This is a final update to my prior sad stories regarding attempts to bypass The KDP Previewer with my paperback version of my novel The Archangel of Hamilton Beach.
If you’re sick of this story, imagine how I feel. This is the last one, I promise. I’ll try to be brief.
Okay, so I said I was going to try it and I did try Selz and it seems okay, though I’m passing on using it to sell books and services on my site. Or I should say I tried Selz halfway, for the purpose for which I wanted it, which was to get the widget for my WordPress site and sell my eBook from there and also my paperback, when I get it printed (happening as we speak).
I did give Selz my best shot. Also, though I had chosen the free version of Selz, [UPDATE: I learned that the Selz free option is only a 2-week trial.] WordPress requires that you have a Business plan which costs considerably more than I’m paying with the Premium plan. But I went for the investment to enable the Selz plugin.
Try as I might for hours – killed the whole day – I could not get the source code to work in the WordPress site as it was supposed to with a quick copy paste from Selz to WordPress.
I had Selz people in chat for help and then I had WordPress people in the chat room for help. When all was said and done I contacted WordPress to remove the Selz plug-in and to refund my investment in the Business plan and put me back on Premium, already paid for not long ago.
You Deserve A Break Today
A side effect was that when I had downloaded the Selz plug-in I lost my Follow button which I didn’t like. (That has since been reinstated.) With all the pop-ups demanding e-mail addresses wherever I go, I figured I’m probably not the only one it annoys; so I felt like giving my visitors a break from that, so if they want to follow my site they still just have to click on the little blue button.
I would like to be one of the few sites left which don’t require any signing up or having to fill out any pop-ups. Besides, Followers get notifications by email or otherwise, so whatever I have to offer, I’ll post, and they’ll learn about it.
I’m sure it’s bad business not to collect e-mail addresses, but I’m a writer, teacher, and editor, not a high-tech, code writing, Internet expert, nor to I aspire to becoming the next Internet Biz Billionaire.
If I sound sarcastic, I’m sorry. It’s been a long day. All I wanted to do was embed the Selz plug-in that was supposed to be so easy but turned into a mess. However, I still maintain that it wasn’t me. Even the Selz people were stumped. It just wasn’t doing what it was supposed to do. For starters, what it was supposed to do was for the little purple S (for Selz) to show up in the Editor on Page/Post pages on my site, but, Nope.
By the way, I also tried the store that apparently comes with the WordPress Business plan, because all of a sudden it was there and I’d never seen it before. Well, I got all the way through the process only to see that the price for the customer is in pounds, not dollars! I’m telling you, it was a long day. So, I’ll continue to sell my eBook through Amazon (with my much-talked-about—and resented—Cover Creator cover—The KDP Previewer Hates My Paperback, Part 2, The KDP Previewer Hates My Paperback.
Meanwhile Back at the KDP Ranch
My paperback that was $106 went up to over $300 and only available from third party sellers, ditto on the novel by previous name but at the normal price. So I did a fast Cover Creator cover and repubbed the old paperback, and did same for previous title, only because I’m learning you can’t unpublish without the book remaining up there in all these bizarre ways. But at least this way they will be at normal prices and not sold by third parties.
I Figured if it’s going to stay in the public eye I’d rather it be on my terms and not sit there with a ridiculous price tag on it and a screwy manuscript and/or terrible cover (of course, there are gradations of terrible).
But my new paperbacks are on order from the printer with the new cover, so that’s my backup. I’m also learning none of this is a perfect world.
“Good Enough Is Good Enough,” said Jane Fonda
Through the whole process I had to let down my deadly perfectionism (see my post Perfectionism Can Kill…A Blogger), especially when I discovered you can never take a book down from Amazon. Actress Jane Fonda’s quote above, which she said in a 2007 interview, came from her struggle to please her demanding, perfectionist famous actor father Henry Fonda.
So I said to myself, “Yes, in this imperfect fast-paced world of self-publishing I must relax my standards,” especially when, in the reupload, my novel was missing a header here and there or had one in a couple of places where there shouldn’t have been any, such as on chapter title pages—the kinds of things, as an editor, I’d have dinged someone else for.
Enter at Your Own Risk
So, fair warning to anyone who publishes on Amazon.com: The monster never removes your published books. When you click on Unpublish, it tells you the book will still be available by third parties, which is why my old paperback was at over $300 at last check (though it can also be offered by other parties at normal prices. Somehow the length of time it’s in the Unpublished category causes the price to continue to go up exponentially).
So don’t ever publish anything on Amazon.com that you’re not okay with your name being on forever more, kind of like how you can’t delete anything on your YouTube channel (i.e., don’t Like or Subscribe to a video you’ll later regret anyone knowing you watched, much less liked or subscribed to, because, even if you unlike or unsubscribe, it stays there forever).
When I get my paperbacks printed, God willing, I’ll also sell them directly from my website using the aforementioned PayPal or credit card option which I already have, and get around Amazon, my original motive in all this (since KDP Still Hates My Paperback). In fact, since I started writing this, Steuben Press which I think I mentioned in The KDP Previewer Hates My Paperback, Part 2 that I was going to try, got back to me and I spoke via email with not one human, but two! Whoa! Slow down!
I’m starting with a small order and going from there, but they do offer a proof (for $50) which I’m happy about and they have a set up fee of same, but the setup fee is one-time and not payable for any future orders of the same title and they’ve already made two changes to my cover at no extra charge, bless their hearts.
Selz Versus Sweek
The Selz platform is much more user friendly and moveable within it, unlike Sweek, which I had written in my post (The KDP Previewer Hates My Paperback, Part 2) was stiff and stilted and I felt locked in and never knew what was happening. Nothing against Sweek. It just didn’t work for me.
However, once I got past the uploading of my book, etc., the Selz store was not easy for me to maneuver. They use blocks, which I don’t get, but again I’m no expert. The bad news is I hear WordPress is going to blocks soon, too and that will be a sad day because I dislike it strongly, though WordPress said you’ll be able to opt out of it, at least for now….
I found the Selz store setup, here come those words again, stiff and stilted and locked in. Why can’t anybody leave well enough alone and why do these changes always go in the direction of less and less user friendly, not to mention less user creative?
You may do better than I did in embedding the Selz code into your own platform, but aside from that, if you want to sell from somewhere besides your blog and use the websites they offer, with a lot of themes to choose from, etc., it’s a free platform from which to do that, which is how I’ll end up using it, though Selz people are still emailing me to sign up for a paying site.
Sweek has the equivalent in a store, though I didn’t get as far as trying to set one up before I quit the process.
Also, Sweek seemed slow to load and reload, where with Selz that was not an issue at all. Sweek requires an IBAN from European countries, and a BIC, not the pen, a banking identifier code, also referred to as a swift code, like a routing number which serves nationally, but BIC is an international code that allows money to be wired into the United States from abroad. I was able to find a PDF form from my bank online with the swift code. If I were going to pursue Sweek, I’d use the code, but it’s unlikely I will.
Selz, which is based in Australia, doesn’t require any of that and deals in dollars not British pounds.
Enter Calibre for Epub
In the process, I learned a few things, such as how to download and use Calibre to change my Word document into an epub or mobi file (or an epub to a mobi or vice versa). It’s a very handy program. When you download it (free), there’s a great video in which the creator of Calibre explains it well.
- I’m forgetting Sweek, though it may work for you.
- I will maybe sell on the Selz site when I have some time to fool around with setting up the “store”. I will probably take advantage of their help to do so.
- Leave all books up on Amazon.com instead of unpublishing the old titles so they don’t stay up with errors in them and at weirdly high prices.
- I published my paperback and my eBook with the Cover Creator on Amazon. I will perhaps revisit the covers on Amazon again at another time but for now, at least they’re there. PS – Proofs came back from the mean old Previewer w/a big, ugly strip across front and back covers, saying Not for Resale, whereas CreateSpace used to discreetly print the word Proof on the back page inside, which is why I (stupidly) got more than one Proof, thinking to save some money, before I realized the Author’s Copy is the same price).
- I ordered a printed batch of my novel in paperback with my own cover, which is available via my website.
- Eventually, I’ll offer my eBook via epub from my website, and perhaps in PDF form as well.
Well, these are just my thoughts on the whole thing, just me being honest, with the hope of helping somebody out there with this bit of information without going through it.