September '23 Newsletter
Change is in the air!
As much as I love the pleasant temperatures and the colorful leaves of the Fall, I am sad to see the end of summer and the shorter periods of sunlight. It’s amazing how fast the summer went. I hope you had an enjoyable summer.
As you’ll see below, Amazon has made some significant changes that authors need to be aware of.
The first change concerns the categories that books can be placed in. While the categories you can initially choose to have your book in are now more relevant than the limited selection previously provided, the number of categories is restricted to 3, as opposed to the 10 that had been offered.
The second change concerns the use of AI-generated content. Amazon has updated its Content Guidelines to require authors who are using AI-generated content to ensure that the content does not violate anyone’s copyright interest. Make sure you are aware of this guideline if you plan to publish anything on Amazon that uses any AI-generated content.
1. Recently Published Authors
SkillBites helped Julie Donley update and republish her book called Does Change have to be so H.A.R.D.? Eight Strategies for Making Change Easier. This is Dr. Donley’s second book that she has published through SkillBites.
What makes change so H.A.R.D.? We struggle to lose weight, change jobs, improve our relationships or our financial condition and even give up addictions. We succumb to our habits and accept a life of mediocrity, wishing it could be different and incessantly hoping for that magic solution. The reality is that we are creatures of habit and change can be uncomfortable.
Change requires hard work, consistency and time. We perceive it as a chore and most of us just don’t want to work that hard. Yet, there have been times in your life when you have made great change and it has brought you to a much better place. You were willing to do whatever it took to achieve the outcome you desired and you did it! You succeeded. Hard or easy, it’s how you think about it!
In this book, Dr. Donley provides a roadmap to understand your mind and how your thinking creates the obstacles to change. She describes the psychological and emotional aspects of change and explains the thinking that accounts for the real-life problems we encounter. She then guides you to confront and overcome the obstacles to success with eight strategies needed for making the changes you desire. The book is available for purchase on Amazon.
SkillBites has also recently published a 20th anniversary commemorative book for the non-profit organization, The Society for Integrative Oncology, or SIO. The Society for Integrative Oncology is the premier multidisciplinary international organization in the field of integrative oncology. Founded in 2003 by a group of visionary physicians and scientists, SIO has spent twenty years working toward its goals to advance evidence-based, comprehensive integrative healthcare to improve the lives of people affected by cancer, and to achieve integration of comprehensive, evidence-informed medicine into the worldwide standard of care for people with cancer. The book will soon be available for purchase on the SIO website, https://integrativeonc.org/ and will be available on Amazon.
SIO had spent two years putting this book together, and needed it to be edited, the cover and layout designed and the book formatted for distribution in just 6 weeks, in time for the organization’s 20th anniversary celebration. SIO’s President, Linda E. Carlson, provided the following testimonial concerning SkillBites’ services:
“Judy and her team at SkillBites turned our manuscript and photo files into a beautiful eBook in just a few weeks. Judy is very responsive and thorough, and her editing and graphic design teams deliver excellent and professional publications. Our project was the culmination of two years’ work and included twenty years of our society’s history. SkillBites got it right, and delivered with a week to spare. I highly recommend using SkillBites for your publishing needs.”
2. In the News
I am honored to have been selected to speak at the Summit on Authorship Rules & Regulations, on September 30, 2023. I will be speaking on copyright law, covering the basics of copyright law, including the Fair Use doctrine, which pertains to when you can use someone else’s content without first getting permission, what to do when your copyright interest has been infringed, and other relevant issues for authors. Other speakers will be covering such issues as Amazon’s rules, licensing, taxes and other important concepts to help you navigate this territory.
If you are interested in attending this summit, which is free to attend, you can sign up by clicking here.
3. SkillBites Podcast
Each month, we bring you an expert to help you get your book done, leverage your book, grow your business or improve your life. The shows are recorded, and you can listen to the recording by clicking here.
Later this month, I will be sharing with you a demo of a program called Mockup Shots that enables you to create amazing images of your book in just seconds to promote and sell your book on any platform or medium! You’ll have hundreds of images to choose from to create:
In June, I gave a demo of an AI program that greatly accelerates any writing you have to do – whether you are writing a non-fiction book or fiction book, an article, a blog post, social media post or even an email. The program is called QuickWrite, and it is amazing how easy and helpful it is to anyone who does any content marketing or book writing.
Listen to this episode to learn how QuickWrite can accelerate your writing. The special pricing that was available then is no longer available, but QuickWrite is still an amazingly affordable product.
You can listen to these episodes by clicking here.
Do you have expertise that you believe would benefit the SkillBites community of entrepreneurs and authors? If you would like to be the guest on the monthly SkillBites Show, contact me at email@example.com or 610-783-4519. If there is a topic you would like to hear on the podcast, let me know and I’ll look for an expert to cover that.
4. Amazon Update
Amazon recently announced a major change to its category system. Previously, when first publishing a book, the author or publisher could choose only 2 categories, and those had to be selected from a very narrow list that was very different from the categories that were on Amazon; so readers browsing Amazon’s categories might not find your book. After a book had been published for a few weeks, the author could then email KDP support and request up to 8 additional categories or category changes.
Now, Amazon allows authors to select 3 categories for their book, from a list of categories that are ones on Amazon’s website. Further, authors can change their categories themselves, from their KDP Bookshelf. However, if you previously availed yourself of the option to select up more than 3 categories, you will lose those if you change them. The extra categories will remain only if you don’t change any of the ones you’ve chosen.
In addition, Amazon has updated its publication site, KDP, and its publication guidelines, concerning the use of content generated by artificial intelligence. When publishing on KDP, you are now required to answer a question as to whether you used an AI tool to generate text, images and/or translations in your book. The Content Guidelines have a new provision concerning the publication of books that used AI-generated content, such as text, images and translations. Below is the new guideline on AI:
Artificial intelligence (AI) content (text, images, or translations)
We require you to inform us of AI-generated content (text, images, or translations) when you publish a new book or make edits to and republish an existing book through KDP. You are not required to disclose AI-assisted content. We distinguish between AI-generated and AI-assisted content as follows:
- AI-generated: We define AI-generated content as text, images, or translations created by an AI-based tool. If you used an AI-based tool to create the actual content (whether text, images, or translations), it is considered "AI-generated," even if you applied substantial edits afterwards.
- AI-assisted: If you created the content yourself, and used AI-based tools to edit, refine, error-check, or otherwise improve that content (whether text or images), then it is considered "AI-assisted" and not “AI-generated.” Similarly, if you used an AI-based tool to brainstorm and generate ideas, but ultimately created the text or images yourself, this is also considered "AI-assisted" and not “AI-generated.” It is not necessary to inform us of the use of such tools or processes.
You are responsible for verifying that all AI-generated and/or AI-assisted content adheres to all content guidelines. For example, to confirm an AI-based tool did not create content based on copyrighted works, you're required to review and edit any AI tool outputs.
5. Tip of the Month: Publishing on IngramSpark
While Amazon has roughly 60% of the online book retail market, there is still 40% of books that are bought on other platforms. The way to get on most of that 40% is to publish your book on IngramSpark. In fact, by publishing on IngramSpark, your book will also appear on Amazon without your having to publish it through KDP, albeit not as quickly as if you published directly on KDP, and you will get a lower royalty on Amazon book sales. Note, IngramSpark does not offer a reduced price for author copies, so if you want author copies, you are better off publishing directly on KDP.
In addition to the broader distribution of your book, both nationally and internationally, there are other advantages of getting your book up on IngramSpark’s platform:
- Libraries, universities and bookstores are much more likely to purchase your book through IngramSpark than Amazon, because IngramSpark offers wholesalers a discount. When publishing on IngramSpark, the author chooses the discount percentage. IngramSpark has recently increased the minimum discount to 40% from 35%. Authors whose books are currently on IngramSpark and who chose a 35% discount must edit that to 40% or their book will not be distributed by IngramSpark after October 30, 2023.
- If the interior of your book is in color, IngramSpark offers 4 levels of color printing: standard printing on 50 lb paper; standard printing on 70 lb paper; premium printing on 70 lb paper; and super premium printing on 70 lb paper. Amazon only offers 2 levels: standard printing and premium printing, both on 40 lb paper. If the quality of the color printing is important, you’ll want to have your paperback or hardback book only on IngramSpark. If anyone buys it off of Amazon, it will be fulfilled by IngramSpark, meaning it will be printed by IngramSpark and shipped to the purchaser.
- If you desire a hardback book, IngramSpark offers more options than Amazon for the cover. Amazon, for instance, does not have an option for a dust jacket, while IngramSpark does.
IngramSpark had charged $50 for publishing a book on its platform; and if you didn’t publish the eBook and print book at the same time, then you paid a fee of $50 to publish each of them. Further, you paid $50 any time you made a change to your book or eBook files. Now, IngramSpark has eliminated the fee for the initial publishing of a book on its platform, and for any changes made within 6 weeks of a book’s initial publication on IngramSpark.
It should be noted that IngramSpark’s printing is more expensive than Amazon’s for small orders, and its delivery timeframe is generally longer. If you need your books quickly, you can choose expedited processing and shipping to get faster delivery, but you will pay quite a bit more for that.
Thanks for supporting SkillBites. If there is anything you think we ought to be doing better or anything we should be doing that we’re not, please let us know. We value your input.