I have a more serious and sombre post for you today.
So what has been my problem with KDP? I uploaded updated files for both my eBooks in July and, despite the updated versions showing as live on my author bookshelf, they're not being sent to NEW customers. I tried to get this problem corrected via author support. Numerous emails went back and forth. Each time I contacted them, or they replied to me, a different person dealt with my problem. At first they didn't even understand the issue. When I finally seemed to be making progress, they told me they could offer no further advice or assistance. In other words, they don't understand and/or care.
Let me stress, I KNOW new customers are not receiving the updated versions of my books. I've had friends purchase my books just to check.
For Passing Time this isn't to big an issue. The updated book only contains added details of my second eBook - a cover picture, blurb, and links. Still, it would be nice to have them there. However, the updated version of Taking Time contains corrected errors. I NEED that version to be live.
The problem is there is no way for me to contact anyone higher than author support. I now have no choice but to re-publish both books as second editions, so that the correct versions are on sale. Passing Time should be available early September, after it's current term in KDP Select ends. This time I will be publishing it in ALL major eBook formats, not just through Kindle.
Unfortunately, Taking Time will have to wait until mid-October. Due to the errors, I've reluctantly taken it off sale. I will let you know when it's available again nearer the time.
The sad thing is it seems I'm not the only KDP author to be experiencing this problem. I've had other authors contact me with similar issues. On the other hand, I've had dozens of authors tell me they've not had any problems updating their books recently. So, what is going on?
WARNING: You may find parts of this offensive.
Over the last week, alleged bullying at Goodreads has been the hot topic (Please note, I'm using the word alleged here because I haven't actually seen these reviews or listings myself). Author Lauren Howard made the decision to not publish her first book, Learning to Love, due to the behaviour of some Goodreads members. Unfortunately, Lauren has now taken down the post in which she details her yet to be published book receiving one-star ratings, nasty reviews, and being added to book lists where the author should be raped or sodomized. If this is the case, I can only imagine the distress this must have caused her.
While I believe that a reader has the right to leave any rating or review (and writers need to learn to accept that), the existence of such offensive Goodreads lists is wholly unacceptable. There should be some form of moderation, which would remove such listings because of their offensive nature. I can only hope that the media attention this issue has received will make Goodreads re-consider the current freedom to say anything you like policy.
In the meantime, author Lexa Cain has highlighted that there IS an option to flag an abusive review. You can complain. Click here to visit her blog and learn how to. Thank you, Lexa.
The third thing I want to discuss today is something that has gone a little way to restoring my faith in hunanity, Mormon Writers Back Gay Author.
I'm sure most, if not all of you, will have heard the shocking news that David Powers King and Michael Jensen's Woven publication was cancelled due to the inclusion of one line in Jensen's biography - a line that made reference to his male partner that the publisher felt would alienate their LDS readers. I'm not going to repeat the details of the homophobic discrimination Jensen was subjected to. However if you're only just learning of this issue now, here are some links:
David Powers King on Woven cancellation
Interview with Michael Jensen
What I would like to draw attention to is that since the shocking news of the books cancellation and the reason why, more than 40 Mormon authors in Utah have signed a letter supporting Michael Jensen. In it they say:
"While publishers have the right to choose what they will and will not publish, we believe books should be accepted or rejected upon the merits of their content, quality, and commercial viability, not on any other factor," the letter states. (You can read the full article here)
I second that. I can only hope that more people come forward and offer their support and the voice of reason. It's a sad day when a person's sexual orientation dictates whether they can be published.
That's it for today's post. I'll be back on Wednesday, with two Speculative Fiction Writer guests - the awesome Angela Brown and Gwen Gardner.