Random New Release Thoughts

These are just random thoughts for the writers out there after I did this latest release.

First, I hate WordPress these days. Ever since they changed to whatever this block thing is it has been a nightmater. Sometimes I can’t edit text in a block. And trying to get images aligned is often painful.

On that last post it also kept resetting my left-alignment of the images and dropping them to their own line until I was ready to scream, which is why the images in that second row are not aligned with one another. I gave up.

I don’t understand why people break things that were just fine the way they were. Probably something about mobile compatibility. All I know is it hurts to deal with WordPress these days but I’m too lazy to do anything about it.

Second, I am also annoyed with IngramSpark and their changes this last year. As an IBPA member I have five free new publications or updates available each month, which seems like it would be enough, but it really isn’t.

As you can see, I just published five new titles. But they were derived from two other titles and in the process of getting these five new titles ready to go I noticed a few minor issues in one of those older titles. So I had to update the paperback and the hard cover version of the old title which then used up two of my five codes for the month.

Since these new titles are not going to be big sellers that means I won’t publish on IS until January now. But that also means I need to be sure to get the cozy finished and formatted and at least submitted there this month. That will use up my remaining three codes for December because with those I do a regular print version, a paperback large print version, and a hard cover large print version.

And that doesn’t leave any room for updating the interior of any of the prior cozies in the series to list the latest title in the Also By section.

Oh and they’ve added some big scary message when you go to update an interior file about how if you want to update your title it’s going to be unavailable for purchase until they’ve caught up with printing all outstanding orders and only then will they send you the file for review which will take 2-3 days. So, do you really want to update this file even though it could be unavailable for weeks?

(This is not actually new. I ran into this a couple summers ago where they didn’t process some updates to files for weeks because they were printing existing orders.)

Here’s a thought: Don’t take the file off of availability unless I ask you to or am changing the cover. Let me approve the changes to the book so that they’re there and waiting. And once you’ve printed the pending orders using the old file, slide right in there with the new one. I don’t think their system is set up for the “I noticed a typo on page 12, it annoys me and I want to fix it, but it’s not a material change” approach to book updates.

I honestly think they made that change to the codes to make more money but they should realize that that’s not really what’s going to happen with most authors. Most will just use D2D or PublishDrive to get there instead or will join member organizations like ALLi and IBPA instead of pay that fee. (And seriously, if you’re paying that fee, see the above list for ways to not pay that fee.)

Third, I can’t decide whether publishing those five titles I just published was a complete waste of time or not. In one of my “dig into the numbers” moments I looked at profit by series by day since release by hour spent. And what I noticed was that using that metric (which levels things out in terms of how long it’s been since a title was released and how much time it took to write/edit/prepare the title) the Easy Word Essentials books had done alright. Well enough it seemed to make sense to go ahead and do the 2019 versions for them.

But I forgot all the fiddly bits about publishing like the uploading to all the platforms. And the getting the Books2Read link. And posting about it here. And adding the title information to Bowker. And making sure it’s listed on Goodreads. All stuff that I don’t count against each book, but that takes time.

Basically what I thought would be a two-day project became a five-day project.

Then again, it’s quite possible I would’ve done nothing but go down internet rabbit holes with those five days because I was giving the latest cozy time to rest before I do a final pass and didn’t want to dive in on a big project until I finalize it.

So was it time wasted? Perhaps. But at least it was time wasted that has the potential to earn something as opposed to getting involved in discussions in FB groups or watching drama on Twitter.

One of the best things I ever did was shut down my Twitter accounts. It was too much angst and drama and judgement on there.

What I have done is bookmarked a few people I like on there and then I use that link to get to their Twitter feed so I can still see what they’re putting up. And if you go in in Private mode on your browser, you can skip all the stupid pop-ups trying to get you to sign up for the site.

So I still get to see what people are saying there, I just don’t participate in amplifying it. But even that I’m going to try to back away from in 2022. Does it help my writing to see round ten of Twitter discourse X? No, not really.

I think I’m going to try to walk away from FB groups in 2022, too. I’m only in a couple at this point but the largest one is losing its value because it got too big and is now mostly newbies derailing threads by asking really basic questions they could figure out on their own with a quick internet search.

In the last week I’ve seen threads derailed by people asking what BBFD means and what Vellum is. (BBFD is a Bookbub Featured Deal, Vellum is a very popular formatting software.) Pretty sure either one would’ve been solved with a quick search because these are not new or obscure.

It’s a little issue, but man does it add up. And that sort of “I wandered into a room, have no idea what’s happening, and expect everyone to answer all my questions for me” thing leads to the eventual decay of good groups. The people who don’t want to stop and explain Self-Pub 101 eventually wander off and you’re left with the people who don’t know anything asking questions of the people who think they know something but don’t.

Hm. Looking back through this post it seems I’m in a cranky mood…Winter does that to me, I think. And bad change. I don’t mind change, but stupid change annoys me. And there’s always lots of it in this industry.

Author: M.L. Humphrey

M.L. Humphrey is a former securities regulator, registered stockbroker (although only briefly), and consultant on regulatory and risk-related matters for large financial institutions with expertise in the areas of anti-money laundering regulation, mutual funds, and credit rating agencies. Since 2013 M.L. has also been a published author under a variety of pen names and across a variety of subjects and genres. You can contact M.L. at mlhumphreywriter [at] gmail.com.

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