My nightmare experience with Createspace and Kindle Direct Publishing

I’m a self published author of three novels and published all of my books with Createspace and Kindle Direct Publishing. Everything was running smoothly until I decided to make one tiny change to one of my books, ‘Every Family Has One.’

Createspace is part of the Amazon group and offers a variety of different packages. For novices it offers a complete service, at a price. You simply upload your manuscript, book cover (or they can design a book cover, but just to warn you this service I think is overpriced and inflexible in the designs they can create) and fill in some forms for them to create your marketing and book cover blurb.

‘Every Family Has One’ was published in September 2015. It took a year for it to start to do well and from October 2016 it took off.  I was getting lots of ebook sales every day and not a day went by without a sale. It reached a peak ranking of 1500 on the Amazon UK site. There are around 8 million books on Amazon so I was doing pretty well. In December I published ‘Holiday’ and the only way readers were going to discover this new book was to learn about it after reading ‘Every Family Has One.’ I wanted to capitalise on the success of ‘Every Family Has One.’   I was tweeting and boosting posts on Facebook for ‘Holiday’ but the sales weren’t coming in. I put my success of ‘Every Family Has One’ down to the fact that it appeared on the ‘Customers also Bought’ section of many other books in my genre. (Family life, dysfunctional families, family relationships, child abuse, true crime etc) All of these other books were also doing well. ‘The Unwashed’ by Sean Hogan, The Unspoken Abuse’ by Edward Charles, ‘Empty Chairs’ by Suzanne Burke. ‘Every Family Has One’ appeared on the ‘Customers also bought’ section of about 30 books in total. This was great. It’s all about high visibility and ‘Every Family Has One’ was seen by readers in the genre who bought other books then went on to read mine. I needed the same thing to happen to my new book ‘Holiday.’

I asked Createspace if I could edit ‘Every Family Has One’ to include a picture of my latest book ‘Holiday’ at the end. To do this they charged me $79. Yes it’s steep and yes quite frankly a bloody rip off to do something that was so simple but I figured it would be worthwhile. Createspace did this then they passed it over to Kindle Direct Publishing to convert into a kindle version. Then it went live on 28th January. All good? No. Nightmare. What they actually did was create a new book with a new ISNB number so there were two versions floating around Amazon and very confusing for readers. I contacted KDP and asked them to merge the two books and carry the reviews to the new version. They did that but my ranking fell right down because it was a brand new book in effect. I also lost the ‘customers also bought’ section on my book. On the ‘customers also bought’ section of other books the old version of ‘Every Family Has One’ was still showing, not the new one so that when readers clicked on it they got an error message. I contacted Createspace and they didn’t understand what I was talking about and suggested I contact KDP because it was nothing to do with them. I contacted KDP again and this is the ridiculous long and robotic, computer generated letter I got back which clearly shows no understanding of the situation:

1. Regarding Customer also bought:

The Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought  feature automatically determines when to display for a book and what titles to display based on a careful statistical evaluation of our customers’ shopping patterns.

There is no set number of purchases that will guarantee this feature will appear; it will show up once our algorithms have sufficient confidence to show relevant results.

*****

2. Regarding getting refund of $79:

I’ve forwarded your information to the CreateSpace team for follow-up. You should hear back from them in the next 1-2 business days.

Although Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and CreateSpace are both Amazon affiliates and KDP helps authors publish or convert trade paperback books into Kindle format, CreateSpace operates on a separate platform. Due to the nature of your inquiry, we’ll need the CreateSpace team’s expertise to assist you in a timely manner.

You may also reach CreateSpace customer support directly by logging in tohttps://www.createspace.com/ and clicking the “Contact Us” link near the bottom of the page. You can also call them at this number: 1-866-356-2153.

*****

3. Regarding improving the sales ranking:

There are some more steps that you may take to best advertise your book and gain more visibility and the sales ranking of your book. I have listed those steps below:

1. Adding related/specific keyword:

You can increase the visibility of your book(s) in the Kindle Store by adding Search Keywords to them. You can do this in your KDP Bookshelf under the “Your Book” section called “Target Your Book to Customers”. Just add relevant keywords and republish your book with the updated details.

We recommend choosing up to seven keywords that directly relate to content in your book. Using very specific keywords will be more effective than general ones. For example, a book titled “America’s National Parks” may gain increased visibility with the keywords “Yellowstone” and “Grand Teton”, but not “Parks.”

***********

2. KDP Select:

I see that you have already enrolled your title “XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX” in our KDP Select program.

KDP Select is an option to help independent authors and publishers reach more readers and make more money. If you choose to make your book exclusive to the Kindle Store for at least 90 days, the book is eligible for the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL) and Kindle Unlimited (KU). When a KOLL or KU customer reads pages of your book for the first time, you’ll receive a share of the KDP Select Global Fund.

By choosing KDP Select, you’ll have access to a new set of promotional tools, starting with the option to offer enrolled books free to readers for up to 5 days every 90 days. You can enroll a single book, your whole catalog, or anything in between. You can add a promotion for each enrolled book once, but only once, during every KDP Select enrollment period.

You can add a Kindle Countdown Deals promotion once for up to seven days during each enrollment period. You can also purchase advertising through Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) to promote your KDP-Select enrolled books on Amazon.com.

There’s more information about KDP Select here:

https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/KDPSelect

And check our KDP Select Help page for even more details:

https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A6KILDRNSCOBA

To read about Free Promotions check out our Help page:

https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A34IQ0W14ZKXM9

You can learn about Kindle Countdown Deals here:

https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A3288N75MH14B8

Learn about Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count (KENPC) here:

https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=AI3QMVN4FMTXJ

And you can read about Amazon Marketing Services here:

https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A2DJUTY13KIH2C

***********

3. Ad Campaign:

Advertising for KDP Select lets you display ads on Amazon.com, where you can bring potential customers to your book’s detail page. Amazon Marketing Services offers this program to publishers who have books enrolled in KDP Select.

Running ads for your book gives you the potential to reach millions of prospective customers. Amazon Marketing Services personalizes ads for customers who are likely to be interested in books similar to yours, getting the word out to the right people.

Once your campaign is active, your ad will be available throughout Amazon.com on detail pages for books and other products of interest to customers who might also be interested in your book. If your bid is higher than bids for similar ads, your ad will appear. Each time a customer can see your ad on a page, that’s an impression.

100 customers might see your ad all on the same page, or on 100 different pages—but each viewing is one impression. For example, an ad for a book about everything related to dogs might appear on many different pages, but ads for a book about one specific, obscure breed of dog might only have a small number of related pages where the ad is most likely to appear.

When a customer clicks your ad, they see your detail page, and you’ll pay for one click. Here are Amazon Creative Acceptance Policies and the Amazon Ad Policy for Books:

http://www.amazon.com/b/ref=az_adv_ln_dads_ca?&node=3055298011

http://www.amazon.com/b/?&node=7354330011

***********

4. Social Media:

Free social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter allow you to advertise your book and connect with readers. Although you can’t use KDP’s Facebook page to promote your book, you can set up your own Facebook page and group pages.

You can find additional marketing tips here:

https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=A37SMD4NYVZDI7

***********

5. Creating an Author Page:

You may create an author page by visiting Author Central here: https://authorcentral.amazon.com/

You can ensure your author profile is complete. You can use Author Central to upload your picture, add a biography, view and edit your bibliography, and create a blog to speak directly to readers. Creating a compelling author page takes just a few minutes and will help readers learn more about you and your books as they shop our site.

I’m sorry for the long email but I believer every information I have included would be helpful in promoting your book.

I hope these information are helpful. Thanks for using Amazon KDP, I wish you all the best in marketing your book!

Thanks for using Amazon KDP.

………………………………………………………
Did I solve your problem?

If yes, please click here:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/survey?p=A13MLK0Y8Y3ZGE&k=hy

If no, please click here:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/survey?p=A13MLK0Y8Y3ZGE&k=hn
………………………………………………………

Regards,

******

Fed up? Nightmare? Yes! In the end I republished the old version so that it still appears on the ‘customers also bought’ section of other books but the new version is also available too with its poor ranking! There are now two books available. KDP and Createspace are clunky, robotic and don’t seem to have a grasp of the problem. It really is as though I’m dealing not with idiots as such, but just robots.

If you want to make changes to an existing book be very careful. I would ask another author how you can do this yourself because apparently it is actually very easy to do yourself, through your KDP bookshelf but I’m yet to sit down and work it out! I’m not techie friendly. I expect to pay an expert and for them to do a proper job not try to kill my book!

Thank you for reading! My latest book is ‘Holiday’ and readers are telling me it’s a fantastic and insightful portrayal into modern family life. Here’s the link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Holiday-Can-sync-will-sink-ebook/dp/B01MXYJJ3V/

Here’s the link to the new version of ‘Every Family Has One’ with its new abysmal ranking!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Every-Family-Has-Joanna-Warrington-ebook/dp/B01N7WOHNM/

Joanna

My Review Of London Guided Walks with Hazel Baker

I love visiting new places across the world and going on guided walks and my books are set in some of my favourite locations: Dubai, Salt Lake City, Venice, Jordan, Las Vegas but to London I will return again and again. I live an hour from London and despite it being practically on my doorstep I never tire of the big smoke. London gives me a buzz, there’s always something new to see and do and in the words of Daniel Defoe ‘when a man is tired of London he is tired of life,’ a statement that is so very true.

There’s nothing more engaging, stimulating and invigorating than joining qualified guide, Hazel Baker of London Guided Walks, on one of her jaunts. The walks last about an hour and a half and Hazel runs several a week. The walks are themed around the history of London. She is currently running an Oliver Twist walk from the Angel at Islington to Farringdon, exploring the secrets and curiosities of Victorian London – when parents put their children to sleep, not with Calpol but a tot of gin and when women died from wearing crinolines because they restricted the oxygen to the brain, caught fire and got tangled in the spokes of carriages. Last week Hazel did a Harry Potter walk passing the sights and inspiration from the films. Here is the link to her walks: http://www.londonguidedwalks.co.uk

I am always impressed by the sheer depth of Hazel’s historical knowledge and general knowledge on London related issues. She keeps up to date on what is happening in her city and researches very thoroughly. There never seems to be a question she cannot answer. London is brought to life on her explorations and she engages so well with the public. She’s warm, friendly and gets to know her regulars. She’s also a great public speaker. She uses vocal variety and energy, rather than talking in a dull monotone like Melvin Bragg on Radio 4, ‘In Our Time.’ And you wont strain to listen over the thrum of traffic.

You will be captivated by her stories. In her words “If history was told in the form of stories it would never be forgotten.”  Her walks will stimulate a desire to learn more and as you go about your daily life in London, rushing along the streets, dashing into different shops and slugging beer in the pubs you’ll be more curious and begin to ask questions about all of the places you simply take for granted.

As you come out of Charing Cross Station have you ever stopped to look at the elaborate monument – one of the 12 Eleanor Crosses? These were designed by the same architect who designed the Houses of Parliament and mark the night resting places along the route taken when her body was taken down from Lincoln to London. As Hazel explained on one walk “the Victorians, in order to look forward had to look back.” They took inspiration from the past and through innovation made this country great.

As I stroll along the Thames on a Saturday afternoon, watching the entertainers along the South Bank, marvelling at the view around me – the result of years of change and development – I recall some of the things Hazel has told me on her walks. The Thames used to be a hive of activity. Nowadays the boats are mainly pleasure boats. Thames water was referred to as ‘Monster Soup’ and people died in their thousands of Cholera from drinking the water. The Thames is so different today. Dolphins, whales, porpoise and seals have been sighted in the Thames in recent years. It’s no longer a dirty river. But in 1858 the smell coming from the Thames of human and industrial waste gave it the name ‘The Big Stink.’

Charles Dickens walked six miles a day from from Camden to the Borough High Street and saw all of society and he wrote about what he saw. Modern authors like myself write about what we see around us. Material is everywhere for us to note down. When I look at the Thames I try to imagine what it would have been like during the Little Ice Age when it used to freeze over, at times between  the 17th to the 19th century. Frost fairs were held on the ice until 1814. To test the ice was unbreakable the Victorians put an elephant on the ice. They had hog roasts on the ice and all sorts of entertainment and they put pieces of carpet down to stop people slipping.

Next time you enjoy a cocktail in London think about the Temperance Halls in the Victorian age serving colourful drinks laced with arsenic. Next time you hurry along think of what lies beneath the streets – an elaborate sewer network, built during the Victorian age and still crawling with rats.

You’ll learn lots about different places through my books. Wherever I go I take detailed notes and weave these into my novels. ‘Holiday’ is set in Yellowstone, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas and ‘The Catholic Woman’s Dying Wish’ has scenes in Dubai, Venice, Jordan, Ireland, Paris and Rome. Here are the links to my books:

“Holiday” https://www.amazon.co.uk/Holiday-Can-sync-will-sink-ebook/dp/B01MXYJJ3V/

“The Catholic Woman’s Dying Wish” https://www.amazon.co.uk/Catholic-Womans-Dying-Wish-Things-ebook/dp/B014DP7HQW/

“Every Family Has One” https://www.amazon.co.uk/Every-Family-Has-Warrington-Joanna-ebook/dp/B015RUZL7Y/

Thank you for reading!