Mar 31

The Case of the Complaining Author

whywritersfail-smallThere are many reason that authors fail.  The most glaringly obvious one is that they don’t treat their writing as a business.

Scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, I came across a post that seemed to indicate that an eBook listed on Amazon was showing the wrong content when a potential buyer clicked on the “look inside” feature.  The poster was “damning” the Look Inside feature.

So I asked a simple question: Did the original poster call and ask why the wrong content was showing?

The response showed that they had not done so.

Here’s the thing: YOU are the author. YOU are your business. YOUR BOOK is your product.  Take some damned responsibility for it! Act like a professional!

Further examination showed that the eBook in question – which I looked up, accessed the “look inside” feature and downloaded the sample for – had been first published on December 19, 2013.  By using the post date of the FB complaint, the date the interior file was updated can be extrapolated to March 27, 2015.

The eBook has no reviews.


Here is where the amateur shows through; the “look inside” feature shows an incorrectly formatted Copyright page stating that this version of the eBook is the “Smashwords Edition.”  The newly updated version’s Copyright page claims the book is the “Kindle Edition.”  Neither version shows who the publisher is or makes a proper Copyright notification; only stating that the work is “Copyright 2015” for the newer eBook, or “Copyright 2013” for the older version.

For two years the work showed that it was a ”Smashwords Edition,” and that it was Copyright 2013.  The newer edition showed that it was Copyright 2015.  A quick search of the registered Copyright database for author and then title found no results of any registration.

Getting back to the brief exchange I had with the author, his complaint was that it had been four days and the “look inside” feature hadn’t updated to reflect the new content.  He is correct; the “look inside” version was different than the downloadable sample.

The author’s response to me, though, kinda shows that he hadn’t contacted KDP support at all.  Yes, there is a latency between uploading and updating, but it’s usually not more than 48 hours.  If it still hasn’t updated, the KDP team will say “unpublish and republish” the eBook.  That’ll get it a new ASIN (losing all reviews for the old work … which, in this case, is irrelevant since there are no reviews) and will list the book as a NEW book, with a clean “look inside” sample of the new work – all within 48 hours. The support guys will tell you that when you call.

There are a HUGE number of things wrong here; the author put up the wrong version of his book on Amazon, left it there for two years, updated it, and – when the changes didn’t take – complained on Facebook rather than contacting KDP to fix the problem.

The changes to the eBook were significant when comparing the “look inside” to the downloaded sample.  What does this tell me?  That the author didn’t put his best foot forward when he published; he should have finished the story, properly edited it, properly formatted it, and put it up when it was ready.  Significantly changing the work after publication display is a red flag to a potential buyer.

Don’t ever rush to publication.