Amazon, Barnes & Noble, free download, Gardners, Heir Apparent, pricing, Samuel Plank, Waterstones
Much as I love being a self-publisher author – or what is now called an indie publisher – there is a lot to remember. Writing the books is really only a part of it; keeping up with all the publishing of those books is administratively heavy and can overtake me at times.
Yesterday, for instance, I was looking at my listings on Amazon and noticed that my free guide to the Sam Plank series – the little publication that offers the first chapter of each Sam Plank book as a taster and a lure – was priced at 99p, rather than free. Nowadays you are not allowed to list items as perpetually free on Amazon (special offers only), but one way to achieve the same aim is to list the item for free on a competitor site and then ask Amazon to price-match that product. My Sam guide is available on the Barnes & Noble website for just this purpose, and Amazon has always price-matched it on their UK and US sites. But it seems that this is not a forever done deal, because – as I noticed yesterday – Amazon had unilaterally re-priced it to 99p (and $1.29 in the US). Thankfully the mechanism for asking them to instigate a price match is now quite simple – there’s a template email provided in the KDP help system – but it does rely on the publisher (i.e. me) spotting in the first place that the price has been unmatched. Anyway, email sent yesterday and price re-matched today, to zero.
Also yesterday, I went into my local branch of Waterstones to check that my titles are appearing on their ordering system, after all my efforts to be accepted as an indie publisher by Gardners. And that was when I realised that I had failed to tell Gardners about “Heir Apparent”, which is therefore absent from their catalogue – and presumably missing out on thousands of orders up and down the land… (For the record, I have yet to receive a single order from any bookshop via this hard-won Gardners route, but I am sure my day will come.) I really must create a check-list of things to be done once a book is actually published, and stop thinking of publication day as the end-point – it’s only the beginning for the indie publisher!
(As for the title of this post, I once heard a speaker at a professional conference who was from France; his accent was divine, darlings, and my heart was completely won when he talked of having to adjust his bank’s procedures to take account of “ze nitties and ze gritties” of some new legislation. From that moment on, the phrase has been a very welcome part of my vocabulary.)