Transmission: Blood, sweat & interface problems.

TransmissionSo my short story collection, “Transmission”, is finally available on Amazon. It’s not my main production this week – the big one is still in the works – but it was useful to test the waters and learn a few things about how publishing on Amazon works.

You’d think the actual act of putting the book on Amazon would be the easy part – what with having to write the stories, formatting, making a cover etc. – but you’d be wrong. The KDP interface leaves a lot to be desired, and this weekend was a hard one. But I’ve learned, and that means when the time comes for the big one, I will hopefully make less mistakes.

First of all, there’s the Contributor box on the KDP form. There are no Contributors for Transmission – everything was done either by me or my publisher/wife. So I left it empty. That was the first mistake. Turns out – I’M the Contributor. The “Author” category for Contributors – that’s where you should put YOUR name. Sounds obvious now! But it cost me half a day when the book was being reviewed and then returned for correction.

Somehow at this point the draft product description reverted to an old version which I didn’t like – but I haven’t noticed it until clicking Publish again. So this time the book goes live but with bad Product Description! I try to edit it – it goes back to draft. What the hell! Turns out, every time I click the book link in the KDP Dashboard, it reverts to draft. Although it still remains visible on Amazon, so I guess it doesn’t matter as much.

Meanwhile, the pricing information disappears from Amazon. Or is it just for me? I don’t know. I wait. I check on mobile a few hours later – the price is there, and the product description is finally formatted properly. Not on web browser. I’m guessing cookies are to blame, and not the tasty kind.

I then discovered Author Central is more suited to editing product description than KDP dashboard, and had a fun few hours waiting to see which edit would take precedence, as I put both in at the same time. So far Author Central is winning.

Another thing: Amazon e-mails take a looong time to go out. There must be a hell of a queue on their mail server. Well, duh, I guess – it’s a ginormous company. But patience is a virtue in dealing with Amazon, I was getting confirmations of various things I did with up to 12 hour delay. Such fun.

But now it’s there! With the cover and all! And it costs $0.99, about which I can’t do anything – it’s 40 pages of text and Amazon won’t let me have it cheaper. For now, starting from tomorrow, it’s going to BE COMPLETELY FREE for five days, so grab it HERE (or on any European Amazon website) while you can.

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