Friday, August 29, 2014

The Trouble with Kindle Select

If you are traditionally published you delude yourself that your publisher will honour the contract. If you are self-published you delude yourself that you are in control of the contract. I'll say this for Kindle Select--it has a way of disabusing authors of the notion that we are anything but in control.

A Case Study:

On Thu, Aug 28, 2014 at 11:06 PM, Kindle Direct Publishing wrote:

We found the following book(s) you've published doesn’t meet the KDP Select content guidelines. Books enrolled in KDP Select must be exclusive to Amazon in digital format during the entirety of their enrollment in the program.
Iced Under (Gatineau Hills Mystery Book 1) (ASIN: B00JR9ZSAW) is available on:

Our records indicate that we previously informed you that submitting non-exclusive content to KDP Select is not acceptable and may result in loss of KDP Select benefits.
As a result of repeat violations of the KDP Select exclusivity requirement, we have removed all of your books from the KDP Select program. Your titles remain available in the Kindle Store. Please note that repeat violations of the program’s exclusivity requirement may result in loss of KDP Select benefits, including participation in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL), Kindle Unlimited, and the usage of free promotion days. To ensure KDP Select benefits are not revoked, please be sure that all of your KDP Select-enrolled books are exclusive to Amazon in digital format at the time of enrollment.
Check out this page to learn more about the KDP Select guidelines: For all other KDP questions visit:

Best regards, Kindle Direct Publishing


How is this even possible! I closed my account with Smashwords months ago which was the only distributor I used for these ebooks. I unpublished them long before that. I fully understand Select's requirements and I have adhered to them. You say there have been repeat violations:

1) The Grey Lady found at iBooks (for which it was removed from Select) was not even the same ISBN! I emailed Apple immediately to remove this previously published edition; the book was removed immediately. I was still penalized.

2) Lie For Me was removed Select although the product page at Kobo clearly indicated the book was not available for sale until after the term ended. I queried before I listed it there and was informed pre-orders were okay. Apparently not. ​​

3) I did everything in my power long before enrolling Iced Under in Select to remove all digital copies. It wasn't enough. Apparently ebook distributors are just as irresponsible as traditional publishers.

Finally, because this is the third time I have experienced trouble "adhering to the guidelines" it is perhaps best if I don't participate in the program. If a backlist book has been published anywhere in the world, the author has no hope of finding every digital copy that has been distributed. I did my very best to make sure I was following the rules and it wasn't good enough.

I give up.

Sincerely, Nadine Doolittle

I know I did what was legally and ethically required of me to remove my ebooks from all channels before enrolling them in Select. But it wasn't enough because the guy at the other end did not do all that was legally and ethically required of him to remove the ebooks from all channels.

And so endth the lesson.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Amazon acquires Twitch


Amazon has acquired/merged/bought Twitch for something between 970 mil and 1.1 bil depending on your news source. Now, this next bit I have to explain very slowly because I'm still in shock even though it's been 12 hours since I heard the news clip on the CBC National last night. Bear with me. Twitch Interactive, Inc. is a streaming website where users watch other people play video games.

Users WATCH other users play video games.

Let that sink in for a minute. (God knows, a minute is all we can stand to think about anything these days.) It was suggested by a young gamer in the segment that this was similar to viewers watching televised sports. At this point I said "What the fuck?"

And now I have to do the unthinkable. I have to defend televised sports. There are three reasons why watching a kid playing video games is NOTHING like watching professional sports.

1) Athletes. Real people taking real hits. Watching a gamer get to the next level in a digital environment is not the same thing because a gamer is not an athlete. Watch if you must, but don't compare it to watching a professional athlete on the field/court/rink/track. And if you don't see why you can't, go outside and run around the block. For a year. See? Gaming is not athletics.

2) Risk. In professional sports, all the stakeholders have assumed a level of risk and responsibility. Money is on the line, careers and reputations. What's on the line for a gamer who screws up? Nada. Zip. Sitting in mom's basement, gaming on devices bought by one's parents is not a high risk endeavor.

3) Rarity. Few human beings are willing to put in the hours of training required to become pro athletes but there are hundreds of thousands of us willing to play games all day. Which makes gaming a hobby, not a profession. If watching people play video games is your thing then make it your thing. Give it your own designation. Unplug it from comparisons that are just plain insulting. I have no suggestions because to me it's the equivalent of watching nothing happen. Even paint drying has a purpose to it...

In conclusion, I want to congratulate Twitch and Amazon for driving this gym-loathing, sports-hating bookworm into defending professional sports! Nice going! Hell just froze over!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Canada only - THE GREY LADY Goodreads Giveaway!

WE HAVE A WINNER! (Or three!)

  • Cassandra Edwards in Saskatchewan (My dad was born in Saskatchewan!)
  • Sausan Sumar in Ontario (I used to live in Ontario!)
  • Dorothy Huckaby in Alberta (I have family in Alberta!)

Copies of THE GREY LADY will be put in the mail today (August 29) and Canada Post willing, you'll have them after Labour Day.

Ladies, if you like the book, please let your fellow Goodreaders know. And a big thank you to the 105 folks who entered the Giveaway! Stay tuned because I'll be running another one in November for my third book in the series: THE RIVER BRIDE.

If there is enough money in the kitty, I'll open up the next Giveaway to the US and UK but for now, I wanted to introduce the series to Canadian readers who are always on the lookout for mysteries set in Canada. I know I am. 

Congratulations to the winners!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Robin Williams

Because he is all we can think about right now. 

I didn't know him, obviously. But here's what I received from Robin Williams and how I most remember him.

There is a scene in Good Will Hunting (the performance for which Williams won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor):
In this scene, Matt Damon's character reveals to Williams (his therapist) that he was beaten as a child. Williams says "It was not your fault." Damon nods "Yes, yes, I know." Williams repeats, "It was not your fault." Damon, impatiently, "I know."
He repeats it again and again until Damon's character breaks down and admits he believed the beatings were his fault.

It is one of the most powerful moments on screen. A simple exchange of dialogue delivered by two truly fine actors. That scene has been called into my consciousness in some pretty tough times and saved me. It wasn't the words or the production values or the media buzz or even the Oscar win that gave that moment its power--it was Robin Williams. 

I wish he was still here.  

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Phone calls, deadlines and the self-employed writer

I don't like it when the phone rings in my house. But I like it even less when the call is for me. A woman I met at a party this weekend has called and left a message for me. She wants to talk about something we enjoyed discussing at the party.

Now here's the thing.

I've talked already. I went to the party and I did all the talking I plan to do for a full week. Now I am writing. I write all day. Not always happily or willingly or with mad love in my heart for writing. Quite often I hate it. But it's what I do. Over years I've learned when the writing sucks, when I hate it---that's when I'm in the most danger of losing it. I've learned to dig deep and shut out all distractions and potential derailments. I've learned to stick with a troubled book like a fireman sticks with a person in a burning building or a mountain climber sticks to a mountain.

I have to get this book and another one finished in semi-finished draft form before the end of August. It's a deadline no one cares about or values except me. So do I keep working or call this person back? Now you know why writers are considered arrogant, nasty brutes. I feel like biting somebody. Where's the bloody phone number?

BOOK READ THIS MONTH: "Up and Down" by Terry Fallis. Funny, goofy read. I liked it. Book club was meh. I think you have to be in the mood for light satire and I was.