Little Annoyances

Tapping a Pencil

Ren­nett Stowe via Comp­fight

 At the end of last month I received an email from Ama­zon in which I was informed that my KDP Select title, An Unpro­duc­tive Woman, was in dan­ger of being nixed from the pro­gram.  Appar­ent­ly, against KDP guide­lines, my nov­el is still avail­able on iTunes.  Ama­zon fur­nished a link and they were, of course, cor­rect.

I imme­di­ate­ly con­tact­ed Smash­words, as I’d pre­vi­ous­ly pub­lished with them, to report this.  To my shock, as I’d total­ly for­got­ten, I was informed that Smash­words had removed their copy of my book from iTunes.  The cul­prit was Xlib­ris. It is their copy of my ebook that remains avail­able on iTunes.

When I first pub­lished An Unpro­duc­tive Woman in 2008, I did so through Xlib­ris, believ­ing their pack­age offered so much for so lit­tle, believ­ing they would pro­vide the great entrance I need­ed into the “writ­ing life”.  (I know.)  I try not to live my life with regrets. I make deci­sions that I am will­ing to live with.  Even if things go awry in the end, I will­ing­ly, if not hap­pi­ly, chock it up to a les­son learned and am able to move on.  That is how I feel about my time with Xlib­ris.  In fact, Xlib­ris, as cost­ly as it was for me, taught me what the “self” in self-pub­lish­ing is all about and what it is def­i­nite­ly not all about… if that makes any sense.

In 2008, I was work­ing full time and back in school so once An Unpro­duc­tive Woman was offi­cial­ly pub­lished, I did absolute­ly noth­ing to pro­mote it, until about a year ago when I remem­bered that I had a book some­where out there lan­guor­ing in the land of noth­ing­ness. I start­ed net­work­ing and learn­ing about self-pub­lish­ing and real­ized that I nev­er need­ed Xlib­ris and also that they have done lit­tle else for me oth­er than make my book avail­able via dis­tri­b­u­tion to the pub­lic at large, and ask me for more mon­ey.

In May of this year, when I decid­ed to enter Amazon’s KDP Select pro­gram for a three month “let’s see if this will make any dif­fer­ence in sales” tri­al, I con­tact­ed Xlib­ris and asked that they remove my ebook from all oth­er dis­tri­b­u­tion chan­nels.  I did the same with Smash­words.  Once all looked clear, I signed on and… tada!  I’m sell­ing thou­sands of copies a month.

Just kid­ding.

Actu­al­ly, I’ve gone from sell­ing a copy every cou­ple of months to a very mod­est few each month.  Very mod­est.  Extreme­ly mod­est.  Painful­ly mod­est.  But, nonethe­less this is an improve­ment.  I nev­er expect­ed my efforts, the few that time allows me, to bring about overnight suc­cess or over decade suc­cess, to be com­plete­ly hon­est.  I like writ­ing and I’d do it even if I wasn’t get­ting paid.  Which is not to say that I don’t want to be paid, only that I write because I must.

In any case, between May and Octo­ber my nov­el appar­ent­ly was nev­er removed from iTunes.  And, when I con­tact­ed Xlib­ris a cou­ple of weeks ago, I was assured they’d clear up the sit­u­a­tion.  In the inter­im, I’ve con­tact­ed iTunes direct­ly.  Did you know they have NO call cen­ter and even send­ing an email is a pain?  And when you do send emails it is almost always to the wrong depart­ment and you almost always get a form email back that lists a half a dozen oth­er links to help you solve your prob­lem.  Of course none of those links will address your issue either.

My book is still on iTunes.

I called Xlib­ris back again today.  Do you know how aggra­vat­ing it is to speak to a dif­fer­ent per­son each time and have to repeat your prob­lem each time?  Have you any idea?  Yeah.

So, as I write this post I sim­mer… but only a lit­tle.  My point here, oth­er than a tiny bit of vent­ing is this:

  1. If you ever decide to self-pub­lish, know that you can do it on your own at lit­tle to no cost to your­self.
  2. The online com­mu­ni­ty of indie authors is enor­mous and enor­mous­ly gen­er­ous.  If you get stuck, they will help you, coach you, befriend you, con­grat­u­late you, sup­port you, encour­age you, walk you through process­es, and com­mis­er­ate with you and none of it will cost you a pen­ny.
  3. When you have a day where some lit­tle annoy­ance makes you feel like you may tip over the edge, stop and reflect.  I guar­an­tee that you have so much to be grate­ful for.  It could always be worse.

There.  I feel bet­ter.  How about you?

  • sto­ries­by­williams

    Yeah, they can be such jeal­ous tyrants when it comes to dis­tri­b­u­tion rights!