Wednesday, October 7, 2015

S.D. Skye's Hell or High Water 365-Day Blogathon Day 116 - Rebranding: The Trouble with Amazon...

Those who have been following my blog for the past few months know that I have rebranded my series with new covers, new titles, and new proofreading from a new editor. The reason I rebranded was to give the series the best chance for survival -- my other covers and titles were very self indulgent and while they made me happy, they were not created with the audience in mind.

Time to make a change before I finished books 4 and 5.

On Amazon's site, they tell you to upload new files. They also say that your files will automatically update. In my mind this meant that no matter who had previously purchased my book, they would get all updates and changes, the updated manuscript, the updated cover, etc.

WRONG!

I checked the books on my Kindle last week, just because I had five minutes of free space to think finally and I found out it was not so. The books had not been updated. They didn't have the new manuscripts and even when I deleted and reloaded the books and the new covers appeared, the old manuscript was still on the interior. Talk about frustrated!

So, I've been embroiled in business drama the past few days with Amazon over my rebranding and updates to my books and I thought I would share for the good of the order.

Lessons Learned.
  1. When you make updates to your Amazon manuscript, correct typos, etc, -- they will show up in newly purchased books they DO NOT automatically show up in previously purchased books--even if you have Automatic Updates activated. 
  2. Automatic updates DO NOT WORK -- 
  3. Amazon said they are trying to fix the problem. But based on the response to one of my emails I believe they can allow Automatic Updates but they choose only to do so under approved situations because they don't want to impact the customer experience (i.e., mess up their bookmarks, highlights, etc.). 
  4. The only way to get your manuscript updated in previous purchases is to do the following: 
    • Make actual grammatical changes, fix typos, etc.; 
    • Be prepared to Amazon provide 5-10 examples of the typos, grammatical issues you corrected; 
    • Contact Amazon customer service through the help menu and tell them you would like to update the manuscript; 
    • They will review and make changes within 3-5 days if they deem them necessary. Again, if you depend on Automatic Updates--it will not work. 
    • They offer one of three possible solutions: 
      • "Corrections to distracting errors. If we find only minor
        corrections,  we won't notify customers by e-mail, but we'll activate their
        ability to update the content through the “Manage Your Content and Devices” page
        on Amazon.com.

        Corrections to destructive or critical errors. If we find
        major corrections, we'll alert the customers who already own your book via
        email. These customers have the option to use the “Manage Your Content and
        Devices” page on Amazon.com to receive your book updates.

        Corrections to critical errors needed. If we find more major corrections are needed, we will
        temporarily remove your book from sale. We’ll notify you of the issues we found
        so you can fix them. Once the improvements are made, just let us know and we’ll
        email customers just like we do for major corrections.
  5. If you change book covers and titles alone and make no updates to the manuscript (even if you change the title page) Amazon WILL NOT change/update an previously sold books with the new covers or the new title pages. They will be available for new purchases. The old purchases WILL NOT get updated even if you ask--there must be corrected grammatical errors. 
I'm going to post this on the KDP board so authors will know but I hope this helps someone avoid these issues.

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