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Old 11-27-2007, 01:57 PM   #46
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I agree, excerpts would be a good idea. I'm surprised that the Amazon pages don't even provide the book descriptions when the books go live, much less provide samples. It may be that Amazon was so hip to get this thing running that they didn't think about all these details, but now that they are being thrust under their noses, we'll see which ones they respond to.
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Old 11-27-2007, 03:57 PM   #47
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Still no sign of the description text, although I see that my price adjustment to both books was accomplished inside of 24 hours. It seems some things will change quickly, while others are glacially slow at best... if they are moving at all...

But Ah! The description has shown up on Berserker! That's one out of two!

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Old 11-27-2007, 04:11 PM   #48
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I just hit on an idea regarding excerpts: I'm using their discussion section to put in a link to the info and excerpts pages on my site.
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Old 11-27-2007, 04:52 PM   #49
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So how is anyone supposed to dig me out of over 91,000 books, when I'm stuck behind the Big Pub giants' shadows?
It seems Amazon's search is flawed, then - maybe it takes popularity into account for search results? A useful heuristic when dealing with most books...

Despite being hard to find on Amazon, do you feel like you've at least got a seat at the same table as the big publishers now?

I've always said that one of the greatest promises of digital content is the increased exposure to indie producers. It looks like Amazon is trying to capitalize on that, at least somewhat. I think that's fantastic. I wonder if we're looking at the YouTube of ebooks...
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Old 11-27-2007, 04:56 PM   #50
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It seems Amazon's search is flawed, then - maybe it takes popularity into account for search results? A useful heuristic when dealing with most books...
Popularity of greenbacks, maybe...

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Despite being hard to find on Amazon, do you feel like you've at least got a seat at the same table as the big publishers now?
Y'know what it feels like? Like I'm the mangy mutt underneath the table, licking up whatever crumbs roll off the table my way. Or maybe the bum at the back door to the kitchen, intercepting the table scraps before they go into the trash...
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Old 11-28-2007, 12:54 AM   #51
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I just hit on an idea regarding excerpts: I'm using their discussion section to put in a link to the info and excerpts pages on my site.
Here's another suggestion: make up lists of your favorites that include your books. For example, I frequently browse mystery authors on Amazon to find suggestions for new authors. I look at a favorite book, then check out all the "listmania" groups on that page to see if a category that someone created off that book includes an author I haven't read. I'm pretty sure the list will get displayed on the page for any book included in the list.

That way you sorta create links from (hopefully) similar books back to yours. Just means you need to know your competition.... especially if you think your prose is similar to a best selling author.
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Old 11-28-2007, 09:48 AM   #52
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Update: Live and Buyable!

Yes, as of sometime last night or this morning, both e-books were live, buyable, and presented as completely as Amazon is set up to present them, based on what I've uploaded. I still see no hint of any type of preview or excerpts, which you would think would be easy enough for them to accomplish given the nature of e-books. I'll have to see if the DTP forum has any discussions going about that.

Given the lack of information about the books, I may go back in and add to the product description section to provide additional info. I have a review of Berserker, so this would be a good place to put it. Maybe a few words about what kind of SF story it is, the tone, etc. That might help to make up for the sparse info and options available to me.

And now that I have a good picture of the overall process, I can see about adding my other e-books to the system, as soon as I find time to do the minor adjustments I need to optimize each file for Kindle.

In retrospect, this part has been slow, but easy. Promotion... that'll be the trick.
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Old 11-28-2007, 10:00 AM   #53
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Ahhh! Good news!

I'm really thrilled to see how things evolve for you.

Other writers out there, take notice. And publishers too, this is the way things will work when DRM turns out to be a fiasco. Hopefully...
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Old 11-28-2007, 04:20 PM   #54
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Wondering about "appropriate" content

Today I... ahem... had way too much time on my hands at work. That gave me time to upload 2 more books, Evoguia and Lambs Hide, Tigers Seek. I expect them to be live and sellable in 3 days, based on prior history.

Edit: BTW, I uploaded these two in Word DOC format, and they seemed to upload fine (based on previews). As always, the quality of your e-book depends on the quality of the original document, so make sure the Word file is formatted cleanly and properly.

Uploading Lambs made me realize something: There is no provision on the Amazon pages for disclaimers about book content, including language, sexuality, etc (of which Lambs has some). I suppose Amazon isn't overly concerned about what people buy, any more than most US bookstores worry about how appropriate the content is for the purchaser. But it makes you wonder where the limit is, how much Amazon monitors all this unsolicited content, and how Amazon will exercise their right to remove "inappropriate material." Let's see how long it takes before we see mainstream news items about Amazon removing pedophile and neo-nazi literature from its Kindle uploading service...

Something else that's worth mentioning, to anyone considering following in my fairly fresh footsteps: Amazon's agreement states that Amazon will send a check to the author/publisher's bank account at the end of each month, for any sales made. However, it also states that it will send that check only if the amount owed to you by Amazon is $100 or more. For most indie and unknown author/publishers, this could mean:
  • Waiting many months before your sales reach the $100 mark; or
  • The possibility of Amazon.com keeping up to $99 of your sales, if you don't reach $100.

For me, this means that I won't be making any plans on my "expected sales," as there's no telling when I might see a single check. Could be months... years... who knows? Hopefully when I do get my first check, I still remember what it's for.

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Old 11-28-2007, 10:56 PM   #55
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Kindle DTP...

I also uploaded a book, and found the process was very cumbersome and buggy.

First, forget uploading a .ZIP file with HTML, images, etc. Doesn't work at all. I finally used MobiPocket Creator to create a non-DRM .PRC file and was able to upload that without any problems.

Second, yes, the description is missing (although it does show on the MobiPocket website).

Third, it's very hard to get the book to show up under the Kindle categories (it shows up under the general item categories instead).

Fourth, if you have illustrations/images, be warned that the book will look different on a Kindle than it does in the Kindle preview.

Once Amazon gets all the bugs out, this should empower smaller and/or less-known publishers.
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Old 11-28-2007, 11:10 PM   #56
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...be warned that the book will look different on a Kindle than it does in the Kindle preview.
This is still my greatest concern: That the "preview" doesn't match the actual device (as in fact they warm you that it is only an approximation). I can only hope that anyone who buys one of my books reports back to me, if there's something not right about it.
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Old 11-28-2007, 11:46 PM   #57
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Hey Steve, I was in the Amazon Kindle Books section just now, searching for "Firefly" (an awesome US tv sci-fi series) novels. And guess what? Your book, The Kestral Voyages: Berserker, was on the first page of results, number 8 on the list. Three pages worth of results showed up, so your's being on the first page is pretty cool.

So the good news is I found your book without looking for it at all, so potential new customers there. Bad news is no Firefly novels. But there was a novelization of Serenity, which is the movie based on the Firefly series.

Anyway, thought you might like to know that it shows up fine and dandy. I was surprised to have it pop up when I searched for Firefly.

So remember, don't go hatin' on the Kindle, because there will be lots of Kindle people buying your books!

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Old 11-29-2007, 04:29 AM   #58
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Let's see how long it takes before we see mainstream news items about Amazon removing pedophile and neo-nazi literature from its Kindle uploading service...
Obviously paedophile literature would probably be illegal, but surely you don't think they should remove neo-nazi material, do you? Isn't freedom of political expression a right in the US? One may disagree with the agenda of neo-nazis (and I certainly do!), but (in this country at least) they have a legal right to express their viewpoint, as long as they aren't committing any crimes.
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Old 11-29-2007, 06:58 AM   #59
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Hey Steve, I was in the Amazon Kindle Books section just now, searching for "Firefly" (an awesome US tv sci-fi series) novels. And guess what? Your book, The Kestral Voyages: Berserker, was on the first page of results, number 8 on the list. Three pages worth of results showed up, so your's being on the first page is pretty cool.
Thank a careful use of tags for that! I referenced both Star Trek and Firefly, since the former was inspirational for my story, and the latter turned out to be so similar to my material (nd both are referenced in the afterword). Nice to know some things work!

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Obviously paedophile literature would probably be illegal, but surely you don't think they should remove neo-nazi material, do you? Isn't freedom of political expression a right in the US? One may disagree with the agenda of neo-nazis (and I certainly do!), but (in this country at least) they have a legal right to express their viewpoint, as long as they aren't committing any crimes.
Essentially true... however, I used them as an example because they have had issues of censorship and denial of service directed at them in the past, especially by web sites. Remember, the web is an international community, and even though they might be in America, and Amazon might be an American company, Amazon might not want to upset parts of its international community (France, for instance) that would object to their material.

I could have just as easily suggested a book of Mohammed caricatures.

Either way, you see my point: Amazon shows no sign of screening content. Does that mean they're not... or just doing it surreptitiously? We won't know until some inappropriate content gets pulled.
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Old 11-29-2007, 08:12 AM   #60
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Either way, you see my point: Amazon shows no sign of screening content. Does that mean they're not... or just doing it surreptitiously? We won't know until some inappropriate content gets pulled.
Certainly I see your point and of course a privately-owned web site such as Amazon has the right to impose any censorship policy that it may deem to be appropriate. I'm sure that there must be a mechanism by which Amazon would remove material deemed grossly offensive or inappropriate, but I doubt they publish that policy. I suspect that they probably just remove stuff if a sufficient number of people complain about it.
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