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EMS Upgrade (cont’d)

I’m afraid to say I’m not quite as far in the newsletter changeover as I’d hoped to be by this point. In part because of some animal health issues that kept us away from home at high stress levels for the better part of last week, but also because of some miscommunications.

newsletter

Not that I don’t have anything to report, however.

I mentioned last week that I am making the move from trusted MailChimp to the fancier dancier ActiveCampaign. So far I have nothing bad to say about the service, but that’s mostly because I haven’t really played with it yet.

For the customer service… I’m on the fence.

Mostly, I’m blown away by how on top of things they are. I signed up for the free trial so that I could get my account set up and everything ready before migrating everyone over from MailChimp. Within two days, I was receiving calls from ActiveCampaign looking to introduce me to their service, see if I had any questions, and to set me up with a longer phone call to go over the different features that would best suit my business.

Wow!

I’d never encountered anything like that before and was super impressed! I looked forward to the longer chat, which involves some screenshare time so I could get a crash course in how to best use the service.

So I book the time, and that night, 6:15, I postpone dinner so I can be at my computer in time for the call.

Now, for the intro call, the phone rang within 30 seconds of the clock rolling over to our arranged time.

This time… 6:20 rolls around…. 6:30…. 6:45.

After forty-five minutes of waiting, I send off an email to follow up and make sure we’re all on the same page about the time of the call. A few minutes later, I receive a reply telling me they had tried the number on file, but it had just kept ringing without anyone answering.

Now, I had my phone right beside me. I’d made sure the volume was up, and there was no one on the line. Also, I was confused about why no one followed up with an email when the call didn’t go through, even if it was a “sorry we missed you!” message.

We tried to arrange another time for the call, but nothing has worked with our schedules, so I’m just going to start with a few links they sent me to try to work it out on my own.

So overall… kind of a wash as far as customer service goes (likely, like with anywhere, it’s just a matter of who you get), but I’m still really excited to try out all the different features and see how this can up my game! That is a big part of my goal for this weekend, so I should have at least a few more updates for you by then.

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Leveling Up: EMS-style

There comes a time in every business-owner’s life when they need to say farewell to the vintage-newspaper-printtrusted systems they used when they first started out and move on to something a bit more expensive, yes, but more importantly, more focused and versatile.

One of the first pieces of advice I received when I started my business was to start a mailing list. Never rely solely on someone else’s platform. Amazon can go glitchy, Facebook can shut down. Better to have your own foundations for people to find you.

It’s very good advice. In fact, it’s some of the best advice out there. It’s a big part of why I created my own paperback (and eventually ebook) storefront on my author website, and, of course, why I maintain my mailing list for all its ups, downs, and GDPR-purges.

I love sending out my newsletters, too. It’s great to hear back from readers and learn a bit about what they’re up to, what they’re reading, what they’re looking forward to. Up until now, MailChimp has been my trusted companion on all of these adventures, and really I have no complaints.

But I’ve decided it’s time to level up. As of this week, I’m slowly going to be building up a presence through ActiveCampaign, exploring its versatility, it’s resources, and it’s ability to help me better engage with readers. Because that is my first priority. Getting to know the people who take the time out of their day to read my messages. Not only out of a sense of appreciation, but also to better deliver what interests them. It’s a never-ending circle.

My first impressions of ActiveCampaign have been incredibly positive, so as I explore further, I’ll share my thoughts and views on this, my most recent attempt to kick all kinds of ass at my business.

What have you tried lately to shake things up and move yourself up a notch? Share in the comments below!

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Pet Peeve: Nauseous vs. Nauseate

cold-and-flu-seasonWe’re heading into cold and flu season, which also means the start of hearing another one of my language peeves.

This one isn’t a full peeve. It doesn’t make my eye twitch like “impact” does, but I do notice it. I can’t help it. I can be exactly the kind of language purist whose tea you want to lace with some kind of relaxant so I’ll go to sleep and stop talk about how words should be used.

I would apologize for it… but I won’t.

This particular gripe? Nauseous vs. nauseated.

Anyone who watched or remembers Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed will appreciate this one.

Common usage says that these two words are interchangeable. Fine. I accept that, but at the very least I feel people should make a conscious decision about which word they’re using.

Nauseous means something that makes you feel ill. The rotting garbage is nauseous (not to be confused with noxious, which is something that is physically harmful or destructive). If you were to be nauseous, it would mean that your very presence was enough to make those around you feel ill.

That might be the case, who am I to say? But I find it unlikely that if someone were to provide a description of you, “makes me queasy” would be included. If so, my apologies.

Typically, however, the word you should be going for is nauseated. It’s fun to say, sounds fancy, and doesn’t run the risk of accidentally giving people the wrong impression about your personality. Win-win!

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REBLOG: KDP Books Unavailable To International Readers — David Gaughran

I read this article earlier today and felt it was important for both readers and authors to know. Amazon has been instrumental in bringing indie authors onto the publishing playing field, but it does have its drawbacks, like some slow momentum in addressing issues as they arise.

A situation blew up at Amazon over the weekend which is ghosting most KDP ebooks (and many Amazon imprint titles) for international readers who use the US Kindle Store — which has also exposed a glaring security problem. 153 more words

via KDP Books Unavailable To International Readers — David Gaughran

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No post this week

Last week I took a break from this blog because I was celebrating my latest book release over at http://www.kristawalshauthor.com. This week, I’m feeling a bit under the weather, so am allowing myself a bit of a break.

Next week, however, I will either be back with thoughts on pet peeves about nouns being used as verbs and vice-versa, or about the first steps to formatting your novel using Adobe inDesign, or some views on why having a proofreader is important, regardless of your business.

Have a preference? Leave a comment below!

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KDP Printing

Another industry-related post before I return next week to my English pet peeves: the KDP print experience.

For reasons that I’m sure are easy to understand, I was anxious to receive my first KDP paperback proof. When there’s a change in the system, there’s always a chance that the quality is going to be…iffy.

And I can’t really say otherwise when my Veilfire proof arrived. The colours are a bit dark, the glue is showing under the cover, and the pages are filled with tiny black lines (no, not the words, don’t be silly). I’m hoping that the author copies are a smidge better, but at the very least, the proof still looks professional and sellable, so huzzah!

One thing you should be aware of if you haven’t started seeing this around the interwebs: unlike Createspace’s subtle but convenient PROOF written on the last page in the book, KDP has opted for a more “in your face” method of letting you know it’s an arc.

proof

Kind of hard to miss that giant NOT FOR RESALE that wraps around the entire cover.

Downside: It makes using your proof copy for promo a little bit of a challenge. It also means that you’re not able to get the full cover experience prior to setting your book to live and ordering your author copies.

On the other hand is that upside: You never need to worry about selling your proof copy by accident…

So take that as KDP’s starting point. Some people are already contacting them to voice their displeasure, so it might change as the growing pains are worked out.

What are your thoughts on the new KDP paperbacks? Yay? Nay? Voice your thoughts in the comments!

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Createspace to KDP

Oh Amazon, how you do love to change things on us writers. Just as I was getting the hang of Createspace, learning the process, mastering the behind-the-scenes, they scrapped it and moved us all over to KDP.

Thaaaaanks.

Fortunately, if you haven’t gone through it yet, it’s quite a simple process. You click “okay,” and KDP kind of does the rest for you. I can’t complain.

I did, however, run into some issues with the formatting of the new paperback I made, so figured I would share my experience with you in case you run into something similar.

I used inDesign for the first time to format my paperback interior (that was a whole lot of joy that I’ll share in a separate posts once I make sure it all worked out). My book is a lengthy 610 pages, so I made sure that my gutter was .75 inches. I triple checked. Yet I kept getting an error message that KDP wouldn’t accept a gutter of less than 0.75 inches.

You can imagine my frustration.

And I confess it took me longer than it should have to realise why I was getting that error message even after I checked my dimensions: it was only flagging three pages. On three pages that had italics at the front of the line, the descender on some “f”s and “y”s had sneaked out past that 0.75 gutter.

Are you freaking kidding me?

And unlike Createspace, KDP does not allow you to push these little things through.

I managed to fix it fairly easily—more of a pain in the butt than anything else—but it did teach me how particular KDP will be with things like this.

Have you learned any helpful tips and tricks with the new KDP paperback platform? Share in the comments below!

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Open for Business

Step right in, gals and pals, and see what we have on the menu.

I’ve been wracking my brain trying to come up with a way to earn a living between publications and to keep the bank account green during the lean months (thanks, instability of a career in the arts!), and a few months ago I had an epiphany: I love proofreading.

Like, I really like it. I see posts all the time from people in the proofreading stage treating their bleeding eyeballs after a day debating comma placement, but I get a kick out of it. It’s relaxing, it’s satisfying, and I’m good at it.

“Finally,” I thought, “I’d be able to put my four years of university and the fancy piece of paper I got at the end to good use!”

So that’s what I’m doing.

As of now, I’m officially opening my doors to Raven’s Quill Press Author Services, offering proofreading to all genres and variety of writings. To learn more, or to contact me for details, just click here.

What does this change mean for the blog?

It means you won’t see any more posts directly related to my work as Krista Walsh, fantasy author. For those updates, you can check out my new fancy website, which I’ll be keeping up to date with all my publishing information.

Over here, you’ll find more industry-related posts: my experience as an independent author and how it might help others hoping to go in the same direction.

For example, right now I’m battling inDesign, trying to learn how to properly format my paperbacks. It’s a pain in the butt, and I have been able to find NO resources online. My solution is to learn it myself, and then post the step-by-step so it’s out there for anyone else who wants to give it a try.

There might still be a few personal posts as they relate to writing and publishing, but most of those will likely wind up on my author page.

So make yourselves comfortable, and let’s see what trouble we can get into.