KDP Self-Publishing Glitches–And How to Fix Them

by Kristina Ludwig
Mar 17
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: March 17, 2015 at 9:00 am

Let me preface this post by saying, I absolutely love Amazon, and I’d be willing to bet that most indie authors feel the same way. IMHO, Kindle Direct Publishing is the best way to self-publish and distribute eBooks around the world. However, KDP is not without its glitches, and, unfortunately, our chances of encountering them increase with every eBook we publish.

I’ve published 22 eBooks, so I’ve encountered some rather interesting–and irritating–glitches. The good news: I’ve learned more trouble-shooting tips to share with you! Here are two glitches I faced, and how I overcame them.

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Problem #1: The Amazon description of my book was showing html code!

When I published Amish Awakening, I was appalled to find that the html code had shown up in the description. My first thought was, OMG, did I mess something up? But a quick and frantic check confirmed that the problem wasn’t on my end; a glitch in the system had caused all of the eBooks published between certain hours to show up with the html code in the description.

How I Fixed It: Naturally, I contacted Amazon support right away, and the representative emailed me that technical support was working on the problem and should be fixing it “soon.” However, I didn’t want my book description to show up looking unprofessional and sloppy for some indeterminate amount of time, so I took all the html code out of my description and republished the book. There may have been no bolds or headings, but at least my description didn’t look like some type of “Coding 101″ project. When the representative emailed me the next day to inform me that the glitch was fixed, I re-inserted the html code and republished the book once again–a lot of work, but the best alternative. There’s nothing worse than seeing a funky description under your book on your launch day!

Problem #2: It took forever for my book to become available in the Kindle store!

Last week, I hit the publish button on my newest creation, Amish Gossip, and checked to make sure it was available in the store the following day. I was shocked to find that it was not, since the usual turnaround time for a book to become available in the Kindle store is usually 12 hours or less. In my author dashboard, it showed up as “in review.”

How I Fixed It: I emailed the help center after 24 hours, and was told that the book was being reviewed and a representative would let me know when the problem was fixed. Imagine my surprise when the problem was pending for a week! I replied to the same email thread periodically, and would get a different representative every time. The responses were very vague, and no one ever told me what the exact problem was. Finally, one week after the intended release date, I started wondering whether I should just try republishing the book. I replied once again to the pending email, and the representative suggested republishing the book. I did, and the book became available about 12 hours later. The original publication, however, was still stuck in review. I wished that the representative had told me this sooner. If this happens to you, I would recommend republishing your book right away instead of waiting for a satisfactory answer from customer support.

Writers out there, have you encountered similar glitches when self-publishing? I’d love to hear about your experiences!

 

Business, Publishing, and Life Vlog Episode #9

by Kristina Ludwig
Sep 8
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: September 8, 2014 at 10:41 am

This past weekend, Antonio and I shot the latest episode of our BPL vlog! In it, we share a business tip specifically for writers about diversification in products and pricing. We also share a publishing tip about DRM versus non-DRM. And finally, in our life tip, we unveil a surprise from our 1-year wedding anniversary. It’s a super-fun episode, so you should definitely check it out!

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Writers, what so you think of the tips? Have you found the business and publishing tips to be true in your own careers? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Business, Publishing, and Life Vlog Episode #8

by Kristina Ludwig
Jul 28
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: July 28, 2014 at 9:01 am

This weekend, Antonio and I shot another short and sweet episode of Business, Publishing, and Life. Be sure to check out the YouTube video, where you’ll find tips for success in business and publishing, as well as the #1 way to optimize your physical and mental performance, keeping your energy level strong throughout the week!

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Also, I’m pleased to announce that I will be launching my latest Amish ebook, Amish Baby: Hannah and Jakob’s Book, tomorrow, July 29, 2014! I’ll post links here on the blog, as well as in my newsletter and on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

What tips did you enjoy most from BPL? Anything to add? As always, I love to hear what you think!

Business, Publishing, and Life Vlog Episode #7: 3 Essential Tips for Indie Authors

by Kristina Ludwig
Jun 23
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: June 23, 2014 at 12:32 pm

The “lucky #7″ episode of BPL took place in beautiful Pismo Beach, CA, home of best selling self-published author, blogger, writing coach, and speaker Jason Matthews. We were excited to interview Jason to find out his  tips for success for indie authors! Jason shares awesome tips about platform building and preparing your book for publication. Plus, he gives an amazing life tip from his new book, “Better You, Better Me.” Click the image below to watch the video. Enjoy!

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Business, Publishing, and Life Vlog Episode #6: Social Media for Authors in 2014

by Kristina Ludwig
Jun 5
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: June 5, 2014 at 7:48 am

I’m excited to announce that we’ve taken BPL worldwide! Our first-ever international BPL episode took place in London this past weekend with special guest Mabelle Abi Ramia. Mabelle is a social media and marketing guru, and I can’t wait for you to hear her amazing social media tips for authors. Click on the image below to watch the video. Enjoy!

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Business, Publishing, and Life Vlog Episode #4

by Kristina Ludwig
May 5
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: May 5, 2014 at 10:28 am

It’s that time again… Time for BPL Episode #4. Antonio and I share a business tip with a new perspective on goal-setting to help you get ahead this week. The publishing tip relates to one of my favorite things: blogging. And the life tip is based on a personal experience I had this weekend at the swimming pool, of all places!

Best of all, this episode comes with a very special, life-changing announcement, so be sure to check it out!

BPL Episode #4 comes with a special announcement!

BPL Episode #4 comes with a special announcement!

Business, Publishing, and Life Vlog Episode #3

by Kristina Ludwig
Apr 28
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: April 28, 2014 at 10:08 am

After a brief hiatus, Antonio and I are back with a brand-new Business, Publishing, and Life vlog, BPL Episode #3! We share three motivational tips for success in business, publishing, and life.

Do you prefer working for a large corporation, or have you always wanted to own your own company? Our business tip applies to both kinds of people, so be sure to check it out. In the publishing tip, I reveal my strategy for writing one novella per month. And our life tip will help you feel more centered and productive today, and all week long.

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Are you interested in being a guest on BPL? If so, feel free to comment below or email me at info@kristinaludwig.com. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

Business, Publishing, and Life Vlog Episode 2

by Kristina Ludwig
Mar 31
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: March 31, 2014 at 6:22 pm

This week has already been an exciting one. I was interviewed for the My Fire Point podcast, and will be sharing that with you as soon as it’s posted! This show is extremely motivational and fun, so I definitely recommend checking it out.

And, in keeping with my new Monday tradition, here’s the episode of BPL that Antonio and I filmed this weekend. We share 3 more tips in the fields of business, publishing, and life.

My publishing tip is about using free days on KDP Select, and I can’t tell you how valuable that has been for me. Here’s a blog post I wrote on the subject.

What do you think of BPL? Are you interested in being a guest? If so, feel free to comment below or email me at info@kristinaludwig.com. I’d love to hear your tips.

Introducing: Brand-New Vlog About Business, Publishing, and Life

by Kristina Ludwig
Mar 24
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: March 24, 2014 at 11:27 am

Last week was an exciting one, with the launch of the Amish in College series and a weekend full of early birthday festivities for me! Antonio and I also started the project we’ve been talking about for months: our new YouTube show.

The show is called Business, Publishing, and Life (BPL for short), and we will be filming a short episode every week. We will interview special guests in a variety of fields, and each speaker will offer up his or her best tips on business, publishing, and / or life. BPL is an ideal show for writers because of its publishing flavor, but its heavy business and motivational components will make it a great fit for anyone looking for inspiration!

The idea of BPL came to Antonio and me during one of our reflective sessions in the hot tub. We’ve always found the hot tub to be the perfect place to come up with awesome new ideas, or even just to reset ourselves to conquer the week. We wanted to do a YouTube show that combined our areas of expertise: self-publishing and writing for me, and business and information technology for him. And voila: BPL was born!

Click here to watch Episode 1. In it, Antonio and I share our own tips for business, publishing, and life. I hope you enjoy it! If you’re interested in being a BPL guest, email me at info@kristinaludwig.com.

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5 Ways that Indie Authors Can Act Like Small Business Owners

by Kristina Ludwig
Jan 16
By: Kristina Ludwig Posted: January 16, 2014 at 11:21 am

Since I’ve become a full-time indie author, I’ve attended several networking events, some in publishing and others in general business and marketing. I’ve connected with many entrepreneurs , and I’m continually struck by how similar small-business owners are to indie authors.

There used to be a schism between the business world and the world of literature, at least for authors themselves. Before the advent of self-publishing, there was only one way for novelists to get noticed: by going the traditional agent – publishing house route. Authors didn’t have to be business people, since they had agents and marketing teams to take care of that stuff.

Now, however, it’s exciting to be in a brand-new paradigm. Self-publishing has risen in popularity, and today’s great indie authors have enabled the business to shed its previous inferiority complex. Readers themselves are excited about eBooks; a recent survey showed that the majority of US respondents estimated that over half of the books they’ll purchase in the next three years will be eBooks.

This dramatic switch in the way readers consume books means that we, as indie authors, must find innovative ways to build our readership and connect with readers. And that’s why I believe indie authors are small business owners.

I became a huge fan of small businesses while living in Wicker Park, a trendy community in Chicago that was just brimming with them. The sandwich shop, hot dog stand, florist, spa, bars, and boutiques I frequented were all small businesses. I knew the people who worked there, they were friendly, and I could tell they appreciated my business. They brought a personalized touch into their services; I never felt like I was in a quasi-corporate, big box store type of environment.

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So as I build my own business as an indie author, I’ve been incorporating these small business principles into my work, and guess what? I feel successful and fulfilled.

Here are some ways indie authors can act like small business owners:

  1. Connecting with readers and writers on social media - The internet has made the entire world into a small one. I’ve found that Facebook and Twitter are the best media to connect with my audience and colleagues. Facebook author groups have been invaluable in my quest for Amazon reviews, and I’ve built a group of supportive, smart writer friends. And my Facebook author page has been an amazing way to interact with fans!
  2. Giving readers the hookup - Just as small business owners offer freebies and discounts to loyal clients, indie authors should reach out to their loyal readers about their promotions. I’ve interacted with some fans and reviewers on my Facebook page who are interested in my latest books but are unable to download them for whatever reason. And when I read these kinds of messages, I offer to gift the book immediately. It works, and fans become even more loyal! I also offer subscribers to my website extra perks like a free short story or Free Book Fridays.
  3. Encouraging reviews - Small businesses love Yelp reviews; indie authors love Amazon reviews. That’s why it’s important to encourage reviews at the end of your eBooks and even to offer a prize to reviewers. Which brings me to the next point…
  4. Holding a contest - Everyone loves entering contests. That’s why so many small businesses hold periodic raffles and giveaways. Indie authors can do the same, with great payoffs.  I recently hosted a contest called the “Buy Winner & Win” contest. Anyone who bought, gifted, or reviewed my book was entered into a drawing for a new Kindle Paperwhite. All they had to do was forward me their receipts. The contest generated more traffic to my blog, and increased my book sales.
  5. Bringing a personalized touch - Successful small businesses get out there in the community, talking to people and doing good. Indie authors can learn from this. I find that one of the most helpful, personalized ways to connect with readers and increase readership is to always be prepared to meet new readers. When I meet moms with teen daughters who like to read, I tell them I write clean YA and hand them pocket-sized bookmark flyers with info on my latest eBook. When I meet teen girls who adore eBooks, I find out what kind they like to read and let them know about which of my eBooks would be a good match for them. Connecting with potential fans on a personal level turns them from potential to actual fans!

Indie authors, do you think of yourselves as small business owners? I’d love to hear your opinions!