In this week's news on all things self-publishing, we look ahead and look out for Amazon's upcoming warning signs on e-book errors; plus new ideas, appointments, services and gaining the best, and genuine, reviews for your indie books. Valerie Shanley gets the lowdown from her ALLi partners and friends.
Surely some mistake
Amazon’s plan to post warning messages on its Kindle store pages of books containing errors is causing author anxiety. The GoodEReader reports “ thousands” of e-books on the Amazon Kindle Store have these errors ranging from spelling mistakes to bad formatting.
Even the most diligent editing can miss the odd typo (and who hasn’t read a best seller without the odd blooper?), and so self-published authors are concerned, prompting plenty of debate across the blogosphere. Don't panic, says author and ALLi member John Doppler, who has dug deeper into the issue on his Words and Words site.
“First, only e-books that have received specific complaints from readers will be examined,” he says, adding that he himself once filed a complaint over an e-book unreadable due to bad formatting. “Second, complaints are reviewed by actual humanoids at Amazon. The process is not automated, and there will be an opportunity to contest or correct a problem if your book is determined to have issues.” (Read John’s post here.)
According to the GoodEReader, warning labels are due to begin appearing from February 3rd, taking two forms: if an e-book only has a few spelling mistakes but is still readable, a simple warning appears on the detail pages of the title; if the book has bad formatting rendering it unreadable, the Zon will suppress it and the book listing will be removed.
Publishers paying attention
Following our report in last week’s news post on the Society of Authors open letter campaign to publishers asking for better treatment and contract terms for authors, the SOA says several publishers have now also confirmed they will comply with the principles outlined.
“We were delighted by the widespread media coverage of the story and the support we received from individuals and organisations,”says Nicola Solomon, Chief Executive of the SOA.
“We were also pleased to have prompt and positive responses from the Publishers’ Association and the Independent Publishers Guild who we met with to discuss further. We will be working together on best practice information and guidelines,” she continued. “Suddenly it seems as though we’re being listened to and an underlying message is appearing throughout: authors and the work they do must be valued and rewarded.” Check out the SOA guidelines again here.
Three into one will go
Here’s an idea for authors: an all-in-one purchase to include print, e-book and audio format. On his Digital Content Strategies site, Joe Wickert suggests publishers should sell an all-in-one edition directly, and perhaps exclusively, giving consumers a compelling reason to buy direct.
“We’re seeing the beginnings of this with alternate format add-ons like Amazon’s Audible narration and Kindle MatchBook; the former brings audio to the ebook and the latter provides a discounted Kindle edition if you’ve already bought the print version,” says Wikert.
“Let’s make things simpler and stop hoping consumers will discover these tiny add-on links on the Amazon product page.”
Read more on the idea of a one-stop purchase, and the untapped potential of mobile technology in this re-posted article on Digital Book World here.
Porter gets his next move in Perspective
‘Whoop Whoop' to ALLi colleague, author and journalist Porter Anderson on his new appointment as editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives. Porter will be familiar to readers and ALLi members as a key speaker and host at influential self-publishing conferences in 2015, including the ALLi Indie Author Fringe last April, and November’s inaugural Author Day as part of The Bookseller’s FutureBook event.
In his first editorial for the magazine, Porter writes that the challenge to indie authors is discovery in this era of abundance. Quoting estimates of as many as 600,000 – 700,000 self-published titles being produced in the US alone each year, he says “today readers don’t need help finding new books. Our publishers need help finding new readers.” His previous role as Associate Editor of FutureBook now passes to tech and culture journalist Molly Flatt. We wish both of them well in their new posts.
New services – plus an all-too- familiar one – to keep an eye on in 2016
A recent issue of the Hot Sheet says to watch out for new hybrid subscription services entering the market, such as DisneyLife and Playster, which will offer a combination of e-books, movies, and video games.
Also covered in a bonus issue is an update on the Author Solutions sale. The announcement of the sale of ASI by Penguin Random House (PRH) came on December 31st, but, as the Sheet reported last week, PRH branding is still all over the Book Country website and social media profiles.
“Book Country has been reporting to Author Solutions for two years while we were under PRH [Penguin Random House] ownership,” said Ogorek. “We designed and maintained the technology that supports the website, and we have also been managing community engagement and outreach since then. That will not change under new ownership.” (The ALLi Watchdog is keeping a steely eye on all of this, no doubt.)
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People may find this review of reviews helpful
Several marketing companies cite that 61% of online purchases on Amazon were made after reading a review, according to a post by Author Marketing Experts, Inc. Reviews can really help to drive the sale of a book, while those same Amazon reviews also help with your book page algorithm. But just how many reviews are needed to drive up your sales?
“Ideally over fifty and if you can, closer to one hundred. However you don’t need to get them all at one time. In fact getting reviews incrementally can really help boost your book exposure,” says author of the post, Penny Sansevieri, adding not only will it keep your Amazon book page active but a book with current reviews is much more attractive to a potential buyer then a book that hasn’t been reviewed in months. Her eight ways to improve your chances for the best Amazon reviews are listed in the full post here.
…while Fakespot is keeping it real
False reviews continue to abound however. Around one in four Amazon reviews for The Girl on the Train were suspect, according to this report in The Digital Reader. Enter a new Amazon supporting website called Fakespot which “hoovers up the reviews for a given product, crunches some algorithms, and gives you an estimate of the number of questionable reviews,” says Nate Hoffelder.
The site hones in where reviewers write only overwhelmingly positive reviews, reviewed products without purchasing them, or were determined to have written other reviews about the same company. How accurate is it in terms of book reviews? We’ll give Fakespot three stars for effort.
Put our ALLi Director on the spot with your self-pub questions
A gentle shout-out here to ALLi members on our not-to-be-missed ALLi Insights on February 2nd “NaNoWriMo: Now What? How to Self-publish your Fiction” when Orna will chat with Grant Faulkner (from NaNoWriMo).
Upcoming Author Conferences & Events
Clays Self-publishing Indie Insights Evening: Feb 4 [London, UK] Pub West Conference: Feb 4 – 6 [Sante Fe, NM, USA] Coastal Magic Convention: Feb 4 – 7 [Daytona Beach, FL, USA] Karachi Literature Festival: Feb 5 – 7 [Karachi, Pakistan] Cairo International Book Fair: ongoing to Feb 10 [Cairo, Egypt] Feria Internacional del Libro de la Habana: Feb 11 – 21 [Havana, Cuba] Taipei International Book Exhibition: Feb 16 – 21 [Taipei, Taiwan] Amelia Island Book Festival: Feb 18 – 20 [Florida, USA] San Francisco Writers Conference, Feb. 11-15 [San Francisco, USA] Bruxelles Book Fair: Feb 18 – 22 [Bruxelles, Belgium] Alabama Writing Workshop, Feb 19 [Birmingham, Alabama, USA] Perth Writers Festival (as part of PIAF): 19 – 21 Feb [Perth, Australia] Sleuthfest: 25 – 28 Feb [Florida, USA] Vilnius Book Fair: Feb 25 – 28 [Vilnius, Lithuania] Adelaide Writers Week 2016: 27 Feb – 3 Mar [Adelaide, Australia]
Emirate Airlines Festival of Literature: Mar 1 – 12 [Dubai] New Zealand Writers Week: 8 – 13 Mar [New Zealand] Mountains to Sea – dlr Book Festival: Mar 9 – 13 [Dublin, Ireland] Love is Murder Conference, mainly for mystery and romance writers: Mar 11 – 13 [Chicago, Ill.] The Tucson Festival of Books: Mar 12 – 16 [University of Arizona campus, Tucson, AZ, USA] Paris Book Fair: Mar 17 – 20 [Paris, France] 2020: A Publishing Odyssey (SYP): Mar 18 [Edinburgh, Scotland] Alexandrina International Book Fair: Mar 24 – Apr 5 [Alexandria, Egypt] Tampa Writers Conference, Mar 25 [ Tampa, FL ] Fort Lauderdale Conference for Writers: Mar 26 [Ft. Lauderdale, FL]
Bologna Childrens Book Fair: Apr 4 – 7 [Bologna, Italy]
Los Angeles Times Festival of Books: 9 – 10 Apr [Los Angeles, USA]
Okanagan Valley Writers’ Festival; 8 – 10 Apr [Penticton, BC, Canada]
London Book Fair: 12 – 14 Apr [London, UK]
Indie Author Fringe: Apr 15 [Online, Global] – brought to you by ALLi
Pikes Peak Writers’ Conference; Apr 15 – 17 [ Colorado Springs, Colorado] Story Circle Network Women’s Writing Conference; Apr 15 – 17 [ Austin, TX] Writer’s Institute; Apr 15 – 17 [Madison, Wisconsin] 23rd Annual Budapest International Book Festival: Apr 21 – 24 [Budapest, Hungary] Buenos Aires Book Fair: Apr 21 – May 9 [Buenos Aires, Argentina] Abu Dhabi International Book Fair: Apr 27 – May 1 [Abu Dhabi, UAE] Geneva Book & Press Fair: Apr 27 – May 1 [Geneva, Switzerland] Las Vegas Writers Conference; Apr 28 – 30 [ Las Vegas, Nevada]
(The above list may not include all the major events; please feel free to email us with any important ones we’ve missed out, or include in comments below.)Handy news #indieauthors round-up #selfpub news @vshanley Click To Tweet