Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Revisiting "My" World of Self-Publishing


I received a call from Amazon this evening.

A pleasant young man who told me there was an internal glitch which has caused the problem.

One they have tracked down and are now in the process of correcting.  

He tells me the issues of concern should be resolved and put to rest within 5 days and someone will send me an email or call me to let me know when things are back where they should be.  

I'm fine with this.  

A lot has transpired today before reaching this final (hopefully) phone call and it's all been exhausting.  

As far as the issues between Ingram and Amazon I reported being mentioned to me by an amazon employee  - I think we can put that to rest also as it seems (at least, to me) to be a non-issue, and simply misspoken words.

Bottom Line - I am a happy girl who will be a happier girl once I know for sure things have been straightened out and my books will once again be available through Ingram.

We each have our own stories to tell with the journey when we choose self-publishing.

Because of today's events, I'm going to start mine at the beginning.

I posted this back in January, 2013 -

Then I posted this piece in March, 2013 -

And I told you I'd keep you posted on how things were going, and I've been doing that.

It's been a learning experience.

It's been fun.

It's been awful.

It's been rewarding.

It's been heartbreaking.

And yes, I'll do it all again (as I'm now working <slowly, verrrry verrrry slowly> on Whimsey #2 (which hopefully will have a better name by the time I'm finished!).

But, today.

Today, I'm furious.

As you know, I'm doing a signing at Quarter Moon Books next month. 

Lori, at Quarter Moon contacted me this morning to let me know she had tried to order copies of my books from Ingram - which she has been doing since Whimsey was published. (Some of you know I purchased an ISBN from Bowker because many booksellers refuse to deal with the ISBN given out by CreateSpace, i.e., Amazon).

Ingram told her WHIMSEY was no longer available through them. I (after a lot of searching and futile attempts) finally reached a real person who showed some real concern and was able to tell me CreateSpace (with whom I published the book) had placed a hold on the title blocking Ingram from being able to distribute it.


Next step was, of course, talking with someone at CreateSpace.

First person put me on hold and then cut me off.

Second person told me there was no hold and to get back with Ingram.

I then did what I always do - asked to speak to her supervisor.

After much double talking and me silently singing ("stand me up at the gates of hell, I wooon't back down") in my head, I was told this. There were "issues" between CreateSpace and Ingram and my book was in the crossfire. They would straighten it out, but it might take eight weeks.

You don't even want to hear the rest of the conversation. But I did promise the gentleman I was speaking with that I would absolutely share this story with as many other writers as I could and suggest that they check to see if they too may have been caught in the "issues" between CreateSpace and Ingram if their publishing experience was similar to mine.

I'll be able to order copies of WHIMSEY myself through CreateSpace, so we won't be without books for the signing, but - now I'm wondering exactly when these "issues" between CreateSpace and Ingram took place and how long my books have been unavailable to Ingram.

I have no idea if this particular bookstore is boycotting amazon or not.

But with my non-amazon ISBN, that doesn't come into play in this instance.

This bookstore (which has been very, VERY good to me) orders my books through Ingram which is who she prefers doing business with, I guess.

She may order from other sources too - probably does. If amazon is or is not one of them, I don't know.

It was a different bookseller who clued me in to considering purchasing an ISBN from Bowker back when I was first publishing WHIMSEY. Based on her knowledge and her expertise and the fact that I know and trust her, I chose to buy the non-amazon ISBN giving booksellers a choice.

Because I did, booksellers can buy my book from Amazon.

Or not.

It's usually not my business and not my concern.

Not until today.

The indy bookstore vs. amazon boycott is not new and I doubt there's an author alive who's not aware of it.

But, as I point out - there ARE ways around it so the booksellers don't have to purchase your books from Amazon even if you publish them there.

You know, it is what it is.

And what it is is this.

This crap is going to happen.

It's wrong.

But the authors are not the ones who should have to be caught in the crossfire when corporate "issues" take place.

It's just wrong.

We just want to write.

And if I don't stop my rant right this minute I'll tell you all the other things I think are wrong in this big ol' world today . . . .

AND, it continues . . .

After posting a version of this rant on Facebook, there have been many comments, as you would expect.

One being from a librarian friend who suggests to her fellow ALA Committee members that this is yet another reason not to include CreateSpace books on reading list recommendation lists.


Does that hurt CreateSpace or Amazon or the authors?

Well, that's an easy one, huh?! But apparently, that's fine fine fine. (I'm not going to go into how very much this hurts).

From another Facebook friend who happens to be an attorney, I learn that what's happened here "could" be actionable under a legal civil action called "interference with Business Relationships/Contract." Hmmmm - I'll be thinking about this.

AND, I learned that an author who attended a conference for publishing called Pubsmart, was told by reps from both Amazon and from Ingram it would be best to publish with both CreateSpace and IngramSpark to assure your books being sold through Amazon and be available to bookstores.

Well, now. Do you suppose. Is it possible? That the block placed on WHIMSEY could be the outcome of this new "partnership" (for lack of a better word) between Amazon and Ingram? THIS is the issue, perhaps, that tossed my book into self-publishing limbo? Surely not.

It's almost enough to make an indy writer just stop writing.

note: If you leave a comment and it doesn't show up right away, that's because I have enabled the "moderate comments" feature. I am moderating, but not 24/7. Your comment will be posted. I appreciate your patience.


Libby Hellmann said...

I have been publishing through Lightning Source and Createspace for years, Kaye. That's the way to do it. An ISBN by itself guarantees nothing. Really. Except that you didn't use a Createspace/Amazon ISBN. It doe NOT mean, nor did it ever mean, that INgram would automatically pick you up. Same with Baker &Taylor. Just because you've purchased an ISBN does nOT assure you of distribution. You need to contract with the distributors to get your books on their radar. I use Lightnine Source rather than INgram Spark because I can designate the books as returnable. Which is preferable to bookstores who might be willing to take a chance on you. But, they might also return the books. So you need to read the contract carefully. Ingram Spark does NOT allow returns, as far as I know.

Feel free to contact me if you want more information.


Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...
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