Tag Archives: looking through lace

How Amazon continues to do its best to piss off its writers: The odyssey of establishing my rights to Looking Through Lace

I’m sitting here listening to a yellow jacket determined to commit suicide in one of my wall lamps, and wondering why Amazon seems so hell-bent on annoying its authors these days.

This weekend, August 5-6, Patty Jansen is hosting another big 99c promo with 100 books in various science fiction and fantasy genres. I entered my boxed set of Looking Through Lace, Books 1 & 2, and was accepted. Only now it looks like my book won’t be on sale — at least not on Amazon. And it’s anyone’s guess if I will have to take the book down or not entirely (on Amazon), for reasons no one has seen fit to provide me answers with.

But let us start at the beginning, shall we?

Early this week, I lowered the price of the Looking Through Lace boxed set everywhere it was available, just like I always do for a promotion. Price changes went through fine — except on Amazon. Instead, I got this:

Hello,

Thank you for publishing with Amazon. Copyright is important to us – we want to make sure that no author or other copyright holder has his or her books sold by anyone else. To publish your book, please respond with documentation confirming your publishing rights within four days:

Looking Through Lace Boxed Set: Books 1 and 2 by Nestvold, Ruth (AUTHOR) (ID:7106553)

Acceptable documentation can include:

– If you are the author and you are republishing your book after your publication rights have been reverted to you, a signed reversion letter from your former publisher
– If you are the author and you are publishing under a pseudonym, a copyright registration using the pseudonym
– If you are not the author, a signed contract between you and the author granting you the rights to publish the book in the territories, languages and formats you have selected
– If you are not the author, an e-mail from the address listed on the author’s (or their agent’s) official website confirming that you have the rights to publish their book in the territories, languages and formats you have selected
– If you are a literary agent, a signed contract between you and the author or an email from the address listed on the author’s official website granting you the right to act on the author’s behalf with respect to the book

Documentation we cannot accept includes:

– A statement by you that you have the publishing rights without verification by the author/copyright holder
– A copyright application for which registration has not been confirmed

If you publish books for which you do not hold the publishing rights, your account may be terminated.

Thank you,

Amazon KDP

I wrote back, asking why they were requiring confirmation of publishing rights for a book that had been published with them for over a year and a half. I listed some of the publishing credits of Looking Through Lace and explained why I still had the rights to my own novella, which was originally published in Asimov’s in September 2003.

Instead of any answers, I got almost exactly the same email, with one small change at the beginning:

During a review of your KDP submission(s), we found that content in the below title(s) has been previously made available on Amazon. Copyright is important to us – we want to make sure that no author or other copyright holder has his or her books sold by anyone else. To publish your book, please respond with documentation confirming you have the necessary publishing rights within four days:

Looking Through Lace Boxed Set: Books 1 and 2 (ID: 7106553)

Please provide any documentation or other evidence that proves you have retained rights for the book(s) listed above.

This, of course made me even more frantic. I could hardly imagine that anyone was trying to steal my novella, since it wasn’t exactly selling like gangbusters. Most of the time it just sits there, selling a few copies a month, except when I do some kind of promo. But why would Amazon keep insisting I prove my rights to my own work if someone hadn’t tried to steal it? And why wouldn’t they respond to my questions and tell me what was the specific problem so that we could clear things up? None of what they required as “acceptable documentation” applied to Looking Through Lace or the boxed set.

Every time I tried to write them to try and find out what was going on, I got one of the above canned responses, about a half-a-dozen in all — and me becoming increasingly aggravated.

Finally it occurred to me (no help on Amazon’s part) that this weirdness regarding Looking Through Lace might have to do with the fact that it was recently reprinted in a new anthology, Galactic Empires. I sent them the PDF of the contract with Neil Clarke, and pointed out the clause indicating non-exclusive rights.

They haven’t sent me any more stupid canned emails since. But they also still have not gotten around to lowering the price of the boxed set for the promotion. I used to be a huge proponent of Amazon, but since the page flip controversy, I’ve changed my ways — more and more with each passing conflict.

I feel like I’m in a Kafka novel — which, incidentally, is not by me. 🙂

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I’m at #55 in the Kindle Store! (Not alone, unfortunately *g*)

As of this writing, the awesome anthology Galactic Empires, edited by Neil Clarke and containing my novella “Looking Through Lace” — alongside such greats as Greg Egan, John Barnes, Robert Reed, and Ian McDonald — is #55 overall in the Kindle Store!

Galactic Empires

Here’s the description and the complete lineup:

Neil Clarke, publisher of the award-winning Clarkesworld magazine, presents a collection of thought-provoking and galaxy-spanning array of galactic short science fiction.

From E. E. “Doc” Smith’s Lensman, to George Lucas’ Star Wars, the politics and process of Empire have been a major subject of science fiction’s galaxy-spanning fictions. The idiom of the Galactic Empire allows science fiction writers to ask (and answer) questions that are shorn of contemporary political ideologies and allegiances. This simple narrative slight of hand allows readers and writers to see questions and answers from new and different perspectives.

The stories in this book do just that. What social, political, and economic issues do the organizing structure of “empire” address? Often the size, shape, and fates of empires are determined not only by individuals, but by geography, natural forces, and technology. As the speed of travel and rates of effective communication increase, so too does the size and reach of an Imperial bureaucracy.Sic itur ad astra—“Thus one journeys to the stars.”

At the beginning of the twentieth century, writers such as Kipling and Twain were at the forefront of these kinds of narrative observations, but as the century drew to a close, it was writers like Iain M. Banks who helped make science fiction relevant. That tradition continues today, with award-winning writers like Ann Leckie, whose 2013 debut novel Ancillary Justice hinges upon questions of imperialism and empire.

Here then is a diverse collection of stories that asks the questions that science fiction asks best. Empire: How? Why? And to what effect?

Table of Contents:
– “Winning Peace” by Paul J. McAuley
– “Night’s Slow Poison” by Ann Leckie
– “All the Painted Stars” by Gwendolyn Clare
– “Firstborn” by Brandon Sanderson
– “Riding the Crocodile” by Greg Egan
– “The Lost Princess Man” by John Barnes
– “The Waiting Stars” by Aliette de Bodard
– “Alien Archeology” by Neal Asher
– “The Muse of Empires Lost” by Paul Berger
– “Ghostweight” by Yoon Ha Lee
– “A Cold Heart” by Tobias S. Buckell
– “The Colonel Returns to the Stars” by Robert Silverberg
– “The Impossibles” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
– “Utriusque Cosmi” by Robert Charles Wilson
– “Section Seven” by John G. Hemry
– “The Invisible Empire of Ascending Light” by Ken Scholes
– “The Man with the Golden Balloon” by Robert Reed
– “Looking Through Lace” by Ruth Nestvold
– “A Letter from the Emperor” by Steve Rasnic Tem
– “The Wayfarer’s Advice” by Melinda M. Snodgrass
– “Seven Years from Home” by Naomi Novik
– “Verthandi’s Ring” by Ian McDonald

It is currently on sale for only $1.99, but since I’m not the one in charge here, I have absolutely no idea how long you can get it for that price.

I actually hadn’t even been aware that the book was already published — it was only the announcement by Bookbub that one of my books was on sale that clued me in. 🙂

In any case, looks to me like you can hardly go wrong if you like stories of far flung, future worlds.

Over 100 Free Science Fiction and Fantasy eBooks!

Free books in June

It’s almost the first weekend of the month, and that means it’s time for another SFF group promo. 🙂 This month, we have over 100 free titles in Science Fiction and Fantasy, and for the first time, conveniently organized according to store. You think Amazon is the epitome of evil? No problem — just click on the link for the Apple store! You’re boycotting Apple because they’re using any and all tricks to get around paying taxes in Europe?* No problem — click on the Kobo link! You’re one of the last people in the known universe who has a Nook? No problem — we have B&N too!

While I’m sounding the promo drum, you can also get my book Looking Through Lace on sale for 99c until June 7. Poor little book isn’t doing too hot, probably because of the bad review right at the top, :/ so it can use all the help it can get!

Hope you all find some great reading for the summer vacation!

* They all do this, or almost all, including such beloved brands as Starbucks. But for some reason, the Beloved Brands like Apple and Starbucks don’t get nearly as much flack and bad press for it for some reason …

HUGE 99c SFF eBook Sale – over 150 books! May 7-8

May SFF promo

The monthly Science Fiction and Fantasy group promo is here again, and this weekend, May 7-8, we have an amazing lineup of over 150 ebooks for only 99c each! It officially starts tomorrow, but many of the books are already on sale.

My contribution this month is the box set of Looking Through Lace and Beyond the Waters of the World.

Looking Through Lace Box Set

I really think you should take a look — not that I want to ruin your weekend … *evil grin *

Once again, the importance of covers for indie authors

I got a really nice heads up recently on the new cover for Looking Through Lace: in the monthly e-Book Cover Design awards, Joel Friedlander called it “a strong cover that intrigues.”

Looking Through Lace

The 99c promo that is currently running for Looking Through Lace confirms my growing conviction of how important striking covers are for sales. With an advertising investment of less than $60, I have already sold 110 copies of the novella, with a day still to go in the promo. Since investing in the new covers for LTL, Beyond the Waters of the World, and the boxed set of both novellas in December 2015, I’ve already earned back the cost (minus advertising *g*). But the way sales and borrows are going, I should be in the clear on the cost of the new covers soon.

With the new cover of Chameleon in a Mirror, I have also seen a dramatic increase in results on promos.

Chameleon in a Mirror
I did that one myself, but I also ran it and other designs through numerous testing sites before replacing the old cover.

Given the results of my recent promos with these new covers, I can hardly emphasize enough how important I think it is to have a cover that will entice the reader to click.

Go ye forth and get a new cover. 🙂

Writing, sales, taxes, and more from Ygerna for #WIPpet Wednesday

It’s amazing to me how inspirational regular sales can be for my writing. And I don’t think it’s just a matter of greed. *g* Just seeing a steady increase in books bought and pages read makes this whole writing addiction seem so much less like some kind of idiotic weakness on my part. It’s working! I’m finding an audience! Maybe I really can make real money at this someday!

And that puts all kinds of inferiority complex demons to rest, which in turn makes the writing somehow easier.

Speaking of which, the new Looking Through Lace boxed set is doing very well during its introductory 99c sale. I’ve sold 85 copies so far, and it’s made it into several top 100 lists. Here are the rankings last time I checked:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,633 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

#32 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > First Contact
#34 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Galactic Empire
#38 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Space Exploration

Whoopie!

On the less positive side, on Sunday I started doing our taxes, and all that wonderful writing momentum has ground to a halt. Our taxes are a very complicated affair, unfortunately. Last week, I got 5100 new words written. This week, only 200 so far. :/

On to WIPpet Wednesday. Last week, we left Ygerna making embarrassed excuses to her betrothed. Today I’m giving you 3 paragraphs for the 3rd of the month that pick up right where we left off:

“The weather,” Gurles repeated deliberately. “Then why does he keep looking at you like that?”
The few bites of honeyed custard she’d eaten — one of her favorite desserts — was beginning to feel like a stone in her stomach. Yes, why was Uthyr looking at her that way? At the same time, his intense gaze made her nervous in that strangely pleasant way she’d felt around him before. And when it came down to it, why was Gurles asking her such questions, as if she had done something wrong? She hadn’t even been aware of Uthyr’s attention.
She shook her head. “I don’t know.”

Igraine / Ygerna
Igraine / Ygerna

Emily Witt is our host for the snippet sharing session, in which we post an excerpt from a WIP on our blog, something that relates to the date in some way. If you want to play too, add your link to the Linky.

Ground Hog Day Science Fiction Romance Sale! Feb. 2-4

Science fiction romance sale

Big science fiction romance sale going on over ScifiRomance, and the Looking Through Lace Boxed Set is one of the books included! You have to act fast — the 99c price tag for both books is only through Feb. 4.

But be forewarned regarding the link to the sales page above: lots of six packs on display. *g*

Publication news and more from Ygerna for #WIPpet Wednesday

It’s been a while. I’ve been busy. With this:

Looking Through Lace

And this:

Beyond the Waters of the World

And this:

Birthday
Six years old!

Sheesh. Hard to believe I’ve been a grandmother so long. I’m not that old! Or maybe I am, given the way my face is falling and my knee refuses to play along when I attempt the warrior pose when doing yoga …

But anyway, back to writing. I’ve gotten an awful lot done in the weeks I’ve been absent from my blog. Not only have I formatted and published the e-book boxed set of Looking Through Lace, I’ve published the POD version of the second book, Beyond the Waters of the World, and I’m halfway there on putting together the CreateSpace boxed set for both novellas. (I didn’t do the covers this time — that’s all the work of my fabulous new cover artist, Lou Harper.)

At the same time, my word counts haven’t been all that shabby either: 4300 last week, and 5500 the week before. I’m heading into the home stretch on two projects I’m working on simultaneously right now, Ygerna, and Dragon Touched, an Urban Fantasy set largely in the Woodstock neighborhood of Portland where my daughter lives. I started it on a whim during a recent Nanowrimo, wanting to see if the writing would go easier if I didn’t constantly have to research everything (or leave notes to myself to research this or that when I had the time).

It did and it does. Leaving notes to myself in the Pendragon Chronicles series doesn’t always work, since the fantasy is heavily based on what little we know of the Dark Age history of 5th and 6th Century Britain. Many times I can’t just wing it — I have to check my research notes, to make sure I’m using the right person in the right era.

Writing contemporary Urban Fantasy, I can wing it. I’ve wandered those streets, and if I don’t remember certain details, a place marker is enough. It’s not the same as not knowing who might have possibly been where in a certain decade, or what they might have worn, or who might have been their enemies or allies.

Sigh. Too bad I like history so much and have to keep using it in my fantasy …

Even though I’m jumping back and forth between two WIPs at the moment, I’m sticking with Ygerna for WIPpet Wednesday. The way I’m going now, I should be done with the rough draft of Dragon Touched in a couple of weeks, which means you might never see it again. 🙂 So here I give you 9 paragraphs, 2 + 7 for the day of the month. This comes shortly after the last excerpt, while the political discussion is still ongoing:

Vortimer pursed his lips. “I assure you, my father has the interests of Britain at heart.”
On the other side of the table, Bican’s sister Elen leaned her chin in her hand. “What if the Saxon warriors he has hired do not much care for British interests?”
Elen was something of a riddle to Ygerna. Despite her striking appearance, with her curly dark hair and intense hazel eyes, she was unmarried, although she was already into her twenties. But as daughter of King Aldroenus of Armorica, she must have had any number of princes and kings interested in marrying her.
Servants came by, setting plates of sweet custard in front of each of the guests, and interrupting the political discussion. Ygerna could tell Vortimer was relieved. His father might be High King, but he’d been elected to the position by the regional rulers of Britain, who could just as easily choose a new military leader if they were dissatisfied with Vortigern. It would be wise of him to take such grievances seriously.
Gurles leaned close, his spoon in his custard and his gaze at the head of the table. “What did the Pendragon want with you earlier?”
“Want with me?”
“When he walked back with you from the church. He certainly seems to want something now.”
Ygerna glanced at the head of the table. Uthyr was seated in a place of honor near the newly wedded couple — and he was practically staring at her.
Flustered, she laid her spoon aside. “We were only talking. About the weather.”

Emily Witt is our host for the snippet sharing session, in which we post an excerpt from a WIP on our blog, something that relates to the date in some way. If you want to play too, add your link to the Linky.

New cover for Beyond the Waters of the World

My cover artist, Lou Harper, has finished the cover for the second book of Looking Through Lace, Beyond the Waters of the World.

Beyond the Waters of the World

So what do folks think? I haven’t finalized yet, so some tweaking could still be done if anyone has any suggestions. Do let me know in the comments! And thanks in advance. 🙂

Testing a new cover: Looking Through Lace #free until Dec. 29

Before things got really crazy around here, I tried to get various marketing gigs scheduled, among them a short free run for Looking Through Lace to test the cover. It’s free from Dec. 27-29 — and I think I can already declare the new cover by Lou Harper a huge success. I have done absolutely zilch so far in the way of promotion, and as of this writing, it already has 232 downloads. Those are numbers that I normally spend money to get. *g* I do have one Fiverr ad scheduled for tomorrow, for the sake of comparison, since I regularly use Bknights for free runs, as cheap and effective as it is. But Looking Through Lace with the new cover is getting the same kinds of downloads without any advertising whatsoever that I get for my short story collections with ads.

So while we are all admonished not to judge a book by its cover, it seems very obvious to me that if you want to sell a book, you have to make sure the cover is the best you can possibly get. 🙂

Anyway, you still have two days to nab my linguistics-in-space novella for free! If free and the lovely cover isn’t enough of an argument for you, here’s the description:

As the only woman on the first contact team, xenolinguist Toni Donato expected her assignment on Christmas would be to analyze the secret women’s language — but then the chief linguist begins to sabotage her work. What is behind it? Why do the men and women have separate languages in the first place?

What Toni learns turns everything she thought they knew on its head.

Originally published in Asimov’s in 2003, “Looking Through Lace” was a finalist for the Tiptree and Sturgeon awards. The Italian translation won the Premio Italia for best work of speculative fiction in translation in 2007.

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