the work is impossible, only that the work involved to optimize and test everything is not worth Read More …

Kindle Unlimited expands again but royalties contract

On February 12th, Amazon announced the expansion of Kindle Unlimited to Canada and Mexico. Four days later, Amazon announced that the KDP Select Fund, which pays out for the Kindle Owners Lending Library (KOLL) and Kindle Unlimited (KU), had been bumped up to $8.5 million for January. That the announcements were made four days apart was no accident, since Amazon would prefer that authors not make the link between the expansion of the fund and the need for it to accommodate the expansion of the program to another two countries. Read More …