Last week, my publisher partners sent me two emails, both throwing me curved balls. As I often do, I decided to talk through my problems here with you!

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This is my Insecure Writers Support Group post, in which we share our successes and failures as writers, our insecurities, in fact. Anyone can join in, just sign up at the IWSG Sign-up page, write a blog post on the first Wednesday of the month, and go back to that sign up page to link with everyone else–or a goodly sample. Our host is Alex J Cavanaugh, and cohosting this month are:

Janet Alcorn, T. Powell Coltrin,Natalie Aguirre, and Pat Garcia! 

Publisher: Smashwords (ebooks)

problem: ebook rejected by Apple

Okay, there’s a formatting problem that throws the contents list out, thank you for telling me, I think I can fix this. Which book, did you say…yes.

Willoughby the Narrator.

Pardon? It’s only been out for seven years!

Fortunately the email from Apple explained the problem and how to fix it. I have multiple chapters in this called Chapter 1…because it’s a book in three parts. The computer that assembles the Contents can’t distinguish the different chapters 1 from each other. I don’t have to change what’s in the book, only the linkages. They suggest having it linked to Chapter 1 for one, and Chapter One for another, or something like that.

I’m very grateful to Smashwords and Apple for explaining the problem and the solution.

Publisher: Blurb (paperbacks)

problem: the distributor, Ingram, is dropping one or more of my books

Why? because I haven’t sold any copies through the network recently (over a year)

Which book(s)?

You know, it would really be nice if you told me which of the twenty-four or so paperbacks I’ve got with you are affected. I mean, I checked the sales history and I could only go back 90 days, which doesn’t help much. Okay, it eliminates White Water Landings.

And we’re just coming into the fairs season (Romsey Town Hall, Hampshire, 27th April) so can I still tell interested customers they can get the paperbacks on Amazon? It rather scuppers my plans for trying to get the local indie booksellers to take them…

But after a while, I realise that there may be a silver lining. I don’t have to add 40% to my base price to cover distribution any more. I can sell at the fairs at a substantial discount to the advertised price, but make a little more for me,

It just won’t be as easy for people who want to buy more in the series to buy them in paperback. I can see some ways around this. Like buy three, get one free… or something like that.

How do you sell your paperbacks? Am I unusual to even bother with them these days?

Question of the Month

How long have you been blogging? What do you like about it and how has it changed?

IWSG April 24

I think I started regularly in 2011 when I was bringing the first Princelings book into the world. One tip from the seminars I went to said it was the thing to do. By a year later I had lots of blogging friends, was on Facebook and Twitter, and blogging was growing fast. It was great fun! (Half the people reading this are nodding and reminiscing about those carefree days). And then it sort of got into being hard work around 2017 or so.

Now, I don’t think so many people blog for the fun of it and they don’t do much in the way of blog hops. Well, I don’t either. Some good friends are no longer with us. Commenting can be more of a chore than a delight.

But hey, the A to Z Challenge has just started, and it’s not too late for you to join in. Or just visit my guinea pigs and support them through it!

Publisher curved balls #IWSG
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17 thoughts on “Publisher curved balls #IWSG

  • 3 April, 2024 at 7:10 am

    It’s seems that the big companies like to make selling books more trouble than it’s worth. Just do what’s best for you Jemima 💜

  • 3 April, 2024 at 11:36 am

    I hope things are sorted soon, Jemima. These problems with sales can be exhausting.

  • 3 April, 2024 at 12:59 pm

    I’m glad Apple and Smashwords explained the problem so you could fix it. I started blogging in 2011 too when it was so much fun to blog. I agree that it’s been harder to blog as less people blog. But I think it’s an important way to develop friendships with writers and book review bloggers.

  • 3 April, 2024 at 1:10 pm

    I started in 2009 or 10 and it was a fun thing to do. I still enjoy it but it’s a lot of work. I’m glad you could get your problems fixed, except for Ingram.

  • 3 April, 2024 at 2:43 pm

    That sucks they won’t tell you which book. Is there no way to email them for the answer?

  • 3 April, 2024 at 2:49 pm

    At least Amazon didn’t just terminate you without giving a reason as they did to me. LOL. Makes direct sales look a lot more appealing — especially with paperbacks. You should look into Bookvault — there are interviews with them on the Self-publishing Show and on the Creative Penn.

    Ronel visiting for IWSG day Character Choices

  • 3 April, 2024 at 3:23 pm

    Hmm… wonder how long before I get an email like that? I’ve got my paperbacks out through KDP, so maybe that’s different—but I seldom sell paper copies on line, and have NEVER sold copies of my Large Type paperbacks (well, one copy of Death By Ice Cream, I think). Of course, I only make those so I can donate them to the library at Mom’s retirement home, so I guess they’ve served their purpose. Still, I like having paper copies of my stuff, even if no one else does, so I’m still making them!

    I guess what I don’t get is what difference it is to them if your paperbacks don’t sell? I guess they’re taking up a little virtual shelf space somewhere?

    As for that Apple thing, I suspect they’ve changed some stuff and their ebook formatter got dumber. I have noticed that KDP keeps telling me I don’t have an interactive ToC, even though I do, and it works on the ebooks.

  • 3 April, 2024 at 4:13 pm

    2008, writing her blog, I think my (late) cat had fun.
    Already mircrochipped, she was safe from ID problems..

    Half my first degree was in politics.
    Would I dare to write about politics now ?

  • 3 April, 2024 at 11:01 pm

    Good luck sorting out the technology issue, Jemima. I am someone who still loves to blog and doesn’t find it a chore. It keeps me writing, and I enjoy connecting with people like you! Have a great IWSG Day!

  • 4 April, 2024 at 12:54 am

    That’s a lot to deal with. I had problems with Chapter 3.14 in Fractions of Existence. We name or numbers our chapters in a ton-traditional way, they can’t handle it.
    Amazon publishes my paperbacks, so I don’t know what to say. It’s print on demand. No trees are wasted on unsold.
    Then again, I follow some authors because I bought books from places like Ollies, which sells the unsold bookstore clearance sale ones, probably with less royalties for the authors. (Most of the ones I got were by huge best sellers who probably don’t need the extra few coins.)
    I have a few people who don’t do digital. Or have phones or computers. So print is a big deal to them.
    I hope you’re able to work it out.

    • 4 April, 2024 at 6:20 am

      You know, I’d forgotten about Amazon POD. That’s probably worth the effort of putting both series onto it.

  • 4 April, 2024 at 4:47 am

    I miss those early days of blogging, especially the heyday of the blog hop. I didn’t participate as a writer back then but I loved reading some of them.

  • 4 April, 2024 at 7:31 am

    I’m so sorry, that sounds incredibly frustrating! Thankfully Smashwords and Apple were helpful. Hoping that everything gets sorted out soon, but it’s good to hear that you found a silver lining.

    • 4 April, 2024 at 12:22 pm

      The lining is growing bigger… if I set them up on Amazon’s paperback system, I can do some amendments I’ve noticed, and update the ebooks as well. Just helpful to future-proof my work for anyone who takes over!

  • 5 April, 2024 at 11:24 pm

    At least the first problem was easily fixable. I hope you get the PB issue sorted and it works out better for you in the end.

  • 11 April, 2024 at 7:20 am

    I’ve learnt that the only paperbacks involved are books 6, 8 and 9 from the Princelings series. They’ll be listed on April 25 but I can try resisting them. Otoh someone as just bought book 6 at Amazon. Oh, and the other two at Amazon are charging crazy prizes for the paperbacks. No wonder they aren’t selling.

  • Pingback:Book Review | Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni - Jemima Pett

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