The New KDP Community Forum

KDP COMMUNITY FORUM UPDATE

Amazon recently updated the community help forum at Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

https://www.kdpcommunity.com/s/?language=en

It seems like it has gone unchanged forever, until now. I can remember visiting it 9 years ago.

What has changed?

  • The look is different. The layout and design changed significantly.
  • The forum topics have been consolidated into a single column. These used to be divided into separate groups.
  • The recent announcements are easy to find and (for now) they are updated. Presently, I see announcements regarding the latest version of the Kindle Previewer (which now has a helpful Auto-Advance View and a Thumbnail Pane), the KDP Select Global Fund for the past two months, and an announcement about taxes.
  • The search option has changed. After doing a search, there used to be an advanced option. Also, the search used to default to the current year only (which severely limited the number of useful search results early in the year). I miss the advanced search options, but also remember that the old search tool suffered some problems. I haven’t used the new search tool enough yet to determine if it is more effective. But I do have a tip: After doing the search, click Discussions or click View More in order to see more than just a handful of search results.

The new KDP community forum is just one of numerous changes that Amazon has rolled out recently.

  • The KDP help pages have been gradually changing. For example, Amazon finally got rid of the 127 KB information regarding GIF images (they are no longer automatically converted to JPEG simply due to this number), and several new help pages have been added (little by little) regarding the new KDP paperback option. The KDP help pages continue to improve.
  • As I mentioned earlier, Amazon recently introduced a new version of the downloadable Kindle Previewer, making it a much more convenient way to thoroughly preview a Kindle eBook.
  • On a related note, the Kindle reading apps (for PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android, etc.) have also been updated (and consolidated into fewer options—for example, there is now one app for iOS).
  • You can now add X-Ray to your Kindle eBook: I have a detailed how-to article about X-Ray right here.

I love these improvements. However, I’m on the verge of publishing a book called Kindle Formatting Magic. I expected to publish my book today, but as I ran it through the previewer one more time to check that all of the hyperlinks work properly, I discovered the new KDP community help forum, which meant that I had to revise all of my tips regarding how to use the KDP community search tool effectively (and I had to revise both the paperback and Kindle versions).

It’s like deja-vu. When I was testing my book on various Kindle reading apps, I discovered that they have been updated, which meant more revisions to my book. For weeks, I’ve been discovering new features (like X-Ray) and have been revising my book repeatedly so that it would be fully up-to-date when I publish it.

But it’s a good thing. Had I published a couple of months ago, I’d be revising and republishing. Now it looks like the timing might turn out well: Hopefully, most of the changes to Amazon will have already been completed just as I’m about to publish, so perhaps my book will be not only be fully updated when I press the publish button, but maybe it will stay that way for a while without constant revisions on my part.

Maybe tomorrow Kindle Formatting Magic will hit the market. Soon, definitely, very soon.

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Copyright © 2018

Chris McMullen

Update to Amazon’s Downloadable Kindle Previewer 3

KINDLE PREVIEWER 3 RECENTLY UPDATED

Amazon KDP’s most recent update to the downloadable Kindle Previewer 3 (version 3.20) includes some nice improvements.

  • Auto-Advance View with adjustable speed allows click-free previewing.
  • Thumbnail Pane with adjustable size shows you several pages at once.

If you haven’t used the downloadable Kindle Previewer recently, a few other features are worth noting.

In particular, just above the Thumbnail Pane, if your Kindle eBook supports Enhanced Typesetting, you can adjust View All to one of the following:

  • Pages
  • Images
  • Links
  • Tables
  • Drop Caps

The View All option provides a convenient way to quickly check all of your hyperlinks, inspect all of your images, or find your drop caps.

Some other helpful features have been around for a long time now.

  • Change the background from white to black, sepia, or green (though green isn’t available for iOS). What is relatively new is the green background.
  • Try out different fonts that customers can select, such as Bookerly or Caecilia, along with different font sizes. The new type faces were introduced with Kindle’s new Enhanced Typesetting feature (which has been out for a while now).
  • Switch between portrait and landscape mode (this has always been available).
  • Though one thing that may seem backwards at first is that the device type is limited to tablet, phone, and Kindle ereader. Even the online previewer has limited the device types. If you own a few devices (or can borrow them), nothing beats testing your MOBI or AZK file out on an actual device. For those devices that you don’t have, the tablet, phone, and ereader options are designed to mimic the general experience. (If you upload your converted MOBI file to a Kindle Fire, look for your book under Documents instead of Books.)
  • To preview on IOS, as in the past you need to download the AZK file. Click File > Export and adjust Save as Type from MOBI to AZK. You will need to use iTunes on the iOS device.

The two newest features, Auto-Advance View and the Thumbnail Pane have me especially excited.

In the picture above, you can see a preview of my newest book, Kindle Formatting Magic, which will be published in just a few days. Since the print version has 500 pages, I was very grateful for the Auto-Advance View. It is saving me from a tremendous amount of manual clicking. (I still do some manual clicking, of course, but this is a huge time-saver for me.) It’s also nice to see several pages at once in the Thumbnail Pane.

The prior versions of the Kindle Previewer wasted most of the space on my monitor. The Thumbnail Pane finally utilizes my screen space much more effectively.

I also appreciate the options to quickly find all of my hyperlinks, images, and drop caps using the View All option. I go from one hyperlink to the next, click on it, and check if it works. That is really handy.

My preview isn’t complete until I test my book out on several devices, but I always spend the most amount of time with the downloadable Kindle Previewer (considered to be more reliable than the convenient online previewer), so these updates are wonderful for me. Thank you, Amazon.

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2018

Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

Wow: Kindle Unlimited Clears Half a Penny per Page (December, 2017)

KINDLE UNLIMITED UPDATE FOR DECEMBER, 2017

The Kindle Unlimited per-page rate finished 2017 with a Bang, paying over $0.005 per page read ($0.00506394 to be precise).

The per-page rate has climbed above half a penny per-page a few times in the past, but usually it is under $0.005.

Part of the explanation appears to be KENPC v3.0. Amazon KDP introduced the new KENPC calculation when the per-page rate had dropped to the low $0.004’s in July. The per-page rate has climbed steadily ever since.

Part of the explanation may also be that December is a very busy holiday sales month.

The KDP Select Global Fund also increased to $19.9 million. While the KDP Select Global Fund has consistently increased over the life of the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, what’s different now is that for five months the per-page rate and global fund have both increased together. It’s a nice trend.

While it’s nice to see the per-page rate and global fund both rising, be prepared. The per-page rate is generally a bit of a roller coaster ride, and when it peaks above $0.005 per page, it may not last long. Be prepared in case it dips back below $0.005 per page, but be hopeful that it stays above $0.005.

The global fund tends to climb over time (with only an occasional exception), but history suggests that the per-page rate won’t continue to climb forever (though I’d love to see it prove me wrong).

Enjoy it while it lasts, hope it continues, and realize that it has been fairly stable in its oscillation between $0.004 and $0.005 ever since the per-page concept was introduced.

Really, neither the per-page rate nor the global fund are the points to worry about.

The trick is to get more people to read more of your books. 🙂

Copyright © 2018

Chris McMullen

Amazon Reviews Now Require a $50 Minimum Customer Spend

NEW $50 MINIMUM FOR AMAZON CUSTOMER REVIEWS

Customers used to be able to write a review at Amazon as long as they had made a purchase.

Amazon now requires customers to spend a minimum of $50 using a valid credit/debit card before they can write a customer review.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201929730

This is one of several steps that Amazon has made over the years in an effort to improve the customer review system.

Amazon strives for organic customer reviews.

Organic reviews are the best reviews you can get.

For years, Amazon has effectively blocked reviews that are posted by friends and family of authors.

Verified purchase reviews now have an advantage over non-verified reviews when it comes to visibility on Amazon.

Amazon uses machine learning to help determine how prominently a review will display on a product page.

This new $50 minimum customer spend is another of many steps in the right direction.

Amazon’s customer review system has never been (and may never be) perfect, but Amazon is working to make it better.

Remember the days when you walked into a bookstore, and the only reviews you saw were glowing reviews on the back cover and front matter?

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2017

Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

Back to Normal

NormalMy blog should be returning to normal shortly. Now that Read Tuesday is coming to an end for 2013, you shouldn’t see Read Tuesday logos everywhere you turn or bump into Read Tuesday promotions all over my blog.

Now I will return my focus to posts on writing, publishing, and marketing, with a few other things mixed in (like some Vogon poetry), and maybe an occasional feeble attempt at humor.

But what is normal, anyway? I’ve never met a normal person in all my life. Writers. How normal are we? Maybe we shouldn’t even go there. And the characters we write about. Do some of your favorite characters have notable eccentricities?

So maybe normal isn’t the right word. Whatever the right word is, that’s what my blog is doing. It will be more like it was before it became what it was becoming. I’m sure that clears it up for you. 🙂

Chris McMullen, who isn’t promoting anything in this post 🙂