New Editions at Amazon

The Beauty Bride, book #1 of the Jewels of Kinfairlie series of Scottish medieval romances, by Claire DelacroixOne of the challenges with publishing at Amazon is that the portal doesn’t always deliver the newest edition of any given digital book to readers. In the past year or so, they’ve posted rules about the how and why of updating books that readers have already acquired—a 20% change in the content is one guideline, which is a LOT of corrected typos—but it’s also become clear that sometimes when a book is updated, the previous version continues to be delivered even to new customers.

As you might imagine, this is somewhat vexing to authors. It’s impossible to know what version of a book any given reader has on his or her Kindle.

Today, however, I have a nifty solution for you. You may have heard last month about an issue with the location of the table of contents (the TOC) in Kindle book files. It’s a long story, but the end result is that Amazon decided it was not appropriate for the TOC to be at the end of the digital book. Many (many MANY) formatters, however, choose to put the TOC at the back, because the Kindle finds it no matter where it is, and because having it at the back means that it isn’t part of the Look Inside feature on the Amazon store. Readers get to preview more of the actual book if the TOC is at the back of the file. (This could also be corrected by allowing publishers to create sample files, as can be done at iBooks, instead of having them automatically generated, but that’s another issue.) My formatter has always put the TOC at the back. Even though Amazon later rescinded the necessity of the TOC being at the front, my formatter and I chose to go ahead with the revision of all of my book files.

Serpent's Kiss, a paranormal romance and Dragonfire #10 by Deborah CookeIt was a lot of work and not a job either of us were counting on, but there is a silver lining: the Look Inside feature on these books in the Kindle store now shows the TOC at the beginning. I hope this means that this newest edition is being delivered to new customers. The other perk is that if you have one of my books on your Kindle (or many of them) you can easily tell whether you have the latest and best version: look for the TOC. If it’s at the beginning, after the copyright page and the reader letter but before the opening of the book, then you have the current version. If not, you can ask Amazon customer service to update your edition with the current one.

The Amazon edition of all future releases will have the TOC at the front.

Note that we didn’t bother with the short stories and novellas, and also that you must have the current version (without DRM) in order to request the update. We still have a few more to do.

One More Time, book #3 in the Coxwell Series of contemporary romances, by Deborah CookeThe updated books, as of today, are:

Third Time Lucky
Double Trouble
One More Time
All or Nothing
The Dragon Legion Collection
Serpent’s Kiss
Firestorm Forever
The Rogue
The Scoundrel
The Warrior
The Rogues of Ravensmuir Boxed Set
The Beauty Bride
The Rose Red Bride
The Snow White Bride
The Jewels of Kinfairlie Boxed Set
The Renegade’s Heart
The Highlander’s Curse
The Frost Maiden’s Kiss
The Warrior’s Prize
The Crusader’s Bride
The Crusader’s Heart
The Crusader’s Kiss

The Store is Back

My online store is back in business again. You can find it right here.

The Prometheus Project Boxed Set of urban fantasy romances by Claire DelacroixYou might remember that I had planned to dismantle the store and only offer free downloads there. As is so often the case in this market, I’ve changed my mind, and here’s why. First off, I discovered that disabling the payment options at the store meant that it didn’t work at all. If payment options aren’t enabled, then you can’t even download free stuff. I’d disabled them because all the content there was free, so that was an oopsie on my part. Selz isn’t a portal designed for delivering free content, so in hindsight, this makes perfect sense. Several of the popular portals designed for delivering free content don’t work for people outside the US (ha! Like me!) so reconfiguring my existing store was the simplest solution.

I’d also disabled the payment options because they require me to pay a monthly subscription fee. That’s okay if I’m selling content and can cover the cost as an expense, but when the content is free, it made little sense to me. (I didn’t realize the store wouldn’t work at all without them.) So, now that the payment options are enabled again, the content for sale is back, too.

I could have just put the PDF’s – like the family trees – back on my website, but several other cool changes have happened since I put the store on hiatus a few months ago, and those changes meant the store was a good solution. First of all, Selz now integrates with Facebook. You’ll be able to shop from my store on either of my Facebook pages, either Claire Delacroix or Deborah Cooke. See? The Store is on the tab under the banner, after Timeline and About. Click through and you can shop from within FB. I think that’s very slick!

The Coxwells Boxed Set by Deborah CookeAlso, Selz now offers the Send to Kindle app which I’ve enabled at the store, so this should mean that those of you who read on Kindles won’t have to figure out how to sideload content. Anything you buy in my online store should be delivered right to your Kindle for you to read. This is also pretty cool.

There are still a couple of challenges that are ongoing. One is sales tax calculation and submission for other territories. Ugh. If you remember, the EU began requiring ALL parties to submit sales tax for each territory in the EU last summer. (There are a lot of them!) There’s no way I’m undertaking that kind of paperwork, so for the moment, the store is configured for sales to US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand only. I’m hoping that the EU – or at least the UK – comes up with a better solution for small businesses that sell online (like me!). Fingers crossed that we can open up in other territories soon.

The Crusader's Handfast: Part Two by Claire DelacroixThe other challenge, which is the calculation of shipping costs from me (in Canada) to you (wherever), remains a bit complicated. Shipping calculators are scarce for these kind of store facilities – those with look-up tables that give accurate results seem to be part of custom store software. For the moment, this is partly solved by restricting the territories of sale at the store, and partly by my listing bundles of books for sale instead of individual titles. The bundles come out to weights in the same price class this way. The postage should work out pretty well for US and Canada, but when you order through the store, I’ll let you know if you’re getting a refund or need to pay a bit more. I don’t make money on postage, but I don’t want to lose money on it either. The book bundles include a tote bag, too, and are similar to the show specials that I offer for booksignings. I think this is a good compromise and hope you do, too.

So, what’s in the store?
• Free downloadable PDF family trees

• Free downloadable excerpts for upcoming books, in both EPUB and MOBI

• Signed print copies of my books for sale, specially priced in series bundles

• Downloadable audiobook samples, which are MP3 files. You can listen to these 5 minute samples online here on my site or my Soundcloud page, but if you want to download them, they’re in the store.

The True Love Brides Boxed Set of medieval romances by Claire Delacroix• Digital copies of my books for sale. Although I’m loading the same individual titles you can buy at major online portals in my store, I’m also including content that isn’t available everywhere. There’s going to be more of that. For example, the new $14.99 boxed sets which are available at Kobo and iBooks – The Coxwells Boxed Set, The Prometheus Project Boxed Set and, coming in February, The True Love Brides Boxed Set – are in the store now. If you want a MOBI version of any of these boxed sets, you’ll need to buy it from me. 🙂

Also, I’ll be moving some content into the store that I’d like to price below $2.99US or which is already below that price. The individual Dragon Legion novellas are currently on the move, and will soon be available individually only from my store. The Dragon Legion Collection will remain in wide distribution. An Elegy for Melusine, Kinfairlie Knights, Highland Heroes, and Harmonia’s Kiss will soon be available exclusively from my store.

Check back tomorrow for more about my plans for the store!

eReadLocal at Kobo US

eRead Local promotion from Kobo in the USHere’s a wonderful promotion that I learned about while at NINC, which is available to those of you in the US. Kobo wants to encourage you to shop at indie bookstores, many of which sell Kobo e-reading devices. eRead Local also is a drive to get more readers to sign up for Kobo accounts. Here’s a bit more detail:

  • Aug 22 – Nov 29, Kobo is launching an exciting 100-day incentive program for local, indie bookstores, “eRead Local”
  • For every new customer that signs up for a Kobo account affiliated with a bookstore, that store will receive $5 USD. The customer will also receive $5 USD credit towards their first eBook purchase
  • Stores that acquire 100+ new customers will be entered to win a Kobo-sponsored event featuring a bestselling author. Stores that acquire 50-99 new customers will be entered to win free eReaders
  • After a customer’s account is affiliated with a bookstore, a portion of every Kobo purchase they make goes straight to that store

From where I sit, this is totally win-win. You get a credit to buy the books you want, and your fave indie bookstore gets a credit from Kobo.

I don’t need to remind you that ALL of my books that are available in digital editions are available from Kobo. 🙂

You can read more about the promotion on the Kobo Writing Life blog, right here.