In June, a writer friend and I drove to an event together. On the way there, she said I’m one of the few indie authors whose books she’s read that don’t have a lot of errors and are formatted well. She said she buys a lot of e-books by indies and often feels cheated.
You might wonder why she continues to buy them. A voracious reader, she’s willing to take the chance that the book might be great. Especially with the low prices of self-pubbed books. We also talked about the prices of traditionally pubbed books. She thinks traditional publishers overcharge for ebooks. Lucky for indie writers.
Author Trish McCallan, who spends a lot of time on the Kindle boards, even before she self-pubbed her debut book FORGED IN FIRE, a hot paranormal romance, said that readers on the boards complain bitterly about the mistakes in indie books. Unlike my friend, it does stop a lot of these readers from buying indie books. Trish had planned to say in her book’s description that it was professionally edited and formatted. Now that it’s up, I don’t see that, but she does have two editors listed.
For two of my books, CATTITUDE and DRAGON BLUES, a reviewer sent me lists of their copy edit errors. Embarrassing, embarrassing, embarrassing. For CATTITUDE, in addition to three CPs and a former agent, six beta readers went over it. And I read it so many times, I lost count. I think it takes a special kind of person to find copy edit errors. For most of us, our eyes slide over them. We know what it’s supposed to say, so that’s what our minds see. For my most recent release, GALAXY GIRLS, I paid the reviewer who reported the errors to proofread it. (I learn from my mistakes. Eventually.)
Now, for tagging. I belong to a group that has “tagging and liking” days, and I found out there’s an easy way to tag. On Amazon, after you click on the “Like” below the title (which will turn orange after you like it), click anywhere on the page and type tt. A box for your tags will show up. Below it, tag words already given by the author or readers will appear. You can either click each word, which will post inside the box, or you can copy all the words and paste them into the box. You can also add your own tags, though the number of tag words you give the book are limited to 15. When you’re done, click “save tags.” Since one of the writers told us about it, my tagging has gone much faster.
You might know this already, but if you want to change your book’s description, add snippets from reviews, etc., at Amazon, you can do it in Author Central instead of going through the KDP dashboard. (I just found out from another loop that if you originally publish the description through KDP, that’s where you have to make the changes, or it will be a mess. But Lori Devoti said she changed a description through Author Central and it turned out fine. So, I’m not sure what’s going on there. If you try it and it doesn’t work out, then you can always change through KDP.)
I recently uploaded ENTANGLED, A PARANORMAL ANTHOLOGY on Barnes & Noble (with all proceeds going to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation), and the description was mushed together, with no blank lines between paragraphs. Another author and I tried to change it twice. Cynthia Eden said she could have her husband look at it, but we couldn’t see anything he could do that we hadn’t tried already. Finally, Allison Brennan said that if you click on “read more,” it shows up just as it should. Apparently if you go over a certain magical number of characters, the lines mush together at the first look.
Smashwords advice I got from Lori Devoti, co-founder of the How To Write Shop: If your book has about the same level of sensuality or less as books you see for sale at WalMart or Target, then check the box that says, “My book does not contain adult content.” If you check the one that says, “My book contains adult content,” the reader looking for your book won’t find it unless they uncheck the adult filter. According to Smashwords, this filter is clearly visible. But it’s not something I noticed until I got a complaint from a reader who couldn’t find one of my books.
One more thing I learned from Lori about Smashwords (actually, I learned many things, but you’ll have to take her Digital Self-Publishing class to learn the rest): When choosing your formats, choose them all except rtf. Rtf is too easy to pirate.
That’s all I have until next month. I hope anything I said helped you or saved you from a hassle. If you have questions, feel free to ask in the comments.[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://howtowriteshop.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/EdieColumn.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Edie Ramer is funnier on the page than in real life. A multiple award-winning writer, she writes paranormal romance about cats, dead people, dragons and aliens with attitude. CATTITUDE, DEAD PEOPLE, DRAGON BLUES, GALAXY GIRLS and her short story THE SEVENTH DIMENSION are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.[/author_info] [/author]