Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Genre and the Older Writer

Genre and the Older Writer

– Are you writing the right one?

With the advent of independent publishing upon us, Genre is no longer a slave to formulas established by large publishing houses and longtime editors.
You only have to look at titles offered on the Goodreads giveaway list to see that there is a new trend—mixed genre. Along with other favorites like Vampire, Sci-Fi, and Zombie, the mixed genre, often mingling romance or fantasy with the others, tends to be favored largely by the under 30 crowd.
And then there is YA, the Young Adult genre, whose main characters tend to be in the 15 to 25-year-old range and are written mainly for readers in the preteen to under 21 category. Lately there seems to be quite a flux of writers aiming to capture this audience.
            What does all this mean for the older writer? Think before you leap into a genre that is not for you. Considerations:

1.     It is probably best to stick with a subject you’re familiar with. Don’t try to write a Zombie/Vampire/Romance novel unless you are an avid reader of, and familiar with, the genre.

2.     Don’t pick a genre just because it’s one you believe is marketable. Older people read too, and often read mystery, thrillers, suspense, westerns, romance, and also some of the same genres the younger readers enjoy.

3.     When they say write what you know, this doesn’t mean strictly what you know in life experience. Reading a genre exclusively over many years gives you a measure of expertise invaluable when drafting your novel.

4.     If your goal is to become traditionally published, be aware that editors look for certain genre standards and will reject a book that doesn’t follow them. Do your homework and make sure your book follows the expected guidelines.

Dear Readers,
It is truly amazing how genres fluctuate. I read suspense almost exclusively, so deciding which genre to write has been an easy decision. Writing a genre you aren’t familiar with will not only be difficult, but it will be difficult for you to determine what is original and will entice the reader.
Happy writing,

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

KDP Quality Notices

 Authors and KDP speak out!

         Last week’s blog on KDP Quality Notices to authors generated a lot of interest. Here are some things I gathered from your responses.
1.     Everyone is in favor of the Quality Notices. The end result will improve the reader’s experience.
2.     A universal concern is that KDP will send them to all authors as needed, not just independently published ones. In particular, everyone feels that big name authors need to receive them equally.
3.     There is a fear that by locating and complaining about a few errors, readers will be able to use that to demand their money back for the books they buy.
4.     Also, there is a concern that complaining about a few errors (which every book has, believe me, and I read about two a week!) will become a way to persecute the author for a grudge held against them.

I contacted KDP and asked if they would please share any information on how they distributed the notices. Here is their response:
Hello Marla,

I can understand you wanting to know how we get to the point of sending Quality notices to our publishers.

When you publish a book, it will be set to "In Review" status for a short period of time so we can ensure that we are providing the best possible eBook experience to our customers. Should we miss something (however small) in this process, our readers can submit feedback, report poor quality or formatting from the book's product detail page on the website.

If we get more of the same feedback from a number of customers about the same book, then we send a quality notice to that book's author.

I hope you will find this information helpful. If you have any further question about this or any other topic please feel free to contact us, we'll gladly assist you with your request.

Thanks for being part of the Amazon KDP family.

Then, in a response to a question about my own books, I got this answer:

Hello Marla,

We appreciate your attention to our recent notification.

Content published through KDP is held to the high standards customers have come to expect from Amazon. To ensure this, we react to reports from readers who experience problems when reading KDP books and perform random quality audits on books in the Kindle Store.

If we confirm the problem within a book negatively impacts the reading experience, we will always notify you of any problems we find and will make sure to point you in the right direction to get the problem fixed.

Thanks for using Amazon KDP.

Not sure why, but when responding to my direct question they only mentioned reacting to readers complaints, and in the other message, they did tell me that random audits were being performed. I think most of us would feel the notices were being handled in a more fair and consistent manner with the random checks. I must say, that KDP has been responsive to my questions and been professional and helpful with their answers.

Dear readers,
I think we all understand KDP notices a little better. Personally, at the risk of sounding whiny and whingy, it seems somewhat strange to spend time reprimanding an author for one or two typos, when all books, even the NYT best sellers, have a few.
What I’m hearing all of you say, though, is that there is an appreciation by authors for having errors pointed out in order to perfect the manuscript. I’ve fixed mine. And am once more resolved to learn how to do my own formatting so I can go in and clean up problems by myself! Probably won’t happen, though. I have little patience for formatting! I’ll have to perfect the proofing process.
Have a great week everyone!