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.
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:
- If you ever decide to self-publish, know that you can do it on your own at little to no cost to yourself.
- 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.
- 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?