NOTICE:

2/2020 - To fight back against spam comments, I am closing comments to all older posts. Current blog posts will still have comments open. I apologize for this inconvenience.

August 30, 2021

10 Things All Authors Should Know

 

10 THINGS ALL AUTHORS SHOULD KNOW


1. How to Contact Amazon to Price Change

There may come the day when you want to change the price of your eBook to 0.99 or to free but you're unable to do that on your KDP dashboard. So how do you do it? Do you go to your book's Amazon page? Many used to reply on the "Tell us about a lower price" link under a book's product details, although that was very insufficient and could take a long time to hear back, if you ever did. In fact, that option is no longer there.

So, how do authors change their eBooks' prices to 0.99 or free on Amazon?

You do it through KDP's Contact Us page: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/contact-us

To the left, beneath "How can we help?", click on "Pricing" and then "Price matching." You can contact them through email or phone. Phone may be faster, but I always did email because I hate talking on the phone. When you choose to send an email, make sure you have the ASIN for your eBook in the Kindle store and the competitor's URL links. Always specify what the price is listed as and what you want it to be instead.

TIP: If you are changing the price permanently or even for a specific amount of time, always check back to make sure Amazon hasn't reverted it back, because they like to do that and it is maddening.

You can also ask them to price match on all Amazon marketplaces (UK, DE, etc.)


2. How to Tell Amazon About Spam Emails

I get emails from spammers pretending to be Amazon all the time. I'm betting there's a strong chance that you do, too. Never reply to these emails or click on any links in these emails. Don't just delete them, though. To help Amazon fight these spammers and investigate them, it's extremely important that you forward the emails to Amazon using this address: stop-spoofing@amazon.com

Shortly after you do this, Amazon will email you from that address with the subject line "Your Amazon.com Inquiry" to let you know they've forwarded the message to their security department.

How can you tell it's a spam email and not really Amazon when it says it's from Amazon.com? 

Easy. Look at the email address. It won't be an Amazon email address but something strange.

A moment ago, I was trying to log into my KDP account ( the password wasn't working). At the exact same time, I got an email that said the sender was Amazon.com and had this in the subject line: {Action Required}: We are having difficulty procsesing your payment.

Yes, that is a typo in the subject line. Also, when I opened it, the email address was awsint10103@dawelrinjani.com. That's definitely not Amazon. Any email from Amazon will end with @Amazon.com.



3. Claim Your Books on ACX

Even if you don't want to turn your books into audiobooks, create an account with ACX (using your KDP account), search the ISBN (print) and ASIN (digital) for your book (this is the easiest method), and claim them by clicking the purple "This is My Book" button. Yes, claim both formats.

Why do you want to do this?

Because people (scammers...thieves...jerks) are claiming author's books on ACX, claiming the rights to those books. If you do a search and see this message beneath your title "This title has been already associated with a publisher and cannot be claimed," that's what happened to you. If you're self-published, you'll have to contact Audible. If you're traditionally published, notify your publisher.

Make sure thieves can't do this to you by claiming your books now.
  • After you click "This is My Book," click "Continue" next to "I'm looking for someone to narrate and produce my audiobook." Yes, even if you don't play to look for a narrator.
  • Next, agree to their terms and conditions. After that, you don't have to do anymore.
  • Go back to the ACX.com main page, search the ISBN/ASIN again, and see how it now says, "You've already claimed the audio rights to this book! Check your dashboard."
TIP: Claim a series in order. For some reason it may not go through if you click "This is My Book" if you do it out of order.



4. DropBox

Making sure your manuscripts are save and backed up should be top priority for all authors. Losing any project or a chunk of a project is devastating. Prevent this by backing up your work in multiple ways, such as with a flash drive, external hard drive, OneDrive, a hard copy (printing), a digital copy (email it to yourself), etc.

I love DropBox. I now open up my projects right in DropBox (you can do this from your File Explorer on your computer and opening the DropBox folder or through your account on the DropBox website). When you have it on your computer, laptop, and download the app to your smartphone, tablet, or iPad, every time you work on a document within DropBox, it will sync to all of your devices.




5. Speak Text Tool on Word

Would you like to hear someone read your manuscript back to you? This is a great way to spot errors, especially typos, while you're self-editing.

If you've never activated this feature:
  • Open your document in Word.
  • At the very top (the blue strip where the document's title is) click the tiny downward pointing arrow to the left. A dropdown will appear that says, "Customize Quick Access Toolbar."
  • Click on "More Commands..."
  • A feature will pop up on your screen. Beneath "Choose commands from," change the dropdown option to "All Commands." In the box below, scroll down to "Speak." Click on it. Then "Save."
  • Back on your document, highlight what you want read (a paragraph, page, chapter) and then click the icon at the very top that looks like a comment bubble. (When you hover over this icon, it'll indicate this is the "Speak selected text" tool. To stop it, click that icon again.


6. Send Media Mail

I was surprised to know that there are authors who don't know that you can send books and manuscripts through Media Mail, which is cheaper than regular mail. If you go into a post office with a package containing a book (or books), tell them you want to send it Media Mail.

I don't bother with post offices anymore (although I love the USPS). What I do instead is create my USPS mailing labels with PayPal, pay for them through my PayPal account, print them, and tape (i.e. affix) them to my package.

PayPal Media Mail:
  • The first step is to purchase a small scale. In 2020, I bought the ACUTECK All-In-One Series Precision Digital Postal Scale (model W-8250-50B) for a very affordable price, and I haven't had an issues. It works great and is accurate.
  • Weigh your sealed package on the scale. Round the ounces to a whole number without a decimal point.
  • In PayPal, go to "Shipping Labels." If you can't find the icon for that in the "Quick Links" at the top of your PayPal home page, click on the "App Center" tab at the very top, search "Shipping Labels." Select the little 💗 to add it to the "Quick Links," click the icon, and then "Get Started."
  • On the "Shipping Page," click "Get Started" beneath the option "Print a label for another kind of order," which is the option all the way to the right.
  • Input the address you need to ship to.
  • Change the "Service Type" to "Media Mail Service 2-9 Days).
  • If you're not sending a large package, change "Package Type" to "Package/Thick Envelope," which I've used for boxes and bubble envelopes.
  • Input the package weight. You can put the shipping date as the same day or another date.
  • Click "Calculate Shipping Cost." If you're satisfied and everything is accurate, click "Confirm and Pay."
  • Then print the label and affix it to your package.
  • You can drop it off at the post office (if they have a spot to leave it, put it there, or just tell them you already have a label) or put it in your mailbox if it fits. You can also schedule a pickup through the USPS if you want.


7. How to Request Changes on Goodreads

One thing I don't like about Goodreads (there's many reasons) is how authors can't make all the changes that they may need to with their books or author profiles. 

Do you need to create a new series list on Goodreads?

See an example on my Goodreads page. Scroll below my blog feed to the spot labeled "SERIES BY CHRYS FEY." If you don't have that for your series, you can get it.

Do you need to add a newly released book to a series' page?
  • Whatever you need assistance with, you can get a Goodreads librarian to help. You'll first need to join their Goodreads Librarians Group.
  • After you do that, you can request help for whatever you need. For help with a series page or adding a book to a series, look for the "Serieses!" topic.
  • Provide links, book titles, series' titles, and explain carefully what you want done.
Keep in mind one thing...if you have a series of novellas or a novella in a series, they will change the numbers for those books to be half numbers. For example: they changed Hurricane Crimes (the first installment in the Disaster Crimes series) to 0.5. They then put Seismic Crimes (Book 2) as 1.0, and so on. So now the number order for my series is all messed up. I hate this, but they will only tell you that these are their rules and too bad. (Grrr!) The only thing I could do was update my descriptions to include the book title and correct order number before the blurb.

(Yes, they will make changes to your books' pages if they see something that's not within their rules and then tell you about it after they did it.)



8. How to Fix Automatic Closed Captioning on Your YouTube Videos

Accessibility is important. If you're not figuring out how to make your content on any social media platform more accessible to the hearing or seeing impaired, you really should be. This is a part of being inclusive.

Whenever you upload a video to YouTube, one nice thing is that YouTube will automatically generate closed captioning for your videos. Anyone can activate this closed captioning while watching your videos by clicking the "CC" icon on the bottom of your video.

The thing with these closed captions is that there's no punctuation. No commas. No periods. Just a continuous string of words that you're saying. Also, the spelling could be wrong, such as the spelling for my name is always spelled as "Chris Faye."

To update the closed captioning on your uploaded videos:
  • In your YouTube studio, click "Subtitles."
  • On the "Channel subtitles" page, click on the title of the video you want to update.
  • Click the blue "DUPLICATE AND EDIT" button.
  • A new page will pop up. The autogenerated text will be there. This is what you can edit to fix typos and add punctuation.
  • When you're done, click "PUBLISH."


9. How to Edit Scheduled Tweets from TweetDeck with Images

I don't know if this changed since I last scheduled a tweet in 2020, but if you schedule tweets on TweetDeck that contain images, the only way to edit it, say if there's a typo, is through ads.twitter.com. Sign in using your Twitter account. Your scheduled tweets from TweetDeck will be there.



10. Check Social Media for Spam Accounts Under Your Name

Sadly, this is a thing and a precaution people (not just authors) have to take periodically. The place where this happens the most is Instagram. I catch these spam accounts all the time because these jerks will duplicate an account (the profile photo, bio, your recent images and captions, and whatever link you have in your bio) and then send friend requests to all of your friends. After that, they'll start to contact them. First, with a simple, friendly message that could be from you. Then they'll send a link.

Now, whenever I get a follow on Instagram from someone I know, I automatically look to see if I'm already friends with them (I am) and take a look at their real account and then the new one I got a follow from. The signs are obvious. The biggest one is that the Instagram handle will likely have a number or some symbol, such as an underscore, at the end. Something small that may not be noticeable if you're not paying attention.

It's easy to search to see if someone has another (real) account. After you confirm this, notify the real author (you can send them the link to the other account or the @handle), and then report the account.

How to report an Instagram account:
  • Go to that spam account
  • Click the three dots at the top (...)
  • Click "Report, choose "it's inappropriate"
  • Then "Report account"
  • Then "It's pretending to be someone else"
  • Choose if the account is pretending to be you or someone else
It might be a good idea to check Instagram once a month for an account pretending to be you. All you have to do is search for your name/pen name.



QUESTIONS: Did anything in this post help you? Did you learn something new? I'd love to know!






28 comments:

  1. Great tips, thank you. Is there no where the scammers won't try to infiltrate though? It's quite depressing to have to be always on your guard.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is depressing. I just now realized three items on this list (Amazon spam emails, ACX claims, and fake IG accounts) have to do with scammers. It’s sad that we have to be so vigilant.

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  2. wow, thank you so much, Chrys!! I'm noting lots to do now.

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  3. Great tips. I'll have to bookmark this for later (if I ever manage to finish a book and then get it published). Although, you *tape* the shipping label to your packages? I bought labels at an office supply store, so I can print labels and just stick them on the packages. (It's more expensive to buy the labels, but I like them so much more than taping paper.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The labels are very big. About half the size of an A4 piece of paper. Printing them out on paper is easier for me, and then, yes, I tape them on (around the edges) with packaging tape. I haven’t had any sort of problem. Whatever way they get fixed to the package (whether with tape or a sticker) is sufficient.

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  4. That's useful information. I didn't know Amazon randomly reverts prices back to their original value.

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    Replies
    1. I’m glad you think so, Sherry.

      Amazon does what Amazon wants, unfortunately.

      Delete
  5. Great tips. I didn't know about any of this because I'm not published yet. Good to know how to fix tweets if you schedule them early.

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    Replies
    1. I’m happy to give you tips that may come in handy in the future, Natalie. :)

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  6. This is really a great list. Excellent information for any writer to have!

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  7. Awesome tips! Thank you for sharing, Chrys. I learned something about Goodreads, and Audible. I just went there to start trying to create Audible books, but I didn't know I had to claim my titles on ACX.

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    Replies
    1. You’re welcome, Tyrean! I learned about claiming our titles on ACX when another author realized someone else had claimed hers.

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  8. I had to call once - they switched up my Freebie the day before I had a promo scheduled. Thankfully, they were very helpful and had it changed back quickly :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is the fortunate thing. They are pretty quick in changing it back. Even if you use the email contact method.

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  9. Book marked. Everything is this post is so helpful. Thanks again, Chrys. You rock!

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  10. These are awesome. There are several things I learned here, and even those I knew about, it's a good reminder! (Gotta go check ACX now...)

    Thank you for sharing and being supportive of all your fellow authors!

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    Replies
    1. You’re welcome, C.D.! I do whatever I can to support my fellow authors. :)

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  11. Wow, Chrys! This is jam-packed with specific, helpful information. I will be back and check these things! Thank you! Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. You’re welcome! I’ve been wanting to share all of this for a while. :)

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  12. Great tips! For the ACX account, if you publish under different names, do you need to create different accounts like in the amazon author profiles?

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    Replies
    1. Nope. You can use your pen name. It has been a while since I signed up, but I believe they ask for tax info and payment info, and that’s where you’d provide your real name.

      Delete