Self-Publishing—what not to do

Advisory: This post disregards, violates and otherwise ignores all advice to self-published authors regarding professionalism, such as: Be professional. Or if you can’t do that, at least act professional.

Thursday, November 15, 2012 — afternoon

You’d think I’d know better. I mean, after all, I was a high school valedictorian and managed to earn a bachelor of science in Chemical Engineering. You’d think I could manage to to update my Amazon.com book page. But then I haven’t done that in over a year. Maybe if I were 25 or 30, or whatever age one is at the prime of one’s mathematical ability, which I correlate to analytical ability, or a basic ability to think oneself out of a paper bag, I could have figured it out even if it was a year later. But, no.

I sure hope I haven’t inadvertently unpublished my memoir from Amazon.com. All I wanted to do was update my book description.

Give me strength.

Here’s the good news:

After publicly announcing I was abandoning all efforts at marketing my self-published book, I made personal record-breaking sales in October and am looking at a fairly good month here in November too (still a pittance for real authors, but good for fledglings like me). I don’t know how. I don’t know why. Maybe it has to do with some kind of fancy Amazon.com algorithm that pops my book up in front of the right eyes. Who knows? But I’ll take it.

In his infinite wisdom, Mark says I should keep doing what I am doing—nothing.

I also received a letter this week from the Midwest Book Review where I had requested a review of Dancing in Heaven in July. It read, “I’m very pleased to announce that the November 2012 issue of our online book review magazine “MBR Bookwatch” features “Dancing in Heaven.” (Along with a gazillion other books, but hey, I’ll take it.) You can read it here. It’s under “Greenspan’s Bookshelf” and you have to scroll to the bottom. But it made me all kinds of happy because I can add it to my marketing materials (which are largely nonexistent). And which brings me to the present crisis of the day.

I decided to update my book description on my Amazon.com page.

I read a good article at Catherine, Caffeinated, “The 11 Ingredients of a Sizzling Book Description,” by successful Kindle sales author Mark Edwards. I thought the tips looked good, so I spent all day sprucing up my book description, and attempted to update my Amazon page.

But I forgot (it’s been a whole year remember) how to make revisions and ended up, without fully realizing it, on the publish a book page. You know the rest. (If you aren’t trying to sell a book out there on the web, you can’t imagine what a mangled up mess of author pages, book pages, passwords, user names, web addresses, and a whole lot of other things I have to contend with. And clearly, I am not contending with them very well.)

Thursday, November 15, 2012 — night

I received an e-mail from Amazon.com stating, “Per your request, we’ve unpublished your book, ‘Dancing in Heaven—a sister’s memoir’ . . . It should become unavailable to buy withing 24-72 hours. . .Republishing requires approximately 12 hours.”

I read it aloud to Mark who said, “I thought you were going to keep doing what you had been doing — nothing. Are you trying the Cabbage Patch strategy and building interest by making your book unavailable?”

After two frantic e-mails to Amazon.com, I’m afraid to try to republish it, since it doesn’t appear to be unpublished yet. I know it’s just a matter of a day or two, but I just hope I don’t lose my “likes,” reviews, and tags. I sent a third e-mail.

E-gads.

Now I wait for 12 to 24 hours to see if I’ve made a complete mess of things, or whether the gurus at Amazon.com are going to bail me out.

Stay tuned.

Friday, November 15, 2012 — before getting out of bed

I checked my iPhone for e-mail messages and found this one from Amazon:

“I’m sorry for the inconvenience caused. Every time you make changes for your book in the bookshelf, it will go to the publishing status. (Who knew?) There is nothing to be alarmed as it’s a standard procedure. (Again, who knew?) I’ve republished your book on your behalf. It could take close to 24-48 hours for the title to appear as “Live” on the KDP Bookshelf. It’s common for a product description to take 36 – 72 hours to be fully updated on the web site, so yours should appear online soon.”

Good to know.

Read more posts about self-publishing, some of them actually helpful, at my Self-Publishing page.

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Author: CMSmith

I enjoy reading, writing, gardening, photography, genealogy and travel. I have opinions about many things, but am trying to age gracefully and not continually tick people off with them. Sometimes I can’t help myself.

24 thoughts on “Self-Publishing—what not to do”

  1. When things get settled maybe early January. I think I will work with a printer not publisher. They can set up and do 100 cartoon book with perfect binding and glossy front and back cover for $3.40 a copy. I’ll open an eBay and Amazon account and also pitch from my blog and sell myself too. I will start with 100 and go from there.

  2. Argh. Frustration. Joy. Confusion. (And congratulations!!) All your emotions come through! Thank you for documenting your progress, Christine. As you know, I love reading these posts because it helps me figure out/prepare for the future as I decide what I’m doing… great post!

    1. It’s just difficult communicating with computers – they don’t always understand what I am trying to do. And they are sometimes poor at communicating what they plan to do next. They keep me on my toes. Glad I finally got to correspond with a human being.

  3. Hi Christine .. I always read warily others comments/articles re publishing on Amazon and reviews etc .. I sincerely all is sorted and you’re back up with all your ‘accoutrements’ in situ still … I like Mark’s idea – do nothing!! Still congratulations on being included in the Midwest Book Review – delighted for you … Cheers Hilary

  4. Oh this sounds so much like something I would do. I’ve had similar situations with my website… Working on it for hours and hit one tiny little thing wrong and BAM! All is lost… Makes me want to pull my hair out! Very funny stuff & so glad it ends well… Hugs!

  5. My heart was pounding worried that you’d inadvertently unpublished your book!!!! Thank goodness all is well that ends well, as Grandma used to say. Glad you’re getting some readership.

  6. Very funny Christine! You are spot on about the confusion of pages and passwords! As for my own marketing experiences, I sold really well a couple of months ago and thought to myself – ah, at last my book has taken off. So I slacked up on the marketing, taking a well deserved break, only to find that the two months I got busy with other things, my sales dropped to the lowest they’ve ever been! I do understand you wanting to do nothing but as I’ve discovered, marketing is an ongoing process that requires a little effort every day. Not the kind of effort that you might think. No one wants a book to be shoved under their nose constantly. But the kind of stuff you are doing. Blogging, tweeting and so on. Marketing is simply about making connections and when seen that way, it can be lots of fun. So though you think you are doing nothing, this blog post (which I found via Twitter) proves that you are! LOL. Keep at it. Your book is SO WORTH reading and sharing. x Leila

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