Amazon and me, redux yet again

I want to like Amazon; I really do. I sincerely loved them when they sold just books, back in the day before they decided to sell all things to all people and/or take over the publishing world. I have an Amazon Prime account, I buy a lot of things from them, and I’ve trained my husband to check out their stuff before he drives all over two counties looking for an $.83 light bulb.

I’ve been re-visiting Kindle Select Publishing. An independent author gets more exposure and certainly a higher percentage of whatever sales she generates: these are good things. But they demand exclusivity, so I’d have to take my title(s) off of Smashwords and all the other sources they distribute to. I don’t like monopolies. I don’t like large corportations snuffing out tiny independents not because they are serious competition but just because they can.

But I have been thinking of KDP for at least a three month trial. And I’d almost decided to go for it, until two days ago. I recently changed the thumbnail cover on The Bone Road. I changed nothing else. It’s annoying and big-corporate that, because I already have a copy of The Bone Road on my Kindle app, I apparently couldn’t download the new version with the new cover. However, I had several people I trust check it out. They assured me the new cover was on new purchases.

Actually, it WAS on my Kindle reader. Under ‘M’. My last name is gone. After several days of hair-tearing and experiments, it appears the metadata no longer includes my last name, and that neither on Amazon’s interface nor using Calibre to correct and upload the file can this be fixed. When I take the DRM-free .mobi file from Smashwords and load it to the Kindle reader, both my last name and first name are there, but it still lists under ‘M’. Amazon’s interface smooshed the first name and last name fields together. So it’s possible to get a correct ebook file of The Bone Road on your Kindle, as long as you don’t get it from Amazon.

I have a query in to Amazon Customer Service. Other people, according to their own forums, have been having this problem. Recently. As far as I can tell, no one from Amazon is addressing it. At least no one on the forums is getting a response.

In the meantime, I’ve been sending .mobi copies hither and yon to various book reviewers and writing contests. You know, I hate appearing as an incompetent idiot. I’ve done it, and many times it has been my fault. I suck it up and try to do better. But when I look like an incompetent idiot through no fault of my own, that’s when I get angry.

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Mary Holland

Mary Holland writes alternative-world fantasy for grown-ups. Her books include Matcher Rules, The Bone Road, and The Dog of Pel. She lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains with three cats and an ever-changing assortment of wildlife.

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